Capri is a tiny morsel of an island but exquisite. Here you see right away, in a day, so much beauty that you remain inebriated and cannot accomplish anything...In Capri I feel drunk without having touched wine…
- Maxim Gorky
Is Capri the Mediterranean’s most beautiful island? The rocky jewel that rises spectacularly from the waves off the coast of Naples is definitely a top contender. The island’s jaw-dropping scenery has made it a haven for the rich and famous for nearly 2,000 years, from the time when the Roman emperor Tiberius retreated here to rule his empire far from the intrigues of Rome - reportedly forming the nasty habit of tossing his political enemies off Capri’s tallest cliff and into the foamy surf below.
Since then characters as varied as Vladimir Lenin, the Chilean poet Vladimir Neruda and billionaire German industrialist Friedrich Krupp have spent time on the island, drawn here by the intoxicating landscape so evocatively described by Maxim Gorky during his 6 year sojourn on the island. Capri remains a must-visit for anyone searching for a slice of Italy’s fabled dolce vita. Find out why the paradise isle needs to be on your bucket list with our blog!
Take a boat ride into the Blue Grotto
Easily the most famous attraction on Capri, this iconic sea grotto is illuminated by an ethereal blue glow that has to be seen to be believed. Although the roof of the cave rises as high as 15 metres, the grotto’s entrance is only just over a metre high, filtering and refracting the sunlight that enters via a small underwater opening to produce the unique azure hues. Although the grotto was well-known to natives of the island, it only achieved international prominence when German writer and painter duo August Kopisch and Ernst Fries visited in the company of local fishermen in 1826. It turns out that the Grotta Azzurra was also known to antiquity - the emperor Tiberius built a dock and nymphaeum within the grotto during his reign in the first century AD.
The grotto is only accessible via the sea. To visit the Blue Grotto, join a boat tour from Marina Grande, or better yet take a private tour of Capri including an exclusive visit to the Grotta Azzurra.
Follow in the footsteps of Tiberius at the Villa Jovis
It's impossible not to be impressed by the otherworldly beauty of Capri, glittering island jewel of the Mediterranean. But its beauty hides a sinister past. In 26 A.D., assailed on all sides by an increasingly hostile senate, the widely disliked Roman emperor Tiberius retreated from public life in Rome to an island refuge high atop Capri's forbidding cliffs. Isolated from the outside world, Tiberius soon descended into paranoia and lost his handle on reality.
According to the salacious account of ancient writer Suetonius, life at the emperor's Villa Jovis was debauched beyond belief: here the emperor was free to indulge his unspeakable fantasies at will, and enemies of the self-exiled Emperor were regularly thrown to their deaths in the foaming waters far below. Some historians question whether Suetonius' account was more character assassination than truthful expose - nonetheless, the mysterious self-imposed exile of Rome's second emperor hangs heavy over Italy's paradise isle, and a hike up to the remains of the Villa Jovis is an absolute must-do when on Capri.
Gaze on the jaw-dropping Faraglioni
The most iconic natural landmarks on Capri are these three magnificent sea stacks that rise imposingly from the depths of the Mediterranean to a height of 100 metres just off the island’s coast. The rock formations are respectively known as Stella, Mezzo (the middle stack which is pierced by a sea arch) and Scopolo, which is colonised by a unique breed of blue lizard.
The Faraglioni are almost unbelievably picturesque, and you’ll be hard-pressed to resist the temptation to snap dozens of photographs of these dramatic natural phenomena. For the best view of the sea stacks, head to the Punta Tragara belvedere, a scenic 15 minute walk from Capri town past some of the island’s swankiest hotels.
Cool off in the Gardens of Augustus
Make your way past the ritzy bars and boutiques of Capri town and onwards towards the top of the island, where the leafy Gardens of Augustus provide much-needed respite from the crowds of daytrippers. Framed by the Charterhouse of St. James, the tranquil gardens were originally part of the luxurious villa of German industrialist and arms manufacturer Friederich Krupp, who made his home on the island at the beginning of the 20th century. The terraces of the garden are home to a wonderful array of Mediterranean flora, and from here the views across to the Faraglioni are breathtaking.
Leading down from the gardens to the Marina Piccola far below is the truly extraordinary Via Krupp, a snaking brick-paved footpath that descends towards the sea in a series of hairpin turns. The dizzying trail is currently closed due to the danger of falling rocks, but you can get a great view of its incredible engineering from the Gardens. Works are underway to make the path accessible once again, and should be completed in the coming years.
Take a stroll around charming Anacapri
Beautiful as Capri is, the glitz, glamour and eye-watering prices that characterise the island’s main town can easily become a little much. If you and your wallet feel the need for a change of pace, then be sure to make the journey to the other side of the island to Capri’s second town of Anacapri. Anacapri is the polar opposite to its more famous neighbour: a sleepy village made up of relaxed piazzas and quiet streets wreathed in fragrant Mediterranean flowers, you’ll also find much more reasonably priced restaurants and bars than in the main town. Regular buses link Anacapri with both Capri town and the Marina Grande.
Ride the Chairlift up Monte Solaro
One of the most spectacular views on Capri is to be found from the summit of Monte Solaro, fully 589 metres above the sea level far below. It’s the highest spot on the island, and the panorama extending across all of Capri, the Bay of Naples and off to the Amalfi Coast beyond is breathtaking. The journey to the top of the mountain is an adventure in its own right. Make your way to Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri and take the chairlift ride to Monte Solaro, which takes a mere 12 minutes (a return ticket is 12 euro).
If you’re in the mood for a hike then the route to the summit takes a little over an hour. The nearby Cetrella hermitage, a rustic 17th-century religious refuge surrounded by wild-growing lemon-scented herbs, is definitely worth a stop on your way up the mountain.
Watch the sunset at the Punta Carena lighthouse
After a long day traipsing across the island’s rocky terrain, you’ll have definitely earned yourself a restorative drink. Our favourite place to enjoy a sunset cocktail is in the shadow of the Punta Carena lighthouse, where views of the tangerine-orange sun sinking into the inky embrace of the sea are truly unforgettable. Pull up a seat at Bar Malibu, whose panoramic terrace overlooks the water, and enjoy the show.
Through Eternity Tours offer expert-led private itineraries and group tours of Capri. To get the best experience of Italy’s most famous island make sure to check out the offerings on our website, and get in touch to plan your visit!