take me away :: Capri, Italy

I am so excited to finally be sharing these travels with you. Back in October, Ross and I skipped away to Italy after an eyewear buying trip to Paris. Our first stop: the sun-drenched, over-the-top island of Capri. This island is a chaos of overindulgence, old-world glamour and countless tourists. Once we escaped the throngs of tourists in the port, Capri’s charm dazzled us: bright blue swimming holes, rugged limestone cliffs, ruins of Imperial Roman villas, medieval alleyways dripping in flowers and historic walking paths interlacing the whole island.

While we avoided the main tourist attraction, the Blue Grotto, we delved deep into Capri’s other allures.

Sail away with us to the island of Capri, Italy’s island paradise.

Capri is far more charming than the tacky arrival port. First order of business: jump into an overpriced, open-sky taxi to escape the throngs of cruise ship tourists. Plan to stay overnight in Capri. When the daytrippers have returned to Naples and Sorrento, the beauty of Capri comes alive.

For insane views of the Bay of Naples and impeccably stylish-nautical themed rooms, and no budget in mind, stay at the J.K. Place Capri. If Capri conjures images of opulence and indulgence, then stay at Capri Palace Hotel & Spa. If you can get a room, the 18-room boutique hotel of La Minerva spoils with its views, pool and unbelievable service.  To save a few euros, stay at Aiano Bed & Breakfast – its breathtaking views and private balconies will captivate you. In Anacapri, the two-star Alla Bussola di Hermes offers all the charms of a family-run hotel.

Call ahead for balcony seating overlooking the Piazzetta at the delightfully small Pulalli Wine Bar situated next to the clock tower. La Savardina dishes up traditional homemade cooking served on a terrace nestled among lemon trees and grape vines. For tasty pizza at a moderate price visit Buca di Bacco (warning: it can be a little tricky to find!). L’Olivo is the only restaurant on Capri which boasts 2 Michelin stars. Chef Andrea Migliaccio innovatively interprets Mediterranean cuisine with an impressive wine cellar to match.

Part of the charm of Capri is the lack of vehicle access. To best explore the island, buy a map at the Tourist Info booth and wear comfortable walking shoes. You’ll soon discover you can navigate most of the island by foot. Twisting paths lined with street lamps and flowers will guide you Marina Piccola (little harbour), Villa Jovis (the ruins of the Imperial Roman villas), Via Krupp, and the Gardens di Augusto.

Take the bus from Capri to Anacapri. Take the chairlift to the top of Mount Solaro while to enjoy the views. At the summit, enjoy the panoramic views and explore the ruins of the ‘Fortino di Bruto’ before walking down the path. Along the trail, take the detour to visit Casa Mackenzie and the Church of Santa Maria a Cetrella (you’ll probably be the only ones there!). Here you’ll find arguably the most beautiful view in all of Capri – the panorama sweeps across the whole of the Bay of Naples, from Capo Miseno to Punta Campanella, from Mount Vesuvius to the islands of Procida and Ischia, wrapped in the blue haze of the sea, rocks and sky. Turn around a stroll back into Anacapri or follow the signs for Il Passetiello to walk back to Capri.

Spoil yourself with a chartered boat around the island. Seeing Capri by boat is spectacular experience. You’ll see outrageous villas perched on cliffs, tiny bays and caves. If possible, charter your own boat for the option to swim in the Green Grotto, which looks like an enormous liquid emerald. Ask your hotel to arrange a boat or skip down to the main harbor to arrange one yourself.

The swimming is divine; the beaches are not. Given its rocky shores and pebbly beaches, you’re best to rent a chair at a private beach club. Early in the day, go to the private beach of Torre Saracena with crystal green waters and stunning views across the water to Capri's majestic Faraglioni rocks. As the sun moves around the island in late afternoon, consider one of the island’s most famous bathing establishments: Anacapri’s Faro di Punta Carena. Lay your towel at the foot of  the second most powerful lighthouse in Italy, and enjoy rays of sun from dawn to dusk. If you are in Anacapri, stroll down the Via Vecchia Grotta Azzurra for a final dip in the sea before sunset. 

The streets of Capri provide divine window-shopping with small boutiques for luxury designers – Prada, Mui Mui or Tods. To really indulge, skip the designer names and take a bus to nearby Anacapri for luxury artisan finds. For Italian handbags, ask for the mother-daughter run leather boutique; they will tell you about each bag including the origin of leather and design. Stroll down street for bespok leather sandals designed and made specifically for you or cashmere shawls spun in back rooms. Be sure to explore the region’s artisan Limoncello, beer and local wines by visiting the local enotecas and gourmet shops.