Being in and around Naples can get quite magical. I am very proud when it comes to talking about the Italian region I come from. Italy’s obviously beautiful in every way and every part of it has something special, that’s for sure.
I want to introduce you to this part of country in order to let you know what to expect. I want you to ENJOY this and I want you to have a memorable time. South Italy, especially Naples, has been ripped apart from the media tons of times, and sadly in a negative way in most cases. So you might have read of dirty streets and organized crime a lot, and I’m not trying to hide a reality like this. The point is: what do you expect when you go out there on vacation? Telling you from my traveller experience, when I leave Switzerland, country where I live in since a bunch of years now, I don’t go out in this world and force myself to picture the place I’m visiting as “perfect” and clean as Zurich. I’m aware that things are going to be different, more or less, depending on where I’m going, but hey, isn’t exactly this the amazing thing about travelling? If I’d go abroad to constantly see places similar to Switzerland, the whole thing would be pretty disappointing. And boring as hell.
Said that as an introduction, I’d like to start by presenting you now one of the tiniest places belonging to Naples, but maybe one of the most famous: the island of Capri. I came here for the first time for a daytrip with my class when I was living in Italy back in the days, and there was one thing that catched my attention before stepping out of the boat: the crystal clear turquoise water. Being a rocky island, Capri has a few stoney beaches, which permit to the water to be transparent and a win for every swimmer. The tiny port is charming and I wouldn’t stop you to take your first aperitivo right there, by overlooking the lively Marina Grande.
Then, take the Funicolare (1.80 EUR for one way), a little train that takes you up to the heart of Capri in a couple of minutes, step out and enjoy the view over the Marina. Capri is well known in books and magazines for being one of the most exclusive places to go in the Gulf of Naples. You won’t miss the yachts lounging in the blue while looking to the sea for sure, it might be a little Saint Tropez with the designer stores in the centre, the well curated five stars hotels and the exclusive restaurants with Faraglioni view. But I tell you, you don’t have to be rich to enjoy the smells of this Dolce Vita: you simply have to follow a few steps to make your life in Capri a bit more affordable 😉
Capri is an almost vehicle free island. Despite the locals, no one can take a car over, this for space reason obviously. You’ll see some taxis standing here and there, but the area of Capri itself is so small, that you would waste money on those. Take a walk down to via Krupp for example – it will take you to the beaches at Marina Piccola and you’ll enjoy the best panoramic view. The way up is quite a workout. If you’re lazy then you can take the public bus back to the main square of Capri.
Lunch simple, Dine finely
Summer in South Italy gets quite hot. Since I suppose you’re going to have a swim during the day, don’t waste time and money on a lunch in a restaurant. I prefer to enjoy a relaxed dinner without having to rush back to the beach with my towel. Walk in the central supermarket and get a fresh sandwich: choose your bread, sauces, meat and cheese. This freshly made Panino will cost you less than 5 EUR and they’re not small!
For dinner, I can totally reccomend the Ristorante Michel’angelo. I tried a lot of restaurants, including those with breathtaking views, but sometimes you should join the locals, spare you the view for your nightly walk and eat for a reasonable price. We had some fresh tuna as a starter, gnocchi alla sorrentina and ravioli capresi as a main dish. The service was impeccable and the hosts are up for a chat even if the restaurant is exploding. They also offer cooking classes to enjoy the cuisine of Capri even more, and to bring some new culinary ideas back home. A reservation is reccomended. Or show up around 9:30 PM, you’re in Italy, eat late 🙂
Ristorante Michel’angelo, Via Sella Orta, 10, Capri
Sleep between the Lemon Trees
We had our beauty sleep at the Hotel Nautilus, which is located just next to the beach of Marina Piccola. The garden was just lovely and the free beach was just a few steps away. Make sure to be early at Marina Piccola: first, to get your own spot on this tiny surface, second, the sun disappears around 3 PM behind the mountain already. The nightly walks (around 20min) up to the centre just increased our hunger and were a delight on the way back with a full stomach. The rooms are standardly decorated, but your own terrace overlooking the lemon trees is spacious enough to rest before going out.
Hotel Nautilus, Via Marina Piccola 98 80073 Capri
Join the Beautiful People
The epicentre of Capri’s nightlife happens on the main square, so called La Piazzetta. It’s the best place for people watching, and in Capri you can call everyone beautiful, I suppose it’s one of these spots where you can enjoy Italian fashion to the fullest. People dress up and come here for a drink, it’s a mix between tourists and locals and perfect for having a chilled chat under the stars after dinner. If you like it a bit more exclusively, then go on the terrace of Hotel La Palma, it’s located a few steps away from the piazza, and how the Prince Caravita di Sirignano romantically said:
There are two ways to see the world: one is to travel around and the other is to sit on the terrace of La Palma and watch it pass by.
Let music carry you away
Naples and its surroundings are well known in Italy and worldwide for the local music. Neapolitans can be proud of a whole repertoire of music that is played everywhere, even if it has lyrics in a dialect that not everyone understands. If you’d like to experience our musicality, especially absorb our passion for it, then finish your drink at La Palma and just go down in their taverna. The Taverna Anema e Core (“Soul and Heart”) is maybe one of the most established places in Capri. I’m warning you, this evening is not going to be cheap, but I can guarantee you that it’s going to be the night of your life. You’ll sing along the songs even you have no clue what you’re doing, you’ll sip whatever drink you want for 10EUR each and you might see a celebrity here and there. Have Fun 🙂
Taverna Anema e Core, Via Sella Orta, 1, 80073 Capri (Entrance: EUR 40 – one drink included)
In my eyes Capri encloses all our neapolitan passions in one little spot: you’ll eat amazing dishes, you’ll hear how passionate our music is, you’ll swim in amazing waters and you’ll walk between tiny streets. Sitting on a rock and look out to the Thyrrenian Sea will be one of the best things and you won’t be surprised if you’ll start chatting out of the blue in a restaurant with locals, who will tell you to stay at their house next time instead of spending money on a hotel.
… And you won’t need a yacht or a platinum credit card for all of this. You just have to show up with your heart and mind open. ❤
How to get there: There are several companies offering trips to Capri departing from the port of Naples. A round trip costs around 35 EUR depending on how fast your boat or ferry will be. Trip takes 50min to 1 hour. To avoid queues, buy your ticket online.
Choosing where to sleep: I reccomend to stay in central Capri or around Marina Piccola. It’s easy to walk and you won’t necessairly need any transportation. Since the Funicolare is shut down during nighttime, I wouldn’t stay at Marina Grande. My hotel was great, if you’re in need of being very close to the piazzetta and some vip feeling, then go for Hotel La Palma. Their rooms are traditionally decorated and the reception has the best tips about things to do and avoid tourist traps.
When to go: the most affordable months are May, June, September and October. You’ll avoid masses of people and have more space here in paradise. High season from July to August.
If you need any help on organizing your trip to Capri, or need any advice, don’t be shy and drop me an e-mail 🙂