If you are looking for a special stop to add to your Italian trip itinerary, I highly recommend you schedule one day in Capri. Blessed with a gorgeous position in the Southern Mediterranean, Capri is a vision: blinding white light bouncing off cobalt blue sea, bursts of fuchsia cascading from white washed terraces and bright yellow lemon trees all contribute to the island’s stunning palette creating the perfect Mediterranean hideaway.
You may notice how my description doesn’t dwell on the expensive shop and glamorous cafes Capri is famous for and this is by choice. While a stop in Capri’s designer boutiques is an attraction for many, I believe Capri truly comes to life away from the Prada windows and in the island’s small streets and scenic lookouts.
They are what I believe make Capri truly special and this is how I love to spend one day in Capri: seeking out the views and soaking up the Homeric hues of this historical and beautiful island.
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The best things to do in Capri in one day
There are many ways to spend a day in Capri. This is a selection of trips and independent travel ideas that I believe will make your day in Capri one to remember
Take a boat tour around the island
Capri is gorgeous from all points of view but it is hard to beat the impression it makes if you see it from the sea. During the good season several companies offer tours of the island, some including a stop at the famous blue grotto (amazing). Some lasts a couple of hours and are easy to join even if you only have one day in Capri.
Capri has an incredible coastline and from the sea you appreciate how varied and interesting it is: while the blue grotto steals the show, many others exist in Capri and they are a pleasure to visit and discover.
Depending on your party and taste you can select bigger boats or smaller one, a more or less glamorous service (some serve prosecco on board) and you can choose between tours to see and tours to swim.
If you are not afraid of high waters, these are by far the most enjoyable way to spend one day in Capri in spring or summer.
Venture up to Anacapri
Anacapri is the village perched on the top of the island and is where the charm of Capri truly comes to life. Anacapri is the antidote to the glam and crowds of the island’s Piazzetta and is a heaven of quiet streets, sea views and hidden courtyards.
You can get to Anacapri by bus or taxi and the ride it half the fun. The road to Anacapri meanders up the mountain with scenic air-pins and if you are not afraid of of heights or can stand the nerve wrecking climb for the short time needed to get to the top, it will reward you with wonderful views over the Gulf of Naples and Capri below.
The best way to visit Anacapri is to walk along its small streets and alleys and indulge in a meal in one of the local restaurants.
However, there are a couple of locations in Anacapri that no matter what you do, you should seek out: these are Villa San Michele and the church by the same name, both in Anacapri village.
Visit the garden of Villa San Michele
Anacapri has many treasures but the most famous of all, and with good reason, is the garden of Villa San Michele. This villa was the residence of Axel Munthe, doctor, philosopher and art collector and has one garden that is so beautiful it even won the title of most beautiful garden in Italy.
The villa is open to the public and interesting for the collection it holds but nothing beats the beauty of the outdoor space of this incredible residence.
Built to complement and highlight the beauty of the Capri coastline, the garden is a dream of viewpoints and pathways and one of the most romantic and memorable locations in the whole of the island.
I chose Capri for my honeymoon and can guarantee the romantic power of this island!
Admire the masterpiece that is the floor of the Church of San Michele
Art lovers must schedule a stop in the beautiful church of San Michele, opening up onto Piazza San Nicola, in Anacapri.
The church is famous for a stunning floor dating back to 1761 and designed by Italian artist Leonardo Chiaiese. Chiaiese was a maiolica master and put its talent in creating a representation of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden.
The maiolicas are stunning and the details incredible: follow the wooden pathways built to protect the floor and admire Michele archangel expelling Adam and Eve with his fiery sword, the exotic animals dotting the garden and of course the tree of life, extending its branches under a starry sky.
Hang out with the beautiful people in Piazzetta
You cannot go to Capri without passing by the famous piazzetta, once the scene for the local market and now the place where ‘the beautiful people’ hang out.
La piazzetta is a polarizing place. If you love glamour, want to hang where the Hollywood stars hang and don’t mind the crowds, this can be a corner of paradise.
If, instead, you are looking for an authentic Italian experience and came to this corner of the world for no fuss Italian style, you will be disappointed.
No matter what you may ed up feeling about the place, I do however feel that coming here it is worth it (it is also very easy since it is the first thing you see after leaving the cable car station), even just to make your mind up about the place.
Marvel at the views from Belvedere di Targara, Giardini d’Augusto and Via Krupp
A short walk away from la piazzetta, along Via Camerelle, famous for its shopping opportunities, you find one of the most beautiful view points in Capri, the belvedere di Targara.
From here, you have incredible views of i faraglioni, the most distinctive trait of the beautiful Capri coastline.
From here, you can retrace your steps to the Grand Hotel Quisisana and head toward the Gardens of Augusto. Here you can take your time enjoying their beautiful terraces and then make your way to famous via Krupp, meandering all the way down to Marina Piccola.
Via Krupp is one of the most beautiful and peculiar corners of the island but for safety reasons it is now closed. Despite this, a walk to its entrance is worth it and the view will convince you Capri truly is worth the popularity it enjoys.
Indulge in local food
However you decide to spend your day in Capri, I feel there is one thing you cannot and should not escape: indulging in the local mouthwatering Caprese food.
Capri has a great culinary tradition and you can choose between fresh fish and seafood, pizza (we are just in front of Napoli after all), mozzarella and tomato salad known to the world as caprese and of course the other dish names caprese, a flowerless cake made with almonds and chocolate.
Among he dishes you cannot miss in Capri are worth mentioning scialatielli (a type of pasta), fish ‘all’acqua pazza’ and mussels.
Don’t forget to wash everything down with a glass of falanghina and of course end your meal with a glass of icy limoncello.
Other things to see in Capri in one day
The itinerary above will give you a good sense of what Capri is all or can be about. However, there are many things I had to exclude but that I believe are worth adding to a stay in Capri, if you have a little more time than just an handful of hours.
Visit Villa Jovis
I love history and as such I found Villa Jovis, emperor Tiberius’ villa, a great site to visit in Capri. The villa is perched on top of a hill and while not difficult to reach as such, it does require some walking.
From the piazzetta it takes about an hour and since most of the path is in the sun, you need to make sure you have time time and stamina to do it before taking it on.
If visiting, I recommend you make Villa Jovis the centre of your day and take your time to take in both the villa it self and the road up.
This meanders along some of Capri’s most beautiful houses and private gardens and is a beauty in itself. Once up, your efforts are rewarded by the ruins of the imperial villa and, even more than that, by the stunning cobalt blue of the bay of Naples shining in front of you.
Get the cable car up Monte Solaro
Capri is generous of view over the bay but if you are not afraid of height and after something special there is no better way to get a bird eye view of the area than taking the cable car up Monte Solaro, Capri’s mountain.
If you take the time to make your way up here, you will find amazing viewpoints above the island and unexpected opportunities for bird watching (the peregrin falcon lives here), something special to this corner of the island.
Go to the beach
Capri has some amazing bathing opportunity but don’t expect golden sandy beaches: here the coast is mostly pebbles but it is a pleasure motherless and the water is amazing.
Depending on the time you have, you can stay in the area of Marina Grande, venture to beautiful marina piccola (and get a drink on its lovely terraces stretching into the water ) or even take a boat to Bagni di Tiberio, reachable by sea only and equipped with a nice seafront restaurants.
Where to stay in Capri
I always recommend spending one night in Capri. This gives you time to have a full day in Capri and also see if outside of the busiest hours when day trippers flood to the streets of this gorgeous yet small town.
Some of my favourite hotels in Capri are:
Hotel Punta Tragara, 5 stars: small luxury hotel with amazing views, swimming pool and spa
Hotel della Piccola Marina, 4 stars hotel in Capri town centre with pool and spa / wellness area
Capri Wine Hotel, 3 stars hotel in Capri in a beautiful garden with vines and lemon trees
Where to stay in Anacapri
Hotel Orsa Maggiore, small 4 star hotel in Anacapri with pool, spa and amazing views over the bay
Hotel Villa Ceselle Anacapri, 3 star hotel in Anacapri with lovely garden, pool and restaurant
How to get to Capri
Regular ferries connect mainland Italy to Capri.
Ferries from Naples or Sorrento to Capri go all year round while in summer you have additional services from Positano, Salerno, and Ischia.
The duration of the journey depends on the exact vessel chosen but it usually between one and one and a half hours, making Capri an easy day trip from the coast.
Capri is not a place for driving and vehicles of non residents are prohibited most of the year. Plan on leaving your car, if you have it, at the departure port and visit Capri on foot.
What to buy in Capri
Capri is great for shopping and not just because of the many designer shops in its glamorous town centre. Traditional and gorgeous creations you can bring home from here are:
Capri sandals, handmade sandals made with excellent leather. The place to get them is said to be Canfora, where yo can even have them made to measure just for you.
Elegant fragrances made with local, high quality ingredients such as herbs and flowers: the shop that made them famous is called Carthusia and they trace back this tradition of fragrance making in Capri to the 1300!
Limoncello, the delicious and local liquor made of lemons and now known all over the world.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of how to spend one day in Capri and it made you want to go. Safe travels!