Heading to Capri like a local for a trip at the scent of lemons and sea. Here's what to do and what to see for the most authentic caprese experience.
Stripped of that certain glamorous mysticism that makes it a world apart, where Hollywood stars naturally stroll amidst the throngs of daily tourists, each hotel and villa seem to boast a legendary history and even a coffee in the iconic Piazzetta is like a luxury, the most glittering of the Phlegrean islands reveals a reassuring and welcoming simplicity.
Above all, this A-list's summer destination is a place to discover slowly and without prejudice despite the hit-and-run tourism. Here is our Capri like a local.
What to do in Capri like a local
If you have your coffee in the Piazzetta during winter, around Christmas time, with coloured lights hanging all around and the big fir tree set up for the festivities. If you look out over the Faraglioni in autumn from an overhang between the rocks along one of the many nature trails crisscrossing the island. If you prefer more sustainable ways of experiencing its blue sea to a motorboat ride in the middle of August.
Then, you might discover an island that is authentically beautiful even and especially when you set aside certain stereotypes and embrace the genuine soul of the place.
Here we have rounded up some hints to help you visit Capri like a local. And see it through a different lens.
7. What to do in Capri like a local: getting around by scooter
When in Capri, get around by public transport or taxi. The island is small, and its roads, too; several areas are restricted to traffic, and during the high season, you are not allowed to embark on your car.
However, buses and funiculars work well, and you'll have no problem reaching your desired destination. Also, if you are travelling with bulky bags, consider that many hotels offer luggage collection services directly at the port.
If you still prefer having more autonomy, then opt for a scooter. Several rental outlets are situated in Marina Grande, near the harbour. You can even pre-book the service directly online, which is a good idea, especially in July and August.
6. Stopping at a public beach
The Capri coast is predominantly rocky. There are few sandy or pebble beaches, all pretty small, but if you're lucky enough to find a place to lay your towel, you can take advantage of the pristine water and excellent exposure all day.
The most easily accessible beach, also suitable for children, is Marina Grande. Popular with Capresi families, it's a short walk from the port and is sunny until late afternoon.
Two other small public beaches overlooking the Faraglioni are sited in Marina Piccola, on either side of the legendary Scoglio delle Sirene (sirens' rock). The view is lovely, but better in the morning or early afternoon as the sun goes out early.
You can walk to the Palazzo a Mare beach from the church of San Costanzo. Like the previous three, this also is suitable for families with children.
Another favourite destination for locals who want to spend a day by the sea is the Punta Carena Lighthouse, one of the largest in Italy. The shoreline is rocky, and there are only rocks, but the natural setting is impressive, and you can enjoy the sun until sunset.
5. Sailing around Capri
Many, sometimes too many boats crowd the Capri sea. Especially during the peak season, the comings and goings of small and large ships trying to grab a place under the Faraglioni are continuous and constant.
A fun and sustainable alternative for travelling around the island and exploring its coastline full of caves, coves, and inlets consists in renting a canoe, a kayak or a stand-up paddle.
You'll discover many spots that are difficult to reach just by walking or approaching with a motor boat, take a dip where the water boasts its intense, famous blue and learn all the secrets and legends about the rocky shapes surrounding the island.
4. Having a caprese lunch
When you are out for lunch or dinner, order caprese. Whether they serve you a salad, a sandwich or a slice of delicious chocolate and almond cake, it will always be a very local feast for the palate.
The main ingredients for the first two fresh dishes are tomato, mozzarella and basil. The female variant, 'la' caprese, refers to the exquisitely simple course that bewitched Futurism artist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in the early 20th century.
Otherwise, ordering 'il' caprese, you'll have a sandwich. The origins of this original panino have roots in the gastronomic cravings of King Farouk of Egypt, one of the main animators of Capri's dolce vita in the 1950s.
Caprese dishes are absolutely perfect for summer days - they're fresh, light, and delicious! You won't want to miss out on the dessert version, either. So, be sure to leave some room for a sweet and satisfying end to your meal.
3. Looking for the perfect sunset
Experiencing a sunset on a boat near the Grotta Azzurra is an absolutely magical moment that you'll never forget. However, if you prefer to stay on land, there are plenty of beautiful viewpoints on the western side that you can easily reach on foot from Anacapri. Either way, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the sun setting over this stunning island paradise.
The most scenic spot? Probably the Punta Carena lighthouse, the best on the island if you want to see the sun dive straight into the Tyrrhenian Sea. And if you're in the mood for a drink and some music, the nearby bar is a favourite among locals and tourists alike.
Again, a walk of about twenty minutes will take you from the centre of Anacapri to the stunning Belvedere del Tuono through Migliera, a gorgeous path suspended between the vineyards and the sea. Continue higher to reach another terrace that provides an even wider perspective of the island, including the iconic Faraglioni.
2. Trekking with a view
Put aside your super-chic flat sandals: they are a must for Capri, but you won't need them on this occasion. Instead, opt for practical trekking shoes, fill your water bottle and get your legs and breath ready: we're taking you along Capri's most beautiful and panoramic paths. The Isola Azzurra is one of the most evocative and unusual places for those who love outdoor adventure.
Among the most stunning hiking trails to explore is the Passetiello, a circular route that starts in Anacapri, passes through woods, pretty Mediterranean houses, the sumptuous Villa San Michele and the interminable Scala Fenicia, and arrives at the summit of Monte Solaro.
Also, the island's ancient defence system makes a beautiful and challenging trail for the Sentiero dei Fortini, a long walk through the nineteenth-century walkways that link the north-western part of Capri to the Punta Carena lighthouse. It will be a demanding but rewarding three hours: high cliffs, impervious inlets, old works of military architecture and a treasure trove of biodiversity.
1. Travelling out of season
When visiting Capri during the off-season, you'll discover a different side of this charming island. It's easy to fall in love with its simplicity and enchanting fragrance of sea salt and lemon leaves.
As you wander around, you'll notice how it is steeped in both ancient and modern traditions, religious and lay alike. You could catch the festivities of San Costanzo in May or the flag-raising ceremony at the Grand Hotel Quisisana - both truly singular experiences.
In the narrow streets, the alluring aroma of almond pastries and pastiera wafts seductively from small pasticcerie.
It is also an opportunity to appreciate the many details of Capri: the hidden church of Sant'Anna, the picturesque alleyways of the Santa Teresa area, the church of San Michele Arcangelo with its jewelled majolica floor, the pre-Roman megalithic walls. And take long walks on paths that, in the summer heat, would be much more challenging.