Europe, Italy

Discovering the Amalfi Coast

Europe Italy

Last year, I was lucky to visit the Amalfi Coast for a long weekend and I just went to Capri by ferry for one day.  Because I fell in love with it, I decided to come back the following year just to Capri and here I am!

I went to Capri in late May, which is considered to be the best time to visit the island; early or late summer to avoid the sun-seeking crowds. At the beginning, I thought that getting to Capri was cumbersome but it’s actually not and it’s totally worth it!  I flew from Dubai, where I live, to Rome Fiumicino Airport and then took another flight to Naples (55 minutes).  Another option I considered was the train which is just one hour. The best and fastest trains are Trenitalia (Freccia Rossa or Freccia Argento) and Italo.

Arriving to Naples Airport, all my Italian friends warned me to pay attention to my belongings as Naples is quite crowded.  As they also advised me, I stuck to the white taxi line and I ignored people offering me their own private taxi service.  The taxi took me from Naples to Beverello Port to take the ferry to Capri, which took around 45 minutes. Finally here I was in stunning Capri! When I arrived, I took one of the very cool convertible Capri taxis to my hotel in Marina Piccola.

For sleeping options in Capri, I found the area surrounding la Piazzetta quite pricey and very crowded for my taste. As I wanted to relax, I rented a house in Marina Piccola. The house had a breathtaking terrace which was very de-stressing at night. The surrounding area had a private beach in addition to several restaurants and even one small shop with discounted branded swim suits and beachwear.  However, it was not walking distance to La Piazzetta or the city center; it’s 5 to 7 minutes by taxi and I had to call the taxi ahead to come on time and pick me up, which was not a problem at all.

There are plenty of other options for fully fledged hotels such as Capri Palace Hotel & Spa with the Michelin-starred restaurant L’Olivio, Villa Brunella with its super romantic restaurant suitable for marriage proposals, Capri Wine Hotel, with its gardens and orchards to enjoy a glass of wine, and also Capri Tiberio Palace with its sea facing balconies and scenic views of the island.

As Capri is a stunning island, the beach is THE essential morning activity.  I tried many beaches and beach clubs.  Fontelina Beach Capri is the ultimate for sunbathing. I had the lunch of a lifetime at Da Luigi Ai Faraglioni. Although the place provides a shuttle boat service to Marina Piccola, I decided to walk the very scenic path. I saw all the walkways with the different flowers and STUNNING views of Capri along the way.

While in Capri, I rented a boat for the day to explore the surrounding islands from the sea. I had the perfect guide Davide who was so much fun and showed me around the caves, restaurants overlooking the beach, and hidden island gems. He also took us to Positano for lunch, which is 90 minutes from Capri but totally worth the ride.  It’s a must do for a day trip while in Capri!

Out and About in Capri

There are plenty of things to do in Capri.  The first and most beautiful attraction is Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto).  It is my favorite by far because I felt like being in a fairy tale when I got inside the grotto.  I hopped aboard a wooden rowboat, laid back while entering because the cave-mouth is barely one-meter high, and let myself be carried through a tiny stone portal to another world by a skipper who barely spoke English but started singing in Italian with other skippers inside the cave.  At one point, he started flirting with me saying that I am the most beautiful woman he has ever seen which is ego boosting but of course not true.  The echoes of the singing and the sloshing water are all what you can hear inside Grotta Azzura; it’s just perfection.

Anacapri: Another Beauty! 

Anacapri is very easy to go from Capri! It is reachable by taxi or bus but it’s not to be missed.

Lido del Faro Beach Establishment has the best sunset in Anacapri with its crystal-clear water, sun decks nestled between the rocks, and restaurant with magnificent views! Located on the southernmost point of the island next to the Punta Carena lighthouse, one of Capri’s must see sights.  The place is considered to be one of the most picturesque places on the island.  It has the perfect view of the Faraglioni, the antique fort and scenic overlook surrounded by blossoming flowers and greenery.  At sunset, I sat there with my glass of wine and forgot everything else in life.

The second stop in Anacapri was Villa San Michele. “My house must be open to the sun, to the wind, and the voice of the sea, just like a Greek temple, and light, light, light everywhere!” The dream home of the Swedish physician, Axel Munthe, who had a philanthropic nature, often treating the poor without charge, and risking his life on several occasions to offer medical help in times of war, disaster, or plague. Author of The Story of San Michele, an autobiographical account of his life and work. While travelling in Italy in 1875, Munthe sailed in a small boat from Sorrento to Capri and while climbing the Phoenician stairs to the village of Anacapri, he came upon a peasant’s house and the adjacent ruin of a chapel dedicated to San Michele, and was immediately captivated by the idea of rebuilding the ruin and turning it into a home. The ultimate highlight of the trip was Monte Solaro Chairlift, which is 589 meters above sea level; it offers the best panoramic 360-degrees view of Capri. The view extends across Capri, the surrounding Bay of Naples, the Amalfi Coast and as far as the mountains of Calabria, on a clear day. The easiest way to get to Monte Solaro is through chairlift! I was very happy like a child while on this chair between the clouds, maybe because it was a very novel experience to me. The journey to the top takes 12 to 15 minutes. Walling to the summit takes 60 to 90 minutes but the chairlift is more recommended, which can be taken from Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri. It’s an extremely enjoyable experience, not scary at all and completely safe. When I was up in the mountain, I couldn’t stop taking photos of the breathtaking views.

To end the day in Anacapri, I had the perfect dinner in Da Gelsomina, which is ideal to go after the chair lift just before sunset time. Great food, great wine and great views!  The restaurant has its local winery so it’s great for some state of the art wines. I booked in advance, then called them 15 minutes prior to my reservation time and they came come and picked me up from Anacapri center.

Restaurants & Food Scene

It’s very challenging to write about restaurants in Capri because the food scene is very rich where most restaurants have great food, wine and overall atmosphere! But, I have some preferred eateries.

For a quick take out, Da Aldo, located down by the ferry landing, has the best sandwich in Capri! He has the freshest bread, mozzarella, tomatoes and prosciutto and makes the sandwich on the spot!

Some other great restaurants are the cozy Lo Sfizio for great value for money.  One of my favorites is E’ Divino, which has a very interesting story.  The famous chef Antonio Cannavacciuolo of Cucine Da Incubo, a famous Italian program giving advice to restaurants on how to improve, visited the restaurant and advised the improvement.  Today, it’s considered one of the best in Capri.  Other very nice restaurants are Villa Margherita, La Capannina, Verginiello and Aurora.

For more romantic choices, Monzù, Terrazza Brunella and the best of all La Conca del Sogno, located between Capri and Positano.

For Bars, there are plenty of choices but my favorites are Pullali Wine Bar, Lo Scoglio delle Sirene, and of course sunset drinks at Maliblu. My favorite drink in Capri was sgroppino!!

I felt like partying one night so I went to Anemaecore; the only problem with this place is that it is quite popular so a table has to be booked well in advance or another option is to go REALLY early as it becomes very difficult to get in.  I, of course, opted for option 2 ;). Number Two Club is the second best option for clubbing with good live music!

I think I left my heart in Capri but I am sure I will definitely go back! Please check out hashtag #zookiinitaly on Instagram for more photos.