My husband and I spent our honeymoon island hopping across Greece and fell in love with the Cyclades, so when I booked our trip to Capri and the Amalfi Coast I knew we weren’t going to be able to help but compare the two Mediterranean destinations. We weren’t the only ones: While wandering around the maze of shops snuggled into the cliffs in Positano, I overheard one girl announce to another that she definitely preferred the Italian coast to the Greek island of Santorini. My verdict? I doubt anything will ever surpass the magical two weeks we spent celebrating our marriage and feasting on fresh Greek cuisine with breathtaking views of whitewashed houses perched above dreamy blue water. But Capri and Positano both charmed us, and I would wholeheartedly recommend a visit to anyone who can handle a short ferry ride or a winding drive through the Italian cliffs (more on that later).
We started off on the island of Capri, known for being a favorite holiday spot of glamorous celebs like Jackie Kennedy — and for having designer stores and prices to match that glamour (though coming from Geneva it didn’t faze us). We arrived late Thursday afternoon on a ferry from Sorrento and took the funicular up from the port to the center of town to catch the shuttle to our hotel. After checking in and watching the sunset from our patio overlooking the beach, we took the shuttle back downtown and had an incredible dinner at È Divino.
The restaurant has a unique design: It’s furnished like a very chic house, with tables and chairs for customers distributed around the space. We were seated in the hallway leading into the bedroom and were pretty tickled to see that people were also happily eating their dinners around the bed, with one lady even using the bed as a seat for her table. As much as we enjoyed the ambience, the food was the highlight: We split a giant Caprese salad (the salad of Capri!), drank local wine, and, for the main course, I devoured stuffed pasta while Gui had anchovies. We washed it all down with limoncello, which is one of the specialities of the lemon-heavy region. Don’t let the lemonade-like appearance fool you – It’s delicious, but it still burns!
We slept in Friday morning and ate breakfast on the hotel terrace before stopping by the front desk to see if the famous Blue Grotto was open. It wasn’t — the sea was apparently too rough — so we headed downtown to catch the bus to Anacapri on the other side of the island. The line was incredibly long and we had to wait for three of the island’s tiny buses to stop by and fill up with tourists before we were finally able to board. A quick shout out to the bus drivers: They have to navigate buses overflowing with people through roads that are only wide enough for two-way traffic if the two vehicles are mere inches from touching each other (with the added challenge of one side of the road being the edge of a cliff). Crazy impressive.
After a 20-minute bus ride, we arrived in Anacapri and got in line to take the chairlift to the top of Monte Solaro. I loved watching the guy in charge of pushing each tourist backwards into an empty seat (like a ski lift, the mechanism doesn’t stop to allow you to climb in). He really seemed to be having fun! The dangling wooden chairs are only big enough for one person and I started getting nervous as we neared the front of the queue, but the 13-minute ride up the mountain turned out to be incredibly relaxing with great views of the island. The ride also afforded people-watching opportunities since the line of chairs getting lifted up the mountain faces the line of chairs coming down. I spotted lots of photo-taking, some sandwich-eating and one parent who seemed to be being crushed by a giant child sitting on her lap (poor lady).
Gui and I took photos at the top of the mountain and then sat on the terrace drinking lemon granita before taking the lift back down to explore Anacapri. The streets had far fewer tourists than downtown Capri so we had more space to wander and window shop, and only had to wait in a short line for our tasty lunch of Margherita pizza slices.
Afterward, we took a roomier bus back to Capri and then made our second visit to the amazing Raffaele Buonacore for creamy gelato and delicious caprilu al limone pastries (we snuck in our first visit when we arrived Thursday). There’s always a line, but it’s totally worth it. Bellies full, we decided to check out the Gardens of Augustus where, for 1 Euro a person, we happily soaked in sweeping views of the island bathed in bright sunshine (notable because Capri was overcast for the majority of our visit). Then we took the shuttle back to the hotel and walked down to the public beach to relax until dinner.
Based on online reviews, we decided to try Michel’angelo Friday night and were not disappointed. It’s a close call because we had so many good meals, but I think this one was my favorite of the trip! We shared another amazing Caprese salad and local wine, and I ordered the most delicious, fluffy gnocchi ever. Gui had cod-stuffed pasta, which he said was awesome too. Although we insisted that we were too full to order dessert, the waiter generously treated us to frosted shot glasses of limoncello and a small piece of cake anyway, both of which were delightful.
If you’re planning to visit Capri, my biggest recommendation would be to stay on the island overnight. Yes, it’s expensive, but the streets are overflowing with tourists from about 10am to 5pm as ferries from Naples and Sorrento continually dump day-trippers ashore. By dinner time, everything quiets down, and that, in my opinion, is when Capri is at its best.
Stay tuned for a separate post on the Blue Grotto, which we finally got to see on Saturday. That very special experience warrants an entry just for itself. Cheers!