NOTE: This post continues from The Perfect 2-Day Amalfi Coast Itinerary on a Budget, but can be done on its own.
Capri honestly does have a lot to see! It really isn’t possible to fit EVERYTHING into your schedule if you are only going for a single day, but this itinerary will walk you through how to fit in everything that you want to do - and even do it in an affordable way (don’t worry, if you aren’t trying to save money - this itinerary is still for you!). Don’t miss the Blue Grotto! But first, lets give you a few tips before you go:
TIP 1: BRING YOUR OWN 1.5L OR 2.0L BOTTLE OF WATER
It is hot on Capri. You may find some free water spouts to fill up your water bottles, but they are not everywhere. It's good to have an ample supply as it isn't cheap in the stores!
TIP 2: BRING PLENTY OF SUBSTANTIAL/MEAL-LIKE SNACKS
Food in Capri is generally quite expensive. It's delicious if you can afford it, but the prices are steep and the portions are small. We paid $50.84 for two noodle dishes at Bar Aprea, including dessert, and were still quite hungry (and we don't eat much). If you have to eat here while on a budget we would recommend planning for a margherita pizza for €7-€9 or some pastries or bread items from some of the bakeries.
TIP 3: DON'T BRING YOUR LUGGAGE!
Additionally, we noticed that some people stay overnight in Capri. If you’re doing this don’t bring your luggage; or, if you need to bring your luggage AND you're honestly on a budget, you shouldn’t plan on staying in Capri. Staying in Capri with your luggage isn't for budget travelers! Most of the hotels don’t seem to transport your luggage for you from Marina Grande. We saw many people lugging their luggage up the stairs (and sweating profusely) while others were trying to add theirs to the funicular train, which isn't too expensive at €1.80 extra each way; However, you are only allowed one piece of luggage per person on the funicular train and it has to be under 10 kg and fit within a space of 23cm x 30cm x 50cm (roughly the size of a carry-on bag). Bags larger than this can only be transported by porter service or taxi which will run you €22-€45 (Capri city vs. Anacapri, see fare schedule for specifics). You can save that money by forgetting your luggage and walking up the stairs if you are physically fit. It is a bit of a workout, but you’ll get to Capri in roughly 10-20 minutes or Anacapri in 30-45 minutes, and it won’t break the bank. We noticed that even after people who brought their luggage made it to the top (Capri is up the hill), they were still rolling it up and down the long narrow and winding walkways of Capri before making it to their hotels. We felt bad for them because we knew most of them would be doing the same exact thing in reverse the following day.
Capri is infamous in itself, showing up in movies such as Contempt (1963), National Geographic Traveler: The Amalfi Coast, Naples and Southern Italy, 3rd Edition, The Love Boat: Season 6, Episode 2 (The Italian Cruise Part 2: The ship cruises to Rome, Capri and Venice as an aristocrat finds romance), The Italian Comedy: The Emperor of Capri, and the Italian-French Drama Capri-Revolution.
You can even grab a guide that includes Capri, such as Fodor's The Amalfi Coast, Capri & Naples, Rick Steves Snapshot Naples & the Amalfi Coast: Including Pompeii, or Lonely Planet Naples, Pompeii & the Amalfi Coast (Travel Guide). Learning more about the culture of Italy using the Italy - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture book is also recommended!
Getting to Capri from the Amalfi Coast
You will want to take the 6:50 AM bus to the Amalfi Ferry Terminal to make it there by 7:45. The buses don't run frequently through Bomerano; So, if you don't catch this bus, you will have to catch the 8:10 AM bus to Amalfi to make it there by 9:00. They typically still let you get your boarding pass if the ferry hasn't left yet, or they'll usually let you board the following ferry if you're late (I just wouldn't risk it if you don't have to!). Continue on with "From Amalfi" below.
The earliest ferry departure to Capri is at 8:55 AM, but you are supposed to check in and attain your boarding ticket at least 30 minutes before departure. You'll have about an hour to relax and have a little breakfast before you need to check in and get your boarding pass. Walk the streets, visit the cathedral and Piazza del Duomo, explore the shops, stop for some Amalfi flavored gelato, and relax. Your one-way tickets should cost about €23.30 and €20.80 (total of €44.10).
From Sorrento: (Cheapest!)
You will just want to make it out to the Ferry Terminal in Sorrento as early as possible. The earliest ferry departure to Capri is at 7:15 AM, but you may save €2.40 if you take the regular ferry at 7:45 AM (the trip is 10 minutes longer than the High-Speed ferry at 7:15 AM). You are supposed to check in and attain your boarding ticket at least 30 minutes before departure. There are a few breakfast places around the Ferry Terminal that are delicious and relaxing. Your one-way tickets should cost about €16.90 and €14.40 (total of €31.30).
The earliest ferry departure to Capri is at 9:15 AM, but you are supposed to check in and attain your boarding ticket at least 30 minutes before departure. Your one-way tickets should cost about €21.40 and €18.50 (total of €39.90).
The Perfect 1-Day Capri Itinerary on a Budget
Firstly, Capri is not cheap by any means. We are simply going to give you some alternate options on how to do things that will be cheaper, or even free, rather than paying the outlandish tour prices. Secondly, all ferries arrive initially at Marina Grande so we will navigate from there. We will first head to Anacapri.
To save money, we recommend purchasing a bus/funicular day pass (UNICO Capri costs €8.60) that gives you unlimited bus rides and two trips on the funicular if you intend to use the bus/funicular at least 4 separate times, otherwise you can purchase one-use tickets for €1.80 each. If you return the day pass at the end of your day you may get €1 back from the bus station staff. Bus tickets can be purchased at Tobacco stores (and no, we don't understand the logic there). You can walk everywhere, but you'll likely lose a lot of valuable time and will have to cut out a number of things.
MORNING/EARLY-AFTERNOON IN ANACAPRI
#1 ) Monte Solaro:
Take the seriously crowded bus (yes, seriously) to Anacapri. Make sure you are in the correct line for Anacapri and then board the small orange bus. It will get you to the Bus Terminal at Piazza della Pace in roughly 15 minutes.
Once you get to the Bus Terminal you will need to make your way behind the cemetery along Viale Cimitero toward the mountain peak until you recognize the trail. It is well marked and not overly strenuous, so this hike can be completed in about an hour. We don't recommend walking both ways as this could end up costing you valuable time.
At 589 meters above sea level, Monte Solaro is the highest and most panoramic point on the island of Capri. From its heights, visitors enjoy sweeping views over the Faraglioni rock formations and the center of the town of Capri, and as far afield as the Sorrento Peninsula, the Galli islands, and the whole of the Gulf of Naples. On clear days, you can catch a glimpse of the Gulf of Salerno.
If you prefer not to hike, you can get to the top in just 12 minutes on the chairlift. Round trip tickets for the chairlift can be purchased at Piazza della Vittoria (3 minute walk away from the Bus Terminal) for €11 each. The chair only goes about 20ft from the ground all the way up, so it can be taken by those who are afraid of heights. However, they are only 1-person seats! That said, it is not recommended for children. Alternatively, you could buy a single ride ticket for €8 on the chairlift to go up and tell them you'll be walking back down. Then you can walk down the trail or potentially even take the chair lift back down as they rarely check for a ticket at the top.
*** #1.5 ) Sentiero dei Fortini path (partial): You can walk through Anacapri toward the Grotta Azzurra (the "Blue Grotto") starting near the end of Capri's "Sentiero dei Fortini" at the Belvedere del Tombosiello. While walking through Anacapri you will pass many of the historical sites and the church of San Michele (€2). The path to Belvedere del Tombosiello is just after the last sharp curve of the road (click for location) as is visible on the image and sign near that location on the road. The Sentiero dei Fortini is a stunning walking route along the coast of Anacapri past a series of old blockhouses or "fortini".
#2 ) Grotta Azzurra: (note: you can do this on #3.5, the boat trip, below instead)
Jump on a bus to head down to the Grotta Azzurra from the Bus Terminal you arrived at in Anacapri. While this one can set you back quite a bit (€14 for entry, plus another €1-€2 "tip" that is always requested at the end), it is quite an amazing addition to your trip. The pictures are real and so was our awe. For a full description of what the Blue Grotto is, how it is even possible, and how to get in - check out “How To Enter The Blue Grotto - Capri (Grotta Azzurra)”.
Hop aboard a wooden rowboat, lay back, and let yourself be carried through a tiny stone portal to another world by your able skipper, who navigates seamlessly under the meter-high cave mouth. Inside, pass from complete darkness into a sparkling cavern, lit by azure blue light, while the sounds of ancient Neapolitan song echo along the stone walls.
After you exit the Grotta Azzurra, hop back onto the bus or walk up into town (your choice), and head back toward Capri. Or if you have the time, we recommend taking the Phoenician Steps (see #3).
*** #2.5 ) Villa San Michele, in this area, is also a highly recommended place to see for €7-€8. However, if you are trying to save on money and have already visited the Villa Cimbrone in Ravello then it may not be necessary. If you've decided that you want to see the Villa San Michele anyway, we recommend taking the round-trip chairlift to Monte Solaro (above) and to either skip the Grotta Azzurra or take the bus down to and back up from the Grotta Azzurra simply to buy yourself the time to see this location.
#3 ) The Phoenician Steps:
Going to/from Anacapri from Marina Grande via The Phoenician Steps is free and also an amazing experience! If you are physically fit, it will take you approximately 30-40 minutes to walk to Marina Grande from Piazza della Pace in Anacapri (a bit shorter from Villa San Michele). If you are not physically fit, it could end up adding an extra 15-20 minutes to your walk, but because we are doing this downhill, it should be easy for most people (caution: slippery if raining, recommend using bus instead if wet).
ALTERNATE MORNING/EARLY-AFTERNOON PLAN
Take a 2-hour boat ride around the island of Capri. The Yellow Line: "Island Tour + Blue Grotto" for €18 each. NOTE: This does NOT include the entry cost into the Blue Grotto, so just as above, you'll have to pay the additional €14 entry fee to get in as well as the €1-€2 required tip if you'd like to wait and see it. THE WAIT TIME CAN BE UP TO AN HOUR LONG (usually only 30 minutes - EVEN IF THE BOAT CAPTAIN SAYS IT'LL BE 2 HOURS!!). We were told it would be a 2 hour wait, but we still said we wanted to go so the boat captain let us transfer onto another boat. We waited only 30 minutes before we got into the Blue Grotto and we believe it was worth the wait.
AFTERNOON/EARLY-EVENING IN CAPRI
Once you arrive back in Marina Grande, we recommend taking the funicular with your day pass if the line isn't too long (it should be much shorter going up in the afternoon). Otherwise, you could also walk up to the charming Piazzetta instead of taking the funicular (10-25 minute walk).
*** #3.5 ) Boat Trip Around Capri: If you've made it through all of Anacapri before 1 PM, you may still be able to catch a 2 hour boat ride around the island (last one leaves at 13:00). See the alternate morning/early-afternoon plan above as you may be able to fit it in if you have the time and the money.
#4 ) Natural Arch:
You will want to see the Natural Arch. It is a beautiful walk to get there and there is also a spot to refill your water bottle on the way. This is free and a must see!
After getting back into the Piazzetta, start your journey in the other direction toward Belevedere Cannone.
#5 ) Belevedere Cannone:
A 15 minute walk from the Piazzetta in the other direction will land you at Belevedere Cannone. Breathtaking views of the rock cliffs, monastery, beach, grottos, and "I Faraglioni". Like with the Natural Arch, none of the typical tour groups go out here, so this spot is remote and quiet. Enjoy your views and take some pictures.
#6 ) Back through Capri & to Marina Grande:
Head back around and down the hill toward Augustus Gardens - Via Krupp (path here). It does cost €1 to enter Augustus Gardens, mostly for the spectacular views which you've already seen from Belevedere Cannone, and it is one of the main stops for tour groups. Thus, you may not need to enter this place.
You can continue up through the main shopping street of Capri, Via Federico Serena, back toward the Piazzetta. It's a charming walk and you may even smell some delicious freshly baked waffle cones at a gelato store or hear some traditional music being played by a violinist at the luxury hotel, Hotel la Palma Capri. Don't feel obligated to buy anything, but try to enjoy your stroll even if tour groups are passing by.
Head back down to the Marina Grande as the last ferries head back between 6:00-6:45 PM (check your ticket!). We hope you enjoyed this itinerary. If so, please share your comments below! Thanks.
Prefer to have a set tour and have a couple of days to do it all instead? Try the “Isola Bella with Blue Grotto Included!” tour to see it all over the course of 3 days, with hotel, for as little as $488 per person.
A great alternate plan would be to do #1, #3, #3.5, #4, and then #5. However, we don't recommend doing any more than 5 things as your day may get a bit overwhelming.
— Check out our Amazing Italy video below! —
Want to add in a day to visit Pompeii or Naples? Check out the Best way to visit Pompeii, Villa Oplontis, and Herculaneum or Naples Underground Tour - Underground Naples - The Naples Sotterranea
If you’re on a budget, don’t forget to check out How to Save Money while Traveling in Italy - it could save you over $1,000!
Interested in seeing other amazing blogs about Italy? Here’s a collection of them: Exploring Italy - Blogs about Italy
MAKE THIS EASIER!
An extremely affordable day trip to Capri runs less than $200! Check out the “Capri Day Trip from Sorrento with Blue Grotto” tour.
Do you have a little more time?
You could see Capri (including the Blue Grotto) on a 5 day super-adventure of the Amalfi coast that includes the Path of the God’s hike. Check out the “Walking with the Gods“ tour for details.
Only have 3 days? Pack in an amazing adventure in Capri along with visiting Sorrento, Positano and Pompeii for under $300. Check out the “Meet Us There - Amalfi Coast” tour for details.
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Jenny & Bradley of EatWanderExplore