When our good friends, Jamie and Hayley, announced they were getting married in Ravello in the Amalfi coast this summer we jumped at the chance to continue our exploration of Italy and added on a few days to see Capri, Positano and Ravello.
These places a hugely popular with Italian and American holiday makers during the summer but our smart hosts knew this so set the date for early October to avoid the crowds and still catch some summer rays. We managed to tick most of the boxes in five days but the awkwardness of travelling between towns and beauty of the places would make a ten day trip a better idea.
This is where the Italian jet-set come to relax: parking their yachts, sunning themselves on deck and feasting on incredible locally caught seafood. It attracts tons of day trippers from Sorrento (from 10-4pm) but is markedly quieter in the evenings. The rest of Amalfi is so busy that this is a great change of pace.
We took a ferry over from Naples (Molo Beverello port, EUR 25 one way, 45 mins) over to Capri (pronounced like Capri Sun) and stayed at an awesome B&B in the marina with stunning sunrise views. It’s a pricey island, and our B&B offered great value.
The other two areas are Capri proper and Ana Capri. Both are at much higher elevations and boast the views and price tags to match. The former is newer and fancier – sporting designer boutiques and lobster dinners – and the latter is older, quainter and quieter.
The areas are all small and walkable, but the travel between, down tiny roads, is daunting with cliff drops at every turn. The buses and a funicular link all the areas and are quite a thrill (tickets for the funicular must be pre-bought in the marina).
Our first day we wandered around Ana Capri, getting lost several times and Katie made friend with a cat outside Chiesa di S. Michele. She normally hates cats and they can smell her fear, but not this guy.
From there we took the chairlift up to the highest point on the island (EUR 10 return). The views were pretty impressive, but they weren’t good enough to stay for more than 10 mins. Fighting our way through the selfie sticks we headed back down to the marina for the highlight of the trip…
We’d heard from friends you could rent speedboats and drive them around the island. This sounds like a health and safety lawsuit extravaganza, but in Italy IS doable and is pretty common. EUR 100 gets you a boat, a very basic driving lesson, map and two hours on the open sea.
This was so much fun! We took along a little travel speaker, a few Peronis and the biggest Caprese sandwich seen to man and chartered a course. We stopped off at all the main spots and found a place to moor up for lunch and a swim. The Blue Grotto was closed, but we heard it’s overrated and I’m not sure we could’ve had any more fun anyway.
That evening we made our way up to Capri proper before sunset to go to the Gardenieri di Augusto. I hear there’s a higher up spot, but in my opinion this has to be the best views from the island.
The gardens are fairly nice, but the views take the biscuit. The crazy winding steps of Via Krupp down to Marina Piccola one side, the Faraglioni islands another side and amazing sunsets in the middle make the gardens is well worth a detour and thoroughly worth EUR 2.
For more great views, head into town and follow signs along the coast towards the Faraglionis until you get to hotel Punta Tragara. We bought a beer from a vendor and took it all in from a perfectly placed bench. We capped off the evening with a lovely dinner at Terraza Brunella where the caught-that-day half lobster pasta dish was £20. Beat that London!
The next day we bussed it back up to Ana Capri to check out the house and gardens at Villa San Michele. There’s a lot of history to the house and an audio tour, but we just wanted to see the gardens and views.
It’s a stunning place and in better weather would’ve been a great place to stay longer. Such amazing views.
More Amalfi to follow. Until then…