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Giada de Laurentiis Travel Guide to Capri Italy
Giada de Laurentiis Travel Guide to Capri Italy

Guide to Capri

Giada’s love for Capri is well-known; she’s been visiting this little island off the Amalfi coast since she was a kid. An iconic celebrity destination in the 1940s and '50s, Capri still has an effortless glam that can't be found anywhere else. Tie a scarf around your hair and take a speedboat ride around the dramatic rocks surrounding the island called faraglioni, and you'll feel like a classic movie star.  

The island is primarily a tourist destination, and the main town of Capri and the smaller town of Anacapri are home to tons of fun boutiques. Handmade leather sandals are a must-buy here, made to measure to fit every foot like a glove. But the coastline is the main attraction here, whether you enjoy it from the beach, by boat, or admire it from above on a mountain hike. To beat the crowds, plan a visit outside of the prime summer months, when most of Italy comes to vacation here. (Tip: The weather is just as beachy in September!) But don’t wait too long; tourist attractions shut down for the late fall and winter, as do many restaurants and hotels. As in much of Europe, evenings start and end later than we are used to here in the U.S.; fashionable dinners begin around 9pm and most nightlife spots don’t get started until midnight or 1am.  

Getting Around

Getting to Capri requires a few transit connections, making it a great stop as part of a longer vacation so you don’t spend all your time traveling to get there. The simplest way is to fly into an international hub like Rome or Milan, then take a short flight or a leisurely train ride to Naples. From Naples or any of the smaller towns on the coast, like Positano, Amalfi, or Sorrento, there are two ways to get to the island: by private boat or ferry. Private boats are a true movie-star experience, but it can be a bit of a wild ride if the water is choppy. The more stable ferry can be slower (about an hour’s ride) but it is less expensive; expect a one-way ticket to cost around 25 Euros. 

Once you’re on the island, taxis are available and can usually be arranged by your hotel. And while you’re better off getting around most of the town on foot—streets are hilly, narrow, and often run one-way—we recommend planning for a ride when you arrive by boat. It’s a long way uphill from the coast to the town center when you’re carrying luggage! Make sure to take the 15-minute ride to the less-traveled Anacapri, where souvenirs tend to be cheaper and the crowds aren’t as big. 

Eat

   Angelica Bar Capri

For a quick cappuccino and pastry or creative afternoon cocktail, this airy spot on the busy Via Fuorlovado makes a welcome stop. 

Via Fuorlovado, 8
+390818376616

   Aurora

This 120-year old institution is famous for its pizza all'acqua, an exquisitely thin-crust pizza topped with mozzarella, basil, and spicy peperoncini. The recipe was cooked up in the '50s as a lighter option for the restaurant's celebrity patrons who were watching their figures. 

Via Fuorlovado 18
+390818370181

   Chiosco Tizzano di Natalia e Antonio Tizzano S.N.C.

Chiosco Tizzano di Natalia e Antonio Tizzano S.N.C.

This stand in Capri is as picturesque as it is refreshing, with gelati, granitas, and juices of all kinds made with local fresh produce. On a sunny island day, nothing beats a refreshing cup of tart, sweet, icy lemon granita here.

Viale Giacomo Matteotti 2

   Da Paolino

Da Paolino

A lunch under the century-old lemon trees at this restaurant was the inspiration for Giada’s famous spaghetti al limone, and she always makes time for a meal here, with a stop at the serve-yourself dolce buffet loaded with fresh fruit and pastries.

Via Palazzo a Mare 11
+390818376102

   Gelateria Buonocore

The smell of freshly made waffle cones lures you in to this historic gelateria from the sidewalk, and the rotating selection of seasonal gelato flavors never disappoints. When they have it, the panfragola (strawberries and cream) is a must!

Via Vittorio Emanuele 35
+390818377826

   Le Grottelle

Take a short walk from the town center for lunch at this restaurant partially set in a cave on the cliffside. The unobstructed views of the ocean would be worth the trip alone, but their oven also turns out a delicious pounded chicken and wonderful pizzas. 

Via Arco Naturale 3
+390818375719

   Le Camerelle

Le Camerelle

This adorable spot on the high-end shopping street of Via Camerelle is a great choice for a lunch break while browsing the designer shops. Enjoy fresh seafood, salads, and light pastas while relaxing on the terrace or in a rattan-roofed banquette.

Via Camerelle, 81A
+390818378677

   La Capannina

Take your pick: creamy ravioli caprese scented with fresh marjoram at this 90-year-old family restaurant, or a late night drink at their terracotta-tiled wine bar across the street? Either way, you'll get super friendly service and access to the family's enormous wine cellar full of reasonably priced bottles. 

Via le Botteghe 14
+390818370732

   Lo Scoglio delle Sirene

For sea-to-table dining right at the water’s edge, this restaurant complex has a gorgeous terrace, cocktail bar, and snack stand, in addition to a private beach club where you can get restaurant service. Anything with seafood is a must.

Via Mulo 77
+390818370221

   Torre Saracena

Torres Saracena

Watch the sea and get a great view of the famous faraglioni from the terrace at this 120-year-old, family-run restaurant. Fresh fish and unforgettable desserts are the star here, so don't skip out on the dolci.

Via Krupp 1
+390818370646

Do

   Capri Relax Boats

Capri Relax Boats

The best boat rental company on Capri, they offer everything from guided tours around the island to daylong excursions on a traditional wooden Gozzo boat with stops for swimming or snorkeling in the incredibly blue waters. Make sure you book your boat at least 24 hours in advance!

Via Cristoforo Colombo 34
+393316084109

   Da Costanzo

Da Costanzo

Handmade sandals are a classic Capri souvenir, and this shop has been making theirs the same way since 1963, when Jackie Onassis and Grace Kelly were loyal customers. Whether you opt for simple straps or jewels, tassels, or gold charms, they’ll be made to measure on your own feet. If your stay ends before they’re ready, the shop can ship your sandals anywhere in the world.

Via Roma, 49
+390818370680

   Gardens of Augustus

Gardens of Augustus Capri Italy

With a panoramic view of Monte Solaro and the faraglioni, this botanical garden was built in the early 1900s on the grounds of the mansion of a German industrialist who came to the island to convalesce and fell in love with its natural beauty. The terraced gardens bloom with fabulously scented local flowers like geraniums and dahlias for a peaceful retreat.

Via Matteotti
+390818386214

   Grotta Azzura

Grotta Azzura

The Capri coastline is dotted with many stunning grottoes and caves, but the most famous of these is the Grotta Azzurra. It can only be reached by guided rowboat, and the entrance is so small that you must lie back in order to get through. Once inside, the bright blue waters seem to sparkle with their own light, illuminating the whole cave with a serene blue light. You can get there by land, by walking down the Via Grotta Azzura in Anacapri, or by boat. Either way, you’ll buy a ticket to board one of the guided rowboats—they’re the only vessels that are legally allowed to enter the grotto, and swimming is prohibited to protect this natural marvel.

Anacapri

   La Fontelina Beach Club

Giada’s favorite of the many private beach clubs on Capri, this secluded spot sets out loungers and umbrellas among the coast’s rocky outcroppings, so you feel like you’re relaxing in the faraglioni. 

Via Faraglioni 2
+390818370845

   Parco Astarita

Capri’s natural beauty isn’t limited to the coast—the inland mountains are a haven for birds, lizards, and gorgeous Mediterranean flowers. To take it all in, a day hike is a great way to get in some exercise while admiring the view. This mountain park is a favorite; it’s free to enter, though the caretaker stationed at the entrance may ask for a tip as you come in. A 3-mile cliffside trail leads up to the Roman ruins of the Villa Jovis, with multiple lookout points along the way.

Via Tiberio

   Seggovia Monte Solaro

Seggovia Monte Solaro in Capri Italy

If hikes aren’t your style but you still want a bird’s-eye view of the island, take a ride on this historic chairlift built in 1952 (don’t worry, it’s been upgraded for safety since then!). A 13-minute ride in the charming wooden seats will take you to the top of Monte Solaro, the island’s highest peak, from which you’ll have amazing 360-degree views.

Via Caposcuro, 10
+390818371428

   The Sea Gull

The Sea Gull

Since 1951, this shop has been selling handmade ceramics on the busy Via Roma. Opt for tableware in the island’s signature blue-and-white patterns to bring the Capri restaurant experience home, or browse the charmingly expressive sea creatures, lemons, and floral motifs on all kinds of home décor.

Via Roma, 23
+390818370852

   The Churches of Anacapri

The Churches of Anacapri Capri Italy

Anacapri is home to gorgeous 18th-century churches that rival the architectural marvels of Florence or Naples. Don't miss the Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo's hand-painted tile floor, an enormous scene of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, which you can see in all its incredibly preserved glory from the second-floor balcony.

Piazza San Nicola 1

   Villa San Michele

Designed by a Swedish doctor as his private retreat in the early 1900s, this incredible villa and gardens is now open to the public. Inside, the villa holds a collection of Roman, Etruscan and Egyptian art; outside, the peak of Barbarossa mountain is a sanctuary for migratory birds. Come here to stroll the lush gardens or take in an evening concert during the summer season.

Viale Axel Munthe, 34
+390818371428

Stay

   Capri Palace Jumeirah

For ultimate relaxation and an unforgettable vacation, this secluded clifftop hotel is the ultimate indulgence, with a two-Michelin-star restaurant, stunning pool, private beach, and holistic spa with unbelievable views.

Via Capodimonte 14
+390819780111

   Grand Hotel Quisisana

Giada at Grand Hotel Quisisana

One of the biggest and oldest hotels on Capri, the Grand Hotel has been a celebrity mainstay since 1861, surrounded by beautiful gardens. Whether you stay here or not, the outdoor Quisi Bar is a great place to spend aperitivo hour al fresco!

Via Camerelle 2
+390819780111

   Hotel Villa Brunella

Hotel Villa Brunella Capri Italy

This 20-room boutique hotel is perched above the town center for a more relaxing stay, a series of terraces set into the cliffside with a view of the Marina Piccola and the faraglioni beyond. It’s so secluded, in fact, that it can’t be reached by car! The hotel will arrange to transport your luggage for you if you’d rather not carry it up the hill yourself. 

Via Tragara, 24
+390818370122

   Hotel Mamela

Just behind the busy Via Camerelle and a short walk from the central piazzetta, this recently refurbished hotel is charming and comfortable. The ocean view from the infinity pool feels as if you’re floating above the sea.

Via Campo di Teste, 8
+390818375255

   Hotel Syrene

Hotel Syrene Capri Italy

In the center of Capri’s high-end shopping street, this hotel makes a great home base for those looking to enjoy all the island has to offer. Many rooms have garden- or ocean-facing balconies, and the pool is surrounded by lemon trees for a secluded break.

Via Camerelle, 51
+390818370102

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