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The Complete Guide To Capri (No, I’m Not Talking About The Pants)

Italy

The Complete Guide To Capri (No, I’m Not Talking About The Pants)

Sep 21, 2017
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Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone spent the summer on the Amalfi Coast?

For the last four months, my entire Instagram feed has been overwhelmed with photos of green-and-orange umbrellas, cute Italian-style bikinis and seafood pasta. Considering those are two of my favorite things  I decided I had to see what it was all about. I know, I know — I am a part of the problem, but I’m cool with that.

In August, my mom and I hopped a flight into Naples and took the quick 45-minute ferry to the island of Capri where we stayed for five days. The trip was super easy (as long as you don’t mind being pushed in a line of people screaming in Italian), and Capri had everything we needed to see/do/eat to feel like we really got a good taste — literally and figuratively — of the area. Plus, it’s in such close proximity to Positano, Sorrento, Amalfi, Ischia and Procida that they’re all easy day trips (some of which we did, some we didn’t).

As everyone with an Instagram account knows, Capri is beautiful. I’m not even going to bother trying to explain it because I won’t do it justice, but just know that the island is surrounded by a sparkling blue sea (cliché, but true) and the narrow streets are simply picture perfect. The food is delicious (obviously, because it’s Italy) and the wine and limoncello are over flowing. There are certain parts of the island where cars can’t get to, and my favorite thing to do — aside from laying by the pool overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea – was walk around and people watch. Everyone is spectacularly dressed, and the collective fabulous-ness rating of the island is off the charts.

Considering I am now planning to go back to Capri every summer for the rest of my life (… Am I the kind of person who can pull off saying “I summer in Capri”? And also, does anyone want to help me start a KickStarter to fund this endeavor?), here’s my guide for getting the best the island has to offer.

 

STAY

Hotel La Vega

We stayed at the Hotel La Vega, which I would rate as a 7 out of 10. The four-star hotel is located on a very, very quiet part of Capri, and it was actually kind of nice to be away from the crowds (which, during the day, are huge). The private pool overlooked the sea, and even during the busiest week of the year it was never more than half full. In fact, it was so stunning, we didn’t feel at all motivated to even attempt to check out the beaches on the island. The other guests were all Italian, which I tend to think is usually a good sign. We stayed in a Junior Suite, which had a comfortable bed and living room, as well as a deck with lounge chairs and the same view as the pool. The lunch and dinner were some of the best food we had during the trip, but the included breakfast buffet left something to be desired (although, as far as I know, that’s how most Italian breakfasts tend to be). I would say that I really liked the hotel, but didn’t love it.

Other hotel options that I lusted over from afar were La Mamela, La Minerva, La Floridiana and the famed Grand Hotel Quisisana.

DO

Take a boat around Capri

Isn't my mom a total Betty?

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I have this theory that everyone is hotter on a boat, and somehow it rings even more true in Italy. We took a 2-hour tour around Capri with Capri Boats, which cost 150Euro. The front of the boat was basically a terry cloth bed, so all we had to do was lie there, drink Prosecco and listen to our adorable captain tell us about the history of the island. He took us into a few hidden grottos (not the Blue Grotto, though — it was too crowded) and we stopped to swim at three different spots. It was a dream of a day.

Take a boat to Positano and Nerano

We loved our 2-hour tour so much that we decided to rent a private boat through the same company for the entire next day. First we went to Positano, which is about an hour and a half from Capri on the boat, where we walked the tiny streets shopping and people watching. We went up to the La Sirenuse hotel for a cocktail, and took photos on the balcony. After an hour of endless photo-opps, it was time to get back on the boat. The next stop was Nerano, where we had the best lunch of our lives at Lo Scagglio, which, unbeknown to me at the time is super famous and oft-visited by people way, way, chicer than I am. Finally, we jumped in the water off of the coast, because we were drunk on Prosecco and happy and living the absolute dream.

Swim in the Blue Grotto

I’m not going to sugar coat it: The Blue Grotto is tourist-y AF. During the day, there are dozens of boats stacked with hundreds of people who are all trying to catch a glimpse of the famous cave. My advice? Wait until the end of the day (after 6pm) to take your tour. The water isn’t as blue once the sun has started to move, but the area is way less crowded. This was our last stop on our Positano/Nerano boat tour, and we had the chance to jump out and actually swim in the grotto, which isn’t usually an option when there are zillions of people and boats around. It was still absolutely incredible — I don’t actually know how it could possibly be any bluer than what we saw — and we practically had the place to ourselves.

Go to La Fontelina

When people found out I was in Capri (thanks, Instagram) I got a barrage of messages all urging me to go to La Fontelina. Apparently, it’s the bougiest of beach clubs, where you can lay out and drink rosé all day without a care in the world. Sadly, I couldn’t get a reservation because we tried to book only a day in advance (or because I’m a #loser), but I’m including it on this list because so many other fabulous people told me it was amazing. Like everything in Capri, it’s a little pricey: 25Euro for entry and a chair, 13Euro for an umbrella and 8Euro for a towel. Maybe it’s for the best that I didn’t blow my entire paycheck here.

Have A Cocktail At The Grand Hotel Quisisana

When it comes to “must do things” in Capri, this might just be at the top of the list. The Quisisana is the most famous luxury hotel on the island, and is located smack in the middle of the busiest walking street. Head here during happy hour to sip on a Princess (aka strawberries and champagne) and watch some of the most amazing outfits you’ve ever seen walk by.

EAT

La Capannina

As one of the oldest restaurants in Capri, you’re pretty much guaranteed a spectacular meal at La Capannina. The staff is overwhelmingly nice, and everything we put in our mouths, from the Octopus Carpaccio to the Ravioli (which, BTW, is famous) was absolutely delicious. This spot is low key and tucked away, and the perfect place for an early, no-frills dinner with great food.

 

Café Limoncello

This is a pretty random café located in the Marina Grande outside of a Limoncello Shop, and when my mom first suggested it for lunch I was vehemently against it. It looks so touristy, and I was convinced there was no chance the food was going to be good. Joke’s on me, though, because Café Limoncello ended up being one of the best meals of the trip. I had their special pasta with pumpkin and my mom had their zucchini pasta, both of which we delicious. We also washed them down with Limoncello spritzes (topped with sorbet) and it was just an all around perfect experience.

Lo Scoglio

Postcards from Paradise #loscoglio#amalficoast#massalubrense#marinadelcantone#nerano#bythesea

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Remember the place on Nerano I mentioned ^^^? Well, this is it, and it was hands down the best dining experience I’ve ever had in my life. It’s accessible by boat, and the entire restaurant is surrounded by the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea… Which obviously means that the seafood is hella fresh. We had a raw plate that was to die for (I’m pretty sure I ate sea urchin that was still alive, or at the very least plucked from the ocean minutes before it went into my mouth), vegetables straight from the garden and two servings of home-made pasta. Safe to say I looked a little less like Jessica Alba in my bathing suit than I would have liked after lunch, but it was worth it.

Da Paolino

Another spot where we couldn’t get a reservation (note to self: be better at planning ahead), but this is the highest rated restaurant on the island. Da Paolino is located in a garden full of of lemon trees, the menu and the view are exactly what you would want in a romantic, elegant dinner in Capri. Everything from the pasta to the fish is made with fresh ingredients, and everyone I’ve spoken to swears this is a meal that won’t disappoint.

Ristorante Mammà

Annnnd another restaurant that we tried to go to, though it didn’t quite work out. I was originally hesitant to recommend Ristorante Mammà because we made a reservation and were then left waiting for our table for 45 minutes (hence why we left and didn’t end up actually eating here…) but the pizza looked so good I’m still thinking about it three weeks later. It’s a pretty fancy spot that has more modern vibes than what you’d probably expect from Capri, and is headed up by Michelin starred chef Salvatore La Ragione. There’s a tasting menu and an a la carte option, both of which are supposed to be 🔥.

SHOP

Sud

Shopping at Sud made me feel like I was in an NYC boutique that had somehow been transported to Italy. There were great selections of clothing and accessories by designers from all over the world, and I fell in love with a fur coat I still regret not buying.

Fiore

If you’re looking to get sandals made while you’re in Capri (which, BTW, you should definitely do), Fiore has a great selection of leather and embellishments, which means you can DIY to your heart’s desire. Their clothing selection is primarily couture from Italian designers, and is of course beautiful but $$$.

 Blu

@dodobaror @alicevisin @allpahats #blucapri

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Come to Blu for the clothes, stay for owner Antonio Arcucci who sits at the front of the shop has strong opinions about fashion and interesting stories to tell. The well-curated boutique has a wide range unique clothing and accessories options that you’ll be unlikely to see anyone else wearing (outside of Capri, at least) and a pretty major sale section that’s worth scavenging at the end of the season. Featured designers range from Jil Sander and Dries Van Noten to lesser known names like Milan’s Cappucci and one of Arcucci’s favorites, Israeli designer Dodo Baror (whose designs are pictured above).

Sud Gallery

Welcome to bikini heaven. The little sister shop to Sud, Sud Gallery, is located on the quieter part of the Via Camerelle, and stocked with bathing suits and sexy lil’ pieces from designers like Norma Kamali, Laura Urbanati and Kalita. Since we were there at the end of the season, the shop owner was willing to bargain with us which was a definite plus. Honestly, if I had to choose one store to spend all of my time (/money) in, it would be this one.

 Antica Sartoria

You can hardly walk three feet in Capri without seeing an Antica Sartoria shop — they are literally everywhere (on Positano too). Because of this, you’ll end up seeing pretty much everyone on the island rocking one of their bright, breezy pieces, but they’re actually really cute. The stores can seem overwhelming at first — the clothes are all kinds of crazy colors and prints, and they’re terrifyingly disorganized — but there are a few real winning pieces if you’re willing to dig (and try on).

 

Photo by Josh Feiber on Unsplash

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