The island of Capri has a history that dates back to the Roman Empire when Augustus “discovered it,” although excavations proved that it had been inhabited long before. Today, its magnificent villas have become a second home for Italian celebrities while European jetsetters and others from around the world enjoy it for an idyllic escape. Capri is one of the most popular destinations in all of Italy and visitors will find a wide range of accommodations to choose from. The biggest question is which part of the island to stay in. Once you take a more in-depth look, you’ll find several areas to consider, including the main town of Capri, Anacapri, Marina Grande, and Marina Piccola, each of which comes with its own pros and cons. The best spot for your stay depends on multiple factors, such as the reasons you’re planning to visit, your specific interests, travel style, and budget.
Capri Town sits on a hill above Marina Grande, serving as the bustling center of the island, home to the most popular shopping areas, restaurants, and hotels as well as being connected via funicular to the main tourist port and the rest of the island by bus. The best area of town to stay in is around the Piazetta, especially if you want to enjoy sightseeing or shopping as it offers the best and greatest number of shops while surrounded by bars and restaurants. It’s also home to the 17 th -century Chiesa di Santo Stefano church. Augustus Gardens with stunning plants and flowers along with some of the best views on the island is within walking distance and you’ll also be able to use the funicular to reach the main tourist port, Marina Grande, in five minutes. With its wide range of accommodations, attractions, and transport connections, it’s the best place to stay for most tourists.
Those who plan to spend lots of time on the water or enjoy day trips to places like the Amalfi Coast and Naples will want to consider Marina Grande. It’s the main gateway to Capri, with most ferries and cruises arriving here where you’ll find the largest public beach which is suitable for swimming. There are many bars, restaurants, and some fabulous hotels, including villa hotels with lavish spas too. You’ll find a number of stores and lots of souvenir shops that are ideal for those on a budget. The main sight is the 5th -century Maria Santissima Della Libera church (also called the Church of San Costanzo), one of the oldest and most important churches on the island honoring Capri’s patron saint. Plus, it’s well-connected by bus and funicular, making it easy to reach Capri town. While accommodation isn’t cheap, especially in the summer, there are several boutique hotels and B&Bs to choose from.
Located on the island’s west side, Anacapri is a separate town from Capri. As it’s nearly 500 feet higher, you’ll enjoy fabulous views of the Bay of Naples from here. This is also the most tranquil area of the island, with a residential vibe. There are many guest houses, B&Bs, apartments, and hotels set within luxurious villas. It’s the best place to stay on the island for anyone who wants to avoid the crowds and a more authentic experience. In the city center, there are many local designer shops, restaurants, and bars for sampling limoncello. There aren’t as many tourist attractions, but one of the most popular can be found here: the Blue Grotto. Monte Solaro, accessed by hiking or riding a chair left, is found here too, offering jaw-dropping views over the island and the Gulf of Naples. Anacapri and Capri Town are connected by taxi and bus while Marina Grande can be reached by boat.
While Marina Grande is home to the largest beach on the island, Marina Piccola boasts one of the most beautiful. Located in the southern part of the island opposite Marina Grande, from here you can gaze out at Faraglioni, the iconic group of sea stacks and the most photographed landmark on the island while swimming or sunbathing. Many visitors like to unwind on the terraces during the warmer months, enjoying an aperitivo while mesmerized by the beauty of the rocks and the brilliant blue of the sea that crashes against them. It’s possible to walk to Capri Town from here for anyone who wants to give their legs a workout while keeping in mind it's a one-hour, uphill trek. Buses are available and recommended for avoiding the summer heat. The center of Capri can be reached with just a 5-minute ride by bus. Some of the best beach resorts in Capri can be found here too.
South Anacapri is the area in the south-west part of the island which includes Lido del Faro with its saltwater pool at the foot of the lighthouse around the tip of Punta Carena Bay. It’s about a 15-minute drive from Capri town and the most budget-friendly part of the island to stay in with the farther west you go, the more affordable the accommodation options. In addition to swimming at Lido del Faro, there are many outdoor activities to enjoy, including a hike to the top of Monte Solora. Or head to the center of Anacapri where you’ll find the chair lift as an easier alternative. It’s the perfect base for hiking the Sentiero dei Fortini Borbonici path and visiting the famous Grotta Verde too. There are no luxurious villa hotels here, but you will find some great high-value mid-range and cheaper hotels along with many laid-back B&Bs, some with beautiful pools.
Located just above Marina Grande on the eastern side of the island, Capri Town is the focal point of Capri. It’s home to the Piazetta which can be reached by funicular from Marina Grande. This is the heart and soul of Capri, a popular gathering place for locals and visitors, including international jetsetters and celebrities. One of the most appealing piazzas in the country, it’s surrounded by outdoor cafes while shopping streets radiate from it. There are multiple attractions in Capri Town too, including the Augustus Gardens and the 14th-century Certosa di San Giacomo monastery that managed to survive pirate attacks. Villa Lysis, a magnificent residence with a gorgeous garden is nearby, set on a cliff overlooking the sea. There are Roman ruins of once-glorious villas and multiple churches with charm and character dotted about. If you’re a fan of upscale shopping, you’ll find plenty along Via Camerelle one of the most famous shopping streets.
Marina Grande is the main port and a picturesque seaside resort. It’s the place most visitors arrive, with ferries arriving and departing here. It has the largest sandy beach on the island and just a few steps away are the remains of what might have been the favorite residence of Emperor Augustus, Palazzo a Mare. There are many Roman remains to discover, including the villas Stepanow and Williams which date from later periods but are well-preserved within the ancient Roman building. The most monumental remains can be found at Bagni di Tiberio or the Tiberius’ Baths. Marina Grande is an ideal place to stay if you plan on spending lots of time at sea, taking boat tours, and trips to Naples or the Amalfi Coast. It’s also ideal for families with kids who can take advantage of the main beach with many umbrellas and loungers, or enjoy the shallow waters at Spiaggia Bagni di Tiberio beach.
Over on the western side of the island, Anacapri is known for its more tranquil setting and it has more open space than Capri Town. It has a laid-back atmosphere and a small-town vibe while surrounded by spectacular natural beauty. It’s nearly 500 feet higher in elevation than Capri Town, which means you’ll enjoy an especially breathtaking view from here. An even more jaw- dropping vista can be enjoyed by hiking or riding the chairlift to the top of the island’s highest mountain, Mount Solaro at over 1,932 feet There are a number of small boutique shops with more bargains than what you’d find in Capri Town along with local designer stores, restaurants, and bars offering limoncello. Several attractions can be found here too, including the Roman Villa of Damecuta, the intriguing remains of Emperor Tiberius’ residence, and the famous Blue Grotto. Accommodations include everything from guest houses and B&Bs to apartments and villa hotels.
Marina Piccola is where the rich and famous stay. Located southwest of Capri Town, it’s another port area but smaller than Marina Grande, with many private celebrity yachts arriving here. This is also said to be the place poet Homer used in The Odyssey as the Sirens’ home. As you might expect, this is a pricey area, best for those who want to splurge on a luxurious getaway. There are enticing terraces to relax with an aperitivo during the warmer months while gazing out at the brilliant blue sea and the Faraglioni sea stacks. You’ll also find quite a few small yet chic beaches that offer optimal swimming conditions with warm, calm water and there are private boat tours that depart from here as well. Getting to Capri Town is easy, just a 5- minute ride by bus, or an hour on foot, and there are multiple beach resorts providing an unforgettable stay.
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