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Capri: A Glimpse of Glam for the Budget Traveller

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

I have had the opportunity to enjoy two separate day trips to the beautiful island of Capri, which is an island that I will never forget. This island, located in the Bay of Naples, is famous for its stunning landscapes and crystal clear waters but is also the site of several significant historical sites. Capri has been a popular destination for centuries and was once a holiday destination for the Roman elite and still attracts those with thicker wallets than me. Today, Capri is one of the yachting and cruising community's playgrounds and offers many up-scale hotels, resorts, marinas, and luxury experiences... most of which are well outside of my budget. During the high season, the towns can get very crowded, especially if a cruise ship (or three) is in port. I was happy to find that there are many ways to explore this beautiful island without breaking the bank.

A view of an arched rock stack surrounded by yachts. The cliffs of Capri are in the background. There is low cloud and slight fog.

In terms of costs (updated 2023), a day trip to the Isle of Capri can be done on a fairly minimal budget. A ferry ticket from Sorrento to Capri will cost between €19 - €25. Entry to the Blue Grotto is €18. Eating and drinking on the island can be relatively cheap, with a surprising number of modest restaurants offering meals averaging around €15-€20.

Getting Around Capri on a Budget

Transportation in Capri is easy and convenient, with buses (more like mini-vans) and taxis readily available. However, the best way to explore the island is on foot. Walking is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the island and get a feel for the local culture. I opted to walk in the towns, as it allowed me to take in the sights at a leisurely pace.

Wear comfortable footwear: there are parts of the island that you can only get around on foot and often a scenic walk is the only way to get between different spots in town.

A view of the funicular train station with the train waiting to depart. Two  people are silhouetted on the platform

Take the funicular from the port to Capri. To travel from Capri to Anacapri, you can take a bus. The bus and the funicular schedule changes from season to season, but they run very frequently. Walk around the towns on foot.

a line of open ski lift chairs above the village of Anacapri

Once in Anacapri, if you want to get to the top of Mount Solaro but aren't interested in hiking, you can catch the single-chair ski lift. It's about a 10-minute ride to the highest point on the island, giving you terrific panoramic views.


Capri Town

There are two towns on the island: Capri and Anacapri (meaning higher Capri). The town of Capri is a charming and bustling hub of activity, with narrow, winding streets lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants. It's the more popular tourist destination and is known for its stunning views, delicious cuisine, and vibrant nightlife.

A view from the water of Capri harbour looking towards the town. In the foreground are small boats in a marina with the town built on the hills behind.

Upon arriving in Capri, the charming streets and quaint buildings encourage meandering. The town is small enough to explore on foot, and I love to wander around taking in the sights and sounds. The narrow cobblestone streets are lined with shops selling all types of local goods. Beautiful tile work can be seen everywhere.

close up of ceramic tiles on a wall beside the sidewalk. Each tile is white with a blue gecko. Each gecko is posed differently. Also on the tiles are green plants

Anacapri

Anacapri is the other town. It is a hillside community known for its picturesque views, charming streets, relaxed atmosphere, and slightly lower prices. Unlike the bustling town of Capri, Anacapri is a more peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of tourism and is considered a "hidden gem" of the island.


One of the most important sights to see in Anacapri is the Villa San Michele, a stunningly beautiful villa that was once home to the Swedish physician and author Axel Munthe. The villa is now a museum and is open to visitors, who can explore the gardens and the interior of the villa, which is filled with art and antiques. The €10 fee is very reasonable. I feel I got value.

A view along a columned walkway with a lilac trellis overhead.

Another important attraction in Anacapri is the Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angeli, a historic church that is considered one of the most beautiful on the island.


In addition to its history and architecture, Anacapri is also known for its natural beauty. The town is surrounded by lush greenery and offers spectacular views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Visitors can hike or walk along the numerous paths and trails that crisscross the hillside, or simply enjoy a stroll through the town's charming streets.


Budget Things to See and Do in Capri

There are plenty of tourist activities to keep you entertained, from boat tours around the island to a visit to the Gardens of Augustus, which offer stunning views over the sea. You can take a meander around the town, or visit one of the many stunning beaches. Prices start as low as €17 but can climb exponentially as services and luxuries are added. As budget travellers remind ourselves, the coastline looks the same from a tourist boat with a bench seat as it does from a yacht. I'm always happy when I'm on the water and am willing to deal with a numbed rear, so I will happily choose the cheapest (but safe!) option.

A view from the water approaching Capri Port with the Bar Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto Bar) in the middle. Crowds of vendors crowd the kiosks and walkways. The foreground includes the docks for local fisherman.

Via Krupp

Via Krupp is a scenic path located on the island of Capri in Italy. It is a historic trail that was built in the early 1900s by the German industrialist Friedrich Alfred Krupp. The path was built to connect the town of Capri to the famous Faraglioni sea stacks and was created as a private path for Krupp and his guests.

An overhead view of a road with multiple switchback hairpin corners leading down to a rocky beach. The water is azure blue.

Unfortunately, nowadays, the incredible Via Krupp can only be enjoyed from a distance as it's closed for safety reasons. I think it is still worth a look. It can be best seen from the belvedere (a panoramic viewpoint) in Augustus Gardens.


Gardens of Augustus

The beautiful Gardens of Augustus are located high above the sea and are considered one of the most beautiful and well-preserved Roman gardens in the world. The gardens were built in the 1st century CE during the reign of Emperor Augustus and served as a symbol of his power and wealth. This is a true bargain with an entry fee of only €1.50

Formal garden with a fountain in the foreground. In the center of the fountain is a statue of a impressionist style woman.

Admission to the Gardens of Augustus is 7€ for adults. The gardens are open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, with extended hours in the summer months.

To reach the Gardens of Augustus from Capri Town, visitors can take a bus or taxi to the entrance of the park and then take a 15-minute walk up to the gardens. Alternatively, visitors can hike the scenic trail from Capri Town, which takes about 30 minutes to reach the gardens.

Villa Jovis

I also visited the ruins of Villa Jovis, the largest and favourite of Emperor Tiberius’s twelve villas. The villa was built in the 1st century CE during the reign of Tiberius, the second Roman emperor, and is considered one of the largest and best-preserved Roman villas in the world. The villa was used by the debaucherous Emperor as his primary residence and served as a symbol of his power and wealth.

A view across the Mediterranean with ruins and tree in the foreground

Today, Villa Jovis is open to the public for tours and is a popular tourist destination. Admission to the villa is €6. The villa is open from 10:00 to 19:00 during the peak season with shortened hours the rest of the year.


To reach Villa Jovis from Capri Town, visitors can take a bus or taxi to the park entrance and then take a 15-minute walk up to the villa or hike the steep and scenic trail from Capri Town. The hike takes about 45 minutes, longer if you want to take breaks to take photos (or catch your breath). The walk offers panoramic views of the island and the Tyrrhenian Sea and I think it is well worth the effort.

Blue Grotto

One of the must-visit attractions in Capri is the iconic Blue Grotto. This stunning cave is famous for its crystal-clear waters and brilliant blue glow, which is created by the sunlight shining through the underwater entrance.


Most boat tours around the island will stop at the Grotto but will require you to pay an extra fee (€18) to go inside. Be prepared with cash. Tips are expected. There are a lot of boats constantly on the move and your time inside is about 10-20 minutes. The Blue Grotto is open every day from 09:00 to 17:00.

Roat boats inside a cave floating on azure blue water reflecting light from beneath the surface.

Visitors load onto small boats carefully steered through the cave entrance, timing the passage with the rise and fall of the waves, as you bend low into the boat. Once inside, the azure-blue water glows as the boats make their way around the cave. Swimming inside is no longer permitted.

A boatsman sitting in a row boats pulling the boat through a cave opening into the light, using a rope.

Faraglioni Rocks

The Faraglioni Rocks are three large rocks jutting out of the sea and are one of the island’s most iconic sights. This trio of unique and striking towering sea stacks is made of a type of volcanic rock and is estimated to be around 20 million years old. If you take a boat tour, you'll be able to get very close to these incredible formations.

3 sea stacks known as the Faraglioni rocks. There aree 4 luxury yachts anchored in front .

The Faraglioni Rocks have been a popular tourist destination for many years and are renowned for their beauty and natural splendour. They can be viewed for free from various points on the island, including the town of Capri, and are a popular spot for swimming and snorkelling. The Faraglioni also serves as a nesting site for several species of birds, something that always makes my bird-nerd heart happy.

A view from the water of the Faraglioni rocks with two sea stacks in the view on the left and the cliffs of Capri Island on the right. One sea stack has a large arched opening at its base.

Faro di Punta Carena Lighthouse

I also highly recommend taking a walk to the lighthouse for panoramic views over the island. Faro di Punta Carena is located on the western coast of the island. It was built in the late 19th century and is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Mediterranean. The lighthouse was built to aid mariners in navigating the waters surrounding Capri and has served as an important navigation aid for ships for over a century.

A view from the water of a lighthouse on a rocky outpoint. The lighthouse has a large brick multi-storied brick base and a tall brick tower

Admission is free and visitors can climb the lighthouse for a panoramic view of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The lighthouse is open from 09:00 to 18:00 and is a popular destination for tourists, history buffs and bird watchers. The lighthouse is also a popular spot for photography and for watching the sunset.


Food and Drink

When it comes to food and drink in Capri, there are plenty of delicious options to choose from. One local specialty you must try is the Caprese salad, which is made with fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes and fragrant basil.

A white plate holding a caprese salad. 7 tomato slicess topped with a round of mozzarella cheese and a basil leaf, drizzled in olive oil. 6 green olive in the center of the plate.

Food and drink specialties on the Isle of Capri include fresh seafood, lemon-based dishes and limoncello. I tried a local dish of spaghetti with chicken and lemon sauce, which was delicious and the perfect light lunch. I will always indulge in a delicious serving (or two!) of lemon gelato.

A white bowl with black speckled paint holding a nest of spaghetti in a white sauce with chunks of chicken and garnished with grated parmesan, parsley, and a couple of lemon slices.

Lemons are used in many, many items from food to cosmetics but the local favourite is the Limoncello, a sweet and tangy lemon liqueur that is a staple of the islaMany small specialty shops will be happy to let you sample various types and styles. l enjoyed the creamy version. I bought a small bottle to bring home. It was a big hit at a summer barbeque when I poured it over ice cream.

Bunches of lemons hanging from nails along the eaves of a shop

Shopping

Shopping in Capri includes a wide variety of vendors from high-end designer boutiques to quaint local shops. One of the most famous shopping destinations in Capri is the Piazzetta, which is home to a variety of shops selling everything from souvenirs to clothing and jewelry. Since my visits were day trips, I didn't spend much time shopping so I am unable to give an opinion on price and selection.


My Tips

My tips for budget travellers visiting the Isle of Capri include staying in Sorrento, which is cheaper than staying on the island. You will have to take the ferry over to Capri but the savings and the thoroughly enjoyable boat ride make that a minor inconvenience. I also suggest exploring the island on foot or by boat to save on transportation costs. Be sure to try the delicious seafood and limoncello, but don't overspend on souvenirs. Lastly, make sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water as the sun can be intense in the summer months.

woman wearing large black hat and sunglasses sitting on brick wall with view of Mediterranean behind

Capri is a beautiful island that should be on every traveller’s bucket list. Whether you’re a budget traveller or not, there’s something for everyone here. From stunning beaches to mouth-watering cuisine, there’s so much to see and do. So, pack your bags and start planning your trip today!


 

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