Considering arranging a Capri day trip? Floating off the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Bay of Naples, the evocative island is characterized by plunging coastal cliffs, crystalline waters, and lush botanical gardens.
A magnet for the rich and famous, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Lindsay Lohan have all been known to take yacht vacations on Capri. Meanwhile, Mariah Carey even owns her own house on the hilly isle.
While this Capri itinerary and trip planning guide can’t reveal where you’ll find these A-listers, it can share the star attractions of the island. Read on to learn how to plan a Capri day trip from Sorrento, Positano, and Naples.
How to plan the perfect Capri day trip
This post will help you plan everything from getting to the island to what deserves priority on your Capri itinerary for one day. Taking a day trip to Capri is one of the best things to do while in Sorrento. But, you can also visit the island from Naples, Positano, and Amalfi.
Of course, this guide is focused on planning an independent day trip to Capri. But, if you would prefer, you could also consider booking an organized Capri day tour. There are three recommendations below based on which city you are traveling from.
How to get to Capri
As an island, the only way to get to Capri is via boat. Which, if you’ve already braved the crazy roads of Naples and the Amalfi Coast, is going to feel like a welcome means of travel! Here is how to organize your Capri day trip from Positano, Sorrento, and Naples.
Capri day trip from Sorrento
Passenger ferries depart from Marina Piccola in Sorrento every day of the year. Operated by Caremar, SNAV, Alilauro, and Navigazione Libera del Golfo (NLG). At a distance of 9 nautical miles, each crossing takes 20-30 minutes.
Fares fluctuate but you’re looking at around €20 ($19.60) each way. You can purchase tickets at the harbor or online with Ferry Hopper.
In general, boats depart from 07:15 am and the final one back to Sorrento leaves at 18:30 pm.
Bear in mind that demand for a Capri day trip from Sorrento is very popular in July and August. Therefore, you should arrive early for your intended departure.
Recommended Capri day tour from Sorrento: Exclusive Capri Boat Tour and Optional Blue Grotto
Capri day trip from Positano
One of the best Italian beach towns, Positano is 12 nautical miles from Capri and the crossing takes 30-45 minutes subject to the ferry you travel with. NLG, Alilauro, and Positano Jet operate a seasonal service from April through late October.
Again, you can arrange tickets for your Capri day trip from Positano in person at the harbor or in advance with Ferry Hopper. Prices vary from €22-€25 ($21.50-$24.50) each way.
The earliest ferry departs Positano around 09:00 am and the final return back to the mainland is usually close to 19:00 pm.
Recommended Capri day tour from Positano: Sorrento Coast & Capri Full-Day Trip by Boat
Capri day trip from Naples
Although the distance is further (15 nautical miles), you do have the option to take a Naples to Capri day trip.
Naples deserves credit as one of the best Italian cities for history and food (this is the setting for Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Neapolitan pizza!). But, taking a day trip to Capri is a great way to decompress from the busy streets!
Hydrofoils operated by NLG and SNAV are in service between May and October. They depart from the Molo Beverello pier at the Port of Naples. Following the trend, you can get your tickets at the harbor or online with Ferry Hopper.
Again, fares are affected by the route and provider but you’re looking at around €25 ($24.50) each way. The journey time is 50 minutes with departures starting at 07:00 am and the latest departure back to Naples usually being around 20:00 pm.
Recommended Naples to Capri day trip: Island of Capri Full-Day Tour with Lunch
Getting around Capri
Once you arrive at Marina Grande on Capri, you will get around via a combination of walking, funicular, and bus.
Capri is notoriously hilly and walking may tire you out. But, this is the main way that you will explore. Dress appropriately in decent footwear and bring essentials such as a sunhat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
Public minibusses link Marina Grande with Anacapri – a small village to the west occupying the highest point of the island – and other hamlets. Journeys cost €2.70 and you can consult schedules online. But, there are always island residents and other travelers around to point you in the right direction.
Meanwhile, a funicular is there to shuttle you from Marina Grande to the town of Capri. This departs roughly every 15 minutes and takes 15 minutes each way. Each ride costs €2 ($2).
Other fun methods of transport include (more) boats and a mountain chairlift. This one-day Capri itinerary will share all the info you need.
Best things to do on a Capri day trip
Now you should have a solid grasp on how to get there and will have weighed up the options of planning an independent trip or joining a scheduled Capri day tour.
Let’s move over to the things to do on Capri. Here are 5 activities and sights to check out and add to your Capri itinerary. With a full day on the island and careful planning, you should be able to squeeze all of these suggestions in.
1. Blue Grotto (and island boat tour)
Okay, so although you’ll have literally just sailed across the Bay of Naples, the official number one attraction of Capri requires another boat trip!
Only accessible via boat, the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra) is a marine cave on the northwest corner of the island. Due to how the light hits the cave complex, the water is an ethereal hue of sapphire.
In reality, the grotto has fallen victim to over-tourism. Therefore, you’ll need to brace yourself for a ton of boats and a “queue” to enter the cave system.
If you book a Capri day trip from Sorrento, Positano, or Naples, then the Blue Grotto is usually included or available as an add-on. Otherwise, you can book boat tickets at Marina Grande on Capri.
Motoscafisti and Laser Capri are the two main providers; you can buy tickets at the office or pre-book. In fact, advance purchase isn’t necessary.
Generally, you will pay for the tour (around €20, or $24.50) and then a surcharge of €14 ($13.70) to enter the cave. If you choose to go inside the Blue Grotto then you’ll transfer into a rowing boat first. Bear this in mind if you or your travel companions have mobility issues.
If you do decide to visit the Blue Grotto, consider upgrading to the Island Tour packages offered by both boat agencies. This includes additional stops including the Green Grotto (Grotta Verde) and White Grotto (Grotta Blanca).
It’s one of those hit-and-miss attractions. The beauty of the cave is phenomenal to some but overrated to others – and your experience might be dampened by the crowds if your travel dates fall during the peak season.
2. Gardens of Augustus
The Gardens of Augustus (Giardini di Augusto) is a breathtaking botanical garden atop the cliffs south of the town of Capri. At their elevated position, you get stunning views plus you get to cool down among flora and gorgeous plants.
The Gardens of Augustus are a pleasant 25-minute stroll through town from Marina Grande. It’s not a huge complex, so you can get around fairly fast – but factor in time to linger and take any photos.
Admission is €1.50 ($1.50) – so it would be a shame not to include it on your Capri day tour itinerary.
3. Mount Solaro
Mount Solaro (Monte Solaro) is the highest point on the Isle of Capri, standing at 589 meters (1,932 feet) above sea level. Stretching across the Bay of Naples, the panoramic views are absolutely phenomenal – and they can all be yours!
The most popular way of getting to the summit of Mount Solaro on your Capri day tour is via the Anacapri Chairlift. This links the village of Anacapri with the top of the mountain.
Have a look at the photos of the chairlift before you go; these are single-passenger seats and will not be everyone’s cup of tea! However, as you can imagine, the views are unreal and the experience is utterly thrilling. Children under the age of 7 can sit on the lap of a parent.
It costs €9 ($8.80) one-way or €12 ($11.70) for a return. There’s no need to pre-book tickets.
On the other hand, you could hike to the Mount Solaro summit. A trail departs from Anacapri; it takes around 90 minutes to hike the 2.2 miles up the mountain. It’s moderate but will not be pleasant in the hottest part of the day so only tackle the hike in the morning.
4. Capri Town
Occupying the eastern selection of the island, south of Marina Grande, Capri is the main town on the island. This is a hubbub of restaurants, cafes, and boutiques.
Besides the sensational natural beauty, Capri is popular for shopping. But, rather than the typical souvenir stalls, the stores on Capri target tourists who feel frivolous and flush. Artisanal boutiques, high-end ateliers, and luxury stores punctuate the town center.
Stroll along the Via Camerell and Via Tragara to find just about every big player in the fashion world. Handmade sandals and locally-made perfumes are classic items to pick up, as well as limoncello – the staple beverage in this part of Italy.
Shopping might not be at the top of your agenda but do take a moment to splurge on an Aperol Spritz in the Piazzetta. Prices will make your wallet blush but it’s the perfect way to round off your one day Capri itinerary.
5. Villa Jovis
Villa Jovis –or, Villa of Jupiter – is a sprawling ruin of a former Roman palace. Construction was overseen by Tiberius and is in fact where he ended up spending his final decade prior to his grisly death.
Sited on the top of a sheer cliff, the views from the palace are unparalleled while the complex itself is rich in history. You will see the remains of mosaics and marble work, but really, it’s simply a lot of fun to roam the dilapidated remains.
Villa Jovis is open to the public from Thursday through Sunday. Admission is €6 ($5.90) and is payable at the palace entrance in cash only.
Leaving the funicular station at Piazza Umberto I, you will need to follow the path for around 45 minutes to reach the compound. Getting up the path is a bit of a workout so make sure you have ample water.
If you aren’t too fussed to tour the palace, you might still consider the hike as you can check out the dramatic views from Tiberius’ Leap and have a wander in Parco Astarita. This is free to visit, and, much like the Gardens of Augustus, grants unforgettable views.
Is a day trip to Capri worth it?
Considering the cost of the ferries, you might wonder if a Capri day trip is worth it. This will totally depend on your interests but if you love captivating natural scenery and a mellow yet luxe vibe, then the island will not disappoint.
But, as a final tip: do get the earliest boat possible and the latest one back. This maximizes your time and is even more essential if you’re planning a Capri day trip from Naples.
What about staying overnight on Capri? This is a fantastic option if you have space in your Italy itinerary. But, a quick word of warning, hotels on Capri are a costly affair.
And, over the summer months, you’ll need to book way in advance. From personal experience, one day is perfectly sufficient for seeing the island and getting a sense of its unique personality.