7 Things to Do in Capri on a Budget
Capri is a small island located just 3 miles (5 km) off Italy’s Bay of Naples. The island’s sheer natural beauty, historic links to the Roman Republic, and its ongoing reputation as a playground for the rich and famous have made this one of the most popular island destinations along the Italian coastline.
But don’t let its exclusivity and stories of overcrowded beaches and lookout points dissuade you. There are several budget-friendly things to do in Capri, even if you’re on a day trip from the mainland. Head there outside of the peak months of July and August, and you may even find a little corner of the island all to yourself.
Things to do in Capri
1. Take in the view from the Gardens of Augustus
Capri’s botanical gardens, the Gardens of Augustus, are just a short walk from the heart of Capri. You’ll find more than just beautifully manicured gardens though. You’ll also have a stunning panoramic view over the ocean and the cliffs that fall into it. The dramatic position offers the perfect vantage point to view Capri’s iconic Faraglioni coastal rock stacks, and the famous Via Krupp switchback pathway that takes you down to the shore – some 330 feet (100 meters) below.
Insider tip: While it looks like the perfect location for an island picnic, you’ll have to refrain. It’s forbidden to picnic here and this ban is strictly enforced.
2. Walk Via Krupp
If you’ve seen Via Krupp from above, you’ll want nothing more than to walk this dramatic winding pathway all the way down to the waters below. Unfortunately, it’s been closed more often than it’s been open in recent years. If by some chance the multiple barriers barring entry are lifted, don’t hesitate to take a gentle walk down the seemingly impossible route.
Insider tip: If you walk the trail to the bottom, don’t worry about having to retrace your steps. There are regular buses back to the town center from below.
3. Explore the Blue Grotto
The Blue Grotto is one of Capri’s most famous attractions. For this reason it’s often overrun by aggressive tourist boats lining up to showcase its interior. But this spectacular sea cave is worthy of all the fuss. Inside you’ll find sunlight illuminating the crystal clear water to an indescribable shade of blue. You’ll leave with dozens of impressive pictures, feeling in total awe of this natural wonder.
Insider tip: If you’re a confident swimmer, you can also enter the cave on your own. Do this in the afternoon and you might also miss the chaos of the tourist boats.
4. Tour the ruins of a Roman emperor’s palace
Tiberius ruled the Roman Empire from Capris for almost 10 years in AD 27. His palace Villa Jovis, or Villa of Jupiter, on the island’s eastern tip has largely been reduced to ruins, but it’s still a fascinating place to tour. It costs just a few euros to enter, offers an interesting window into the life of an ancient emperor, and serves up impressive views across the bay towards Sorrento.
Insider tip: The only way to reach the ruins is by foot – allow at least 30 minutes to get there.
5. Hike (or take a chair lift) to the highest point on the island
The highest point on Capri is Monte Solaro. You can reach the summit by foot or via the automated chairlift running from Anacapri. If the €10 return ticket is a bit rich for your tastes, then you can reach the summit on foot in approximately an hour. The path leaves from behind the cemetery at Piazza della Pace. The views from the top of Monte Solaro are impressive and they offer a unique perspective of both sides of the small island.
Insider tip: If you’re feeling only partly energetic, you can purchase a one-way ticket for either the way up or way down.
6. Relax on the beach
Capri’s beaches are all on the small side and get crowded over peak summer months. So if you’re planning to camp out for an entire day, get there early to claim your spot. There are several small private and free beaches on the island, and the most popular is the beach at Marina Piccola. With southern exposure and protection from Mount Solaro, it’s one of the warmest places to take a dip on the Capri. And the views of Faraglioni cliffs don’t hurt either.
7. Take in a sunset from the lighthouse
There are several places on Capri to watch the sunset. But few offer views of it slipping into the Mediterranean quite like the Punta Carena lighthouse. If you walk slowly from the Caprile quarter of Anacapri, you’ll get stunning views of the rocky coastline along the way. Then you can watch the sun disappear behind the serene ocean.
Insider tip: During summer months there are two beach cafés ready to provide you with a drink to finish off this ultimate postcard setting.
Capri is one of the world’s most celebrated island destinations. Many rail travelers overlook it because of its perceived expense and over-population with tourists, but this would be a mistake. You can choose from several reasonably-priced ferries leaving from the rail-friendly cities Sorrento and Naples throughout the day.
Even if you only have a day to spare, you’ll find out why Capri has kept its impressive reputation after all these years. If you have a Eurail Italy Pass, you can easily tick off these things to do in Capri and then move on to more Italian towns!