Capri, Italy: Affordable Luxury
After my Italy trip went sideways and all plans jumped out the window, I decided I needed a vacation from my vacation. And so I found myself on the beautiful island of Capri.
I knew pretty much nothing about Capri, other than the fact that celebrity chef Giada has a family home there and it was the vacation of the well-off. Actually, not knowing much about the island’s history and attractions was what appealed to me. Sometimes I get so mired in the research before visiting a place that I don’t see it with fresh eyes.
So if you’re looking for a post all about the history and sights of Capri, this ain’t it.
A Leisurely Boat Ride
I took a ferry from Salerno, where I’d spent a couple of nights. The ferry is an adventure in and of itself. Be sure to sit on the right side if you want to take in the coastline. We stopped at several gorgeous towns cascading down the mountains, including Positano and Amalfi.
Yachts, Villas, and…an Affordable Hotel?
True to its reputation, Capri has some mega-mansions that I’d kill to see the insides of. And in Marina Piccola, there are plenty of yachts parked (can you park a yacht??). I think I saw George Clooney beckon to me to join him, but I didn’t have time.
Surprisingly, I found a fairly reasonable hotel, the Hotel Weber Ambassador. I had a wonderful visit (complete with upgraded suite with balcony), for under $200 a night.
The first thing I did was hit the pool and lounge in the sun with a limoncello spritz, my new favorite summer beverage. Despite it being June, the pool was empty, and there were only a handful of guests in lounge chairs. One more reason to visit Italy post-COVID.
Visiting the Town of Capri
Though I’m still pretty ignorant about the island of Capri, I did learn that there are two primary towns: Capri and Anacapri (they don’t win points for creativity). The town of Capri was a short but heart-stopping shuttle ride from the hotel. Why heart-stopping? The roads in Capri are ultra-narrow and windy, and they’re filled with buses and these funny convertible taxis. When two vehicles meet each other, one backs up to make room for the other. I saw several buses with scratches down the side. I’d never drive there!
I meandered around Capri town my first night. The well-heeled were out in the cooling twilight, their Balenciaga and Dolce & Gabbana bags in tow. I spent my entire trip trying to find “cheap” touristy shops and only found a couple! Think of the thousands I saved by not buying high-end designer clothing!
Per my favorite ritual, I stopped for a spritz to enjoy the sunset near the funicular (cable car. I didn’t take it). It was heaven.
A Surprise Hike
The next time I went to Capri, I walked along a path that had all the fancy villas overlooking the sea. I found myself at a trailhead, so decided to visit the Arco Naturale, the natural arc (primarily because it was the shortest hike and it was HOT).
Wow. I’ve never been on a more breathtaking trail right by the sea. Below are the Faraglioni, the well-known rock formations in Capri. Most people take a boat to them, but I liked my view!
There were houses along the trail, or at least I saw paths I assume went to houses. Can you imagine having this view every day? Do people appreciate it?
The arc was worth the hundreds of stairs I climbed. I couldn’t find much on the history, but it felt like a sacred place.
Once I’d had my fill of awe, I returned up a million more steps and treated myself to a very fine lunch.
One Final Day by the Sea
Pool? Check. Spritz? Double-check. Hike? Check. The only thing that was left to do in Capri was lounge by the sea.
In front of my hotel-which-shall-not-be-named was a rocky outlet with beach chairs that could be rented. There was also a free beach, but I was feeling luxurious, so I went for the chair (and had sticker shock. My mom’s reading this so I won’t share how much it was!). I spent the morning alternating between working on my tan with a good book and dipping into the refreshing, clear waters. It was well worth the price of admission, I have to say.
After four days, I was sad to leave Capri. It’s a bit of paradise that makes you forget the rest of the world exists.