The thing is, Capri used to be one of the Med’s best-kept secrets, one that only well-heeled Italians knew about. Now, thanks to social media, the news is out. I mean, just search #Capri on Instagram and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Rugged green cliffs, terraced houses in every colour under the rainbow, swaying lemon trees and glistening emerald waters.
The little island off the coast of Italy has long been attracting the rich and famous, lured in by its natural beauty. Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly used to holiday here in the 50s and this year, Kate Hudson and Kylie Jenner were spotted soaking up the glamour this sun-drenched island had to offer.
I wanted to see whether it was worth the hype and booked myself a ticket. Sadly, the extent of my celebrity spotting was restricted to photos of Robert De Niro and Beyoncé (not together, sadly) on the wall of the pizza place we were eating at.
After three days on the island doing my best investigative work, it turns out there’s some legitimacy to why celebrities love Capri so much and why it should be your next sunny holiday destination.
Here’s a starter guide to the perfect weekend getaway…
How to Get There
Return flights to Naples are 2.5 hours and frequent. From the Naples airport, it’s a 20-min cab ride to the port where you can buy tickets for the ferry. The crossing is 45-minutes with great views of the coastline. Try and get a seat on the left-hand side upper deck for the best views.
Thousands of tourists visit Capri for the day so try to avoid the first and last ferries. Although you can see the island in a day, I highly recommend staying for longer as you get a much better sense of the place and can enjoy the peaceful evenings. In the same vein, the best time of the year to visit is in the spring or autumn (May/June and September/October)
Where to Stay in Capri
The mere mortals we are meant we sadly couldn’t afford the superyacht life of the 1% but still wanted to experience an element of luxury. We chose to stay at the beautiful Punta Tragara hotel, an incredible family home built in the 1920s that has been converted into a five-star boutique hotel. It sits serenely on the cliff’s edge, a jaw-dropping location that will take your breath away.
With 44 rooms and not a single one of them the same as the next, you could easily keep going back and experience something new each time. Our suite was long and narrow taking full advantage of those sea views – blue, blue everywhere, looking out onto the Faraglioni – the dramatic rock formations jutting out of the water that the island is so well known for. One of my favourite things was waking up to those views every morning, sipping on my steaming-hot coffee and gazing out on the sun-rippled water.
The interiors of Punta Tragara are eclectic and cool. The rooms are white-washed with high ceilings, bright patterned furniture and gold leaf mirrors. So Mediterranean chic. The spa, although I didn’t get the chance to visit, had rave reviews on Trip Advisor.
There’s so many things to see and do on Capri but we ended up spending way more time than we were planning on just enjoying the hotel’s facilities. There’s two pools, each surrounded with creamy sun-loungers looking out over the sea and rest of the island. The views are incredible so even if you don’t stay here, I definitely recommend hunkering down for a sundowner drink at the very least.
Speaking of drinks, gin-lovers rejoice. The poolside bar serves over 100 types of gin and the bartenders are magicians at whipping up all types of delicious gin-based cocktails.
At one point during our stay, I was sitting sipping an Aperol Spritz on my sun lounger, and my husband decided to go for a dip in the pool. When he emerged, a fully-suited man ran over to drape a towel over his back. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was serious luxury. The service is impeccable.
Where to Eat
I’ve been known to choose my holidays based on food but I swear, I didn’t know Caprese salad was from Capri until I arrived. A happy coincidence which meant I found myself eating a large plate of buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes smothered in olive oil and basil everyday. Other than my daily dairy intake, we very much so enjoyed the Italian food with a focus on seafood the island is known for.
Punta Tragra’s in-house restaurant, Monzu, is gourmet Mediterranean with a chef that “cooks with emotion”. In the off-season, Luigi travels around Italy finding new ingredients and inspiration for his dishes. Any restaurant that has a full menu for sparkling water and a tasting menu based on senses intimidates the hell out of me but safe to say, I was thoroughly impressed. Every dish was thoughtful and interesting without being stuffy or too modern for a non-restauranteur to appreciate. Side note, I’m celiac and they were incredible accommodating with many options for me.
A husband and wife team own this little pizzeria. She’s Australian, he’s Italian and they met and married in the restaurant. The decoration is simple but the food is wonderful. IF we had more time, we definitely would have signed up to do one of their cooking classes.
Known for a beautiful setting and incredible seafood and pasta, the family-run restaurant is a favourite with visitors. Make sure to follow up your meal with some Limoncello.
What to Do
Capri town is beautiful and one of the best parts of the trip was just wandering the streets, people watching. Especially in the quiet evenings, the cobblestone pedestrian-only roads are filled with glamorously-dressed couples walking leisurely to dinner. The patios are filled with groups of friends sipping aperitifs and watching the sunset. Everywhere you look you see beautiful dresses wafting in the breeze and espadrilles, colourful trousers and fedoras. It’s just like ascene from Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn in big sunglasses and a white dress sashaying through the streets and singing with a handsome man on her arm with a backdrop of creeping bougainvillea and high-end boutique stores everywhere you look.
All in all the trip was a perfect little holiday. It’s not cheap but definitely worth the luxury. Now I understand why celebrities come back time and time again and we definitely plan on returning. It’s a little slice of heaven with Punta Tragara sitting at its throne, looking out to the sea and back on the little island.
Punta Tragara has rooms available from €520 per room per night, based on two adults sharing a room on a B&B basis.