Italy 2015 ~ Day Trip to Isle of Capri

We had picture perfect weather for our day trip to the Isle of Capri from Positano, and walked down to the Spiaggia Grande Beach area to get our ferry tickets. The morning sunlight really brought the colors out and the Mediterranean sparkled. You buy the ferry tickets at a little kiosk next to the docking area and they were about 12 euro each round trip for Positano to Capri. Find ferry and bus schedules and tons of information on the Amalfi Coast at: http://www.positano.com/

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IMG_0296IMG_0299IMG_0298All aboard! The ferries are nice with indoor seating with a bar and restrooms and outer deck seating.

IMG_0137We got some great shots of Positano as we were heading out on the ferry.

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On the ferry ride, this handsome older fellow named Alfonso, in a straw hat and white linen shirt, was gathering “customers” for a guided tour on Capri for 20 euro each, which included the bus fare. Since we had never been to Capri and had no idea what to expect, we decided to join him. I had read about taking the public buses from the marina up to Anacapri and the chair lifts and knew it was going to be tortuous.  I am soooo glad we joined Alfonso!

Denise looked like our ship’s figurehead at the head of the ferry

Coming into sight of Capri – the three small rocks to the left are the Faraglioni, one of the iconic snapshots of Capri. Here’s a link to Capri’s official website to learn more about these famous rocks and Capri. http://www.capri.net/en/s/the-faraglioni-of-capri

IMG_0333Coming into the Marina Grande at CapriIMG_0942IMG_0943

Alfonso had put a sticker on our shoulders so he could recognize his “group”, and had us wait together after unloading off the ferry while he lined up buses for us. We had about 15 minutes to walk across the street to a coffee and bar to get drinks, snacks or use the restroom. No public buses for us! He hustled up these private buses for the correct number of people in the group (see how hard he’s working in that top left picture!). I guess it must be first come, first serve for certain guides or vendors for these buses. After passing several of the local bus stops and seeing how many people were waiting and then seeing one fully loaded like sardines in a can, I was doubly glad to be with Alfonso!

The buses take you from Marina Grande up a long winding, switch-backing nerve-wracking road where the buses squeak past each other with BARELY inches to spare. We were going up to the chair lifts at Anacapri first, then back down to Capri.

I thought this guy on the motorcycle was going to get squashed between the buses but he slipped right between them. Jeepers!

Going up on the bus…

We offloaded just down from the Monte Solaro chair lift building, and there were shops and some restaurants. Another arrangement that Alfonso helped with was getting his group a discount at one of the restaurants there. You got a few choices of entrees, a drink and dessert for a VERY reasonable price for Capri. It was nothing fancy, and they even rushed our orders to save us time. The lines everywhere were extra long and had slowed everyone down.

After our quick lunch,  Alfonso herded us to the chair lifts, getting money for our tickets and handing them out to the group. Since he bought tickets for the group, it expedited us getting to pass the ticket office and go straight to the line up the steps which was also a big time saver.

Going up! Secure all your stuff!

That is a long, tall ride but it only takes about 12 minutes! Mount Solaro is 589 meters above sea level, and there are terraces at the top with panoramic views in every direction. Wow!

You get a great view of the Faraglioni rocks from up here!

IMG_1026IMG_0045IMG_0052IMG_0431There are tunnels through the rocks and boats actually go through them! IMG_0414We had a set time to meet Alfonso back down at the buses, so took the chair lifts back down and loaded up. The buses took us to the Piazza Umberto, better known as La Piazzetta, (or tourist central).

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IMG_1041IMG_1038IMG_0076He gave us a choice of spending our remaining time on our own, or to follow him to see the famous Gardens of Augustus and Capri’s historic perfume maker, Carthusia. We chose to follow him as we knew we would never find those sites on our own in these crowds – or we might lose Monica and Denise to the numerous designer shops along the way.  IMG_0075

Carthusia has been making perfume since 1681 with products sourced only from Capri.  http://www.carthusia.it/?___store=en

There’s a public pay restroom just up the hill if you need facilities by this time! We made a stop then entered the Gardens of Augustus, created by German industrialist Friedrich Alfred Krupp. He built his own path down the hill to where he could dock a boat.

More great views from the garden – note the boat headed into the cave in the right hand picture.

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IMG_0465Time was getting short, so we strolled back to La Piazetta to meet Alfonso for the buses to return down to Marina Grande. We had time to browse the shops around the piazza (and Monica and Denise to power shop) and pick up a bottle of Prosecco for the ferry ride home.

The big “No” was how I feel about all the crowds! I think Alfonso told us that they had been having about 14,000 visitors a day that month. Wow!

That was the best 20 euro ever spent for a tour guide! We NEVER would have made it through all those bus logistics and seen all the highlights without his help. We all gave him a bit extra, and a big thank you before boarding the ferry back to Positano.

IMG_0121Positano coming into view …

IMG_1074First stop, the cocktail bar next to the dock. They make some super strong cocktails for the money. We had several and hiked our way back up the hill to our apartment… and it was early to bed that night!

Salute!

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Zzzzzzz….

Categories: Travel: ITALY | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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