A short jaunt from the pretty town of Sorrento affords you a lovely daytrip to the Isle of Capri. Keeping the naming conventions simple (but a little confusing), the main town on this little island is also called Capri, and a smaller town located high in the hills is called Anacapri.
A small word of caution before we proceed: the ferry ride to the island can be a bit rough, even for people who may pride themselves on having strong stomachs. When we went, the water was a little bit choppy, and the ferry we took really shook up my insides. Thankfully it’s only about a 20-minute journey!
As a point of reference we took the HSC Ferry Isola di Capri. They also have a hydrofoil and fast ferries, but I’m not sure if any one would offer a smoother ride than the others. You can check ferry times here: Caremar
By the way, 20 minutes can feel like a lifetime when you’re getting sick to your stomach. Partway through the shaky ride, I went outside to get fresh air, but it failed to help my rolling stomach, so I came back inside. As my nausea worsened, I spent the last 10 minutes of the journey trying, unsuccessfully, to get into the bathroom. (I kept getting pushed aside by other women, apparently either bolder or more desperate to use the facilities than I was.)
Eventually I resorted to sitting in my seat, with my head between my legs until the ordeal was over. As people filtered off the boat, I had one nice Italian lady stop by my seat to offer me some dry crackers. She didn’t speak any English, but she did sweep her hand up from her stomach to her mouth then outward, the universal hand gesture for the act of vomiting.
I wasn’t alone in my suffering either; several people from our tour group were in the same boat (both literally and figuratively), so as soon as we reached Marina Grande, our tour guide pointed out the closest pharmacist and told us to ask for Xamamina (Italian for Dramamine). It sounds as though this is a fairly common request there.
We spent a bit of time walking around the town until the Dramamine hit and my stomach settled back to normal. One of the big draws here is to see the Blue Grotto, a low-slung natural cave overlooking the ocean with incredibly translucent blue water sloshing inside. When the weather is favourable, you can get a guided tour inside the mouth of the cave by rowboat. Unfortunately for us, weather conditions weren’t on our side and the grotto was closed to rowboats. However they still had regular boat tours running, so we hopped on one.
The boat tour gave us just a small hint of what the water colour must be like inside the grotto:
The tour also gave us a closer look at the Faraglioni Rocks, three massive rock formations so big that they each have their own name: Stella, di Mezzo and di Fuori.
The tour took us directly through the center arch of the di Mezzo rock. It’s considered good luck to smooch your loved one as you pass through the arch:
Once we arrived back at Marina Grande, as decided to take a bus up to Anacapri, which as you may remember is the smaller town at the top of the hills. The buses are fairly small, as you can see below:
This is probably because the road is very winding and narrow; so narrow in fact that when I looked down through the window I couldn’t see anything but the cliff face below! But once we reached Anacapri we settled in at a little outdoor cafe for lunch. This was the moment when we discovered something miraculous: wine was the same price as water! Which one do you think we chose to go with our pasta dishes? *wink*
Something else we discovered in Anacapri was giant lemons. These were about the size of pomelo grapefruits. They are said to be sweeter than regular lemons and are often the type used for making limoncello.
If you have time, you can also take a chair lift to the top of Mount Solaro, the highest point on the island. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to take it in.
Anacapri is touristy, but not nearly as busy and bustling as Capri, so if you need to get away from the crowds this is a nice little place to stroll and explore before taking the ferry back to Sorrento.