The Grand Dame Hotel of Capri is undoubtedly the Hotel Quisisana. If you are looking for a place to see and be seen, look no further. Located in a lively part of Capri’s old town, the Quisisana’s street-side courtyard houses a restaurant that is always busy during high season. Breakfast and lunch are served during the day; During the day, the aperitivo turns into dinner, and then there are more cocktails and a fairly lively atmosphere late into the night. Inside, the rooms offer views of the Faraglioni or the heart of the city. Originally built as a sanatorium by a British doctor in 1845, the Quisisana, which translates to ‘heal here’, is sure to give you the rest you need.
La Fontelina opened in 1949 and started out as a humble beachside restaurant, but it wasn’t long before the jet set discovered it in the ’60s. To reach La Fontelina you have to take a long staircase that starts near the Hotel Punta Tragara. Do not underestimate the journey and come with practical shoes. The goal will be worth it. Instead of sand, there are limestone slabs and the famous blue and white striped beach chairs to linger on. Today a trip to La Fontelina, always including lunch, is a Capri must. Like all beach clubs here, reservations are required.
On the same stairs down to La Fontelina you will find Da Luigi. Another equally picturesque beach club, Da Luigi, is close to one of the three formations that make up the Faraglioni. The place bills itself as Capri’s de facto living room. Ever since it opened in the 1960s, it has been a place to relax and unwind under the sun.
Over in Anacapri, Lido del Faro is a beach club below the Punta Carena lighthouse. Fewer tourists flock here, but the experience is no less remarkable. There’s a restaurant with the perfect view and food, and if the waves get too rough, which they often do, there’s a saltwater pool to swim in.
The fashion world flocks to Il Riccio, the Michelin-starred beach club. It was most recently the host of a Dior pop-up, but even without such programming, the space is unmissable. Come here to relax on a day bed (water access is limited) and have lunch at the restaurant, which offers stunning views of the water.
where should we eat
You’ve probably seen photos of Da Paolino without even knowing it. Perched above Marina Grande and set in a garden full of lemon trees, Da Paolino is a must-see. Dining here means dining under a citrus canopy (nets catch falling fruit). Order Caprese, the island’s eponymous salad, and the lemon spaghetti. And no meal here is complete without a little limoncello.
For a more rustic meal, head to the family-run pizzeria Le Grottelle. As the name suggests, the restaurant is made up of nooks and crannies carved into the rock face. Meals are prepared on an outdoor grill and the dining terrace overlooks the Campanella peak.
For a nightlife dinner, go to Villa Verde. Located in Capri’s old town, this white tablecloth restaurant is great for large groups and big nights out. Seafood is their specialty but the entire menu will not disappoint.
Capri’s dining scene is famous and delightfully laid-back, but if you’re looking for something a little more upscale, L’Olivo is your best bet. Led by chef Andrea Migliaccio, who hails from nearby Ischia, the restaurant boasts two Michelin stars. Anacapri’s signature dish at Jumeirah Capri Palace is the lemon-scented homemade tagliolini pasta with burrata, red shrimp and sea asparagus.
Something to see
When he died, Swedish physician and author Axel Munthe left a legacy as a healer and a reputation for generosity – treating impoverished patients for free. He would also leave Villa San Michele, his house and garden at Anacapri, hailed as one of the most beautiful in Italy. With impressive horticultural knowledge, Munthe filled his gardens with rare and exotic plants. Today, the Villa San Michele is a destination for tourists curious about the idyll Munthe once inhabited.
Rent a boat
Though you’ll arrive by boat, a trip to Capri isn’t complete without a more private boat tour. From here you get close to the Casa Malaparte (the masterpiece of Italian Modernism built in the late 1930s to designs by Adalberto Libera), which is otherwise closed to the public. Gianni’s Boat Service is a local favorite, but note that the Blue Grotto is only accessible by smaller rowboats.
Those who are afraid of heights should perhaps skip this recommendation, but otherwise a trip to Monte Solaro, the highest point of Capri, should not be missed. Catch a chairlift – a tight, open-air vessel with room for one person per lift – from Anacapri, around the corner from Jumeirah Capri Palace, which takes you to incredible views and a 19th-century fortress and garden. A windy day might have you clutching your pearls, but the climb is half the fun.
A short walk from the center of Capri’s old town will take you to a botanical garden where you can easily spend the afternoon. The gardens are made up of a series of terraces overlooking the sea and are teeming with local vegetation and include geraniums, dahlias and gorse flowers. A 180 degree panoramic view of the island is also available here; also a view of the Faraglioni and a view of the serpentine path of the Via Krupp.
Taverna Anema e Core is a popular after-hours hangout and has long attracted those looking for a dance floor and a good time. By far the most famous club on Capri, Taverna Anema e Core opened in 1994 and has earned a position as an island institution – quite an achievement for an island with Capri’s history.