On a clear day in Naples, Italy, you can see the island of Capri rising out of the sea like the Roman temple it was long before it became a vacation spot for fashion designers and pop stars. Many people get their first taste of Capri in glossy photo spreads in Vanity Fair or Vogue. Here's how to explore the island in person.
How to get there: There are two ways to get to Capri, the usual way and the expensive way. Budget-conscious travelers should fly to Naples International Airport and take public transportation to the Molo Beverello, one of the city's three main ports. From there, you can take a boat to Capri's Marina Grande. If you're willing to pay a little extra, you can take a hydrofoil that will get you there in 40 minutes, half the time it would take the ferry. If you're taking a private jet, skip the boat transfer that yields more barf bags than Champagne toasts and go with helicopter service from SAM Helicopters. It takes 15 minutes and limits your exposure to Naples's not-so-glamorous port. Where to stay: The Marina Grande is on the less-impressive side of Capri. To get to the chicer part, take a white convertible taxi to the Capri Palace Hotel. Expect hairpin turns and dramatic views of the sea along the way; don't fret if the road follows a cliff that's 300 feet above the water. Family-owned Capri Palace touts a restaurant with two Michelin stars and a celebrity following that includes designer Alberta Ferretti and actors Gwyneth Paltrow and Keanu Reeves. With only 71 rooms and 11 suites, it feels more like a private villa than a sweeping resort.
|The pool at the Capri Palace Hotel features underwater windows.|
The hotel's rooms are a modern interpretation of Capri architecture with slip-covered sofas, oversize balconies and four-poster beds. A series of pool suites offer rooms big enough for your entourage. The Megaron Suite even has its own hanging garden. The resort's pricey Beauty Farm offers facials and body treatments. Its newly renovated pool features underwater windows. Beaches and the Blue Grotto: For a chic spot on the beach, hit La Fontelina, a swimming club near the breathtaking Faraglioni rocks. If you want a prime lounge chair near the water's edge, you'll need to get there early. The club features a casual restaurant and bar with local fish and meat dishes. From there, you can hop on a private boat for a tour of the Blue Grotto, the famous cerulean cave. Capri by night: Make your way into town around 7 p.m., when the shops are still open but the crowds have thinned out. Near the Grand Hotel Quisisana, you'll find boutiques by Gucci, Etro and Valentino's M Missoni line. Position yourself for prime people watching at 10 p.m. Consider reserving a table at the cabaret bar Anema e Core, where you'll hear an Italian serenade and the occasional celebrity duet.