Like a set from a movie, Capri draws you in with its beauty, panache and style: think rocky cliffs, olive and lemon trees, whitewashed villas and impossibly blue seas. I have great friends who have also fallen under the Capri spell, who I meet there every July—it’s like coming home to somewhere familiar and fun. It’s been 20 years since my first visit, and I haven’t missed a year since! Here are some of my absolute island favourites for enjoying la dolce vita on Capri.
While many think of Capri as sunbathing on the rocks at stylish beach clubs, shopping, and hitting the town like Jackie O after the sun sets, Capri is also renowned for stunning nature walks. My favourite walk is the one to Villa Jovis, a stunning villa built as a residence by the Roman Emperor Tiberius—the views across the Tyrrhenian blue waters will take your breath away.
Book a lounge chair and umbrella at La Fontelina, the most popular beach club set amid dramatic Faraglioni rocks. It’s quite the scene and makes for fun people watching. A seafood lunch and rose upstairs is all part of a Fontelina day.
One of the most fascinating places to visit in Anacapri is the Villa San Michele. It’s a treasure trove of art and antiquities, set among stunning gardens with sea views. Villa San Michele was built in the late 19th century for the brilliant doctor and philanthropist Axel Munthe, who later penned a book about his life in the villa. The Story of San Michele is a must read if you love Capri. I also love a visit to Villa Lysis, an eclectic and decadent art nouveau house. I also love its backstory as a villa built by a French industrialist who moved to Capri in self-chosen exile after a bit of scandal in Paris! The gardens are gorgeous too.
You will find all the big name shops dotted along Via Camerelle, and Via delle Botteghe—a shopper’s dream. One of my favourite new finds is on the nearby Via Fuororado, a gorgeous shop called Grazia + Marica Vozza. More than just jewellery, it’s the laboratory and workshop of the lovely twin sister designers. Their precious stones, necklaces and bracelets are beyond chic, and are sold at Bergdorf-Goodman in New York. Half the fun is meeting the sisters and buying from the source in Capri!
Just next door at Via Fuorlovado is the lovely boutique 100% Capri, another favourite stop. Think: cool linen clothing and tableware that will take you right back to holiday mode when you use it back home. Another favourite for luxury knitwear is Farella at Via Fuorlovado. As you might gather, it’s hard to get down the bougainvillaea-shaded Via Fuorlovado without making a purchase or two!
One other local shop that was a recent discovery is Eco Capri, showcasing scarves, bags, accessories and homewares. I love their mantra: “an island brand connecting Capri lovers around the world using innovation, quality, and design”. Sign me up!
The Capri Palace Hotel’s Il Riccio Beach Club and Restaurant is a must experience. Book a lounge chair for the day, and reward yourself with a long lunch break! The food and the views are divine, and the blue “dessert room” is a sweet tooth and Instagrammer’s idea of heaven. I highly recommend the decadent torta caprese.
Another favourite lunch spot is a short boat trip from Capri named Conca del Sogno. The setting here is out of this world. Don’t rush a day here. Arrive early for drinks on the rocks, enjoy a long, fun lunch and then have a siesta and swim at the adjacent beach club. Bellissimo!
I love La Scalinatella (Via Tragara), where I have been staying for years. The name means “little stairway”, and it’s a fitting reflection of its charming terraced setting. The staff are always the same and by now they know me by name so the familiarity is wonderful—like returning to a friend’s home, albeit a very chic one! Part of my daily Capri ritual is Scalinatella’s poolside lunch: fresh antipasto and seafood buffet, made to order pasta and fish. Perfection.
Friends also swear by J.K. Place for its incredible interior design by Michele Bonan. While some might say it’s too far from the centre of the Capri action, the J.K. staff are on hand to shuttle guests up the hill near the piazza and collect them again after a mere phone call. The terrace is heavenly for sunset drinks.
Visit: Thomas Hamel