Capri
11 mins read

Capri is the Blue Grotto and vice versa: nothing could undo the indissoluble bond that has made one of the Mediterranean‘s most fashionable yachting locations so famous since the 19th century. So mush so, in fact, that the crowding of boats in the island’s main anchorage has been the subject of fierce criticism, which is why it is not recommended to go there during the high season.

From the Emperor Tiberius to Jacqueline Kennedy, in modern times, many VIPs have appreciated the natural beauty of Capri: such as the famous sixty-five Faraglioni, the beautiful Marina Grande or the Natural Arch at the far eastern end of Capri, from which there is a magnificent view of the Sorrento peninsula and the Li Galli islands.

When is it best to go?

From May to September, certainly Capri islandbecause of the favourable climate. The typical summer winds come from the west and north-west at an average speed of 5 to 15 knots. Navigation here is easy, suitable for both beginners and experts. Be careful, however, in the afternoon hours because the island’s relief generates annoying north-easterly gusts. Capri emerges from the Tyrrhenian waters off the southern end of the Gulf of Naples opposite Punta Campanella and looks south over the Amalfi Coast. Sailing from Capri, one can easily sail to Positano in just eleven miles of sea, or to Amalfi, which is sixteen miles away. Surrounding the island like guardians are the Faraglioni, including the Faraglione di Terra, which stands 109 metres high and is joined to the island as its name suggests. The Faraglione Saetta is characterized by a natural tunnel inside it, sixty metres deep, and rises 81 metres above the island. The Faraglione di Fuori is home to a faunal rarity in the form of the blue lizard that inhabits it throughout its extension towards the sky up to 104 metres. Another Faraglione is that of the Scoglio del Monacone, which was inhabited by a species of seal until the beginning of the 20th century, now unfortunately threatened with extinction.

Marina Grande

Marina Grande is, as mentioned, the primary choice for staying at anchor, unfortunately the sandy and posidonia seabed does not offer an optimal hold. Nature lovers may want to avoid it, especially since the anchors present so heavily destroy the little remaining Posidonia and ruin the seabed. Marina Grande boasts the shelter of winds from the west and north-west but, we repeat, it is often full of boats to such an incredible degree that it feels like a crowded harbour.

Marina Piccola

A good alternative is Marina Piccola (Lat 40° 32′ 42” N; Long 14° 14′ 8” E), preferring the left-hand side, although maximum attention must be paid to safety because even here the maritime traffic does not subside in summer. This large inlet to the south of Capri descends to the sea from the slopes of Monte Scolaro and still boasts a generous seabed, ranging from seventy metres deep to ten near the shore. If the sirocco or libeccio winds start to blow, however, the advice is to set sail again towards Marina Grande. If you feel tempted by the remaining bays on Capri, it should be borne in mind that the rocky seabed is usually very deep, which should be carefully considered if you do not (better) rule out the option altogether. Those who are brave enough (and have perhaps arrived at the best time of year) should take advantage of the opportunity for a winter dive because the bay is well sheltered and offers a few degrees more. In summer, a tender can be used to reach the bathing establishment opposite, which is located on stilts. Going back in time, Marina Piccola was once a Roman landing place, then passed on to humble fishermen, and today it is a jet-set destination. Now – fashions aside – it should also be borne in mind that some areas of the island are off limits to navigation and this should be checked with the Maritime Authority.

Capri: ports and anchorages

port of CapriCapri’s recreational port (GPS 40° 33′ 27,62” north; 14° 14′ 37,70” east) is protected by two artificial docks to the north of the island. It accommodates a total of three hundred berths with a maximum length of sixty metres. The depth of the mooring at the quay reaches eight metres. The seabed is rocky, and when entering or leaving the port, the speed allowed is two knots. The harbour is heavily trafficked, and Channel 71 should be used to contact it. The headwinds here are from the E, SE, S, SW; the crosswinds are from the NE, N, NW, W. If you continue sailing, you will reach Procida (15 nautical miles), Naples (18), Sorrento (8), Ischia (17), Amalfi (20), Salerno (24), Positano (13). As far as costs are concerned, news is that this year the Marina di Capri (tel. 081 8377602) will enter the mid-season as early as September 1, instead of the usual date of September 16. A boat of 25 metres in length, during this period in August, will see a mooring charge of approximately 610 euros per day including VAT (10 metres in length approx. 160 euros), while water and energy are not a flat rate but on consumption. If the mooring option seems a bit tight, the alternatives are on the Campania coast at Marina di Equa; Marina di Cassano S. Agnello, which has floating moorings; or Il Porticciolo di Marina Piccola in Sorrento; or anchoring at anchor in Positano, weather permitting.

Capri: a multitude of attractions

There is no shortage of luxury shops, bars and restaurants on Capri. But a visit to the island also means setting eyes on classical culture: Villa Tiberio, which rises from the mountain of the same name, was the emperor’s residence and the excavations offer a discreet, albeit partial, overview. More enchanting, perhaps, is the panorama that suddenly looks over the island of Ischia, Procida, the Gulf of Naples and on towards Sorrento.

Another excursion that can be tackled is to Monte Solaro: at an altitude of six hundred metres, you get an all-round view of the coast. There are two options for reaching the summit: a chairlift or a healthy walk. The chairlift leaves from Anacapri, however, which is worth a visit, at least to see Villa San Michele, rebuilt on the site of an ancient convent at the behest of a Swedish doctor.

Blue Grotto

The Blue Grotto became famous Blue Grottoin the 1920s, when the German artist Kopisch was struck by the filtering light that gave it a dreamy, intense blue colour. But there are many names of more or less famous people carved into the rock of its walls. The cave originates from a karstic system, and you enter through the fissure that opens onto the stretch of water known as the “Duomo Azzurro“. Watch your head because the door to paradise is only one metre high. To gain access, the expert boatman will be able to show you how to lie down on the deck, while he will drag the boat inside thanks to a chain attached to the rock. Exploring the other branches of the cave is a journey to the centre of the earth. For those who suffer from claustrophobia, an onshore visit to the Gardens of Augustus, a lush botanical park, is a good option.

The Via Krupp, named after a Teutonic steel industrialist, is a path carved into the limestone cliff that runs from the centre of Capri to Marina Piccola, is subject to rock erosion and often closed to the public for safety reasons. The “azure” island also welcomes visitors to the Piazzetta, a diplomatic place and a salon not devoid of well-known faces: the agora is filled with small tables where it is worth sitting down to enjoy a champagne. We were talking about safe navigation on Capri, because there are no inappropriate shallows or rocks at the water’s edge. The sea is deep and the only form of danger, apart from the shallows that are unsuitable for anchoring, is rather, and this bears repeating, the intense maritime traffic that also stirs the waters, causing them to boil.

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