I am an equal opportunity beach lover. I love the beach as much on a gray winter day as on a hot summer one. In that stretch of days I between Christmas and New Years we hit the road for a winter island adventure on the island of Capri.
Save for one person, when I mentioned we would be on Capri in December people got a dreamy look in their eyes and declared "Capri is magical in the winter." I am happy to report to the one holdout, Everyone knew what they were talking about.
How to Get to Capri
In summer it is easiest to take the fast train from Rome and then a ferry from Naples. Following this plan you are on the island before lunch. For a winter trip we decided to try something new and drive to Sorrento and take a fast (20 min) hydrofoil. Capri.com has up to date ferry and hydrofoil schedules online.
Parking in Sorrento
We booked and paid for parking ahead online at Parcheggio Il Faro and left the car with an attendant from the Hotel Il Faro near the port in Sorrento.
Winter in Capri
There are a few things to know if you are planning a trip to Capri in the winter.
Check the weather. It can be stormy and ferrys may not run. You need to be flexible and have a plan B.
Not everything is open. The big hotels and many restaurants shut for the season from November through March. A few smaller hotels and b&bs were open for the holiday season.
In the Piazzetta under the clock tower is a printout of everything that is open. Check this first and make plans for your stay to avoid a long walk to a shuttered restaurant.
The period in between Christmas and Befana (Epiphany) is your best option if you are looking for people and activities. The Piazzetta is decorated and there were live concerts there almost every night. This is where the main New Years celebration takes place. We chose to stay home and watch from the comfort of the terrace.
Winter in Capri - Where to Eat and Drink
via Matermania, 2
Update 2017 - Bar Lindos is under new management and is now Bar Manari. The Caprese husband and son of an American living on the island have taken over and added an incredible pastry lab below the bar.
This very local bar was open every day except New Years Day. We had early morning cappuccinos, post stroll coffee's and pre- dinner negronis here. This is a busy intersection with a butcher, grocery store and Eastern European food shop.
Bar Pasticceria Gelateria Alberto
via Roma, 9
Just around the corner from the Piazetta scene, which yes is still a scene even on a winter afternoon. We came here every day for a tiny (gluten free!) Torta Caprese snack. The Negronis are also very very good.
Via Sella Orta 10
Bookings +39 081 837 7220
This year my most favorite place to eat on the island will be open for the 2016-2017 winter season!
They are open six days a week until the 7th of January and from January 7 through the end of February, Thursdays through Saturdays.
The restaurant will reopen again daily on March 1st.
And the best news of all, their super fun cooking classes are running the whole autumn and winter seven days a week.
Stay tuned here and on the restaurant's Instagram for New Years Eve plans.
Via Tiberio, 7/e
This just might be my favorite pizza place in Italy and I was very happy that it was open for a few days before New Years Eve.
Via Sella Orta 10/A
We showed up before 1:00 pm on January 1 and the staff was tired from a long night of celebrating, but they welcomed us in and fed us extremely well. Our first lunch of 2016 began with plates of cured salmon, tender octopus salad, crunchy puntarelle and a hearty potato & artichoke bake. We continued our new year eating with perfectly cooked steak, shrimp pasta and an excellent spaghetti bolognese.
Winter in Capri - What to Do
This is the time of year to visit if you love to take long walks. You can climb the twisty turny Phoenician steps without the risk of heat exhaustion. You are also free to visit some of the historic and cultural sites that might get overlooked in the hot summer months in favor of lounging on a boat in the Marina Piccola.
We had bright sunny days with cerulean skies, overcast days with pink gray light and moody drizzle. All of it beautiful. In winter, the sun sets to the left of Monte Solaro so you can catch a sunset without the trip over to Anacapri.
The former Imperial palace of Emperor Tiberius, the views are worth the hike and you will probably get to pet very cute goats.
via lo Capo
We took the path that connects Villa Jovis to Villa Lysis. Part of it is a lovely wooded stroll and part of it is steep and rocky. It is well marked and takes about 35-45 minutes. You can also take the much more sedate paved road back down and around.
Villa Lysis is a Neoclassical/Art Nouveau monument to love, excess and heartbreak. The words AMORI ET DOLORI SACRVM, "a shrine to love and sorrow" are carved into the facade and there is a downstairs space marked Opium Room. The bare rooms are now used for exhibition space and the views out over the Marina Grande are some of the islands very best.
via Giuseppe Orlandi 79
I have long loved this quirky house built by a Confederate officer in the late 1800's. Anything with the motto, written in greek above the front door "Hail Citizens of the Land of Leisure" is my kind of place. Though another translation is Greetings, citizens of the land of idleness. This trip I finally went inside. The big surprise for me was three statues in a corner on an upper floor that were fished out the Blue Grotto. The statues are thought to have been placed in the Blue Grotto by Tiberius.
Chiesa San Michele
Piazza San Nicola
The incredible decorated Majorca floor inside this Baroque church is absolutely worth the admission ticket.