La Dolce Vita travelled down from Rome to experience the stunning coastline, pebbled beaches, perfect weather, clear blue waters and delicious food. All of this still exists but aside from the dessert rooms and gelaterias there is a more healthy and lighter side to Capri that you might not know about! It’s time to put on your walking shoes!
Where to stay
Doctor’s famous villa in Anacapri
This house is where my family and I stayed while shooting my book. You will notice the stunning kitchen, which appears on my front and back cover. We fell in love with this villa, which sleeps up to 12 people and has a pool, lovely garden, pizza oven and gorgeous views of the sea. I think this would be the perfect spot to host a retreat, the rooms are pretty and you could definitely teach some memorable yoga classes on the terrace by the pool. I want to go back just thinking about it.
This is a more high-end option to stay in but it offers some amazing spa treatments including one quite unique treatment called La Scuola de la Gambe. This focuses on improving blood circulation, lymphatic flow in the legs, helps boost metabolism and prevent the formation of cellulite. What’s more, the hotel is flooded with lovely artwork featuring Miro, Kandinsky and some dramatic bronze sculptures. Like many places on the island it boasts camera-worthy views at every angle especially one by the pool where you can see the neighboring island of Ischia.
Villa La Lamparella is a set of two gorgeous holiday apartments located in the centre of Capri. They have lovely interiors and have that special Caprese feel with self-catering kitchens and cute terraces. They have a stunning instagram account to get a proper feel of the flats and views!
There are so many B&B’s on the island and I have two here which are both extremely sweet and very close to the main square.
Where to eat and drink
When you book the restaurant for lunch or dinner you need to ask for the shuttle service to pick you up from square in Anacapri as the walk up is a very steep hill. On arrival you are greeted with another breathtaking view by a swimming pool, which is wonderful for cooling off on a hot day. I particularly love this place for its antipasti of mixed vegetables but mostly because it offers the most incredible gluten-free ravioli with the classic and regional caciotta cheese with fresh tomato sauce. Delicious and unforgettable!
This is owned by Capri Palace and is one of the most incredible looking restaurants. Everything is covered in blue ceramic tiles, with sails draped over the terrace and red coral and shells hanging everywhere. It is not that old a restaurant, however, it has made a name for itself and holds a well-deserved Michelin star. The food is served on Amalfi ceramic plates and offers some of the freshest seafood around. It was also featured in the Capri episode in Steve Coogan’s Trip To Italy! After lunch you can lounge on the sun beds on the nearby terrace.
This is a stunning beach restaurant serving up delicious traditional Italian food in an amazing setting. We used this rocky beach to shoot many of the photos for the book, the blue and white deckchairs and gorgeous rocky alcoves, truly capturing the essence of Capri. It is worth booking a sun lounger for pre and post lunch as the swimming is wonderful. It is no wonder that Dolce and Gabbana hosted their couture show at the restaurant and love shooting their campaigns on the island. I personally prefer this place for lunch but it is also dreamy for a romantic dinner, offering mixed seafood and vegetable dishes. You can either access the restaurant by getting the boat from the Marina Piccola or take the long walk down the Pizzolungo.
This place is quite legendary and it always has a queue going round the corner of eager ice cream goers, patiently waiting for their treat. They offer a lovely selection of fruit sorbets, which are worth trying and you can eat it out of one of their homemade waffle cones. Many of the cones are still a little warm after just being made and you can smell the sweet warm aroma of vanilla extract wafting down the street!
If you are looking for a good health food store to stock up on gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan snacks, then this is quite a good pharmacy on Via Roma. They offer tofu, different non-dairy milks, chips, crackers and even vegan croissants!
Via Roma, 24, Capri NA, Italy
Merendero, is located on one of my favourite beaches on the island of Capri, La Marina Piccola. The beach is rustic and pebbled with a beautiful arched rock in front of the snack bar. Here you can buy lots of freshly cut fruit including some delicious watermelon, they also do some great smoothies.
Where to work out
I am a keen runner and Capri is amazing for this as you can do lots of up and down hills. I particularly love the route down from the top of the hill near the centre of Capri, all the way down to the Marina Piccola. You can also do a route from Anacapri piazza down towards the lighthouse, which is on the far side of the island. The challenging routes are all filled with sunshine and stunning scenery.
Capri is full of wonderful walks and you don’t need to rent a car so it is worth putting on your trainers and making the most of the hikes. There are two walks, which are particular favourites of mine; one of the Pizzolungo, which is the walk from the main Capri piazza down towards the iconic Faraglioni rocks. This is absolutely stunning and could not be more romantic. There are two routes to take and the other route involves starting near the restaurant le Grottelle where you can also catch a glimpse of the famous Arco Naturale. On both walks you will see the views that have made this island famous, pretty villas that you might recognise from either James Bond or Brigitte Bardot films and you will get a great work out too!
As I have mentioned, the beach at La Fontelina is great and the swimming is very relaxing. There is a beach in the Marina Piccola where you have to pay for a sun longer, however, it offers some beautiful swimming. Alternatively, there is a public beach on the other side of island near the Marina Grande.
Renting a boat for a day is almost essential and if the weather is clear you can explore round the island and see the talked about grottos. Hiring a boat is completely worth it, even if only to drive through the famous Faraglioni rocks. It is truly an unforgettable and dramatic experience! There is a lovely lady called Julia Braun who arrived on the island one summer and fell in love and has never left. She is the person to go to and who took us out on one of her boats during the shoot. She offers a great selection of different options for renting.
Email her for details: [email protected]
An inspiring lady called Camela runs retreats in Capri and Bali, with a few coming up this summer. It sounds incredibly dreamy and the locations are without a doubt some of the most relaxing spots to practice. Her retreat includes a spa treatment, hikes, lunches, dinners, private boat trips to the blue grotto among other activities.
London to Naples.
You need to get either the bus from outside the airport to Naples port or get a taxi which will cost you about 15-20 euros. Boats to Capri go every 20-30minutes and maybe even more during the busy summer months. The boat takes about an hour.
Capri has taxis on the island but they are quite expensive and I would recommend only getting one when you arrive and leave your hotel.
The buses are the best way to get around as they are cheap and run regularly all over the island. They are also quite a fun mode of transport as they are not your average bus. You will know what I mean once you have a ride!
Feeling inspired? Get your self a copy of Nina’s amazing, new, Capri-inspired book, Nina Capri here!