Capri Tours or not?

Three of us ladies will be in Sorrento mid October, in Sorrento for three nights. What would you suggest to see in Capri .. and is it better to pay for a private guide... or a tour? Any recommendations? Or is it something we can do on our own after buying a ticket to the island. We really want to see the Blue Grotto - but also know that is it chancey depending on the waves and wind. Any suggestions and comments would be very welcome! We are Italy novices.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
1483 posts

Don't need a tour at all - just stroll around and let yourself get lost in the lovely winding paths and you'll likely hit upon all the sites, including the nice square in the center, the faraglioni rocks, zizag path down to the water (forgot name momentarily), Carthusia perfumerie, an old emperor villa, etc. They're all listed under Tripadvisor "things to do". I didn't do the blue grotto because it seemed like a tourist trap to me (that's just me though, everyone has different interests)...I just stuck to wandering around and it was great.

Posted by Rosalyn
1776 posts

To add to what Agnes said . . .Anancapri is also lovely. The church of S. Michele, with its ceramic tile floor of The Garden of Eden, is a "do not miss." There's also a grand villa (name escapes me at the moment) with beautiful gardens. I share A's attitude on the Blue Grotto. Having visited the Emerald counterpart, I expect you'd pay a significant amount of money to go into a cave where the light gives everything a bluish cast. With just a day, there's so much better stuff to see. And, no, a guide is not necessary. One caution: try to go as early as you can to maximize your time on the island. The last ferry back to Sorrento leaves pretty early. Check the time of departure and allow enough leeway to get down to the marina and find the right dock. That took us longer than we expected; but, fortunately, we had given ourselves an adequate "lost tourist" margin. H-m-m, maybe I should add the last to the Lessons Learned thread.

Posted by Tom
2876 posts

Anyone considering a visit to the Blue Grotto should read humorist Dave Barry's essay about it, which closely approximates our experience. Here's a link: The story starts on page 262.

Posted by marsha
spring hill, FL, USA
7 posts

Thanks so much for your kind advice. I am still rolling on the floor after reading Dave Barry's column on The Blue Grotto.... got to love it! You made my day!

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
1483 posts

That essay is so true! I heard about the awful switch to the smaller boats and the constant bobbling. And then there's the fee you have to pay for this "great fun". You don't need this to have a wonderful trip to Capri. I'm with the other poster who recommended Anacapri as well.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
2887 posts

I have no advice one way or the other about tours or going on your own for Capri. I did it on a tour since I was on a tour of Italy and it was one of the excursions. If I had it to do over, I would do it on my own (as I would also do my other tours on my own now that I know what I know). Regarding the Blue Grotto, my only suggestion/comment would be to not pay a lot of heed to advice about something that the 'advisors' have stated they have not done. I have 'done' the Blue Grotto and I thought it was fun and not having had any experience like it before, I thought it was pretty cool. Would I do it again a second time? No, but there's a lot of other things I wouldn't do again but was still glad I did them once. Get advice, both pro and con, from those who have first-hand experience. And, by the way, it was not as bad as that hilarious essay would lead you to believe. Yes, it's a tourist 'trap', but so are a lot of other must-see sights in Europe. So what. If it's something you want to do - do it.

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
325 posts

I would recommend walking to the Villa Jovis. It is a nice stroll throug lots of the back door type of streets that Rick loves and recommends. We did it last year and really enjoyed it. Allow 2-3 hours for the round trip hike and touring the site itself.