Capri boat tour: Discover Italy’s enchanting island from the water

Capri boat tour: Discover Italy’s enchanting island from the waterThis article may contain compensated links. Please read disclaimer for more info

If you’re looking for a fresh perspective, head to the sea. As you tour Italy‘s Amalfi coast, spectacular cliff built towns and villages on the mainland, your gaze inevitably rests on the island in the distance. It is the legendary island of Capri and it is best seen from the clear waters that lap its rocky shores.

You can catch one of the many ferries that dash across the Bay of Naples from Sorrento and explore the island by foot. Or, do as we did, and take a private boat tour of Capri taking in its beauty from the water. Fresh salty breezes and dappled sunlight on turquoise waters made for an enchanting day trip from the Amalfi Coast.

Capri, Italy

The isle of Capri is the stuff of legend and that is not a throwaway line. The Ancient Greeks spoke of Capri in the story of Ulysses. It was off the island’s craggy shores that Ulysses resisted the temptations of the Sirens, beautiful mythical creatures who lured sailors to their deaths with their enchanting voices.

Today Capri is the playground of the world’s rich and famous and it’s easy to see why. The island has a captivating beauty that has to be seen with your own eyes.

Highlights of a boat tour of the Isle of Capri

Capri boat tours

Rising up out of the Bay of Naples, you feel Capri before you even arrive. The island’s majestic peaks and rocky terrain contrast with the bluest sea you ever saw. Your skipper heads towards the main town, Marina Grande and then steers anti-clockwise for your tour of the island. Here are some of the highlights


Faraglioni Capri Island Italy

The iconic rock formations known as the Faraglioni, are some of the most enduring images of Capri. As your boat turns around the coast towards them you see them towering in the distance. As you approach your skipper will tell you with a wink that it is good luck to kiss your loved one as you pass through the middle of the Faraglione di Mezzo. And so, of course, you do!

Punta Carena

Punta Carena Lighthouse Capri

People have lived on Capri for thousands of years – even Roman Emperors. So you see man made beauties alongside the natural wonders. I loved this old stone bridge with the sea glistening beneath.

The Punta Carena lighthouse has been standing watch on the island’s south-west coast since 1866 and is said to be the best place to watch the sun set on the isle of Capri.

Emerald Grotto and White Grotto

Boat tour Capri

No filters required on these photos! The sea is really that gorgeous turquoise colour. Apart from the famous Blue Grotto (more on that below), Capri has a White and Green grotto where the sea changes colour reflecting the limestone in the rocky seabed and rock formations overhead.

The Blue Grotto, Capri

Entrance to the Blue Grotto Capri

But did you see the Blue Grotto? I hear you ask. No, sadly we did not.

We saw the entrance which is that tiny opening beneath the shrine in the image above. Our boat tour of the island did not include a visit to the Blue Grotto. This is because it can take a very long time to queue to enter the cave and it is possible to a separate tour from Marina Grande to visit the Blue Grotto.

I was bitterly disappointed when I heard that the sea cave was not included in our tour but in the end, we chose not to visit the sea cave. We enjoyed the other grottos and wanted to explore the island.

Tips for visiting Capri’s Blue Grotto

Many people are intent on seeing Capri’s Blue Grotto, and it is an incredible sight – check out some pictures of the Blue Grotto to see why. Here are some tips on visiting Capri’s most famous attraction that we learned from the skipper on our boat

✪ The best time to visit is between 09:00 am and 14:00pm when the light creates the most spectacular effects

✪ How brilliant the blue of the grotto appears is in direct proportion to available sunlight. Therefore it will not be as alluring on an overcast day

✪ You reach the Blue Grotto by boat from Marina Grande or bus from Anacapri.

✪ Opening times for the Blue Grotto are 09:00am to 17:00pm. In adverse weather conditions the site is closed

✪ The grotto tour costs an additional €14 [In May 2017]. There is no charge for children under 6 years

✪ You enter the grotto in a small rowboat and must lie down flat to get through the entrance. You then spend 5 minutes in the cave enjoying the spectacular natural wonder

✪ Queue times to enter the grotto can be well over an hour in peak season

Capri boat tour options

Private Capri boat tour Italy

Capri boat tours are not created equally. There are pros and cons of choosing a boat cruise of the island and unsurprisingly it comes down to variables of price, tour length and quality of experience.

Semi-private day tour from Sorrento

We took a semi-private boat tour of Capri and it suited our needs perfectly. We were picked up from our accommodation and transferred to a small harbour close to Sorrento. Our family of four joined 7 other people on a luxurious cruiser for the journey. The tour takes a maximum of 12 people and it was extremely comfortable.

You can sit at the back of the boat or do as we did and lounge on the front deck as your cruiser speeds towards Capri. The advantage of a small boat is immediately obvious as you approach the island. To get close to the grottos and inlets your boat needs to be nimble.

We managed to get close to all the highlights mentioned above and I even had a gorgeous kiss on the cheek from my son under the Faraglione di Mezzo!

Our skipper was a cheeky chap with lots of jokes and interesting pieces of information about the island. He was not only in charge of steering and quips but also managed to serve us some drinks and a delicious tomato and mozzarella panino each.

Marina Grande Capri

We docked at Marina Grande for a few hours of exploring at leisure and then, with fresh winds whipping our hair and sun on our face, we cruised back to the mainland looking longingly at Capri behind us.

The tour lasts approximately 8 hours. Other options included a stop for swimming and snorkelling (it was a bit cold for that when we visited) and a private bus tour to Anacapri which we did not take. There was wifi, towels, and snorkel gear on board.

With transfers both ways included in the €85 per person price, we thought the Capri small group boat tour was great value. Check boat tour prices and book now

Private tour by traditional gozzo boat

If you want an intimate tour of Capri or have a group of friends to share the cost, why not hire a traditional gozzo boat to transport you around the island. This looked to me to be the most romantic and classic way to explore Capri by water. There is a picture of a gozzo boat above.

As you can see they are small vessels and may not suit those prone to seasickness or families (like us) with young children. I think teenagers would love it and especially enjoy jumping off the boat when the weather is warm. The gozzo boats can be hired at the port of Marina Grande.

I would only take this option if you are on a very strict budget or have limited time. We saw several of these tours on the water and made the following observations:

– The boats that take these tours are large and packed full of people all craning over each other to take photos

– Cruise time is less than an hour so there is very little time to stop and enjoy the experience

– It is impossible for these boats to reach some of the beautiful grottos due to their size

Take me back to Capri!

View of the Isle of Capri

After our boat tour of Capri, we docked at Marina Grande and had four hours to explore the island at leisure. We took the funicular to the town of Capri, wandered its cobbled streets and marvelled at the panoramic views of the island from above.

Our leisurely pace meant we didn’t have time to visit Anacapri or take the chairlift to Monte Solaro. I would also have loved to visit Villa Jovis, the ruins of an ancient Roman palace built by Emperor Tiberius.

A few hours is not nearly enough to explore beautiful Capri. But I just know I will return one day.

Need more Italy travel inspiration? Read these articles

Italy’s top travel experiences | Highlights of Sicily | Glamorous Lake Como | Hidden Venice

Have you visited the famous isle of Capri and taken a boat tour around the island? Were you lucky enough to see the Blue Grotto in all its glory?

Capri, Italy: Day trip and boat tour from Sorrento Amalfi Coast

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links in this post. This means that if you choose to make a purchase after clicking on one of the links I may receive a small commission and your purchase will help support this site. Read my full disclosure policy.


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Capri, Italy: tour the beautiful island of Capri by boat. Day trip from Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast by private boat


  1. 16th May 2017 / 12:25 PM

    What a stunning post. I want to go – without kids, so I can tour in one of those gorgeous gozzos. Shame you didn’t see the Blue Grotto, but it sounds as though there were plenty of other beautiful sights.

  2. 18th May 2017 / 8:53 AM

    what a beautiful tour!

  3. 18th May 2017 / 10:22 AM

    We originally had planned to go to the Almafi Coast for our honeymoon but we opted instead to head to the Balkans next week for something different. I still feel a small twinge of regret as it’s so beautiful here with all that glorious water! Some other day! Pinned for future reference! #FarawayFiles

  4. 18th May 2017 / 11:36 AM

    I had hoped to take a boat tour to Capri last year when I took my son to Naples but the weather wasn’t good and it just didn’t seem worth it in the rain and we priorised other trips. I will definitely get there one day though and I’ll bare in mind your tips. The local gozzo boats look very like local boats in our area where they’re called pointus, interesting to see the similarities. #farawayfiles

  5. 18th May 2017 / 12:29 PM

    Oh my goodness the grottos are stunning! This boat tour is something I will definitely have to do sometime in my lifetime. I love the water so any activity involving being on or near the water is my thing. #FarawayFiles

  6. 18th May 2017 / 1:44 PM

    Such striking formations! I’ve always wanted to go to Capri. I’ve also always wanted to be the kind of rich and famous person who has a playground island. One thing at a time. I get the feeling that every traveller to Capri ends up wtih a rich experience! #farawayfiles

  7. 18th May 2017 / 2:09 PM

    We were budget travelers on our visit to Capri and only could afford the boat from Positano over for a day trip. I remember those rocks and that water and have always wanted to go back and be able to stay til the cruise ships and day travelers (like I was) LEFT. This sounds like a perfect way to see the island and explore – any of the grottos sound great to me! Cheers, Erin #FarawayFiles

    • 19th May 2017 / 5:38 AM

      Yes absolutely Erin, your next visit (and mine) will definitely require an overnight stay. There is a lot to explore for a tiny island! Ahhh Capri, so beautiful

  8. 18th May 2017 / 5:30 PM

    I remember reading about the Roman emperor who had his own little escape on Capri – chance would be a fine thing! I love the sound of the boat trip, trying to persuade my daughter to enjoy the view rather than just do some colouring en route so a long one is a gamble for now but I’m tempted for the future. #farawayfiles

  9. 18th May 2017 / 6:49 PM

    I took a boat tour of Capri when I was a kid. It is still one of my favorite travel experiences. Your photos are so beautiful! Great post!

    • 19th May 2017 / 5:37 AM

      Thanks Ava.I hope my kids remember their visit to Capri as fondly as you do. It’s such a beautiful place

  10. 18th May 2017 / 7:10 PM

    Wow, this looks so fabulous! Even though you didn’t see the Blue Grotto it looks like an amazing day! I know how it is to get somewhere and find that you won’t see THE thing you came to see, but with so much to explore it often seems to work out in the end, doesn’t it?! I’m wondering how I would feel having to lay down to enter a cave… #farawayfiles

  11. 18th May 2017 / 9:23 PM

    I love a good boat trip, the coastline reminds me of Corsica. It’s a shame you didn’t get to the Blue Grotto but I don’t think I would want to wait for an hour for a five minute trip, although it must be quite entertaining watching everyone lie down to get in! Beautiful turquoise water makes me want to dive right in. Thanks for hosting #FarawayFiles

  12. 18th May 2017 / 10:22 PM

    What a fab tour…take me to Capri! I love the ancient history on the islands and the colour of the water is something else. Thanks for the inspiration #farawayfiles

  13. 19th May 2017 / 8:08 AM

    Capri looks absolutely stunning! It’s a shame you didn’t get to enter the grotto but i think i’d be more interested in getting off the boat to explore the island. Did you find that 4 hours was enough time to see the town? #Farawayfiles

    • 6th June 2017 / 12:35 PM

      Thanks David. We had a couple of kids in tow so our pace was slow and we did not manage to see Anacapri. 4 hours isnt enough. I do think you really need to stay there overnight to have the full experience

  14. 19th May 2017 / 8:44 AM

    Sounds like a perfect day – sunny weather, emerald green/sparkling blue sea and majestic cliffs of the Isle of Capri – I would love to have that day anytime! Another la dolce vita moment 🙂 #farawayfiles

  15. 19th May 2017 / 9:46 AM

    I would love to visit Amalfi Coast! I almost did a tour on my last Europe tour then decided against it and am kicking myself, especially after reading about the beautiful Capri here! Those rock formations, Faraglioni, are spectacular. That water is just spectacular, the turquoise colours are stunning. What a perfect trip! #farawayfiles

  16. 19th May 2017 / 2:35 PM

    We didn’t see the Blue Grotto either and it was still a fabulous trip – how could it not be. Your photos are stunning :). #farawayfiles

  17. 19th May 2017 / 2:40 PM

    You can guess which of these photos is my favourite? I really enjoyed my trip to the Blue Grotto. The light inside is amazing. I’ll always take a boat tour if I can – I love seeing places from the sea. On another visit, we spent several days on Capri. It is fun dressing up and joining the jet set sipping cocktails on the terraces of the hotels there. #FarawayFiles

  18. 19th May 2017 / 3:49 PM

    I 💓The amalfi coast but gave no rr reached Capri #farawayfiles

  19. 19th May 2017 / 6:46 PM

    I habe been wanting to travel to Capri for so long. And I would love to stay over at least for one night – there is so much to see and I wouldn’t want to rush it! Thanks for your inspiring post 🙂

  20. 19th May 2017 / 7:20 PM

    Ugh, those pictures just look something out of a dream! The blue sky, the blue sea, the cliffs, sigh…I’m just going to close my eyes and dream I’m there…. 😉

  21. 20th May 2017 / 11:22 AM

    Capri seems like a gorgeous place and I love boat tours anyway so I’d be totally up for a ride if I ever make it to Capri!

  22. 20th May 2017 / 1:29 PM

    What an awesome tour! I would love to do something like this. Sounds super peaceful and a wonderful day on the water. Would love to see your pictures of when you were actually on the island. 🙂

  23. 20th May 2017 / 11:38 PM

    The Blue Grotto has been on my list for a long long time, but now you tell me that the entrance is so small that I will have to lie down I know that I will be too scared to go. When you go will you video it for me? #FarawayFiles

  24. 21st May 2017 / 6:59 PM

    The boat tour looks like so much fun! It’s great to get to see an island from the water. And the photos are so beautiful!

  25. 22nd May 2017 / 8:40 PM

    The isle of capri looks like the stuff of dreams. Beautiful blue sea, cool breeze blowing in your hair and the warmth of the sun. #FarawayFiles

  26. 23rd May 2017 / 2:27 PM

    Oh wow that is absolutely beautiful, you’re right no filter needed. I would love to visit, it certainly looks special, I’ll add it to my bucket list for sure. Those blue waters are stunning, I can’t wait to show the kids somewhere like this when they’re older. #farawayfiles

    • 6th June 2017 / 12:38 PM

      Hope you make it there soon. Capri is a place I would return to in a heartbeat!

  27. 24th May 2017 / 2:53 AM

    You got so many beautiful shots, Katy! Capri looks beautiful from the water. If I ever go back I’d love to try a boat tour, and visit the Blue Grotto too! I’m still a little bitter that it was closed when I went!

  28. 24th May 2017 / 3:48 PM

    Loving the colours here. We’re usually budget travellers but there are times when splashing out is quasi-compulsory, and I think that a private or small group boat tour on Capri would definitely be one of those occasions. Terrific post!! #FarawayFiles

    • 6th June 2017 / 12:34 PM

      That’s mostly our approach too. Look for value on flights and accommodation where possible and splurge on experiences like this. Capri is wonderful!

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