Capri Is for Walkers

Although Capri may first conjure up chichi cafés and Gucci stores, it's also hiking heaven. Get ready for idyllic pathways running beside cactus-covered cliffs and whitewashed Arabian houses overlooking some of the bluest water on Earth.

When Capri Town swarms with summer crowds and begins to feel like an ant farm, take to the hills—in a few minutes, you can find yourself atop a cliff without a trace of humanity in sight. Many trails here run past famous sights and they offer something for everyone. Novices will love the unique-in-all-the-world zigzag of Via Krupp—a work of art in itself, but unfortunately inaccessible at the time of writing due to rockfalls—while pros will dare themselves with Il Passetiello, the ancient mule track that connected the island’s two towns, from Via Capodimonte in Anacapri past 14th-century Carthusian pathways to stunning Santa Maria a Cetrella, plus some very steep cliff paths—beware, this is not for inexperienced hikers. On this trail, don't get too distracted by the amazing view of I Faraglioni as you descend into Capri Town, or you may get there quicker than planned!

A Shortcut

The Monte Solaro chairlift, built in 1952 (and overhauled in 1998), hoists you to the peak in 13 minutes, your feet dangling, at times less than 100 feet above the houses and treetops. From here you can access the great hike down to the famously scenic vista from Santa Maria a Cetrella. To save yourself a climb, remember to use the chairlift!

Il Sentiero dei Fortini

One of the most beautiful coastal walks in the world, this "Path of the Forts" stretches along the western side of the island for 5.2 km (3.2 miles). Jaw-dropping views are accented by four Saracen fortresses (used mainly during the Napoleonic wars). Starting from the Grotta Azzura (Blue Grotto), you soon meet the first fort, Fortino di Orrico, set just 30 meters (100 feet) above the water. The path continues through rich Mediterranean maquis to Fortino di Mesola, with great views around this strategically placed fort. The path then rises past Fortino del Pino to the tiny Fortino del Tombosiello and then ends at the famous Faro lighthouse. Along the path, ceramic panels—inscribed with reflective haikus—describe your surroundings, the final touch to this unmissable open-air ecomuseum. This walk is not difficult, but lasts up to five hours, with no watering spots along the way, so bring lots of water!

Belvedere Migliara to Punta Carena

The 40-minute walk along the paved Via Migliara from Anacapri to the Belvedere Migliara—with one of the most beautiful views on the island—and the Philosophy Park may be some folks’ idea of a hike, but the blisters are truly worth it when you head on down the mountainside via the tiny path for 20 minutes to the Torre della Guardia, a Saracen tower once belonging to Axel Munthe. Stone steps take you down to Punta Carena, with its shell-shape rocky bay: perfect for a well-deserved swim!

Scala Fenicia

Workout fans will have no hesitation in climbing up (of course!) the 921 steps of the—probably—Greek (Phoenician)-built steps, once the main "road" from Capri to Anacapri. From Marina Grande follow the street (not the funicular) to Capri Town for five minutes until you see the signpost on your right. A paved residential path then takes you to the base of the stairway, with the next stop (apart from some time to catch your breath!) just under Villa San Michele, 290 meters (950 feet) above the sea. Take a break shortly before the top, just before passing under the main car road, to admire the 17th-century chapel of Sant’Antonio da Padova, dedicated to the patron saint of Anacapri.

Giro dell’Arco Naturale

Where else can you see the Arco Naturale, the Grotta di Matermaia, Villa Malaparte, and I Faraglioni in under two hours? This is a truly spectacular walk.

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