Day 18, 19 & 20: Sorrento & Capri

The plan for three days
Route for the day

Route for the day

The plan was to drive from our guesthouse near Vatican City to Caserta Castle. The journey should take about 2 hours for a distance of 217km. At Caserta Castle we gave ourselves about 3 hours to explore. After Caserta Castle we would proceed to our stay at Sorrento. The  second  day we would leave our car at the hotel, take a bus to the Sorrento Harbour and go to Capri Island via a ferry. We would stay a night on Capri Island. On the third day morning we would continue to explore Capri and by late afternoon return to Sorrento and then back to the same hotel where we had previously stay on Sorrento. 

By the end of the three days
It was a BAD start.  On the day when we were leaving Rome, we found our car window smashed, apparently an attempt theft incident. We spent the entirely morning clearing the mess of broken glass, making police reports and corresponding with Citroen accident/car theft hotline. So by the time we set off it was already a couple of hour late. Due to our smashed window we decided to cancel our visit to Caserta Castle as parking our car with a trunk-full of luggage at a public carpark near the castle would be like inviting another theft.

We went straight to Villa Angelina our stay of the night which had a private hotel carpark and spent the rest of the day relaxing in the scenic hotel ground. The next day we drove our car to a Citroen repair outlet, left the car there before we continued our journey to Capri Island for two days and one night stay. The third day after leaving Capri Island we returned to Citroen repair outlet picked up our “repaired” car and drove on to Villa Angelina again.

We were very glad that the “smashed” car window incident was quickly resolved with minimum impact to our travelling itinerary. The only impact was a missed visit to Castle Caserta. 

Our car window was Smashed!

It was after a nice breakfast and we were on our way back to our “stay”. As we walked past our car, I noticed that the front passenger small triangular window was smashed!

The window of our car was smashed

The window of our car was smashed

Since we arrived three days ago we had parked our car by the street just below the block where we stayed. Though since then we had not driven our car we had walked past two or three times a day when we went out and returned to our stay. Our car was parked directly in front of the Goose Pizzeria which closed after midnight so the “window smashing” probably took place after midnight. The thief probably smashed to window to open the car door. Luckily we had nothing of important or valuable.

We pulled out our Citroen pamphlet and referred to the section under the “accident and theft” section for “what to do next”. It said to call a specify Citroen number, made a police report, email a copy of the report, then go to citroen repair outlets etc etc.

We met our host as he was also passing by and he was shocked that such incident happened in his neighbourhood. He brought us to a nearby police station and helped us with our reporting. Our host was of great help as the Italian policeman did not speak a single word of English!

Our first attempt to cover the smashed was to use a cloth. But the flimsy cloth kept flapping in the wind when we drive and was very distractive.

Covering up the smashed window

Covering up the smashed window

Our second attempt was better after we found some cupboard at an expressway service area. Even with the window covered, we did not feel it would be secure enough for us to visit Caserta Castle. Looking at our car plate number any potential thief would know that we were tourists in Italy and a “not so secured” window would be an invitation to more theft.

Sorrento

Most visitors used Sorrento as their base for visiting Capri Island on a one day trip. We too would be using Sorrento as our base. But we felt that a one day trip would be too rushing so we planned for a two days one night trip to Capri. 

On our drive to Sorrento, we were absolutely enchanted by its coastline. It was stunning. There were a couple of road side set-in,  where we stopped to come out and admire the beautiful coast of Sorrento. 

Stunning coastline of Sorrento

Stunning coastline of Sorrento

Our hotel was located on the outskirt of Sorrento central far away from the bustling town. Villa Angelina was sited on a highground at the edge of Sorrento Coast and it had a stunning view of the ocean, Sorrento Coast and Capri Island.

Our Hotel on the outskirt of Sorrento

Our Hotel on the outskirt of Sorrento

We reached our hotel at about 4 pm and left our car with a “smashed window” in the hotel private carpark. With car secured we were able to spend the rest of the day enjoying the scenic landscape all around our hotel. 

Villa Angelina main Building

Villa Angelina main Building

After an eventful day it was a relieve to relax on the terrace of our hotel and to do nothing but enjoyed the view. It was amazing so see the color of the sea and sky changing continuously as the sun set over the water. 

 
Sunset at our hotel terrace

Sunset at our hotel terrace

Interesting after the sun set the landscape turned pinkish and the far away Capri Island looked as it it was floating on pink cloud.

Capri Island as seen from the balcony terrace of our hotel

Capri Island as seen from the balcony terrace of our hotel

Second Day: Pompeii to Sorrento to Capri

Instead of leaving our car at Villa Angelina and “bus” to Sorrento harbour which was our original plan, we had to send our car to Pompei Citroen Workshop Outlet for repair assessment. The outlet Citroen assistant assessed the damage, ordered the spare part which would arrive only the next day. Since we would be on our way to Capri which was off limit to visitor’s car, the best option was to leave our car at the workshop overnight and pick it up late the next day. By then the spare part would have arrived and our window would be fixed!

The outlet staff was very helpful, one of them sent us to the nearby Pompei train station where we boarded an express train ticket at €4 per person and in 20 minutes we reached Sorrento Station.

Express Train from Pompei to Sorrento

Express Train from Pompei to Sorrento

It was on our return trip the next day that we found out that there were two types of train, the express and the normal. The ticket for the normal train was only €2.4 per person. The different between the express and normal train was that the express train had lesser stops. The time saving was not a great deal.

From Sorrento Station was a 800 metres walk to Sorrento harbour. The walk was pretty easy and there was much to see, shops, restaurants and cafes were everywhere as Sorrento town was obviously a touristic area.

Route from Sorrento Station to Port

Route from Sorrento Station to Port

Sorrento Town was on a higher elevation and to reach the port we had to go down a long flight of zig-zag stairs. At the bottom of the stairs was a long road that read right to the water front. 

Zig zag stairs from the town to the port

Zig zag stairs from the town to the port

The zig zag stairs was not the only way to go down to the port there was another easiler way which was by an elevator ride for a fee of €1 per person. The elevator was located at Piazza Francesco Saverio Gargiulo – (In the Villa Comunale). Near the elevator was a walking path for those that preferred a leisurely stroll down to the port. The windy path past through a short tunnel section on the cliff which open up on the other side with a panoramic view of the port below. 

As second staircase / elevator from between Sorrento Town and port

As second staircase / elevator from between Sorrento Town and port

The alternative slope/stairway between Sorrento town and port

The alternative slope/stairway between Sorrento town and port

At the port there were many ferry ticketing kiosks and we went to one of them to get our ferry tickets to Capri. The tickets were rather pricey it costed €38.60 for two. While waiting for our ferry to arrive, we walked to a nearby Newspapers Tabacchi store to buy two funicular tickets to be used after arriving at Capri. We read that the queues at Capri Island to buy the funicular tickets were long and we could save some time by buying them at Sorrento port side.

Sorrento Port and the Shop that sold Capri Funicular Tickets

Sorrento Port and the Shop that sold Capri Funicular Tickets

The ferry came and we boarded it, it was pretty spacious and there were plentiful of seats. The ferry trip took about an hour and the ride was pretty smooth.

Capri: Marina grande

We disembarked from the ferry at Capri port also known as Marina Grande. The port was on a lower elevation and to get to Capri Town we could take either a funicular or a bus. The funicular would be a more direct route up the slope. It was nice to have the funicular tickets on hands and unlike others we did not have to go about searching for the ticketing office. 

Capri - Funicular from port to Capri town

Capri – Funicular from port to Capri town

The funicular ride was about 5 minutes. The view at the top station of the funicular was beautiful. We could see the many layers of houses on the slope of the hill stretching from Capri town on top down to the port near the water.

Capri as seen from the funicular station

Capri as seen from the funicular station

Pretty easily we found the bus terminal. There were only three type of buses. One bus went down to Marina Grande (the port), another to Marina Piccola (south of Capri) and the last one to AnaCapri the second town on Capri Island.

On Capri there was no one day pass for unlimited bus ride. The tickets sold were all single one way ticket costing €2 each. We bought 4 one way tickets. Two for our ride to Anacapri and another two to return the next day. The tickets had no date stamps so we could use it on any day.

"Bus terminal" in Capri Town

“Bus terminal” in Capri Town

AnaCapri

We were on our way to AnaCapri where our hotel for the night was located. Anacapri was a quieter town compared to Capri town and in many ways a nicer place than the overly touristy Capri Town. 

AnaCapri was at a higher elevation on the slope of Mount Solaro. We disembarked from the bus at Piazza Vittoria of AnaCapri just one bus stop away for the bus terminal of AnaCapri.

Anacapri

Anacapri

We were supposed to call our hotel host and arrange for a pick up. We were not in a hurry to do that as we were captivated by the shops, restaurants and cafes at Piazza Vittoria. They looked very interesting, colorful and bright. The beach wears were rather pricely. 

Piazza Vittoria at AnaCapri

Piazza Vittoria at AnaCapri

We moved from one shops to the next and soon we were already midway to our hotel. So rather than to return to the start of Piazza Vittoria we walked all the way to our hotel. After we checked in the first thing our host told us was that the famous Blue Grotto was closed as the water was too choppy so for safety reason the Blue Grotto was closed.  She suggested taking the cable car up to Mont Solaro for a panoramic view of Capri. 

Mount Solaro

The cable lower station was located at Piazza Vittoria. So we were back at the Piazza again. At the ticketing counter we exchanged the ticket voucher bought from our hotel host for the actual tickets. A return ticket bought at the station costed €11 per person whereas our host  sold the return ticket at €10 each.

The chairlifts was very fun. Even before reaching the top of Mount Solaro we already had a great view of Capri

Chairlift to Mount Solaro

Chairlift to Mount Solaro

At the summit we walked around to explore. There were a few viewing decks. We also saw some visitors coming up  the stairs that led all the way down to Piazza Vittoria. They must had hiked all the way up to the summit. 

Upper chairlift station at Mount Solaro

Upper chairlift station at Mount Solaro

Mount Solaro was about 589 metres above sea level. It was the highest point on Capri and provided a great panoramic view of Capri. At the summit there was also cafe which allowed visitors to laze about on its “beach” chairs and enjoyed the great scenery,

Cafe at Mount Solaro Summit

Cafe at Mount Solaro Summit

From Villa Angelina on Sorrento we could see Capri Island so we wondered if we could find Villa Angelina as we stood on the summit of Mount Solaro. With my camera I zoomed in on Sorrento and searching slowly I found Villa Angelina!

Villa Angelina (Sorrento) as seen from Mount Solaro of Capri

Anacapri Faro

After coming down from Mount Solaro, it was still early. The day was still bright so we still had a few hours to explore before the place darkened. Looking a the bus routes we had three possible places to visit, Grotta Azzurra (blue caves) which was closed for the day, Faro and Marina Piccola.

Bus routes on Capri Island

Bus routes on Capri Island

We chose to “bus” down to Faro and left Marina Picoola and Grotta Azzurra for the next day. The bus ticket to Faro was €2 per person single way and the journey took about 15 minutes. At Faro there was an active light house (Punta Carena Lighthouse) and several beach clubs where youngsters came to swim and had sunset party. There was not much to explore so we left on the next bus out.

Light house Anacapri Faro

Light house Anacapri Faro

Dinner at Capri

We had our dinner at a restaurant on Piazza Vittoria. The name of the restaurant was Giulis Bar. We ordered a lasagne, a pasta, cafe latte and a tiramisu. The total cost came up to €26.

Dinner at Anacapri

Dinner at Anacapri

Sunset at Capri

We were back at our hotel and went out to its terrace to view the sunset. Our hotel had a huge terrace and we got it all to ourselves. It was almost 8 pm and the golden sun was descending. The sky and clouds were glazed with golden rays of the setting sun.

Hotel Terrace

Hotel Terrace

We had seen so many golden sunsets at different places in different countries and we never got tired of viewing it again and again. Each sunset was a unique experience, the ambience, the setting, the immediate surrounding, the distance horizon, the temperature of the air and etc all played a part to made the sunset experience stood out from the others. 

Sunset as seen on our hotel terrace

Sunset as seen on our hotel terrace

Grotta Azzurra

Grotta Azzura or Capri’s Blue Lagoon was one of the most popular highlights of Capri unfortunately for both the days we were there our host told us that the Grotta was closed due to unfavourable wave condition and no visit was allowed. Sad that we would not be able to see this brilliantly blue lagoon. 

Marina Picolo

On day two after we checked out of our hotel we went to Anacapri bus terminal to take a bus ride to Marina Picolo. There were two ways to get to Marina Picolo, one was directly from Anacapri to Marina Picolo (€2 per ticket) and the second was from Anacapri to Capri town(€2 per ticket) then Capri town to Marina Picolo(another €2 per ticket). It was definitely cheaper to go directly from Anacapri to Marina. We waited for a long time but the bus just did not appear. In the end the bus terminal attendant told us to go via the second way but allowed us to pay only €2 instead of €4.

Bus Terminal at AnaCapri

Bus Terminal at AnaCapri

Marina Piccolo was pretty scenic, compared to Faro we definitely felt Marina Piccolo had more to offer. The place was serene and peaceful.

From my google map we could see a walking path from Marina Piccolo that led to Gardens of Augusto. The road was Via Krupp. Walking on Via Krupp we should be able toreach the bottom of the curvy road that climbed up to Gardens of Augusto.

Marina Piccolo to Garden Augusto

Marina Piccolo to Gardens of  Augusto

Via Krupp was a pretty good road, easy to walk. Unfortunately midway to Gardens Augusto our route was blocked by a big black gate. This was terrible! We searched around but there was no way to get around the gate! On searching the internet for access to Gardens of Augustos we found that there was another way, for that we had to get to Capri town and then walk to the garden.

Gate on Via Krupp road obstructing our path to Garden Augusto

Gate on Via Krupp road obstructing our path to Garden Augusto

Capri Town and Gardens of  Augusto

Capri town was very touristy and very unlike Anacapri, it was full of visitors. The cafes and restaurants were packed with visitors and the entire place was pretty rowdy. We were on our way to Gardens of Augusto also known as Gardens of Augustus.

Capri Town

Capri Town

From the town it was a 500 metres walk to Gardens of Augustus, it was near to 11 am and the weather was terribly hot so we stopped by to get a cup of icy lemon juice at a road side store. It costed €3.5 for a cup. Super nice and refreshing and “eye blinking” sour!

Icy lemon Juice

Icy lemon Juice

At the entrance of the garden we bought two entry tickets at €1 per person. The garden comprised of a series of flower decked terraces. The beauty of the garden was not its flowers but the panoramic views that could be seen on its terraces. 

Entry tickets to Gardens of Augustus

Entry tickets to Gardens of Augustus

From one of the terraces we could see Faraglioni, three pieces of rock which rose up of the sea near the island’s southern coast. 

Faraglioni

Faraglioni

On another terrace we saw the winding path that led down to the water level. This winding path was a series of hairpin bends into the rock. The bends were so close together that they appeared almost one on top of another. The winding path connected to Via Krupp that stretched all the way to Marina Piccolo. Unfortunately the winding path was barricaded at the top as Via Krupp was closed due to a danger of falling rocks. Now we knew why Via Krupp was “gated” at Marina Piccolo end!

Hairpin bends connecting the garden to Marina Piccolo

Hairpin bends connecting the garden to Marina Piccolo

At about 1 pm we were ready to leave Capri. We had been on the island since noon the day before and had visited almost all the important places except for Grotta Azzurra which unfortunately remained close for two days. Our ferry tickets back to Sorrento was €16 for two it was €12.80 cheaper than the ferry tickets in the opposite direction. Apparently different ferry companies priced their tickets differently.

We still had an hour wait before the arrival of our ferry so to “kill” time we walked into a harbour side cafe for our coffee break. We ordered a cafe latte and a ice chocolate drink topped with icecream  and the total cost came up to €9.50. 

Coffee break at habour side cafe Gabbiano

Coffee break at habour side cafe Gabbiano

Accommodation for the three nights

First night and third night was on the outskirt of Sorrento central at Villa Angelina, the second night was on Capri Island. This arrangement was to give us the flexiblity of extending our time on Capri Island. Since Sorrento town was the nearest port to Capri Island we could easily “ferry” into Capri Island as early as we wished on the 2nd day and leave Capri Island as late as we wanted on the third day. This way we could have “two days” on Capri Island and stayed only one night and incured only one night of exhorbitant hotel cost on Capri Island. 

Villa Angelina at Sorrento

We stayed at Villa Angelina on the first and third nights and the costs were €73 and €83 respectively. Both nights we stayed in the Annex building of Villa Angelina. The costs included breakfast.  For the two nights we were assigned to different rooms. Villa Angelina was booked using booking.com.

Our 1st double room in Villa Angelina

Our 1st double room in Villa Angelina

The “double room” was actually sort of a suite comprising of bedroom, a living/sitting room and an ensuite toilet but no cooking facilities. We liked Villa Angelina very much as the Annex had a huge balcony terrace overlooking the sea and Capri Island. So for two evenings we were able to enjoy the beautiful sunset over the sea.

Our 2nd double room in Villa Angelina

Lovely sunset as seen on the terrace of Villa Angelina Annex Building

Lovely sunset as seen on the terrace of Villa Angelina Annex Building

The breakfast in the morning was the standard Italian breakfast. Everything looked and tasted fresh. 

Our breakfast at Villa Angelina

Our breakfast at Villa Angelina

Accommodation on Capri

We stayed at Hotel Bussola at Anacapri town on Capri Island. The hotel listing was available on booking.com and Airbnb. I booked Hotel Bussola on Airbnb as  Yat Thong had a discount voucher. The cost was €125 without discount. 

The hotel was quite pretty, our room had a double bed and and ensuite toilet. The only thing missing was a water kettle. We were told by our host that if we needed water we had to pay  €2 for a bottle of water at the vending machine by the reception area. This was the first hotel I had ever stayed where the room did not provided free bottles of mineral water and at the same time also did not provide a kettle!

Our double room had a window but there was no view. The only view was at the common terrace along the corridor outside our room.

Our double room at Hotel Bussola

The breakfast provided was standard Italian breakfast with fresh juice and coffee. We thought that the room cost included breakfast but our host said otherwise. Before I could check my booking voucher our host told us to enjoy the breakfast on the house. 

When I later checked the hotel listing on Airbnb it did state “Full Breakfast” it definitely did not state “optional” or a “fee” for the breakfast so breakfast should be included. 

Breakfast at Hotel Bussola

Breakfast at Hotel Bussola

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