Traveling from Sorrento to Capri is an absolute, one hundred percent, bona fide must-do if you’re visiting Sorrento! Missing out on a day trip to Italy’s most famous island would be as criminal as not sampling the area’s renowned Neapolitan pizza. And you’re not going to do that, are you? (don’t make me call the Pizza Police on your hiney.)
However, actually getting to Capri can be a little more confusing than you might expect. Head on down to Sorrento’s harbour, and you’ll see a multitude of boat company signs proclaiming travel to destinations such as Capri, Amalfi Coast towns, or Ischia.
But how do you know which one to get, or where to queue, when there’s no departures board or any other kind of information source? The whole place is seemingly a mass of confused tourists – probably because that’s exactly what it is – and it can make you anxious in the extreme.
You want to know where to queue, and which company to use. You want to make sure that, in the midst of all the chaos, that you haven’t just purchased a one-way ticket to Tierra del Fuego by mistake. And you probably want to know how the heck you get back from Capri at the end of the day. Am I right?
Well, no worries! Because I’m going to answer all those questions, plus any others you have, in this ultimate, comprehensive guide! Just read on, and learn everything you need to know!
Want to get some epic info about Sorrento or Capri? Try these out!
How to get from Sorrento to Capri
Essentially, folks, you’ve got one choice for transport – the Sorrento to Capri ferry. And that’s okay, because unless you suffer terribly from seasickness or a particular fear of boats, you’re going to find that it’s a scenic, smooth journey! In fact, buying the tickets is considerably more stressful than the journey itself.
Before I give you all the juicy tea about the Capri ferry, however, I’m going to answer some other questions which may be meandering through your consciousness, so that you can go fully armed with knowledge. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the journey to Capri!
Is Sorrento near Capri?
Yes indeed! In fact, depending on what part of Sorrento you’re standing in, you might even be able to see Capri in the distance. If you head up to the village of Massa Lubrense, it’ll look close enough to touch.
Although you can’t quite do that, it’s certainly true that Sorrento is the nearest of any of the ports in the area which offer a ferry to Capri.
How far is Sorrento to Capri?
Capri is a mere 9 miles from Sorrento, as the crow flies.
How long does it take to get to Capri from Sorrento?
Although the exact time spent traveling will depend on the speed of the vessel (which in itself is dependent on weather conditions), you can expect a ferry duration of no more than thirty minutes.
Can you drive from Sorrento to Capri?
Mmm, nope. Capri is an island, so unless you’re driving a submarine, or you’re cool with your car getting extremely wet, you can’t drive to Capri.
In fairness, There’s very few roads on Capri, and for most of the year, bringing motor vehicles on to the island is forbidden. So, even if it were possible, there’s not much point in taking a car to Capri!
Finding the correct Sorrento ferry terminal
One of the problems you might experience when getting from Sorrento to Capri is actually turning up at the right place. This is because Sorrento has two ports, and through a quirk of history, they’re named as confusingly as possible.
Sorrento’s harbours are named Marina Grande (which translates as “Big Marina”), and Marina Piccolo (“Small Marina”). One is a large port serving the Bay of Naples, with frequent services to Naples, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast. The other is a fishing village. It’s obvious which you need to go to, right?
Actually, no. It’s more confusing and chaotic than that (welcome to Italy!). Sorrento used to be quite a small town back in the days before tourism, and the fishing village port was the bigger one at that point. Hence that was known as Marina Grande. Later, the smaller Marina Piccolo was extensively developed, and became far bigger than Marina Grande. Neither harbour ever got renamed to the more-appropriate moniker.
Long story short: you need to go to Marina Piccolo to catch the Capri ferry. If you ask for Marina Grande, you’ll be able to look at a very lovely fishing village, but you’ll have some bemused fishermen, and no ferries to Capri.
Buying a ticket to Capri
You’ve found your way to the correct harbour; hurrah! Now you’ve just got to buy your Sorrento to Capri ferry tickets.
To be honest, even finding the ticket office can throw you off a bit at first, as you often can’t see it! The ticket office is located in a little sunken plaza – when you arrive at the port, just start walking towards the cafe and dock area, and you’ll eventually see it.
Descend down the staircase, and you’ll be greeted with a smorgasbord of ticket desks, all proclaiming the same routes, but with a different company: Gescab, SNAV, and Alilaura to name a few. At first, it looks like complete and utter chaos.
Here’s what I’ve found, over the course of a good few day trips to Capri: it doesn’t matter which queue you join. You’re most likely to be traveling on a SNAV, Alilaura, or NLG service (the first two have the most ferries per day), so join one of those queues to be on the safe side. But on the whole, it really doesn’t seem to make any difference whatsoever which queue you’re in, so there’s no need to panic!
Once you get to the front of the queue, it’s simply a case of stating which ferry ticket for Sorrento to Capri you’d like, whether it be one way, roundtrip return, or even for another day.
Prices vary depending on the time of the service – even in the idyllic surroundings of the Amalfi Coast, there’s still a rush hour of sorts – but you’re usually looking at a price in the region of €17-20 each way. So a return ticket will cost in the region of €40.
Ferry schedules alter most years: check here for the most up- to-date Sorrento to Capri ferry times. Remember also that services are far more frequent between April and October; they switch to a winter timetable in November.
Finding the Sorrento to Capri ferry
You’ve successfully navigated the ticket office scrum, and happily brandishing your shiny new Sorrento to Capri ferry ticket! Yay! Don’t worry; the tricky bit is over.
All your have to do now is find the correct part of the port, where your boat to Capri will be readying for departure.
If we’re being entirely honest, Sorrento’s port has a somewhat relaxed attitude to silly things like conventional ticketing. Although your ferry is most likely to be down the steps, and departing from the little side-marina (or so it’s been in my experience), it’s best just to politely approach one of the port workers, show them your ticket, and ask them where to go.
That might sound silly – after all, surely a ticket is self-explanatory? – but every single time I’ve been to Capri, I’ve been directed by the port workers to just get on the next available boat.
It doesn’t seem to matter which company’s name is printed on the ticket, or what time is emblazoned upon there: as long as you have a valid ticket, they’ll happily have you on their boat. I’ve been on a 9.30 SNAV ferry with a 10.00 Alilaura ticket. So ask the port workers, and you may end up having to wait less time than you thought!
After that, it’s just a case of hopping on board the rather comfy ferries. Be one of the first on if you want to sit outside – and if you want views of the Sorrento coastline as you go, sit on the left-hand side of the boat. Prefer the open sea? Sit on the right.
Getting a Capri tour
Although it’s pretty easy to do your own Sorrento to Capri day trip, how about eliminating all that tiresome queuing for tickets completely, and going on a Capri tour?
Yup, you can have a completely stress-free Capri day trip by using the services of the very reputable GetYourGuide! I’ve used them myself, and they’re always excellent in terms of trustworthiness, ease of use, and reliability. Plus they have a mobile app, so you can keep your tour ticket on there, and not have to print anything out! You can just pick a tour for the next day, get up, and go.
Getting yourself on a Capri tour means that all the organisation is done for you – all you have to do is turn up, and have an awesome day! There’s no hassle or confusion, just enjoyment – plus you get the knowledge of a Capri guide who can tell you about everything you’re seeing!
So if that sounds like something that floats your boat (Capri ferry pun!), you may want to look into the rather awesome choices available to you. My personal favourite options are this full day, semi private tour of Capri, which includes an exciting trip around the island as well as free time to explore, or this boat tour to Capri, which gives you a day out on the waves, with ample opportunities to swim or snorkel in crystal blue seas.
Capri by private boat
Want to really do Capri in style? Great, because private transfers to the island are available! Who wants to go on a ferry when you can travel in a speedboat?
Check out this Sorrento to Capri private boat transfer for prices and availability!
What to do in Capri
You’ve made it to Capri! Isn’t it just stunning? The island drips glamour, and you can’t help but get enticed by the feeling of utter luxury – but there’s a pleasing amount of natural beauty, free to everyone to explore, which stops the island from feeling too much like a rich kid’s playground. There’s so much more to Capri than the glamour!
But what are the best things to do on Capri? What are the island’s highlights?
Wonder no more, because I’m going to tell you the best things to see on Capri!
The Blue Grotto
The Blue Grotto is Capri’s star attraction, and you’ll find plenty of boat rental guides and private boat tours operating from the very harbour where you arrive in Capri. How very handy! So if you’re tempted to see the electric blue waters of the Grotto, you might as well do it as soon as you arrive.
You can either arrange a boat tour on the day via the various agents at the harbour, or you can consider booking in advance using GetYourGuide. To be honest, I like the second option better – you’re guaranteed a spot, you know what time you’ll be doing the tour, and know exactly what you’re getting. So you can either do a Blue Grotto tour, or if you’ve got a bit more time, a tour around Capri which takes in the grotto, the Faraglioni rocks, and the whole of Capri’s stunning coastline. It’s well worth taking the extra time!
Either way, you’ll have the exhilaration of speeding around the coast, only to transfer into a smaller boat as you approach the Grotto. Bobbing on the waves, you’ll duck down as your boat travels through a small passageway – and be amazed at just how blue the water is, and how beautiful it makes the scene. Definitely one for everyone’s Italy bucket list!
Getting stunning views from Giardini di Augusto
Speaking of sparkling blue waters, how about seeing some on the other side of the island, framed by the island’s most iconic footpath, whilst you breathe in the scent of Mediterranean blossoms?
A quintessential Capri experience is to walk down the scenic stretch of Via Matteotti, past the ever-present granita stall (stop here if you fancy some genuine Capri lemon refreshment!), pay a euro at the gates of the Giardini di Augusto, and take in the amazing views from these gardens.
In one direction, the startlingly blue seas around the beach at Marina Piccolo, with the switchback footpath of Via Krupp leading all the way down to the sea. On my first visit to Capri, I was lucky enough to walk down Via Krupp – sadly, it’s almost permanently closed now due to landslides in the cliff face above it. But you can still look down upon it, and marvel at just how gosh darn pretty it is!
In the other direction, you can see boats speeding around the Faraglioni rocks, the symbol of Capri. It’s an idyllic sight, especially if you watch the boats traveling through the arch on the bottom of the middle rock!
Shopping on Via Camerelle
One of life’s most sumptuous experiences is to go shopping in Capri. It’s a feast for the senses: the pastel architecture of the shops of Via Camerelle, the scent of lemon groves wafting on a sea breeze, and the sight of designer clothing which would have Anna Wintour squealing in delight.
Although the whole of Capri is blessed with high-end shops – you’ll see window displays featuring fine jewellery and Capri watches almost as soon as you step off the funicular railway – it’s on Via Camerelle that the designer labels really take hold. You’ll see name after name (Gucci, Bulgari, and Louis Vuitton to name a handful), all devoted to making sure you live as luxuriously as possible.
Of course, most of us mere mortals can’t afford to go on a shopping spree in these temples of fashion. But there’s no harm in getting one or two! Or you can do what I did, and head to Capri’s famous Carthusia perfume company – here, you can pick up a bottle of gorgeous Capri-inspired scent for less than you can back home. It’s a great reminder of your trip!
If you’re looking for more info on Carthusia, or what you should buy in Sorrento, check out my guide to what to buy in the Amalfi Coast!
Exploring the past at Villa Jovis
Capri has been attracting tourists for centuries – quite literally, because Capri’s OG tourists were the Roman emperors Augustus and Tiberius. Both of these hella important fellas decided that the sunshine-infused gardens and glades of Capri were preferable to Rome, where people tended to get a little stabby if they didn’t like you, and made frequent trips here.
Villa Jovis, in the northeast corner of Capri, is the legacy of Tiberius’ love of the island. Never terribly popular (because being somewhat tyrannical never goes down that well), he much preferred being in Capri, and had Villa Jovis built as his personal party pad. It had everything a fun-loving, paranoid emperor could wish for: a view towards the coast for checking on who was coming to visit, a swimming pool for frolicking in, and a handy cliff for throwing unwelcome guests off.
These days, Villa Jovis lies in ruins, but it’s an easy hour-long walk to go and visit the scene of Tiberius’ debauchery. You can still take in the same stunning views that he did – but just don’t get too close to the cliff edge…
Grabbing the best gelato you’ll ever taste at Buonocore Gelateria
Once back in town, you really should get yourself along to Buonocore Gelateria. In a region of Italy which is practically brimming with ice cream shops, what makes this one so special?
Well, this is the best gelateria on Capri, bar none. All of the gelato is freshly made, with local ingredients – try the lemon sorbet if you want something that’s as local as it gets! Even the waffle cones are made there and then; you can smell them cooking from a good distance away. If you’re not in the mood for something sweet, then they’ve also got an awesome selection of savouries inside – not to mention more cakes than you can shake a wooden spoon at.
Best of all, the shop is located right in the heart of Capri Town, allowing you to nibble or lick your purchase as you enjoy the sights of Capri’s rather enchanting streets and alleys. You can always expect a long queue at Buonocore – this is the best place in town, after all – but it’s well worth the wait!
Feeling on top of the world at Monte Solaro
Had enough of being on your feet? Feel like flying so high like a G6?
Well, you can’t fly exactly, but heading up to Monte Solaro is the next best thing. Not only can you take a chairlift and take the weight off your aching tootsies, but it’s the highest point in Capri. Where better to take in the island’s splendor in full?
Getting there is a breeze, too. When you get off the ferry on arrival, simply head to the ticket office which is located just at the side of the port on the right-hand side. Not only is this the place to get a funicular ticket if you want to head up to Capri Town, but it’s also where you buy a bus ticket to the smaller town of Anacapri. Jump on the bus, and enjoy the rather hair-raising roads which have been chiseled out of a cliff face! (erk!)
When you arrive safe and slightly relieved in Anacapri, you’ll see signs directing you towards the chair lift – it’s located on Via Caposcuro if not. A mere €12 for a ticket earns you a ten-minute chairlift ride, which allows you to relax and really take in the sights on the way to the top – it never gets too high off the ground, so there’s no need to worry.
When you’re at the top, enjoy seeing Capri from the best vantage point – and definitely one of the most Instagrammable – spots on Capri!
Seeing Capri’s natural beauty on Via del Pizzolungo
Has your trip up Monte Solaro got you inspired? Feel like taking a plunge into all that beautiful green foliage, breathing in pine-scented air, whilst still being able to see sapphire seas?
Well, you’re in luck! Via del Pizzolungo is a footpath that takes you along the southeast coast of Capri, but starts and ends at two the island’s most famous sights. Plus there’s the aforementioned natural beauty, a Roman shrine, and a badass cafe at the start: what more could you want?
Start by heading out from Capri Town towards the Natural Arch – don’t worry, this’ll be signposted. You can either go and see the Arch, which is one of Capri’s natural wonders, or turn off beforehand and head down the little flight of steps at the side of Ristorante Le Grotelle – an excellent place to refuel before your hike, by the way!
It’s all straightforward from here; just keep following the path, which will take you past the sights of the Grotta di Matormania (a Roman site devoted to water nymphs) and the distinctive architecture of Villa Malaparte. You’ll walk through a pine-laden area, lizards scuttling through the fallen needles, until you reach the magnificent sight of the Faraglioni rocks. It’s an excellent, exhilarating way to bring your day in Capri to a close!
Getting from Capri to Sorrento
So here we are, at last – the end of your day trip from Sorrento to Capri. You’ve had a blast. It’s been emotional. You’ve fallen in love, then had it cruelly snatched away when you remember that you don’t live on Capri, and can’t see its beauty every day for the rest of your life. You’ve been on your hands and knees, screaming “why wasn’t I born here; whyyyyy?!” at an uncaring sky, whilst tourists sidestep you and hurriedly move along. We’ve all been there.
However, there’s a meal and a hotel bed with your name on it in Sorrento, so meh, time to go. But just how do you get from Capri to Sorrento?
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy. Simply head back down to the port where you arrived: this is where you’ll catch your Sorrento ferry. There’s a ticket office just at the side of the port – if you bought a ticket for the funicular or the bus, you’ll know where it is. Right above that ticket office is a large departures board, and you’ll be able to match the time on your return ticket to the dock it departs from.
However, my tip from earlier still applies – if you ask one of the port workers nicely and show them your ticket, they’ll often direct you on to another Sorrento ferry with an earlier departure time. Time is a very relative concept when it comes to the Sorrento / Capri ferry companies, it seems!
Staying longer in Capri?
Capri is a magical slice of the Mediterranean, and it’s extremely difficult not to fall under its spell! Especially when you consider that for such a small island, there’s actually a lot of things to do on Capri – you can easily spend a few days exploring the sights, or just relaxing in the sun.
If you’re tempted to stay for an extra day, or you’d like to get hotel rooms reserved for a few days retreat to paradise, take a look at my guide to the best places to stay in Capri, which also covers the rest of the Amalfi Coast region. I’ve used all my experience of the area, and insider info I’ve picked up via my sneaky Italian spies, to ensure that these really are the best hotels on Capri.
I hope that this guide has been useful, and gets you from Sorrento to Capri with a bare minimum of fuss, stress, or concern! No visit to the Amalfi Coast is complete without a day trip to Capri, and if writing this step-by-step means that more people are encouraged to go and visit, then that makes me very happy!
As always, if you’ve got any questions, drop ’em in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to answer them! I’d also be super grateful for any shares using the buttons below – it may well help someone else in the same quandary!
Even better, save the below image to Pinterest – that way, you’ve got all the information in this article bookmarked for when you need it! Yay for convenience!
By the way, if you have any other questions about transport in the Naples – Capri – Sorrento region, these might help you:
Pssst! This article on how to get from Sorrento to Capri contains some affiliate links. These incur zero extra cost to you if you buy the service provided. However, they earn me some pennies towards the running of this blog. Any extra pennies are put into a big piggy bank with “BUY A MANSION IN CAPRI” written on the side. I should get there by the year 2459!