Bay of NaplesItalian islands

Pearls of the Bay of Naples: Capri, Procida & Ischia

In November 2017 I visited the 3 islands in the bay of Naples, Capri, Procida.

Capri, 6-9 November 2017

Capri is the island with the name of beauty and luxury. Expensive shops and over-priced restaurants. The tourists know how to find Capri. But Capri is more than that, and I have discovered that. I hiked on and around the island.

Monday evening (November 6, 2017) 

I arrived at Capri, after a flight from Amsterdam to Naples, a bus ride from the airport to the center of Naples and the fast ferry to Capri. In Naples it was still half cloudy, but the sky is getting darker and on the way it starts to rain heavily. The clouds ensure that, as it gets dark around five, we get ashore in the pitch dark and in the pouring rain. Capri is a mountainous island with steep streets. The rain therefore literally comes to meet you. What a water! Running through deep puddles, I managed to find the bus that could take me to Anacapri. The small bus is full of people, so no seats left, but it is dry and that counts now. The driver makes every effort to get the bus up against the slope and the oncoming flowing water. Zigzagging appears to have the most effect.

Entirely according to the instructions of the B&B owner I get off at Piazza Vittoria and walk the remaining 400 meters. It is still raining but not so hard anymore. In the B&B La Melodia I am warmly welcomed by Marco, the son of the Sonia, the owner. I have a great room with a small kitchen, private bathroom and an attic with a spacious bed. On the counter are some savory snacks, breadsticks and crackers. In the fridge fruit, cream cheese and fruit yogurt. Very well cared for. With a combination of everything I managed to make a nice meal out of it, so I didn’t have to leave the house that evening.

The next morning I was able to have breakfast at 7.30 am. Sonia went to the bakery to get fresh sandwiches and makes a delicious fruit salad for me on the spot. And she serves different kinds of delicious cheese.

All in all a decent and diverse breakfast! Today, rain is forecasted for the whole day.. In spite of this, I get dressed and take the bus to Punta dell Arcera around 08.30 for the Sentiero di Fortini on the west coast of the island. A hike past old forts to the lighthouse at Punta Carena. The rain is not too bad, the trail is sometimes slippery, but within an hour and a half I arrive at the lighthouse. The great thing about Capri is that the buses run regularly. I only have to wait fifteen minutes before I can take the bus back to Anacapri.

Anacapri is a beautiful and peaceful place with nice streets, squares and churches. No fuss, just a nice place. After some rest, I take the bus to Capri in the afternoon. Here it is a bit busier and full of shops and eateries. I walk through the beautiful narrow streets of Capri to Villa Jovis, an old Roman palace, building in the year 27 AD. Once there, it appears to be closed to the public, but I get a bit of it from a distance. Then I walked through the streets towards Arco Naturale, a naturally formed rock arch on the east side of the island. The hiking trail then takes me past caves and the coast towards Punta Tragara, where you get a beautiful view of the rocks standing in the sea. Then via the pretty streets to Piazzetta Umberto, the central square of Capri, to end the walk with a very expensive espresso (4 euros instead of the usual 1 euro) on the terrace of cafe Funicolar.

From Capri I take the bus back to Anacapri, do my shopping and prepare my meal on the cooking plate in the apartment. Tired but satisfied I get to bed.

Capri, day 2

In the morning I am spoiled again with a delicious and complete breakfast. Then I put on the hiking boots and go on foot to Monte Solare, the highest point in Capri (589 m). The weather is beautiful. In about 45 minutes I completed the walk from Anacapri to the top of the mountain. What a great view all around. Especially the view to the east is beautiful! Here you look out over the village of Capri, but also over the Sorrento peninsula and in the distance the Amalfi coast.

Today’s goal is to walk towards Capri and then down to Marina Piccola. I have to go through Il Passieteillo, a narrow and difficult passage to cross the ridge. Now I am used to a lot, but I must say that I found this passage really difficult. Especially because of the fact that I had to descend very steeply, so that you constantly have to keep yourself in balance. I felt my knees pretty well. Several times I had to use both hands for this narrow, steep and winding path. But in the end it became easier and before I knew it I was on the outskirts of the village of Capri and at the exit for Marina Piccola. This resort is located in a beautiful bay, but looks a bit deserted in November. Only 1 bar was open, where I order a coke and enjoy the wonderful sun!

After about an hour I walked on. I wanted to return to Capri via the spectacular Via Krupp. But when I found the path to Via Krupp, it turned out to be closed with a fence, due to maintenance. But because I had read many good stories about this path, and had seen beautiful photos, I decided to climb the fence. That is why I had this beautiful path, constructed with hairpin bends, completely for myself! Magnificent! And once upstairs it was a piece of cake to climb over the small fence. I could tell from a warning sign that the path was closed for safety reasons (falling rocks). But I was unharmed and had a wonderful experience! And I could enjoy the fantastic view.

From here it was a short and easy walk back to the center of Capri, where I took the bus back to Anacapri. Here I did some shopping and made my dinner. Looking back on a very successful day! And tomorrow to Procida!

PROCIDA (9-11 November, 2017)

I arrive by ferry in the evening at Marina Grande on Procida. Although it is closest to Naples and relatively populated (> 2500 inhabitants per km2), Procida is really beautiful. I stay in a Bed & Breakfast called L’Isola del Postina, in Marina Grande, with a beautiful view over the harbour. And a nice clean room.

I have a good night here and the next day is treated with a delicious and immense large breakfast in the room.

After this hearty breakfast, I decide to take a walk around the entire island. A beautiful walk along a lush cemetery.

I continue along the wide bay on the west side and then towards the Vivara nature park. A small green island in the shape of a crescent, part of a crater. The reserve is largely closed to the public, and in particular a breeding and resting place for the birds. Afterwards drink in a coffee in the nearby harbor town of Marina di Chiaiolella, a picturesque and quiet village, before I continue on foot to the east side of the island.

Afterwards I drink a coffee in the nearby harbour town of Marina di Chiaiolella, a picturesque and quiet village, before I continue on foot to the east side of the island.

Here I follow the rugged coastline on the east side towards the beautiful Marina di Corricella, the pearl of the island. With its connected and stacked coloured houses and the many fishing boats in the harbour this is a beautiful backdrop. At this beautiful place I have another coffee, enjoying the view of the castle San Michele Arcangelo.

The next morning I climb up to visit this impressive castle and enjoy the view all around.

ISCHIA (11-13 November 2017)

I arrived on Ischia on Saturday afternoon. After checking in at the B&B at Porto d’Ischia I went to Ischia Ponte on foot. Here lies the beautifully situated Castello Aragonese, on top of a hill, on the other side of the bridge. You can take the elevator upwards (and if you wish also down again). Here is a large structure, the first fort of which was already built in 474 BC. Over time, churches, monasteries, house and gardens have been built, some of which have perished. History is clearly visible. And if you walk around there you can imagine how people used to live there. There are also nice views over the Bay of Naples and Procida and Ischia. Really worth it!

Sunday morning after breakfast I bought a day ticket for the bus. I  first took the bus to Maronti Beach. From there I hiked via the beach to the fishing village of Sant Angelo, which is partly located on a small peninsula. Here I ordered an espresso and then took the bus to Panza.

From here I walked to the small bay of Sorgeto. There are natural hot springs on this beach. You can relax here in the shallow water between the stones. The water is warm and sometimes just as hot!

After this experience I walked back to Panza via another road. Drank an espresso at a cafe on the central square and ate some tasty cookies. From here I took the bus to the village of Fontana. A 3 km long hike to the top of Monte Epemeo starts here. Here you have a phenomenal view of almost the entire island, the Bay of Naples, Procida, Sorrento Peninsula, Capri and in the distance the islands of Ventotene, Stefano, Ponza and Zannone.

Again, nice coffee, on the terrace in the sun. Then walked back to Fontana, where I didn’t have to wait long for the bus to Ischia Porto. Had some food in the harbour and then back to the room. tired, but terribly satisfied, i fall asleep.

The next day I am leaving the Island, taking a boat to Naples and then on to the airport. What a surprising islands again. And not only Capri (with the name), but also Ischia and especially Procida have impressed me. All of the 3 islands are really recommended!