What’s it like living on the island of Capri in the winter?

Every time I tell one of my friends on the mainland that I now live on the Island of Capri all year round, their reaction ranges from an astonished “How on earth do you manage to live on Capri in the winter?” to a puzzled “What do you want to do that for, the place is deserted isn’t it?” to a sincerely concerned “Aren’t you worried you’ll end up getting seriously depressed?

To be honest, that’s exactly the kind of thing I had found myself wanting to ask the islanders years ago, when, at the tender age of 15, I visited Capri on a cold and grey January morning, when almost every bar, shop, restaurant and hotel I came across was “closed for the winter season”.

15 years later, on a sunny September morning, I arrived on Capri for what was to be my first day’s work at Caprionline. On that occasion, I struggled to wade my way through lanes, flooded with tourists. The tourists continued to arrive in their hundreds, if not thousands, for the whole of September and October, to such an extent that, when, on one particularly warm and bright November morning, Capri woke up to discover that the morning ferries had all arrived half-empty, the island and the islanders all seemed to sigh one huge sigh of relief.

All of a sudden, you could actually see what the lanes of Capri looked like! And, walking down the zigzagging  Via Krupp, you could finally see the sea … nothing but the sea, without a yacht, motorboat or dinghy in sight.  In the Piazzetta, elderly islanders sat quietly reading the newspapers in the sun, at tables which, only days before, had been submerged in a hoard of holidaymakers. Capri was back.

It was when the icy winter rain came, and Capri wrapped her protective arms around all those who had not abandoned her, that I decided I too would stay.

As a winter resident, I was immediately made to feel one of the gang (an authentic islander!), and people who had previously ignored me, suddenly greeted me as if I was an old school chum.

Yes, it’s true, the island’s famous boutiques are all closed in the winter (the average islander doesn’t shop at Prada, Dolce&Gabbana, Gucci or Louis Vuitton anyway), but the grocery shops, supermarkets, a handful of bars and a couple of (good!) pizzerias and restaurants stay open throughout the year.

And the nightlife? “Do it yourself or don’t do anything” sums it up nicely!

Transportation is limited in winter: the funicular railway is closed and you’ll have to use local buses to get around. By the way, if you want to spend a night on the mainland, you’ll need to be at the port  by 20.00 hrs, when the last ferry to Naples sets sail. Miss that boat, and it’s just you, the sea and “the rock”.

 No! Do I miss the glitz and glamour of the celebrity-packed Piazzetta? Sometimes! But then, I go for a walk through the breathtakingly beautiful and blissfully tourist-free Capri and can’t help thinking how very lucky I am to experience this tiny Italian island winter, spring, summer and fall; 365 days a year.


Ohh, your so lucky Camilla being able to stay.. its my fav. place on earth…and I hope one day to return and never have to leave again.

posted by catherine arlebjer on 02.09.13 at 7:59 pm

Hi Catherine, if one day you go back here, please, let us know! We will happy to heard and share your experience about living in Capri!

posted by camilla on 02.11.13 at 8:35 am

Hi Catherine, I googled “living in Capri in winter” and of course your article was exactly what I was looking for! I am not, alas, planning a permanent move to Capri but having holidayed for a week at a time for 3 years and going back this June, I am considering taking my two pre-school age daughters to live in Italy for a few months next year to learn some Italian. Winter/Spring would be the ideal time and Capri would be perfect. Do you know of anyone else who has done something like this? Would it be easy to get an Italian language teacher? How about apartment rentals in winter/spring? Do small kids have places to play, playgrounds etc? I would love to get some answers to these questions. I will have a look around in June when I am there too. You are indeed very lucky to enjoy Capri all to yourself in the off season. Such a beautiful place that certainly doesn’t need Louis Vuitton to enhance its appeal!

posted by Maura on 04.18.13 at 10:16 am

Hi Maura,
I’ll try to help you…. I don’t know any foreign who lives in Capri in winter time, but there are several who move here in spring/summer, to work in tourism industry.

There isn’t a language school in Capri, but it shouldn’t be a problem to find a private teacher, I know two or three people how could help you.

About the apartment rentals, the prices are less expensive in winter (before Easter), but always expensive for the italian standard. The rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is around 1000 € for month (or maybe less if you leave it before Easter). There is a little playground, but here there children usually play in the street. It’s not dangerous at all :)

posted by Camilla on 04.19.13 at 7:59 am

Thanks so much for your reply. Once we have a clearer idea of time frame etc i will come back to you, if you don’t mind, for names of possible Italian teachers and realtors for apartment rental. Thanks again!

posted by Maura on 06.01.13 at 3:43 am


Could you please help me get in touch with Italian language tutors on Capri?

Grazie mille,

posted by Carol on 06.19.13 at 7:13 pm

Dear Camilla,

The only time I can come and visit Italy is in the winter time. I am planning on staying in Sorrento for 4 nights and taking a day trip to Capri on January 5, 2015. Do you know if the Monte Salaio or Blue Grotto might be open during that time? If not, what can you see there during the winter?


posted by Deb Chase on 04.29.14 at 6:00 pm

Hi Camilla
I loved reading this! Capri should be one of the most beautiful islands, my grandparents have done a lot of traveling in Italy but they left their hearts on Capri. What is the job situation like? I’ve always wanted to work in Italy and Capri just speaks to me. I’ve done a lot of bartending and worked as a waiter. Do you think there would be any chance for a hard working 23 year old Danish girl?

posted by Caroline Bruun on 06.09.14 at 2:39 pm

The tourism industry here works well, I believe that you could have some chance to find a summer job here. After this season (around December) try to send your CV to the hotels in Capri.

posted by alessandro on 06.10.14 at 8:20 am
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