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17 August 2015

Capraia Travel Journal

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have noticed that last week I was on holiday in a small island in the Tuscan Archipelago called Capraia. While I was there, I documented what I did by taking pictures and keeping a journal. So here it goes...
I decided to add information for those of you who liked the place and are thinking of travelling here. At the bottom of the post: How to get here, Things you absolutely need to bring to Capraia if you're planning a trip there!, Should I travel to Capraia if...? DOs and DON'Ts and Other information.

Day 1

We left very early in the morning from Florence and drove to Livorno. We then got a ferry from Livorno to Capraia. After three hours of journey when we read, watched a choking pug on board and enjoyed the views we got to the island and felt very excited.

Capraia from a distance on the ferry!
 This was the first view of the actual island from the ferry!

Being under the sun at 12 in August in Italy was no easy task. However, we didn't lose hope and ran after a bus that would accompany us to the main and only town - the only bus, we later found out, that runs from the harbourside to the town every twenty minutes, every single day (which is enough on a small island).

We found the house we rented which was lovely. It was super colourful (mainly blue and red) and welcoming: a typical seaside house. 
The alley where we stayed. Our house was the blue one.
After we took out our things from the suitcases, we went for a walk around to see what the town and harbourside were like. 
The main square and church

My favourite local shop :)

Lovely doors :)
The beautiful harbourside <3


I immediately loved the atmosphere on this island. People are very friendly and there is a strong local culture. August is actually the best time to come to Capraia as most activities are organised then when most tourists go to visit. All local shops and cafes were open as you can see from the pictures. 

We got to the closest bay, Cala di San Francesco, and took a bath there. The bay itself is nice, but there are usually quite a lot of people as it's close to the town and families go there to avoid long treks or the taxi-boat service. The first bath was obviously amazing as we couldn't wait to go in. The sea bottom was cool but not too special as there weren't many fish and there was a lot of seaweed.

We stopped at an exhibition inside the main tower by a local artist. I love that wherever you go in Italy local art and products are so valued.



Later on, we went to watch the sunset at the harbourside. The walk from the town to the harbourside is a pleasant one. The best bit is enjoying the view of the sea from the road while you're walking down. It's beautiful at both day and night, when you can see the lights of the restaurants and houses.
 Sunset at the harbourside 
We found out that the island has an open air cinema (basically a white curtain on which they projected downloaded movies plus some chairs, but it does the job:) and watched The Fault in Our Stars. 

Day 2
Waking up in a different place from home was cool. You know that feeling when you are travelling and love getting up in a different place? That one. I did some meditation and basic yoga then got out and breathed the new, seaside air.

In the morning we went on a two hour-tour around the island on a rubber boat that we'd booked the day before (which was slightly traumatising - read more about the tour here). Here are some pictures of the caves and the bays we stopped at.
Our little boat :)
The map of the island!



Cala Rossa
The caves

The grey stones come from the vulcano explosions that occurred 9 million and 4 million years ago!
After lunch, we went on a half hour-hike to Cala dello Zurletto which was nicer than San Francesco (cleaner and a little bit comfier). We took a bath, read our books and chatted then went back home.
At night we went back to the harbourside and had an ice cream, then walked along the harbourside and made a mental list of the best and worst boats. It was fun :)

Day 3  
It had been raining at night and in the morning it rained again. This wasn't too bad news as the air would cool down a bit and allow us to go trekking around the island.
We got a jumper and walked around, taking beautiful pictures after the rain had cleared the air. 



We got up the Punta del Belvedere and simply contemplated the landscape from there, which was breathtaking.
After lunch we watched Insurgent then went on an epic trek to Cala del Ceppo (=Bay of the Log) - you can read more about it here. It took all the afternoon and it was very hard but all worth it.
The track

Cala del Ceppo

At night, motivated by our challenging trek, we watched Wild, a film on trekking and life with an amazing Reese Witherspoons (who inspired my next trek!).

Day 4
I woke up and did some meditation and basic yoga to reset. Sometimes humans need to reset just like machines.
We had to buy some food that we ran out of like fruit and water (we brought as much as possible from home as there is no big supermarket) and found out that the local market was super expensive and not very well equipped. Ah well.
After lunch, we went on another trek to Cala del Porto Vecchio. This time it was a shorter one and an easier one considering that the road was accessible, not a wild one.

 Cala di Porto Vecchio
A cow! 
In the evening we were so tired we didn't even go out.

Day 5
Standby mode. We decided to take some time off our exhausting treks; we went to Torre al Bagno (=Tower to the Bath) which was closer to the town and still amazing. Getting to the rocks was still a very steep track, but it only lasted around 10 minutes and an overall walk of 20 minutes to the town.
Torre al Bagno offers more room to sit down, and even with many people it's quite easy to find a space with even rocks.

This book is hilarious - I will be posting the review soon

In the evening we were less tired than usual and decided to go to the harbourside where we had fritto di calamari (=fried fish). Instead of eating in the restaurant we took away the food and ate it on the harbour cala. It was so good! We also had an ice cream with lower expectations this time as we already knew it wasn't the best haha!
Day 6
Taxi boat day! Ready for a new adventure, we sailed to Punta della Teglia (=point of the casserole) with other few people. This was one probably the most beautiful cala as you could sit quite easily (considering the island's standards) and the water is clearer as the sea bottom is less deep. We had fun throwing bread at the fish which ate it super quickly, and just going into the water exploring the sea bottom. 
I started my new book, How To Be Good by Nick Hornby (review coming up soon) and felt sad to have finished Sophie Kinsella's hilarious book. Readers' problems.
We went back around 5 and bought some more fruit and veggies at the supermarket. The one at the harbourside is more furnished than the one in town.

Day 7
We rented a small boat for ourselves and I got to drive it! It was so exciting. We stopped at Cala Rossa, Cala della Caribicina and Cala del Ceppo to go into the water. I didn't stay in the water for long as stopping the boat and just listening to the waves felt like a lullaby. I even fell asleep!

At night we went to have dinner at Nonno Beppe (=Grandpa Beppe) which was delicious. We ordered some fresh raw fish and fried fish plus fried courgettes. Even if the restaurant looks quite rustic from the outside, the dishes were sophisticated and all worth trying!
Day 8
The last day the weather wasn't great. We decided to pack and leave with the earlier ferry. We didn't feel too sad as it we had a great time and felt like a week was enough on the island. However, Capraia did leave a mark in our heart <3
Showing my love to the sea of Capraia <3

How to get here
Get to Livorno, Porto Mediceo by car - there is a car park for 5€ / day. Take the Toremar ferry (20€/ person). More info here.

Things you absolutely need to bring to Capraia if you're planning a trip there!
- Diver's mask plus mouthpiece to watch the sea bottom.
- Shoes to walk on the rocks. You won't be able to go into the water without them.
- Bathing suits and towels. Ya know, it's an island.
- Comfy trainers!!! You can't buy them here, only flip flops or shoes for the rocks.
-  Food, if you can. The supermarkets are very expensive and not very well furnished.
- Books to read! Do it for your soul.

Should I travel to Capraia if...? DOs and DON'Ts
- DO travel to Capraia if you have an adventurous spirit! In that case, it will be an amazing experience.
- DO travel to Capraia if you want to relax on a desert island and embrace the beauty of life.
- DO travel to Capraia if you want to breathe fresh air, bathe in clear, magic water, and do some wild trekking.
- DON'T travel to Capraia if you have any issues with your legs or back. Walking is easy only in the town and the harbourside. Most roads are steep and natural tracks are wild like crazy. Besides, there is only one beach with beach umbrellas and a way to sit down properly. All the other accesses to the sea are uncomfy rocks.
- DON'T do the island tour on the rubber boat with the caves if you're claustrophobic.
- DON'T travel to Capraia if you need to work online. There is no internet, like anywhere (only a tiny bit in the town and harbourside).

Other information
- The best time to come here is July and August. The second week of August offers many activities (yoga, fun catwalks, little markets, etc...). The weather may be cooler at the end of August / beginning of September. 
- To get to Capraia you need first to get to Livorno, Porto Mediceo (the harbourside) then get a ferry to the island (20/ person)
- There are two agencies at the harbourside you can rent boats with: Agenzia della Rosa and Agenzia Parco. We usually went to the latter.
- From these agencies you can rent a trip to Corsica for a day, taxi boats for 10per person (>< Cala della Carbicina is 15) that bring you to a bay in the morning then back in the afternoon. You can also book a guided two-hour trip or a four-hour trip around the island, or your own boat for around 3 hours.
- There are no hotels, you can rent a house like we did from the website www.casevacanze.it
- There is a bus service that goes from the harbour to the town every 20 minutes (1 / person).
- There is a cash machine in the town.
- There is a bookshop!! (to my immense joy)
- There are two info points (town / harbourside) that are always very helpful.
- There is little internet (only in town / harbourside) and no wifi.

8 comments:

  1. Great post!! amazing trip diary! Id love to visit there :)
    Would you like to follow each other in GFC, Bloglovin and Instagram (my name is @travelera.es )
    Let me know so I can follow you!
    Keep in touch xxx
    www.travelera.es

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    1. Hi lovely! Thank you so much for passing from my blog and commenting :) No problem, I'm always up to exchanging likes with other bloggers - I think we should support each other! Going to check your blog now.

      Assia | www.assiashahin.com

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  2. beautiful photos! Looks like you had such a nice time :)

    www.anacelinelabod.com

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    1. Aw thank you so much! Yes I did actually :)

      Assia | www.assiashahin.com

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  3. What an absolutely gorgeous place! I'm loving your photos!!!! Would love to visit!

    - Cielo
    Mermaid in Heels

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yeah it's a great place to visit, I'm sure you would love it :)

      Assia | www.assiashahin.com

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  4. These are beautiful photos!! I've definitely been keeping up with your Instagram and love it :) Thank you for sharing!

    http://cozycomfyhome.com/

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Lor, I really appreciate your support <3

      Assia | www.assiashahin.com

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