Monte Solaro, Capri

Monte Solaro offers some of the most exquisite views across the island of Capri and beyond.

Monte Solaro

The mountain stands 589 metres above sea level and boasts the highest vantage point on the island. From the peak, you can see the Bay of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and the mountains of Calabria in the distance.

If you’re exploring Capri, Monte Solaro is a must-do if you want to witness the beauty of the island and dig deep into its natural history.

How to Get to Monte Solaro

The quickest, easiest, and most fun way to get to the top of Monte Solaro is by taking the 12-minute chairlift ride. After climbing into your single-seat chairlift at the base in Piazza Vittoria, you will slowly start to ascend the mountain. Be aware that if you have children (particularly those that are likely to wriggle), then the chairlift may not be suitable.

As you approach the summit, you will be able to gaze across the beautiful scenery, with its lush green foliage extending towards the rocky cliffsides and the glittering blue sea. As you graze the treetops, take this opportunity to appreciate the vast beauty of this area and, if you’re holding on to your camera tightly, take some of the most stunning pictures of the island.

If you would prefer to walk to the top then you can expect the journey to take between an hour and an hour and a half, depending on how leisurely you like your walks to be.

Monte Solaro is often called ‘cloud catcher’ by the locals due to the clouds of fog that accumulate around the peak in the mornings and evenings. To make sure that you have the best views across Capri when you reach the top, it is best for you to travel during the middle of the day. If you do choose to take the chairlift then make sure you wear sunblock since the chairs are uncovered and you will be fully exposed to the sun.

Things to Do on Monte Solaro

Monte Solaro Chairlift

Once you’re at the top of Monte Solaro, there are plenty of things for you to do, whether you’re looking to marvel at the beautiful array of plant species or dig deep into the fascinating history of the island. Either see the locations close to the chairlift before you take the lift back down or take a tour of the nearby sights as you walk back down the mountain.

Close to the top of the chairlift, you can discover some of Capri’s history at the remains of Fortino di Bruto which is located right near the chairlift. It was originally a military fort built by the British, and it dates back to the beginning of the 1800s.

Next, you can check out Santa Maria Cetrella. This 15th-century hermitage and church perches on the mountainside and can be reached by a winding path that meanders through a wooded copse of pine and chestnut trees. There are two theories as to how the area got its name. The first is that it was named after the lemon-scented herb that grows there, and the second theory states that it was named after the goddess Venera Citerea. Rumour has it that there used to be a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess here.

At the site, you can visit the chapel, see the bell tower, and take a tour of the cells that once housed Dominican and Franciscan friars. You can also witness the church’s famous painting of the Virgin Mary, which is thought to have been an icon for sailors in times gone by.

Further down the hill, perched upon the cliffs, are the ruins of Castello Barbarossa. This ancient castle is rumoured to be around 1,000 years old and gained its name from the fearsome Ottoman pirate, Barbarossa or ‘Redbeard’ who invaded in 1535 and destroyed it in 1544.

In 1898 the ruins were purchased by Swedish psychiatrist, Axel Munthe, who wanted to protect the abundant wildlife surrounding it from destruction. Munthe was a famous opponent to hunting and he made the castle a sanctuary for birds. The site is now an observation station recognised by the WWF and is used to study the migratory habits of the local birds. Though the castle is normally closed to visitors, the surrounding wild landscape is beautiful and offers stunning views across Monte Solaro and over Capri. Butterfly and fern gardens are found here, and flower lovers should keep an eye out for the rich collection of plants, including orchids, heather, juniper, and narcissus. And, if you look closely, you may even spot one of Capri’s vibrant blue lizards!

What you can see from Monte Solaro

Monte Solaro View

From this fabulous height, you can expect the views to be spectacular. On a clear day, you will be able to see as far as the islands of Ischia and Procida at the northern end of the Bay of Naples. Closer to the island, you will see the Sorrento Peninsula and even the iconic outline of Mount Vesuvius.

One of the best sights to see from Monte Solaro are the Faraglioni Rocks. These sea stacks jut from the water and tower over the nearby bays. Each rock has a name so you can try to spot each of them from your viewpoint. The closest rock to the shore is named Stella, the middle stack featuring the stone archway is called Faraglione di Mezzo, and the last is named Faraglioni di Fuori (or sometimes, Scopolo)

A tour to the top of Monte Solaro is a fantastic way to see what the island of Capri has to offer. Not just a spot for wealthy holidaymakers, this area boasts incredible wildlife and landscapes that are waiting to be explored.

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