2 restaurant views show how different visiting the glittering island of Capri is if you're not loaded with cash

Capri portCapri portTom Murray / Business Insider

  • I recently visited the paradisical Italian island of Capri, which has welcomed pretty much every A-list celebrity you could think of.
  • I took the ferry over from Naples, along with thousands of other people, to spend the day on the island beloved by the glitterati.
  • During my stay, I ate at the five-star Hotel Punta Tragara's Le Monzù restaurant, which boasts some of the most exclusive views on the entire island.
  • It was a stark contrast to the tourist trap restaurants in Marina Grande where the boatloads of tourists are off-loaded and loaded.
  • Two different restaurants proved to be a metaphor for Capri, which is best enjoyed with a wallet full of cash.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

I recently had the good fortune to visit the glittering Italian island of Capri.

Capri has always been a resort town, but the clientele has changed a bit since the days of vacationing Roman emperors. In the years since, the island has played host to pretty much every A-list celebrity you can think of, from George Clooney and Kim Kardashian to Cristiano Ronaldo and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Capri has everything the high budget traveler could wish for: secluded boutique hotels, designer shopping, elegant dining options, and, importantly, somewhere to moor your yacht.

Read more: Positano - the colorful, Instagram-famous town on Italy's Amalfi Coast - is almost comically beautiful, but be prepared to deal with hordes of tourists and sky-high prices

However, you don't have to stay in one of the luxury hotels or a superyacht in order to experience the island's beauty. I, like many others, took a day trip to Capri, utilizing one of the many ferries and hydrofoils that leave from nearby Naples.

Ferries in NaplesFerries in NaplesTom Murray / Business Insider

During the day, the island swells as thousands of day-trippers make the pilgrimage across the bay of Naples. At the height of summer, Capri can welcome up to 15,000 visitors a day from these ferries and cruises, according to The Telegraph, which is a problem, the island's mayor has said recently.

Giovanni De Martino told The Telegraph back in 2017: "There's the risk that Capri could explode - you can't fit a liter and a half of water into a one-liter bottle."

Nevertheless, Capri continues to welcome legions of tourists to its shores every morning, just for them to leave again, their wallets a little lighter a few hours later.

Read more: I visited Pompeii in the middle of Europe's deadly heat wave, and I couldn't believe how many tourists braved the sweltering temperatures

While the day-trippers and long-haulers may share the island while the sun is up, their experiences are very different to those who can afford to stay there, as I found out when I visited the five-star Hotel Punta Tragara, which counts Hugh Jackman among its A-list guests.

Hotel Punta TragaraHotel Punta Tragara, Capri.Tom Murray / Business Insider

Situated a 10-minute amble from Capri's town center, Punta Tragara is ideally located for VIPs who want to stay incognito without being totally off the grid.

Its location on the southeastern tip of the island offers unparalleled views of the Faraglioni rock formations, which jut dramatically out of the Mediterranean. Tourists often walk all the way to the hotel just to stand outside and take photos of the view.

It goes without saying, then, that the Punta Tragara's first-floor restaurant, Le Monzù, offers a staggering backdrop for your meal.

Here's the view from Hotel Punta Tragara's Le Monzù restaurant:

Punta Tragara viewPunta Tragara viewTom Murray / Business Insider

However, all this scenery doesn't come cheap. I ordered a Caprese salad (pictured on the right), which is an immensely simple dish of sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil. Delicious though it was, the €26 ($29) price tag was pretty eye-watering.

As I reluctantly left the island that afternoon, I snapped a photo of one of the tourist trap restaurants by Capri's Marina Grande, which is where all the ferries make their drop-offs.

Here's the view from one of the restaurants by Marina Grande:

Capri restaurantCapri restaurantTom Murray / Business Insider

It wasn't necessarily an awful place to eat, but the views of countless tourists spilling out of and onto ferries while taxis zoomed past was a far cry from the oasis of calm I'd experienced just a few hours ago.

It's likely that Capri's high-profile visitors never see this part of town, as they're more likely to be dropped off by private boat at a more secret location, and they certainly won't be riding the €2 funicular up to the main square.

The two restaurant views served as a metaphor for Capri as a whole. While taking the ferry over to Capri for the day will allow you to see the island in all its splendor, you won't really be experiencing all it has to offer unless you can afford to splash the cash.

Capri blew me away with its combination of natural beauty and man-made luxury, but I've decided I'm going to wait until I'm a millionaire to go back. How long can it take?

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