Why go?
This beautiful island off the Bay of Naples has been a playground for the rich and powerful since Roman times, and its dramatic rocky backdrops, lush vegetation, sublime views and libertine ways continue to captivate. A favourite of Gracie Fields and Graham Greene (and more recently Liz Hurley and Oprah Winfrey), it remains a byword for Mediterranean chic. Early summer is a good time to get in before the heat and crowds of July and August.

The journey
EasyJet (0870.6000.000, www.easyjet.com) flies from Stansted to Naples from £55 return, including taxes and internet discount. From the airport a taxi to the central quay of Molo Beverello costs about £18, a bus £2. There are regular hydrofoils to Capri (50 minutes; £8.50; details on www.caprionline.com). Once on Capri, your luggage will be collected by quayside porters as you head for your hotel by bus, funicular railway or opentopped taxi.

The hotels
(Prices are for a double room, with breakfast, in high season.) £215 Sumptuous drapes, Romanstyle columns and a beauty farm have made this fi vestar extravaganza in Anacapri a favoured sanctuary for celebrities. If you can?t stretch to the £1,530anight “Harrison Ford” Megaron suite, with private swimming pool, £10 will buy a Bellini cocktail (peach juice and sparkling white wine) i the Bar degli Artisti.
Capri Palace Hotel and Spa, Via Capodimonte 2b (0039 081 978 0111, www.capripalace.com). £160 A grand 19thcentury villa converted into a neoclassical hotel less than fi ve minutes? walk from the bustle of the Piazzetta.it
boasts a beautiful garden (with lemon trees and grapebearing cherub), swimming pool and rooms with sea views. A restful oasis.
La Pazziella Via PR Giuliani 4 (0039 081 837 0044). £160 A wisterialined path leads down to this welcoming fourstar in a dramatic position overlooking the sea at the southern end of Capri town. Large swimming pool and rooms with views of the landmark Faraglioni rocks.
Hotel Luna, Via O Matteotti 3(0039 081 837 0433, www.lunahotel.com). £84 Bright, cheerful, welllocated bolthole offering goodvalue accommodation. Ask for a room with a terrace and/or views of the sea and the Carthusian monastery. La Tosca, Via D Birago 5(0039081 837 0989).

The restaurants
(Prices are for three courses, excluding drinks.) £25 Dine with the stars (or at least photographs of them adorning the walls) at this restaurant offering Caprese classics such as linguine al sugo di scorfano (linguine with scorpion fi sh sauce). Pink table cloths and waiters? waistcoats set a friendly tone. Ask for a table in the “winter garden”. La Capannina, To Le Botteghe 12/14 (0039 081 837 0732). Must book. £15 The Buca di Bacco is a lively trattoria just off the Piazzetta serving excellent ravioli alla caprese and a “fi sh soup” of locally caught offerings. The Belsito is also strong on seafood (try the prawn risotto) and has a terrace with great views. In Anacapri, La Rondinella offers excellent antipasti, grilled lobster and desserts. Buca di Bacco da Serafina Via Longano 35(0039081 837 0723);
Belsito, Via Matermania 9(0039 081 837 8750);
La Rondinella, Via C Orlandi 295(0039081 837 1223).

The classic sight
The brilliant, translucent colour of the water in the Blue Grotto has been the island?s strongest pull ever since 1826. Best seen as part of a roundtheisland boat trip from Marina Grande (16.50), which includes stops at the green and white grottos and the Faraglioni rocks.

The alternative sight
The depiction of Adam and Eve on the majolica tiled fl oor of the church of Chiesa Monumentale San Michele in Anacapri.

The beaches
Let?s face it, you don?t go to Capri for the sights, so when the jostling daytrippers get too much, do what the Italians do and head for the bagni, the pebble coves and rocky outcrops that serve as beaches. Hire a long chair (or mattress), swim a little, pose a lot and have a leisurely lunch.

The big night out
The four bars on the Piazzetta, described as Europe?s largest outdoor living room, are the best place to enjoy cocktails and catch the buzz of Capri. Another good spot is the terrace bar at the Hotel Quisisana at the top of the designer boutique heartland of Via Camerelle. Later on there?s dancing on the tables at the Taverna Anema e Core (Via Sella Orta 39/e).

The walk
For such a small island, Capri offers a surprising range of paved walks. One of the nicest is the 40minute uphill stroll from Capri town to the Villa Jovis, dramatically perched on rocks at the easternmost point of the island. This is where, according to legend, the Emperor Tiberius enjoyed a debauched old age.

The shops
£250 buys a sequinned bustier from Bencivenga (Via Fuorlovado 6). £44 is the cost of a 1932 edition of The Story of San Michele by Axel Munthe from La Conchiglia (Via Camerelle 18). £29 is the starting price for handmade sandals from Antonio Viva's L'Arte del Sandalo Caprese (Via G Orlandi 75). £9 buys a 240g vacuumpacked Caprissima chocolate and almond cake from Casanova (Via Le Botteghe 46).

The guidebook
Time Out: Naples, Capri, Sorrento & the Amalfi Coast (Penguin, £11.99). An audio guide to the island costs £2 a day from the Capri tourist offi ces in Capri town (Piazza Umberto 1, 0039 081 837 0686), Marina Grande (Banchina dei Porto, 0039 081 837 0634) and Anacapri (Via G Orlandi 59, 0039 081 837 1524).

What?s on when
In Anacapri, the feast of St Anthony will be celebrated on .June 13 with processions, music and displays. During the summer classical concerts are held every Friday at the Villa San Michele. Further details from the Capri tourist office (www.capritourism.com and above) and the Italian Tourist Board (020 7408 1254, www.enit.it).

...by naming the Russian writer who entertained
Vladimir Ilyich enin on Capri.
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