Pasta, Pizza, Prosecco – yes please! I recently just returned to the States from what was an amazing summer abroad. Four countries, multiple cities and endless memories, it was truly a summer I’ll never forget. But before jet setting home, I had to top off the summer with a trip to one of my most desired destinations… Italy!
For two months I’d been studying in France taking courses to enhance my French language, yet the moment I arrived in Italy all of my French went out the door . . . “Je ne parle pas Italiano!”
I had thought long and hard about where I wanted to visit in Italy, there’s just so many amazing places to chose from! Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Tuscany… the list goes on, but, when it was all said and done, I felt confiendent settling on a trip to the beautiful Amalfi Coast. I wanted somewhere that was a little bit off the beaten path, less touristy, and more picturesque, and Amalfi was just that and more.
You never really know what you’re going to get when you set off on an adventure… sometimes you wind up at the best little hole in the wall restaurant and other times you take the wrong bus and end up in tim buc tu, but hey, it’s all part of the game, therefor, in this travel diary, not only am I sharing my favorite eats, sights and wardrobe, but also some travel tips on what NOT to do when traveling the Amalfi Coast, because from experience, the must do’s are just as important as the must nots… enjoy!
G E T T I N G T O T H E A M A L F I C O A S T
I will be honest, getting to the Amalfi Coast can be quite a hassle depending on which route you chose to take. My mom and I flew in to the Naples airport where we then caught a shuttle bus (Ali Bus) which took us directly to the Port where our ferry was departing. Tickets for this shuttle are super cheap and are available for purchase right at the airport. To reach this shuttle, follow the marked signs to the exit of the airport and from there, look for signs directing to the “Ali Bus.”
Once we reached the port, we boarded a ferry to Sorrento. Because Amalfi is a small village, there are not any direct ferries from Naples, hence why we took our first ferry to Sorrento where we then switched boats in Sorrento and boarded a ferry for Amalfi. All in all, the ferry time was about three hours, so it was quite lengthy.
If you’re not working with a tight budget, taxi’s can be reserved from the Naples airport and taken to Amalfi. However, be prepared to fly down windy roads and pay up to 150 E!
Travel Tip: Allow plenty of time for travel and avoid booking important/costly events on the same day in case of a travel mishap, delay, etc.
W H E R E T O S T A Y
One thing you’ll notice about these small little fisherman towns is that there aren’t really any of those big chain hotels, which I actually liked! We stayed at “Hotel La Ninfa” which was what could be compared to in the States as a bed and breakfast. It was a cute little white building hanging off the side of a cliff with large windows overlooking the sea and rooms decorated in pretty whites and blues. For what we paid, it was the perfect fit. Breakfast was served each morning, the space was clean and the employees were so kind and not to mention the internet connection was excellent! However, it was a bit off the beaten path and about a mile out of Amalfi. If I were to visit the Amalfi Coast again, I would recommend staying closer to the city center.
Travel Tip: Before booking a hotel, check it’s location in regards to your most desired destinations on your itinerary to be sure you’re as close as possible to the most attractions.
T R A N S P O R T A T I O N
Let’s just say that the transportation in Amalfi (Italy in general) was a little “iffy.” For starters, avoid taxi’s at all costs, especially when you first arrive and the drivers see you struggling with your luggage. They will offer you a ride, but “forget” to mention the luggage charge for the ride, for example, we were charged 30E for a 5 minute taxi ride to our hotel just up the hill. So please, avoid them at all cost! The most common way of getting around the Amalfi Coast is by bus, however, we never quite figured out the bus system as the schedules were unpredictable and often times inaccurate. But, when you do get a chance to take the bus, it is a cheap ticket and a quick ride, but be prepared to get cozied up to the person next to you… they pack you in tight! Another way of getting from town to town is by boat. One morning we decided to visit Positano and went by boat. With several departure and return times it allowed for just the right amount of time for a day in Positano.
Travel Tip: ALWAYS, always, always know exactly which bus/boat/car you are getting into and which direction it is going to avoid a costly mishap in the wrong direction.
W H E R E T O E A T
Literally everything in Italy is edible, it’s so mouthwatering good!!! Okay.. I may be exaggerating a bit but you get the point. When it comes to eating your way through the Amalfi Coast, it’s nice and easy because while there are so many restaurants and places to chose from it allows you to explore your options and never have to wait on a table and while sure some places may be better than others, all of the restaurants offer delicious menus with Italian classics. My mom and I enjoyed starting our evening dining off with a happy hour drink around 5 o’clock in the city center where it was entertaining to people watch while sipping on Lemon Spritz’z and Mimosa’s (Italy is known for it’s fresh lemons and oranges!) and nibbling on the complimentary snack tray delivered with drink orders. For dinner, we dined at a few different restaurants, but the Silver Moon along the beach front and Ristorante “La Piazzetta” were our favorites. The Silver Moon had a wonderful wait staff who were so friendly and made our dinner so much more enjoyable. The bruschetta, strawberry feta salad and calzone are all amazing… we came back here twice because we enjoyed everything so much! On our last night, we ate at Ristorante “La Piazzetta” where they specialized in home made Italian fare. Here, we shared some of the best cannelloni pasta and finished off with the tastiest tiramisu and chocolate mouse cake. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Let’s not forget about the gelato… an absolute MUST in Italy. I think we had gelato probably everyday but two? Because what they heck, you don’t get stuff this good back home. All in all, the food in Italy is amazing and you can’t go wrong… just be sure you know EXACTLY what is in the meal you’re ordering, spaghetti isn’t always “spaghetti.”
Travel Tip: Always read the menu and google (ask about) ingredients you’re not too sure about… sending food back to the kitchen is a big no no and could cause you to receive bad service for the rest of the night!
W H E R E T O G O
The Amalfi Coast is beautiful and there is so much to see and do. Amalfi itself is quite small and you probably won’t want to plan on spending your entire vacation in this one spot when several other little towns are just a ride away. Our first day, we took an all day boat excursion to Capri. This was on of my favorite days. The tour took us out on the stunning blue waters, stopped at a couple grottos, included swimming time and gave us three hours of free time on the island of Capri. We pre-booked with “Amalfi Boat Excursions” and had a wonderful experience. I would highly recommend doing this for a day! Another fun thing to do is day trips to nearby towns. Each little village is unique in it’s own way. I really enjoyed Positano for it’s shops and beachfront while Amalfi seemed to have a better dining atmosphere. If visiting, you’ll notice that there are lemon stores everywhere… they key is to find the good ones that offer samples on everything! The lemons here are phenomenal and HUGE. I have never seen a lemon that’s near the size of a football, here, it’s normal.
Travel Tip: Plan ahead and do your research. To save time and money figuring out the best way to get from point A to B and what to do when you get there, look ahead at everything you want to do before your trip for the ultimate getaway!
I could go on and on about the Amalfi Coast (I know this was so long!!) and I probably missed a million things, but for anyone traveling to the Amalfi Coast or even for those who have been, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any travel questions or just to share your experience!