everything I wore below
A few weeks ago we had the most incredible vacation to date. The Amalfi Coast is an enchanting piece of Italian heaven that will leave you love struck after you’ve visited and will haunt your dreams forever (in a good way). It’s the single most beautiful place I’ve ever seen and has kept me daydreaming about it since we got back. From the charming town of Positano to the mesmerizing waters of Capri, the Amalfi Coast is a sight to see and a dream come true.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled to some incredible places over the years and I cannot express how superior the Amalfi Coast is to any other place we’ve visited. Every city has something unique to offer, but the Amalfi Coast surpassed our expectations for a romantic getaway. From the people to the food, to the views that literally take your breath away, the Amalfi Coast needs to be at the top of your bucket list. This is a place I can see us returning to in the future.
How to Get There
Let me tell you friends, it’s not easy, quick or cheap to get to the Amalfi Coast. I did a lot of research prior to see what would be the fastest and most affordable way to get to there. There are many routes you can take but we wanted to save some money so this is what we did. We flew from Dallas to Detroit to Rome (Leonardo da Vinci International Airport). From the Rome airport we took a 30 minute train to the Roma Termini train station (15€ per person) then took the fast train (1 hour) to the Naples Central Train Station (90€ per person). From there, we had a shuttle take us to our hotel in Praiano which took about 2 hours.
You don’t have to buy your train tickets in advance. They have kiosks at the train stations and trains depart and arrive several times per hour. For the shuttle, we used Seahorse Car Service and paid 140€ round trip for a shared shuttle. You can do a private shuttle for 240€ round trip. We got lucky and paid for the shared shuttle and ended up not having to share with anyone which was very comfortable and we didn’t have to waste time dropping people off at their hotels.
We flew into Rome since we wanted to make a stop there after our time in the Amalfi Coast but you can also fly into Naples and avoid all the trains we took and take a shuttle to your hotel or a ferry to Positano from the airport. Flying into Naples is more expensive since it’s a smaller airport.
Best Time to Visit
Anytime we think of place we want to visit we always start with the same question, “when is the best time to visit that place?” In most places, there is always a high and a low season and a time when the weather is best. This also means that the prices will vary depending on those times. If you read my How We Travel on a Budget blog post or my Cancun Travel Guide, I’ve gone into more detail on this subject.
90% of the Amalfi Coast closes after October and reopens after Easter. Most of the hotels are only open during the late spring and summer months so this is something big to take into consideration when planning your trip. The best time to visit is late April and May. This is when the weather is a perfect 70 degrees and it’s not packed with tourists. The Amalfi Coast is busiest in the summer months of June, July and August and it’s also very hot. Take the heat and crowds into consideration when booking. We went the second week of May and had perfect weather with an exception of some cloudy and chillier days which is very very rare for this area. Also, the water was very cold so if you don’t mind the crowds and can afford the high season prices, then go in the summer months.
Where to Stay
When looking at hotels I wanted something authentic and of course beautiful. I originally wanted to stay in Positano since it’s the most popular town in the Amalfi Coast. I was bummed to find that many hotels were fully booked or the remaining rooms were outrageously expensive for the quality. There was no way we were paying upwards of $600 a night for a 3-star quality hotel room. That’s when I discovered the neighboring town of Praiano and the hotel we ended up booking: Grand Hotel Tritone
The Grand Hotel Tritone is located between the towns of Positano and Amalfi and from the moment I saw it I fell in love. The views, the room, the staff and the property is absolutely stunning. It’s the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever stayed at. It may have been the exhaustion from 18+ hours of travel, but when I walked in to the hotel and was escorted around the property tears filled my eyes! I was so happy to be there and it was so much better in person than I could have ever imagined. So much so that when we returned I left a raving review on every site I could find which pretty much sums up our feelings towards this place. I completely recommend staying in Praiano vs Positano because it’s such a close distance yet the town is so peaceful and quiet and the prices are much more affordable. See my review above.
Where to Eat
Our breakfast was included in the hotel which was so nice. There was an array of meats, cheeses, juices, pastries, fruit and anything you could want! The cappuccinos were our absolute favorite! The coffee in Italy is incredible. I actually do not like cappuccinos in the states because they taste so strong to me, but we had them in Italy at least 3 times a day! We added a packet of brown sugar and they were to die for.
Collina Bakery – This place is such a great spot for a cheap breakfast or lunch. Since our hotel had an incredible breakfast buffet, we did not eat breakfast anywhere but we did have lunch here. They have any and all the pastries you could dream of, coffee, drinks, pizza, and pasta. They also have the best lemon gelato that is served inside a lemon. This one is a must!
For lunch we honestly just popped into a lot of bakeries and quick shops wherever we were. We had pizza and bruschetta most of the time and always ordered gelato for dessert. We really wanted to keep lunch inexpensive since we were splurging for dinner every night.
Buca di Bacco Bar – This is a great place for drinks in the heart of Positano. We sat down for almost two hours enjoying an Aperol Spritz relaxing, talking and just taking in the sun and views.
Le Sirenuse – This is the most expensive hotel in Positano and very popular for their incredible views. We had dinner at the Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar & Grill. It’s very swanky and nice so make sure you dress appropriately. They have the best views that you definitely pay for in their food. The food was good but not the best. Overall, expensive but gorgeous views and fancy atmosphere.
Il Pirata – This was my favorite location! It’s located right off the water in Praiano and just walking there was so beautiful. This was surprisingly one of the more affordable places we dined at. The Amalfi Coast is known for their seafood, so it’s the main cuisine in most restaurants. We both had great dishes and a glass of wine and truly enjoyed the evening.
La Tagliata – This was our last dinner in Positano and it was so good! It was my favorite meal there. The restaurant is farm to table and served family style. It’s located up in the mountains and they grow all their food there. The restaurant arranges to pick you up at your Positano hotel (or at a location in Positano if you’re not staying there) and brings you back after dinner. It’s 50€ per person which includes an appetizer, pasta, meat, salad, dessert and unlimited red or white wine. So needless to say you get your moneys worth. It was such a romantic place and we had the best meal!
What to Do
We were in the Amalfi Coast for 6 days and did so much. I think you can totally see it all in maybe 4 days total but we really wanted to take our time with this trip and get to know the area. We were so glad we did that many days because we didn’t feel like we needed to get everything checked off a list and really got to enjoy our time there and relax.
- Take a day trip to Capri. This was my favorite thing we did. We took a boat ride directly from out hotel to Capri and toured the island. The excursion was about 8 hours or so and we did 4 hours on the boat where you could swim, and 4 hours on the island. Capri is known as a celeb vacation spot because of it’s beautiful waters and charming towns. We spent a couple of hours in the Capri city center and shopped around, admired the views, had lunch and ate gelato. Then we spend the other half of our time in Anacapri. We took a lift up to the top of the island and took in the heavenly views. I totally recommend doing the lift (12€ per person)! Although it was a bit scary because of how high we were, the views were totally worth it and it was so much fun.
- Hang around Positano. The Italians sure do know how to relax, and when in Italy do as the Italians do and chill! Positano is such a lovely town but there really isn’t much to do but eat, shop for souvenirs, and lay on the beach which is basically all I want to do on vacation. Everywhere you look there’s an Instagram worthy spot and trust me, you will be taking pictures of everything. Park yourself at a bar at the beach and order an Aperol Spritz or a Lemoncello Spritz and take it all in. We also laid on the beach and people watched. We even witnessed an engagement!
- Visit Pompeii. This was so cool to see. Raymond enjoyed it a lot more than me, lol, but I did like it. The history of this ancient town was so interesting to get to know. We did a half day excursion and it was more than plenty of time to spend at the site.
- See Amalfi. Amalfi is such a cute town with lots of shops and a gorgeous beach. We spent about half a day there and had lunch, walked around, shopped and just hung out. It was so fun to take our time and explore the town.
- Take a day trip to Ravello. We did not have a chance to go to Ravello but we heard great things about it. It’s situated high on the mountains above the Amalfi Coast and it’s known for their beautiful gardens. This would be something fun to do too.
How to Get Around
Something important to know about the Amalfi Coast is how narrow and tight the winding roads are. There are only two lanes along the cliff, one for going and one for coming. We did not get stuck in much traffic which was so nice but I cannot imagine in the summer months how in the world you can get anywhere because of the limited road space. The driving is insane, it’s nauseating!
There was a bus stop right outside our hotel which is how we got around. There are several buses that take you all along the Amalfi Coast and it’s definitely the cheapest form of transportation. For the Sita bus, you need a ticket (2€) before you get on, which our hotel sold, or you can purchase at any little convenience store. There are several stops per hour all along the Amalfi Coast. The only cons to the bus is how packed they can get so you have to be at the bus stop early to get in line or you will not get on and have to wait for the next bus.
I don’t recommend renting a car because of how terrible the roads are. There is also limited parking space so it’s hard to find a spot in the busy towns. We met a lovely couple from St. Louis on our day trip to Capri and had dinner with them the next evening which was so fun. They rented a car in Rome and drove it down to the Amalfi Coast and they liked having it. They did mention the limited parking though, and honestly I think it’s much cheaper to take the bus.
You can also take a taxi or a water taxi to get from town to town but this is the most expensive way to get around. We took a taxi one evening after dinner since we missed the last bus time and paid 30€ for a 10 minute ride. Also, don’t think that there are taxis at every corner because they aren’t. We could not find one and had our hotel call us one to pick us up where we were after dinner.
Italian Phrases to Learn
Buongiorno – Good morning/hi
Buonasera – Good evening/or hi in the evenings
Buona notte – Good night
Ciao – Goodbye
Grazie – Thank you
Prego – You’re welcome! or Please, come in!
Mi scusi – Excuse me/pardon me
Il cibo è delizioso – The food is delicious
Questo posto è bellissimo – This place is beautiful
Parla inglese? – Do you speak English?
Quanto costa? – How much is this?
Per favore – Please
Mi chiamo Karen! – My name is Karen!
I would say the majority of people speak english in the Amalfi Coast because it’s a very touristy place, but they will appreciate you speaking a little bit of Italian and it’s really fun!
Other Things to Know
- There are no clothing irons in the hotel room. Be sure to pack your own. We purchased this one and it worked great.
- Italians are very well dressed people. For dinner, you can expect the gentlemen to be wearing either khaki pants or dark wash jeans and a button down shirt. For the ladies, dresses and heels. For all other meals, it’s very casual.
- Make a reservation to any restaurant you want to dine at, especially the popular ones.
- Tipping is not expected in Italy. If you look at your receipt you’ll see a small coverage charge. My dad is in the service industry in Mexico and we always tip when we’re on vacation because people depend on tourists’ money to feed their families, so it’s important to me to tip.
- Water is not free! You will be asked for still or sparkling an be charged for a big bottle.
- Any restaurant you go to, they serve you bread and olives and some sort of mixed nuts to snack on prior to your meal.
Hope you found this guide helpful gals, and let me know if you’re dreaming about visiting the Amalfi Coast!