La Dolce Vita in Amalfi Coast
I knew that I wanted to spend my birthday milestone in Capri so the planning for this trip started almost a year before our actual trip.
Amalfi Coast can be busy and popular so planning in advance is highly recommended unless you own a yacht and you can just pick the dates anytime. This is such a popular area for the summer vacationers that all towns get busy, prices are high and usually hotel rooms book way in advance.
We stayed in Positano, pictured in many movies and Instagramaccounts, this is really a picture-perfect place. Getting to Positano is easy, we flew into Naples and you can take any transportation from there. A taxi from the hotel was waiting for us and after about ninety minutes we arrived to the center of Positano. Keep in mind that streets are tiny and not all accessible by car so your car will drop you off at the parking lot in town and then you can have porters take your luggage to your hotel for 6 eurosa piece. All this had been arranged with Hotel Buca di Baccowhere we stayed five unforgettable nights.
August is a very popular month for Italians and foreigners to visit the beach towns in Italy, so expect crowds but in all honesty this is such a popular place that all summer will be busy no matter the month.
We had finally arrived to Italian paradise, once checked into the hotel to our sea-view room we changed quickly into our swimsuits and hit the Positano beach. So many beach umbrellas, all lined up and ready for the crowds to visit for the hot summer days. This is a public beach so renting a chair will be anywhere between 15and 25 eurosdepending on the location. We spent hours at the rocky beach, jumping in the blue aquamarine sea water to cool down, sunbathed, repeated this routine constantly throughout the day. The world had stopped for us.
Around six o’clock it was time for buying a bottle of prosecco at the local market and enjoy the sunset from our private balcony, looking up at the hills that are intricately all covered by hotels, homes and villas, all on top of each other maintaining a balance that anywhere else in the world would seem impossible but not here in Positano, it’s a natural and effortless wonder of the world.
You don’t have to worry about food here, no matter where you go you’re guaranteed to have a great meal, prepared with fresh ingredients, the catch of the day and mostly organic ingredients. A funny fact that I found during our visit is that for some reason restaurants will tell you they are booked if you didn’t make a reservation, after asking a couple of more questions on when we could get a reservation suddenly a table would open up and be given to us. This happened multiple times and we were always seated at great tables with no reservations. Some of the favorite restaurants that I recommend are Chez Black right on the Positano beach with great people watching, Rada up on a cliff with spectacular views of the bay, up on the hills Le Sirenusefor a more sophisticated dinner in a breathtaking setting and Ristorante al Palazzo Murat with a great outdoor courtyard to dine al fresco. There is a dance club as well right below Rada, called Music on the Rocks, built into a cave with good drinks and cool music if your mood is to party.
During the day there are so many activities to cater to any taste. Hiking, walking, swiming, boating, water taxiing, vespa rides, shopping and more. Any way that you want to move around is available as well. With so many towns in the area you can take day trips to them, just like we did going one day to Capri, another one to Amalfi and another one to Praiano. Plan on these activities preferably in advance because these too get booked and depending on weather they can also be cancelled. Our private boat tour to Capri was amazing and the two days after that it was cancelled because of wind.
Positano is not cheap, however there are different level of costs depending on what your budget is. What I will tell you is that all costs are in cash most of the time, so make sure to bring cash with you, there are plenty of ATMs in the towns but be aware of any foreign transaction fees that your bank may have.
During the rest of our stay we walked the streets of Positano, it’s not a big town, you climb steps to get anywhere as the town is built into the cliffs so be prepared to do some minor exercise. There are many shops, gellaterias, bars, hotels, and all that you expect at an Italian beach town. The shopping is good, more affordable than Capri but I found Amalfi to be the best town to shop with more options and varied prices.
If you are into splurging a little more that can work too. I fell in love with Le Sirenuse Hoteljust up the hill from Buca di Bacco. The hotel is magnificent, with a very unique interior design that makes you feel that you’re back in the 1950’s Sophia Loren’s Amalfi Coast, with luxury and exquisite details all over the place. This is pricey but at least I recommend that you go to the champagne bar or its restaurant to have a very unique dinner experience. And if you want to take a little of that interior design back home, check out Le Sirenuse store right across from the hotel, their accent pillows were to die for.
The best way for us to get around was on water. Taking water taxis, ferries and smaller boats to the different towns and islands. This is how we booked way in advance a day tour to the island of Capri, which was an amazing experience…but that story I cover in a separate blog.
Amalfi is a beautiful town as well with the very impressive Duomo in the middle of town. I did find shopping to be more affordable and with more options there. Shops, bars and restaurants are everywhere and specifically here I found great local ceramics and linens, I had to take some of that back home although I wanted to order the entire china for our home, maybe next time with more time to select it.
In Praiano we went to Il Piratawhich is a great local beach restaurant that has been published in different magazines including Conde Nast Travel. Once there, make sure to try their pasta, sea urchin with pasta was amazing, great food with great sea views and a very friendly atmosphere. Then after having lunch you can rent a chair and lay by the water, relax and jump in the cool water to refresh. This seems to be a trend in Amalfi and Il Pirata has the perfect setting for that.
We stayed a total of five nights and five days in Amalfi Coast, with our base in Positano and I can’t think of a better way to do it again, well, maybe spending two weeks would be even better. Seriously, there are so many things to do that two weeks would not even be enough either. This is why the Italians really know how to live La Dolce Vita. Grazie Positano!