There’s no questioning how much I love Italy. If I could spend a few months every year living and breathing the Italian lifestyle, I’d be one happy woman. There’s just something about the warmth of the people and their simple yet happy lives, that connects with me. I’ve even come to enjoy an espresso after dinner, which for me, a non coffee drinker, is saying something.
Right now, I’m back in London. Sitting on my bed writing this post as the rain is poring outside. Rain in springtime. Why London, why? But my heart… my heart is where I was last week. Exploring the beautiful areas of Sorrento, Positano, Pompeii and Capri. The Amalfi Coast is just as incredible as it’s hyped up to be and here’s why.
Where To Stay
Majority of visitors to South Italy base themselves in Sorrento. But during peak season, which is usually when you wanna go because it’s the best time weather wise, you can expect to pay an absurd amount. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I love to stay in Airbnb’s when I travel, and when I was doing my research I came across one located in Santa’Agata.
So I booked the Airbnb and the minute I stepped foot inside and saw the views I’d be waking up to every morning, well, I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven. It was and is, the most incredible accommodation I have ever stayed in. Not to mention how helpful my host was, giving me bus schedules for my planned day trips and restaurant recommendations.
I loved that I could enjoy the busy atmosphere of Sorrento during the day, and then come home to the more quiet and relaxed area of Santa’Agata.
St Agata is only a 40 minute bus trip from Sorrento’s city centre and a one way ticket is less than €2. Flying into Napels, I got the CURRERI bus from the airport to Sorrento (€10 for a ticket, purchased on the bus), which dropped me out the front of Sorrento’s train station. From there, I changed busses, to the SITA bus headed to Santa’Agata.
Where To Eat
For great pizza, and well of course pasta, head to Mimi’s. It has a cosy, family run feel to it, and the staff are incredibly friendly. They even gave me a free appetiser and some homemade melon flavoured limoncello. It was incredible!
Now if you want to head to where both the locals and tourists frequent, then a trip to Lo Stuzzichino is a must. The restaurant is extremely busy, but I had no trouble getting a table. During my visit, they had live music playing and the atmosphere was out of this world. There were waiters dancing on chairs, and at one point the whole restaurant was up on their feet (me included) dancing and clapping away to the tunes. I loved every second of it. Italians really know how to do it right. Oh and the chocolate gelato here is sooooo yum.
Busses run regularly from Sorrento and Santa’Agata and it’s fairy cheap too. From Santa’Agata a return ticket cost me under €9. The journey took only 40 minutes and the views of the Amalfi Coast were breathtaking. The drive up involves a long stretch of winding road, so be prepared if you’re prone to car sickness.
The bus back is from a different spot to where the bus drops you off, so keep this in mind when planning your day.
What To Do
Sun baking with the incredible backdrop of the limestone cliffs and embedded houses is a must. I had seen so many Instagram pictures of this beach prior to my trip and actually being there felt incredibly surreal. One side of the beach is sectioned off with lounge chairs and umbrella’s that you can rent for €10, or you can do like me and bring your own towel and relax on the free side.
After getting your tan on, a wonder along the beach and the pathway up to where the bus departs from, will keep you busy with all the cute shops selling handmade paintings and crafts of various sorts. I found items here to be quite expensive compared to in Sorrento and Capri, so I stuck to window shopping.
Where To Eat
For the best lemon sorbet, head to Covo Dei Saraceni. Located by the pier, the cafe is situated just before the Covo hotel. When you enter, to the right will be a fridge and the lemon sorbet is kept in there. You can get a medium size for €8 or a large for €13. The best part, is that it’s served in a cut out lemon!
Trains direct to Pompei depart from Sorrento’s train station, but be sure to get off at Pompei Scavi not Pompei, which is the stop directly out the front of the ruins.
I was told before going, if you want a guided tour, don’t go with those located just outside the train sation. Instead walk the short distance to the main entrance and get a guide from there. It wasn’t mentioned to me, that I also shouldn’t purchase my entrance ticket from outside the station.
Like so many others that arrived, I stood in queue and bought one for €17. Had I purchased my ticket from the main entrance, I would have only paid €15 and had the option to pay by card. Not a big difference in price, but just something to keep in mind.
What To See
I’m not one for guided tours so I took my map and went exploring on my own. The area is huge, so huge that they’re still uncovering ruins even up to a week before I visited. And trying to navigate where you are on the map definitely takes some skills. I found myself walking in circles a few times and by the end of the day, there was still a section or two that I hadn’t seen. But honestly, after a while it all started to look the same to me, so I wasn’t too phased. It was beautiful and amazing to be surrounded by so much history.
Bring plenty of water, snacks and wear sunscreen. The area is completely open and you have little to no protection from the sun.
I almost didn’t go to Capri. My original plan was to go to Amalfi but being a Sunday, the bus schedule to and from Santa’Agata didn’t allow me much time to really explore the area, so I decided to visit Capri instead. And I’m so glad I did!
From Sorrento’s pier, a ferry across to Capri takes 30 minutes and costs only €17 each way. I purchased my tickets one hour before departing and because my day trip wasn’t pre booked, I wasn’t able to choose what time I came back. I lucked out and managed to find availability on an evening ferry, but to avoid disappointment if you’re wanting to travel at specific times, I recommend booking your tickets a day or two in advance.
What to do
Capri is a little slice of heaven. From exploring the winding pathways, to shopping local handmade items, taste testing limoncello and sitting by the bay, once you arrive you won’t want to leave. Well, at least I didn’t.
If you’re not afraid of heights, take the chair lift to the top of monte solar for some incredible views. You can hike, but it will take some time.
The beach here isn’t a lay on the sand kind of beach, as it’s full of pebbles, but a dip in the water is a must on a hot day. I was able to find a beautiful spot amongst some larger rocks, where I sat with my book for a while enjoying the sun and the turquoise water. It was incredibly peaceful and relaxing.
Where To Eat
Gelato became my obsession whilst in Italy and the place to go in Capri is Bar Grotta Azzurra. Three flavours for €3, it’s cheap and oh so delicious.
After I devoured my gelato, I did a little shopping and found myself in chocolate and limoncello heaven. After the staff gave me a free tasting session of various flavoured limoncello and samples of their chocolate, I walked out with a bag full of goodies. The pistachio limoncello and the lemon rind chocolate were my favourite. They even sell limoncello infused chocolate. So where is this place? It’s called L’Isola Dei Sapori.
For now, Ciao Italy… until next time.