The Amalfi Coast: Everything you need to know. Stay, eat, see
Welcome to one of the longest blog posts I'll ever write. I've got candles going, a packet of shortbread (even though I'm dairy free) and Ben Howard in my ears. If you follow along over on Instagram, you'll know that I've just spent eight nights traveling along the Amalfi Coast in Italy. James and I went together, but we were there as part of a project with Olympus, to really get to grips with, and to showcase just how incredible the new Olympus PEN E-PL9 camera is; spoiler, it is really amazing. This post was shot on my Olympus film camera, but a full tutorial post with the new E-PL9 camera to show you how to get the best out of it, is coming very soon and I can't wait to share it with you. Oh, and a discount code for the new camera!
Now, I'm not the best with geography, and James was naive enough to let me plan the route of the trip. It worked out perfectly in the end, but I'm sure there are a few different ways you can do this trip.
Days 1 & 2
We flew to Naples, and got a private hotel transfer to take us to Ravello- I don't know about you but when I'm new to a place, I want a direct, non-anxiety inducing mode of transport, and the hotel organised this for us seamlessly. Lots of our friends had told us to fly into Naples and get straight out again, so we listened. The transfer to Ravello took around one hour. For the next two nights, we called Hotel Villa Cimbrone home. An incredible villa built in the 12th century, with all original architecture preserved, and surrounded by some of the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen. Staying here was such a highlight, it felt really special, and everything I looked at was beautiful and inspiring. The pool area is amazing, set down underneath the villa, surrounded by amazing views of the coast. If you aren't staying at Villa Cimbrone, it's worth a trip to see the gardens and have a drink on the terrace.
Ravello is fairly small, it's very pretty and you should go here to really switch off. I will also say that there are SO MANY steps, much like the entire Amalfi Coast.
Food in Ravello
Everything was no longer than a 10 minute walk from Villa Cimbrone.
We ate lunch at a really pretty outdoor restaurant 10 minutes from the hotel (after all the stairs), at a place called Mimi Bar Pizzeria. It was good, solid Italian food, the pizza was incredible! with authentic Italian decor and lovely staff. Completely reasonable price wise too.
On our first night, I was poorly, so we had room service on our terrace in the room and it was gorgeous and just what I needed!
For lunch on our final day in Ravello we wanted something a little lighter for lunch because we'd had quite a lot of pizza and pasta by this point. We found the most amazing deli called Babel Wine bar & deli. We had the most beautiful salads, wine and the service was brilliant.
For dinner on our second night we ate at Cumpa Cosimo, a small quaint authentic Italian restaurant (there's a theme here) and I had some of the best pasta ever (it gets even better than this as we go through the trip too…).
We spent most of our time walking and exploring, stopping for gelato, a coffee, a wine, and eating, aside from visiting the gardens at Villa Cimbrone. By the way, all the Gelato is good, I didn't have a single one I didn't love. Always hazelnut, in case you were wondering.
Days 3 & 4
We got a car down to Amalfi from Ravello which took around 30 minutes, to the port, to get the ferry over the Capri which took around 1 hour. The ferry return, cost around 107 euros for 2 people + 2 bags.
Where to begin with Capri. I don't think I've ever been so excited to be somewhere. The hotel helped an awful lot. We stayed at Capri Palace, and from start to finish, they made everything the absolute best, nothing was too much trouble, they organised everything possible and we barely had to think of anything; my kind of holiday. The hotel is actually up in Anacapri, which is just above Capri itself, which was a blessing because I have never seen so many tourists in one place, it was a struggle to walk without falling over someone. Anacapri was just a 10-15 minute drive up some very winding hills, and was much calmer, really beautiful and full of everything you could need. Taxi's are expensive, FYI, 20-28 euros for a 10 minute journey.
Food in Capri
When we arrived in Capri it was bang on lunch time and we wanted something fairly fast. Lucky for us, we were directed to the hotel terrace restaurant where they'd just opened for lunch. Whilst it was a little bit pricey, I think I had the best club sandwich of my life (once again trying to avoid pizza). Food in your hotel shouldn't be overlooked on the Amalfi Coast, get the info before you dart out. Lots of hotels have Michelin star restaurants within them which would be amazing for a special occasion.
On our first evening, we went to the critically acclaimed Da Paolina. A restaurant set inside a lemon grove. It's every bit as special as you might think, it really is an amazing setting. They were super busy so pretty slow on getting the food out but there was enough bread on the table to sink a Lindsey so we were fine. The pasta blew my mind, and the staff were helpful with the menu too. The wine was great, there was basically a bible of wine to choose from. I couldn't recommend more. For 2 people with a starter and a main each, with 1 bottle of wine came in at around 130 euros.
For our second day, we had a private boat tour of the island that ended at the hotel's beach club, Il Riccio for lunch and drinks. I would really recommend this for food and whole experience, it's set high up in the rocks overlooking nothing but the beautiful blue sea, a gorgeous breeze and a Michelin star seafood restaurant. That was a flipping special day.
The final night in Capri for us was also amazing food wise, we went to Giorgio Al Cucciolo which is set outside, lit by candles overlooking the water. The food was incredible, that good ol' Italian grub and again, the staff really lovely. This restaurant offer a pick up and drop off service to your hotel, too, free of charge, just ask your hotel to organise or email ahead of time. Again price wise was around 100 euros for 2 people f0r 2 courses and a medium glass of wine.
What to do in Capri
Something that we did everywhere we went was just walk, we fell upon some amazing things that way. The one thing we booked was the private boat tour of the island and it was absolutely incredible. It lasted just under 2 hours, the 2 of us and a driver who showed us so many amazing things. The colour of the water in different coves, and the history surrounding the island. For 2 people this cost 240 euros. Whilst thats fairly pricey, the experience was absolutely worth it and we did some of our best photography for Olympus there!
Days 5 & 6
We hopped back on the ferry with our suitcases from Capri to Sorrento, and it took around 40 minutes. The hotel we were staying in, Palazzo Marziale, was directly above the port where we docked so we had to get a public lift up, which was 1 euro each. This boutique hotel was one of mine and James' favourites, it was full of life and character and was again, another villa, barely retouched since it was built. Sorrento was a little bit mental, there were aspects of it that I adored, but it was little bit rough around the edges and very busy with holiday makers. Our hotel and some of the restaurants we ate at made our time in Sorrento.
Food in Sorrento
You're all aware that the World Cup is on, football is coming home, etc. So as you can imagine, where we could (James could) we'd pop into somewhere showing the football. Any game, he's not fussy. So when we got a recommendation for a causal lunch place that had a big screen, he almost left without me. This was Bar Syrenuse, a perfectly good lunch spot, but a busy one!
Our first evening meal was a recommendation from our hotel, and it was one of my favourites, everything was right about it. It was called Soul & Fish and it overlooked the water on a beautiful terrace setting, very romantic! The food was absolutely amazing seafood and a wine list to match. I really enjoyed this one.
The next day we spent some time at the beach, or rather, the jetty/decking. It was all a bit cramped and not my ideal sunbathing chill so I wouldn't recommend this- our hotel didn't have a pool so this was the place they sent us to. We ate lunch at the same place as the sunbeds, which wasn't up to much, we should have known better really, but you can't win them all! We were hot and hungry.
On our final evening we went to a family run restaurant called Da Filippo, and honestly it wasn't great, so give it a wide berth. Rude staff and bang average food. Sorry this wasn't a glowing report to recommend to you!
We stopped at the most incredible bar, inside the Excelsior Vittoria Piazza hotel on the way home for a couple of drinks and I'll tell you what, if you want romance, open-air, a view and some twinkling lights, this is for you. It was beautiful.
Lots of Gelato eating took place in Sorrento, and as I said Soul & Fish, the open air bar and our hotel made our experience what it was.
Days 7 & 8
Our final stop was Positano. We got a transfer from Sorrento to Positano which took around 1 hour 20 minutes and was the longest transfer of the trip, but super manageable! We stayed at Casa Angelina in Praiano which is just 15 minutes past Positano and was really pretty. The hotel was supposed to be on parr with the Capri Palace where we had experienced some of the best service and facilities. For us both, the hotel was not on parr, the room was tiny, and wasn't as luxury as it should have been so I wouldn't stay with them again. We wanted to stay at Le Sirenuse but it was fully booked.
I was desperate to get to Positano, just to go to the beach and see the 50's inspired sun loungers and the overly photographed buildings in the hillside. It didn't disappoint me and it wasn't incredibly busy either so I was able to take it all in the way I had hoped to be able to. People have varying opinions about Positano, some find it too touristy, others (me) think it's absolutely amazing, but then, I think the things you choose to do and see whilst you're there really make a place.
Food in Positano
On our first day, we ate lunch in a rush, I was poorly again so James just had something quick and I was gutted I didn't get to eat more!
By tea time I was back on form and ready to eat. Thank all that is holy I was because this was one of my top meals. We ate at Il Ritrovo, which was just absolutely perfect. The setting was so pretty, the vibe was so happy and warm and the staff were brilliant. The food was next level good, I chose steak for a change because tell me another woman who can eat pasta and pizza for 7 days straight and still fit into her thong at the end of it all.
Lunch the next day couldn't have been more perfect for a couple craving some GREENS! We went to Casa e Bottega which is renowned for its breakfast and lunch food. It's a healthy option when you're feeling full, so we had chicken and avocado salads with juices (and a beer) and it was excellent.
Dinner on our final night actually nearly made me cry because it was so great, and I think I potentially might be due on my period, but who can blame me. We went back down to the beach front to Chez Black which was just so cool and amazing. They had the most incredible live band that performed intermittently and I swear to God if I don't have them at my wedding that isn't planned yet, I'm not getting married. The food was incredible, spaghetti and meatballs and it didn't disappoint. It was super tasty and the whole evening was just amazing.
We finished our last evening at the Le Sirenuse hotel for drinks on the terrace wrapped in a blanket under a full moon, no seriously, we did. It was gorgeous and such a special way to end our holiday.
Positano was one of my favourite places to explore, small again, so everything is in walking distance, but hills and steps and key here…take shoes you can walk in, don't waste time on heels or you'll meet yourself coming back. There is so much to be discovered, markets, coffee shops, (gelato), roof top terraces, and I really loved being at the beach. There are some amazing views on the walk down to the beach so don't forget your camera, literally everything is worth stopping to look at.
Woah, that was long, and if I've still got you, well done! I hope you've enjoyed/found this helpful. It truly was one of the best trips I've ever been on and I'd go back again in a heartbeat. I fell madly in love with Italy and all its romance. Ask me anything else you may want to, or that I might have missed.
Next week I'll be back with some incredible images and how to take them on the new Olympus PEN E-PL9. I cannot wait to share those with you! AND a discount code for the new camera.
Thank you so much for reading xx