Welcome to Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast.
Let’s start with Capri, quite possibly the most beautiful place on earth.
Capri Travel Guide
Capri is a small and beautiful island, a short 1-hr ferry from the port of Naples (Molo Beverello). This was actually our second coastal stop, but because it was my favourite, I will start with Capri. The island is roughly the same size as NYC’s Central Park and is the playground for the rich and famous. It has the perfect mix of quiet, casual oceanside juxtaposed with the luxury stores and restaurants, depending on where you are on the island.
There is a surprising amount to do on Capri. Here are some suggestions (the things we loved and want to write home about) to get your planning started…
1) Da Paolino
Da Paolino is a beautiful Italian restaurant set in a lemon grove. It is incredibly hard to get a reservation at (we managed to get one by chance, the story will unfold in this post) so book in advance. This restaurant is gorgeous, with great food and run by a lovely family. There is a seafood antipasti buffet if you are interested, and also a chilled dessert room, complete with Cuban cigars.
Da Paolino was a truly amazing restaurant. If it’s good enough for Jay Z and Beyonce, it is good enough for me!
2) Ristorante Panorama
This gem is off the tourist path, and was genuinely some of the best Italian food we had in all of Italy! It has stunning views of the trees, landscape and water. The guy here used to work in a restaurant in NYC, so after some bonding over NYC life he connected us with Vittorino for a sail around the island on his boat (who then hooked us up with the Da Paolino dinner reservation).
3) La Fontelina
La Fontelina is a famous beach club, that was completely booked out the entire time we were in Capri (again, book in advance!). So we didn’t get to go, which sucked. I have been told it is a great time though, so try to go and make sure to set up a reservation in advance. We happened to drive past on our boat trip and it looked gorgeous.
4) “D’Amore” // Ristorante Sollievo Di D’Amore Sas
This restaurant was located on a small street, a turn away from the luxury shopping stores, tucked away from the hustle and bustle. The restaurant offered modern and adventurous twists on Italian cuisine (think: deconstructed rabbit ragu lasagna) and fresh seafood (fancy lobster salads etc).
5) The Grottos of Capri
The highlight of Capri, for me, was sailing around the island on Vittorino’s boat, the San Giovanni.
Vittorino, our amazing skipper, took us to his favourite spots around the island, pointing out the interesting and beautiful things he loved the most about his hometown island. While we did sail past “the Blue Grotto”, Grotta Azzurra, there were so many tourists so instead he took us to small and secret grottos around the island that were deserted. We swam into little caves and dove into the Mediterranean sea. He even brought us fresh fruit which he put into cups filled with his own white wine, that he himself had grown and produced on the island. This was truly the highlight of our trip.
Vittorino asked if we had yet been to Da Paolino (my #1 on this post) and we told him we couldn’t get a reservation. Turns out, it is his family’s restaurant and he got us a reservation for that night.
If you want to organize a half-day or full-day with Vittorino on his gorgeous boat (perhaps followed by a reservation at his family’s restaurant) you can send them an email, or call, to arrange it! // firstname.lastname@example.org or +39.3126.96.36.199
6) J.K. Place
This hotel is fancy, and staying here was out of our price range, so instead we stopped in for lunch one day overlooking the marina. The food was amazing (definitely a little pricey), cocktails were delicious (but again, pricey) and the views were stunning. It’s an incredibly gorgeous hotel with stunning views. We sat here taking in the view, and spotted a few celebs.
7) Bar Funicolare
Atop the hill and near the Piazzetta (main square), Bar Funicolare, has some pretty amazing views. After walking to the top of the hill (which was a mission – but we did it), or taking the funicolare (a rail car thing that goes up the hill), you can grab a drink at Bar Funicolare. From here you are really close to many amazing restaurants (including D’Amore), you can window shop the luxury stores, and people watch over the Piazzetta as the sunsets.
Positano Travel Guide
Stunning Positano is tricky to get to, especially if you are coming from Naples or Rome. You can get a ferry from Capri (easy, if you are already in Capri) or if you were in Rome or Naples like we were, you can take an expensive private transfer, or take the local train and then the local bus and then a taxi from Naples.
Before Capri, we were staying in Positano, so we caught a high-speed train from Rome to Naples (1 hour), then the local train to Sorrento, which happened to be on strike and therefore delayed by 3 hours (1 hour + 3 hour delay), then the local bus from Sorrento to Positano (1 hour). Overall, it was quite an “experience” (hey, you gotta keep calm and just roll with it). The local transit cost about 10 Euros each, vs 150-200 Euros for a private transfer so #winning? We also met lots of cool people on the public transport route to Positano that we hung out with over the course of our trip, so all good. From Positano to Capri was a quick ferry ride (so we had already got the hard part out of the way).
1) Villa Delle Palme
I highly recommend where we stayed, the family-run Villa delle Palme bed & breakfast. It was so gorgeous and spacious, it was a great price for Positano and the views were outstanding. It is at the top of the cliff, so expect lots of walking and stairs, but it was totally worth it. The hotel would bring a breakfast assortment each morning for us to eat on our little balcony.
2) Bar Bagni da Ferdinando
A 500-step descent down the cliff staircase to Fornillo Beach (the smaller and more secluded beach of Positano) was Bagni da Ferdinando, a beach club where you can rent chairs and umbrellas for the day. They have a full bar and restaurant so you can enjoy some beer, cocktails and pizza lying by the beach all day. I did get stung by an Italian jellyfish in this beach (which don’t kill you, so that is good) but it still sucked.
3) Buca di Bacco Restaurant
As we sometimes do when we travel abroad, we took a cooking class! In the commercial kitchen of Buca di Bacco, they host a cooking class in a small group (2-8 people), where the head chef and assistant walk you through cooking a 4-course meal. It was more expensive than some other courses we have done, but it was worth it. We made the following, entirely from scratch: eggplant parm, pesto gnocchi, pizza and a chocolate and almond torte. They give you a glass of Prosecco when you arrive, and continuously fill it up while you are cooking. Even if you weren’t buzzed, you would still find these guys funny because they all have a great sense of humor. Once you’ve finished, they give you each a bottle of wine and set your dinner up on a table in the restaurant for you to enjoy… And they send you away with a goodie bag that includes some cooking tools.
4) Franco’s at Le Sirenuse
I have heard the restaurant at Le Sirenuse is spectacular, but incredibly expensive. Our compromise was to instead experience the same view (but sans food) at Franco’s (the hotel’s bar) for drinks, followed by dinner at a nearby restaurant, Ristorante Bruno, which was known for having similarly spectacular food (at a great price).
Franco’s is an extremely beautiful and elegant bar up on the cliff. It is the hotel bar of the Le Sirenuse, so it has the same magnificent views of Positano that Le Sirenuse’s restaurant is famous for. We drank delightful rosé and cocktails while we watched the sunset.
5) Ristorante Bruno
This restaurant is a quick walk further uphill from Franco’s. We had been told this restaurant was a must by many, many people and it did not disappoint. The view, the food, everything was sensational. The portions were huge, the house wine was delicious and the staff were so friendly and were having a great time.
Bonus: Path of the Gods.
We ran out of time between eating, drinking, cooking and beaching to actually do the Path of the Gods hike. But I have been told the views are amazing and it is a worthwhile hike. Check it out and let me know?
With love, Louise xx