The Italian Dream: a week in the Amalfi Coast and Naples

Dharmesh
11 min readJan 19, 2020

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The Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The water is crystal blue and the sun scorching. Not to mention, the food and wine is sublime. The trip certainly felt like one long Italian dream.

Naples is rough and gritty. Having said that, there’s an energy in the city few can match. The city pulsates with life, especially during the evening.

We went during summer time before the school holiday. Luckily, we beat the tourist rush and managed to catch some amazing weather. More importantly, we immersed ourselves in Italy’s rich cultural heritage.

Here’s how we did it.

Day 1 — travelling to Naples airport, and then to Sorrento

I flew from Stansted airport with Jet2.com. The journey from London takes roughly 3 hours.

From Naples airport, you can get to Sorrento a few ways. The cheapest option is to take the Naples Centrale Station bus to Naples Centrale station. From there take the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento. The journey in total takes 1.5 hours and it costs approximately £5. I personally don’t recommend this option as it’s too busy with tourists. A more expensive option would be to take a taxi one-way to Sorrento. It costs €110 (as of July 2019).

Top tip: take a scheduled bus service between Sorrento and Naples Airport. I used Curreri Viaggi, a trusted, local operator. You can pay the driver in cash on boarding or book online. It costs €10 euro per person. Please note it costs extra for multiple bags.

The timetable depends on the season but typically the bus arrives every 1 to 2 hours. The bus terminates at Sorrento Station. The total journey takes 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Accommodation: I stayed at Cassana. The apartment itself was lovely and spacious. It had a garden to laze in with a wonderful lemon tree acting as the centrepiece. The communal swimming pool was great to relax in after a long day.

The apartment is 7 minutes away from Sorrento station. We chose the apartment primarily for it’s location to the city centre and proximity to Sorrento station.

Opposite the apartment, was a family run bakery. We had the best pastries, coffee and bread here. It was a great way to start our days.

When we first arrived, we weren’t able to get in touch with the host. Booking.com got in touch with the host on our behalf, and luckily we were able to avoid having to find another place to stay!

The only issue I had with the apartment, was that we had to pay extra on arrival for use of air conditioning. I don’t think this was made clear in the Booking.com advert.

Sorrento and the surrounding area is famous for its lemons. This was taken in Casanna’s garden.

After settling in, we decided to explore the city centre.

Piazza Tasso is great for shopping and restaurants.

For our evening meal, we went to Accento. It’s one of the best restaurants in Sorrento. I personally recommend the lobster linguine.

End the night the right by eating some yummy Gelato. Go to Fresco Sorrento Gelato & Smoothies Gelateria — the no.1 dessert option in Sorrento.

Day 2 —Explore Sorrento

We took an early morning dip in the pool to shake off any sleepiness from the night before.

We then visited the Marina Grande for views across the water of Mt. Vesuvius. This is a fishing village too.
You can’t do wrong eating at the restaurants in this area.

If the beach is more your scene, than visit Marina Picolla (it also functions as the ferry terminal). It does get busy so best to go early.

In the evening:

Day 3— Positano

Positano is arguably the most recognisable part of the Amalfi Coast. The colourful houses dotted along the hills form the front cover of many a postcard (I’ve also chosen it as the picture to front this blog!).

We took the Amalfi via Positano SITA bus, which departs from the front of Sorrento Railway Station. The bus is a popular option so I recommend going early or midday. Sit on the right hand side for the best views of the surrounding area.

Buy bus tickets at the newsstand inside the train station. Punch your bus ticket on the stamping machine next to the driver when boarding. The journey takes about 40–60 minutes. The tickets cost €2–4 depending on your destination.

An alternative option is to take the ferry, which you can take from Marina Grande. It’s more expensive though.

Further information:
1) Bus schedule to get to all the islands
2) For more information about travelling to Positano
3) Ferry timetable

The bus will drop you off at the top of Positano, you’ll need to make your way down to Spiaggia Grande Beach.

(Left photo) a view of Positano from up top. (Right photo) one of the many narrow walkways to get around the area.

Once you are in Positano, you can visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta or go to Fornillo beach (pebble beach). We spent our time lazing around the beach, and swimming in the the crystal blue water.

Top tip: the restaurants that dot the beach are expensive. You can find cheaper places to eat by heading further into Positano.

(Left photo) Church of Santa Maria Assunta. (Right photo) a view of Positano from the bottom.

Optional: for the athletic (so not me or my family) you have the option of going on a hiking trail called The Path of the Gods (3.5 hours).

We made our way up to the top of Positano to catch the bus. Going uphill was a struggle, so be mindful of how strenuous it can be.

Day 4 — Capri and Anacapri

I found travelinmad and capri.com helpful in planning my trip to Capri and Anacapri.

We bought ferry tickets at Marina Piccola in Sorrento. Check out the ferry schedule here. Sit on the left side of the ferry for the best views of the coast between Sorrento and Punta Campanella. You can buy the Capri boat tour from here as well.

Ferry ticket prices cost €14.70–18.30 (accurate as of July 2019).

View of Capri harbour.

Once you land in Capri, I recommend the Capri boat tour, which takes you on a complete circle tour around Capri. It should include sailing through the Faraglioni rock formations (it’s usally extra for the blue grotto). It costs roughly €17 per guest (accurate as of July 2019) and takes 2 hours.

An expensive alternative would be to take a private boat tour. It costs €100 euros per boat (if you have 4 or more people than this might be a cheaper option, and less busy option compared to the the commercial tours with 30 people).

Top tip: I had a sinking feeling (sorry couldn’t help myself) that the Capri boat tour wouldn’t be worth the money. I’m glad I was proved wrong. It was a pleasant way to see the entirety of the island. I recommend avoiding the Blue Grotto as you have to wait a long time to enter, and once you are in, you leave fairly quickly.

(Left photo) Some tours will go inside the grotto. (Right photo) Faraglioni rock formations.

After landing back into Capri, we decided to visit Anacapri. If you want something away from the maddening crowd, and prefer a peaceful vibe than this is the place for you. Board a bus to Anacapri (a 20 minute ride). The bus gets very busy and it isn’t the most pleasant of rides.

Take the chairlift to the summit of Monte Solaro. I loved the chairlift, and was the highlight of the day for me. From the summit of Monte Solaro you can enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the Bays of Naples.

(Left photo) A view from the summit of Monte Solaro. (Right photo) I’m trying to take a photo without dropping my phone! Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

Take a bus back down to Capri. Refresh yourself with a coffee or drink in the buzzing Piazzetta. Michel'angelo is one of the best places to eat in Capri. It’s pricey but worth it.

Walk down Via Camerelle, to shop til’ you drop. Capri is luxury personified. Expensive shops galore, celebrities walk the streets and private yachts dot the skyline.

Boutique shops adorn the streets of Capri.

Head back to the Piazzetta, and from there you can either take the Funicular train or walk down to the harbour to take the ferry back to Sorrento.

Alternative things to do in Capri:

  • Giardini di Augusto is a lovely garden you can stroll through, it also gives you the best views of Faraglioni.
  • Visit Bar Jovis to grab a drink to end the day. If you time it right, you might be able to catch the sun setting.

In the evening in Sorrento, we went to a lovely family run restaurant — Torna a Surriento. This was my favourite restaurant of the entire trip.

Day 5 — Pompeii

Visiting Pompeii is like taking a journey back in time. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has been beautifully preserved. You can feel history coming alive as you walk along the roads.

If you are staying in Naples or Sorrento, you can take the Circumvesuviana train to Pompei Scavi — Villa dei Misteri. It takes 20 minutes. They run two trains per hour. It costs € 2.10 per person.

To make the most out of our time in Pompeii, we booked a guide from GetYourGuide: Pompeii: 2-Hour Small-Group Tour with an Archeologist. The tour itself is worth every penny. The tour guide was extremely knowledgable and went out of her way to show us the hidden parts of Pompeii. I strongly recommend doing this tour.

If you have time, I’d encourage you to visit nearby Herculaneum. It has been preserved even better than Pompeii.

I took so many photos in Pompeii. Here’s a snapshot.

In the evening, in Sorrento I ate at Le Grazie. I had the truffle pasta. Yum.

Try D’anton lounge bar for a night cap.

Day 6 —Amalfi and Ravello

Admittedly, by this point, we were feeling worn out from traveling. We initially planned to visit Amalfi and Ravello but instead we lazed around the pool.

You can get to Amalfi by taking the Amalfi via Positano SITA bus, which departs from Sorrento Railway Station. It takes 90 minutes.

Further information:
1) Bus schedule to get to all the islands
2) Information about travelling to Amalfi
3) Ferry timetable to Amalfi

Amalfi is the biggest town in the coast. It has a stunning cathedral, the Duomo di Amalfi. I would recommend Le Bonta del Capo as a place to eat.

Ravello is one of the most picturesque places in the coast. You can take a 25 minute bus from Amalfi to Ravello. Visit the two medieval palaces and gardens: Villa Rufolo and Palazzo Cimbrione.

My top tip would be to try this local wine from Sorrento called Gragnano. It’s a lively, fizzy red wine. A perfect compliment for a pizza.

In the evening, we ate at Ristorante S. Antonino. It was a nice restaurant to end our time in Sorrento.

Day 7 — Sorrento to Naples

From Sorrento, take the Circumvesuviana train to Naples Centrale Station. It takes 1.5 hours. It costs roughly £5. Italian trains don’t always run on time so be mindful of delays.

Naples is rough and gritty. Having said that, there’s an energy in the city few can match. The city pulsates with life, especially during the evening.

Accommodation: I stayed at Ibis Styles Napoli Garibaldi. It’s a simple hotel but reasonably priced.

It’s 7 minutes away from Piazza Garibaldi station. The hotel itself is located in the gritty heart of Naples. It’s location means you can get to many places by walking. The area looks rough but I felt safe.

Of course, this is the city that invented pizza. You can’t leave the city without trying it.

A simple mozzarella pizza but it may have been one of the best pizza’s I’ve ever had. We ate at Da Donato dal 1956 Antica Trattoria e Pizzeria.

After pizza, we took a slow stroll through Naples. We made our way to Piazze Dante, passing through the legendary Spaccanapoli, a long road that cuts through the heart of Naples.

Spaccanapoli. There’s just so much to do here. You’ll find yourself returning here again and again.

Along the way we stopped at Naples Cathedral. A heavenly building, and well worth the visit. I must say that any church we visited in Naples was utterly captivating.

Naples Cathedral. Majestic.

At 6pm, we have the Naples Street Food and Sightseeing Tour, again I booked this through GetYourGuide.com. This is a great way to soak in the history of Naples and find the hidden food gems dotted along the streets. I highly recommend this tour.

My favourite two things to try on the food tour was pizza fritta (fried pizza) and rum baba (yeast cake dipped in rum). Yummy.

Alternative things to do:

We ended the night at Libreria Berisio near Piazze Diante. A bar but also a library! A great place to get cocktails.

A toast to the wonderful people of Italy. I hope to come back soon!

Day 8 — Going Back Home

We took a taxi from Napoli Centrale to the airport. It cost us €16. To get this fixed fare you must tell the driver before the trip begins/before they engage the meter.

I didn’t get to experience everything this brilliant place had to offer. For one, I would have liked to have tried the highly rated wine tour — Swirl the Glass.

I hope you’ve found my itinerary useful. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a comment.

Finally, I would like to thank my family who made my trip special.

Thank you for reading!

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Dharmesh

Product and delivery guy. Honorary Wakandan. Ex-@NHSX, @DfEDigital & @DHSCgovuk. #IBD warrior. #LFC fan. Views my own.