I am incredibly lucky to have married into an Italian family and can therefore class the outskirts of Naples as my second home. Pre-pandemic, we would visit family once or twice a year and we always made sure to re-visit our favourite places in the region. I would like to take you on a little virtual holiday around Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast so you can see how truly beautiful this part of the world is. I miss it dearly and hope to be able to get back there very soon. I hope you enjoy our little trip together…
The first stop on our journey is the Amalfi Coast…
The Amalfi Coast is without a doubt one of the most beautiful parts of Italy. As you drive along the coastal road you are treated to countless views of picture perfect villages, so much so that your other half will soon grow tired of your constant need for a photo stop (or is that just me!?!).
The colourful villages typically start higher up the cliffs and then sweep down the land towards the sparkling waters where they offer beautiful little beaches with amazing views. It goes without saying that the Amalfi coast is an extremely popular destination, and rightly so. It is such a special place, and in order to get the absolute best experience of it I would highly recommend travelling outside of those busy summer months. If you travel in April, May, September or October when it’s quieter, you will still get to enjoy the heat of the sunshine and those same incredible views, but there will be fewer people around to have to share it with.
You will be spoilt for choice on villages to visit and each one has it’s own special charm and offerings. The more adventurous of you that are happy to go off exploring will be rewarded with smaller, traditional and less touristy villages. For those of you who are looking for a picture perfect spot to relax and soak up the sun, you will be extremely well catered for and spoilt for choice in picking your base.
The next stop on our journey is my favourite village on the Amalfi coast…Positano!
Right from my very first visit, Positano has always been my favourite spot on the Amalfi coast. I’m not sure exactly what I love most about it. It just really sparked something inside me and it still excites me every time I go back. Your eyes will feast on all of the pretty colourful buildings and picturesque little streets as you walk down the hill towards the dazzling bright blue sea. Along the way you will be treated to plenty of little cafe’s and restaurants so you can sample some scrumptious local cakes. I recommend a Sfogliatella or a Rum Baba in the shady outdoor seating area at La Zagara, it’s important to fuel your body ready for the steep climb back up the village later on in the day! If you walk the most popular route through the village you might be lucky enough to find some of the locals sharing their works of art on one of the pathways. As you continue on you will suddenly stumble into a little square where you can look up and admire the beauty of the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta. Once you have reached the beach and you have refreshed yourself with an Aperol Spritz, you should follow the locals and take the little coastal path to Fornillo beach. The views you will be rewarded with along the way will instantly make the 10 minute walk worthwhile and it’s a much quieter spot than the main beach in Positano.
Positano is alluring, and should most definitely only be visited outside of the busy summer months so that you can truly appreciate it’s Italian charm and timeless beauty.
It might be cliché that my favourite village is also the most popular, but at the same time it is the most popular for a reason…
The next stop on our journey is the famous island of Capri.
There are 3 main islands to visit off the coast and Capri is, of course, the most well known and famous. It’s flashy and fashionable and the main square is the place to be seen. It receives a massive volume of visitors each year, mostly people taking day trips, so if you really want to experience the island at it’s best a stay overnight is a must. After the day visitor boats have all left, the late afternoon and evenings are reserved for the islands guests who are treated to a few hours of tranquillity and are spoilt by the luxurious local hospitality.
Outside of the main square and exclusive high fashion boutiques, the island has a selection of ‘must see’ places. My favourites include taking the cable car high up into the hills and enjoying the breathtaking views and then in contrast taking a little boat into the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto) to admire the luminous blue water.
The next stop on our journey is the relaxed island of Ischia.
I have been lucky enough to spend a week here and it really is a lovely spot. The island is famed for its thermal spas, manicured gardens and of course the Castello Aragonese, which you will most probably recognise from a Fiat TV advert. There are lots of cute little streets to walk around which surprise you with postcard worthy alleyways and hidden churches, and if you are lucky, you sometimes even catch a glimps of the sparkling blue sea. Although it has some beaches, Ischia wouldn’t be my ‘go to place’ for beautiful beaches as they tend to be quite rocky. That being said there are some hidden little gems if you are lucky enough to find a local who will show you how to reach them…
You could easily spend a week here and use it as a base for exploring the Amalfi Coast and Bay of Naples. The island has regular ferry services over to various ports on the mainland and also it’s neighbouring islands. Speaking of it’s neighbouring islands…the final one I would like to introduce you too has impressively managed to maintain itself as being the Bay of Naples best kept secret…and it just so happens to be my absolute favourite island of them all…
I’m excited to take you to the next stop on our journey, a place that made my face ache because I couldn’t stop smiling…the third of the main islands, charming little Procida…
Procida, the Bay of Naples best kept secret, has managed to stay off the radar of most tourists and is only usually enjoyed by locals from the mainland and a few tourists each year. I usually like to keep Procida as my little secret, in the hope it stays a little haven of quietness for us that little bit longer…but I think it’s time to share it with you now.
Being a bit of an undiscovered gem, in terms of tourism, means you get a more authentic taste of the beautiful culture and life that the locals enjoy here. The children still play around the port, the elderly generations still gather to play boardgames in the streets, and you get a feeling that time has stood still here for the past few decades.
The island is made for strolling, the old cobbled streets are perfect for it and you will love just wandering around taking in all of the old buildings and squares and resting in the little cafe’s by the waters edge.
If you are a fan of Nutella, you absolutely MUST stop for a gelato in the port…it is hands down the best gelato I have even eaten in my life, it was like eating pure Nutella! and maybe, on reflection, this is why Procida might be my favourite island after all 😉
I really cherish my memories of the time we spent here and look forward to visiting again one day.
The next stop on our journey is a place that offers my favourite sunset views of the Vesuvius…stunning Sorrento!
I absolutely love Sorrento, the views of the dramatic cliffs are picture perfect, as is the little maze of alleyways that sell every kind of lemon themed merchandise you could ever imagine. Visit after visit I still manage to experience new things in Sorrento which is pretty impressive considering it’s quite a small town. There are a number of squares to visit which serve amazing food and you can even soak up the sunshine by the water on a sun lounger if you follow the path down the cliff to the port. The town itself is just stunning!
No trip here would be complete without a trip to ‘Limoncello Lane’ as we like to call it. Trust me, you will know as soon as you arrive…the locals are extremely proud to be one of the places that produces one of the most popular Italian liqueurs, and will happily offer you a complimentary sample. Just make sure that you literally don’t get ‘carried away’, it’s probably best to visit after a meal…
Here we are already, the end of our little journey together around the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast.
Like I said at the beginning, Naples, Sorrento & the Amalfi Coast will always hold such a special place in my heart. This region of Italy has given me so many incredible memories and I’m sure it will continue to do so for the rest of my life. We have our own little family traditions now, like picking up some freshly made Frittura Italiana (local fried street food) and sitting on a bench by the sea to enjoy devouring both the views and the food. We also always queue in the street for an hour for pizza at Da Michele, one of the oldest and best pizzerias in Naples. We love drinking Aperol Spritz whilst we watch the sunset and getting a little tipsy down ‘Limoncello Lane’.
There were so many more places I would have loved to have introduced you, like my favourite viewpoints and squares in Naples city centre, views from the top of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii and Herculaneum to name just a few, but for now I think it’s time for us to relax.
I hope you have enjoyed our little trip together and that you can now appreciate both the charm and beauty of this part of the world. The opportunities for trips here are so varied so please do get in touch for your personalised quote, I’m really looking forward to hearing from you.