This area in the Provence of Salerno may only be accessible by vehicle or boat (no trains even) but its a popular destination for a reason. I have been lucky enough to travel to the Amalfi Coast twice. I am by NO means an expert and I am sure there a million different things you can find about when it comes to Italy, but I have chatted with a few people that are planning trips or honeymoons to this area and I do have some tips and recommendations so I though I would kick off my first travel tip post with Amalfi Coast information! Back in 2017 I went to Italy...for 48 hours. It was a whirlwind few days (that's putting it nicely) but so worth it. I was traveling to photograph Katie & Alec's wedding and it was just stunning. We stayed in the towns of Amalfi & Atrani along the coast and that is where the wedding was held. More recently, I was in Italy for a bit over a week to photograph Anne & Mike's elopement in Positano. Since I had more time on this trip, I was also able to explore Sorrento, as well as Naples & Rome too. This blog will go over some highlights as well as some tips for this area of Italy, and some things that will be useful for any Italian vacation.
Unless otherwise stated, all this images were taken by me (with my DSLR or my phone!). Let's jump in!
Okay so obviously one of the biggest draws of this area are the amazing views. Both times I have been to this area, I went into the experience prepping myself for one of those situations where things are so overhyped on social media, but in reality underwhelming. Well I could NOT have been more wrong. I took so many similar photos because the views never got old. Each time I looked off a balcony, or out a window, I was amazed that this place is real. This alone makes it so incredibly worth the trip. I have also experienced full sun, rain, clouds, and a thunderstorm in the days I have spent there and honestly, each day was magical regardless of weather.
These towns are built into cliffs. it makes for some pretty intense car-sickness-inducing driving but definitely adds to WHY these views are so phenomenal. Just look at these!
Speaking of boats...
I am so lucky. I am just going to say that again. In May of 2019 the amazing and adventurous couple that I was photographing decided that they would love to have the marriage ceremony performed on a boat. I was SO EXCITED. We boarded in Positano and went as far as the Fiordo Di Furore - a popular view along the coast...and also where they got married! Since this was for a wedding, we were on a private boat through Blue Star Positano (highly recommend!) so we got to decide how far to go and where to stop. I would totally recommend to get out on the water. The boat ride was a highlight of not only the trip, but maybe a favorite experience of ALL of my travels. One thing we didn't have time for but desperately wanted to do was a boat tour around and to the island of Capri - I have only heard amazing things about it and after my experiences on the water and beaches, I don't doubt it.
Some actual travel tips!
- Travel from Rome to the coast can seem slightly intimidating, especially if you aren't a seasoned traveler. Now again, I am not an expert but I do want to go over how we got there and maybe save you some planning or a few bucks.
- Wherever you fly into - the first step is to get to Naples. I think the easiest way is by train (I love the train so much). From Naples to the coast - In Naples there is a subway style train that goes to Sorrento, there are express trains and also ones with many stops. Obviously the express train is quite a bit faster but both get you there. You can also take bus or car to other towns to get closer, but this is what I learned last time!
- Once in Sorrento you have a few options. Taxis are the most expensive (read a few lines down about taxis in Italy!) and you are at the whims of the current availability so there may be a wait, although it is a popular train station so there should be some around. Taxis could get to be upwards of €100+ one way so be prepared for that! You could also hire a private car - essentially like a taxi but prepaid and prebooked - this is more like €70 or so one way. You can schedule this in advanced or once you arrive to the train station (if it is during business hours) you can book and pay through one of the travel agents with offices there. Make sure when you do this you also book your car for the way back too! The third way is by bus. Definitely the cheapest! Be warned though, the roads along the coast are tiny and the curviest roads I have EVER been on so if you get motion sickness for SURE take some dramamine well before you get on the bus. All of these modes of transportation can take you to any town along the coast!
- Taxis. Okay this one isn't just Italy, but I have experienced it the most in Hungary & Italy. Do what you can to refrain from hailing taxis - as many of them will jack up the prices for people that are clearly tourists. I once had a taxi say my ride would be €80 for a 4 mile ride...I made him immediately drop me off. I recommend using services to prebook taxis and taxi apps (a popular one there is is called "Free Now" formerly known as My Taxi.) Once I rebooked with My Taxi, that same ride was €18. I have had multiple experiences of being ripped off on taxi fares when I have risked it and just hailed a taxi traditionally. Ask if your Airbnb host or hotel in bigger cities have a referral code too!
- Airbnb vs. hotel. One thing to be aware of for Airbnbs is location - the one I stayed at in 2017 was approximately 20 flights of stairs up which lets be honest, was ROUGH. Also, I did love the resources of having a hotel. Not just breakfast being included, but there was a wine tasting one night, and a pool so you can't really go wrong ha! As will all travel make sure you read all the recent reviews on Airbnbs too!
- Wine. Just drink as much as you can. Do a wine tasting with a sommelier. It. Is. Worth. It. At our hotel, their wine tasting was led by a lovely man called Mr. Carlo. It was under €20 euro for a three course tasting with a few bites of food as well.
- Food. My philosophy with travel includes the mindset that food and drink is a part of the culture you should experience. You can do that on a budget (the go-to grocery store lunches are always a favorite. Grab a baguette, local cheese, a new drink, some fruit) but I have always been a fan of incorporating a splurge meal into my budget. Thanks to my friend Sam (she's the best and a foodie) it has become one of my favorite things to do on trips. After the elopement I photographed in 2019, the planner (Simply Gypsy Events!) & I got an amazing meal at the hotel. It was my first foray into the world of truffles and omg I will never be the same. SO GOOD.
- Food 2: CITRUS. For real. Eat as much citrus as possible. It is so good in Italy. Even Fanta is a delicious experience. On the drive to the coast, you'll pass so many stands with citrus, just start eating oranges and drinking fresh squeezed orange juice and you'll get it. Also lemon and orange sorbet. All. Day.
- Apps to have downloaded: XE currency exchange rates is a great way to make sure you know what you are spending. Google Translate! You can even use the camera function to translate things on signs and menus! If you plan on doing any bus tours (I am a huge fan of the hop on hop off bus tours) many of the companies have apps. Transit apps so you can have maps offline.
I only had one night in Sorrento but it was lovely. It is a great town to walk around, and you can also get boats to Capri or Amalfi towns from here. I spent a few blissful hours on my afternoon here in a garden (above) reading a romance novel, eating an orange, and enjoying the sun sitting by a lemon tree. It was even complete with an elderly Italian man checking the plants in the garden to see if they needed watering while church bells rang in the distance. Serious fairy tale material. If you are going through Sorrento, make time for a day there!
This is one of my favorite videos from the whole trip. The first night in Positano, after a jaunt to the water, it started raining and storming. Just as dusk took hold, the thunder and lightning got made for a truly magical experience.
In closing...GO THERE. It was worth every bit of travel it took to get there. My number one recommendation is to go longer than 2 nights (which is how long I was in Positano). you need at least 5 days along the coast. I barely tapped into what this area has to offer and I definitely hope I end up back there someday!