Blue sky, fine sand, a beautiful and soft Mediterranean sea, here we speak with our hands, we eat pasta, pizzas, we drink good wine and we say “Ciao”, you guessed it, we are in Italy! Specifically in southwestern Italy. We land in Naples and head to the Amalfi Coast! You will find all the information about our stay from the visits, accommodation prices, restaurants to transportations for a last minute itinerary with friends.
For information (as of September 2021), you must complete a location form. The airline should remind you before boarding: https://app.euplf.eu/, the questions are quite basic, for example the last trips you have taken and your details. The European health pass is requested, but apart from the airport and the archaeological site of Pompeii at no other place, such as bars and restaurants, we have been requested. If you are vaccinated you do not need a PCR or antigen test to enter or leave the country and the mask is required in all enclosed areas.
We landed in Naples from Paris, but the first impression was not so good. Indeed, for the first evening we took a hotel for one night near the central station, Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, since the next day we planned to take the train towards Sorrento. Let’s say that I wouldn’t recommend this area, nor the Hotel Poerio on via Alessandro Poerio in Naples. We arrived late and the hotel had overbooked their rooms, then the staff (not at all professional) wanted to take us to another hotel that we knew nothing about. Three girls alone in Naples at 11 in the evening with a car and strangers who want to take us to another hotel, it doesn’t sound good! Neither once nor two, we went to the Booking.com app to find another hotel nearby. Finally, it was at the Hotel Nuovo Rebecchino that we stayed for our first night. It is near the station and the rooms are large. The price was 95 € per night for three people at the beginning of September. The taxi from Naples airport to the central station apparently has a fixed price of 25 €, well that’s what the driver told us. To be confirmed.
My opinion of the city on the first day left something to be desired, Naples is “dirty”, it felt like you were in a third world country while in Europe. However, give it the chance to be discovered and maybe you would like it. When we were on the Amalfi Coast, we met people who had loved Naples, but they were talking about the historic district! We were at the central station and maybe that was the problem. My curiosity piques me so we come back one more night on our return from Sorrento and we stay at the Come D’Incanto In Napoli, it is a lovely guesthouse. The night cost us 90 € for three people. We are now in the heart of the historic center, and we will discover another face of Naples.
– Piazza Bellini: a nice atmosphere in the evening, with a lot of people and bars with cheap drinks. Lots of Erasmus students gather here and party the night away. For lovers of old books, the library in this square at the top of the steps called “brau” is filled with historical books.
– Piazza Dante: a large square with very nice restaurants and bars
– Piazza del Gesu: the nice thing about Naples is that you can walk and change the mood easily. This square is home to historical monuments such as the Obelisk of the Immaculate in the center. There are also historic palaces.
– Castel Nuovo: a castle in need of a paint job. Also known as Maschio Angioino or Angevin male.
– The Church of San Dominico Maggiore: one of the most important churches in the city for its art, culture and history.
– Piazza del Plebiscito: This is the most important square in the city with the Basilica of San Francesco Di Paola where we attended wedding photos. On the side you can also admire the royal palace.
– Pizzeria Vesi (via dei Tribunali): we ate a delicious and huge pizza. A place that I recommend without hesitation. Around € 10 for a (very) large pizza.
– Pizza fritta: this is apparently the specialty of Naples, according to a local Italian who told us. So, we couldn’t leave without tasting it. It’s actually a fried pizza that we ate at the Fiorenzano Pizzeria Trattoria in Piazza Trieste e Trento. That’s € 3 – € 4 for a fritta pizza. It was very rich in cheese and I would say it’s not my favorite dish but I tried it 😊
In short, Naples is a city with many facets, it can amaze with its look, but we quickly understand that it is an old city that keeps its history, architecture and culture, that is why artists there love it. I wouldn’t get it tattooed on my arm, but I would give it a chance.
A direct train goes from Naples to Sorrento for € 3.90 (one way) and we stayed for three nights at the Hotel Villa Maria for € 393 in total with expenses included for three people. You should know that the Amalfi Coast is a very popular destination and the prices of accommodation in this region are quite expensive, whether on Airbnb or at the hotel. The most economical value for money we found was in Sorrento (versus Positano or Saliente) as it was also easy to get to, only a 1 hour 30 minutes by train from Naples.
Bathe, eat and sunbathe! Enjoy the warmth, the cobbled streets, the beaches and the good Italian gastronomy. Our hotel was not ideal from Sorrento central station and the main square Piazza Torquato Tasso, but we were still close to the village, the beaches and some great restaurants.
Marina Grande was our first beach because it is the closest to our hotel, we had to go down some steps to get to a charming fishing village also famous for the quality of its restaurants. You should know that the beaches have a cost, between € 10 and € 25, for the parasol and the place you reserve. However, we didn’t pay any, because there is always an area where there is no parasol, with more people but it’s free, you just have to put down your towel and sunbathe. The Mediterranean water is my favorite, it’s not very cold nor too hot, it’s perfect for the temperature.
A few steps away there is also the Leonelli’s beach, very famous in Sorrento for all the blue and white parasols, it is in a sheltered bay with restaurant and terraces around. All the beaches have often volcanic sand since Vesuvius is not far away. Here you will find calm, shallow water.
Bagni Regina Giovanna
It is in fact a ruin of an ancient Roman villa with stunning views over the coast, a natural arch where you swim to enter an equally natural hidden pool. The water is beautiful, the beach is secluded, from the arch you can jump from there if you don’t fear of heights. You can also snorkel and may see some fishes.
It was not a known place before, but it has since been discovered and several blogs speak about it, including mine 😊, but it is true that it is worth stopping there if you have the chance, just to see something different than the classic beaches and the restaurants in town. You will be in the very heart of nature between land and sea. Bagni Regina Giovanna is free, you can get there by bus, taxi or on foot if your accommodation is not far away. The rocks can be slippery, but we were in sandals and had no problems or accidents, just be careful. Take something to eat and drink, as there are no merchants passing by, you will have to go back up and go to the main road to find something.
Restaurants in Sorrento
We ate at O’Puledrone, a beautiful restaurant by the water with fresh seafood of the day. I highly recommend it to you, but book before if you can, as it is very popular.
Portamarina is also the must restaurant to try in the fishing village, near the Marina Grande beach. I don’t have a recommendation on what to take since everything is good! Seafood, pasta, fresh vegetables, you won’t be disappointed.
One of the restaurants that surprised me and that I also found very good was The Garden because it was on the very touristy street of Corso Italia and I would have thought it was a tourist trap, but in fact no, the dishes were delicious with excellent wines.
You couldn’t be on the Amalfi Coast without knowing you had seen Positano. We took the bus from Sorrento station to get there, it cost us 10 € each round-trip. You can also get there by boat to get a view of the land from the sea (logical), but we didn’t. By car, motorbike or bus, the roads are very narrow with many curves that seem dangerous, but the view is breathtaking. When we got off the bus, I think we took thousands of photos! The weather was beautiful, the decor and the atmosphere of the small streets leading down to the beach is quite charming.
We did the main beach of Positano with the colorful houses as a background, it is true that it is worth the visit and the swimming! There are paid beach spots, resident-only spots, and free spots where the sun sets a little earlier as this area is close to the coast. We were still able to enjoy a beautiful lazy afternoon.
What you will find in Positano are luxury shops and chic restaurants, a very touristy and romantic place with its picturesque view but going there for a day / afternoon was more than enough for us.
We liked Capri and we did it. Will I go there again? I do not think so. It’s true that this little island is lovely in itself, but I think it’s been very commercialized and apart from the rocks and the sea the rest seems superficial to me. Like prices for example, the ferry to get there from Sorrento Bay which takes around 40 minutes costs € 38.90 per person round trip. A fruit juice € 12, a tour around the island by boat to discover its history € 45 and this does not include the famous visit to the blue cave that everyone is talking about. It is famous for the light reflections on the walls and its crystal-clear water. There is an additional cost to visit it, but that day the water was at high tide and no boat could venture there.
We then ventured out onto the island by foot and it was quite a hike as everything is sloping, but the weather was wonderful with good company. We went to see a famous road on the island called Via Krupp passing through the Garden of Augustus, the entrance was just € 1. It is said to be one of the most beautiful roads in the world, it is considered a work of art where every curve has been built to the last detail at the request of the German Friedrich Alfred Krupp.
On the way back down from our hike, I strongly recommend that you pass by the beach next to the port before boarding the ferry. After so much heat and walking, this swim did us a lot of good.
We did Pompeii because it was on our way back to Naples. The advantage is that you can leave your suitcases in lockers secured with a code during the visit. They are free. If you have bigger suitcases, you can put them in a room where a guard watches them and gives you a receipt.
My opinion of this archaeological site remains mixed, we did not have a guide and there was not so much ruin to see. I haven’t learned more, but it is true that you are stepping back in time when Vesuvius buried the entire city and still some bodies of the victims are visible.
The train from Sorrento to Pompei costs € 2.40 per person. Admission is € 10, then the train from Pompeii to Naples is € 2.80. We visited it at the end of the afternoon, which was ideal as it was not crowded, and the heat was not overwhelming.
Adventurous and explorers that we are, five days does not seem much, but we were able to coordinate and enjoy this memorable and wonderful stay. It was one of my best trips of 2021. I wrote this article to share our adventure with you, but also to remind me how much this memory of life makes me grateful and puts a smile on my face. If you’ve been on the same route too, or have any questions, don’t hesitate.