The Amalfi Coast - definitely one of the most breathtaking places I have ever visited. Holiday villages connected by the scariest, winding bus routes that will leave you a) with an adrenaline rush or b) with you peeing your pants.
Tiny towns (like Praiano) with maybe three restaurants and a small grocery store. No McDonalds in sight. No Starbucks. Just the simple life. Sun. Sea. Naps. Reading. Conversations. Or larger villages (like Positano, Amalfi) with a bit more activity going on. If you want to experience a 'get-my-breath-back' holiday, then by all means plan to go to the Amalfi Coast.
Positano is one of the most well-known, cliffside beach destinations in Southern Italy. A tourist hotspot where you can rent a chair and umbrella for the day and wiggle your toes in the almost muscavado-colour sand.
After dinner one night the waiter enticed us to eat 'Amalfi cheesecake'. He mentioned pears and I wasn't really keen as it's not my fruit of choice, but when in Rome and all that...Suffice it to say that it was surprisingly delicious and light - a hazelnut cake base, ricotta cheese and vanilla pears. You can try and recreate it by checking out this recipe.
The colour of the water is simply mesmerising. So clear. So natural. No filter needed. We joined a boat tour which ultimately took us to Capri and at certain locations we could jump out, refresh, float around on a pool noodle (remember those!) and then get continue onwards.
The Blue Grotto is a cave that can only be reached when the tide is low. "Sunlight, passing through an underwater cavity and shining through the seawater, creates a blue reflection that illuminates the cavern" (Wikipedia). You cannot enter the Blue Grotto on your own and you have to use the services of the skippers and their wooden rowboats. I think I was amazed by all the shades of the sea in general by the time I got to the Blue Grotto, but the 'glowing' effect was quite surreal.
The island of Capri is a popular celebrity hangout. It was the weirdest thing to reach this landmass in the middle of nowhere and see Gucci stores and jewellers selling blue diamonds. Don't make the same mistake we did - once you get to the harbour, there are some stores and a small promenade, but if you want to see the real Capri you have to walk up the hill. There you will be rewarded with postcard views that will satisfy your 'lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous' fantasy for a day.
Where to stay
We stayed in the Maresca Hotel Praiano. It's close enough to reach the other towns by bus, more affordable, has it's own beach and church square from which you can see Positano on the other side.
What to remember
- Motion sickness pills for the buses and the boat rides.
- The SITA bus timetable was not very reliable, so leave room for delayed journeys.
Also on my list...
- Furore must probably be one of the most pinned pictures in the history of Pinterest. This tiny, hidden beach with its turquoise water is calling my name.
When I grow up I really want to go to Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello and spend hours just sitting in the infinity pool. Praying. Daydreaming. Just being. Doesn't it just look like pure bliss?