Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Amalfi Coast; Things to Do in Positano and Montepertuso

Over the past year three of my friends have traveled to Italy for their honeymoons and I've found myself putting together a list of recommendations from my trip last summer. Now that we're a year out, I thought it was about time to publish my tips for traveling to Italy starting with our time in the Amalfi Coast.


Before you takeoff, the first thing you should do is download the TripAdvisor app. The app lets you download a guide for each city and save it to your phone so you can access the information when you are out and about without wifi. There are a few other apps like this which you could look into too but we had a lot of success with TripAdvisor.  Also, you may have already added international data (and should if you haven't yet) but in our experience, it goes pretty quickly.

Getting to Positano
There are a few ways to get to Positano depending on where you're coming from. We took the train down from Rome which was easy to navigate, quick and relaxing. A lot of guides recommend taking this train through Naples and on to Sorrento and then either hiring a driver or taking the bus the rest of the way to Positano. We were hoping to avoid the multiple train transfers and decided to take the train through Naples to Salerno to take a boat to Positano. In Salerno we walked around, ate lunch and enjoyed the views before boarding the boat. The boat traveled along the entire Amalfi coast providing gorgeous views and a relaxing trip directly to the Positano beach- the perfect way to kick off this leg of our trip. It was easy and affordable and I'd highly recommend it to anyone. 

Waiting for the boat in Salerno

Views of the Amalfi Coast

Arriving in Positano

There are many hotel options in Positano that are highly recommended (le Sirenuese
Covo dei Saraceni, etc) but we decided to Airbnb our entire trip for a more authentic experience and stayed in the town of Montepertuso, in the mountains above Positano. 
View from our apartment

Where to get drinks and snacks:

le Sirenuese- This is arguably the nicest hotel in the area; it's pricey but their Champagne Bar area (not the main restaurants) has a great view and very comfortable seats. If you go early enough you should be able to get one of the front seats on the balcony and you won't need to stay for more than a drink or two to really enjoy the view.

Relaxed at le Sirenuese
Franco's Bar- This bar is next door to le Sirenuese (it's also associated with the hotel) and more casual. We sat here and had the absolute best time. We got Aperol Spritz' and had a front row view of the water. It was new when we went so I'm not sure if it's picked up and is more crowded but the view alone is worth checking it out. 
Wine and Aperol Spritz with a view


Capri in the distance

Where to dine:

We ate all of our dinners up in Montpertuso, where we were staying. One night, we tried to take a bus up from Positano but got on the wrong bus and got lost (and I had a slight panic attack driving along the cliffs) so I would recommend asking your hotel if they can drive you or asking the restaurant if they can pick you up (most of them offer this service, otherwise it's a $40-50 cab ride up there even though its not far.)
View from the hike up to Montepertuso

Donna Rosa- We went here very late one night without reservations and sat on the back patio which felt like a private garden, it was so nice. The reviews of the restaurant mentioned that the food and wine were on the pricier side but we found the food to be reasonably priced and delicious and there was at least one affordable option for a half bottle of wine which was the perfect amount to end our day with.

Garden dining

La Terra- If you do one meal up in Montepertuso (which would be enough to take in the full view) you should do La Terra. I feel like a broken record at this point but La Terra has very good food and a great view of Positano and the water from above. If you make a reservation in advance, ask for one of the front tables as they have the best view of the water and town of Positano below.

Complimentary sparkling wine upon our arrival!

Other restaurant recommendations that were given to us but we didn't have time to experience ourselves:

Da Vincenzo- A family owned traditional restaurant also set higher up than most of the restaurants in town with great pastas and seafood.
Bruno- A great place to stop for lunch when walking around town with a great view and very good food.

Things to Do:

Beaches - If you go to the beach, I would recommend that you not go to the main public beach in Positano as there are so many more private options along the coast. If you walk down to the stone dock and you will see a little boat with a little wooden sign that says "di arienzo". It's a free shuttle over to a quiet, private beach- Spaggia di Arienzo. There, the beach chairs are $10 per person for the day and totally worth it because the beaches are stone and hard to walk on. You can call ahead and make a reservation for the front row of the chairs for the best view of the water. You should know that they stop taking people over at 1 PM and don't start taking people off the beach until 4:30 PM so you will have to eat lunch there. The food at their restaurant is delicious and it was so nice to be sitting in our bathing suits on the beach, enjoying a meal of fresh caught fish and homemade pastas. We loved it and would definitely go back. 

Ryan taking in the sights of the mountains behind the beach
View from the restaurant on the beach

Hikes- The Path of the Gods is a very long hike, high up in the mountains above Montepertuso, but don't worry you don't need to do the full hike to take in the best views. To get to the beginning of the trail, you can take a bus up from Positano (we walked because it was close to where we were staying.) There are some points along the hike that are along sheer edges so make sure you aren't afraid of heights. These were the most beautiful views we experienced the entire trip and our number one must do!

More incredible views
Mountain goat in the lower left corner and me running to get a picture with him!
More stunning views

Other things to do:

Cooking Class at Buca di Bacco- At this famous restaurant, they will teach you to cook classic Italian dishes and afterwards you'll enjoy the food you've cooked, overlooking the water. If you email them to set up the class, let them know what you want to learn to cook and if there is anything you don't like to eat and they will work to customize the class for your tastes.

Ravello- Another Amalfi Coast town with beautiful gardens and amazing views. Two recommended gardens are Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo where Villa Rufolo is also an outdoor concert venue overlooking the sea.


All in all this trip can be summed up by the delicious food and views that we were lucky enough to experience at every turn. There are so many options that you can't go wrong wherever you end up!

xxoo jane

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