The first stop on our backpacking trip through Italy was the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Pomeii. I’d already been to Napoli this Christmas, so I stayed in the city only to save money.
We stayed at Hotel Tourist in downtown Naples which is right beside the train station so it’s good for day trips, but not much else. Breakfast started too late so we missed it and there wasn’t a mosquito screen so I got eaten alive every night. You get what you pay for, I guess.
Anyway, I stayed there for two full days: one for Capri and another for Pompeii and Amalfi/Positano.
Capri is one of those places in Italy that are just drippingly beautiful. Like you’ve stepped into a movie set or Renaissance painting. Just an hour (or less, if you can afford a high-speed) ferry ride from the port of Naples (note: double check which port you need to go to because there are two), Capri is simply magnificent.
Spend a perfect day exploring the little picturesque towns, checking out the designer shops, cafes, and don’t miss taking an island boat tour. I highly recommend purchasing the longer route (I think the colour was yellow) which takes you all around the island in about two hours. Not only will you see the famous “Blue Grotto” (which is extra, and they actually ASK you to tip them) but you’ll also see the soaring cliffs, steep ridges and rocks of the island, so tall they sometimes disappear into the clouds. For about €18 plus the blue cave, it’s a bargain for such a memorable trip.
As I said before, every town in Europe has its own signature alcohol and in Capri its delicious limoncello, a sugary sweet, lemon- (or sometimes pistachio-, almond- or mandarin-) flavoured digestive. TIP: Poor backpackers should try following large groups of tourists to get as many free samples as they can. Not saying I tried it or anything.
Bonus: Every place in Italy has its own famous local dish and for Capri it’s the Panino Caprese: thick slices of Buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato and basil, drizzled with a healthy helping of EVOO sandwiched in a crusty baguette. You can get them anywhere and it was maybe my favourite sandwich of the trip (can I say that?).
Amalfi Coast & Positano
I have terrible luck. The afternoon after we went to Pompeii, took the bus directly to the Amalfi Cost and Positano. I couldn’t possibly go so close without seeing it. So after travelling by subway then standing on a nauseating cliff-winding bus for two hours, we finally arrived at the famous look-out point in Positano and … it promptly starting to rain.
But a little rain never hurt ‘nobody so after snapping a few nice shots I hopped right back on that nausea-inducing bus and went directly to the Amalfi Coast – which is about 30 minutes away by bus, but feels a lot longer. Fortunately I had a few minutes of sun to take a quick look around and get some shots before it started raining again.
Seriously Useful Travel Tips for Capri & Amalfi Coast
- Public transport – other than the ferries, which are more expensive but more user-friendly – is a bitch in this area. Give yourself some buffer time for catching the bus/metro and double check timetables online the day before.
- For this reason, I recommend spending a night in Positano or nearby to save time, but it definitely is more expensive than Naples.
- Everything is expensive here. Any tour you do will be expensive. Any meal you have will be expensive. Budget accordingly and when in doubt, pack lunch and snacks!
- Capri is small enough to do in one day: start south at the port (Marina Grande) and do the Blue Grotto boat tour first thing in the morning. I recommend doing the whole circle tour. Take the bus (or a very long hike) up the hill to the picturesque Anacapri. Next, you could take the chairlift to the summit of Monte Solaro. Spend a relaxing day exploring the shops and sampling limoncello finishing with a trip to the Gardens of Augustus.
- Weather on the coast is always unpredictable, I recommend preparing for the worst and hope for the best every day. And always check the weather report the night before!
Unfortunately, because of the rain, I don’t have too much to say about the Amalfi Coast and Positano! 😦
Hope these tips come in handy and my photography is inspiring! Is anyone heading to Calabria any time soon?