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Picture overload. I could’ve continued, of course. Is there anything that begs (no, demands!) you to get your camera out and continuously snap away than the Amalfi Coast? If there is, I’m not sure I know the place yet. Santorini? The fjords in Norway? We probably won’t agree on the place so let’s carry on. Here’s my whittled down Amalfi Coast post, all pictures taken before Anders came down with his fever. I’m going to do my best to remember various details but I think they might be a bit fuzzy since my mind was entirely occupied with him the second half of the trip.
We stayed in Praiano. Airbnbs there are significantly less expensive than their Positano counterparts, and with the numbers of people we had (had to sleep 8, if you include Anders; my Mom and Dad were joining us for this.), we thought we’d skip the Positano crowds and prices, and stay in Praiano. Praiano is sort of spread out over a piece of coast that bumps out into the sea, so there’s areas of Praiano that face Positano and areas that don’t (here’s a visual). We were more on the side that faces Conca dei Marini. No matter where you are, you’re getting a view of the sea, and probably a significant one. But, if you opt for Praiano, it’s nice to know that you can also get a view of Positano should you want one. I had someone ask me on Instagram if I would choose Positano or Praiano. Here’s what I’ll say: if we had all the money in the world, I’d probably opt for Positano nine times out of ten. There’s just more happening there, more restaurants, less “off the beaten path.” With that said, my parents really liked avoiding the crowds of Positano, so, when we did Positano for the day, they were glad to get back to Praiano. You decide. There’s a SITA bus that will get you to Positano in about 15-25 minutes depending on where in Praiano you are, and it has plenty of pick-up times, so your options for getting into Positano are fairly simple.
The beaches of Praiano are totally different. La Praia (I instagrammed it here.) is Praiano’s main beach, and is really, really cool. I wouldn’t miss it, no matter where I was staying. It is a significant walk to get there (downhill there, uphill back; skip the stroller as there are many steps) so it’s not for the faint of heart, particularly in summer heat. But strap on the baby, as we did, and it’s entirely doable. Once there, if you haven’t brought enough snacks for the day, venture into Da Armandino. You can sit on their patio, right off the beach, or you can go in the back and order big square slices of pizza, cut with scissors, to go. Plop down on the rocky beach and eat up. At 5 euros a piece, they were huge, and it was a great snack to fuel up for the climb home. Since La Praia is in a canyon of sorts, there’s always a shady place to sit should you want to stay out of the sun! The kids could’ve sat there for hours, dipping their feet in the water, finding sea glass (it’s a-plenty!), and jumping off of rocks into the water. Their is a hotel directly behind the beach too, the name of which is escaping me, but it had a delicious dish of spaghetti with pomodoro (tomato sauce), the simplest of dishes. I ordered it for Parker and of course tried some. It was delicious.
In Positano, meander down all the walkways. Check out all the white, flowy tops at Antica Sartoria, and order a cappuccino (or, if you want something that more resembles American coffee, I’ve found a “cafe latte” is similar–both are delicious!). Go uptown, and you’ll find some great places to shop too. This one place had beautiful clothes, all sort of taupe-colored linens, including children’s. Again, what was the name of it? If you are needing a break from all of your pasta, make reservations at the tiny Casa e Bottega. I wish we’d have eaten here. It’s bright and airy, and looks like you’re right in their kitchen while they cook at the island in the middle of the restaurant. Fresh smoothies, salads, produce everywhere. Really beautiful dishes for sale too. Someone on the beach told me it was the best chicken he’d ever had and the chef is the best pastry chef on the whole Amalfi Coast. The desserts were on display and looked amazing (though I was more eager to try their salads and smoothies!). I’ll get my chance, however, as I heard she’s opening a restaurant in NYC?
Once you’re at the bottom of Positano, Spiaggia Grande (the big, main beach), you’ll see lots of restaurants dotting the sidewalks there. Chez Black is supposed to be good, though I don’t know from experience! It’s to your right if you’re facing the water. What I do suggest is that you hug the coast to the right, all the way around the bend (a five-minute walk, at most; don’t be fooled that you need to rent a boat to get there.), and find yourself at Spiaggia del Fornillo (most of the above beach pictures). It’s a bit less busy, and a lot prettier, I think. Cheaper chaise rentals too. And plentiful restaurants. Go to family-run, barefoot-waitered Da Ferdinando and order the bruschetta! Take in the local scene. We had so much food and drink there, and it was 90 euros. Looking at the table positively covered in plates, I would’ve thought it more. Another option for lunch is Da Adolfo, but you’ll need a boat from the main beach to get there (and perhaps reservations, though I’ve heard they’re hard to come by). It’s a favorite among many. Fish and mussels and pasta and local white wine with peaches.
At dusk, wander onto the patio of Le Sirenuse (above picture of Parker looking out through the white railing). We had drinks there last time we were in Positano and the views were gorgeous. Drinks and a little snack are a splurge, but in my opinion, well worth it for a romantic stop. (Two other hotels that I would’ve checked if traveling with only Steve would be il San Pietro and Villa Treville–eye candy and a vino on the terrace for two, per favore!).
For activity, rent a boat! It’ll cost you but it’s the best way to see the Amalfi Coast for sure. Positano is beautiful when you’re on land, yes, but the view of it from the water cannot be missed. Of course, a boat to Capri, or Salerno, or any number of places can also get you the view as you pull out of Positano harbor, but an actual boat rental for the day is a well worth-it splurge. Everyone agreed it was their favorite day. There are many boat rental options, picking you up at your beach around 10 and dropping you somewhere between 3 and 6 pm and costing roughly 400 euros. You’ll have the option to go to Capri or do the Amalfi Coast. We toured the Amalfi Coast, seeing Furore, Conca dei Marini, Amalfi, etc. from the water. We pulled up captain-recommended to Da Teresa for lunch. It was one of those accessible-only-by-boat sort of beaches, which are so fun to go to. If possible, get a guide who can speak a good amount of English and you might have an even better tour. As it was, ours spoke very little English, we speak very little Italian, but still it was great and he pointed out Sophia Loren’s house so, celebrity tid-bit for the win.
If you do nothing else but laze around all day, moving only from chaise lounge to water, chaise lounge to water (interrupting this cycle only for some food), consider it time well spent on the Amalfi Coast. Time best spent, really. Positano is a place to relax, stroll, and eat. Enjoying la dolce vita! If you don’t get to “do it all” then there’s something to bring you back because chances are, one Positano trip in a lifetime is not enough.