Planning an international vacation is always so exciting at first until you get to the small but, vital details. For example, how many days in each city in enough? Do I need to book a tour for the museums/sites? Should I take a ferry/bus/taxi or rent a car?
Luckily for you, me and my husband just came back from a week-long Italian vacation starting in Naples, spending most of the time in the Amalfi Coast and ending in Rome. It was quite challenging deciding what region of Italy to explore, but, Amalfi coast has always been on my bucket list for travel, so, I opted for southern Italy.
Below you will find my detailed itinerary including what airports we flew in and out of, what modes of transportation we used, hotels we stayed at, restaurants we ate at, and activities we did.
Where to stay in the Amalfi Coast
There are quite a few different areas along the Amalfi Coast to stay in from Positano, Amalfi, Sorrento and others. We opted to spend 3 nights in Positano, and 1 night in Amalfi.
Positano is absolutely beautiful, with very romantic vibes. The beaches are incredible with a great variety of boating excursions. The walk to the beach did include a flight of over 300 stairs. In fact, I found in Positano in general, there was quite a lot of stairs. Because of this, I personally would not recommend Positano as a place to stay with young children. I think Positano is definitely more couples-oriented, for honeymooners, anniversary trips and any couple trips!
The views are unlike anything I have ever seen in my life, truly breathtaking.
Amalfi also has a gorgeous beach, which I saw quite a few families enjoying! The restaurants, shops and cafes were all very easily accessible from our hotel and the main square, making the area very family friendly.
Day 1: Naples, Italy
We flew out of Boston and into at Naples International Airport (the closest airport to the Amalfi coast, about a 90-minute car ride).
With Naples being the closest hub to the Amalfi Coast, it makes the most sense to fly into this airport. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe, and home of the Neapolitan pizza. We were able to find a taxi very easily at the airport that took us to our hotel about 25 minutes away (30-35euro).
We stayed at the Weekend A Napoli hotel. The owners were lovely, but the hotel is a bit old, small and basic. It was good for one night, but I would probably opt for a different one next time.
Day 2: Naples to Positano
We visited the The National Archaeological Museum in Naples, which is quite impressive with all its marble sculptures.
Afterwards we headed to a pizzeria at Concettina ai Tre Santi which was delicious.
There were a few other pizzerias on my list that we did not get the chance to eat at, but are very well reviewed:
1. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele (Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love)
2. Gino e Toto Sorbillo
We had our hotel book a private car for us to go from Naples to our hotel in Positano. The ride to the Amalfi Coast consists of winding roads and steep hills but, nonetheless was very smooth, air-conditioned and costed us about 125 euro.
There was a televison, and a private balcony to which we were served our fresh breakfast on every morning. The breakfast was one of the best I have ever enjoyed at any hotel. There was a wide selection of pastries, breads, spreads, meats, eggs however you like them, coffee/cappuccino and freshly squeezed juice.
Day 3: Positano, Italy
I knew I wanted to do a cooking class in Italy, and found a class on trip adviser in Positano. The class consisted of 6 of us and was run by the sweetest woman and her family in her home. We made gnocchi and tiramisu.
We had the best time, and enjoyed the wonderful food. I highly recommend her class.
Day 4: Capri, Italy
If you plan on visiting Capri, know that it will take up most of your day. The ferry port is located on the beach. You can buy tickets the day of or the day before. We bought our tickets to Capri the night before just to be on the safe side. (It was about 40 euro for roundtrip tickets per person). You can buy tickets to Amalfi, Sorrento, and Capri. The ride to Capri was quick, about 20 minutes!
The first thing we did in Capri was take a quick taxi ride to Anacapri to the chair lift of Monte Solaro.
This was one of the highlights of our trip, the views are out of this world, the blue waters, rocky shores, unbelievably breathtaking. You can hike one-way and chair-lift the other, but we chose to take the chair-lift both ways.
It was also very affordable, 12-euro roundtrip per person.
Capri is known for its luxurious shops. So, if you plan on doing any designer shopping, this is a great place to do so. They also have so many boutique shops and cafés.
The most popular excursion in Capri is the sea cave known as the Blue Grotto. We were worried about the weather and sea conditions as it was mid-October, but to be honest we should have gone for it! It was incredibly sunny and warm that day. The blue grotto is seen via a boat tour and supposed to have bluest waters you will ever see. Definity on my list for next time.
We took the ferry back to Positano and had dinner at Hotel Poseidon (il Tridente). Again, the food was delicious, views were perfection, and this was probably the most affordable restaurant we ate at in Positano.
There are so many cafes, bars, boutiques and gelato shops throughout all of Positano. Just keep walking and you’ll stumble upon them!
Day 5: Amalfi, Italy
Once again, we had our hotel book a private car for us to take us to Amalfi. It was 130-euro, and about an hour ride.
We stayed at Hotel Marina Riveria which was amazing. I wish we had time to stay more than one night here! Upon check-in they upgraded us to a room with an even bigger private balcony. The view from our room was the most incredible beach view. Breakfast is served indoors in a beautiful dining room, or on the large patio. The breakfast was delicious, with a large variety of all the breakfast foods.
We took a quick (and incredibly cheap, less than 5-euro for the two of us) bus ride to the little town of Ravello, about 15 minutes away. We explored the beautiful town and had lunch at a delicious restaurant I cannot remember the name of! But there are many lovely restaurants all around this little town. We explored, then took the bus back to Amalfi.
We were celebrating my husband’s birthday so for dinner, we went to Michelin Star restaurant Sensi. It was a 3-hour dinner with incredible food.
Day 5: Amalfi to Rome
After breakfast we took another private car set up by our hotel in Amalfi back to Naples train station (Napoli Centrale). The private car was again about 125-euro, a little over an hour ride.
We had purchased train tickets online a couple days before using the app Trenitalia. It was very easy to download the app, purchase the tickets from Napoli Centrale to Rome Termini Train station. There was at least 5 different train times throughout the day, some being high speed which, is what we took. The train ride was 1 hour and 10 minutes to Rome. There are different seating options, we picked the mid-range one which gave us enough room on the train to bring our luggage with us comfortably and were offered a drink and snack. The train tickets were about 40-euro per person one way.
Our hotel in Rome was a 5-minute walk from the train station so we walked over to Varese hotel. It was small, but very comfortable, with a big room and in a wonderful location!
We had booked a tour of Vatican City online on trip adviser a month before our trip. We took a taxi since it was about 15-20 minutes away with city traffic.
I HIGHLY recommend booking a tour for Vatican City. Our tour guide was wonderful, so informative and made us appreciate everything so much more. Our group only consisted of one other couple, making it much more intimate. Try to book a tour of maximum 10 people, less is more!
After our Vatican tour, we walked back towards our hotel, visiting the Spanish steps and Trevi fountain on our way back. Rome is SO beautiful at night. The weather was perfection in October and the city was so alive.
We had dinner at Alfredo Alla Scrofa restaurant (home of the Fettuccini alfredo).
Day 7: Rome, Italy
After breakfast, we headed to the Trevi Fountain followed by the Spanish steps. They are a short 8-minute walk from each other. The Trevi fountain gets SO busy during the day, to the point of barely being able to get a decent picture in front of it! Because of this, we went immediately after breakfast and while it was pretty busy, we still managed to get a get few cute pictures.
Near the Spanish steps is luxury boutiques, so we did some shopping, grabbed some pizza from a local pizzeria, and lastly tiramisu from Pompi Tiramisu.
From there we headed to meet up with our tour group for the Colosseum. We also booked this tour on trip adviser. Our group had about 15 people, and lasted 3 hours. It included the Roman forum and Palatine Hill. Our tour guide was so funny and informative, we had a wonderful time.
We ended the day with dinner in Trastevere which is a hidden gem in Rome. It is so beautiful at night and filled with incredible restaurants. We had dinner at Tonnarello which was amazing.
Afterwards we headed Shishà, a hookah lounge about a 5-minute walk away. The hookah was smooth, and the lounge had such nice ambiance.
Afterwards we took a taxi back to our hotel for an early morning flight from Leonardo da Vinci International Airport.
10 Italy Travel Tips
1. Buy an Italian sim card for your phone. Me and my husband bought one for 25-euro each, with more than enough gigs of internet that you will need for a month! They have e-sim and regular sim cards that works on any modern phone. We bought them from a phone store in Naples. Having internet 24/7 was so convenient to be able to check in with our kids at any time, and most importantly for google maps!
2. Use Google Maps to get around everywhere. Since we walked so much the entire trip to visit different sites and restaurants, using google maps was a huge help.
3. Make dinner reservations in advance. If there are restaurants you know you want to check out, try and make reservations at least a few days in advance.
4. Have Euros on hand for transportation and tips. We primarily used our Amex for most of the trip as it gives the most accurate dollar to euro rate, and there are no fees. Almost all restaurants accept Amex, as well as things like the tours, hotels, and train tickets purchased online.
5. Do NOT exchange dollars at the airport or Cash exchanges in Rome. We pulled out euros from ATMs in Naples, Rome and the airport. From our experience, the best rate we got was from an Italian bank’s ATM. There are many “cash exchanges” in Rome, but they charge so much fees, so try and avoid those.
6. Bring comfortable shoes. Expect to do a LOT of walking whether in Rome, Naples, or anywhere in the Amalfi Coast. I brought one pair of heels with me, and they were never touched.
7. Bring your passport with you if you are doing any luxury shopping. If you want to avoid paying VAT tax, bring your passport with you. You will fill out a tax-free shopping form at the store, which you will present at the tax-free desk at the airport. Once it is validated, you will get your VAT tax back in a few business days.
8. Bring Church-appropriate clothing if you plan on visiting the Vatican. There is a dress-code!
9. Be prepared to pay for water. Water is not free at restaurants so keep that in mind. They will ask if you want still or sparkling.
10. Book your museum tickets and tours in advance. The wait in line for Vatican City tickets can be hours long, so purchase them in advance!