The Amalfi Coast is one of my favorite places in the world. The way I love to see this part of the world is to "base camp" in one of the small towns, or on a boat. There are so many amazing villages to visit that it is really wonderful to be able to either take day trips or be on a boat and spend the days exploring this incredible coastline. I was lucky enough to spend the last part of June in Capri and here are my travel tips!
"You may have the universe if I may have Italy."by Giuseppe Verdi
Where to Stay
In Capri, if you have children, stay at the Quisiana ( Grand Hotel Quisisana ). It has an amazing pool and breakfast buffet, and is right in the middle of everything. We had children ranging in age from 10 years to 18 years and so it was wonderful that they could all explore and pop in and out as they liked.
Where to Eat
In terms of hotel restaurants, the lunch at La Colombaia at the Quisisana is delicious, and you can't beat the dinners at JK Place preceded by cocktails on their amazing terrace.
However, my favorite lunch spot (and rest-of-the-afternoon spot) is hands down La Fontelina Beach Club where not only is the fish caught right of the Mediterranean sea but they put mattresses on the rocks for relaxing afterwards (that's my son on the mattress! he was certainly enjoying Italy).
(Note: It's a REALLLLLY long walk down and up unless you go by boat, but SO worth it!)
For a really special occasion, book the private terrace at Monastero Santa Rosa in Amalfi, which may be the most striking location for a hotel I have ever seen. The monastery is hundreds of years old and looks as if it is falling into the sea off the cliff. I have no idea how anyone could have built anything like it- it is breathtaking! There is a VERY windy road up from Amalfi, or there is a helipad in Anacapri, up at the top of the island of Capri, which can land right by the church near the monastery.
It's hard to compare such a remarkable place, but the other not to miss spot is Il San Pietro, which I love to approach by boat. (I was with some very "seasoned" travelers and they all said it may have been the most incredible setting for a dinner they had ever seen). The elevator takes you up through the cliffs by the sea to the most breathtaking views of any restaurant or hotel in the area. (Note: the restaurant does not like children under 10! Barrett just snuck in under the wire!)
At lunchtime, one of the most amazing restaurants I have experienced is La Conca del Sogno, a place where you want to spend most of the day. You arrive by boat and are taken in by a smaller boat, and the food is delicious, and people-watching is fun!
What to do
For a day trip around the coast, I have loved the charters from Amalfi Sails. The crew is so friendly and knowledgeable- they have taken us to beaches and grottos about which I never would have known (including an actual nude beach if you like!). The blue grotto is a tourist attraction I usually avoid- you can see better caves in a more private way on other sides of the island. The white grotto has a "statue" of the Virgin Mary which looks so realistic it seems like it was sculpted not made from nature.
Or, for a fun afternoon shopping and cocktail, after lunch at La Conca del Sogno, head to Positano for amazing shopping and a drink at the Champagne Bar at Le Sirenuse, a centuries old family owned hotel, still run by wonderful Antonio Sersale whose hospitality knows no bounds (not only did he host us with champagne, he had a specially made birthday cake for the birthday guy!). Stop by Emorio Positano and the store at Le Sirenuse for amazing well edited clothing and gifts.
For a more off-the-beaten path "beach club" (Capri has several beach clubs, which are restaurants right on the water where you can also rent chairs for the day and sit by the beach; the "club" part means that you have to pay to be there only- there aren't any membership applications!), I love Torre Saracena which is over 100 years old and legend has it, is the beach where Ulysses saw the Sirens (at least that's what I've been told). The walk down to the Marina Piccola is on a charming street with no cars, private villas and that beautiful climbing bougainvillea which looks fake!
In Capri, the shopping is top notch of course, with well known Italian brands like Missoni, Pucci, Miu Miu, Prada, etc. but since you can get all those clothes easily in the U.S., my favorite places to visit are those which are only in Italy- the little family owned sandal shop where Jackie got her shoes, Canfora (I like the chain link style all in gold with no leather straps); and Grey Flannel, which is the BEST for wonderful current and well-curated clothing; and the Emporio Sirenuse which has the best one piece bathing suits I have ever tried.
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