Since this series is super long and quite detailed, I split up my report into 4 parts. In my last post, I took you through our 2 days in Venice.
Part 3: 4 Days in the Amalfi Coast (this Post)
Picking a Place to Stay at on The Amalfi Coast, Positano vs. Praiano
If you are thinking of visiting the Amalfi Coast, then the first question in your mind may be – where should I stay?
The Amalfi Coast line has a number of tiny villages perched along the cliffside.
The most popular town amongst all is Positano. The picture perfect postcard photos that you’ve seen from the Amalfi Coast are most probably of this place.
Because of how tiny it is, and how much in demand it is, the price of accommodation out here is pretty high. Also, because its the largest and the most crowded of the villages on the Amalfi Coast, it’s also pretty packed with tourists during high season.
I found Kate’s recommendation of Praiano pretty early on in my research, and once I spotted Hotel Margherita, I was sold. This place also has a plunge pool and crazy amazing views of the coast.
After googling the hell out of “Positano vs. Praiano”, I zeroed in on staying at Hotel Margherita in Praiano.
The way I see it, the advantages of staying in Praiano are:
- way, WAY quieter than Positano
- better views of the coast on both sides (you can actually see Positano from Praiano)
- accommodation that is more value for money
Pick Positano if you love being in the centre of all the action, and you are spending very little time on the coast.
Pick Praiano if you prefer quieter, less touristy places, and are looking to relax a little during your stop at the Amalfi Coast.
Praiano also has the locational advantage of being right in the middle of Positano and Amalfi – so it’s literally a 10 minute bus ride either way.
Hotel Margherita, Praiano
If you’re looking for a little bit of luxury on the Amalfi Coast – while on a budget – look no further. The service at Hotel Margherita was fantastic. They even give you beach towels, a beach bag, environment friendly water bottles which they fill on demand for you for your stay.
We stayed in a room with a private terrace overlooking their lemon grove. Margherita also has sea view rooms which are obviously more expensive. I loved sitting out in the little terrace and sketching.
Getting to the Amalfi Coast
There are many ways to get to the coast from wherever you are coming – but they will most likely involve the Naples Airport or train station. We were coming in from Florence so we picked a train that took us from Florence to Napoli Centrale. From there we had a private taxi ($$$$) pick us up from Naples and drive down to Praiano (with a pit stop for Gino Sorbillo pizza in Naples, ha!).
Sorbillo Pizza at Naples
My friend had recommended this place to me as having the “doughiest of doughs” so it had to go on my list. Of course it also has 10,000+ reviews on TripAdvisor. We got there about 20 minutes before it opened, and there was a huge line already. But everybody got seats when it opened- yeay! Service was pretty okay considering how huge the place is. I had a Margherita Extra (with extra cheese, that is), and my husband had one with pepperoni. Both our pizzas were delicious and very very similar in style to the ones we had at Gusta. I actually preferred the Gusta version but that had different toppings – so it’s not a direct comparison. My husband preferred Sorbillo’s.
Praiano – Marina Di Praia
Once we got to Praiano – after a rather scary drive with tons of hair pin curves – we just ended up relaxing on the first day. Yep, did not leave the hotel on our first full day there and I couldn’t be happier about that.
The next morning, after a scrumptious breakfast at Margherita, we headed out to Praiano’s main beach, Marina Di Praia.
The views on the way to the beach are just spectacular. You have to be there really to appreciate it – photos can’t do it justice!
Praiano has the most ceramic fish decor happening all over the city. And also the best street signs ever. Very charming!
A word about most (if not all) of the beaches on the Amalfi Coast – they are pebbly beaches. It’s rather tricky to walk on them when it’s sunny (and so they’re HOT), and not feel uncomfortable. Not my best “beach” experience, but going there is worth it majorly for the views en route.
Day Trip to Positano, Taking a Boat to Positano
After a couple of hours at Marina di Praia, we spotted many local boat tour agencies around. I had planned to take a boat to Positano in order to be able to enjoy it’s beauty from the sea (the best view, really), and now it was time to make that happen!
We headed straight to La Sibilla which had a stall there. Private boat taxis are actually pretty value for money especially considering the experience you get + the value they pack in. It was 30 Euros for a couple one way, and 50 Euros with a return. We picked a one way because we weren’t sure at what time we would be returning, and the boats operate until 6 pm.
After a little waiting time, we were on our boat! I had to jump off about, say 5-6 feet from the rocky “pier” onto the boat – but the captain was so very helpful! This boat trip from Praiano to Positano is probably my favourite experience from all of Amalfi Coast.
It was amazing to be out on the sea on a gorgeous, sunny day. Our taxi took us into an emerald grotto and even took a photo of us there.
He kept cracking jokes and entertaining us through out the ride – which was just 10 or 15 minutes long. He also paused for a bit when we could clearly see Positano from the sea. I had some time to take a couple of photos (though I was holding on to dear life the rest of the time – ha!). He also took a photo of both of us with Positano in the background!
This short boat ride is enough for you if you’re not a lover of being on water (like me). If you want a longer ride, just book yourself a day trip – there are plenty of day long ride along the coast line experiences on offer! Those also let you jump off the boat & go swimming at various spots along the coast.
And just like that – we had reached the main beach of Positano!
We were pretty pebbly-beached-out by this point, and also wanted to grab some lunch, so we headed up the main market street.
Positano is very different from Praiano, in that there are lots (and lots) of tourists, shops & generally way more life. Praiano is much more of a sleepy little cliff top village, while Positano attracts not only the bulk of tourists who want to stay on the Amalfi Coast but also tons of day trippers from as far as Rome!
After a bit of walking around, we went in to Casa E Bottega for lunch – another great recommendation from Kate. I loved this place mainly for its interior decor. And we ended up spending the better part of our (way too) sunny afternoon in here!
After lunch, we just wandered around town, walking mostly up (and some down) lots of steps, enjoying the views, taking in the sights. Soon enough we were ready to head back to our little haven of peace and quiet!
Although there is a dedicated Positano-Praiano bus (which stops right in front of Hotel Margherita), we ended up taking a regular SITA bus. With no seats left to sit on, it was quite a hair raising 10 minutes back! But, not as crazy as the drive through Conca di Marini (which is the route we took Naples to Praiano).
Praiano Town Centre
The SITA bus stops at the Praiano town centre, which also has fabulous views overlooking the Duomo of Praiano and also the coastline of course. We spend some time sitting here, and people watching – just what some others (local residents) seemed to be doing as well :)
Buying Ceramics on the Amalfi Coast
The next day we headed out and about thinking we’ll go to the town centre to pick up some stamps for our postcards. But, on the way, I got distracted by the most adorable ceramics shop.
Now, I had scoped out quite a few ceramics stores in Positano but this shop was my favourite in terms of designs and also price. Pricing in Praiano seemed to be at least half of everything in Positano (yeay). I spent a good half hour there admiring and selecting a few pieces. It was so so hard to choose, but I managed! Some of you saw what I got over on my Instagram stories :) I went with some typical lemony illustrations as that’s the most iconic symbol of the Amalfi Coast. I highly recommend this store. It’s called Ceramiche da Mario. It’s quite close to the city centre, but I unfortunately don’t remember the name of the shop – the shop owners were the sweetest ladies who helped us pick our pieces & also suggested we check out the smaller beach of Praiano – La Gavitella.
La Gavitella Beach & One Fire Beach
We took their advice and set out for La Gavitella. Again, the route to La Gavitella had the most amazing views + street signs (if you can call them streets – they are STAIRS guys).
Right before you reach La Gavitella, you will find a gorgeous view of what is One Fire Beach – a beach side club of sorts where you can rent sun loungers & get snacks.
We headed straight to the tiny beach and spent some time there relaxing by ourselves. La Gavitella is way, WAY smaller than Marina di Praia (which is already tiny), so it’s pretty secluded. It has it’s charms but if you could visit only one, go to Marina di Praia. Both make for amazing Instagram spots, obviously, ha!
Last Day chilling
On our last day in Praiano, I just wanted to chill at the hotel. I didn’t want to step out. And that’s what I did. Margherita has a pretty limited lunch menu (just snacky items) – but they did have a club sandwich, which was perfect for me! My husband wanted something else for lunch, so he set out at lunch time to grab some food while I stayed back at the hotel.
I just sat out in the terrace and sketched. Bliss!
I also caught up on some emailing – which also helped cut through vacation monotony (I don’t know how else to explain this, ha!).
I also wanted to rest a little (or a lot) on the last day and just enjoy the views because I knew our next stop Rome was going to be crazy again with lots and lots of walking!
All in all, we’re so glad we visited the Amalfi Coast and stayed at Praiano – best decision ever (for us). If you love quiet, peace & magnificent views – head to Praiano! It’s super easy to get to the other towns from there for day trips etc.
Amalfi Coast Quick Round Up:
Stayed At: Hotel Margherita
Favourite Eats: Fried Pumpkin Flowers stuffed with Ricotta Cheese at Hotel Margherita’s roof top restaurant (Ristorante M’ama)
Favourite Sights/ Experiences: Walking all over, boat ride to Positano
More from our Italy Vacation:
Part 3: 4 Days in the Amalfi Coast (this Post)
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