In the beginning of August, my boyfriend and I headed to Italy for a much needed vacation. Over the course of a week, we spent a few days eating our weight in pizza and pasta in Naples, enjoyed sunshine and Aperol Spritz on the Amalfi Coast, and most importantly, watched two of our friends get married in Lecce.
I spent quite some time researching where to stay and what to do to make sure we maximized out time sightseeing and laying on the beach. It was our last breach vacation of the year after all! To help you plan your perfect week along one of the worlds most breath-taking coasts, here’s our itinerary and lessons learned.
Itinerary – 5 Full Days
Thursday Afternoon: Arrive in Naples
Friday: Explore Naples
Saturday: Head towards Praiano & Pitstop in Herculaneum
Sunday: Beach Day in Praiano
Monday: Explore Amalfi Town & Positano
Tuesday: Day trip to Capri
Wednesday: Drive to Matera
Pro Tip: If you’re not a pro at driving a manual, I’d stay away from driving around the Amalfi Coast. The roads are quite steep and not for the unpracticed or faint of heart. Our primary mode of transportation was bus, train, and a whole lot of walking.
Naples isn’t the biggest of towns and can be easily explored in one or two days. How much time you want to spend here really depends on how much pizza you want to eat before heading to the beach.
We spent the majority of our visit in Naples walking around in Old Town and waiting in line to eat at the famous Sorbillo.
Pro Tip – If you’re travelling in a group and want to eat at Sorbillo, I highly recommend splitting up, or coming before they open to get a spot in line. You put your name on a list as well as the number of people you are. Then you patiently wait until your name is called. Don’t stray too far because once your name is called, it won’t be called again.
Half Day Trip – Herculaneum
We travelled by train and to Praiano on the Amalfi Coast, first taking the local train from the Naples train station. About half way, the train stops at Herculaneum. I’d highly recommend a pit stop! This lesser known town is home to Pompeii’s smaller rival. The ruins are about a ten minute walk down main street from the station. No need to take a taxi.
Once at the information center, you can store your bags and grab tickets to walk around. If you’re travelling in the summer, make sure you bring plenty of water. It’s incredibly hot to walk around in the ruins in the middle of the Italian summer heat.
Praiano, Amalfi Coast
Overall, it took about 2.5 hours to get to Praiano from Naples. The train takes about an hour, give or take. We got stuck in a rain shower that slowed our train down quite a bit on the way down to Sorrento.
Once we’d arrived in Sorrento, we took the local bus down to Praiano. You can buy a bus ticket from a stand at the bus stop. The bus comes once every 20-30 minutes.
As the bus driver slowly guides the bus up and down the winding road, take in the beautiful landscapes and don’t forget to breathe as it gets quite tight in several spots.
Pro Tip – If, and when, you want the bus driver to stop on a bus stop that’s not a main bus stop, yell “fermata”.
We opted to stay in Praiano because it is a bit lesser touristy and about halfway along the coast, giving us the option to choose where to stay in the town for the day, or travel to either Amalfi or Positano for dinner in the evenings. Positano and Amalfi can be both be over-crowed and the more you head towards Salerno, the farther away you are to the most popular day trip attractions.
I’m glad we stayed in Praiano. Not only were we in a perfect location to do day trips in either direction as well as to Capri, but we were also spoiled rotten with great food options. For my food recommendations in Praiano, click here.
If you’re returning to Naples to fly home after spending time on the coast, you’ll need to do the trip in reverse – bus back up to Sorrento and then the local train to Naples. If you’re heading towards other beach locations further down the coast, Matera, or Salento,
Pro Tip – I’d recommend renting a car in Salerno to drive the rest of the way. Don’t make the same mistake we did – book the car in advance! We had to run around to every rental car location in Salerno prior to finding a car with Avis at the last minute. Lucky us someone had decided to return their car a day early.