Italy was one of the most incredible countries I’ve been to and I already dream of going back. My husband and I traveled around southern Italy along the Amalfi Coast and to an extremely unique town called Matera.
I’ll take you through each town we visited including all the bus stops to get on and off at, including the famous Fiordo di Furore. Keep reading for everything you need to know about traveling the Amalfi coast including what to pack, where to stay, what to see, and of course: where to eat!
How I packed for the 14 Day, End of March Trip to Italy
The weather in March is on the cusp of being beautiful and sunny, but still with a chilly breeze. The water isn’t warm enough to swim in yet, but all of the ferry tours, boat rides, and restaurants/shops are open. When my husband and I travel we generally just use backpacks. I use an Osprey 45 liter and he uses an Osprey 30 liter. It was nice to just have backpacks to carry around, but we did end up buying alcohol (you must check your bag if you’re bringing home alcohol,) and bought a small hard bag to check on the way home.
I brought several cute but comfy tops, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of shorts, a purple dress, a black dress, a swim suit just in case, a pair of boots, heels, and a jacket, scarf and a cardigan. I’ll advise you right now not to even worry about bringing heels to look cute. I did end up wearing them because my boots actually broke, and before I could get new ones I stomped around in the heels for a while. It was pretty tough because mostly every city has thousands of stairs you have to climb and many are uneven and built out of brick or cobblestone. A comfy pair of walking shoes would have been much more suitable.
We experienced a bit more of a cold spell, and the locals told us it usually isn’t as windy and cold as it was in March. I would have preferred to have one more nice warm sweater (which I did end up buying,) but during most of the days we were warm and I even was in a tank top or my dresses mid day getting some sun. There is plenty of shopping to do in almost all of the cities! I ended up scoring a couple of really cute pieces for great prices, so I recommend under packing so you can get a couple things to take home with you!
Which Cities we Stayed In along the Amalfi Coast
Sorrento was our first stop after flying into Naples. Our friends recommended to not stay in Naples and get on a bus straight to Sorrento so that is what we did! There is a little bus stop near the Napoli Airport and we had to wait about 30 minutes for the bus, then the ride to Sorrento was only about 30 minutes itself. This bus is called Curreri Viaggi and only cost us 10 euros each.
There is a currency exchange in the airport, but don’t exchange all of your money there because the exchange rate is pretty awful compared to when you go to a bank in the city. I also recommend getting a SIM card for at least one person in your party because we had to text every single place we stayed before arrival to check in.
We stayed at the Villa Elisa Holiday Home in Sorrento and it was absolutely lovely. Our host was so kind and she explained history of Sorrento, told us all the fun places to visit, and gave us a map with marked locations. She recommended good food places, and one of them ended up being our absolute favorite meal of the entire trip! Ristorante S. Antionio has the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life, and my husband said their pasta there was his favorite meal of the trip. One thing we absolutely loved about all of the meals we had in Sorrento was that we were served bread with the classic balsamic vinegar and oil duo. All the bread was beyond delicious and perfectly salty.
Sorrento was definitely the best city to get souvenirs. There are so many shops all around and all extremely reasonably priced. Be sure to drink Limoncello or Meloncello because it is so delicious! The goods are decently priced, but meals did get somewhat spendy. We spent about $40-$50 per meal. If you’re trying to travel on a budget I recommend going to a grocery store and getting some food for yourself which we did end up doing at some points of our trip. Definitely go to the grocery stores regardless to get yourself wine, maybe some Italian snacks, and water bottles to refill. You can drink the water from the tap in these cities in Italy.
We spent most of our time here just walking around and taking in the beautiful city. We had a lot of fun exploring the shops, the coast, and walking down to Peter’s Beach, then up the mountain road that lead us to our next location: Positano.
We caught the SITA bus from Sorrento to Positano and let me tell you, if you have a weak stomach definitely take motion sickness pills. The curvy mountain roads along the Amalfi Coast are no joke, and by the end of this ride I was taking as deep of breaths as possible to not get sick. The bus ride was about 35 minutes, and as soon as we got to Positano I just had to sit on a bench and regain the color in my face. Thankfully, the view in Positano is INCREDIBLE, and it didn’t take me long to get back on my feet and taking selfies with my husband.
Positano is the picture perfect, dream city you imagine when someone says the Amalfi Coast. The mountains are jarring, the cliffs are so steep, and the ocean is so blue. The homes and businesses all along the cliffside are bright in color, mostly orange, red, yellow and pink. Honestly, it’s the absolute prettiest city I’ve ever seen. Be sure when booking a place to stay you get a room with a balcony so you can look over the ocean.
We stayed at Hotel Casa Albertina in Positano and it was a high quality hotel. We didn’t get super lucky with our room because the view was somewhat blocked by a roof directly below us. The view was beautiful regardless though as we could see the whole mountain side and most of the homes below. The breakfast here was lovely and it was an extremely nice place to stay.
Positano is one of the most expensive places to stay along the Amalfi Coast but it is definitely worth it. Be prepared to walk many stairs as that is the only way to get to and from the beach. Each meal was more around $50-$60 for the two of us, mostly because we ate down on the beach which is where all the tourist spots are. We didn’t mind because we kept that wine flowing and the views were so lovely down there. I 10/10 recommend buying a bottle of wine from a local shop and sitting to watch sunset on the cliffs next to the water.
From Positano, there is a beautiful somewhat hidden destination that was one of the highlights of our trip. It’s called Fiordo di Furore and is accessible by SITA bus. It is in between Positano and Amalfi. The SITA bus tickets only cost 2 euros a piece, so we purchased 4 total to get us both to the Fiordo di Furore, then to visit Amalfi afterwards.
Fiordo di Furore
This fjord was absolutely stunning. When we got off at bus stop SS163 we were the only ones there, I am sure this is not the same during peak seasons. You are dropped off on top of the bridge, so look for the staircase and follow it down. It leads you all the way down to the beach where you will look through the fjord and up at the stunning bridge towering over the ocean. In the summer I’m sure it is a lovely place to swim and cliff jump, but it was pretty cold so we did not get in the water. However, I did bring my swim suit and since we were alone I changed into it for the photoshoot. It was a blast and so worth it! After about an hour there we climbed back up the stairs and to the bus stop again. We waited about 15 minutes for the next bus to pick us up and take us to Amalfi.
We only spent a half a day in Amalfi and had plenty of time to get a pizza at La taverna di Masaniello Ristorante Pizzeria, and sample more limoncello at one of the most famous stores, Nino & Friends in Amalfi. Here you can try samples of anything and everything they make locally. Amalfi’s architecture is also beautiful, but Positano is definitely more colorful!
You may be wondering, did I take motion sickness pills for these bus rides? Yes I did, and it helped me not feel as sick as the first one! Make sure to get the non drowsy ones though, driving along the cliffs on the coast line is beautiful and you don’t want to miss out. The busses were at some points a little crowded and some people had to stand. Other times the bus was pretty empty. Also, look for Tabacci shops to purchase those SITA and other bus companies tickets at.
After Positano we stayed in Salerno as it is an extremely affordable city to stay in, very close to Pompeii, and where we would take a bus to Matera from. If I were to go back to the Amalfi Coast I would not go back to Salerno, however it was a very convenient place for us to stay. Salerno is a nice city, we just didn’t find much to do other than shop, and we did get our new suitcase here. It was more difficult to find restaurants to eat at in Salerno so we also went to the grocery store and got snacks to munch on.
We did enjoy walking along the ocean at sunset with the mountains in the distance!
From the Salerno Train Station, we bought train tickets to Pompeii. From the Pompeii train station the walk to Pompeii is only about 10-15 minutes. I do not recommend purchasing any of the tourists trap stuff at the Pompeii station! There are places to eat on the way to Pompeii and I had pizza for breakfast. It was delicious and I had absolutely no shame in it. Pompeii is super cheap to dine at, we paid about $12 a person.
Pompeii is not just the historic site you hear about in middle school, but it is also a functioning city. The historic site itself is very large and we explored for 4-5 hours. Many of the ancient homes were bombed in WW11 making the locations even more ominous. There are bodies still preserved from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius as well as other history like paintings, gardens, cross walks and homes. Pompeii was fascinating to walk around!
Traveling to Matera required us to book a Miccolis bus online. There are only certain times of day to catch the bus so we decided to leave at 6:45 AM rather than the late one. The bus took us almost 2 hours then we switched to another bus at a random ‘station’ that took us to Matera in about an hour. It overall went smoothly, but the language barrier was an issue here as we couldn’t communicate with anyone. Having google translate helped loads!
Matera is also a city similar to Pompeii where it has a whole functioning modern city, and a historic preserved tourist destination. Matera’s Sassi area is one of the most unique places in the world. It is like nothing we have ever seen before!
We stayed in the Hydria Rooms and loved every second. The host was so kind and we got to play with his delightful puppy. The room was exquisite and I would absolutely stay there again. It had complementary snacks, was perfect walking distance to many restaurants and on the edge of Sassi and Matera so we were able to go into town to shop or hike and explore caves with ease. The Hydria Rooms are technically not in a cave, but the architecture and design inside said otherwise. I cannot recommend this place enough!
Sassi Di Matera
Matera is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in history, but has somewhat of a shocking recent past. In the 1950’s the entire cave dwelling residential area had to be evacuated because it was deemed unlivable conditions. They even called it the shame of Italy for a while. I know it sounds awful, but they have restored beautifully it since!!
In the 1980’s people started to fix up the caves and turn the little city into a tourist destination. These renovated caves are now restaurants, places to stay, museums, shops and art galleries. A large section of the city is still closed off due to poor conditions, but when we visited in 2022 it seemed like lots of restoration projects were happening. In 1993 Matera was named a world heritage site and was recently named one of the two capitals of European culture! This city is somewhat undiscovered so far, so make your trip before everyone else hears about it!
The ancient city also has a giant ravine next to it, and across the ravine are even more caves that you can hike around. The hiking trail Parco della Murgia Materana is the way to get from Sassi to the other side of the canyon with inhabited caves. It includes hiking down the canyon, walking over a suspension bridge (SO COOL) and hiking back up the canyon. The hike is relatively short and easy and only took us about an hour. Bring water!
We ate at a really cool cave restaurant called Baccanti. The table was actually sitting on top of glass with artifacts below us inside the cave carvings. We also got multiple bottles of wine and lounged at Altieri Cafe, which had a beautiful seating area that overlooked cave dwellings and a church. Also in Matera we decided to save money since eating out was also about $40 per person. We went to a little cafe/bread shop near our place and had the owner make us some affordable and delicious sandwiches. We had a fridge in the Hydria rooms so it was easy to store food.
We then took a train from Matera to Naples. The train station was out of the city a bit, but our amazing host lined us up with a taxi to take us to Ferrandina-Scalo Matera and our tickets took us to Napoli Centrale. The train ride was about 3 hours long through the stunning countryside of Italy. The tickets were about 18 euros a piece.
We were going to be flying out of Napoli Airport and decided to stay in Naples before heading home. We did not love it here. We both agreed we would have rather stayed in Sorrento again in order to catch their ferries to Capri and still be pretty close to the airport. Our low-quality cheap accommodation in Naples was only 15 minutes from the airport. We were able to take a ferry from Naples to Capri and paid about $50 to ride. Once again, you need motion sickness pills, especially if you sit inside. The ferry ride was about an hour and twenty minutes.
Capri has tons of tourist restaurants and shops right next to the ferry drop off called Marina Grande as well as places you can buy boat tours around the island. We got some croissants next to the Marina and prepared for the adventure ahead. We first hiked up the staircases to Capri looking at all of the cute shops, then continued hiking to Arco Naturale. This is a stunning arch on the cliffside of the island (photo above.) We hiked all along the coast line and saw beautiful lookouts. The trail looped back to Capri, then we walked back down to the Marina to get a boat ride around the island.
The boat ride was beautiful, and worth the 40 euros we spent total. The tour we took was one hour long. You’ll see grottos such as the famous Blue Grotto with the bluest water flowing into them. During the summer you can take tours into these, but the swell was too dramatic for us to enter the caves. The tour guide spoke Italian, German, and English. He told us everywhere to look and the history behind it. We even boated right through a rock with an arch in the middle of it! (Pictured on left.) The boat ride was a highlight of the trip, then we celebrated our last day by eating cannolis next to the ocean.
Here are all the links to the places we stayed through Booking that I would recommend you stay too!
Sorrento Villa Elisa Holiday Home – about $100 per night : http://www.booking.com/Share-alBNLz
Positano Hotel Casa Albertina – about $180 per night : http://www.booking.com/Share-Ld9K83
Matera Hydria Rooms – about $100 per night : http://www.booking.com/Share-KdBejx
Find more info and photos/videos on my Instagram: earthtosarahr
Find my prints of Italy here: https://earthtosarah.darkroom.tech