Shermans Travel » Blog » Archive
Tag Results: Amalfi Coast
If a Mediterranean, Adriatic, or Baltic cruise is on your 2012 travel wish list, check out the $1,776 July 4th sale fares now being offered by Windstar Cruises (must be booked by July 6). Windstar, which operates three tall-masted luxury ships – 312-passenger Wind Surf and 148-passenger Wind Star (shown at left in Greece) and Wind Spirit – has lowered fares on 20 European voyages sailing from mid-July to mid-November (with some fall voyages priced as low as $1,476 and December Caribbean voyages priced from $976).
I have cruised around Europe extensively and have sailed on both Wind Star and Wind Surf. If, like me, you prefer smaller ships to the behemoths, you’ll enjoy the intimate ambiance, wonderful service, superb cuisine, and easy camaraderie that these ships offer. Here are few of my recommendations for itineraries among those on sale until July 6:
Out of all the dreamy spots visited on our recent Amalfi Coast escapade, Amalfi’s “city center” and its nearby Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi were highlights. The coastal town has a compact little village (aka the city center) tucked behind the port, while the hillside Grand Hotel Convento, a centuries-old convent turned hotel, sits high above the sea overlooking the coast, its three jetties, and the winding, cliff-hugging road below. Read more
I did this recently through Capri Boats. For about 800 Euros (around $1,150) you can rent a motor boat with a driver-guide for up to eight hours and plan out a unique tour of this famous island off Italy’s Amalfi Coast. The cushy speed boat comfortably accommodates four people, with room for as many as eight passengers. With friends, it’s possible to split the cost and each pay as little as 100 euros (about $140) per day. Public wooden boats (you’ll see them in Capri’s marina) provide a less glamorous, more practical way to explore by water, but the private option is quite affordable and the most flexible.
One thing about the Amalfi Coast is that it almost doesn’t matter which town you stay in as you are likely to spend a day in each. Staying in Sorrento is usually a good option for finding value. It’s a larger city and has many hotels. I once stayed at the Bellevue Syrene (www.bellevue.it) and found it to be a smart splurge. Also, they have an easy-to-access jetty by the sea.
In Positano, the best classic hotels include The San Pietro (www.ilsanpietro.it) and Le Sirenuse. Both are very expensive, with room rates over $800 per night. Anything in Positano is going to be costly, however Buca di Bacco (www.bucadibacco.it) is a good value in town. Also, staying in Praiano at Casa Angelina is my smart luxury pick. It’s luxe but prices are a good bit less than if it were located in nearby Positano.
For dinner on my first night on the Amalfi Coast, we did what most Napolitano people do in order to get around – we took a water taxi. The 10-minute ride led us to a small beach town next-door to Praiano where we reserved an outdoor table at Da Armandino (www.trattoriadaarmandino.it). This restaurant looks very simple but the food is outstanding. While the homemade pastas and marinated sardines were my favorite, everything we tried was amazing.
The next day, my friend arranged Vespa rentals for our group. The bike company representative tested each of us before he would allow us to rent. I think they don’t quite trust Americans on these vehicles. I am sympathetic since most of us didn’t grow up with them, unlike Italians and other Europeans.
I arrived yesterday to Italy’s famed Amalfi Coast for a friend’s 50th birthday party in a town called Praiano, near Positano. I’ve been twice before to the coast, although never to Praiano, and each time I marvel at its beauty. There are many gorgeous places in the world but this is surely near the top of the list.
My journey began with a Continental flight to Milan – mind you, a four-hour stopover in Malpensa airport is not a drag as there are terrific shops to explore. In September, you’ll find great seasonal discounts. Check out the Bruno Magli, Armani, Gucci, and other spots where prices seem less than in the U.S. I love Italian fashion. Who doesn’t?
I then took a short one-hour Lufthansa flight to Naples. From Naples my hotel arranged a transfer for the one-and-a-half-hour car ride to Praiano. By this time, I was pretty exhausted. However, the scenic drive is a good tonic.
There are few places more idyllic than the Amalfi Coast, just south of Naples. The towns of Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello make for a perfect summer or shoulder-season getaway. Hop from town to town and soak up the sun, the beach, the friendly people, and, of course, the gorgeous vistas from these seaside treasures.
I started my trip, as most people do, in Rome, where I recommend you stay for at least one night. I chose the Boscolo Aleph Hotel (from $487/night), a stylish and comfortable boutique spot well situated within walking distance of the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, and more. Farther from the town center, consider the Aldrovandi Palace (from $495/night), which offers a marvelous pool set amid its gardens. After a restful night, I took the 2-hour train ride to Naples where I met a driver, Tony the Penguin (this, to distinguish himself from another driver named Tony), who took me the 1.5 hours to Sorrento. I chose to stay in Sorrento for two reasons. First, it is easier to visit the ancient ruins of Pompeii from there (it’s just 20 minutes away by train), and second, the hotels offer better value here than in neighboring Positano. I think that guided tours of Pompeii are worth the price—seeing and hearing about the ancient town preserved in volcanic ash helps one grasp what was once there.
Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals