A Guest Blog By Sophie Yardley
My amazing boyfriend Tom and I have just come back from the most incredible holiday of our lives. I was inspired to do this holiday by one of my friends - the beautiful Lydia - so thank you!
A few people have asked about our trip, so I wanted to share our tips on travelling, accommodation, restaurants, and things to do, for anyone who may be interested in doing it too! Tom and I have never traveled around a number of different places in one trip, so the prospect of it was very out of our comfort zone, however, this is part of the reason we did it!
I was nervous about the number of things we had to organise in order to get around all the places we wanted to visit, and I was also worried that the trip wouldn’t be relaxing with all the travelling, however, I can say that it couldn’t have gone any smoother or been more relaxing.
Therefore, here is an itinerary of what we did to inspire and hopefully take away some of the stress of those of you wanting to embark on the trip of a lifetime!
We flew from Bristol - Venice (Marco Polo) on Friday 13th September at 5pm (lucky day). We took the alilaguna boat (blue line) straight from the airport to central Venice. Buy tickets for the boat on the ticket machine by the bag pick-up. The boats leave on the hour and every 30 minutes. We got off at the Fondamente Nuove stop and walked to our apartment.
Our next flight was Venice (Treviso) - Naples on Sunday 15th September at 8 am.
To get to Venice (Treviso) airport on Sunday for 6 am, we left our Airbnb at 4:40 am and walked to the Rialto Bridge where we took the public boat Actv which left at 4:55 am heading towards Piazzale Roma (Line no.1) where we disembarked. Buy tickets on the stand outside the boat stops and ensure you stamp your card before getting on the boat. At Piazzale Roma, we took the 5:30 am ATVO bus straight to Treviso airport, you can buy tickets from the bus driver if you don’t book online.
We took the Curreri Viaggi coach from Naples airport to Sorrento, this left at 10 am. Check the electronic board before leaving the airport which has which bay you need to go to. This was 20eur each and drops you in the center of Sorrento. From there we took our hotel shuttle bus (free) up to the hotel in the mountains of Sorrento.
Next was getting to Positano from Sorrento. At the main ferry port in Sorrento, there are lots of ferries heading to Positano/Capri. Check with your hotel/Airbnb beforehand so you can organise which time ferry you are getting. You may need to change at Capri (but just have a drink whilst you wait!) You pay at ticket booths at the port.
At Positano, we walked up 700 steps with 2 12kg bags to get to our hotel - do not do this it was hell. Pay for a porter (10/20eur) to take your bags to the hotel, this is the done thing.
From Positano, we took a ferry to Amalfi (again ask your hotel/Airbnb for the timetable). This was a very short journey with beautiful views. From the bus stop in Amalfi, we took the red open-top bus up to Ravello. This is 5eur as opposed to the 1.40eur SITA bus, but instead of being cramped, you have a nice seat with a view and can hear about the history going up to Ravello. You buy tickets on the bus, or for the SITA bus you buy them in the little corner shop (signposted). Our hotel was a one minute walk from the bus stop.
Our next flight was from Naples - Venice (Treviso) on Saturday 21st at 7 pm. We took the 2:30 pm SITA bus down to Amalfi (bought tickets from our hotel) and then took the Pintour bus straight to Naples airport (you need to pre-book, our hotel did this, it is about 1hr40 mins and cost 20eur each).
From Naples airport, we took a shuttle bus (ask the ticket booth staff) to Treviso center and walked to our Airbnb.
Our next flight was Venice(Marco Polo) - Bristol on Sunday 22nd at 10 pm. We walked to Treviso train station and took a train from Treviso to Venezia Mestre, we then took a coach/shuttle to the Marco Polo airport (there is a reception where you buy tickets)
Total price of flights = £139
Flight timings worked really well as it meant we only needed 5 holiday days off work.
Total price of other transport = 210 euros
Stress-free compared to car transport (parking is a nightmare, the roads are on cliff edges, and your car will likely get scratched)
We stayed in an Airbnb in Venice and hotels in Sorrento, Positano, Ravello and Treviso. We booked quite late and all the Airbnb in the places we wanted to stay were fully booked, leaving us no choice but to stay in hotels which we wanted to avoid due to price. However, the hotels were all amazing so despite blowing our budget - well worth it.
Venice - https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/16934980 Central location, beautiful apartment and helpful host
Sorrento - https://www.grandhotelduegolfi.com/en/index (love holidays cheapest) Up in the mountains so has incredible views of the coast and Versuivus and is peaceful, free shuttle bus down to the center, fantastic food in the restaurant
Positano - http://www.ilgabbianopositano.com/ (booking.com cheapest) Central location, balconies all have views, beautiful rooms
Ravello - https://www.hotelgraal.it/ (booking.com cheapest) Central location, huge and beautiful rooms, has a pool with an incredible view, and one of the best restaurants in Ravello
Treviso - http://palazzina-300.treviso.hotels-veneto.com/en/ (booking.com cheapest) Central in Treviso, the most incredible suite with a balcony and helpful staff. Our flight was late and we had to check out early, we wish there had been a lounge or something where we stayed so we could have come back to relax amid our exploring.
Recondito - had a great atmosphere with predominantly outdoor seating in a tiny secret square. Great pasta, even better chocolate fondue pudding and of course fab wine and beer (very affordable). Served late which was perfect after arriving in Venice at 10 pm.
All’arco - all types of bruschetta, such an authentic experience, you are unlikely to get a seat but it is a buzzing atmosphere here standing outside with your bruschetta and Aperol spritz.
Rio Novo - We first discovered this when we went to Venice two years ago. I had the carbonara which was the best carbonara I have ever eaten, and Tom had the lobster pasta which he describes as the most incredible meal he has ever had. Therefore, we had to go back and have the exact same. Sitting outside along the canals was magical, especially when the harmonica player came along to entertain us! Food and drinks are very affordable, and the portions generous. The restaurant has been following Tom and I on Instagram for the last few years so it was like being greeted by friends! We were given multiple shots of limoncello and a pack of pasta and some Italian olive oil as a gift. Everything is amazing so make sure you go here and request a table outside!
Ristorante O Parrucchinao - dinner in a greenhouse in the lemon groves. This was the best food I had all holiday - I had steak, aubergine Parmentier and creamed spinach. Affordable and it is a must-go if you are in Sorrento.
Bellevue Syrene - so luxurious, their terrace has the best view of Sorrento, delicious food and wine. Perfect place to have a relaxed afternoon, fairly affordable.
Grand Hotel Due Golfi Restaurant - our hotel restaurant, people would visit here even if they weren’t staying in the hotel. You have the most incredible view, the menu is extensive and the food was delicious! A little more pricey than other places but still reasonable.
Restaurant Gabrisa - turned out to be next door to our hotel! We requested a table with a view, and my goodness the view was breathtaking. The food was really delicious and the staff very friendly. The only thing is it is smaller portions and more pricey. So, we grabbed a bottle of wine from our hotel (15eur) after dinner and enjoyed this on our balcony
Caffe Positano - Incredible food, and an amazing view over the whole of Positano. I’d recommend the pasta and here we opted for cocktails (10eur) as they looked and tasted amazing (budget more for Positano as it is generally is more expensive)
Chez Black - One of the famous restaurants on the beachfront. Such a buzzing atmosphere, make sure you book! Here we would recommend the pasta or risotto. More affordable than places up on the hill in Positano too.
The Hotel Graal Restaurant - our hotel restaurant was rated one of the highest on trip advisor. The food was amazing and it is more of an a la carte dining experience. The view is the best you will get in a restaurant in Ravello. Not the cheapest but worth it, so romantic.
Trattoria da Cumpa’Cosimo aka NETTAS! - Tom overheard a neighbouring table at breakfast saying “it didn’t look like much, it had no seating outside and was very old fashioned, but the food was the best I have ever had and it is so truly Italian, it is in a small walkway behind big brown doors” so off we went. We knew it as soon as we saw it. The restaurant has been passed through the generations, and the recipes have not changed. This was the freshest and most delicious pasta we have ever had… therefore Tom ordered a second. The atmosphere was buzzing with conversation from people visiting around the world, and from groups of locals who obviously come regularly. It is the place to be. Little Netta comes around adding up things in her head and suggests a price and normally knocks some off, and then gives you some cake. We came back the next day, and Netta remembered us so gave Tom a double portion of spaghetti. YOU NEED TO GO.
Salvatore Ravello Pizzeria - located next to the main a la carte restaurant, the atmosphere is much more relaxed, and it was the pizza we have ever had. The recipes have not changed for decades. The wine is also so amazing and SO cheap! Such amazing value for incredible food.
Malvasia - this is the place to brunch. The food was just AMAZING. Make sure you book in advance.
THINGS TO DO
We have previously visited Marco Polo Square, the Rialto Bridge and have had a gondola ride, so this trip we mainly ate and drank, and got lost exploring Venice.
T Fondaco dei tedeschi by DFS - A designer department store with an amazing roof terrace overlooking the whole of Venice. You need to book in advance to go to the roof terrace. It is free and a must for the best view in Venice.
Leonelli’s Beach - A beach club out at sea. These are lovely beach loungers where you can snooze, and out at sea, you can swim in the clear water - heavenly. It is about 12eur per person and is the perfect place to spend the day.
Explore the boutiques - We stumbled upon an incredible jewellery shop that had the most incredible gold jewellery which was super affordable. It is worth exploring.
Sadly, we thought Positano was quite overrated. Of course the views are incredible as are the restaurants, however, most hotels don’t have pools and it is a long walk to and from the beach (700 stairs), which is just a black rocky beach. So we mainly just sunbathed on our balcony which had an amazing view and then relaxed at restaurants.
Everywhere in Ravello is in easy walking distance, plus there are hardly any stairs as it is flat once up in the mountains!
Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone - I would definitely recommend going to both (7eur entry to each). The gardens and views here are out of this world, the kind of place you would dream of getting married. You can’t begin to imagine the beauty - a must go!
Wine Tasting - in one of the small shopping alleys, we stumbled upon a tiny wine merchant and saw a poster for wine tasting. We were taken down in a small lift and were given a card with 20 euros on to use to try wine using this clever wine tasting machine. We were left alone in a quaint cellar with every inch of wall covered in wine. We tried about 6 glasses of wine for our money, this was so fun and we left happily tipsy, at 11 am.
We were so surprised with Treviso, it has such a different feel to Venice - very lively, with a similar feel to Amsterdam in away. Plus it seemed like we were the only tourists there! Great food places, great shopping.
Explore the vintage shops - my favourite was casta diva vintage, where I found a stunning gold bracelet for 25eur! There are loads of designer bags and sunglasses for such affordable prices.