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28.3.17

Travel: Italy Destination Guide - How To Spend 72 Hours in Italy

italy destination guide
day trip to capri by boat from sorrento
exploring the island of capri
fiat 500 italian car driving the amalfi coast
italian icecream outside dolce and gabana
italian pink vesper
italian streets and architecture
mountain view capri
Postiano amalfi coast
rightupmystreet travel blogger
seafood dishes in capri italy
sorrento
the isle of capri by night
walking the streets of capri








If you work full-time like me and LOVE to travel, you will know it is always a difficult affair deciding on how best to use and spread out your annual leave across the year. 

You might not believe me but on a recent weekend break to Italy, in under 72 hours we managed to visit Naples, drive past Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, had two overnight stays in Vico Enquense, plus a visit to Sorrento, a day trip to the isle of Capri and an afternoon driving the Amalfi coast, finishing our trip off with a stop in Positano. Did I mention amongst all this, we got engaged too?!

The best bit? For this long weekend break, I only needed to deduct x 1 full day from my annual leave! 

So, where did this all start? In October, I was lucky enough to be whisked away to Italy for the weekend by Alex for my surprise birthday weekend. With our flight on Friday afternoon from Gatwick to Naples and a flight home late Sunday evening we had less than 72 hours to explore and experience as much of Italy as possible.  

Our trip wasn't meant to be exhaustive or overwhelming, ideally, we wanted to both relax and explore, which I can assure you, is definitely more than possible!

Not only was it the best European city break I've ever been on, we enjoyed plenty of downtime for indulging in Italian food, wine and gelato treats and experienced beautiful scenic sites and romantic spots at every corner. 

So, what did we get up to and how do I recommend you spend 72 hours in Italy? Let's start with Naples.

Naples

Our trip first started when we landed in Naples, the largest city in Southern Italy. We arrived after a direct flight from Gatwick Airport, flying with British Airways, which took approximately 3 hours. Upon arrival at Naples airport, we made our way out of the terminal and hopped on a brief shuttle bus (it's free!) over to the airport's hire car area. 

For the weekend in Italy, Alex had booked us a hire car to ensure we could get from A to B in style, and of course, in true Italian style, we hired a classic black Fiat 500 which made the trip all the more magical. Navigating the Italian roads was initially a little stressful, let's just say the Italian's drive like madmen and there were a few moments where I genuinely feared for my life. 

However, after about 30 minutes getting used to navigating the roads (and the people!) the route was pleasant and we even drove past the famous Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii on route to our hotel in Vico Enquense. 

Unfortunately, we didn't get the chance to spend much time in Naples itself, only drive through on route to our next destination. If you love pizza - I highly recommend that you dedicate a couple of hours for Naples as arguably, it's meant to be the pizza capital of the world! 

Estimated time needed: 2-3 hours

Vico Equense 

Our stop for the night? Vico Equense! Vico Equense is a coastal town and comune in the 
Metropolitan City of Naples located in southern Italy.  

For the duration of our short weekend in southern Italy we stayed in a beautiful, five-star boutique hotel called Hotel Capo La Gala, which Alex had booked through the exclusive travel company, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The hotel was an ideal base to stay, only a short driving distance from both Naples and with Sorrento only a mere 10-minute drive away. The hotel was absolutely stunning with its scenic, cliff-side location.

We also had the most amazing "Paradise Room" complete with private terrace and outdoor jacuzzi overlooking the fantastic gulf of Naples. The room itself was awash with bright white walls and nautical blue and white tones throughout and shells and seahorse ornaments were scattered and dotted about. This is where Alex proposed on the Friday evening - you can read all about our engagement in my previous post.

Estimated time needed: 1 hour - ideal lunch stop from Naples to Sorrento

Sorrento 

On Saturday, after the excitement of the night before, we woke up around 9.30am with beaming smiles and headed downstairs for breakfast overlooking the beautiful gulf of Naples. Our morning started off quite lazy but granted, we were still in a fuzzy warm haze from the night before. At around 11 am we grabbed a free shuttle from the hotel (it is basically a private taxi) into Vico Enquense where we took a train direct to Sorrento. The train will cost you around €7 for a return. 

When we arrived in Sorrento the sun was warm on our backs and our cosmopolitan surroundings oozed warmth and sophisticated class. We walked down the hill towards Sorrento's historical center. 

Sorrento's center has a buzzing atmosphere and is the ideal place for shopping, from the seafront to the narrow streets leading to the main area, there are thousands of souvenirs that can be found. 

We wandered around the town and markets before climbing down the stairs from Piazza Tasso to reach Sorrento's Marina Piccola port. It's a short climb, however, can be strenuous due to the steep steps down and difficult on the return trip back up but it is worth the climb! If you'd rather not walk there is the option to take a shuttle bus running to Piazza Tasso or the elevator to the Villa Comunale. 

Ferries depart for Capri from Sorrento's Marina Piccola port around every 30 minutes during the summer months. 

Estimated time needed: Half-full day

The Island of Capri

Capri was arguably the most romantic part of our trip. In the afternoon we caught a high-speed ferry from the port of Sorrento over to the Island of Capri, which took around 30 minutes. We booked round-trip tickets which enabled us around six hours on the island. 

The island itself is made of limestone rock and is very picturesque and has long been a favourite with Roman Emperors, artists, writers and the rich and famous. It is known to be one of the most popular destinations in the Mediterranean and I can most certainly see why; it is visually stunning! 

My favourite place in Capri was Marina Piccola, mainly for the breathtaking 40-minute walk from the center of Capri. When you reach the marina you'll be in awe of its glistening turquoise waters and sheltered sunny cove. Located on the sunny south side of the island, Marina Piccola is sheltered from the wind by a steep wall of rock and the bay is almost always warm. 

Don't miss the wonderful seafront restaurants where you can grab an early afternoon seat next to the water's edge for the best dining spots. I would recommend Restaurant Torre Saracena and Restaurant da Gioia for a beachside setting. The ravioli is to die for! 

It may be small but during your trip you must visit Capri's famous Piazzetta, a fashionable meeting place for both locals and visitors. Today, Capri's celebrity-packed Piazzetta provides the perfect hunting ground for camera-clicking paparazzi, eager to capture images of the rich and famous, and holidaymakers hoping to brush shoulders with their favorite Hollywood star.

Then why not drift towards the fancy lanes full of fashionable designer shops, if you can't afford to touch, just browse with an ice-cream in hand :)

If you have time and the weather is fair, I'd recommend you take a boat over to the Blue Grotto - its only around €13 and is something me and Alex really wanted to do, but unfortunately didn't have time. 

Estimated time needed: Half-full day

Amalfi Coast

On Sunday, our final day, we needed to check out of our hotel and with our little Fiat in tow and our flight home not until the late evening we thought this would be an ideal afternoon to navigate the coastal and cliff-side roads from Sorrento towards the Amalfi coast. 

Driving the Amalfi Coast is very magical and something everyone should experience. Make sure you make time for a quick stop to the wonderful town of Positano. 

Seen from the sea, Positano is set in a dramatic vertical panorama of colors; the green of the Monti Lattari, the white, pink and yellow of the Mediterranean houses, the silvery gray of its pebble beaches and the blue of the sea.

Spiaggia Grande is the heart of sea edge at Positano with its beach 300 meters long, it is one of the largest on the Amalfi Coast, and one of the most glamorous too, attracting a fashionable crowd of artists, actors, and celebrities.

You'll likely be hungry by now, so I'd recommend a sea-facing dining hotspot, The Covo Restaurant. 

The restaurant of Covo Dei Saraceni is a splendid terrace on the sea facing Positano spread along the sandy beach and is the ideal place where the pleasures of the table blend with those of the landscape and of the hospitality of the restaurant staff. 

Estimated time needed: Half a day

For more information on Naples as your starting destination in Italy, take a look the Liverpool John Lennon Airport website for their informative Naples destination guide and plenty of direct flights into Italy. 

Verdict?

I absolutely adore Italy! When can I go back?

Annual leave requirement?

Completely do-able across Friday-Sunday with 1-day full annual leave taken.

(*) This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Liverpool John Lennon Airport. All opinions expressed here are my own (*)

1 comment:

  1. I've been looking at Sorrento for a possible summer holiday this year and you've sold it to me! Everything looks so beautiful <3

    G is for Gingers xx

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