Greece & the Amalfi Coast
When Christy and I followed (read “stalked”) Tegs’ trip to Greece and the Amalfi Coast, we immediately knew we needed to share it with our readers.
The most amazing scenery, beautiful beaches, drinks and sunsets is what loaded our feed and we were dying for more (while silently going green with jealousy!)
Tegs and Branden spent a month exploring and experiencing the magic of travelling through Europe and we are so glad she agreed to share her top spots and tricks with you. From advice on where to stay, to telling you where to pee – Tegs has got you covered!
So get ready to be swept away to the shores of Greece and The Amalfi Coast.
Take it away Tegs…
Experiencing the Amalfi Coast and Greece has always been on my bucket list – and it should be on yours too! If there is ever an escape that will feed your soul it’s this!
Amalfi Coast, Italy
We flew via Turkey to Naples and from there, drove 2 hours (which felt like an eternity) along cliff edges to the town of Praiano. The taxi fare alone cost us €110 (R1800) one way. I would suggest looking into a car hire – but definitely opt for the smallest option available as the roads along the Amalfi Coast are extremely narrow and buses have right of way.
Before we even left the airport, we headed straight for the Vodacom counter and bought a European sim card. I brought a spare phone with me and we used this sim card for Google Maps when we weren’t in a wifi zone. I would highly recommend doing this as it gives you the freedom to explore without running the risk of getting lost.
We stayed at Hotel Maresca in Praiano. Accommodation on the Amalfi Coast is generally quite expensive but this boutique hotel was affordable and in a prime location. The bus stop was right outside our accommodation, as well as mini- markets, and the nearest beach cove was a short 5 min walk. During the day, we took the bus (which is super convenient and easy to navigate) to visit the different towns along the Amalfi Coast. A single bus fare is around €1.5. In the evenings, we would take a stroll to the center of Praiano and would find restaurant gems along the way which served authentic Italian food at a fraction of what most expensive fine dining hotels had on offer.
Our must-see spots are:
The town itself is quant and the gardens are so beautiful to explore. If you’re a cat lover, you’ll be in heaven with all the roaming cats. There are often concerts that take place in the gardens.
This is the central hub of the Amalfi Coast and one of the main harbor ports. You’ll be sure to find an abundance of Limon cello shops as well as a small Limon cello distillery too. You can take a ferry/sea jet from here to Capri or Positano.
One of the most exquisite postcard views – and it looks even better in person. Set aside an entire day to explore Positano and its beauty, but prepare yourself for lots of crowds and tourists with selfie sticks. I’d suggest taking a sea-jet to Positano from Amalfi as the view you get from sea when docking into the harbor is surreal.
4. Grotto Dello Smeraldo
Grotto Dello Smeraldo is a cave that is half-submerged by the sea. We took an elevator from the road side near the bus stop to the entrance done below. €6 entry fee included a boat ride into the cave with an Italian guide talking you through the cave and its beauty. Natural sunlight reflected underneath the cave and left a blue haze in the water – it was truly mesmerizing.
I would definitely suggest staying in Praiano. There are so many incredible beach and lunch spots here (minus the crowds) so it’s a great place to stay. Our accommodation was a short 15-minute walk from the center of Praiano where you can find numerous lunch and dinner spots. The closest beach was a 5-minute walk down the road where you could rent a ski boat, go on different yacht excursions or just loaf on the shore with an Aperol in hand.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to visit Capri but I would definitely suggest integrating this into your trip. Capri is an island known for its draw-dropping beauty where you can spend your time relaxing on the beach, going for a hike or experiencing the incredible cuisine.
We flew from Naples to Santorini on a small airline, Volotea. There are many different areas within Santorini to stay, all dependent on your vibe and budget. For example, Oia is probably the most popular spot for photos and sunsets, but with that comes a lot of tourists walking around with selfie sticks as well as exorbitant pricing on accommodation. I would certainly suggest staying on the West Coast of Santorini as this is where you’ll find the best hotels, the famous views of the volcanic caldera and the most divine sunsets.
Oia is definitely the main attraction of the island. There is a charming feel when walking through the old town of Oia, and the views are undeniable, but unfortunately this all comes at a cost! Oia has some of the most expensive accommodation spots in Europe (especially if you’re wanting to stay at the sought- after cliff edge with caldera views). Traditional Greek cave houses on the cliff edge with outdoor jacuzzis truly sound amazing, but they will come at a high price with little privacy.
Because this was our first trip to Santorini, we opted to stay as close to Oia as we could. We decided on a smaller, quieter town called Finikia, which is in walking distance of Oia. Other than this I would certainly suggest either staying in Imerovigli or Fira. We rented a quad bike during our stay for €40 per day from Vazeos. I would definitely suggest either opting for this or a car so that you can explore the entire island at your leisure. For example, if you’re staying outside of Oia and wanting to experience the Oia sunset one evening, you’ll find yourself waiting at the bus stop with the rest of the island in a long queue for the next bus until 10pm.
Our favourite spots:
- Firstly, ‘gyros’ will become your favourite go-to meal when in Greece and
you can find a place that sells them on almost every corner. We certainly had our fair share of gyros during the rest of our Greece trip but our all-time favourite was from Piatsa Souvlaki in Oia.
- The two beaches we visted in Santorini were Perissa Beach, which had charcoal coloured sand, and Kamari Beach, which consisted of black pebbles. I would say Kamari Beach is a little more festive with a greater variety of restaurant and sunbed options available. In all honesty, the beaches in Santorini are nothing to rave about, especially if it’s as windy as it was when we were there in September – but it’s certainly worth checking out.
- On our last evening, we drove to Fira where we experienced one of the most incredible sunsets at PK Cocktail Bar – one of our highlights of the trip. You have to pre-book your spot as its exclusive and super popular, given its exquisite sunset view and incredible cocktails. This is a must!
Top tips for travelling Europe:
- In order to experience the world famous Oia sunset (it has that title for a reason) be sure to arrive and claim your spot at least an hour before the sun even starts to set. Trust me, you’ll be fighting a losing battle trying to push past 1000+ sardines.
- Pack plenty of sunblock. Whether you are on the beach or just exploring, you will be out in the sun most days.
- You have to pay for sunbeds and umbrellas on most (if not all) public beaches. Either try find and stay at a hotel that has their own private beach or alternatively, opt for a spot where you have to spend a certain amount on food & drinks in their restaurant to gain access to a sunbed and umbrella (this ranges between €15 – €30 depending on the area). We planned our lunches according to our beach days so that we could make the most of it.
- Try avoid using public toilets as most of them aren’t in the greatest upkeep and you pay €2 (R30) to use the loo. Rather “plan your pee” according to when you go out to eat or drink as you can use the restaurant’s toilet for free.
- If you want to take photos for Instagram without a million tourists in the background of your shot, you have to get up early and be there when the sun rises.
- Beer will become your best friend – especially on a hot day. Although I’m not the biggest beer fan, it’s so much cheaper than wine or cocktails. So, with that being said, I’ll take a 500ml draught please!
Okay, what organ do we need to sell to get ourselves over to Europe to do ALL of these things?
I need a holiday ASAP and this just looked too magical to be true!
If you loved hearing all about Tegs and Branden’s first part of their holiday, then keep your eyes peeled for Part 2 of their whirlwind Greece Adventure where they island hopped from Santorini to Milos, Paros and Mykonos. How DIVINE!
To follow along with Tegs and her travels, click here.