Looking for some inspiration for a city-break I wanted to try something a bit different, with direct flights from Newcastle and a journey of less than three hours.
Also at the top of my list was some good weather and a destination with character. Naples seemed to fit the bill, a stone’s throw to the beautiful Amalfi coast and the birthplace of the original wood-fired Neapolitan Pizza
We booked a convenient early morning flight to Naples with TUI, a family-friendly airline with direct flights to the Amalfi Coast from Newcastle Airport. The short flight is around three hours, perfect for a weekend break.
We arrived at the Best Western Hotel Paradiso, a 4* hotel that is good value for money and has amazing views over the marina and Mount Vesuvius, located on the charming hill of Posillipo overlooking the gulf, the Vesuvio and islands. The hotel is just a few minutes from the harbour, where you can travel to Ischia, Procida and Capri.
There is a terrace restaurant, Paradisoblanco, on the top floor with panoramic views, where you can enjoy the local cuisine.
Breakfast was an additional €2 per person each day, and absolutely worth it, just for the Italian coffee every morning.
With an early flight you still have the full day ahead, so after dropping our bags at reception we headed out to explore the city.
It is just a 25-minute stroll to the sea front, or around €10 in a taxi, and we decided to venture on foot to the affluent Chiaia district.
The promenade is lined with atmospheric restaurants, pristine hotels and luxury designer stores. The Chiaia district is most definitely bello – and worth a visit!
On our first evening, we dined at Antonio & Antonio www.antonioeantonio.com – beautiful food, complimentary prosecco and charming service all evening made it a very relaxing experience after a long day. The bars and restaurants got much busier after 9pm, so I would advise heading out early to miss the queues!
The following morning, there was an early start to make the most of our time in Italy. We planned to visit Pompeii, Sorrento and the insta-worthy town of Positano.
We used a private taxi booked directly through the hotel, easy to book and a convenient way to travel to Pompeii. It was a short drive, and we were given a two-hour window to explore the ruins.
We decided to discover it for ourselves, however there are plenty of options to explore with a tour guide! I didn’t expect the vast size of Pompeii – so be prepared to walk around the ancient cobbled streets.
There is so much to explore. The forum, baths, houses, and some out-of-town villas such as the Villa of the Mysteries, remain well preserved. With Mount Vesuvius looking over in the distance, it has quite a haunting feel, but also fascinating!
At €13 per person, this was an unforgettable experience, and such an opportunity to see the historic landscape.
Next stop was to the beautiful town of Sorrento. We had plenty of time to explore and stop for lunch. We both had a delicious sardine and prawn salad at La Sorrento. Perfect for a quick recharge in the heat.
And we couldn’t leave Sorrento without trying a gelato. With so many flavours to choose from, it is the perfect way to cool off.
Sorrento is plentiful in high-end shops, the perfect place to pick up some gifts and souvenirs.
Our final destination on Saturday afternoon was a 45-minute drive along the Amalfi coast to the beautiful and quaint Positano www.positano.com.
Navigate the winding streets down to the beach for some impressive photography opportunities! If you want to look over the picturesque beach with a little hustle and bustle, there are a number of beach-front restaurants and coffee shops.
Or make a pit-stop at Hotel Palazzo Murat, for a quiet drink in the sun in a beautiful setting.
The colourful charm of Positano leaves no wonder why this is such a popular place for visitors to Italy, and I would certainly come back and spend more time here.
The drive back to the hotel was just over an hour. The cost of this package was €280 for 1-3 people, great value and a convenient way to explore a few places in one day.
On the final day of our trip, we booked a ferry (€13 per person) to the island of Capri, which is a 50-minute journey across the bay past Vesuvius to the idyllic island. You can take a cable car up to the centre, or soak up the atmosphere with a 25-minute walk up the steep winding hillside.
Once at the top you are in the midst of Capri, time to stop for refreshments and watch the world go by! The streets off the square have some of well-known high end brands such as Miu Miu, and an array of beautiful restaurants and bars.
Take a walk through the square to the opposite side of the island where there are a number of viewing platforms and gardens (€2 entry).
If you are brave enough, head down the steep winding walkway to La Fontelina www.fontelina-capri.com, for a spot of lunch. Fresh fish and lobster are on the menu, but do expect to pay a premium. We chose local Capri gnocci and rosé wine.
Make the most of your time on the shore in the picturesque private alcove – sunbeds, changing facilities and toilets are available for €25.
We took a slow walk back through the designer stores to the square, where we stopped for photographs of the beautiful view, and queued for the €3 tram down to the port. There is a ferry approximately every 45 minutes, even on a lazy Sunday, back to Naples.
For our final evening in Naples, we wanted to try a world-renowned pizza in one of the famous pizzerias – well this is the birthplace of pizza after all!
We chose to dine in iconic restaurant Pizzeria da Michele, founded in 1870 and still run by the same family. We loved it, with charming staff and a laid-back atmosphere, and possibly the best pizza I’ve ever eaten!
The next morning before our flight home, we asked our taxi driver to drop us right in the middle of the Naplenesse Bazaar, described as a ‘Christmas all year round market’ in a local magazine. The perfect way to finish our trip in the authentic hustle and bustle of Naples.
With so much more to discover and explore, I could return to Italy next week! Let us know of any other things to do and see that shouldn’t be missed.