What better way to bring my blog back than with a post about the greatest trip of all time?? As you’ve seen all over my Instagram, Ben and I just took the trip of a lifetime and went to the Amalfi Coast, Ravello, Capri, and Positano. I’ve been planning this trip for MONTHS. The dreamiest photos and videos filled my social media feeds all summer, so when I tell you that the itinerary I’m about to give you was well researched… TRUST ME. It was WELLL researched. Not to mention I have the best travel agent, Liz Walsh (see below FAQ), who hooked me up with the best luxuries along the way.
To kick off the trip we flew into Rome where we were met by our private driver, who drove us ~3.5 hours to the Amalfi Coast. I’m not about the layover/non-direct life, so I highly recommend traveling this way.
First Stop! The Amalfi Coast.
We split our stay in Amalfi between two hotels, which happened to be next door to each other, Hotel Miramalfi and Hotel Santa Caterina. The reason here is that my group of friends have all stayed at Miramalfi and RAVE about it, and Hotel Santa Caterina has been on my vision board since I first started planning the trip, so why not try both!
*For transparency, Caterina is probably double the room rate as Miramalfi.
Hotel Miramalfi truly seemed to be the hotel of Instagram this summer and therefore who I have to thank for inspiring this whole vacation! And the hotel was exactly what I expected… the perfect boutique hotel. The staff couldn’t have been nicer, food was great, and this POOL/BEACH SITCH was amazing. The way the hotel is situated is incredibly unique and we learned quickly that this trip was going to be a trip of stairs (that’s the case everywhere- not Miramalfi specific). The hotels sit up on the main road, but the beach clubs are 100+ meters DOWN. What I loved most about Miramalfi’s beach club layout was that seating was super staggered at various points as you walk down closer to the water, but every seat was a good seat. And having the pool in the center was so cool.
Outside of spending time at the beach club, we walked into town often (you will do daily) which takes about 20 minutes, and we looked forward to the breakfast spread each morning because they had an incredible buffet.
Hotel Santa caterina
I’m just going to go right ahead and say it… this might have been the nicest, most luxe hotel experience I have ever had in my entire life. When we arrived we were told we were upgraded to the most insane suite of all time (I forget if they called it the governor’s or sailor’s suite), with an outdoor patio that was 6x the size anyone else’s. Our room was simply breathtaking!! I mean, we had a full size hot tub/jacuzzi in our master bathroom! Not only were the rooms incredible at Santa Caterina, but the property and amenities were world class.
Oh also! Caterina staff came and picked up our luggage from Miramalfi so we didn’t have to lug it 100 yards uphill. What a dream!
Here we are at sunset 🙂
Our one day at Caterina was the one day of our entire trip where we didn’t leave the hotel property. The hotel has an amazing gym (not that we worked out at all during the trip), multiple restaurants, a vegetable garden, and the beach club of my dreams!! We spent about seven or eight hours hanging out at the beach club! Similar to Miramalfi, the hotel is up super high on a cliff, so to get to the beach club you take TWO elevators down to the water. As someone who is afraid of heights, I would ride up and down this elevator just for fun because the view is so beautiful.
Down at the beach club, from jumping off rocks and docks to laying on our lounges to having beachside lunch, our day here was utter perfection. And the day FLEW by; we were bummed when the sun started going in but it just meant that we could go back to our room and watch sunset.
As I mentioned the hotel had their own vegetable garden so the food here was truly farm-to-table, and there were several dining options to choose from! This brings me to…
From the delicious breakfast buffet with tons of gluten-free options to my beachside lunch (classic Italian meets beach cuisine), the food at Caterina was delicious!!! And the staff was super accomodating when it came to my food allergies.
At breakfast there was a massive spread that was included in our room rate. I ordered scrambled eggs as I did everywhere I went, but the buffet also had everything from sausage and bacon, to fruit and granola, pastries galore, and more. And the gluten-free pastry items were clearly noted! For lunch we could choose to eat at any of the restaurants, but as we refused to part ways with our sun beds, we ordered lunch right to the beach. The menu had all of your classic Italian faves, but a lot of beach favorites, too, like poke bowls and salads.
For dinner, the hotel had two options- Al Mare and Ristorante Glicine, a 1-Michilin star restaurant. We opted for Al Mare and this was one of the best dinners of the trip. To be safe with my allergies I ate sea bass A TON over the course of my week. I had some mediocre sea bass’, some pretty good sea bass’, and then some EXCEPTIONAL sea bass’. The dish at Caterina absolutely falls under EXCEPTIONAL. I actually still think about it. It came with grilled zucchini and to start I was served the most delicious gluten-free bread of my trip.
* Now this is a very bold statement considering everywhere we went was incredible and I loved everywhere we stayed. If you don’t want to travel from hotel to hotel and hop around from city to city, I’d totally say just spend a week here at Caterina and do day trips to each city and place I speak about in this post. THAT’S how much we loved staying here.
dinner in amalfi
The Amalfi town is soooo cool! It starts down by the water and there are a bunch of beach restaurants and public beach hang areas, and then a street takes you into a walking town filled with touristy shops, restaurants, GELATO spots, and local markets. We loved walking around the city each day!
This was our first dinner of the trip! I had been told by several of my fellow gluten-free friends that Donna Stella was super gluten-friendly… and it was! Dining under lemons, this cute pizzeria offered gluten-free pizza crust for any of their pizzas, and they also had vegan cheese! The vegan cheese didn’t totally align with other food sensitivities of mine so I decided not to have pizza, but my salad was amazing! The salad was actually one of the most popular items on the menu, too! Donna Stella was casual and great for groups… I’d say this is the Amalfi must!
Amalfi town is where our love affair with Gelato began. Right in the center of town there were two gelato shops directly across from each other. The most popular item at each location was limoncello sorbet IN a big lemon!! I wanted to order it so badly, but this dark chocolate vegan sorbet was screaming my name!! There were a bunch of dairy-free options at all gelato spots, which I loved seeing.
Ravello is a city that sits directly above Amalfi; it is truly a 20-30 min winding drive directly up! But if you are crazy like us, you can take the path of steps and HIKE it. This took us about an hour and a half. It was TOUGHHH, but honestly a very cool experience. Ravello is BEAUTIFUL. Prior going on our trip, several people said to us, “make sure you go to Ravello- it is breathtaking!” And everyone was right.
After our hike and a stroll through town checking out the views, we went to lunch at the stunning Palazzo Avino, or “The Pink Hotel.” This outdoor lunch was not only delicious, but you feel like you are dining on the edge of a cliff. I ordered the Tuna Nicoise (the list of salads all looked amazing!) and Ben went with the beef, potatoes, and veggies. Both of our meals were gluten-free, and the menu had an extensive list of naturally gluten-free options.
To say we earned our meal after this excursion is an understatement. We earned this meal ten times over!
From Amalfi we went to Capri, and what better way to get there than by boat! Our boat picked us up with our luggage at 10AM from Santa Caterina and dropped us off in Capri around 5PM. Okay never mind the logistics, lets talk about the boat! Ben and I agree that this was our favorite day of the whole trip! The ride began in Amalfi and we drove along the coast past Praiano and into Positano. We learned all about the origination of the cities and stopped to swim along the way. After Positano we cruised around private islands and stopped for lunch at Lo Scoglio, which I detailed below. After lunch we got back on our boat and saw/swam through ALL of the grottos and cruised under the faraglioni rocks, which were truly incredible. There is nothing Ben and I love more than being on boats and in the water, so this day was every bit of our dream. You definitely want to get a nice boat and captain for this day, because it was such a special experience… and a long day! The day ends at the port in Capri.
Note: because we love boats so much, going into the trip I was trying to find ways to do more than one boat day. Truly all you need is one day because you definitely get to experience everything! And you’ll naturally be on boats more to go to different restaurants and locations.
Of all the meals we were going to have on this trip, dining at Lo Scoglio was the one I was most excited for. Maybe it was because I watched the Stanley Tucci episode where he visited the restaurant TWICE before our trip, or maybe because everyone I know whose been to Italy has told me that it would be my dream restaurant. You arrive by boat, so it was the perfect addition to our boat day, and you dine right on the patio looking out at the colorful beach. The most famous dish here was the Nerano pasta (sadly not GF), but the fish was unbelievable!! So flaky, with the most amazing olive oil/lemon/caper sauce. I still dream of this fish!!
If you have time for a second boat-lunch excursion, Conga Del Sogno is another waterfront restaurant I really wanted to go to, and I’m told they have house-made gluten-free pasta.
Okay so real talk, Capri was Palm Beach. So much so that I told Ben our attire for Capri should be Palm Beach chic, and we ran into couples from Palm Beach at dinner the first night. Capri was also super interesting the way it was laid out. Capri was at one side of the island and Anacapri at the other… we stayed in Capri which was a walking town. When we arrived by boat, a porter met us at the dock and took our luggage to the hotel. We then took a cab ten minutes uphill into Capri town, where we were dropped off and walked another ten minutes to our hotel. So ultimately to go anywhere or leave the town, we had to walk back to the town center and drive from there. Capri is the heart of SHOPPING in Italy, and let’s just say I had myself a bit of a spree.
I found La Minerva through Instagram. In doing research on Capri, I saw there were 2 or 3 larger/popular hotels across the island, but the majority of hotels were boutiques. I totally think boutique hotels are the way to go here, and we loved ours! Our luggage arrived from the porters super quickly, and the hotel was so reliable with anything from helping us get our luggage back down to the docks the morning we left for Positano, to giving us the best recommendations, tips, directions. Capri was sooo cute, but definitely the part of the trip that felt like the US.
Dinner in Capri
Aurora is the most popular restaurant in Capri so obviously we went there on our first night. Sadly I didn’t take any pictures here because the way tables were arranged we were on top of the people dining next to us (I pick and choose when to be annoying) and we had just spent seven hours on a boat so Ben and I were half human/felt like we were still on the boat. The cuisine here had everything- classic pasta and pizza for the gluten-eaters, to fish and more American-like ‘fancier’ dishes.
Hotel Caesar Augustus
The most popular hotel, and sunset view, on the island was on the other side of the island in Anacapri at Hotel Caesar Augustus. The sun sets by 7:30 PM, so we got to the hotel by 6:30 PM to grab a table for sunset. The roof definitely fills up so make sure you are there early enough to get a viewing spot. Enjoy small bites and a drink from the super delicious and extensive list of cocktails and watch the sun go down. We were told this was the most romantic view in Capri, and I can totally agree with that.
After sunset we had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, La Terrazza du Lucullo. This was one of our fancier dinners and 100% the best octopus of the trip. So good it ended up being my main dish. We did scallops to start which were amazing, but this was definitely your fancy restaurant/smaller portion spot. I highly recommend coming here for the view and experience!!
In a different corner of Capri island, about a 5-10 min drive from Capri town center was the second most popular restaurant in Capri, Da Paolino. In terms of ambiance, the restaurant was sooo cute. It’s a huge outdoor patio with lemons everywhere. There were a lot of big groups dining here so if you are traveling with a group it’s a great spot to be louder at and fit a big party.
This was the first restaurant where I actually saw a gluten-free section on the main menu, and it even noted which pastas were vegan. Needless to say ordering here was a breeze and it was the first time all trip I ordered gluten-free pasta! See me thriving below…
I feel like every time I saw pictures of gelato from Italy on social media, the pictures were from Gelateria Bar right in the center of Capri town. The shop is super cute and you know it’s the most popular spot in town because there was a line outside the shop all day every day. In terms of dairy-free options, they had watermelon, lemon, and strawberry sorbet, but for my dairy-eaters, nothing made me happier than seeing Ben devour so.much.gelato. He said it absolutely lived up to the hype/was amazing, and I know that’s the truth because we went one morning for breakfast…
I’m convinced… La Fontelina is the greatest place in Italy. How happy I look in the picture below was my smile from morning to night. The beach club was in capri and a 20 minute walk from our hotel. The walk there was great, and mainly downhill, but what goes down must go up, so the walk back was a TRIP. Honestly, at this point I was so used to the stairs life that I enjoyed it!
When you arrive at the beach club you are brought to your blue/white umbrella and respective chairs or day bed. This was where having a travel agent (or good hotel) was key, because you want a prime seat and that’s what we got.
Food-wise I LOVED the restaurant here. Not only were there a ton of gluten-free options, but there were a lot non-fish options like omelets. I can’t remember the last time I was this obsessed with eggs… so I went with the omelet and fries.
In no world did I ever think I would go to Italy and order fries… but I’m so glad I caved and had them. The French fries in Italy were ABSURD. Hand sliced potatoes, perfectly crisp, and CLEAN. I dont even want to call them French fries thats how clean they were. Needless to say this kicked off my French fry obsession- Italy edition- and I ordered them everywhere we want there on out.
Tips: have a reservation in advance… and get a good one. It’s for sure all about where you are placed. Get there early. I’d say 11ish. By 3/4 pm its super crowded and becomes a little less fun. We we’re THRIVING while it was empty.
lido del faro
This was the second beach club we visited. The club was on the other side of the island, in Anacapri, so it was cool to drive to and explore the area. Lido was sooo nice and so relaxing. Definitely a contrasting vibe to the liveliness of Fontelina. If I could do it all over again I probably would have done La Fontelina twice, just because of the convenience factor to our hotel and because it was my heaven.
The food at Lido was super yummy and they had the best frozen cocktails!
Next up, Positano!! To go from Capri to Positano, we had the option of a private speed boat or the ferry which circulates from Capri to Amalfi to Positano. We opted for the ferry, and the process was pretty seamless! La Minerva sent our luggage with their porter to the dock, and we met our luggage and porter at the boat.
When we arrived in Positano, we were told it was called “the vertical city,” and that was exactly what it was. The entire city was up steps, so be prepared to climb uphill… A TON. Honestly, at this point in the trip I was loving my daily stairs because it was my “workout.” Positano was truly as beautiful as the photos made it look, and our Hotel, Villa Boheme, sat just above the town with the most incredible views.
IN AWE. I knew Villa Boheme was “super nice,” but not for a second did I know that I was about to stay in the most stunning villa in Positano. Our villa had a full kitchen, living room, master bedroom, master bath, books, closets, bar, and the patio of my dreams.
To get to our villa we climbed from the beach, maybe ten minutes of steps up, and to leave the villa to head to dinner in town were more stairs up. At the top of our steps was apparently “THE view,” because at all hours of the day, and especially at sunrise and sunset, people were having full photoshoots. How lucky were we that this view that people sought was the view from our patio.
For breakfast, each villa at Boheme was given a time where the staff set up the most beautiful breakfast spread. The menu had EVERYTHING; pastries, eggs, juices, smoothies, teas, fruit. And all we had to do was wake up and go outside! Checkout was at noon, so we stayed on our patio until noon just staring out into the sea. I’m pretty sure there is no other place I would rather stay in Positano.
Hotel Le Sirenuse is 100 yards down from Villa Boheme, and great for drinks!
arienzo beach club
The infamous orange beach club of Positano, Arienzo Beach Club! There was so much to do in Positano, and even though we only had one full day, it was obvious to me how this day was going to be spent. To get to the beach club you meet the Arienzo boat at the docks, and it was about a 5-10 minute boat ride away. The privacy of the beach is amazing, and it truly is the most fun time. We pre-bought a package with our reservation, so we and the staff knww exactly where we would be seated and how many dishes/drinks came with our reservation. The energy was fun, music was loud, people were cool, and we swam for sooo long. I highly recommend strawberry daiquiris, sea bass, and prosciutto.
I mean, it only made TOTAL sense that for our one dinner in Positano we went to Ristorante Bruno! It couldn’t have been more convenient, either. It was just 50 yards down from our Villa! The restaurant didn’t have any gluten-free pasta, but they did have one of the larger fish menus I had seen over the course of the trip, which was great for me. Also, because at this point I was trying French-fries everywhere I went, Bruno’s fries were maybe the best in my life.
Funny story, we were scheduled to leave Positano early on our last morning and spend a full day in Rome, but because our villa and Positano were so incredible, we pushed our driver to later that night so we could have another full day in Paradise. Which meant we had one more chance to hit any restaurants we had yet to try. The two restaurants we hadn’t gotten to yet were Da Adolfo and Chez Black, and we were able to get a prime reservation at Chez Black! CB is definitely one of the most famous restaurants in Positano and in terms of gluten-free pasta, Chez Black was definitely the best of the trip! That’s because they had gluten-free GNOCCHI!! I don’t think I’ve ever had gluten-free gnocchi (remember when I used to eat a bag of cauliflower gnocchi every day??!!) The gnocchi was sooo soft and delicious, drowned in tomato sauce. I honestly had to double ask that it was GF/DF because it was just so good!!
Prior to the trip one of our friends told us that whatever we do, we HAD to have the gelato at the docks in Positano. At this point, especially for me, I felt that we had already had all of the best gelatos, so we didn’t plan to make any special trips for it, but when we extended our trip one last morning we decided to go give it a try. And for me, this was absolutely the #1 gelato of the trip! It had the most vegan options yet!! ANDD it wasn’t just sorbet, it was true vegan gelato (coconut based). I had the extra dark and vanilla coconut and it was the best decision we made that day.
From Positano we drove ~3.5 hours to Rome and stayed at Hotel Hassler. We arrived in time for dinner at Trattoria Al Moro, went to sleep, and caught the first flight out the following morning. For the sake of a long travel day, I highly recommend breaking up the trip a bit with the Rome pit-stop.
Was it hard to be gluten-fee and dairy-free in Italy? YES. Not to sound ungrateful, but often all I could eat on the menu were sea bass and calamari/octopus. Which was always DELISH… but after ten days I was craving some normalcy back in my diet. What DID impress me, however, was that truly each menu I saw had an allergen guide in the back of the menu. Gluten was always #1 and dairy was always #7, and then on the menu, each food item had numbers listed along side it so you knew exactly which allergens were in the dish. Also, with the language barrier, don’t attempt to custom your meal (ie- ‘can I have this but no spinach or no cheese?’)… just stick to ordering a meal that suits all of your preferences.
Do you need a travel agent or can you plan it yourself? I highly, highly, highly recommend using a travel agent. I am the most Type-A, mega-planner, person, and there were just some things that I couldn’t do on my own. examples: private driver, room upgrades, every dinner res we wanted was secured at whatever time we wanted (no matter how exclusive the restaurant), best beach chairs etc.
My Travel Consultant is Elizabeth Walsh and she is affiliated with The Local Foreigner, an NYC based luxury travel consultancy that delivers flawless service and seamless travel planning experiences for clients. Elizabeth and her colleagues are a team of experts that have cultivated relationships in every region of the world and are equipped with the destination expertise to create memorable trips!!
How was moving your luggage from place to place? This was truly the easiest luggage experience of all time. The hotels were INCREDIBLY helpful and you really don’t lift a finger. Even to go from Miramalfi to Caterina we offered to do our own luggage because it was right next door, but the men from Caterina came over and took our luggage for us! To go to Capri, as mentioned above, we did boat day, which started with our luggage being put on the boat with us in Amalfi, and La Minerva’s porters greeting us in Capri to handle the luggage. Lastly in Positano… this experience just about blew my mind! When we got off the ferry in Positano, you pay 12 euro a bag for a local porter to bring your luggage to your hotel. I was FOR SURE nervous about this… because if you did that anywhere in the US you may as well just say goodbye to your luggage. But Italy felt honest and safe from start to finish, and our bags were at our villa within 30 mins!