My first realisation after a brief browse online at hotels on the Amalfi Coast was: “This is going to be expensive”. I was not wrong. This was definitely the hardest trip I have ever booked, as I genuinely struggled to find nice (or even basic) hotels for under £100 a night. It took me around 4 weeks in total of searching on the internet to put together an itinerary and accommodation, so I’d like to share with you some of the painstaking work I put into this trip (and my mistakes!), so you can benefit from them.
I immediately ruled out Amalfi, Capri, Sorrento and even Positano, as even the dorms in hostels were coming out at around £30-40 per person per night – and for that price, I at least want to be shielded from the snores of strangers! I was then left with the smaller towns and villages along the coast, which seemed to be more affordable. However, I was still completely unsure of where to begin booking as I had no real goals for this holiday, other than to explore. I finally settled on the following itinerary:
Pompei – Herculaneum – Praiano – Maiori – Minori – Vesuvius
This was quite an ambitious schedule, and meant we didn’t stay more than two nights in any one place, however it worked pretty well. One of my concerns was choosing somewhere to stay for a longer period of time but not liking it when we got there. As it turns out, I was right not to gamble on just one destination, and it had the added bonus of being able to explore and see more towns! I covered Pompeii and Herculaneum in my previous blog post, so will skip through the first few days of the trip.
Praiano is a tiny cove nestled between steep cliffs, with a very small beach and a few restaurants / hotels. In the photos it looked absolutely beautiful, and this was the place we were most looking forward to. We had booked the Alfonso A Mare Hotel, which was the most expensive of the trip at €118 for the night. The car park was cramped, hard to park in and they charged us €15 to park for the night, which was not specified in the booking details. We were shown to a room with a small window directly facing a wall and therefore had no natural light – it was extremely disappointing!
Sadly when we arrived, the weather was not looking great either and it started to rain which left us with relatively little to do. In the evening, we walked around the right-hand side of the bay to reach a tiny bar called Il Pirata, which was nestled against the rocky cliffs and afforded an absolutely stunning view of the sea and coastline. This was a great little find, and we happily watched the sun slip below the horizon while sipping on some delicious cocktails.
We stayed in a small cabin in Capricornio Club in Maiori. It’s really conveniently placed in the middle of the town and really close to the beach, if not a little hard to find as it is nestled behind the larger buildings on the street. It was the cheapest option at €63 for the night. As it is on a main pedestrianised road, there is no parking available anywhere near the hotel. However, they do have an interesting set-up with a local car park mogul called Aldo…
Parking in Maiori
We arrived at the hotel slightly stressed that we were going to get a ticket for driving along a pedestrianised road on a week-day. When I asked if there was parking, the owner signalled that yes, there was parking but it was further away… We were in for quite an adventure! We got into the car with the owner in the back to give us directions in broken English. I was extra conscious of my bad driving with her in the car, but she seemed nonplussed at the several narrow misses as we drove up a winding, cliff-edge road. Suddenly she told me to pull into a plot of rough land, jumped out of the car and shouted for Aldo. We then were told to park and leave the keys in the engine. Wondering whether we would ever see the car again, we were ferried into a mini bus and went back to town. Arriving at the hotel / hut again, we realised we had left the keys to the cabin in the car. D’oh! Luckily there was a spare set available, and we were just letting ourselves into the hut when we were accosted by an older Italian man who had been in our minibus. He was determined to have a conversation with us in extremely broken English, which was slightly alarming – although he did recommend Masaniello Restaurant to us, which was probably the best place we ate in the town… Swings and roundabouts!
Annoyingly, the weather was still rubbish – varying from a bit damp to absolutely tipping down with rain. We tried to be brave and walk along the coastline to an interesting fort-like looking building which poked out from a cliff, but gave up around halfway there as every part of me was dripping wet and freezing cold. Therefore we spent the majority of the day inside the hut reading (George played on his gameboy). We ventured out for dinner and walked along the beach at night in a gap in the rain, watching the waves.
When we were ready to leave for Minori, getting the car back from Aldo was slightly tricky. We were provided with an Italian phone number to call him and book the mini-van back to the car park, which connected to someone with shaky English. It took a while to communicate what we needed to, but eventually we got picked up and were reunited with the car – after parting with €10.
Personally, I wouldn’t stay at the Capricornio Club again as it felt a little dirty and neglected to me – I wouldn’t let George use the old looking gas hob in the cabin as I was convinced it would either blow up or kill us in the night with a gas leak. There were also a few ants on the table although I’m not sure if they were there before or because of us. However, on the contrary, George absolutely loved the ramshackle vibe of the place, and had a real soft spot for the slightly chaotic way it was run. I do think I would have had a fonder impression of the place had the weather been better, as there were seats outside you could relax in, with a barbecue which you could use.
TLDR; Praiano wasn’t worth it in my opinion, Maiori was slightly better but I wouldn’t stay in the same accommodation again, and the Amalfi Coast is hella expensive. Check out part two of my blog to see where I went next!
Have you been to the Amalfi Coast? Where did you stay? Do you have any recommendations on finding a bargain there? As always, would love to hear from you in the comments! 🙂