This summer I went on my much anticipated Europe trip! I have been dreaming up this trip since 2019 with one of my best friends, Courtney. We originally had the whole trip booked for June of 2020, but then Covid happened and we had to cancel and were catching up on work all of 2021. So after three years of researching and planning this trip, you could say we were excited! The first part of the trip we did Italy, and after we went on to Austria and Switzerland. We started our trip with 4 nights in Positano, where we photographed the most beautiful wedding, and then 3 nights in Lake Como.
Since we had so much time to plan our trip and were fairly flexible on dates, we ended up getting an amazing deal on flights. We used our Chase Sapphire credit card reward points to book our one way flights on Air France from DFW to Naples for only 20,000 points! This credit card is awesome for travel since it partners with so many hotels and airlines- you can check flights through the Chase portal or the airline websites and see what point value is better. After arriving in Naples, there are a few options for getting to Positano. The cheapest option is to take a train or bus and then a ferry, but we opted to get a private driver so we could get there faster after a long day of travel. We used Positano Turismo and it was $120 each way. Private drivers are much better than taxis, which can be sketchy in Naples and end up costing more. However, the roads along the Amalfi Coast and to Positano are very windy and they drive like crazy so I recommend bringing Dramamine if you get motion sickness.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at a lovely Airbnb condo rental in Positano, but I would not recommend the specific one we stayed at. Although it was very spacious, had great reviews, and an incredible view of the ocean and the city, it was a nightmare to get to. It was located at the top of the hill and is not reachable by vehicles, so you have to walk up and down almost 30 stories worth of steps each day to get up and down from the main town. If you chose to book an Airbnb, be sure to check the location and how far up it is since Positano is a town on a cliff side! If I were to go back I would make sure and book a hotel or Airbnb towards the bottom of town closer to the beach. Many of the hotels get fully booked months out especially for summer, so if you’re planning a trip here it’s best to book your accommodations close to a year in advance for the best options. If I went back I would love to stay at Hotel Miramare, Hotel Sireneuse, Hotel Posideon, or Hotel Palazzo Murat.
WHAT TO DO
Positano itself is a fairly small town and can be fully explored within a day or two. Many people do day trips to Capri, Amalfi, Sorrento, or Ravello. Here are the things I suggest doing:
WHERE TO EAT
Positano has many amazing restaurants but a lot of the popular ones with views can be difficult to get a reservation. Make sure and do research far in advance to try to make reservations, but some only take them two weeks out but then sell out completely as soon as they open so it can be tricky! I unfortunately didn’t have the best experience with food in Positano having celiac, even though I had researched a lot about restaurants having gluten free options. I think I had bad luck because a lot of the spots we tried to go were randomly closed for the day or were out of gluten free pasta for the day, etc. If you have any dietary restrictions I recommend emailing the restaurant beforehand to ensure they will be able to accommodate you!
After Positano, we travelled to Bellagio in Lake Como. It ended up being a pretty intense travel day since we had to transfer back to the Naples airport, fly to Milan, and then transfer to Bellagio. We had booked a private driver but unfortunately our flight was delayed and he had to cancel on us, so we ended up taking a cab which was extremely overpriced and he drove like a mad man. If you can’t get a private driver another option is to take the train to Milan Central, then to Como and then a ferry to Bellagio but this can take up to 3 hours vs a 1.5 hour car ride. Although getting there wasn’t the easiest, Lake Como was definitely my favorite destination of our whole trip! The views at every moment were incredible and it has such a relaxing, yet luxury ambience.
WHERE TO STAY
When visiting Lake Como there are many towns around the lake to choose from. Many people stay in Como or Bellagio where there are tons of restaurants and shops but if you want a quieter, less crowded area, then look into Cernobbio or Varenna. We stayed at the Hotel Du Lac in Bellagio and it was wonderful! The location was ideal as it was steps from the ferry port and had amazing views of the lake. Lake Como can be very expensive but this hotel was fairly priced and had an amazing spa and rooftop bar. If you want to have a more lavish experience, then I would stay at Hotel Grand Tremezzo or the famous Villa d’Este, which is known one of the nicest hotels in the world. It would also be fun to come with a group and rent a private villa or Airbnb.
Something to note when visiting Lake Como and choosing what town you stay in is how accessible it is. The best way to get around the lake is by ferry, but something we wish we knew is that the ferry tickets sell out. You cannot buy them online so if you’re planning to visit an opposite end of the lake, you have to go early in the morning to a ferry station and buy your tickets. The lines get very long in the afternoon and ferries completely sell out! Also, most of the ferries stop around 7pm so if you have a dinner in a different town the only way back is by taxi, which can be expensive. Once you are in the towns though most are very walkable and you can get around easily.
WHAT TO DO
Lake Como is so relaxing- I could have stayed there a full week! There are so many towns along the lake to explore and so much to do but here are some must do’s:
WHERE TO EAT
There are so many amazing places to eat around Lake Como, but we mainly ate in Bellagio and did one nice dinner in Cernobbio.