The majority of our mystery family vacation to Italy was spent exploring the Amalfi Coast. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, the Amalfi Coast is a gem of Italy - magically suspended between the blue sky and the crystal-coloured sea.
We stayed in the small town of Praiano, located between Positano and Amalfi. Praiano is an ideal village if you enjoy a simple, much quieter vacation, far away from the mass tourism that can be found along the Coast. The town is characterized by a labyrinth of stairways and narrow streets making their way through the terraced gardens, connecting the mountains directly to the sea.
Derived from the word praia, or beach, Praiano has a few small pebble beaches, reachable by foot (and lots of stairs) or boat. One of my favourite of the trip was inviting waters of the cleverly named Marina di Praia.
If you like a little more action in your beach day, then One Fire is the place to be. While the atmosphere is great, this isn’t like your typical North American beach - no sand here. Bright orange chairs and umbrellas (available for rent), are strategically positioned on what can be described as a large 'patio'. Getting to and from One Fire requires descending and climbing over 400 stairs. Luckily, cold beer and wine awaits when you make it down the stairs, and on your way back up, there is a little family run bar conveniently position half way for a much needed beverage.
Eating good food and drinking good beer and wine was a common theme on the trip. On one of the evenings, we took a boat ride to the nearby town of Maiori, where we enjoyed dinner at Torre Normanna, a restaurant located in an old coastal watchtower. There are about 30 watchtowers strategically built along the Coast. When unwanted visitors, such as pirates, were spotted, fires were lit, warning the inhabitants of imminent dangers and allowing them to seek shelter into the woods, grottoes or fortifications. In the early 1800s, most of the towers were unarmed and used for other purposes, such as restaurants or housing.
Know before you go:
- Praiano is on the SITA Sorrento-Salerno bus line, which will allow you to travel to all of the towns along the Amalfi Coast.
- If you prefer to drive, all towns on the Amalfi Coast are connected by the scenic SS163 road. Following the natural course of the coastline, the route is full of curves, nestled between the rock and the sea cliffs, and can be a bit intimidating to the novice European driver.
- July to August is considered “tourist season”, and is extremely hot, reaching an average high of 29C plus humidity. However, most of the events, festivals, etc. take place during this time.
- The best time to visit is said to be April to June, when the blossoms are in bloom, the weather is just right and the Sea is warm enough to go for a swim.
Read more about our trip to Italy here: