There will always be something so special about the Mediterranean for me because my first trip there totally changed my life. It was 2015 and we were in Turkey on the Sea of Marmara, which is where I came up for the name and newly minted concept for my clean skincare line MARA. The entire color palette for my brand took shape through my Mediterranean travels, which ultimately took us to Positano tucked away on the Amalfi Coast. We were driving down the winding corridors from Sorrento to Positano’s charmingly stacked seaside village that I saw the letters M A R A artfully drawn on the side of a cliff, and it was in that moment that I got goosebumps and new I was on to something special.
Flash forward and it’s 2018, my skincare line MARA is out in the world, and I got the opportunity to travel back to the Amalfi Coast with MARA Universal Face Oil in hand. Although I meticulously poured over the cliffs without seeing a MARA scripture in sight–I could feel the same energy that inspired the journey.
And that’s just it, Amalfi is deliciously inspiring. Everything from the Italian Riviera architecture to the sweet scent of citrus that wafts through the narrowly bending streets–the smell of yeast with fresh made pasta and the strong salty sea that delicately dances with the jagged, rocky cliffs… I love everything about it and I hope to make the Italian Riviera a staple in my summer travels because 11 days just wasn’t enough. Below, a few of my favorite places divided by city.
Undeniably crowded and packed with people, not even the touristy of tourists can take away the magic that is Positano. A completely vertical town that seems to defy gravity and space, thousands of steps allow you to traverse up and down the sharp cliffside from La Spiagga Grande to the many hidden gems tucked away.
Where to Stay:
Where to Eat:
Chez Black – Right on the beach, this spot is not to be missed! My favorite pesto linguini of the trip. A perfect beach lunch break for aperol spritz.
Da Vincenzo’s – A refreshingly nice walk up to Da Vincenzo’s gives you gorgeous views of the coast. The food here is spectacular, but definitely make a reservation in advanced.
Zass – For fancier fare, head to the stunning Il San Pietro about 15 minutes away from the city center by car. This hotel is exquisite and I had the best pizza I have every had!
Where to Drink:
Le Sirenuse – For the most iconic view of Positano at dusk.
Franco’s – The bar at Le Sirenuse that’s perched up on the cliff too, a lively spot to mix and mingle and meet up with friends.
What to Do:
Da Adolfo’s – Italy is known for their beach clubs, and Da Adolfo’s is sort of a little hipster hangout that’s ideal for a lazy day at the beach. Reserve chairs in advance and enjoy a delicious seaside lunch–just don’t forget to bring your own towel. The perk, you have to take e a little boat to get there so you get to see postiano by water which is spectacular.
Spiagga Grande – For a hassle free day at the beach, set up camp at Spiagga Grande.
Cooking Class at Buca Di Bacco – We love taking cooking classes wherever we go, it’s our thing! And this was definitely one of my favorite classes. Our food was delicious and we learned out to make eggplant parm, pizza, gnocchi and homemade pesto.
I had never been to Amalfi the city before and was eager to see the spot that sparked the beauty and wonder that is the Amalfi Coast. To be frank, I wasn’t blown away with Amalfi, but I do highly recommend going up to Ravello instead, which is what we ended up doing most of our time in Amalfi.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Santa Caterina – The most gorgeous seaside spot with an insane beach club and the most beautiful views. We did drinks and appetizers here and would stay here if we ever headed back to Amalfi again.
Bar Royal di Sotero – The best straticeiella I’ve ever had!
Public Amalfi Beach – We had so much fun here. We took a little boat and spent the entire day at the beach. It was particularly nice because it was an actual beach that you could walk into instead of jumping off of a rock / cliff, so lots of families were there.
Oh Ravello… you breathtakingly gorgeous medieval little town you! This was a surprise addition to our itinerary since we weren’t blown away with Amalfi. It’s about a 15 minute bus ride up and it’s completely worth it, we went there two nights and would stay there next time. Basically a complete walking town, this quaint little village has dramatic 180 degree views of the Mediterranean and some of the most delicious food of the trip. This reminds me of rural, less touristy towns I’ve visited throughout Tuscany, like Siena or San Garibaldi. Not to be missed!
Where to Stay:
Where to Eat:
Mimi’s – For delicious pizza! Cute spot for drinks too.
Palazzo Della Marra – Perhaps our fave meal of the trip! Everything is delectable here. Amazing food and wine list, cute atmosphere out on the back patio–just charming!
Baffone Gelato – our other fave spot! Vegan gelato options too if you’ve overdone your dairy intake (which I had)
Capri is pure magic. We didn’t stay overnight here, but you better believe we will next time! We did three day trips to Capri and absolutely loved it and had the chance to explore quite a bit. We spent a lot of time looking around and found our dream spots for next time. I can see why people do entire trips just in Capri… perhaps next time!
What to Do:
Shop – There is so much amazing shopping on Capri, and they have things we don’t have here, like limited addition Gucci and Dolce pieces.
La Fontelina Beach Club – a must do. This beach club is absolutely iconic and perfectly picturesque. We spent two days sipping rose and lounging cliffside and it was divine. You must make a lunch reservation in order to secure a beach chair, and I would highly recommend doing it as far in advance as you can! The lunch here is spectacular.
Boat Day – If anything, a boat day around Capri is an absolute must as well! Whether you’re staying in Capri, Sorrento or Positano–a boat day around Capri is totally doable. We went into the beautiful grottos around the island, sailed past Faraglioni and swam in the blue green sea.
Conca del Sogno – Spectacular beach club that’s really only accessible easily by boat. We went here for lunch on our boat day and it was one of my favorite lunches of the trip. Fancy, secluded and great for yacht and people watching. Make reservations in advance.