When you think of magnificent European holiday destinations, the Amalfi Coast in Italy and Santorini in Greece tend to crop up. These two incredibly idyllic locations beckon every type of traveller, from the romance seekers to the families, and groups of friends too. But if you only have the time or budget for one, which one should you choose? Hopefully, our brief rundown of each will help make an impossible decision a little easier.
One of the highlights of Italy for many people is the Amalfi Coast, and once you’re there, it’s understandable why. You won’t be faulted for gaping in awe as you make your way around, as it truly is a beautiful area to visit. The most popular town is Positano, which overlooks a beautiful bay from many layers of character-filled buildings and cliffs.
Amalfi Coast facts:
- Where: 50km stretch of coastline in the southern area of Sorrento Peninsula
- Towns to visit: All are beautiful, but don’t miss Positano, Ravello, Amalfi
- Known for: Being Italy’s most scenic stretch of coastline, magnificent vistas, delicious food, unforgettable road trips
- Best time to visit: May to October every year
Travel to: Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast Natural Attractions
- One of the simplest things you can do that will offer you great rewards is to drive along the winding coastal roads and take in the view. This can also be done by bus, or you can hire a car, but be aware that it’s not an easy drive and requires your complete attention at all times.
- You could also take a boat ride around the bays and explore the Amalfi Coast from the water. Just make sure you pick a day with little wind and no rain as the water can become quite unpleasant when it’s choppy.
- Book a boat tour and take a trip to the Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Grotto) to discover an underground lagoon. It’s a beautiful cave near the town of Amalfi that you can drive a boat into. It offers spectacular sights, although the tours are generally quite short.
I absolutely loved the drive throughout the towns dotting the coastline. Every place we turned was more scenic than the last! From the mountains to the turquoise waters below, I’d do that drive any day! Make sure you don’t miss a wander through Rivello- what I thought was the most beautiful town we visited! Oh! And you can’t leave without trying some limencello and a cornetto! Mmm! – Jessica, A Passion & A Passport
Food And Drinks
If you’re looking for a little hideaway that offers fresh seafood and delicious wine, head down to Da Adolfo in Positano. It’s tucked away on a private beach and offers some of the simplest, mouth-watering meals.
If you’re really into Italian food, why not take a cooking class? There are so many on offer and you’ll be able to take home some of that traditional Italian flavour to make in your own kitchen, time and again.
Italy is already well known as being a haven for foodies, but the coastal areas especially win my heart because of all the fresh, affordable and delicious seafood. During my time in the Amalfi Coast, I got to try not only amazing seafood, but also steaks, pastas and even one of the best kebabs I’ve tried in my life. Make sure you bring stretchy pants – you’ll need them. PS: Trying limoncello, one of the area’s specialties, is a must.
Spend some time exploring the different towns along the coast. Some choose to only base themselves in one spot (i.e. Sorrento or Positano), but each town has something special to offer and the drive between them is impossibly scenic. If I were to do my trip again, I would definitely visit some of the smaller, lesser-visited areas like Ravello and Cetara. – Christina, Happy to Wander
See Also: Santorini On a Budget
There’s something captivating about all the whitewashed houses with their painted blue doors, covered with vibrant bougainvillaea stretching over walls and roofs. It’s exactly what you would expect a Greek island to look like, but it’s even more beautiful than you ever imagined. Santorini is known to offer travellers good value for money when compared to other European delights. Fresh food, wonderful beaches and friendly people are also a part of the mix.
- Where: A Greek island in the Aegean Sea
- Towns to visit: Again, they’re all beautiful, but Oia and Fira should be your first two to visit
- Known for: Incredible beaches and fresh, delicious food, all set against postcard perfect views, with the Aegean Sea filling up the background
- Best time to visit: May to October every year
Santorini Natural Attractions
- Santorini’s prime natural attraction is most certainly the magnificent beaches, so make sure you get around to as many as possible. If you can hire a scooter or four-wheeler, go for it. That way you can travel on your own time and skip between beaches at your leisure. The most highly recommended beaches to visit would be: Perivolos, Red Beach, Perissa and Kamari. While you’re beaching it, make sure to take in as many beach sunsets as you can…preferably with a cocktail or glass of wine in hand.
- Visit the Caldera Cliff Wall, which is the space where a volcanic eruption left a massive crater in the coastline. It’s now filled with seawater and there is still volcanic activity taking place in the centre of the crater, where one can bathe in hot springs. Take a boat trip to the springs and have lunch afterwards on the shore.
The highlight of our trip to Santorini would be exploring the city of Oia. There’s lots of delicious restaurants, shopping, and activities. The best sunset can be seen from the Byzantine Castle Ruins or Amoudi Bay. We highly suggest renting an ATV or a car for the day and drive around the whole island of Santorini. If you’re coming from United States, you need an international permit to drive in Santorini. – Maryrose and Reid, Wanderluststyle
Travel to: Santorini
Food And Drinks
If you’re in the mood for some delicious Greek meze, head to Roka restaurant in Oia. Make sure you book a table on the outside patio for a magical view of the sea.
While in Santorini, you will have to sample some souvlaki, usually offered with pork, lamb or chicken smothered in mint and lemon juice. Take your pick between the meats, but make sure you take one!
If you’re one for baked goods, then try a freshly baked spanakopita (spinach triangle pie). For sweetness, there is no other dessert to opt for but a syrupy baklava.
Whether you settle on Santorini or the Amalfi Coast, one thing’s for sure: you’ll return home feeling 10 years younger!