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The Amalfi Coast – Adriatic Coast and Il Salento on a budget

OVERVIEW

This itinerary consists in two stages. The first stage will take us from Naples through the Amalfi Coast to Ravello, on the second stage we will travel along the coast of The Salento, in the Adriatic Sea. The natural beauty of the Amalfi Coast is stunning and the drive along the SS163 is one of the most beautiful drives in the world, and finally the Adriatic Coast and The Salento have glorious beaches and panoramas.

Positano 2005a
Positano 2005a (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COSTS

Considering the trip will last five days, I have planned two days covering The Amalfi Coast, one day in Matera and two days covering Il Salento. But I recommend a week for this itinerary, for the places to visit worth two more days in Il Salento. Travel on a budget means, to me, to seek for the best cost-benefit relationship, without sacrificing your lifestyle. There are limits for a “downgrade”, you know what I mean.
Hotels and Bed & Breakfast have been chosen in the range of 30-50 Euros per night, for a single room. Regarding food, I’ve made a selection of budget resturants in each town, but I have also considered the possibility of buying fresh products on street markets and “rosticcerias” (local take away eateries or eat in stores) and small grocery stores. As of transport, it would be very nice and pampering to drive a Vintage Vespa or an Alfa Romeo Spider, but I believe this would be out of budget, so please limit yoursel to take buses or trains, and if things get complicated, a bike is welcome. Italy is expensive, mostly in summer months, nevertheless I believe this trip would not cost more than 100 Euros a day.

USEFUL LINKS

SITA BUS  Bus Transportation
TRENITALIA  Trains connecting major and minor cities in Italy
BIKE RENTAL
VESPA RENTAL
ARTE CARD  Discount card for sites and monuments in Campania
Official Italian Tourism Website 

FIRST STAGE

From Naples to Ravello, visiting Sorrento, Positano, Praiano, Amalfi, and Ravello. Distance between Naples and Ravello is of 90km aproximately, which will allow you to spend half a day in each location.

From Naples you may visit the Costa Amalfitana by bus, the only bus company that does this route is the SITA BUS. You should buy the Unico Costiera Ticket, which allows you to travel along the coast on a single ticket.
Tickets should be bought in advance, at any caffe bar or shop with the SITA logo displayed. Do not forget to clip the ticket, otherwise you will have to pay a fine.

Sorrento Sorrento is a very nice coast town situated 50km away from Naples, suspended between green hills and the blue sea, overlooking the Naples Bay. Not to miss the typical dishes as gnocchi a la sorrentina, oranges, and cheese products.

Positano  Positano, a port of the Amalfi Republic in medieval times, is now a picturesque town perched on a hill overlooking the sea, situated 17km away from Sorrento. You can easily get around by foot.

Praiano  A quiet and beautiful town, 6km away from Positano. Praiano is a very nice and quiet place to stay, between Positano and Amalfi.

Amalfi  10km far is Amalfi, one of the biggest towns of the Amalfi Coast.

Ravello  Six kilometers inland, in the hills above Amalfi is Ravello. You may easily explore Ravello on foot.

Praiano, Campania, Italia
Praiano, Campania, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SLEEPING

Praiano

Locanda Degli Dei  Via Pistello, II. Praiano. A bed & breakfast in Praiano, rates from 40-60 Euros for a double room, single occupancy.

Amalfi  

HH Le Palme  Via Salita delo Spinale, 23. Amalfi.

Ravello

Bed & Breakfast I Limoni  Via Gradone, 14. San Cosma, Ravello. Rates: 40 Euros, low season and 50 Euros high Season. Located in a landscape surrounded by lemon trees, beneath Villa Cimbrone.

Ravello Rooms.  Located in Via Casa Pisani, 22, five minutes from the town center of Ravello. Rates: 40-50 Euros Single Room.

Il Rosetto In the historic center of Ravello, this bed and breakast charges 60-70 Euros for a single room.

EATING

Outdoor food markets are a must if you are on a budget. You shouldn´t miss the markets of Sorrento, via Sant Antonio, and Ravello on Tuesdays and Amalfi, via Fiume, on Wednesdays. A lot of money can be saved if you shop on food markets or groceries called “alimentari” some picnic ingredients to eat on a park or piazza nearby. Typical food is pizza, pasta, mozarella di buffala, tomatoes, and the tasty and strong limoncello, italian lemon liqueur.

Sorrento    Trattoria da Emilia. Family run restaurant at the fishermans harbour, Marina Grande 42. Serves fresh fish dishes and pasta. Prices: USD20 per person for a two course menu.

Positano    Delikatessen Positano. Via dei Mulini 5/13/15, Positano. Fresh sandwiches and picnics to go at the deli counter at the back of the store.

Praiano       Ristorante La Strada. Via G. Capriglione, 178. Good meals, affordable prices.

Amalfi    Donna Stella. Pizza under lemon trees. Salita Rascica, 2, Amalfi. From 9 Euros.

Ravello       Ristorante Salvatore   Via della Reppublica, 2. Has a nice view and good pizza.

SIGHTSEEING

Praiano   The Walk of the Gods
Praiano   San Luca beautiful church
Amalfi    Grotta di Smeraldo
Positano    Chiessa di Santa Maria Assunta
Ravello   Gardens of Villa Cimbrone

SECOND STAGE
From Ravello Matera.

You must go to Salerno, 28km away from Ravello to pickup a train to Matera. Take the EuroStar (ES) or Intercity (IC) to Ferrandina Station, get off and a bus will take you to Matera in 30minutes.

MATERA

Few people live in the Old Matera nowadays, the old “sassi” are now home to sudios and shops. People have moved to the new town, but the Old Matera, the village of the sassi (prehistoric cave dwellings ), has been restored and transformed into a wonderful place, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993.

SLEEPING

B&B Villa Paola  5 minutes away from the historic center, has only three rooms, one of them single, for 45-55 Euros a night. Important issue: it has a pool. Via Montescaglioso a Matera.

B&B La Finestra sui Sassi  Rates 40-45 Euros for a single. Located in the centre of the Sassi. Via S Potito, 51

B&B La Corte. Rione Vetera, 70.  Situated not far from the center of town, yet in a quiet district. Has only three rooms, rates 45-55 Euros.

EATING
The Matera cuisine is simple. Handmade pasta is the preferred dish,along with goat cheeses, being the canestrato the most famous. The Matera weekly food markets are a great place to buy some cheese, fresh bread and pastries for a picnic. There are also many deli stores near Piazza Sedile, on Via del Corso.

The Salumeria Il Buongustaio , Piazza Via Veneto 1-2, is a wonderful choice for a quick lunch.

Stop at the Vittorio Veneto Caffe. Piazza Vitorio Venetto 2, for an espresso and watch people pass by. As for restaurants, you can eat in terraces overlooking the gorge or in cave environments.

SIGHTSEEING
A walk along the sassi on Via della Virtu, a panoramic road which overlooks the deep narrow valley, the Tramontano Castle and the Duomo.

The Sassi of Matera.
The Sassi of Matera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THIRD STAGE

 Lecce and Il Salento  The heel of the Italian boot, , the deep south, the best beaches.

From Matera to Lecce you must go by bus, distance is 175km. Take the Autolinee Baltour

Lecce is a good point to set a base and explore the surroundings. The autobus line  will link main villages and towns of the local area, as well as the Salento Treno e Bus, operating during the summer Also there is a fast train -two hours- from Lecce to Bari, the Frecciabianca from the Trenitalia company.
And of course, bike rental is always welcome. I will begin the itinerary from the south, where the Adriatic Sea meets the Ionian Sea.
SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA. This is the tip of the heel, where Italy ends and where the Adriatic and Ionian Sea meet, 65km south of Lecce. A seaside resort of white buildings, elegant promenade and white sand beaches.

CASTRO MARINA Castro Marina is a small resort town and a charming fishing port 50km south of Lecce, awarded in 2010 with the Blue Flag for italian beaches.

PORTO BADISCO A dream in blue, 15km north of Castro Marina. A secluded bay, one of the best beaches of Il Salento and an excellent spot for snorkelling.

OTRANTO  A marvellous seaside resort of crystal clear water and also a port, , 11km north of Porto Badisco. The city was once a Roman, Byzantine and Norman center and offers an arab-baroque interesting mix. The historic town centre located inside the castle’s walls is fascinating and so are the summer nights, when young people fill bars and restaurants overlooking the harbour.

LECCE  The artistic and cultural capital of Puglia, located inland, 45km north of Otranto, also called the Baroque Florence.

Italiano: TORRE DEL PARCO DI LECCE
Italiano: TORRE DEL PARCO DI LECCE (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SLEEPING 

SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA
Bed & Breakfast Villa Ines.  Via Leonardo da Vinci, 44. Rates 30-60 Euros Located 350m from the sea.

CASTRO MARINA
Agriturismo Vignavecchia.  Loc. Vignacastrisi, Ortelle. Rural setting, 4km. north of Castro Marina. Prices 30-45 Euros.

Hotel Orsa Maggiore.  Rates 35-50 Euros. Very nice hotel, situated in Via Litoranea per Santa Cesarea, 303. Sea view hotel, situated 400m from the sea.

OTRANTO
Terra D”Otranto B&B TERRA  Corte Fosse, 14. Rates 18-25 Euros

LECCE

B&B dei Tigli.Via Alessandro Marconi, 52. Rates 25-30 Euros

EATING
Food in Salento is full of flavour, the main diet consists of seafood, fresh and straight from the sea. Bread, pasta and vegetables are also enjoyable dishes.

Santa Maria di Leuca Fish Market.

Castro Marina  Bar, pizzeria, gelateria Valentino, along the waterfront.

Porto Badisco  Drinks, snacks and pizzas on the beach. Ristorante L”Approdo di Enea.

Otranto  Open air market every Wednesday from 7.30a.m. to 12.30a.m. in the Public Gardens.

Lecce  Food market on Mondays and Wednesdays around the central Piazza de Sant Oronzo.
Al Divino Bicchiere. Via Santa Maria del Paradiso 4/A. Wine tasting with salami and cheese.
Pizzeria Zio Giglio. Via San Domenico Savio,
74/C. Pizzas and food to go.

SIGHTSEEING

Santa Maria di Leuca  The Sanctuary, once a temple dedicated to Minerva.

Castro Marina  Grotta Zinzulusa.  The Grotta is one of the most important caves in Salento, overlooking the Ionian Sea.

Otranto  Aragonese Castle.

Lecce  A stroll along the narrow streets out from the Piazza Sant’Oronzo and Piazza del Duomo.

Italiano: L'entrata della Grotta Zinzulusa nel...
Italiano: L’entrata della Grotta Zinzulusa nel Salento. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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