Traveling in Italy: The Amalfi Coast

If you were to make a list of the most beautiful places to visit in the world, then the Amalfi coast in Italy would have to be in the top ten category.

This is the coast which is famous for hairpin turns, breathtaking views, sweet lemons (I mean sweet) charming hotels and picturesque towns.

The Amalfi Coast is situated in the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula of Italy. The best way to visit the coast is to fly to Naples, rent a car and drive down to Sorrento. If you make Sorrento your base camp, you can spend several days visiting the jewel towns of the Amalfi Coast at your leisure.

Start in Sorrento and drive to Positano. It is best to carry a Michelin map with you to avoid getting lost.

Before you arrive in Positano, you might want to stop at Positano Belvedere; a vantage point on the road that allows you to see the town of Positano in the distance. The view is breathtaking.

When you arrive in Positano, stop and walk around town. Chances are you have seen it in commercials. Once a small fishing village, it is now popular with the international crowd and some celebrities who stay at Positano’s 4 and 5 star hotels.

Most houses look like small boxes painted white with bougainvilleas growing along the walls.

After Positano, continue to Vertica Maggiore, and then Furore del Valle, another gem of a town. Near by is the Emerald Grotto. An emerald color cave only reachable by boat. The water of the Tyrrhenian Sea, enters the cave and the sun takes care of the rest.

Continue to the town of Amalfi and Ravello. Ravello also has unforgettable views.
In Ravello, you will see white washed houses perched on the hills with gardens planted with vines, lemon and olive trees. It is a major tourist destination, the beauty of the city, and its charm, has inspired its inhabitants and guests for centuries.

Things to see:

Ravello:

  • Villa Rudolfo
  • Villa Cimbrone
  • CathedralAmalfi:
  • St Andrea Cathedral
  • Cloisters of Paradise (Chiostro del Paradiso)

    Dining in the region:

    Sorrento and the Amalfi coast are situated in the Campania region, and typical southern dishes are likely to appear on the menus. Among those are pizza, pasta, tomatoes, eggplant, mozzarella cheese, seafood and citrus fruits.

    If you have ever had tomato and mozzarella salad, you will surely have it there. It is called “Insalata Caprese” named after the Island of Capri. The famous San Marzano plum tomatoes that grow in the region, together with silky soft buffalo mozzarella cheese, olive oil and basil, will surely make a delightful dish.

    And let’s not forget the wines. The region is rich in volcanic soil, an ideal medium to grow grapevines, and although wines from this region are not well known internationally, they are just as good as more popular Italian varieties. Wine at lunch and dinner is usually served in small carafes, but you can also order wines by the bottle.

    Don’t forget to finish your meal with a cup of dark espresso just as most Italians do.

    Resources:

    If you decide to go, arm yourself with a good map and a good guide book. My favorite travel guides are Frommers and Michelin. You can find them at any major bookstore.
    Italians are a friendly people by nature and driving around the area should not be difficult even if you don’t speak Italian.

    This article may be reproduced only in its entirety.

  • Kakopetria Cyprus Travel Guide

    Kakopetria is a village sitting between the Kargotis and Garillis Rivers, just over 30 miles from Nicosia. Standing at an altitude of 667 metres it is the highest village in the Solea Valley. The pure mountain air and authentic atmosphere here make Kakopetria the perfect destination for a relaxing holiday. During the winter months Kakopetria makes an ideal base for skiing on Mount Olympus in the Troodos Mountains. The whole of the old town is a protected national monument with tiny streets lined with old stone houses and historic churches and buildings. Stroll around and soak up the amazing atmosphere before relaxing over a quiet meal or drink at one of the traditional tavernas that are found in the shady town square.

    This authentic romantic mountain village offers traditional shops, a market and some great cafes and bars serving traditional local cuisine and local wines. If you enjoy a glass or two of wine a visit to one of the mountain wineries to sample some of the local vintages is a must on your holidays to Kakopetria.

    The area is steeped in history with many ancient monasteries and Byzantine churches, including Kykkos Monastery which is one of the most famous in Cyprus. Historical places to visit include Paphos which is a World Heritage Site. Here you will find the Tombs of the Kings, the House of Dionysis, Paphos Castle and the Archaeological Museum.

    The thick forests, beautiful valleys and array of flora and fauna attract walkers, hikers, nature lovers and bird watchers. There are many marked trails that will guide you through vineyards and orchards, passing mountain streams and old churches on your way. Pears, apples, plums, apricots, peaches and cherries are grown in the regions orchards. A hike along one of the scenic routes to the Troodos Mountains will give you the chance to explore the amazing monasteries dotted about on the mountain side. Another way to explore the beautiful countryside is by mountain bike. There are many trails that lead riders through different types of terrain, including easier ones for visitors just wanting a leisurely ride and more challenging ones for the more experienced and adventurous. Other ways to explore the countryside include jeep safaris and horse riding excursions.

    The south coast beaches near Limassol are ideal for some relaxation, swimming and water sports. There are also excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities along the coast. For golfers there are several golf courses a short drive away from Kakopetria.

    The climate here is hot and dry in the summer but not as hot as the holiday resorts along the coast. Temperatures often reach 30C but the cool mountain air makes it more pleasant and less humid than at the coastal resorts. Kakopetria enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year, even April sees 8 hours of sunshine a day, an ideal time to book one of the many holiday deals available to Cyprus.

    Spring and autumn are the best times for cheap package holidays to Kakopetria. Spring sees the region burst into life with the mountainside covered in beautiful flowers and the trees in the fruit orchards covered in blossom. Autumn is ideal for walking and hiking in the warm sunny climate that the area enjoys at this time of the year.

    Travel Tokyo Japan

    Tokyo is a location where the urgent rhythms of consumer culture collide with the quieter moments that linger from older customs. It’s feverish madness leavened by the most Zenic of calmnesses.

    The sheer point of energy is the most striking expression of Japan’s capital city. Tokyo is a location where the urgent rhythms of consumer culture collide with the quieter moments that linger from older customs. It’s feverish madness leavened by the most Zenic of calmnesses.

    While it’s true the exciting vibe has a somewhat depressing flip side – shoebox living accommodations estates & office blocks traversed by overhead freeways crowded with traffic – Tokyo remains a glittering example of the ‘miracle’ of post-WWII Japan.

    What makes Tokyo intriguing is the tension between mammoth scale and meticulous detail. Sightseeing in its streets can be a neon assault that leaves you elated & breathless, or an encounter with the exquisite art of understatement. Jump aboard the subway & see how one city is actually many.

    Feeding is half the fun of being in Japan, and the adventuresome foodie will be enjoyed to know that nihon ryori (Japanese food) is far more than the sushi, tempura and sukiyaki for which it is best known in other nations: there are over 20 different forms of Japanese cooking to sample.

    It isn’t difficult to find many things to keep you out of trouble in Tokyo. Or take you into it. Whether it’s kabuki (traditional Japanese theater) or karaoke, izakaya (half eating place-half pub) or hot-spring hopping, the Big Umeboshi – the ‘Giant Sour Plum’ – has it all, all year around.

    If you stay in Tokyo or additional major city for one week or longest, gaijin houses (also known as guesthouses) are an cheap accommodation option worth considering. The minimal fee term is commonly one month, but some houses likewise provide weekly or possibly daily rates.