Capri Day Trip

Capri is a rocky island located in the bay of Naples, revered for its beauty and known to attract the rich and famous. If you plan to visit the Amalfi Coast while in Italy, a day trip to Capri is a must. I’ve been fortunate to go once on a trip with some girlfriends and most recently with Drew on the final day of our Mediterranean Cruise.

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How To Get There

Capri can be easily accessed by ferry from a number of ports, including Naples, Positano, and Sorrento. On my last visit to Capri, we booked round trip ferry tickets from Naples for 46 EUR. Private water taxis or helicopters are options if finances aren’t a concern.

What To Do

  • Half-Day Boat Tour. I’ve done a private boat tour around the island on both visits to Capri and I believe it’s the best way to experience the island. Most recently, we used Gianni’s Boats and had a great time. For 290 EUR, we had the boat to ourselves with a skipper to guide us around the island. You can visit the Blue Grotto, but we elected to skip the hour-long line and visit other grottoes and caves instead. You’ll learn a lot about the island from your guide while getting to swim in the Mediterranean and indulge in drinks and snacks.

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  • Treat Yourself. Between the delicious Italian food and the upscale retail shops on the island, plan to splurge a little while visiting Capri. While I’m not much of a shopper, big name designers like Hermes, Fendi, and Gucci boast shops on Via Camerelle where you can drop a pretty penny. During our most recent visit, we picked up one of the famous Capri Bells as a Christmas ornament for our tree. If shopping isn’t your thing, there are tons of great restaurants to choose from. For a nice seaside lunch that won’t break the bank, I suggest L’Approdo in Marina Grande.

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  • Sightseeing. Walk or take the funicular up to Piazza Umberto I for great people watching and an amazing view of the island. Piazza Umberto is in the exact center of Capri, so there’s plenty to see and do. If you keep your eyes peeled, you may even spot a celebrity or two.

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This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to see and do in Capri. Regardless of what you end up doing, I know you will enjoy the beauty of the island.

 

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Mediterranean Cruise Pros and Cons

This summer, Drew and I went on a 10-night Mediterranean cruise where we visited Greece, Malta, and Italy. Each of us had only been on short Caribbean cruises many years ago, so a 10-day Mediterranean cruise was something entirely different for us.

We didn’t initially plan to take a Mediterranean cruise this year or to travel around Europe this summer, but Norwegian Cruise Line had a pretty good deal, so we jumped at the opportunity. Our cruise was scheduled for July 20th through July 30.

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Oia, Santorini, Greece

To stay on budget, we selected an interior cabin as the only time we planned to spend in the room was to sleep and shower. We did not upgrade our meals and found the standard food options to be diverse and delicious–we were never disappointed. Additionally, we did not purchase drinks on the ship–we stuck with water and juice, but splurged on alcohol, soda, and tasty treats while at ports. Lastly, we researched every destination beforehand and made our own plans without having to purchase expensive excursions through the cruise line

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Athens, Greece

Below are the stops and the length of time we were at each port:

Day 1 – Ship departs Civitavecchia (Rome), ITA – 5 p.m.
Day 2 – Ship at sea
Day 3 – Mykonos, GRC – 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Day 4 – Piraeus (Athens), GRC – 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Day 5 – Rhodes, GRC – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Day 6 – Santorini, GRC – 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Day 7- Chania, GRC – 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Day 8 – Valletta, MLT – 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Day 9 – Messina, ITA – 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Day 10 – Naples/Pompeii, ITA – 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Day 11- Ships arrives in Civitavecchia (Rome), ITA – 6 a.m.

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Chania, Greece

Pros:

  • Cruises allow you to maximize your vacation time–we were able to visit 5 destinations in Greece, 3 cities in Rome, and we got to spend a day in Malta all in 11 days/10 nights. That would be a very rigorous travel schedule if you weren’t on a cruise. It was great to see so many beautiful places!
  • We were able to island hop through Greece with ease. Visiting multiple islands quickly can be challenging and expensive, but going via cruise made it simple and hassle-free.
  • For solo travelers, cruises can be one of the safest options. You can relax on board, participate in group excursions, and the ship monitors when you leave and return to the ship, so someone will notice if you’re missing.

Cons:

  • Some of the ports were far away from attractions we were interested in seeing or not very tourist-friendly.
  • Our time was tight in each location due to the time it took to disembark the ship and return to the ship, limiting what we could see and do. It was a bit of a tease to visit these amazing places, but not get to really experience and explore the place.
  • Since your meals are already paid for and provided on the ship, we missed out on opportunities to try local cuisine.
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Rome, Italy

Overall, we enjoyed our time on the cruise and we are glad that we did it. A cruise made sense for us to see Greece and Malta, but I don’t think cruises will be a preferred method of travel moving forward. When we travel, we want to don’t want to be confined by time or to small locales–we like to wander and see as much as we can.

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Mykonos, Greece

If you have any questions about a Mediterranean cruise, please reach out–I’d love to share more about our experience. Safe travels!

48 Hours in Berlin, Germany

Berlin is an amazing city, rich with history and culture. With so much to see and do, you need to make the most of your time in Germany’s capital city. Here’s my list of how to best spend 48 hours in Berlin.

Day 1

Sightseeing:
Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie is the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point from the Cold War era. Foreigners and diplomats would cross between East Berlin and West Berlin at Checkpoint Charlie until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

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Brandenburg Gate
Erected in the 1730s, this visually stunning monument that has witnessed a great deal of history and come out unscathed.

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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Also known as the Holocaust Memorial, the memorial consists of 2,711 concrete slabs of various height. There is a visitor’s center below which contains approximately 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims.

Dinner: Fame at KaterschmausHolzmarktstraße 25, 10243 Berlin, Germany
A cozy, intimate little spot with amazing food. Everything on the menu is reasonably priced, which is good since you’ll want to try a little bit of everything. Fame is one of those spots you want to bring your friends to because it’s such a unique, fun spot.

Accommodations: Hilton BerlinMohrenstraße 30, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Centrally located and very clean, the Hilton Berlin is an easy place to stay when checking out tourist spots like Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate. The staff is very accommodating, and you can’t beat the convenience of the location.

Day 2

Sightseeing: East Side Gallery
A memorial to a section of the Berlin Wall. The gallery features 105 paintings that were completed in 1990 by artists from all over the world. Restoration efforts were made in 2009 to help eliminate some of the graffiti covering the original artwork.

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Lunch: Kimchi PrincessSkalitzer Str. 36, 10999 Berlin, Germany
Surprisingly good Korean BBQ in the middle of Berlin. Picnic table seating ensures you will make new friends as you indulge in an awesome meal.

Sightseeing: Tempelhof Feld
Berlin converted Tempelhof Airport into a public park. On a sunny day, this place is great for outdoor recreation and people watching. A wonderful spot to unwind and enjoy the great outdoors in the middle of a bustling city.

Dinner: FreischwimmerVor dem Schlesischen Tor 2, 10997 Berlin, Germany
Waterside dining with excellent indoor options in addition to an over-the-water patio. It’s a little tricky to find, but once you’ve made it, you won’t be disappointed with the food–lots of variety!

Accommodations: Michelberger HotelWarschauer Str. 39-40, 10243 Berlin, Germany
If you’re looking for a trendy hotel in a hip neighborhood, look no further. The rooms have a minimalist feel, but the true heart of the hotel is in the lobby where there’s an awesome bar, roomy couches, and a great atmosphere.

No matter what you end up doing, I know you will enjoy your time in Germany’s capital. There are so many great restaurants, museums, and events that I know you’ll be wishing you had more time to spend in Berlin. Safe travels!

48 Hours in Northern Ireland

It would be easy to spend a week or more exploring the beauty of Northern Ireland. But if you’re looking to visit Northern Ireland for a weekend, below are some of the can’t-miss highlights.

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Giant’s Causeway
To best experience Giant’s Causeway, choose one of the many available walking paths. I ultimately selected the red trail which went along the clifftops overlooking the shore, before connecting to the blue trail which brought me down to the waterfront and onto the rock formations. Be sure to pop inside the on-site center as it really helps explain how these rock formations came about and how old and remarkable this World Heritage Site truly is.

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Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge
A quick drive from Giant’s Causeway is the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. This short, shaky rope bridge connects the mainland to a tiny island aptly named Carrickarede. The bridge is suspended 100 feet over the Atlantic Ocean and it’s sure to get your heart racing. I’m not the biggest fan of heights, but I had to experience the bridge for myself!

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Dinner at the Distillers Arms or Ramore Wine Bar
For dinner, I have two great options. If you want to stay close to my suggested lodging, I would visit The Distillers Arms restaurant. Originally the home of the Bushmill Distillery’s owners, it has been converted into an amazing restaurant that will give you a night to remember. If you want to dine by the water, visit the Ramore Wine Bar. Located in the Portrush Harbour, it offers great waterside dining with an extensive wine list.

Causeway Lodge
The Causeway Lodge is a lovely bed and breakfast in a rural setting. The home offers contemporary rooms, a great breakfast, and a peaceful night’s rest all at a very reasonable price. Plus, the owners are incredibly hospitable!

Bushmills Distillery
Known for being one of the oldest licensed distilleries in the world, you should definitely stop by the Old Bushmills Distillery for a quick tour and tasting. The tour will run you £8, but it’s fun to see the production process and the tasting at the end is great. I suggest getting a hot whiskey!

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Belfast
No visit to Northern Ireland would be complete without a visit to the country’s capital and largest city. There’s plenty to see and do, but I recommend walking along the peace walls to check out some of the interesting graffiti as well as visiting the Titanic Museum.

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No matter what you end up doing, I know you’ll enjoy Northern Ireland. There is so much natural beauty and rich history that by the end of your trip I’m sure you’ll be wishing you had more time.