Santorini or Amalfi Coast?
I’ve heard this topic discussed many times – Santorini or Amalfi Coast? Where to go? Can I visit both in one EU trip?
Both of these INCREDIBLE travel destinations are located in Europe. Amalfi coast in Italy takes your breath away with its magnificent views and Santorini’s blue dome churches and whitewashed villages are a gem in the middle of Aegean Sea. Most of the travelers would say that both locations are outstanding holiday destinations, but they have some differences that are worth to be considered when making a decision.
Santorini picturesque sunset over caldera or colorful Positano village with the white pebble beach, which one do you choose?
The outstanding views
Santorini caldera is one of a kind. Villages like Oia, Fira and Imerovigli all have that view with unforgettable iconic sunsets (Top 4 spots to go for a quiet sunset view) . Everything speaks Greece, white washed houses, blue domes and narrow pathways.
Positano village in Amalfi is closer to the sea and is definitely way more colorful. Pastel colored houses and olive trees is what you’ll see everywhere in Italy.
Iconic Mediterranean Food
Both destinations have incredible food varieties and unique wine making traditions.
Santorini offers amazing seafood and Mediterranean dishes. From locally caught fish, calamari and octopus in addition to famous Santorini cherry tomatoes and fava beans, there is an option for everyone. If you’re up for some street food, then Soulvaki or Gyros wrapped in pita bread is your choice. Here you can read on what to order for some Vegan food choices in Greece.
Many coffee shops and restaurants will serve a complementary desert or drink after your meal. Although, this mostly happens in local tavernas, just stop in a smaller village and you’ll get to enjoy grandmas moussaka or pasticcio.
Here is a list of the most praised restaurants on the island.
Italian cuisine relies on the quality of the ingredients rather than on quantity. All kinds of fresh meat, fish, and pecorino cheese. Amazing pasta is traditionally served with meat sauce, but if you are vegan there are plenty veggie of options for you too. Of course, when strolling through villages you can find a pizza store, or quick mozzarella and prosciutto sandwiches. Amalfi coast region is famous for their cheeses, like mozzarella and Provolone del Monaco (a semi-hard sweet cheese).
Things to DO
First of all, have to say, that you could easily spend an entire honeymoon or vacation in either place watching sunsets, swimming in the hotel’s pool and eating.
Because Santorini is an island, it is not possible to drive too far ;). You would need an hour and a half at most to drive from one end of the island to another. When you drive around, you have 15 villages to choose from. The most famous of the caldera villages are Oia, Fira, Imerovigli and Firostafani. These are little towns with the cliff views, white houses and blue domes, the view takes your breath away, looking out across lush turquoise water with the most beautiful colors at sunset every single night.
If you are looking for a beach town, then Kamari and Perissa are perfect for you. Here you can find many restaurants, bars with beach beds and water sport activities.
If you are an adventures couple there are plenty things to do on the island, one of them is to join many of the offered excursions. Many of my photo shoot couples talk about how amazing was their catamaran tour, where they enjoyed Santorini’s unique caldera, cliffs and sea from a different perspective.
If you consider these 5 (kind of) worst things about Santorini, it can be a paradise on earth. Additionally you can go trough this list of 13 travel tips in Greece, mini advice column from a local.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
There is so much more to Amalfi Coast than Positano! Every town has its own unique traits and it is easy to get from one place to another, even if you do not rent a car. You could spend days exploring these little towns and fantastic views on the way. Capri, Praiano, Ravello and Sorrento, you can dedicate at least a day to each of these towns! They are perfect for wandering and enjoying those incredible mountain and sea combos.
Relaxing by the beach
Beaches in both Amalfi and Santorini are gorgeous, but instead of sand there are more pebbles.
If you want a beach vacation then staying in Kamari or Perissa is a must. But if you have chosen a hotel in Oia or Fira, then a drive to the closest beach is around 30 minutes. Typical Santorini sand/pebbles are black in color, but you can go to the Red beach or take a boat to the White beach. The Red beach is located next to Akrotiri village and requires a quick walk along the cliff side. Water sports rentals and beach beds are easily available in Kamari or Perissa. For beach party loving people you can visit Yazz Bar, Wet Stories or Beach Bar in Perissa. In Kamari the most popular is The Groove Bar. Basically, what you do, is rent your own private beach lounge for the day and enjoy the sun, food and drinks, while having a dance.
Positano’s main beach is called Marina Grande, the 300-meter-long stretch of sand and pebbles and it offers picturesque cliff views. No wonder it attracts lots of couples looking to commemorate their visit to Amalfi with a photo shoot. It’s covered with umbrellas and it’s very lively, but if you do a quick Google search you can also find some nice and quiet hidden beaches on the Amalfi Coast.
Santorini has a larger range of both affordable and luxury hotels to choose from. Amalfi hotels of the same star rating/level are a bit pricier.
Many people ask, if they should you stay in Oia or Imerovigli. It depends on what kind of vacation you are looking for.
Stairs and hills
Santorini has many different villages and some have more steps than others. Depending on your hotel’s location, there’s a big possibility that you will have to go up and down the stairs if you are in Oia, Imerovigli or Fira. The towns of Amalfi Coast are quite small and built into the cliffs so to get around you would need to walk a lot and it is pretty steep.
Both countries are well known for their reckless driving, but because Amalfi Coast roads are curvy, it could be a bit tricky for a less experienced driver, but not impossible. On the other hand Santorini has some difficult roads but much more doable.
In both locations many of the travelers hire private drivers or book hotels with shuttle services to get to the beaches and neighboring villages. Parking can be a pain, especially in the most visited spots, in Italy – Positano and Capri and on Santorini it’s Oia and Imerovigli villages. If you rent a car in Santorini you could ask your hotel if they have a designated parking lot.
Santorini gets very busy during high season because of cruise ships, one to six every single day! At certain times of the day when there’s a cruise ship docked at the port, Oia and Fira town get crazy crowded. When travelers get off the ship to come to the island for excursions, every one of them would visit Oia and Fira and the towns get jammed. If you visit these places in the early morning you should be fine. Positano is much quieter then these two Santorini villages.
In short :)
If you are planning your honeymoon, both locations are amazing. But if you go for a family trip or with a group of friends, Santorini could be a better choice, because it offers more activities. For active couples Positano offers some amazing hikes, but to explore Santorini you can hop onto an ATV or visit the volcano.
Blog post written by Anna, Photographer on Santroini