Europe Travel 2016

Well it’s about time right? I’ve been putting off this lengthy post for quite some time. There’s just SO much to share on our trip after our wedding. Once we had officially chosen San Sebastian for our wedding, I was mildly obsessed with finding our next destinations. We went through every possible combination. I wanted the traveling to be as seamless as possible. I read through every blog, article, tour, guide, etc. I’m serious. I have a wealth of knowledge for you. Here are some destinations that were on our list: Cinque Terra, Amsterdam, Dublin, Munich, Berlin, Paris, Switzerland, Amalfi Coast, Florence, Barcelona, Sicily, Prague, Iceland, Ischia, Capri….you get the picture. We had some serious narrowing down to do. First thing, what kind of things do we want to do? We decided we wanted a little beach and a little bit of city. Second question, which ones are easiest to get to from San Sebastian? Which cities are easy to fly home from? We eventually landed on Amsterdam to be our final city because it was easiest to fly home from. Now we have a start city (San Sebastian) and an end city (Amsterdam) which allowed us to book our big flight. We didn’t know where we would be for the two weeks in-between but we had time to figure it out.

Since we knew we had “city” time in San Sebastian and Amsterdam, we needed a little beach in our life. We narrowed our country down to Italy and then became the intense decision between Cinque Terra and Amalfi Coast. Google that scenario and let me know how many articles you find on people with the same conundrum. We went with Amalfi. Why? Because the fights worked better with our timeline. We could get an earlier flight into Naples (airport for Amalfi Coast) from San Sebastian. This ultimately decided it for us. Cinque Terra, we will come for you…soon-ish. After we settled on the Amalfi Coast, we wanted one other nearby city to explore. A family friend recommended Ischia, it was absolutely perfect. Sorry, Capri.

First City: San Sebastian

We took our initial flight from US to Europe on AerLingus. It went well, it was our first international flight but it was easy. Our legs were Kansas City – Chicago – Dublin – Bilbao – car from Bilbao to San Sebastian. It was cheaper for us to fly in to Bilbao and rent a car to San Sebastian. I’ve spoken about our time in San Sebastian, along with our fancy professional photos, but here are some snapshots of our time with our family!

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Second City: Ischia (pronounced “ee shkee ah”)

  • Hotel: Miramare E Castello Hotel
  • Restaurants:
    • Ristorante La Terrazza di Mimi
    • Our hotel had a great restaurant – we ate lunch and dinner here!
  • We flew out of San Sebastián instead of Bilbao because the cost was the same. From San Sebastián we had a layover in Barcelona, and then landed in Naples. We took a taxi to the port where we bought tickets for a ferry ride to Ischia. It was really easy so don’t hesitate about the travel to the island. Our hotel was amazing here, easily the best hotel we stayed in our entire time. Don’t even bother looking for an alternative if your going to Ischia – its seriously amazing. The most extensive breakfast I have ever had, along with the most amazing view. The staff were incredible, the city was so authentic and perfect. I loved our time here.

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Third City: Praiano (Amalfi Coast)

  • Hotel: Hotel Margherita
  • Restaurants:
    • Casa E Bottega (in Positano) – I seriously have dreams about how delicious this meal was. Its lunch though, so they close in the late afternoon!
    • La Moressa Italian Bistró
  • We took a ferry from Ischia to Positano, then we walked a lot of stairs to reach a street to grab a taxi to Praiano- where our hotel was. So here’s the deal with the Amalfi Coast; its made up of a bunch of tiny cities that are basically hanging off a cliff. Some of the larger cities like Sorento, Positano, Amalfi, can be big tourist attractions. Super busy and well, touristy, for lack of a better word. They are also all BREATHTAKING. Don’t think I’m dissing any of these cities- you will not be disappointed staying in any of them. I did a lot of research on what city is the best place to stay and came across the gem of Praiano. Nestled right in the middle of Positano and Amalfi- it was absolutely perfect. Traveling between the towns is easy and pretty darn fast. Our hotel was awesome – rooftop restaurant, pool with amazing view, very clean, and a great location. The staff were also super helpful. It can be hard to navigate the coast but trust me- they will help you so much. We even got a hang of the bus system- which saved us SO much money and was quite the ride. A giant bus zooming around the corners of a cliff, its definitely a thrill ride. We did a little hike that we came across by chance. It ended up being so cool and it went through the nicest restaurant, which we went back to that night for dinner (La Moressa, above). The best thing we did (twice) was go to the little market down the street from our hotel and pick up fresh fruit, cheese, meat, and a bottle of prosecco for the beach. We filled up a backpack with all our goodies and watched the sun set (corny- but unbelievable). The second time we did this our driver from the hotel asked what beach we wanted to go to. We didn’t realize there were two beaches. He told us this other one was more private, not many people know about it. Downside is you have to take like 200 stairs to get to it. We said we’ll take the tiny private beach and drink enough prosecco to handle the walk back up. It was so great. There were only like 6 other people there, super remote. Ahh, take me back!

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Fourth City: Amsterdam

  • Hotel: Hotel Roemer
  • Restaurants:
    • The Seafood Bar – we went here twice, so good!
    • GEORGE W.P.A.
  • The travel from Praiano to Amsterdam was cake. We reserved a driver through our hotel to drive us back to Naples. From Naples it was a simple nonstop flight and then we grabbed a cab from the airport to the hotel. We walked SO much around this city, we went into all the little shops, grabbed something to drink, shopped more, ate, you get it. We could not get over how cool this city was. They have their transportation figured out. I told Nick I wanted to move, he said I’m crazy (I still would). One of the coolest things we did was take a private canal tour through the city.  We grabbed a bottle of wine and snacks and had ourselves a little lunch. It was so cool, and far better than the tourist bandwagon canal tours. Highly recommend it!

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We traveled back on Saturday so we could have Sunday to recoup, I highly recommend it.  We stayed 3 nights in each city, it was a great amount of time and I really don’t think I’d do it any differently- unless I had more time at each :) Please feel free to reach out with any questions if your looking to go to any of these cities! Hopefully this post sparked a travel bug in all of you. Also, Happy New Year!!

All for now,

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