Hey! We are Michael and Alexandra from the travel blog Couple’s Coordinates and today we are sharing our 10 best Italy honeymoon destinations. Our relationship and travel have been entwined since the inception; having traveled to more than 30 countries Read more >
A string of coastal villages, with pastel buildings tumbling down the hillside around picture-perfect harbours and clear blue seas – over the last few years the Cinque Terre has become one of Europe’s top wishlist destinations. With the sun shining, a plate of pasta and a glass of prosecco in front of you, it’s not hard to see why.
From five sleepy Italian fishing villages to one of the most famous coastal landscapes in the world – the Cinque Terre’s been through a few changes over the years, but it still looks every bit as gorgeous as you’d imagine. It’s now a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site which draws in a crazy 2.4 million visitors a year (I blame Instagram!) to walk, boat and train their way through dramatic cliffs and pretty coastal villages.
The Cinque Terre is a bit like a beauty pageant, with one village after another competing to have the most charming backstreets, the cutest pastel buildings and the most Instagrammable views. Just when you think you’ve found the most beautiful spot, another comes along and blows you away again. But like real-life beauty queens, each of the five villages has its own different charms.
In Greek mythology, Sorrento was home to the sirens, who lured passing sailors onto the rocks with their beautiful songs. And it still pulls in the visitors today – though today it’s the panoramic views across the Bay of Naples, sunny weather, fantastic food and laid-back atmosphere that do the luring. I first visited Sorrento a few years back and totally fell in love with the town and couldn’t wait to go back, and I’m not alone.
Below an unassuming town south of Naples lies a buried Roman city – but not the one you’re probably thinking of. Herculaneum was covered by the same eruption that destroyed its more famous neighbour Pompeii in 79 AD. But where Pompeii was quickly buried by a cloud of ash, Herculaneum escaped the first part of the eruption unscathed as the wind was blowing the other way. But later that night the ash column collapsed and sent a pyroclastic flow – a super-heated avalanche of gas and rock – towards Herculaneum.
In a country packed with beautiful landscapes, it says something that the Amalfi Coast is ranked as one of Italy’s most scenic stretches of coastline. This string of pastel-coloured villages are cut into a steep hillside, with jagged mountains behind them and the deep blue Mediterranean Sea in front. Their famous names – Amalfi, Positano, Ravello – are synonymous with glamour and have long been the haunt of film stars and fashion designers. Throw in ornate churches, lemon groves, pine forests and crumbling palazzos and you have Italian coastal perfection.
When I found out our cruise was departing out of Venice, I knew I’d have to try and fit in a glass of prosecco in Piazza San Marco on the way. But my plans were thwarted by a rainstorm and a flight delay, and instead we had to head straight on board our ship. That didn’t mean we missed out on the views though – or the bubbly. As we set sail, we toasted the start of our trip from underneath an umbrella on our balcony.
After exploring Catania’s fabulous fresh produce in its markets, it was time to learn how to put it to use. We headed up into the foothills of Mount Etna to meet Monica Consoli, our guide through the delicious world of Sicilian cookery. Monica is the daughter of cookbook author Eleanora Consoli and our class took place in Eleanora’s lovely 18th century villa. Over drinks under the lemon trees in the garden, Monica explained how waves of invaders over the years brought new ingredients and cooking techniques to Sicily, but the Sicilian national identity always stayed strong.
For a coastal city, it’s strangely easy to spend time in Catania and forget the sea is even there. Most of the city’s seafront is filled with its busy harbour, but you don’t need to go far to get a taste of sea air. Just north of the city are a string of former fishing villages, where dark volcanic rocks formed by Mount Etna’s eruptions meet the clear turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea. Off the coast at Aci Trezza you can see three tall, rocky outcrops known as the Cyclops Islands.
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