By Lauren Fair Photography

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I’m Jill, a wedding photographer based in New Jersey — and I’m so excited that you’re here! Follow along with the blog to get a glimpse into the heart behind my work.

Our Honeymoon in Positano, Mykonos, & Santorini

As promised, I’m so excited to share all of the details about our honeymoon!

We got married in May of 2022, but decided to wait a year for our honeymoon — partially to save, and partially because I had so many weddings scheduled for 2022 that it was easier to wait and book my 2023 schedule around our trip. In hindsight, it didn’t feel quite as “honeymoon-y” waiting because we had already been married for over a year, but it definitely made it possible to do more and not feel as strapped for money right after spending on our wedding.

Although I was heavily cautioned about traveling in Europe in July (between the heat and the crowds, we knew it would be quite the experience) the timing worked best with my wedding schedule so we decided to go for it. It probably would have been more enjoyable in a cooler season with less tourists around, but it’s what worked for us and I’m still so happy we were able to make it happen!


Positano Overview

Our first stop was Positano! We flew into the Naples airport and had a private car booked to drive us to Positano. Even though it’s only a few miles away, it took us almost two hours to get there between the traffic and the windy mountain roads. And honestly, these roads are NO JOKE. I experienced motion sickness for the first time in my life on these roads — they are quite literally on the edge of a cliff and in many spots I couldn’t believe there was space for two-way traffic (I mean, there really wasn’t, but they made it work!).

Positano is absolutely beautiful, like TRULY stunning, but between the walking and the heat and crowds… it was a lot. I would probably not go back to Positano a second time, but am really glad we were able to experience it. In hindsight I wish we had spent time in either Sorrento or Ravello, both of which I’ve heard are beautiful and a bit easier to manage.

Positano Hotel

Hotel Pasitea | Website | Rating: 7/10
Overall this hotel is beautiful and has very helpful staff, but weirdly there are no food options on site other than a small breakfast buffet. For the price, it also would have been nice to have more spaces to utilize when we weren’t doing other activities. Totally fine in most circumstances, but given the heat and long walk down to town we would have liked other options at times. We did have a beautiful balcony view, but otherwise the room was on the simpler side. I probably would not stay at Hotel Pasitea again due to the distance from most restaurants and activities — the vertical walk (especially back up to the hotel) was really brutal during the day in the heat, and there aren’t many sidewalks in Positano so you have to really watch out for cars. We took a cab into town one day because we were sick of walking, which took less than ten minutes but ended up costing 40 euros (wild!). While it’s nice that the hotel is set back from the really touristy areas, getting places in the heat was just really challenging.

Positano Activities

Exploring Positano Town | Rating: 6/10
I feel bad giving it this rating because it really is SO unbelievably beautiful, but the crowds were literally insane. Although we logically knew this going in, between the heat and the tiny, packed streets it just wasn’t enjoyable. The one morning we got up super early to explore before the ferries arrived for the day was definitely the best case scenario — it was still crowded to a degree, but not nearly as bad. I absolutely understand we visited in the busiest season (probably ever), but any time we had to make our way down to the main beach I had to mentally prepare myself to dodge cars and weave between endless amounts of tourists.

Day Trip to Capri by Boat | Rating: 9/10
This activity was so much fun, and absolutely incredible seeing the beautiful scenery from afar. We took the boat from the main beach of Positano early one morning and were out for the entire day — we got back around 6pm or so. We had heard the water was extremely choppy so we took the Italian equivalent of dramamine beforehand which definitely helped. It was about an hour ride to Capri, and we were able to see much of the Amalfi Coast on the way. When we arrived at Capri in Marina Piccola it was basically empty which was nice, and we decided to make the trek up the “hill” to Anacapri. Capri itself was very crowded and a LOT of walking as well, but that seems to be no different from how most Amalfi Coast towns are in the summer! When we made our way back down to Marina Piccola it was absolutely packed with tourists, and there was basically no room on the tiny beaches. Getting back into the boat we were able to see the famous sights of Capri, including the grottos (most were closed due to the choppy conditions) and the arches. Overall this was one of my favorite things we did during our time in Italy.

Arienzo Beach Club | Website, Reservations | Rating: 8/10
Arienzo is a private beach club mainly reachable by boat from the main beach in Positano. We booked this ahead of time online and were super excited about it. Overall this was a really great experience, but it was definitely extremely expensive. We paid a premium (about 750 euro total) for front row seats here, which in hindsight was worth it — but not a cheap day by any means. This price included two front row chairs, one umbrella, two waters, a bottle of Dom Perignon (!!!), and lunch. The food was great, and the staff was attentive and helpful. One thing I didn’t think about ahead of time is the rocky beach. Honestly, I logically knew the beach was rocky, but didn’t think about just how much the rocks hurt your feet. Not only that but BOY do they get hot (I mean, they’re black so it makes sense, but still). We did go in the water once which was so refreshing, and thankfully very calm (I’m not a big water girl). We ended up taking one of the 3pm boats back because it was so hot and our umbrella wasn’t offering much shade. Probably my second favorite thing we did in Italy after the Capri boat tour.

Photo Session with Sergio Sorrentino | Website | Rating: 10/10
Love Sergio so much! His work is absolutely stunning. I found Sergio when searching for Amalfi Coast photographers on Instagram. Upon meeting him, Sergio made us feel super comfortable and I couldn’t love the photos more. He shot exclusively film, and was extremely intentional with his choices in terms of location and lighting. See the rest of the gallery from our anniversary session here.

Positano Restaurants & Bars

Saraceno d’Oro | Website | Rating: 10/10
Our favorite meal(s) we had in Positano, and I think we literally ended up eating here three times. It was a quick walk down the road from our hotel which was really nice, and we truly enjoyed the cozy family vibe and amazing food.

La Tagliata | Website | Rating: 5/10
Ugh. Probably my hottest take of the trip, but I did not like La Tagliata. I feel bad because it is the one place that everyone raved to me about, but I was not impressed by the food and the drive up the mountain to the restaurant was not great. Our bus also got stuck behind a festival so we were just parked on a road that felt like it was hanging off a cliff for nearly 20 minutes and I was kind of terrified. I have only heard amazing things about this place and while the experience was really cool I personally wouldn’t go back here. (Also did not feel well after or the next day. Eeeek.)

Franco’s Bar | Website | Rating: 9/10
Wildly expensive for drinks, but the view and vibe truly can’t be beat. We lucked out and got the seat closest to the balcony edge while we were waiting for our La Sponda reservation, and it was one of the highlights of the trip — despite being poor after two drinks each. Highly recommend though, it felt worthwhile.

La Sponda | Website, Reservations | Rating: 7/10
The food was delicious but it was literally such a high-end restaurant that I felt like a peasant. Kind of kidding, but kind of not. I got up at 5:55 am to make this reservation two months out, and still could only get 9:30 pm earliest. It is definitely a cool place (even Kylie Jenner and Sofia Vergara have eaten here) but there were not many vegetarian options and while the food was very good, I don’t feel like I’d need to go back again.


Mykonos Overview

Oh my gosh, where to even begin? I absolutely LOVED Mykonos. It was definitely the highlight of the trip for us, and it’s funny because I had little to no expectations as I honestly didn’t know much about it ahead of time. However, the hotel we stayed at was truly the most incredible place I’ve ever been and cannot say enough good things about it. It made our Mykonos experience feel so luxurious and relaxing, which was much appreciated after how tiring Positano was.

Mykonos Hotel

Myconian Imperial | Website | Rating: 10000/10
The most luxurious place I’ve ever stayed in my entire life. The staff was insanely friendly and helpful, there was free shuttle transportation into town, and there were so many amenities and places to relax. Front desk was very helpful scheduling transportation if needed. Also the best food I’ve ever had, but will get to that in restaurants! I really can’t say enough good things about this place, and I would absolutely stay here again in a heartbeat. In fact I would literally come back to Mykonos just to stay at this hotel. We were perfectly content staying here during the day and lounging at the pool and the many comfortable couches throughout the resort. This was the type of hotel I expected for a honeymoon, and finally felt like — myself aka relaxed, temperate, and hydrated.

Mykonos Activities

Scorpios Beach Club | Website | Rating: 8/10
We actually didn’t plan a lot of activities in Mykonos, but Scorpios was the one thing we really wanted to experience! This beach club is beautiful but expensive (another theme of the trip). I was really overheated this day and unfortunately there wasn’t much of a breeze, so I felt like I spent the whole day roasting unsurprisingly, but overall Scorpios had super friendly staff and the food was delicious. I would love to come back here at night and experience it when I wasn’t overheating, because it’s a really incredible property with a great vibe.

Exploring Mykonos Town | Rating: 10/10
I truly loved Mykonos town and was delighted by the fact that it was nearly flat, which was definitely a nice change after the Positano stairs. There were so many beautiful shops and restaurants, and everything was absolutely picturesque. I feel like I was taking photos around every single turn. The town was definitely crowded, but not overly so and I never had trouble walking or moving past people. We downloaded an iPhone app and did a self-guided walking tour which was cool and low-key, but still helped us learn a bit about Mykonos’ history and important landmarks that we might have otherwise overlooked. We learned that they made the walking streets so windy and confusing to confuse pirates — and it definitely worked because we had no idea where we were going half the time, but honestly that didn’t make it less enjoyable by any means.

Mykonos Restaurants & Bars

Celebrities | Website, Reservations | Rating: 10000/10
This was the restaurant at our hotel, and I’m not kidding when I say I think this was the best meal of my life. I weirdly got spaghetti when we had dinner here and (very hot take) it was actually better than any spaghetti I had in Italy. I would, and could, literally eat here every meal of my life. The included all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at the hotel was at this restaurant as well, and was also insane. Basically, I could die happy eating here forever.

Lotus | Website, Reservations | Rating: 9/10
We stopped here for brunch the day we explored town and although I didn’t order food, Matt got the most insanely amazing power bowl either of us have ever tasted (yes, I obviously had some of his). The Greek yogurt was unbelievably delicious, and I so regret not ordering one myself.

Elia Beach Restaurant | Website | Rating: 8/10
Elia was really delicious and a quick walk from our hotel which is nice. We initially had another reservation for somewhere nearby, but the shuttle only went into Mykonos town and we didn’t feel like paying for a car so we wanted to go somewhere walkable. This restaurant has beachfront views of the largest fine-sand beach in Mykonos, and it was overall a great, low-key experience.

Kastros | Website, Reservations | Rating: 9/10
This restaurant has great food, but the main event was definitely the view. We got one of the tables hanging over the water, which was insane — we had to purchase a bottle of wine and three courses each to get the spot, but totally worth it in my opinion. We agreed it was probably the most magical dinner experience of my life, and a great way to end our Mykonos trip.


Santorini Overview

This was where I expected crazy crowds, but Santorini pleasantly surprised me. It was definitely crowded in certain areas, but overall not overwhelmingly so. Santorini is one of those places that just doesn’t even look real, even as you’re staring at it with your own two eyes. I got to finally live out my Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants dreams and pretend I was Lena… and Matt was Kostas, I guess? It did end up getting unseasonably hot towards the end of our stay in Greece (they literally had to close the Acropolis in Athens because people were passing out) so we were really roasting by the time we got to Santorini, but its beauty made up for it. We took the ferry from Mykonos to Thira — where we were staying in Santorini — and while I had heard horror stories, although it was a disorganized cluster the two-hour ride ended up being relatively easy and painless to navigate.

Santorini Hotel

Dana Villas | Website | Rating: 8/10
Absolutely stunning views of the caldera, super friendly staff, and really helpful in scheduling transportation and the included breakfast via WhatsApp. This hotel doesn’t provide any transport though (unlike our Mykonos hotel) so we ended up spending 40-45 euros per trip to Oia or other locations which definitely added up to be SUPER expensive. There were also no umbrellas at the pool, or in our outdoor space, so for shade girlies like me it didn’t really make us want to utilize those on a hot sunny day. We did use the infinity pool one day for a few hours before our massages, and while it was amazing we definitely got warm quickly and needed to seek shade. Also, fair warning, there are SOOO many stairs to get to the rooms, restaurant, and pool, but realistically that’s what you have to deal with in Santorini — it is quite literally built into cliff.

Santorini Activities

Sunset Oia Catamaran Cruise | Website | Rating: 10/10
This was definitely our favorite activity we did in Santorini. However, waiting to get onto the catamaran in the 90 degree heat without shade was a 0/10 — but the great experience of seeing Santorini from the sea restored my rating here. We used the company Sunset Oia and the cruise starts around 3pm at the southern-most port of Santorini at Vlychada. They show you the red, black, and white beaches, and stop to cook you dinner on the southwest side of the island. There were three swimming stops, one of which being the hot springs outside of the active volcano. You then sail past Thira and all the way along the coast up to Oia where you stop to watch the sun quite literally set over the horizon. It was a really magical experience and I absolutely recommend — do not go to Santorini without doing this.

Exploring Oia | Rating: 8/10
We stayed in Thira, so we explored Oia twice before dinner when it was slightly cooler out. However, it was still very hot. While Oia was crowded and touristy, the views are worth it and there are definitely plenty of spots without crowds of people. We stood in line for a photo with the blue domes which *maybe* wasn’t worth it because the photo itself is kind of anticlimactic (see above), but felt like we had to try while we were there. Overall though, Oia is insanely beautiful and doesn’t even look real. Probably the most picturesque place I’ve ever seen in person.

Venetsanos Winery | Website, Reservations | Rating: 7/10
This winery is right by the ferry port and does have a beautiful view, but it was extremely windy and extremely hot (but too windy to put up the umbrellas) so I was quite simply dying of heat here. However the wines were very good, as was the included light lunch. It was interesting learning about Greek wine, which I previously knew nothing about. I would recommend if you need something to fill your time, but maybe don’t go at peak heat like we did. (Photos from the Venetsanos website, somehow I didn’t get any photos that day!)

Santorini Restaurants & Bars

Orkos | Website | Rating: 9/10
This was the restaurant at our hotel, and probably the best food we had in Santorini. We had lunch here twice, and breakfast every morning. Staff was so friendly and remembered our names, and the food was consistently delicious.

Aegean | Website | Rating: 6/10
Pretty view, but food was just okay. I had booked this last minute when I realized we needed a dinner reservation for the first night we arrived, and in hindsight I probably would have looked into going somewhere else. A 12 minute walk from where we were staying in Thira, this was located in beautiful Imerovigli.

MIA’s Restaurant | Website, Reservations | Rating: 8/10
8/10. Really expensive (especially when your husband orders $120 lobster pasta), but a beautiful view and the food was very good. Definitely cool vibes and a good location right outside of the main touristy part of Oia.

Black Rock | Website, Reservations | Rating: 7/10
This was our last meal in Santorini, but it was extremely expensive for what we got. However, the beautiful view and good food was worthwhile. It was at the bottom of one of the steepest staircases we experienced the whole trip though, and I still can’t believe I made it back up afterwards without climbing on my hands and knees (especially being so full).

5 Takeaways (from a Non-Frequent Flyer)

I do not consider myself a travel expert by any means — in fact, I am quite the opposite. I hadn’t been to Europe since college, so I went into this trip really knowing next to nothing. Although two weeks away does not mean I have learned it all, I definitely have a few recommendations for those planning to (or hoping to) travel soon as well!

1. Make early dinner reservations
People definitely eat later in Europe, but I made almost all of our reservations for 7:00 pm. Although I wasn’t thinking of it at the time (I just get hungry early) it actually helped us always get the best seat in the house. Other people started coming at 7:30 and 8:00, so when we arrived the restaurant was usually just opening and every table was open. Because so many of the places we visited faced a beautiful view, we were nearly always able to get the perfect table. Also, maybe goes without saying but — make reservations in general. A lot of places book out ahead of time, and you don’t want to be stuck without nowhere to go for dinner.

2. Understand your airline’s (and airport’s) requirements
We looked into each airline and airport we were flying into ahead of time to get a better sense of their restrictions. We didn’t end up having any issues, but I noticed Lufthansa (we had a connection in Munich) seemed really strict about sizing. I made sure to get luggage that adhered to those guidelines, just to be safe. I ended up buying this Away Carry-on suitcase for my carry-on bag and this Away “Everywhere Bag” for my personal item and never had an issue. Additionally, we had a connection in London and learned that Heathrow is pretty strict about liquids — you have to have all of your carry-on liquids in a separate 8″ x 8″ plastic bag outside of your baggage for security. This saved us a lot of time because we had already separated our liquids when we got there.

3. Get an international phone plan
This may seem obvious, but when we went to Aruba last year we just figured we would get on wifi wherever we were. It ended up being fine, but we were outside exploring so much in Italy and Greece it was helpful having unlimited data. We both got an international month-long plan through Verizon, put in the dates and countries we’d be traveling to, and had no issues. We sometimes had to restart our phones upon landing in a new country, but otherwise had great service the whole time.

4. Get up early to beat the heat
If you’re traveling in July like us, first of all God bless. Second of all, make sure to be ready to get up early before the heat makes it impossible to survive outside. I will say that this was NOT a relaxing vacation. We rarely slept in, walked probably 34957924 miles (should’ve brought my Apple Watch), scaled countless staircases, and sweat double our body weight daily. Although Mykonos was probably the most luxurious leg of our journey, exploring the town was still a workout. If you want a relaxing, rejuvenating honeymoon, skip this trip entirely and head to an all-inclusive Caribbean island.

5. Invest in a travel camera
As a photographer, this one is pretty self-explanatory, but I truly cannot even begin to compare the photos I took on my travel camera to my iPhone photos. I didn’t want to bring my professional wedding gear with me, so I did hours upon hours of research to figure out the best alternative. I ultimately decided on the Fuji X-T5, a small, mirrorless, crop-sensor camera that had excellent reviews. My initial lens of choice was the Fuji 27mm pancake lens, but unfortunately that was also sold out everywhere at the time so I settled on the Fuji XF 18mm lens. It’s almost “pancake” in size, and equivalent to a 27mm focal length on a full-frame camera. All in all, I absolutely loved this setup for travel and it truly made me fall in love with Fuji’s colors.

I truly hope this post has been helpful if you are considering visiting the Amalfi Coast or Greece, and wishing you all the best in your travels!

xo, Jill

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