Exploring the twisting, turning roads of the amalfi coast
The Amalfi Coast is likely one of the most photographed places in the world. Located a short drive from Naples and nestled between mountains and sea, the Amalfi Coast is one of the most charming places I’ve ever visited. The Amalfi Coast is 50 kilometers of colorful cottages, shops, and restaurants that stretch along the sea. The picturesque pastel coastal towns are divided into 13 municipalities that were made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.
As you make the drive from Sorrento to Salerno, you will find the most beautiful scenery in the world. Breathtaking cliffs, lemon and olive groves, vineyards, and beaches will all occupy your field of vision. The drive alone is so beautiful, you won’t know where to look first.
You really can’t go wrong with which towns you choose to stop in, as each town is equally beautiful. There is so much to do along the Amalfi Coast that it would take at least a summer to fully experience it. Each day is a unique gift on the Amalfi Coast whether you’re a returning visitor, or a first-timer.
Catch a train from Naples to Sorrento, and then a bus to your final destination. The public transit is very efficient and affordable in the area. The drive along the coast is both thrilling and awe-inspiring. Have your camera ready for your bus ride- you won’t want to miss shots of those scenic views!
To land on the other side of the peninsula, I recommend you take the ferry from Naples to Amalfi. The ferry ride is about 2-3 hours, and makes many stops, but once again, you will have breathtaking views along the way. You may also catch the ferry from any municipality along the Amalfi Coast. So if you take the train from Naples to Sorrento and want to view the coast from the sea, that is also an option.
Where to stay:
While all 13 municipalities are equally beautiful and unique, some are more popular than others.
Overlooking the Bay of Naples, Sorrento is the first stop along the Amalfi Coast. If you are hoping to enjoy the beach scene along the Amalfi Coast, this probably isn’t where you should hang your hat at night. However, if you are hoping to take day trips to Naples and Pompeii, this is probably where you should stay at least for part of your trip. Business owners are more likely to speak English, and there are dozens of buses and ferries to the other municipalities along the Amalfi Coast.
My #1 recommendation in Sorrento is to try fresh limoncello and jams made from the lemons and oranges that grow nearby. As you drive through the winding roads, you’ll see beautiful groves of lemons along the street and limoncello factories. You truly haven’t experienced Sorrento until you’ve tried fresh limoncello right where it’s made!
Likely the most picturesque town along the Amalfi Coast, Positano is a cultural epicenter that will make you fall in love. Enjoy shopping for leather sandals and ceramics as you wander in and out of shops lining the cobblestone streets.
Wander through layers of shops, homes, and cafes stacked on top of each other in alternating colors of pastel paint. Each street is new and offers locals eager to guide you and fellow travelers enchanted by Positano. Known as the vertical city, Positano requires a lot of walking up steep hills and stairs, and is considerably more expensive than its sister municipals. While the town is enchanting and a must-see, it may not be a must-stay for budget travelers.
Enjoy life-changing foods and restaurants, from Michelin Star Restaurant, Zass to seafood delicacies at one of the many family-owned coastal restaurants. After a few moments, you too will understand why Positano earned such high praise from John Steinbeck.
One of the most popular cities on the Amalfi Coast (probably for its name as well), Amalfi is a must-see if you are in the area. Stop by the Amalfi Cathedral, a unique cathedral displaying both Roman and Arab influence.
Stroll down the cobblestone streets as you admire the mosaic boxes on display, the beautifully decorated paper goods on sale, and the fresh produce. This is a great place to select a souvenir to bring back home. You can also stop into one of sandal shops to get a pair of custom made leather sandals.
Before you leave, be sure to stop by Pasticceria Pansa, a world famous bakery next to the cathedral. Enjoy your pastries in the shop, or take them to go and enjoy them next to the fountain or on the steps of the cathedral as you inhale the warm Mediterranean air.
Ravello sits at such a high altitude, that tourists often skip over it or simply don’t know about it. Enjoy the charm of Positano with far smaller crowds. From the quiet gardens to the cliff-top views of the sea, Ravello is an oasis for the traveler looking to escape from everyday life. If you’re a music fan, you’ll enjoy the music festival held here from July to September.
In addition to cliff-top views, you’ll drive past more lemon groves that climb the towering cliffs along the sea. Ravello is the charming and beautiful escape for the traveler wanting to stand in awe of our world’s scenery.
Is the Amalfi Coast on your bucket list? Have you had the pleasure of vacationing in one of the most Instagram-worthy locations in the world? Share your experience/travel tips in the comments!