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How to Plan a Trip to Italy’s Amalfi Coast

by Stacy D

The Amalfi Coast is a dream. This slice of paradise has been drawing in wanderers who yearn to immerse themselves in the area for years. Located in southern Italy in the Campania region, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its awe-inspiring cliffs, picturesque towns, and glistening sapphire waters. So pack your travel bag for an amazing adventure.

The shoreline spans approximately 50 kilometres (31 miles) along the southern edge of the Sorrentine Peninsula, nestled between the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno. One of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations, the coastline is truly unparalleled, making it one of the most coveted destinations globally for those seeking a luxurious and scenic retreat. As you plan your Amalfi Coast holidays (yes, you’ll keep going back), here’s what you need to know. 

Positano, Amalfi Coast
Scenic views in Positano

Along the seashore, you’ll find rugged cliffs, towering mountains, and verdant forests that offer breathtaking panoramic vistas at every twist and turn. Expect to stumble upon enchanting towns and villages clinging to the cliffs, with narrow, winding streets that lead down to stunning beaches and secluded coves. To add to the charm, the area is home to lemon groves, vineyards, and terraced gardens, contributing to its allure.

Towns and Villages

Amalfi

The namesake town of the coast, Amalfi, is a historic maritime republic that was once a powerful key trading centre in the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages. The town’s past is still evident in its well-preserved landmarks and cultural heritage, including the majestic Duomo di Sant’Andrea, which dates back to the 9th century and dominates the skyline.  

Positano

With its pastel-coloured houses cascading down the cliffs, Positano is a resort town that never fails to captivate visitors. The town’s history is steeped in ancient times when it thrived as a prosperous Roman colony renowned for producing purple dye extracted from murex shells. As time went by, Positano became a haven for artists, writers, and celebrities enchanted by its idyllic setting and bohemian atmosphere. Today, the narrow streets adorned with charming boutique shops take you to its beautiful sights where postcard views await.

Ravello

Ravello, situated on a lofty perch overlooking the coastline, is one of Italy’s most breathtaking destinations. Its rich history can be traced back to ancient times, with traces of human habitation dating back to the 6th century BC. This charming town is dotted with historic villas, including the renowned Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone.

Sorrento

Although not technically considered a part of the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento serves as a gateway to the region and treats travellers to spectacular sights of Mount Vesuvius stretching across the Bay of Naples. This peaceful town, brimming with historical significance, effortlessly combines a sense of calmness with an ancient ambience.

How to Explore Amalfi Coast

Scenic drives

Ride along the Strada Statale 163 in Amalfi Coast, Italy
Ride along the Strada Statale 163 road in Amalfi Coast

Take in the scenery as you cruise down the famous winding coastal road, the Strada Statale 163, that will take you from Sorrento to Positano to Amalfi where your drive ends. As you journey along the 60-kilometre (37-mile) road, be aware of narrow roads as you navigate through the quaint villages scattered along the route.

Hiking

Escape the crowds and uncover Amalfi through impressive hiking trails. By venturing along the Path of the Gods, you can escape the crowds that often flock to more touristy spots. This trail not only offers a chance to appreciate the stunning views overlooking the sea and the surrounding countryside but also provides a glimpse into the rural life of the area. Starting in the village of Bomerano, it winds its way along the cliffs to the village of Nocelle. The total length of the trail is approximately 7.8 kilometres (4.8 miles) and takes about 3-4 hours to complete. Expect to find sweeping viewpoints, terraced vineyards, and rural villages along the way. 

Path of the Gods, Piazza Paolo Capasso, Agerola, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
Path of the Gods

Valle delle Ferriere provides a serene experience for hikers, with its abundance of verdant forests, cascading waterfalls, and historic aqueducts. This nature reserve encompasses the path of the Canneto River and traverses a protected region renowned for its diverse wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. As you embark on the 2-3 hour hike, you’ll have the opportunity to find the remnants of ancient paper mills, marvel at the native plants and animals, and even indulge in refreshing dips in natural pools.

For a thrilling hike, Monte Faito is a must. This mountain, situated near the town of Vico Equense, is home to some of the most challenging hiking trails in the area. As you walk along the trail, you’ll have extensive views of the surrounding areas. You’ll spot pine forests, rocky outcrops, and mountain meadows during the 3-4 hour hike. 

Boat Tours

Take a boat tour in Amalfi Coast, Italy
Take a boat tour on the Amalfi Coast

Explore famous ocean caves and grottoes, such as the popular Grotta Azzurra on the island of Capri. The sun creates a blue hue in the water, making it a stunning sight to behold. Go island hopping on a boat trip visiting places like Capri, Ischia, and Procida, each offering its own distinct allure. Swim in secret bays, relax under tall cliffs and snorkel among colourful sea creatures in protected marine areas.

Best Time to Visit Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast experiences its busiest time of the year from June to August, attracting an influx of visitors. As the weather is at its warmest, flights to the Amalfi coast tend to be more expensive around these months. However, it’s doable. For pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices, visit in spring (April to June) and fall (September to October).

How to get to get there

If you’re travelling from Naples to the Amalfi Coast, hop on the ferry (the affordable option) or take a taxi. Both journeys will take less than two hours. 

Travelling from the capital? The journey from Rome to Amalfi Coast can be done by train, bus and car. Save up by taking the bus. or jump on the two-and-a-half-hour train for convenience.

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