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Enchanting Amalfi Coast in Italy
Welcome to the mesmerizing Amalfi Coast, an Italian coastline that stretches over 50 kilometers along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Many believe the Amalfi Coast is the ultimate Italian destination for leisurely relaxation and cultural exploration. Certainly it’s popularity has grown thanks to the constant celebrity sightings either in the elite hotels or on luxury yachts docked in the many ports.
The Amalfi Coast is home to some of the most picturesque beaches, cliffside towns, and incredible views. And in the peak tourist season of summer it can also be swarming with tourists, crowded, hectic and expensive!
We’re here to help guide you through the planning so when you do visit this magical paradise it lives up to every expectation.
Dreaming Up Your Vacation To The Amalfi Coast
The ultimate guide to the Amalfi Coast starts with planning your trip. It’s important to decide which part of the coastline you want to explore, the best time to visit, and how to get around. Consider visiting in the shoulder season (April – June and September – October) to avoid the crowds and high prices, while still enjoying good weather. The easiest way to reach the coast is by flying into either Naples or Rome and then taking a train or bus to your destination, but this one trip where you may want to rent a car or get a car service to key destinations.
If you’re truly an adventurer, you can rent a Vespa right by the train station in Salerno, which you’ll arrive in directly from Roma, Napoli or Firenze. We’ll have another blog about how to Rent a Vespa in Italy coming very soon, so be sure to read that one if this is the choice for you. The highway from Salerno through the Amalfi Coast is singularly the most beautiful and terrifying ever by Vespa. It’s a take-your-breath-away experience, as we discuss on this podcast.
Create Your Plan For The Amalfi Coast
The key to a great vacation is to see enough to make it memorable, but don’t try to see too much. Plan a little, but leave room for adventure and spontaneity. The Amalfi Coast is a summer time hot spot, but it is just as beautiful and far less crowded in late spring and early fall. Here’s our recommendation on a perfect trip:
Day 1-2: Roma
Fly To Roma overnight. Land in the morning. Stay 2 days. The first one jet lag will be a thing, so don’t plan too much. Wander around until you can check in, take a nap, and then go over to Trastevere for dinner. Wander through the Jewish Ghetto on the way. Don’t try to do tourist stuff. Just capture Italia and the center of the universe, Roma. Day 2, plan on sleeping late, then hit a few of the key sites. Listen to some of our recommendations on this podcast about the Vatican.
Decision Time: Train or Car. We almost always say “don’t drive” when traveling in Italia. The headache factor goes up. Interactions with everyday Italian life goes down. But this trip is somewhat easier by car because you can drive to the town you choose to stay in -— there are so many good ones along the Amalfi Coast.
Day 3-4: Napoli
Take the train Roma to Napoli. You don’t WANT a car in either place, so let’s get these done without one. The Train Station in Roma is in the heart of the city. Easy to get to. Then go Napoli. The train station there is pure chaos. Leave! (Though to be fair, my absolute favorite meal I’ve ever had was a restaurant not far from the train station. A lobster pesto, served with a candle in the lobster shell to keep it warm. One thing about Napoli… the food is exquisite!). If you go to the heart of the historic center, called Napoli Napoli (you’ve never been to Napoli, unless you’ve been to Napoli, Napoli!), you’ll experience an insanity and crazy and fun you only find in southern Italy (Palermo isn’t even as nuts). Or you can choose a more upscale neighborhood called Chiaia nearby. It’s all walkable! There is so much to see and do, you’ll have to check our upcoming podcast on Napoli, but this is the time not for a deep dive, but a taste. So eat well, wander, see a few of the main attractions and enjoy. Yes, try the pizza. It stands apart from everywhere else in Italia.
At the end of your stay, rent the car! Choose a rental by the train station or even better rent from a known provider like Avis and arrange to drop the car back in Rome for slightly more. You’re using the car to escape the city and return to the airport, not to spend time in either city.
Day 5: Pompei to Sorrento
You absolutely must see Pompeii. It is big enough and well equipped enough to handle tourists any time of the year. You can wander around forever—it’s far bigger than you can imagine — but really, a couple of hours in the morning is perfect. Then head to Sorrento in time for the rest of the day.
Sorrento is one of those amazing beautiful seaside towns that is a “must-see.” It’s also the perfect spot to grab a quick ferry to Capril if you want to add a couple of magical days to this trip. That is yet another episode for a future date, just know this is the best jumping off spot.
Day 6-9: Amalfi Coast
(Or 8 if you went to Capri!): You could make Sorrento your “home base,” and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll just have to drive to the other side of the peninsula for at least one long day trip or make the last “leg” of your trip on the south side. But since the headline here is the Amalfi Coast, we’re moving on out and headed around the bend.
The Amalfi Coast carries on the rich food traditions of the entire region with its fresh seafood, handmade pasta, and famous limoncello. Experience the local cuisine by indulging in delicious seafood dishes, such as traditional Neapolitan pizza, spaghetti al limone, and fried anchovies. The regional wine varieties are also worth trying, like the crisp white Greco di Tufo, or the deep red of Peidirosso—enjoy a glass of Italian wine while taking in the coastal breeze and the stunning view.
Speaking of views… the Amalfi Coast is home to some of Italy’s most beautiful and iconic cliffside towns. From Positano’s colorful background to Ravello’s vast beauty to Amalfi’s ancient history, the entire experience is a feast for the eyes. But don’t equate beauty with calm. These are bustling towns and the one road connecting them is busy with locals, tourists, tour buses, vespas, and any number of other vehicles.
Don’t get too enamored with Positano just because it’s the one town everyone talks about and the stars post on Instagram. Other towns along the way have plenty of charm as well. That said, see Positano! The streets wind down to the beach and the views are beautiful and the food is amazing. But once you’ve seen it, move on and see the rest of the amazing coast.
The town of Amalfi itself has the ancient Duomo, Cattedrale di San Andrea and a busy seaside to offer. It’s a historic town with plenty of history as a maritime power from centuries past.
We think it’s important to take the winding drive up the hillside to Ravello, a quiet town that boasts of its tranquil gardens, villas, and stunning views of the Amalfi coast. You enter Ravello through a beautiful brick archway with bright yellow lemons hanging from the trees. It’s a perfect lunch spot and yes, the limoncello is as good as advertised, and yes, we’ve made it up there on the Vespa despite going the wrong way in one-way traffic (listen to the story on the podcast!).
The Final Days on Your Dream Amalfi Coast Vacation:
You’ll be glad not to have an extensive travel plan. The drive back to Napoli is not long. You can drop your rental car and take the train into Roma. One final night of wandering around the ancient capital, a final brilliant meal (make it Calcio Pepe, as that’s the signature dish here), a final gelato and take the Leonardo Express from downtown to the airport for the morning flight back to the states.
The Amalfi Coast is a dream destination for tourists who want to experience the essence of Italy in a fun, relaxing, and culturally enriching way. From the breathtaking scenery, enchanting coastal towns, delectable cuisine, and thrilling activities, this coastline has everything to offer. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend getaway or a more extended vacation, the Amalfi Coast will undoubtedly leave you wanting more. Plan your trip to this paradise today and experience an unforgettable Italian experience.