Amalfi Coast is one of those places that I have seen plenty of on the internet. It was almost like the pastel houses of Positano were calling my name and I had to book that flight, even when it meant we would be drenching ourselves in the rain rather than bathing in the much talked about Italian sun (Buon Giorno, shoulder season).
The very first moment when you get a glimpse of the colourful houses rising above a clear, turquoise water amidst one of the most beautiful coastal sceneries on the planet, you would want to pinch yourself because of how surreal it may feel. It is one of those rare places that’s even better in person.
From the scent of a gazillion lemons that perfume its air to the delicate ceramic goodness that attracts you everywhere; from the tanned tourists that laze around on its 100s of beaches to the incredibly kind locals who want nothing but to show you love and share their very yum food; the Amalfi coast truly is, a slice of Italian paradise, a La dolce vita in its truest sense.
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Some useful info before your trip:
Closest Airport: Naples
Visa requirements: Schengen
Language: Italian but I had no issue communicating in English.
How many days are enough?
I spent a total of 4 nights in Amalfi coast before heading to Rome for 2 nights (more on that in another blogpost). Ideally, I would say that 5 nights are good; where you can stay in Sorrento for 2 nights and Positano or Amalfi for 3.
Best time to visit the Amalfi Coast?
There is no doubt that visiting the Amalfi coast during the summer months is amazing. However, if you like to avoid the crowds like I do, then I have heard late August and September are the ideal months. The water would still be warm and the streets empty.
I visited during the last week of March and even though I loved every second of my time there, I wish that we went a bit later to actually have gotten to enjoy the boat rides, beaches and experience the Blue Grotto as well. In case you have better luck than me, then this day-tour from Sorrento goes to both Capri and the Blue Grotto.
How to get there?
Since the closest airport is in Naples, we decided to fly there from London and stay for a night to devour in the pizzas of L’Antica de Michelle (coz come on, even Julia Roberts loves it) and take it slow by spending two nights in Sorrento, the official starting point of the Amalfi Coast.
I found a private taxi company online that offered a reasonable rate to take us from our hotel in Sorrento to Amalfi and then from Amalfi back to Naples, so it was only natural that we went with them. The best thing about their service was that we didn’t have to pay any security in advance and conveniently met our driver at the hotel lobby each time.
If you are like me and want more of a comfortable transport, then this is the best option to get there. If not, trains and ferries operate quite frequently too. However, when we went none of the ferries were working because of bad sea conditions so always best to double check before going (especially in shoulder seasons)!
Best way to get around?
While hiring a vintage car and driving around the road of a 1000 bends that connects the Amalfi coast may look ideal, in reality parking is no fun and especially when the only road there is super narrow and crowded.
We decided to get around with SITA buses because water taxis and ferries were a no show, and it honestly was a great decision. Not only was this option easy on the pocket, but the frequent times of the buses allowed us to see things at our own pace. I do, however, wish to come back and see the Amalfi coast from the sea once.
CG’s tip: I would hate to see you spend your vacation time waiting, so please know that ferries may be the best option during high season because the road can get really busy and the buses really packed.
Which town to stay in when visiting the Amalfi Coast?
Not kidding when I tell you that it took us two long days of non-stop research to decide just this. Regardless of its popularity all over the globe, the Amalfi coast is one of the most confusing destinations one can plan a trip to. With stunning options like Sorrento, Amalfi, Postiano, Ravello and more, it definitely is difficult to choose just one or two.
Sorrento is a perfect base for you, if you are looking to do a Pompeii tour and visit the neighbouring islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida. We stayed two nights in Sorrento and had planned to take a day trip to Capri and the Blue Grotto from there since, it’s the closest port out of all. Unfortunately, the weather gods had their own plan in place and we couldn’t get a ferry to Capri but instead, spent our time exploring Sorrento and eating all kinds of pasta (Can’t complain about that now, can I?).
Because Amalfi and Positano are more central bases to see the whole area, we decided to stay two nights in one of those as well. Although it would have been dreamy to stay somewhere overlooking the cliff that makes the iconic pyramid of colourful houses in Positano, we actually stayed in Amalfi because most of the places that I liked in Positano were already booked or hadn’t reopened for summer.
Amalfi ended up being a great choice because it was less touristy and inexpensive. The food was equally good (as it is everywhere in Italy) and the exact same souvenirs were much cheaper there too. It is also the centre most town of the entire coast, making it a perfect place to travel around from.
CG’s tip: Regardless of which town you choose to stay in, make sure your hotel is accessible by car. I don’t know about you but I would hate to drag my heavy luggage(s) up a flight of stairs of these vertical towns.
Where to eat?
La Sponda: This has to be my favourite restaurant in the entire Amalfi coast. Not only does it have the best view of Positano, but the food there is oh so delicious. I would stay at Le Sirenuse just to eat here and watch the sun go down every single day.
Ristorante Zi’Ntonio: Loved the food at Zi’Ntonio so much that we had both our dinners in Sorrento here. I am even getting hungry thinking about the amazing pesto and pizza I had here. Oh, and that tiramisu. Magical.
Bellevue Syrene: We stumbled upon this hotel while getting lost in Sorrento and couldn’t help but have high tea and desserts here. Every corner of this place was literally perfection and I think that you must go to experience it for yourself.
Other than this, we basically ate wherever we felt like and were too hungry to take pictures or make mental notes of. Since no meal in Italy is really mediocre, I am sure you are going to love it regardless of where you end up eating!
What should you know before going to the Amalfi Coast?
- Get ready to walk. They don’t call Positano the vertical town for nothing. Regardless of where you are headed, you will have to hike for at least 10-15 mins on the way to or from. But hey, at least now you can have all the pasta that you wanted guilt free, right?
- Buy your souvenirs in lesser known towns. I bought a few things from Amalfi and Atrani and saw the same stuff being priced nearly double in Positano.
- Make sure to do a day trip to both Ravello and Fiordo di Furore. Both these places are so incredible in their own way and should definitely be visited.
- Try limoncello. I personally didn’t like it to be honest, but you cannot go to the Amalfi coast and leave without trying it at least once.
- Last but not the least, always keep a camera handy! The entire Amalfi coast is so photogenic that you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself from taking pictures (Not like you should).
I hope you found this ultimate guide to the Amalfi Coast useful. If there is any room in your luggage, can I please come along too? I promise I would share all my pasta and focaccia with you.
Lots of Aperol Spritz,
Want to keep reading? You might like “All you need to know about visiting the Amer Fort in Jaipur, India” and “Staying at The Belgadia Palace: A luxury boutique homestay” too.
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