What is Amalfi Coast?
A corner of Italy like no other, the Amalfi Coast speaks a language of its own. The 40km long stretch of land celebrates the contrasting scenery here, a perfect symphony of land and sea.
For those that have visited the charming towns here, you’ll know that it’s difficult to stay away. In fact, this area of Italy attracts 5 million tourists a year.
If you’re planning an escape to experience ‘La dolce vita’, there are an abundance of reasons to choose the Amalfi Coast. Let us introduce you…
- Where is Amalfi Coast located?
The Amalfi Coast is a 40km long stretch of coastline located on the northern coast of Salerno. Beginning at Punta Campanella, the point of the Sorrentine Peninsula and ending at Vietri Sul Mare, a small town renowned for its beautiful coloured ceramics.
Along the Amalfitana highway there is a string of coastal towns, each known for its own unique charm. The largest cities bordering the Amalfi Coast are Salerno, Napoli (where pizzas originate) and Sorrento.
Nearing the top of the area is the Sorrento Peninsula, a hot spot for when the beaches of the coast get too busy, this piece of land geographically separates the Gulf of Napoli (Naples) to the north from the Gulf of Salerno in the south.
Other popular destinations in this stunning landscape include the breathtaking Capri island, located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrento Peninsula. The island is famous for the Blue Grotto which radiates the electric blue depths of the sea and for its world-class shopping.
Amalfi is the renowned gem in the area with Positano closely following. Both of these tourist spots are loved for their local charm, fresh lemon granita and tucked away beaches.
- How travel to Amalfi Coast?
Getting to and from the Amalfi Coast is easy enough thanks to an international airport in Napoli and an effective national rail network. There are also many other private and public transport options if you wish to travel to the area from other major Italian cities.
If you choose to fly directly to Napoli, flights are relatively cheap and frequent, especially during the summer months. Once you land in Napoli you can choose to stay at one of the Amalfi Coast towns or stay in Napoli. Travelling the coast by car, moped, bus and ferries can be done with little to no planning, this is thanks to regular public transport services that come at an affordable price. Reaching the centre of the coast, Amalfi from Naples will take around an hour and a half.
Many visitors to Italy choose to fly to the capital Rome, (the centre of Roman history) before continuing to explore the paradise that lies in the south. Again, travelling south to the Amalfi Coast is practical and won’t cost a fortune. Italian rail services between major cities are reliable and there are faster and slower trains to choose from. Frecciarossa is Italy’s main rail transport provider and you can further details of services across on the website.
It’s also as easy to travel from more northern cities such as Florence and Milan too. To save extra on rail costs, you can do so by acquiring a Cartafreccia which allows you to benefit from discounted costs.
By ferry, boat and yacht
There are a number of ways that travellers can explore the Amalfi Coast but doing so on sea is a once in a lifetime experience.
Many tourists planning on staying in the area for a longer period of time may choose to rent a yacht, choosing a selection of private tours. This is one of the more luxury options and while it will cost more and it’s definitely worth it.
By sea you can experience at fullest Amalfi Coast, changing your point of view and relaxing your senses into some of the more unique spots along the coast.
You can also choose to travel to Capri. Ferries regularly run from both Napoli and Sorrento meaning it’s convenient to reach the island even just for a day trip.
Ferries also run from Salerno, Napoli and Sorrento along the Amalfi Coast to major towns including Amalfi and Positano too. Such ferry services usually take under 2 hours to reach their final destination and are available from the morning into the evening during summer.
By bus, car and moped
While there is no train route across the Amalfi Coast, regular bus services are available to allow tourists to travel between the towns here. Buses are the only public transport service available on land here, however, you can also choose to rent a car or travel like a local, on a moped.
Car rental services are large in numbers across major cities including Salerno, Napoli and Sorrento. Tourists can also rent scooters and mopeds for a more intimate or romantic way of taking in the sights along the highway.
Lemon Tree Groves, Friendly Locals and Winding Roads
Whether you’re travelling by bus, car, moped or foot, the beauty that awaits visitors along the Amalfi Coast is like no other. From the abundance of lemon tree groves filling the air with a citrus-sweet scent to the tucked-away beaches, there are endless opportunities for appreciation.
The coast is made up of a group of small towns as well as the larger gems, Amalfi and Positano. While there is no right or wrong approach to discovering this strip of the coastal landscape, most visitors choose to start from one end and reach the other within their own time frame.
Lemon tree Amalfi
The town in which the coast is named after, Amalfi is the pearl of all the treasures found here. Characterised by pristine white buildings atop the cliffside and a Byzantine-inspired cathedral that glistens with gold in the sun, this town has captured the heart of many. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll around the petite centre of Amalfi and drop into the main piazza to take in the views both up towards the hills and across out onto the ocean before exploring the art and culture here. And, despite its small size, the town of Amalfi doesn’t fall short in history or culture. The town has a Paper Museum and many small galleries, where local artworks can be viewed. As with many of the Amalfitan coastal towns, Amalfi is made up of many boutique shops with some selling the signature ceramic ornaments depicting life in the area.
The picturesque town of Positano booms with tourists over the summer months and it’s not hard to see why. Wisteria-eloped buildings decorate the cobbled, narrow streets here and trendy fashion boutiques seduce those passing by into their doors, the town of Positano exudes luxury in many ways. Outside of the initial impressive first encounter, it’s easy to see the other side of the town, where locals flock to the beaches to enjoy a slice of pizza. There’s also a sense of humbleness that gives the town its unique attractiveness.
The cliffside retreat that is Ravello offers visitors uninterrupted panoramic vistas across the Gulf of Sorrento emanating a calming radiance. Over history, many artists and writers have paid the small town a visit to take in its endless inspiration. Ravello is a historical place dating back to the 5th century and unlike the other coastal towns here, it was built uphill. With a pristine main piazza dotted with inviting al-fresco cafes and an array of beautiful villas, Ravello is most certainly worth visiting.
Situated about 3.5km from Amalfi, Minori has a different atmosphere to the larger towns. Visitors to Minori enjoy the humbleness of the locals and the wider working ethic of the area, as well as the pleasant beaches and restaurants serving delicious seafood dishes. With a rich history dating back to the medieval era, the town’s cobbled alleyways and ruined walls add to life here. Minori is well famed for its scialatielli pasta too, which is served across many menus here and can be followed with some locally-sourced limoncello.
As one of the lesser-known towns on the Amalfi Coast, Atrani is a pretty little fishing town with a small population. Steps take visitors up from the beach level to winding streets adorned with historical gems. Here, you can explore the wonderful 13th-century Baroque churches and piazzas with fountains before stopping for a coffee. Though Atrani is far from modern, tourists are sure to appreciate the unapologetically authentic side of Italian life in the area. And of course, the beaches are perfect for soaking up the sun and dipping into the Tyrrhenian Sea to cool off.
- Maoiri and Minori
Both of these towns take away from the front-cover splendour of the Amalfi Coast but present their own unique intricacies. Visitors to both can still take advantage of coastal locations with access to beaches and of course the sea. Minori’s main point of interest is its divine ancient Roman villa known as Villa Marittima Romana, which is largely considered as one of the most iconic and important historical monuments in the area. Minori’s surprises don’t end with the villa either. In fact, there is much more to discover including cathedrals, piazzas and many brightly painted houses.
Maoiri, located down the road from Minori, has one of the largest beaches in the area making it a perfect spot for those that want to relax. At the top of the town stands the dominating Castle of San Nicola de Thoro-Plano which is open to the public. And, as expected there are lots of restaurants to indulge in traditional Italian seafront dinner too.
On the eastern side of the Amalfi Coast you’ll find Cetara, a small, vibrant fishing village brimming with personality. Known as a cuisine hotspot, restaurants here use the coastal location to their advantage by serving some of the best seafood the country has to offer. Fishermen set out during the evening hours to catch the fleet of deep-sea tuna and anchovies to bring back to the land. This village’s cobbled streets may be a little on the steeper side but towards the sea you’ll find beautiful, inviting beaches surrounded by azure water.
- Praiano and Conca dei Marini
Located right in the heart of Amalfi Coast are the two small villages of Praiano and Conca dei Marini both renowned for their spectacular sunsets and romantic atmosphere. Praiano is located between Positano and Conca dei Marini and offers one of the best views across the sea. The village is characterised by pastel coloured cottages and majolica tiled votive shrines scattered around, giving an insight into local culture.
Conca dei Marini’s main attraction is the Grotta dello Smeraldo which is accessible on foot or by sea. The ancient cave is surrounded by crystalline waters and in December, scuba divers create a nativity scene underwater.
This hidden-away location is lesser-know by tourists who visit the Amalfi Coast but is certainly worth seeing. Situated between Amafli and Positano, the village of Furore has a small population and is known for its ‘Fiordo’, a group of fishermen houses set atop the craggy cliffs. Once a busy commercial centre, today the village has a slower pace of life, especially throughout the summer months when you can find locals lounging on the beach here.
Montepertuso which translates to ‘pierced rock’ is one of the smaller villages on the Amalfi Coast but stands as one of the oldest. It’s intriguing landscape formation dates back millenia and, today it’s a charming place offering splendid views and scenery to explore. There are many walking trails that pass through Montepertuso, making it a great base in which to explore the Amalfi Coast.
- Vietri sul Mare
Tucked away just west of Salerno, is the ceramics town of Vietri sul Mare. Adorned with boutique shops selling vibrant, hand-painted pottery and blessed with some of the best beaches on the coast, this town is not to be missed. You’ll find lemon delicacies in abundance here in the form of sweets, limoncello and granita, all perfect sweet treats to follow a delicious plate of seafood pasta.