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Amalfi Coast Travel Guide
Amalfi Coast Travel Guide

Ultimate Amalfi Coast Travel Guide

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most coveted dream vacation destinations in Italy. This stretch of shoreline is positioned on the southwestern coast of Italy and borders the Tyrrhenian Sea. The craggy cliffs of the coast plummeting sharply down into the rich, blue sea combined with the charm of its cities resting along the water’s edge, make it one of the most enchanting areas along the country’s west coast.

As a United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, the Amalfi Coast is recognized worldwide for its rich history, natural diversity and physical beauty. The area is thought to have been inhabited since the early Medieval Ages. During that time, it was well protected due to sea access and a number of coastal towers that were constantly manned to alert the people of an enemy’s approach.

The area’s namesake city of Amalfi became a regional powerhouse during the eleventh century as a trading city and Maritime Republic. In time, Amalfi’s power was weakened by severe flooding and an attack by Pisa in 1137. This led to annexation by the Normans and the loss of independence. From this point forward, the Duchy of Naples became the key regional power in this part of Italy until the unification of the country, yet Amalfi’s role as a trading and cultural center remained.

Today, Amalfi, along with other popular Amalfi Coast locales such as Positano, Ravello, Praiano, and more constitute one of the biggest draws for travelers to Italy. This beautiful area is typically categorized by scenic shorelines, coastal mountains, blue skies, lemon terraces, olive groves, gorgeous cliffside villas, and charming seaside villages and towns.

With centuries of history and a vibrant past, opportunities for sightseeing in the Amalfi Coast abound. Among the most important sights is the Amalfi Cathedral, or Duomo di Amalfi, which is an excellent example of medieval architecture featuring elements of numerous styles including Arab, Norman, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. Additionally, a symbol of the charming town of Positano is the colorful, maiolica dome of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. In the vicinity of the Amalfi Coast, lovers of archeology will enjoy exploring the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii or the ancient Greek temples of Paestum.

Shopping is a favorite pastime of many visitors to the Amalfi Coast. Most of the area’s cities are home to quaint seaside cafes, adorable boutiques, and amazing galleries. In Vietri sul Mare, shoppers will want to look for a piece of the city’s trademark hand-painted ceramics to take home. In Amalfi, travelers should plan to indulge in limoncello, a type of liqueur made with locally grown lemons. When visiting Positano, consider buying a pair of specially crafted handmade leather sandals.

In between sightseeing and shopping, do not forget to indulge in the Amalfi Coast’s fabulous cuisine. The area’s culinary tradition focuses on ingredients that are locally grown, freshly picked, handmade, and caught in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Expect to enjoy Italian favorites of fresh mozzarella and pasta with a decidedly Amalfi Coast seafood touch, but be sure to save room for dessert and limoncello. To learn even more about the local culinary treasures, cooking classes are available with a focus on the fresh flavors of the area such as fragrant lemons and delectable olive oil. Although the cuisine here is amazing, any meal eaten seaside, especially at sunset, can make the dining experience simply unforgettable.

Additionally, nature lovers traveling to the Amalfi Coast are in for a real treat. From remarkable hiking opportunities to parks, gardens, and swimming, the Amalfi Coast offers a natural escape from the hustle and bustle of larger cities. Whether your dream vacation features sightseeing, relaxation, or a nice mixture of both, the Amalfi Coast is a destination that has it all.

The closest airport to the Amalfi Coast is the international airport in Naples. The airport is roughly an hour drive from Sorrento and an hour and a half from the cities of Positano and Amalfi. After landing, the most direct way to reach the Amalfi Coast is by car. Due to the narrow coastal roads with tight corners, the drive down to the Amalfi Coast can be challenging and parking is limited. Therefore, hiring a private driver is strongly recommended. This also allows travelers to focus on the staggering scenery.

For those wanting to soak in every bit of the gorgeous waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, a ferry to the Amalfi Coast is also an option if travelers have extra time on their hands. The ferry doubles as transportation and a unique way to see the Amalfi Coast from the sea. Ferry services connect the city of Sorrento to Positano and Amalfi.

After arriving at one of the Amalfi Coast’s primary cities, most automobile traffic is restricted to the outskirts of the city. Pedestrian traffic is the main way to get from one place to another within the city limits due to steep and narrow roads.

GEOGRAPHY 

The Amalfi Coast is located along the southwestern shore of Italy on the southern part of the Sorrentine Peninsula. It is a highly scenic area with majestic green and craggy cliffs that drop off abruptly into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Positioned between the cliffs and the sea are small pebble beaches and hidden sandy coves carved into the rocks.

There are thirteen cities prominently located along the Amalfi Coast including Amalfi, Atrani, Cetara, Conca dei Marini, Furore, Maiori, Minori, Praiano, Positano, Ravello, Scala, Tramonti, and Vietri sul Mare. Each is charming in its own right and offers visitors different perspectives of life on the Amalfi Coast.

CLIMATE

The beautiful and largely agreeable Mediterranean climate attracts visitors to Italy’s Amalfi Coast for the majority of the year. The area typically enjoys mild winters and warm summers with a healthy dose of sunshine.

Winter on the Amalfi Coast is often the season that experiences cooler temperatures and rainfall, making the driest and warmest time of the year the summer months of June, July, and August.

Many travelers prefer to visit the Amalfi Coast during the summer months for sunning and swimming when the area is at its warmest. However, if beach time is not a priority, a visit during the spring or fall still allows for fantastic sightseeing and Amalfi Coast experiences, typically with less crowds. During the winter months, the majority of the attractions, shops, and hotels of the Amalfi Coast close for the season.

ONLY ON THE AMALFI COAST

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most stunning coastal destinations in Italy that typically offers a sunny and relaxing respite from the crowds and faster pace of larger Italian cities such as Rome or Naples. An area as beautiful as this offers no shortage of ways to immerse oneself in this outdoor paradise.

Avid hikers will be thrilled to find a number of scenic hiking trails along the Amalfi Coast. These hikes vary in length, terrain, and destinations. Some of the most popular hiking paths in the area generally include II Sentiero degli Dei (or the Path of the Gods) and II Vallone delle Ferriere. The Path of the Gods in particular is renowned for its breathtaking views of the coast and the island of Capri. Spanning approximately four miles and averaging an elevation of 1,600 feet, the Path of the Gods is one of the best ways to admire the unique beauty of the Amalfi Coast.

Travelers wishing to soak up some sun on the Amalfi Coast will want to visit one of the beaches in the area. It is worth noting that due to the local geography most of the beaches here are narrow and feature pebbles with only a few small coves maintaining a sandy feel. Still, what the beaches may lack in size, they more than make up for with incomparable scenery.

The sun, water, and paradise-like feel of the Amalfi Coast are ready and waiting for all who wish to explore her natural beauty.