South of the chaotic and fascinating town of Naples, the vertiginous Amalfi Coast is memorable for its amazing views, culinary delights and ancient history. With three island outposts; Capri, Ischia and Procida reachable through a simple boat ride, the Amalfi Coast has been a holiday destination since the Roman times.
Once you have decided to make The Amalfi Coast your next holiday destination my sole piece of advice is to start researching how you will arrive there. Hemmed in by high mountains and never ending tumultuous winding roads, reaching your pinnacle destination could be a cumbersome task if it is not properly researched. Unless you have a penchant for zigzag bends, cavalier overtaking, and buses swinging at you through tight corners. I thoroughly recommend you either hire a professional driver who is accustomed to this madness or arrive through the network of Ferries which can be taken from Salerno, Sorrento or Capri.
Once you have arrived, prepare to have your breath taken away. Not just because of the amazing scenery that engulfs your vision no matter which way you look. But also because of the plethora of steep, crumbling, stair cases which pervade every corner of the region. To put it nicely, if you are out of shape, elderly or are travelling with a child in a pram, you may want to avoid the area. Whether you are reaching a new restaurant or making your way down to the water front for a swim the stairs are plentiful and also extremely tiring.
I think this is extremely important to note, as not many guide books include this. But it can be a real deal breaker and can be a bit of a put-off toward visiting the beach or other places more than once a day…because as you can imagine, if you go down the stairs you also have to go up them!
With that being said, this is the ONLY negative thing about the region. Everything else is pure BLISS. Real, traditional, authentic BLISS. There are no words to describe how much beauty there is to discover.
We arrived in The Amalfi Coast during the high summer season. July 29th saw a plethora of tourists and holiday makers, all carefully topped with a dose of scorching hot weather. The narrow coastal roads were clogged with people and the flowers bloomed in colours I didn’t even know were possible. The region is firmly chiuso (closed) from late November until Easter, so my recommendation would be either May or September for optimum fun.
Five days is all you need in any place of your choice. Whether you choose Positano, Praiano, Ravello, or Amalfi – you definitely won’t be disappointed. These coastal gems will spoil you with the splendour of gardens, mountain, and water scenery.
As this region has been looking after visitors for centuries, the competition for hotels, restaurants, and lounges is fierce and standards of service are high. However this comes as a double edge sword, as in some places you can feel the locals frustration with the plethora of tourism and some places were not the most hospitable.
Sometimes you can actually see the “you’re-not-the-only-tourist-here-so-I-don’t-care-what-you-think” look flashing across the face of shop keepers, boat drivers, hotel staff, and wait staff alike.
The seafood is one of the best culinary delights available in the Amalfi Coast. Everything is drizzled in Olive Oil and accompanied by (luckily) my favourite vegetable, Fennel. Spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams) is available on nearly every menu and is made so deliciously in every restaurant. If you’re overloaded with carbs and looking for a lighter dinner, make your way over to the main Amalfi Town where you will find the iconic Amalfi Cathedral and a multitude of stores selling all kinds of local delights.
With the region being renowned for their Lemons, many of the stores will have a surplus of products either made of lemons (soaps, candles, preserved) or with lemon drawings etched all over them. For 6 euros I picked up the most fashionable salt and pepper shakers shaped as lemons. They are the centre piece of my kitchen and there isn’t a person who sees them without commenting.
In the stores you will also find the highest quality bread, olives, cheese, and all types of cured meat. For under twenty euros you can pick up the best quality local produce and make a home made charcuterie board, to consume on the balcony of your hotel whilst over looking the vast ocean scenery that is completely unparalleled.
If home made charcuterie boards are not your thing, Amalfi town by night is a buzzing hub of entertainment – with families, couples and friends all enjoying a night out in beautiful picturesque village.
The restaurants there seem more authentic and local than the ones that are lining the main streets. The vibe is good home cooking, enjoyed by both families and tourists.
We were treated to a beautiful night time concert on the steps of the Amalfi cathedral while we enjoyed our gelato and felt the warm summer breeze against our skin. Saying goodbye to Amalfi was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do, but I know it won’t be the last time I visit.The memories of its beauty haunt me everyday…it wont be long before i’ve booked my one way ticket back to explore the zig zaggy wonders of a country as beautiful as Italy.