Famous for its scenic coastal mountains and picturesque seaside towns tumbling down the cliffs to the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy is a spectacular stretch of Mediterranean coastline.
At just 12 miles long, you can easily explore the entire peninsula in a single holiday, with plenty of time to stop in several towns for a robust Italian coffee and some indulgent ice cream – accompanied by a spot of people-watching.
The warm, sunny climate of the UNESCO-listed Amalfi coast makes lightweight clothing, sun hats and comfortable sandals the most suitable attire for the majority of the year, including late spring, summer and early autumn. At other times of the year you may need a few layers, and it’s always worth taking a compact waterproof jacket just in case there are showers. If you’re off walking – perhaps taking an excursion to nearby Pompeii or Mount Vesuvius, near Naples – pack some trekking footwear suitable for longer walks and rough ground.
In a few relaxed driving days you can take a tour right around the Sorrentine Peninsula, taking in beautiful spots, including:
The peninsula’s main town is compact Sorrento, which squeezes in a whole array of lively restaurants and gelaterie, souvenir shops and popular bars. Head for Piazza Tasso, the main square in the old town, to get your bearings, then explore the network of narrow streets full of pretty churches and houses, and pick up a bottle of local Limoncello liqueur to take home as a souvenir.
From Sorrento, head to Massa Lubrense, a laid-back village that is also the starting point for several lovely walks. It has its own tiny, sheltered beach, while the Marina della Lobra is a lovely place to enjoy a quiet evening meal.
Crossing to the other (southern) side of the peninsula, one of the most famous destinations on the peninsula is Positano. With its gorgeous setting, tumbling down a steep hillside, this sweet town never fails to make an impression, and it has provided the backdrop for many films; was the basis for the fictional port of Mongibello in the novel The Talented Mr Ripley; and inspired musician Mick Jagger.
A glamorous holiday resort for the British elite since the 1920s and 1930s, Amalfi is a vibrant town with a beautiful cathedral, Duomo di Amalfi, and old square, Piazza Duomo. Situated at the mouth of a ravine and at the foot of towering Monte Cerreto, Amalfi is surrounded by dramatic cliffs, and has a rich and fascinating history as a major trading power in the Mediterranean between 839 and around 1200.
Take a slight detour inland to Ravello to encounter one of the most photographed spots on the peninsula, high up above the coast with spectacular sea views. This pleasant town has a number of sights that draw in the crowds, so get there early – and do visit Villa Rufolo, a stunning villa with pretty, manicured gardens overlooking the sea.
Getting There by Air
Naples is the nearest major city to the Amalfi Coast, and many travellers fly directly into Naples International Airport and then travel the short distance to the Amalfi coast by hire car or public transport. Alternatively, you can fly to Italy’s capital, Rome, hire a car at the airport, and drive down to the Sorrentine Peninsula in about three hours.