This summer I got to travel to Italy after a few years too long after being there last. All of the touristy spots and museums, paintings and churches in Northern and Central Italy provide an amazing experience - Rome, Venice, Milan, Pisa, etc. - but one thing I hadn't done before is see the majority of the Amalfi Coast... And let me freakin' tell you guys, it's breathtaking. And now every time I go, I will most definitely be making it a priority to drive the coast line. There's a ton of places to start and ways to go, and driving the Amalfi Coast is a bit time consuming - but it's the best 2-3 hours you'll ever drive! With every look-out spot and every small fruit stand you pass along the way comes a new endless view pure beauty. Every time I'm asked where to go in Italy, the Amalfi Coast will be my answer!
We flew into the Naples International Airport; my first time flying here as I usually fly into the Fiumicino airport in Rome. The Bay of Naples essentially starts the Amalfi Coast, and it's a fairly short drive (~45 minutes) to Sorrento, which is one of the many cities a part of the Amalfi Coast. It's a great place to start because of the distance to the airport and because it's gorgeous - shocker, I know!
Sorrento is - yeah, I'm gonna say it again - STUNNING. Legitimately, incredibly stunning. I wrote a guide to Sorrento a few weeks ago, and you can read that and all about the must see spots in, around and near Sorrento here. But this is an ode to Amalfi, so I'll get back to that. ; )
Every village and building along the Amalfi Coast is nestled away into the mountain side and filled with vibrant colors and history. The entire drive from Naples down to Salerno provides the most beautiful, Instagram-worthy moments you could ask for.
Every couple of miles, you'll come across one-person fruits and pepper stands; where the farmer comes and tries to sell what they've grown. Doesn't get much fresher than that!! Everything is so good - I love getting the grapes and peaches especially. They are the nicest, most genuine people and it's a nice little rest stop area, Italian style. ; ) This one was my favorite:
Some of the must-see spots and stops to make along the coast include Sorrento, Positano, Praiano, Atrani/Amalfi and Marina di Vietri. The roads are super windy and narrow, so having to drive slow will allow you to see nearly every view but these towns are worth the stop. Whether you get out for some pictures, stop to eat lunch or just do a little sight seeing around the town, getting to see the different villages and views that each provides is an awesome experience that's sort of off the beaten path when it comes to being a tourist in Italy, if you ask me.
Two fun little boutiques as you drive through the winding roads of Positano... I'm still amazed at the cute little things you can find at these shops! If you have the time, definitely stop and take a look.
Positano is one of the better known spots along the Amalfi Coast and I've always known from pictures that it's gorgeous, but man - it wasn't until I saw it in person that I realized what the hype was about. Positano is the prettiest sea-side town with the oldest buildings, covered in gorgeous vines and flowers. There are endless shops, alley ways and windy roads leading down and through the town that you absolutely can't miss! Parking is definitely difficult and I'm told it's worse in the heat of the summer, which of course is when I was there. A couple of the locals told us that coming in the spring is the best because of the weather and lack of tourists, so it's easier to get around. The traffic was insane - between people crossing the streets (my sister and I couldn't believe how little the people cared about passing cars... kind of crazy!) and cars parked in every spot possible it's hard to even move! But worth every. single. second.
Now... when it comes to deciding if you'll drive the coast or use a touring system and be on a bus, I wouldn't hesitate in saying to drive it. A lot of people warn against it because of how windy the roads are, but being on a crowded bus (ESPECIALLY in the summer) just doesn't seem enjoyable to me. Yes the roads are narrow and on the side of a mountain, but you'd want to take it slow regardless so you don't miss a second of Amalfi's beauty.
Once you begin driving the Costiera Amalfitana, you quickly realize that there's tons of hidden gems - restaurants, history and nothing short of amazing beauties. A lot of the restaurants you encounter are classic Italian too; there are touristy spots, but you can always tell the difference and it's so awesome to experience a true Italian menu.
Italy is such a beautiful place and I highly suggest traveling around the Amalfi Coast if you're looking for something a little less touristy than a place like Rome or Venice, and although it's busy in the summer when most of us travel to Europe - it's still gorgeous and extremely worth the while!