“La Costiera Amalfitana”, Amalfi Coast, is among the most famous and most beautiful stretches of the Italian coastline. This is a touristy area located in the Campania region just south of Naples on the Sorrentine Pennisula. With charming little towns built right into the side of the cliffs, this area is a breathtaking “must see”. Relax and enjoy the views as you drive the 25 miles (40 km) along the coast’s only road…and make sure to sample some limoncello!
Why to go: The 13 towns that make up the Amalfi Coast have been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, but that’s only one small reason to visit. While, admittedly, you will be among an abundance of tourists in this area, you will understand the appeal. Each town has its own unique sights but the common thread is their location on the beautiful jagged coast along those picture perfect blue Mediterranean waters. On top of that, you have the fresh scent of citrus hanging in the air from all of those cliffside lemon groves you’ll pass along the drive. A combination that is just so magical.
When to go: The best time to visit this area is the shoulder tourist seasons of mid-September to October and May. You’ll find that the weather is still pleasant at that time and the traffic along the Amalfi Drive will be a bit less crowded.
How to go: Naples is probably the most popular and convenient arrival airport for access to this region. Once there, you have a few options for getting to the coast including ferry, bus or car. In order to visit the string of towns, though, your best option is the one narrow coastline road, with its hairpin turns and bumper to bumper tourist traffic. The “Amalfi Drive” will lead you on its winding route from Salerno to Positano. Patience is a virtue on this road but the rewards are there – park the car and get out and walk around. Experience the towns, the coast and the local flavors.
Where to go: Sorrento makes a good base for this area. From here, you can rent a car, hire a private driver or take a tour that will visit the towns between Positano and Salerno (including the famous towns of Amalfi and Ravello). And, staying in Sorrento makes for easy access to the ferries for visiting Capri, a fantastic and worth-while day trip (or longer).
What to eat and/or drink: LIMONCELLO!!! The Amalfi Coast is known for this refreshing lemony liqueur produced from lemons grown in terraced gardens you can see along the entire coastline. Another local product includes a special paper called “bambagina” hand-made in Amalfi.