Italy’s Salerno province boasts of a 50km long supercalifragilisticexpialidocious coastline. (Look that up! :D)
The rugged coastline between Sorrento and Salerno is called ‘Amalfi coast’. It harbors tiny coastal villages between cliffs covered in lemon groves and vineyards. All of these villages have houses piled one above another, advancing towards the cliff tops, overlooking the brilliant blue Tyrrhenian Sea. Paradise!
#1 in the list of Best Beaches in Italy.
#4 in Best Places to Visit in Italy and Best Destination Wedding Spots in Italy.
# 6 and #10 in Best Honeymoon Destinations in the World.
#27 World’s Best Places to Visit.
The list goes on. A bunch of luxury resorts perched on and around those sheer cliffs attract the rich and famous to this part of Italy.
pick rental car
We rented a car from Budget Rental in Naples right outside Napoli Centrale train station. We had US Driver’s License, so no problem there. If you’re not European and don’t have a US DL, you must possess an International Driver’s License to rent a car.
The rental agent asked everyone specifically if the car will be driven to Pompeii because that entailed purchasing an extra insurance. Pompeii is apparently unsafe to drive or park a car according to them. We had no plans to stop at Pompeii, so we got an all clear.
After picking up the car early morning one day, we turned up the music in car and set out on the route to Amalfi. The drive was close to 2 hours through winding roads that wove in and out of tunnels while a jaw-dropping view of the turquoise sea kept us enthralled all the way through.
Our first stop was directly at Amalfi. The town parking was full so we parked at Luna Rossa parking and walked down through the tunnel into the town. We stopped by the Tourist Info Center by the City hall and picked up a map of the city. A turn into Via Duca Mansone I took us towards the Piazza Duomo and the Duomo itself. Cattedrale di Sant Andrea Apostolo or the Duomo is a beautiful building nestled in the main square with a fountain named Fontana di Sant’Andrea right at the end of stairs. We kept on walking up the street gawking and gasping at every artifact of display. The street was like one big shopping mall that didn’t seem to end.
Amalfi is a bohemian shopper’s paradise! All your tassle, pom-pom and multicolor dreams come true. Apart from the selection of apparels, I loved the array of souvenirs on sale. Before I could tear away from that sight, I was crushing hard over the crockery designs at another shop. We stopped at a grocery store to peek at the freshest produce of the season and thank god we did. We bought some of the best tasting fresh figs ever. They were huge too. But not quite like the lemons in Amalfi. The lemons were literally the size of my palms. They should be called melons instead.
We had lunch at a nearby Trattoria. I highly recommend trying fresh mussels, calamari and shrimp in Amalfi. We headed back to the coast and walked on the pier for a while. While returning to the parking, we went up Belvedere cimitero monumentale and caught astounding views of the city.
Grotta dello Smeraldo
It’s hard to drive on the coastal highway when the side view is so distracting. We stopped quite a few times on our way to take pictures and admire what I eyes couldn’t believe.We took a stop at Grotta dello Smeraldo and climbed down the stairs off the cliff that lead towards the cave entrance. They charged us a mere €5 to ride the boat with 10 other tourists. The cave was much better than the one we saw in Capri and much cheaper too. The one in Capri cost us €40 including tip and lasted a total of 5 minutes, apart from being way too crowded.
Fiordo di Furore
This Insta-famous bridge and the beach underneath fell on our route. We considered climbing down the stairs and spending some time but there was no assigned parking on the street. Other people simply parked on the shoulder of the road and went down the stairs. Honestly, I didn’t find it as charming as it looks on Instagram. The beach wasn’t that clean. The climb up and down the stairs is pretty steep and long. I just took a quick look and turned around.
Another quick stop on our way was at Praiano. Slightly less crowded than it’s touristy neighbors, Praiano should be your secret hideout. Marina di Praia is favorite with windsurfers. I liked the small church Parrocchia San Luca Evangelista and it’s multicolored cupola. Miniature village models are propped up by roadside at the entrance of every village. Praiano’s is particularly adorable.
Positano is a bit more upscale than Amalfi. You’ll notice a million porcelain pots with lemons painted on them and flowers overflowing, almost at every step of the way. Paintings on porcelain tiles were my favorite part of Positano. They summed up my idea of Italy perfectly. There’s absolutely no street-side parking in Positano and the single street is too narrow to navigate because the entire town is built along the winding road uphill. Check for parking garages when you come close to Positano.
We walked down the winding road all the way to Marina Grande. Grabbed a Limoncello Spritz at Blue Bar Positano by the beach and spent some time lazying on the beach, splashing around in the waters.
If you’re a seafood lover like me, you’ll love the coastal cuisine in Positano. Check out Chez Black, Da Vincenzo Positano, Il Capitano.
If you feel like turtning this day trip into an overnight trip, I would suggest checking Hotel California.
We didn’t feel like leaving Positano but it was getting late and we had to return our rental car the same night. So we drove back to Naples for one and half hours, while watching a brilliant sunset in the rear view mirror of our car.