Exploring The Enchanting Seaside Villages of Italy’s famed Amalfi Coast.

Mon, 08/05/2019 - 04:48
Amalfi Coast

High above the azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea on a series of steep rocky cliffs are the enchanting seaside villages of Italy’s famed Amalfi Coast.

The Amalfi Coast is what Italian summer dreams are made of. It is a region so dreamlike that many have tried to capture its beguiling beauty in literature, film and on millions of Instagram accounts around the world. However, to truly appreciate the essence of the Amalfi Coast, it must be experienced, and slowly savoured like those final moments of summer you try to hold onto forever. 

La Costiera Amalfitana is made up of 13 villages dripping with flowers and lemon groves, magically suspended between the shimmering sea and green-swathed mountains on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula, south of Naples. The coast stretches 43-miles (70 km) from Punta Campanella to Salerno, and includes the picturesque towns of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. Many treasures lay hidden within this celebrated coastline, among them, the town of Vietri sul Mare, where the region’s world-famous coloured ceramics and tiles are produced. This favourite haunt of the rich and famous, honeymooners, and tourists alike, was awarded a coveted spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1997.

Panoramic view of Vietri Sul Mare[Vietri Sul Mare - Salerno Province, Campania Region, Italy, Europe]

The best way to take in the splendour of the Amalfi Coast is at sea, while leisurely sailing along its blissful shores, basking in the Mediterranean sun and soaking in the glorious landscape. This also provides an opportunity to discover many of its cove-hidden beaches and secluded seaside restaurants like Conca del Sogno in Nerano, the perfect lunch spot. Take an exhilarating drive along the winding cliffs of Strada Statale 163 with the wind in your hair and ocean plunging at your feet, as you slice through sun kissed villages. Whichever you prefer, one thing is certain, the Amalfi Coast will cast its spell on you.

Dock Pier at Picturesque Amalfi Town View From Tyrrhenian Sea in Amalfi  [Dock Pier at Picturesque Amalfi Town View From Tyrrhenian Sea in Amalfi, Italy.]

Sorrento opens its doors to La Costiera Amalfitana and provides a convenient base for exploring the coast. The town is filled with seaside resorts, restaurants and artisanal shops that spill onto vibrant streets selling an array of handmade sandals, Limoncello liquor, souvenirs and other local goods - many lemon-inspired. The cliff on which Sorrento rests is poised like a beautiful terrace and boasts commanding views across the Bay of Naples to Mt Vesuvius. On a clear day you may even see Pompeii or Capri. This region is renowned for having some of the richest, freshest cuisine in the world. At Ristorante Lo Scoglio, take in the impressive views as you dine on fresh Mediterranean specialties. Don’t forget to visit the Sorrento port, where you can set sail for the neighbouring islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida

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Further south is the region’s crown jewel, the legendary town of Positano, where cliffside homes cascade down to the shore in a panorama of ochre, terracotta and pastel hues; the gold and green mosaic dome of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta glistens beneath a crystal blue sky, a view that will leave you breathless! Positano provides a picturesque setting to revel il dolce far niente - the sweetness of doing nothing. Lounge on the rocky beach of Spiaggia Grande or browse the boutiques that line Positano’s atmospheric streets. Sip an aperitivo alfresco, perhaps an Aperol Spritz, and dine on fresh fish under the canopy of lemon trees. For a slice of heaven, go to La Zàgara pasticceria and try their Delizia al Limone cake. If you want to treat yourself to something truly magical, head to the legendary Le Sirenuse Hotel and splurge on a cocktail or meal at their poolside restaurant, La Sponda, while savouring the magnificent views.  

View of the coastal village of Positano[The coastal village of Positano]

Situated on the mouth of the Valle dei Mulini, Amalfi is the shimmering medieval town that gives its name to this famous coastline. Once the seat of the Amalfi Maritime Republic, one of the 12th century’s great naval powers, the town dwellings are connected by covered passageways and stairways reminiscent of its storied past. The main piazza houses a beautiful bell tower, an impressive cloister and the striking cathedral of St. Andrew towering atop a sweeping flight of stairs; it provides a scenic backdrop for the many cafes that line its square. At Gran Caffè, Amalfi’s place to see and be seen, sip on a Campanello, their signature cocktail of Campari and Limoncello. Other points of interest include Amalfi’s Museum of Handmade Paper, housed in a cave-like 13th-century paper mill. Four kilometres west of Amalfi, see the luminous Grotta dello Smeraldo, where emerald light is magnificently reflected off the cavern walls.    

People walking in the Amalfi city center[The center of Amalfi]

Perched on a ridge 365 metres high above Amalfi and the neighbouring town of Atrani, the romantic hilltop town of Ravello is bursting with fragrant gardens, grandiose villas and mind-blowing views over the entire Gulf of Salerno. The best views on the coast, maybe even the world, can be seen from the terrace of the 11th-century Villa Cimbrone lined with classical-style statues and busts. To the south of Ravello’s cathedral and Piazza Duomo, a 14th-century tower marks the entrance to Villa Rufolo, famed for its cascading gardens where notes of lemon hang in the air. Ravello is a town of music and art, and is host to the summer-long Ravello Festival, one of the oldest in Italy. Music lovers from all over gather to listen to outdoor performances set against inspiring views.  

View over Gulf of Salerno from Villa Rufolo[View over Gulf of Salerno from Villa Rufolo, Ravello, Campania, Italy]

A hike along the "Trail of the Gods" is a must-see! Lose yourself in the expanse of sea and sky along a network of paths connecting villages and towns all over the Sorrentine Peninsula. The path begins in Bomerano, a village 630mt in the mountains between Sorrento and Amalfi, and ends in Nocelle where you can unwind with a delicious meal. The trail stretches approximately 4.5 hours across terraced vineyards, lemon trees and olive groves with views over caves and a gorge, the perfect adventure for hiking enthusiasts. 

Walking path along the Amalfi Coast[The most scenic walking path along the Amalfi Coast]

After a few days exploring this magnificent coastline, set sail for the Isles of the Amalfi Coast!