With a stunning coastline, where mountains covered in lemon groves and adorned with pastel-colored villages meet the deep blue of the Mediterranean, Italy’s Amalfi Coast is one of Europe’s finest getaways. If you manage to time your visit and avoid the tourist rush, you’ll fully enjoy this area’s beauty, often featured in films and screensavers. To help you out, here are the top 10 things to do on the Amalfi coast. Let’s start the countdown!
10. Hike the Summit of Mount Vesuvius
Clearly visible from Naples to Capri, Europe’s famous active volcano constantly reminds you to pay a visit. At a height of 1,281 meters, Mount Vesuvius last erupted in 1944 and is expected to see action again. With three million people living in its vicinity, Vesuvius is regarded as the world’s most dangerous volcano. In fact, this photogenic icon buried the city of Pompeii along with its surrounding Roman neighbors in the volcano’s most tragic eruption. Visiting Mount Vesuvius from Naples is quite easy and its crater hike is rewarded with incredible views of Naples and its bay on a clear day.
9. Exploring the Ancient City of Pompeii
On August 24 in the year 79 AD, a massive eruption on Mount Vesuvius wiped out the city of Pompeii. Along with its neighbors, Pompeii was buried under 6 meters of volcanic ash and thousands of lives were lost. Just like that, a strategic city since the time of the Ancient Greeks was lost, only to be discovered in the 17th century. Over the years, archeologists have made chilling discoveries in Pompeii, mainly due to the preservation of human and animal postures in the hardened ash. Visiting Pompeii from Naples offers visitors the chance to explore one of Europe’s premier archeological sites and you can spend a few hours or a full day strolling its ancient avenues and lanes.
8. Heading Underground to Caves and Catacombs
From the Catacombs of Naples to the flooded limestone caves radiating with shades of blue on the Amalfi Coast, there are plenty of options to escape the sun during your visit. The Amalfi Coast’s celebrity cave is without a doubt the Blue Grotto of Capri (Grotta Azzurra) but you’ll find plenty of less crowded spots elsewhere.
7. Walking the Streets of Naples
Despite a dubious reputation, Italy’s third largest city is a great starting point for your vacation on the Amalfi Coast. Put on your walking shoes and check out its historic center, a maze of narrow alleys, magnificent religious monuments, and traditional pizza parlors galore. Step out of the old city for some shopping, as you head down to the marina to catch a glimpse a Mount Vesuvius. Naples might not be the cleanest city around and it does have its fair share of problems, but what city doesn’t? The locals are simple and friendly, and if you’re into history, spending a day in Naples is totally worth it.
6. Squeezing Your Way Through Amalfi
The town which gave the Amalfi Coast its name, Amalfi’s claim to fame is partly owed to Europe’s elite who came to vacation here at the start of the 20th century and its incredibly scenic waterfront. As beautiful as Amalfi is, it is best avoided in the summer months, especially with a car, as its beauty is no longer a secret. Not to be missed are visits to its majestic cathedral and its serene cloister together with some people watching the Municipio – Amalfi’s main square. Those who feel the urge to get wet can do so in Amalfi’s beaches or next door in Atrani, while history lovers should definitely check out the paper mill museum.
5. Village Hopping in the Sorrentine Peninsula
The scenery on the Amalfi Coast often resembles a children’s game of “snakes and ladders”. Rows upon rows of lemon and olive trees blanket the contours of fertile hills and small vertical footpaths lead from homes clinging to the hillside down to cultivated plots of land. Such is the scene on the peninsula extending into the Mediterranean from Sorrento, a wonderful opportunity to road trip from one village to another while mixing short hikes and seaside stops. Highlights include scenic Termini, sleepy Nerano and the foodie capital of the peninsula – Sant’Agata – with Lo Stuzzichino and Don Alfonso as memorable dinner options.
4. Spending a Night in Capri
If romance is your goal or if blue is your favorite color, spending a night in Capri will one of the highlights of your vacation on the Amalfi Coast. The island’s status of extreme glamour far outweighs its geographical size, thanks to its incredible natural beauty but mostly to the world’s celebrities and elite who have put Capri on the tourist map since the turn of the last century. Such fame comes with a hefty price tag, not only on the “Capri premium”, added to just about any product or service, but mainly with regards to the overcrowdedness of the island during the tourist season. To fully enjoy Capri, spend the night in Capri Town or Anacapri, and experience Capri the way it is meant to be.
3. Not Counting Calories
A major part of any visit to Italy is the food and the Amalfi Coast is no different. So shelf the calorie counting and put those walking shoes on because the food is simply amazing in this part of “the boot”. Typical Amalfi Coast dishes include Napolitana pizzas in Naples, Caprese salad loaded with buffalo mozzarella and Capri tomatoes, fresh seafood and pretty much anything with lemon – especially if it includes alcohol such as the finest limoncello in the world.
2. Soaking Up the Views from Ravello
Ravello is arguably the most scenic village on the Amalfi Coast, a place where the architecture, the vibe and the stunning views all come together. Commanding prime real estate overlooking the coast, Ravello has long been a preferred destination for visitors to the Amalfi Coast, so spending a night or starting your day here are worthwhile tips. The highlight of Ravello is without a doubt the gardens of Villa Rufolo which offers some of the Amalfi Coast’s most scenic images.
1. Hiking the Path of the Gods
Connecting the villages of Agerola and Positano, the Sentiero Degli Dei (Path of the Gods) is the finest walk on the Amalfi Coast. Its most popular leg is between Bomerano and Nocelle, a great chance to experience the Amalfi Coast from high above while earning your post-hike lunch in Nocelle’s legendary Ristorante Santa Croce. When hiked in this direction, the hike is mostly downhill and you can wrap things up with a descent to Positano – another Amalfi Coast gem.
Now that you know the top things to see and do in the Amalfi Coast, start planning your own Italian adventure! Here are additional resources to help you plan your Amalfi Coast trip.
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