The Amalfi Coast is a kaleidoscope of exploding colors, textures, and smells. From the shimmering azure blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the sheer cliffs, terracotta-roofed pastel houses, and picturesque coastal views, charming fishing villages, to terraced lemon groves and vineyards along the hillsides and pizza wafting out from cobblestone piazzas, the Amalfi Coast will not disappoint. Oh, and don’t forget the 25-miles of white-knuckle hairpin turns on those craggy cliffs when you drive from Naples to Amalfi Coast!
Resting on the southwest coast of Italy, there are thirteen municipalities along the Amalfi Coast, but for this one-week itinerary, we’ve limited it to the must-see destinations for the first-time visitor. Have no doubt, you will want to return to this place of undisputed beauty and stunning natural landscapes and again.
We visited the Amalfi Coast in July. It was hot, which I did not mind, and also quite crowded. To avoid those two scenarios, I’d suggest that you visit in April/May or September/October when the weather is still mild, but with fewer tourists.
When visiting from another country, you’ll likely be flying into Naples. There is an Italian saying that while Rome is the heart of Italy, Naples is the soul, so instead of heading directly to the Amalfi Coast, I recommend that you spend one day exploring this city. Italy’s third-largest city, Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with a rich history dating back to the 7th century BC, and perhaps even further back than that. Public squares, monuments, archaeological sites, and more await discovery.
And of course, it’s where pizza was created, so even a no-carb person like me had to try some! We had limited time in and around the Naples port, so we decided to take in what we could by foot. Start your day at Grand Caffè Gambrinus, one of the oldest and nicest coffee bars with a steaming cup of coffee and one of the famous sfogliatella – a delicate, layered pastry filled with cream, cheese, and fruit.
The highlight is Centro Storico, Naples’ historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spaccanapoli Street cuts the city in two. This area is the most charming and authentic area of Naples and you won’t want to miss it. If you have more time, you’ll want to explore Maschio Angioino castle, also known as “Castel Nuovo,“ built between 1279 and 1284 by Charles I of Anjou. The castle, which dominates the scenic Piazza Municipio (one of the largest squares in Europe), was known for hosting great artists, writers, poets such Boccaccio, as Giotto, Petrarch.
Another option is to explore the hidden world of Napoli Sotterranea (Naples Underground). The archeological site encompasses the ruins of underground forums, homes, and markets built by the ancient Greeks and later developed by the Romans.
From Naples, you can take a bus to the Amalfi Coast, but I recommend renting a car. It will be easier to get around and get to the places you like best. Plus, you won’t want to miss the memorable adventure of driving the nail-biting curves.