The Amalfi Job - Your guide to navigate the Italian coastline
Updated: Oct 17, 2019
Dramatic cliff drops, lush views, blue seas and a loooooot of lemons! Nothing compares to Italy and even more so to the Amalfi coastline, amazing views and backdrops coupled with mouthwatering cuisines and some of the best wine. Need any more reasons to visit?
After finding a very good deal, it was this location that I first researched loads and read several blogs about what there is to see and do while travelling the Amalfi coast. You could say this was what finally tipped me over to start blogging and wanting to share my travel experiences. Its pretty clear Amalfi created a special place in my heart as the main shot on my blog is an aerial photo over the coastline. Having visited myself and using tips I gained from others, I hope this insight will help you to either plan your trip or inspire you to go.
The one thing that sticks with me from what I read and I want to share is: see it on foot, by road, by sea, and by air. I did. I promise you, those experiences will be unforgettable!
When people say they are visiting Amalfi, they may be referring to the actual town or somewhere else on the coastline; Sorrento or Positano are other popular locations. However I found if you are planning to travel around, then staying in one of the other nearby towns will make your pennies go further. As the towns are not too far apart you will find actually you might need to drive through them anyway to see some of the sights or you might want to go there anyway. I stayed mainly in Maiori, it was a cute little town with a beautiful beach and nice restaurants - my favourite was La Vela. The staff were so friendly, the food amazing, and I even got extra shots on my last day there as a farewell.
So what is there to do? PLENTY! Travel the coastline from Salerno to Sorrento in between eating, drinking wine and tasting the BEST cheesecake on the planet. That is a pretty bold statement yes, but as I don't like cheesecake and I ate this at every possible opportunity it is a must for anyone visiting. It would be normal to either hire a car or book day trips, there are various tour operators, I used Lovely Amalfi Coast Tours for several day trips and Helisorrento for a chopper ride. As you travel up or down you can also make plans to visit Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri or even Naples if you have time. These are not too far and you will find most are included in a day tour.
I had 7 days out here, I found it was plenty with enough time to take in the sights and get my R&R in, I have provided the itinerary below for some guidance. Would I do it again? Yes! Did I miss anything out? Yes - Capri. But I had my reasons and I will be heading back for this with plans already part in motion. That said 7 days with Capri is still possible.
Day 1: After flying in and getting settled into the hotel, I decided to head straight out and check both towns out on foot/taxi. I stayed in Hotel Panorama. The location could not be any more perfect - right opposite the beach, minutes away from the restaurants and bars and I got a free upgrade. As I mentioned I had based myself for the most of the trip in Maoiri. It neighbours with Minori which is a 5 minute drive away so was easy to cover both.
If you get here by afternoon you have plenty of time to stroll around, kick at the beach, grab a gelato and have dinner out with some fine wine. I found a local shop/bakery selling the lemon cheesecake by Sal De Riso. This became THE dessert for any time of the day for my entire trip. If there was any food going to make me fatter on this trip this was it. You can find a picture of this in my gallery.
Day 2: This was a full day trip excursion to visit Pompeii and Vesuvius, which also included time to allow you to climb to the crater if the weather was favourable. The first stop is Pompeii and there is a fair bit of walking involved here. It is a big site so I found it worth having someone guide you around the key locations else you will miss things, and a day is not enough to see it all. Lunch was included as part of the excursion before we headed to Vesuvius. We are driven up to where the climbing would start so the view up and down is great. I had however decided not to climb it, and was advised against it - I had one crutch on this trip following an ACL op that was still healing. So the going up part would have been fine, but coming back down I would have struggled. Those that went up did say it was worth it for the minimal cost - around 10 Euros, you need around 2 hours for the round trip.
Day 3: So I had earmarked this day for Capri, however, as I mentioned above I had a crutch and with what I wanted to do and see here it was a bit pointless heading over. Transferring into small boats to get into the Blue Grotto - we can all just picture right now where I'd be... yep, in the water. And Capri as an island involves a fair bit of steep walking to get around. I instead used this day for sampling some good food, shopping and consuming the most amount of lemony things. You will find lemons everywhere here, and they are not like what you would find on a UK high street. Needless to say the evening ended with limoncello and cheesecake.
Day 4: I had a pre-booked excursion to cover Amalfi, Positano, Priano and Ravello. We had free time to ourselves in all locations and we started in Positano. Now its good to know you have to 'climb' Positano, you will be on an incline whether you want to head down to the beach or back up to the shops and restaurants. Either way, you will be rewarded with great views and the opportunity to grab a photo of one of the most papped locations of the Amalfi coastline.
Priano was also a great pit-stop along the way, almost like a mini Positano before getting to Amalfi. This is a great place to grab lunch right off the waters edge, which is exactly what we did. I had the best pasta with smokey mozzarella, and just writing about it is making me hungry. Take time to head out into the main square after, (the walk is also good to burn off all that food), the Cathedral of Saint Andrew (Duomo di Sant'Andrea) is worth a visit.
Our final stop before heading back was Ravello, a hidden treasure not bustling with tourists as its 365m above sea level. The views were gorgeous! The town is well known for the Ravello Festival in the summer when its likely to be busier. If you head here and have time you might want to visit Villa Rufolo.
Day 5: This was THE most awaited day of the whole trip. Until now I had been travelling around the coastline on foot, by car and have a boat ride planned. BUT it was the day for my chopper ride. I had never been in a helicopter before so didn't know what to expect, all I knew was the booking was just for us so we had it to ourselves for the hour. The flight was from Sorrento and was part customised to include the locations I wanted to see. We started in Sorrento covering the whole Amalfi coastline - Capri - Vesuvius - Pompeii before heading back to Sorrento. On landing back we were greeted with locally produced meloncello and limoncello before being taken back to our hotel. The whole flight could not have been more exhilarating. I won't lie it was very expensive but I'm very glad to have done it.
Day 6: Having done the air view this was my sea view day, had a boat ride booked to take me along the coastline and to soak in the sun and get some R&R. Truly recommend this not just fore the views but to get away from the towns and hustle and bustle to unwind.
Day 7: Final day here and there were a few things left to see that could be done with one excursion so this was pre-booked. The day was to cover Sorrento and Herculanuem with a cheeky stop at Furore that was not in the plan but I asked if we could go as we pass it. I know we had been to Sorrento when the we had the chopper ride but a few things were missed off in the town which we covered off before I went to see Herculaneum. This was a must on my list alongside Pompeii. As i had no guide on this day I had to rely on a map so there is a chance I missed bits to see as the place is large and it would be helpful to have someone just get you across the key sites.
Fjord of Furore is a fab little site that is hidden into the coastline, if you don't pay attention you would actually miss it as you'd think you're just passing another bridge. The small cove was once famous for its fishing trade, now you will find tourists finding their way down here through the hidden stairs to enjoy the secluded beach. Even if you cant make it to the town try get a glimpse of this from above.
Now the one thing I haven't mentioned above but you can fit into any day that drives along the coast near Amalfi is Grotto Dello Smeraldo (Emerald Grotto). I avoided it for the same reason as before as the boats are small, else you will find me in any possible cave I can get into.
If you know your travel dates and can plan ahead then do try to get a booking at the Torre de Normanni Restaurant, with a table overlooking the sea. It has a spectacular sea food menu, I had left it a bit late to get a booking as I'd found out too late about it.
Hotel: Panoramic Hotel
Must try cuisines: Lemon infused pasta, Smokey mozzarella margarita pizza, grilled fish - any fish, all that we tried were amazing. Chicken and mushroom risotto, tomato pasta with smokey mozzarella, gnocchi of course. For desserts it would be wrong to not mention the cheesecake by Sal De Riso, they also make other items too. Italy is also the best place for cannoli's, sfogliatella sopranos (lobster tails) and cassata ice cream among other gelato.
Fizz: Any wine. Seriously, I drank house wine everywhere and each tasted better than the last. If you can find blueberry liqueur, its taken as a shot after a meal - then do try this. Needless to say Limoncello should be on the list, but add Meloncello to it, this is made from cantaloupe melon. The trip would not be complete without Aperol, you can Aperol your afternoons away.