Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is one of those trips which you should do even if you are not a driving enthusiast.

It is located south of Rome in Italy and is a stretch of coast line starting from Sorrento all the way down to the town of Amalfi. There are many small towns along the coast line for exploration but given our short holiday schedule, we only stayed for 5 nights along the coast line with 3 nights in Sorrento and 2 nights in Amalfi. 

I will highlight some of the towns we visited in this post and try to follow up with a more detailed post at a later stage on each town when I have the time. 


Sorrento is a good place to base yourself because there are many day trips which you can do and there are enough places to wander around in the town. 

You can also see Mt Vesuvius in the distant that bury the town of Pompeii. 

There are many lemon and orange plantations in the town and they are for sale. The lemons is a critical ingredient for making Limoncello. A strong drink to end your dinner. 

From Sorrento, you can make day trips to the following places. 


This poor city was buried by a strong volcano eruption from Mt Vesuvius. This is a huge area and without many trees for shades. It will be good to come either early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the tons of tourists that descend on it as day trips from Rome. To understand the history of this place better, it will be good to join a guided tour at the entrance. We only managed to cover a small part of the excavated site. 

Island of Capri

You can get to this island on a ferry. This is the playground for the rich and famous. You can find many high class shops on this island such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton and spend many hours wandering along the streets. There was supposedly a blue grotto where one can take the small boats to visit the blue reflections in a small cave. I suspect that was probably a tourist trap and avoided it. 

Besides doing day trips, you can also stay in one of the small towns along the coast. I highlight two of the small towns we visited. 


Positano is like a picture from a post card. You can stay in some of the boutique hotels along the cliff that offer you a sweeping view of the small town and sea but be prepared for the many tourists that visit the town during the day. It is a good place to stay for a night if you intend to explore the small town at your own pace. Be warned, it can get tiring walking up and down the steps from where you stay to get into the town. 


Unlike the town of Positano, Amalfi is a working town. You actually feel that you are staying with the residents here and it is definitely less feel touristy than Positano or Sorrento. There is a Cathedral near the entrance as well. We stayed here in an old villa perched on top of the hill and unless you are residents or hotel guests,  you cannot parked in the town. There is an old paper mill where you can try to make paper and you can also take a cruise from here to the island of Capri and get a spectacular view on the Amalfi Coast from the sea. 


From Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, you can get a spectacular view on the towns of Amalfi below. In fact you can hike between the towns but we didn't try to do this. 

Driving along the Amalfi Coast

This was my first time driving in Europe and I chose one of the most dangerous and spectacular coastline. Imagine doing that with a manual car on the left hand drive. Haha. I was careless in my booking as I have assumed all the cars to be automatic. This was a deadly assumption. Always assume all rental cars in Europe to be manual unless stated otherwise. The drive would have been much easier if it is an automatic car but nevertheless, it created a strong impression as it was more than 15 years since I last drove a manual car and you can imagine my car stalling when traffic is slow. 

Parking is not cheap along the coast as it is scarce but nevertheless there are ample commercial parking if you don't visit during the summer peak of July and August. We were there during June. 

That is it for this weekend. If you want to know more about the towns, feel free to drop a note but nowadays, it is so easy to google and plan your trip using the Internet. All of my trips have been self planned since 2002. You should try it too if you have always been on a packaged tour. I assure you, you will regret why you didn't do it earlier. 

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