There’s a reason why Italy’s Amalfi coast is one of the most visited spots in the Italian peninsula. Nestled between the cliffs and the water, the Amalfi coast oozes charm and inspires awe. The dramatic landscape, the peaceful blue infinite of the water, the food, the joie de vivre and the people are only a few of the things that will make anyone fall in love with Amalfi’s dolce vita.
1. Take a boat ride and go cave diving!
Whether you decide to rent your own private boat and driver or hop on a “sea bus”, a ride on the water along the gorgeous coast is a must! The boat will take you for a ride along the coast and will stop at some of the most beautiful spots. The bonus part is that it will also stop at some of the many caves with ethereal, crystal clear turquoise waters for you to take a swim. It is an unforgettable experience and it will be one of the highlights of your trip. If you do take a private boat, ask the driver to take you all the way to Capri for a quick lunch and a funicular ride all the way to the top of the hill for some great views.
2. Taste some mozzarella di Buffala
The Amalfi Coast is in the Campania province of Italy and Campania is where Mozzarella di Buffala comes from. The one-hour drive to the heart of Campania is definitely worth the detour. Drive down SS18 and you will be overwhelmed by the numerous caseificios you’ll encounter. Get started early though because the cheese-making process at these caseificio starts as early as 4am so it’s important to get there before they run out of cheese. Caseificio Torricelle, a very artisanal cheese-making facility has great fresh mozzarella and even better fresh ricotta! If you can, stop by Tenuta Vannulo, one of the oldest (and most touristy) facilities and one of the only fully organic buffalo farm in Italy. You can take a guided tour of the facility, witness the modern breeding and milking processes, and most probably spot some buffalo along the way. Don’t forget to taste their buffalo gelato.
3. Visit Ravello
Perched high on the cliff overlooking the entire Amalfi coast, Ravello is a lovely town to visit any time of year but try to make it there during their legendary annual music festival, one of the oldest in Italy. Open-air stages with breathtaking views of the coast below are set up throughout town to accommodate the various events. Make sure to visit Villa Rufolo, Villa Cimbrone and the absolutely gorgeous Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium while you’re there.
4. Have some limoncello
Limoncello, the famous Italian lemon liqueur, is made in the Amalfi region of Italy. There are lemon trees of every size and shape everywhere you go. Vendors sell the ubiquitous fruit on the side of the road and in every town. Some of the fruit are mainly tourist traps and inedible, especially the ones that are impressively enormous but are mainly pith with dried up fruit inside. Limoncello is made by steeping the zest of a specific lemon in alcohol until all the oils are released. The resulting liquid is then mixed with simple syrup to make the liqueur. It is served as a digestivo at the end of a meal. Pick up a bottle to bring home with you but make sure it’s good quality as opposed to the stuff made for tourists.
5. Get lost in Positano
Positano is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Built on a rocky hill overlooking the Mediterranean, the town is striking when seen from the water and even more so when strolling through it. Get lost in the picture-perfect town, take the narrow alleys, the winding stairs, the tight cat-filled passageways and let them lead you wherever they may because every time you turn a corner, you will gasp with surprise at the view that awaits you.
The Amalfi coast is very touristy and riddled with mediocre restaurants targeting gullible travellers. However, it is also a great place to eat with many Michelin-starred restaurants and beautiful trattorias if you know where to go. Always ask the locals about the best spots to try, including some of the lovely pastry shops and “bars” (coffeeshops). Make sure you try some of the luscious local pastries such as the sfogliatelle, a specialty made of crispy layers of thin dough and a creamy custard filling.
7. Find the right beach
Surprisingly, the Amalfi Coast doesn’t have a ton of sandy beaches because it’s a rather rocky part of Italy with cliffs diving straight into the crystal clear turquoise water below. It’s an exceptional swimming and snorkelling spot if you dive off some cliffs or take a boat out. There are a few exceptions when it comes to traditional sandy or pebbly beaches, even if it sometimes means trekking down a tall cliff using metal ladders. You will find some of the best beaches on the Amalfi coast through this site.
If you like driving, you will love driving on the Amalfi coast! With winding roads barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other carefully and slowly, vehicles impatiently zoom past each other at impossible speeds. It’s very scary at first until you get the hang of it and start driving just like the locals do. Add to the usual traffic the huge buses taking up most of the roads and turning the dozen of pinhead turns like an elephant in a china shop and the hundreds of scooters passing everyone left and right and you are served a beautiful chaotic car ballet. Despite the apparent danger, it is one of the most beautiful drives in the world, riding between mountainside and the Mediterranean below so enjoy every minute!
Featured photo credit: Andreas Mueller
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