The Amalfi Coast, or Costiera Amalfitana to the locals, offers one of the world’s most striking and at times hair raising stretches of scenic road on the planet. No surprise, then, that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. The villages rendered in pastel, the verdant blanketed mountains, the drops so sheer they seemingly spill into the ocean below, only to avert your gaze at the last minute towards another stunning vista…it all adds up to one of the most picturesque places on the planet.
Whether you’re all hands on the wheel or leaving the driving to someone else, this one really is as much about the journey as the destination. Along the way, we’re sure you’ll want to make the most of your breaks, with these; our 7 IDEAL pit stops along the Amalfi Coast, Italy.
MARVEL AT AMALFI CATHEDRAL
Amalfi Cathedral, in the Piazza del Duomo, is worth braving the crowds for. Its seemingly precarious perch at the top of a grand staircase bang in the centre of Amalfi town means the cathedral hovers majestically over the popular square below. Its relatively new facade (restored and reimagined in 1891 after the previous one collapsed) is stunning; striped stone and marble frames open arches; simply coming to admire the exterior is reason enough to visit. Inside, the crypt, holding the remains of St. Andrew (to whom the cathedral is dedicated) is full of aesthetic intrigue. The Baroque murals are particularly striking.
TAKE IN THE VIEWS FROM VILLA RUFOLO, RAVELLO
Ravello is a charming little town around 3 miles of bends and braids along and inland from Amalfi. Here, at the top of Villa Rufolo, are reputedly the finest views the whole coast has to offer. The place is a former watchtower, hence the fantastic vantage point which takes in the Tyrrhenian Sea and beyond. In the grounds of Villa Rufolo is a fragrant garden of blossoms. The space hosts the annual Ravello Music Festival, which gives new life to the oeuvre of composer Richard Wagner, who used to love spending time here. We can see why.
STRETCH YOUR LEGS ALONG THE PATH OF THE GODS,
If time in the car or coach has given you stiff legs and a touch of cabin fever, there’s no better way to have a stretch and to savour the scenery than by taking a hike along the famous Path of the Gods. Carved into the cliffs and clocking in at roughly 5 miles, this is a great way to take in some views of the picturesque scenes below, as well as the limestone mountains above and micro-vineyards sculpted into the hillside. Most walkers start in Bomerano, a small village with a few amenities and shops.
TAKE A BOAT TRIP TO NAPLES & BEYOND
Though we’re surprised you’d ever want to leave, the option is there to get on a boat and explore a little further south. There are ferries to Naples, via nearby Sorrento, which will have you settled in to one of the world’s finest pizzerias within an hour. And for just €11. Lovely stuff. Or you could really push the boat out (ahem) and look into your own Sicily yacht charter, allowing you the freedom to explore as much of the Tyrrhenian Sea and its islands as time and budget allow you.
STOP FOR FRESHLY MADE PASTA & LIMONCELLO IN MINORI
The resort town of Minori, a laid back place with a focus on the fishing industry, is one of the foodie highlights of the Amalfi Coast. So much so, in fact, that it’s known locally as ‘the town of good taste’. Historically, the Minori’s town centre boasted several flour mills, and because of this heritage, fresh pasta is a point of huge pride here. Yep, you guessed it, that equates to some of the best food in the whole of the country. The foodie festival Gusta Minori is perhaps the best time to visit to experience the huge levels of passion the region shows for its cuisine.
What’s more, nearby lie vast swathes of lemon groves where you’ll find the world famous, world class Amalfi lemons growing. It would be very rude not to enjoy a limoncello in such company.
HAVE A DIP AT MARINA DI CONCA
Conca dei Marini boasts one of the area’s more secluded beaches, Marina di Conca, one which is framed by cliffs which make it feel really private. The town’s cove is one of the most beautiful in the region and definitely worth a dip in if you’re passing. To get there, you’ll have to brave a descent of steep stone steps from the road or ride a boat round from Amalfi itself.
WATCH THE SUN SET FROM MARINA GRANDE, POSITANO
When you look at a brochure or travel blog of the Amalfi Coast, you’ll more than likely see Positano pictured at night. The twinkling lights of the village set into an enclave within a hill face, with a sea of yachts and fishing boats as backdrop, is one of the most photographed travel images around. The sunset here, the precursor to this much pictured scene, is perhaps best enjoyed with a grappa from the Michelin-starred Zass’ restaurant terrace; a beautiful way to bring the curtain down on your trip.