Italy is one of my travel favourite destinations, in the past I’ve visited cities; Milan, Florence, Rome. There is so much about Italy that appeals, the food (of course), people watching (expressive and stylish Italians) and glorious sunshine. The coast of Italy is a treasure, I know very little about. I’ve been researching destinations. For the most Instagram-able views, hot summers and a sprinkle of celebrity dust, the Italian Amalfi Coast is a dream destination.
The region is beloved of A-listers; Beyonce and Jayz, Katy Perry and Gwyneth Paltrow have lent their glamour to the beaches and hotels. To follow in starry footsteps or to simply create your own Amalfi dream holiday, there are various flight options from the UK. Once you arrive, the Amalfi Coast offers a range of stay options from from locally run B&Bs, to Amalfi Coast Villas and luxury 5 star hotels. The Amalfi Coast is a playground for everyone.
Set against the shimmering blue of the Mediterranean, the Amalfi coast is a string of resorts which cluster the hillsides around beaches along a winding edge of Southern Italy. Whether you hire an iconic Fiat 500 or a purring Italian sports car the drive along the SS163, the snaking road that links the various towns and villages, would surely be memorable.
A place for touring and exploration, I’ve gathered a short guide to classic places to visit. Some ideas for food and shopping. Tips to look like a local and to ensure you are wearing the right outfit to get served lunch.
Explore the town, stop and drink Campari in local bar. Visit the 9th century cathedral with its Byzantine facade or walk along the sea front promenade, Amalfi is beautiful from any angle.
Along the Amalfi coast
Visit Conca dei Marini, less famous than it’s neighbours, but just as picture perfect. Take a boat trip to the Emerald Grotto a wonder of a sea cavern, with sparkling emerald water and submerged nativity scene.
Cala di Furore is a natural fiord with turquoise water and a small beach, what makes the beach special is the bridge that spans the fiord.
Stop at Praino for beautiful beaches. Gavitella beach has views of iconic Positiano.
Positiano utterly picturesque with sunset coloured buildings. Positiano rises up the hill side and commands the coast line. The town brims with a proliferation of chic boutiques and bars. Whether you browse or buy, Positiano is an unforgettable destination.
As you would expect, the weather in South Italy is hot and humid in the summer, with average temperatures of 30 degrees. The draw of the coast is the cooling sea breeze.
Take a break from the coast and explore the region’s beautiful gardens . The gardens of the Villa Cimbrone, a luxury 5 star hotel (a notable past guest was Greta Garbo), are famed for their stunning landscape and wealth of plants, together with panoramic views across the coast. The gardens are open to the public every day with a small entrance charge. Villa Rufolo above Ravello has equally stunning views, Moorish architecture and borders of bright flowers in the summer months.
The Monti Lattari is the mountain range that sits across the region. For inland vistas walk the Sentiero degli Dei a linear walk starting from Agerola to Nocelle. Know as “The Path of the Gods” the name gives a clue as to what to expect; unforgettable scenery. The route is just short of 8Km and takes about 3 to 4 hours, it is the most popular walk in the region, rated as easy walk but with some sheer drops beside the path, it is not recommended if you are uneasy with heights.
Separating Italy from food is impossible, as noted the Amalifi coast has for many years attracted the rich and famous and in their wake, a host of extravagant restaurants, with prices to match. There is, of course, plenty of places to eat that are more affordable. The local favoured dish is Scialatelli all’amalfitana a long flat spaghetti type pasta served with seasonal fish; expect mussels, clams, scallops together with tomatoes and virgin olive oil. Lemons grow in abundance in the region and you will catch a scent of lemon from roadsides to restaurants. Delizia al limone is a soft sponge lemon dessert. If you can’t get enough of lemons the most popular liquor locally is Lemoncello is served as an post-meal ‘digestivo’.
When to Eat
Italians enjoy a small breakfast of coffee, expresso and a small pastry often in a local bar. Take a pause and enjoy a slow lunch, consider the main meal of the day. Locals eat later, lunch after 2pm and dinner after 8pm.
Italians have a reputation for style. Dress like a local; think pale chinos for men and polo shirts. For women opt for a-line midi skirts and knee length cotton dresses. Flat sandals, for climbing the steep streets of cliff side resorts. A must have is celebrity-style big sunglasses. Italy is conservative when it comes to religion, so if you are visiting a church bring a soft scarf to cover bare shoulders. You maybe refused entry to churches and restaurants if your clothing isn’t suitable. Don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun with a high factor sun protection.
There are plenty of boutiques and shopping spots. Bring back some sunshine by purchasing brightly coloured Italian ceramics, sold everywhere. Italian leather goods are another good choice. In Positiano buy locally made sandals.
The region has endlessly instagram-able locations. Instagram is perfect for sharing your holiday experience, it is also a great platform or pre-holiday research, find the best views and stunning beaches and more. Follow Igers Amalfi Coast #igersamalficoast or search the #costieraamalfitana #amalficoast hashtags for thousands of stunning images and make plans to create ‘like-frenzy’ Insta-perfection.
For something to read while you travel check this list of books set in the region. To get a feel for the coast, watch a film; Hollywood has returned many times to use the area as a backdrop for films.
For the best of the Amalfi Coast, enjoy a magical sunset from the many vantage points and lose yourself in the beguiling glamour of Italy’s beautiful coastline.