Along the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula lies one of the most storied coastlines in the world. Jagged cliffs vertically spring out of the Mediterranean Sea and villages seem to be original to the landscape. The fantastical views have inspired artists and authors, and the hills have served as refuge for the likes of Picasso and John Steinbeck. It’s no surprise that Italy’s Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular seaside destinations in the world.
It’s not the easiest place to get to, but I find most of the best places aren’t. From Naples, a small, regional train will get you as far as Salerno, but from there, it takes a car, bus, or for a few brave souls, a Vespa. The twists and turns of the amazingly scenic two-lane road hugs the rocky coast like a shy child to his mother’s leg. It’s wise to hire a driver given your eyes will want to be everywhere but the road. Besides being one of the best road trips in the word, SS163 also runs through some lovely seaside towns that are worth the stop.
Located atop a rock formation, Positano provides some of the best views of all the Amalfi Coast. It’s obvious how the town got the nickname, “Gem of the Divine Coast.” Despite the fact that the town was once an exclusive retreat, Positano has been able to retain its old-world charm. Beyond Positano’s obvious allure, it’s also a favorite destination for those wanting to spend some euros at the local designer showrooms and boutiques. Small shops line the narrow cobblestone roads and are filled with handcrafted leather goods, beachwear, and ocean-inspired home decor. Built in the 13th century, Church of Santa Maria Assunta is worth a stop to see the dome made completely of majolica ceramics.
Characterized by the smell of orange and lemon trees and astonishing views of the Bay of Naples, the small town of Sorrento has welcomed visitors for centuries. Despite the throng of tourists that flock here for the mild climate and brilliant Mediterranean waters, this quaint town with cobblestone streets has not been diminished. Take a look inside the Museo Correale di Terranova and have an aperitivo on the terrace of Grand Hotel Vittoria before leaving. It’s unmatched views and lively cultural scene make visiting Sorrento worth the effort.
Amalfi is the main town along the Amalfi Coast with its signature white houses perched atop the rocky hills. More than just stunning views, Amalfi is filled with little alleys that open up to small squares. Though the most famous is the main square. There is where the impressive Saint Andrew Cathedral is located. Climb the 57 steps and go into the cathedral’s atrium. There you’ll get a great view of the whole town..
The Amalfi Coast is truly a magical place. Sweeping views of the Mediterranean from the rocky hilltops combined with the sandy beaches and small towns make this part of Italy one of the best destinations in all of Europe.