Must Do’s on the Amalfi Coast of Italy
I’ve been visiting Italy on a regular basis for many years now, so I pretty much thought I’d seen it all. I’ve explored every nook and cranny of Rome, eaten pizza in Pisa and lorded it up at Lake Como. For this reason I was a little blasé about my recent trip to the Amalfi coast – how much different could it be? How wrong I was! Even though it rained for 5 out of the 7 days I spent in the little town of Praiano, only 11kms from Amalfi, I was blown away with its shear ruggedness.
As the epic, snake-like road hugs the peninsula you twist and turn through cliffs that look like something out of Jurassic Park. The drops are steep and the roads narrow, but it doesn’t seem to stop the local bus drivers from throwing the buses around like a child would a toy car. Every near miss is noted with a heavy honk of the horn and firm “Maaaaama-mia!”
The food, the people, the views – I can’t say enough good things about it. Here are by top 5 things to do on the amazing Amalfi Coast!
1. Don’t be scared! Rent a scooter!
There’s a lot of literature on the internet and in the guidebooks, but don’t let their negativity put you off. Yes, the Amalfi drive is dangerous, but not if you pay attention and focus on the road (which is quite hard considering the views). My girlfriend and I drove all the way from Salerno to Sorrento, stopping off at Amalfi, Ravello and Positano along the way.
There really is no better way to see so much in such a short amount of time. I also think it is safer to do it on a scooter as they aren’t so hard to squeeze between the oncoming traffic. I’d rather do it on a scooter than in a car, put it that way!
2. Get off the beaten track!
Undoubtedly, and for obvious reasons, most towns/villages and cities on the Amalfi coast rely heavily on tourism. Saying that, there are a few smaller towns, such as Praiano where I stayed, that offer a little respite from the continuous sales pitches you receive in the over developed towns. If you are short on time, make sure to visit Ravello. A sleepy little town hidden up in the hills that offers the finest views of the ocean. It was built to act as a lookout point during periods of conflict and you can still get a sense of this royal history today. I would totally recommend seeing Ravello instead of going to Pompei, which I must say was a bit of a disappointment. Don’t be afraid to explore!
3. Eat where they invented pizza!
Naples is the region’s capital city and a truly diverse and multifaceted place to visit. Many people will tell you the city is dangerous and that you should avoid it, but I’d disagree. Like all cities, Naples has its bad parts, but even these areas were framed with some of the most beautiful architecture I’ve ever seen. For those that don’t mind getting to in the thick of it, Naples is the place to be. However, a 20 minute walk from Naples train station is a different world altogether. Beautiful hotels tower over the bay of Naples whilst luxury yachts race and the crisp white sales reflect the sunshine across the boule