Are you dreaming of a post lockdown roadtrip to somewhere beautiful – with incredible weather, food, history and views? If so, then you can’t beat the Amalfi coast, one of my favourite destinations in Europe.
My best friend and I spent a glorious week in the Summer of 2018 travelling around the area, and managed to see so much in a week. It’s a trip that many dream of so here’s how to make the most out of a limited time in the region.
Getting to the Amalfi Coast
The best option for arriving to the Amalfi Coast is to fly (or get the train if you’re in Italy or central Europe already) in to Naples. From Naples, many of the attractions are within easy train or driving distance.
We decided to make Sorrento our base for this trip and were so glad we did as it meant we were only staying in one place, but were perfectly located for wonderful days out without wasting loads of time travelling between places, checking in and out of hotels etc.
To get from Naples to Sorrento is simple. On arrival at Naples, we headed to the main train station to catch the Circumvesuviana train – a train which goes from Naples to Sorrento directly regularly throughout the day and takes about an hour. We then stayed in Sorrento for the whole week and branched out around the Amalfi car by train, bus, boat and car.
Day 1 – Naples
Arrive early in Naples, store your luggage in the station, and explore the city. Naples is often seen as a bit of a ‘bad boy’ of Italy, with a reputation for the Mafia and Diego Maradonna. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the glorious open piazzas, the interesting streets and buildings, castles on the waterfront and of course – incredible pizza.
If you don’t have time to do this on arrival, book a late flight home on the last day and do it then instead. You can check out my detailed post on Naples here if you want to find out more about what to do in the city.
Day 2 – Sorrento
Spend a day exploring your base for the trip, Sorrento. It’s a beautiful town with lots of quaint shops, a lovely marina to enjoy, some beautiful churches, a lemon grove, lots of Gelato, Limoncello and of course pasta! We spent the day happily walking around, taking in the view of Vesuvius and enjoying the wine and food. It’s a great choice for a laid back day to start your trip. Again, you can read my full post on Sorrento here.
Day 3 – Positano and Amalfi
On day 3, we hired a car and drove to Positano and Amalfi, around an hour’s drive away from Sorrento.
Positano is literally one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Ever. But my gosh there are a LOT of steps. We walked all the way down from the road to the beach (and back up again), stopping for lunch and enjoying the incredible views. After lunch we then headed to Amalfi, where we enjoyed the gorgeous Byzantine church, picturesque beach and a Paper Museum, before heading back to Sorrento for the night.
My full guide to a day trip to these magical towns can be found here.
Day 4 – Pompeii
From Sorrento, we took the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii to explore the site. The train only takes around 30 minutes so is really easy to do. In AD79, Mount Vesuvius erupted in one of the deadliest European volcano eruptions ever. Around 1,500 bodies have been found so far in Pompeii – a Roman city destroyed by the eruption and preserved by ash. The site is still being excavated, and gets bigger all the time. I visited Pompeii as a child, and enjoyed retracing my steps back through the city. My full guide to visiting Pompeii can be found here.
Day 5 – Ravello, Maiori and Minori
On day 5, we headed out in the car again to travel back along the Amalfi coast and visit Ravello, Maiori and Minori, three more beautiful towns just East of Positano and Amalfi.
Ravello was definitely the highlight, and absolutely beautiful. We drove out to it, parked easily in an underground carpark and it was pretty quiet. We spent a morning there visiting the 13th-century, Moorish-style Villa Rufolo which has amazing views from its terraced gardens. We also walked around the town, discovering the many beautiful ceramic shops (Pascal was our favourite), before having a late lunch and then heading on to the towns of Maiori and Minori.
Again these quaint little towns were fairly quiet so we enjoyed exploring the shops, beaches, views and delicious foods. My full guide on a day in these towns is here.
Day 6 – Capri
We visited Capri on a boat tour from Sorrento. We were picked up from our hotel on a bus and taken to the boat stop, where we boarded a speed boat to the island. We laid out on the boat and sunbathed as we raced through the water! We even went through the ‘love arch’ which is fabled to bring you good luck with your significant other if you kiss them whilst under it.
Capri itself is split in to two parts – Capri and Anacapri – with Anacapri being the ‘old’ town and home to the Villa San Michele with epic views reachable only by chairlift, and Capri being the area with the marina, restaurants and more shops. Both were beautiful. You can see why this is a playground of the rich and famous! Again, my detailed guide to visiting Capri can be found here.
Day 7 – Mount Vesuvius and Herculaneum
On the final day of our trip, we visited one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, which scientists say is due another eruption. So, is it safe to climb? Well….I guess nothing is ever completely safe, but before a volcano like this has any activity, there are warning signs. Technology these days means you’re going to be able to predict an eruption before it happens, so you can be safe in the knowledge it’s not going to erupt while you’re half way up it.
To get to Vesuvius, we again hopped on the Circumvesuviana train again and exited at Pompeii. From there is a bus which takes you directly to the start of the climb to the crater. The hike takes a couple of hours so easily fills a morning – my full guide to doing this can be found here.
After lunch we then visited Herculaneum, a much smaller town which again was covered by ash when Vesuvius erupted in AD79. I personally thought this site was better preserved than Pompeii and liked that it was smaller so you could see everything. A visit to Herculaneum is well worth it, and you can find more detail here.
And that concludes a week on the Amalfi coast. We found having one base and branching out by train, car and boat made for a varied and interesting week. We felt we saw most of the main sites in the area and at a leisurely pace as well. To recap, you can read about each place in the detailed individual posts:
Thank you for reading and I hope this post has brought back happy memories, or inspired new ones. Stay safe and happy travelling!