The Amalfi coast is a wonderful destination offering the visitor ample opportunity to explore and enjoy the Italian lifestyle while marveling at the stunning landscape and ocean views. There are many wonderful towns on the coast ranging from well-known and crowded, such as Positano and Amalfi, to small and intimate, such as Praiano and Ravello. Depending on your plans, you may want to choose one town such as Sorrento or Amalfi as a hub from which to explore other areas or follow a route that allows you to explore up and down the coast stopping for one or two nights in different towns. Just remember that the narrow, winding roads require a “far niente” attitude as there can be quite a bit of traffic during the season. Another great way of exploring the coast and visiting the towns is by boat.
Positano (also known as “the vertical town”) is famous for its pastel colored buildings that tumble down the steep cliffside into the sea. This town offers stunning views, a popular sandy beach and many small shops and restaurants but be prepared for steep hikes up and down the cobbled streets. One of the more popular towns on the coast, expect throngs of tourists in the summer months.
If you’re looking for a more intimate, less crowded experience with equally fabulous views, visit Praiano which lies halfway between Positano and Amalfi. With a wonderful, though rocky, beach and access to great hiking trails, this little village and its sister village, Conca dei Marini, make a charming stop between the more crowded towns on the coast.
Amalfi is the largest town and, like all of the area, offers breathtaking ocean views. A maritime power since the 6th century, it is packed with historical interest. Be sure to visit “St Andrews Cathedral.” Begun in the 9th century, it has an ornate 19th century facade of striped marble and stone that replaced an earlier one that collapsed in 1861. Don’t forget to sample “limoncello,” a liqueur made from the famous Amalfi coast lemons that can be found all along the coast.
Head to tiny, romantic Ravello for more gorgeous views, more steep hillside streets and more fabulous Italian cuisine in the small restaurants and cafes that can be found in all of the towns along the coast. Less popular, therefore less crowded than Amalfi, Ravello makes the perfect secluded choice for lovers seeking a more intimate experience. Visit “Villa Rufolo” (built in 1270) to experience glorious views and, if you’re a Wagner fan, be sure to go during the summer months for the “Ravello Festival” (or “Wagner Festival”) which began in 1953 in honor of the composer. Though originally dedicated to his music, it now welcomes music of various composers and genres.
There are many more enchanting villages along the coast such as Maiori, Cetara and Vietri sul Mare. Whatever your preference you won’t be disappointed in the many charms and pleasures to be found on the Amalfi coast.
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