We’ve all heard about it. We’ve seen photos and we’ve got an idea of what this coastline is all about, but in reality, we have no idea until we actually visit.
It was one of the first places I heard about when I met my husband. He told me all about his job, his life at sea and all the amazing places he’d visited over the years and of course, I had to ask if he had a favourite. His immediate answer: Positano.
I’m not going to lie, I had to ask him to explain where this mysterious place was. And to be honest, at 21 and, embarrassingly not having visited much of Europe, I’m not even sure I know what he was talking about. But I nodded and smiled and wondered if ever I’d make it there some day.
“The town itself is gorgeous but there’s nothing in the world like waking up on the boat and looking up at Positano from the sea” I vividly remember him depicting.
How many of you have been lucky enough to visit the Amalfi Coast?
I first came here on my previous yacht three summers ago. It was in the middle of the season after the slightly traumatic Atlantic crossing I wrote my book about, but with all the beautiful spots of the Med on our to-do list for that summer, the haze of the Crossing [almost] faded away.
That was a sail yacht so the galley was downstairs and my porthole was tilted downwards so at best I could see the pretty blue water and a glimpse of land in the distance and at worst, if I can say that?, I got views of the coast while everything was sliding off the countertops.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining even slightly here, but I remember finding an excuse to go and speak to the guests outside just so I could see the views. My jaw must have quite literally dropped to the ground or something, because the next day the owner tricked me into “going to buy some wine” with him.
It turned out he really just wanted me to get off the boat and visit Positano. We got ashore, he wandered off and his partner shimmied me along into a shoe store and insisted I choose a pair as a treat from them.
I fell in love. It’s a very small town but so quaint and quite honestly just adorable.
Not only that day did I get spoilt, but I also got to see the whole coastline by boat. And again the following summer.
& yes, talking of spoilt I am currently sipping on my coffee looking around at all the big super yachts at anchor off of Capri.
But I know that nobody cares about that. I assume you’re dying to hear my verdict of this infamous coastline?
From the sea, like my hubby said back then, it really is an incredible sight. So picturesque and pretty everywhere you look.
By land, the towns themselves are all adorable in their own way.
Positano is my favourite but it’s small and you really don’t need more than a day there. It’s busy in the summertime crammed with tourists and as overpriced as you’d imagine for a place of such fame. Check out the shoe shops where you get to pick your design and they hand make them into a shoe for you (costing around 50€ a pair, but handmade 100% Italian leather). And eating a beachside lunch at Chez Black is a must for fresh fish, the best mussels I am yet to taste and an all-round great experience!
Ravello up on the hills is much quieter as it’s harder to get to, but worth the visit if you’re in the area.
Amalfi has a completely different feel to Positano. It’s more historic in some way and the big church gives almost the feel of being in a suburb of Rome. Again, very touristy but home to the best gelateria on earth (fact). Be sure to visit Savoia & for any dairy-free folk like myself, they do a killer Pomegranate sorbet & also dark chocolate.
Oh, and on that note, don’t forget to get a Lemon sorbet in Positano, just by the ferry dock they serve them inside of a lemon but will set you back 6€. So maybe skip the novelty & go for a cup instead. Either way, they’re served in plastic so there’s no saving the world by eating out of a lemon like I’d hoped… but it is kinda cute. Lemons are a thing of the Amalfi Coast so make sure you stop in at one of the local fruit markets and check out the size of the local lemons! I didn’t get to do it but would’ve enjoyed a tour of a lemon farm too that are plentiful among the hills. And also on the road there are numerous stops for a fresh lemon granita and local fruit.
I’m actually salivating as I write all of this.
Capri is a separate island and also a separate world in itself. Its’ marina is one of the most expensive in the world, setting a small boat like us back a couple of thousand euros a night (don’t worry, we would never do such a silly thing!) but is also definitely worth a trip. Tricked again by the same owner, I was lucky enough to hitch a ride in the back of a golf cart type taxi thing up the hill with him last summer and meander my way down after a stroll of the streets. But best advice is take the cable car for novelty & expect expensive price tags on everything.
I haven’t been ashore in Nerano, but the bay is beautiful and a gorgeous view from the water and a word of advice for anybody not staying in the Amalfi area and planning a day trip from either direction (particularly up towards Pompei / Napoli) – do it by scooter and not by car. There’s only one street in and out so the traffic build up can be ridiculous. By scooter you can swerve in and out and avoid all the lines!
If you’re staying up that way or plan on visiting Pompei or Naples – don’t spend too long. Naples is the home of pizza and Gino Sorbillo is one of the original recommended places to get it but expect a long wait – apparently it’s worth it!
The Chiaia area of Naples was my favourite but of course visiting Spaccanapoli is a must (the main center).
If you’re that way, my biggest recommendation would be a treat at one of two places. An outstanding restaurant that’s surprisingly located and even more surprisingly well priced is Piazetta Milù in Castellammare di Stabia and an all-round amazing experience is Blu Stone a little further down the coast from a Stabia towards Sorrento (which is a town I haven’t been to so can’t comment on). Some of the best food I’ve tasted and the most serene setting. They open at 19:30 so be sure to get there then to watch the sunset & enjoy a glass of sparkles (on them). These are honestly two of my favourite places I’ve eaten and trust me, I’ve eaten in a lot of places!
Verdict? Do it!
It’s stunning, it really is, but be aware of “tourist traps” price wise, definitely get out on the water if you have the means – it’s very accessible with ferry boats and private day boats everywhere.
Positano by sea. It is a sight, isn’t it?
Let me know if you’ve been, go or have any thoughts!