The Amalfi Coast, just a few kilometres from Naples, is one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations, famous for its breathtaking scenery, charming beaches and picturesque towns.
It features 13 towns that form part of the province of Salerno, all overlooking the sea, with Vietri at one end and Positano at the other. The best way to visit the area is to take a road trip, driving along the coast, so that you can not only explore the wonderful towns, but also the spectacular natural surroundings, enjoying the beauty of the region to the full.
The top stop on your itinerary has to be the town of Amalfi, famous for its Sant’Andrea cathedral and for its history as a major maritime hub in the Middle Ages. You can take a stroll from here along the coast to admire the views of the bay and the surrounding countryside.
As you continue your trip, make your way to Positano, one of the Amalfi Coast’s most characteristic towns, renowned for its colourful houses and its beautiful beaches. Here you can visit the local artisan shops, enjoy the delicious food and go for a walk along the coast to take in the amazing views.
Continuing along the coast you come to Ravello, famous for its panoramic views and stunning gardens, such as those at Villa Rufolo. Here you can visit Ravello Cathedral, a medieval building housing some of the region’s most beautiful works of art.
And don’t miss a stop in Furore, with its wonderful fjord, where in times past fishermen would take refuge and shelter. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Finally, I would recommend you conclude your itinerary at Vietri sul Mare, famous for its artisan ceramics and its brightly coloured, instagrammable alleyways. You can visit the pottery studios here and buy unique items to remind you of your Amalfi Coast road trip.
The most beautiful beaches
Not only does the Amalfi Coast have beautiful towns that are a must to visit, but it’s also famous for its charming beaches with their crystal-clear waters, some of the finest on the entire coast. If you’re planning a holiday in this area, here are my top five unmissable beaches on the Amalfi Coast:
- Praia beach: near the town of Amalfi, this is one of the most famous beaches on this stretch of coast. It’s surrounded by rocks rising up from the sea and boasts very charming scenery. Its exceptional location makes it one of the Coast’s most popular beaches; we recommend a walk along the cliffs to the ancient Saracen tower overlooking the bay.
- Marina del Cantone beach: situated in Nerano, this crescent-shaped stretch of beach is bordered by cliffs and consists of sand and pebbles, lapped by stunning turquoise waters. The rocks make this beach ideal for snorkelling.
- Minori beach: near Ravello, this beach is one of the longest on the Amalfi Coast. It’s famous for its fine sand and crystal-clear waters, and the views from here are stunning.
- Furore beach: in the vicinity of Amalfi, this tiny beach nestling between the overhanging rocks is definitely one of the main attractions on the Amalfi Coast, a unique spot protected by UNESCO and attracting tourists from all over the world. With its turquoise sea and extremely charming formation, the Furore Fjord is an essential stop on your journey along the Amalfi Coast.
- Duoglio beach: this beach is close to Positano and can be reached via a long flight of steps; your efforts will be rewarded by a dip in its crystal-clear waters, some of the loveliest on this Coast. There are two beach clubs and a stretch of public beach.
How to get to the Amalfi Coast
There are several ways of getting to the Amalfi Coast from Naples. The most popular is to drive, either hiring a car in Naples or driving your own from home. On leaving Naples, you need to take the A3 Motorway (Autostrada Salerno-Reggio Calabria) and come off at the Vietri sul Mare exit. The Amalfi Coast is around 130km from Naples and the drive takes around an hour and a half, depending on the traffic.
Another option is to go by public transport, but I wouldn’t advise this as you may have to wait for hours, especially in the summer. You can take a train from Naples Central Station (Napoli Centrale) to Salerno station and then take a bus to the Amalfi Coast. There are several bus routes linking Salerno with the various coastal towns, such as Amalfi, Positano, Ravello and Vietri sul Mare. The train and bus journey takes around 2 hours 30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can book an organised day trip to the Amalfi Coast from the city of Naples. These tours include transport from the city to the coast and often a tour guide to show you the sights.
If you’re planning a holiday in this area, I would advise you to book everything well in advance to make sure that you find somewhere suitable, as the Amalfi Coast is a very busy destination in the summer. Also, to avoid the crowds and long queues, typical of the summer season, you may be better off organising your trip for the spring or autumn, when there are fewer tourists and the climate is still pleasant. In the summer, you can also encounter long traffic jams, as the roads between the various towns along the coast are narrow and winding, and you may also have problems finding somewhere to park.
But if you can only visit in the summer, I would advise you to avoid visiting the most popular spots at the weekends and on public holidays, and opt for weekdays instead, or else use a scooter and tour the Amalfi Coast on two wheels.
Generally speaking, a road trip along the Amalfi Coast is an unforgettable experience, offering spectacular scenic views, picturesque towns and villages, and the natural beauty of the region. Exploring it on two wheels can be even more exciting than a road trip by car.
Have you ever thought about it?
If you’re looking for more tips on where to take a dip near Naples, you can also read my article on my top recommendations on where to go swimming in and around the city.