Every time I visit this magical coast I see something new, feel a new emotion or find an even more memorable spot within it. Our first stop was Salerno – the gate to this land above the sea.
Salerno is a bustling port town with a railroad station connecting it to Naples, Rome, Milan and the like. The train does not go through the rest of the Amalfi Coast so for many this is the last stop before embarking on the crazy road which links Salerno to the rest of this magical land.
Salerno has a fantastic old city filled with history, old churches, museums and lovely shops, cafes and restaurants. It is certainly bigger (and at times grittier) than the rest of the coast, but still worth a visit from my perspective.
Cetara is a little gem of a fishing town which rises above the sea but still has a lovely beach to retreat to.
Erchie is a picturesque hamlet of the town of Maiori. Another cute town with much history and a nice sandy beach stretching below the winding and jaw dropping road leading all the way to Positano.
My favorite place in all of the Amalfi Coast is by far Ravello. We stayed in a B&B which is owned by the widow of a Ravello poet. Our deck stretched out high above the sea and had spectacular views of the valley covered with grape vines perched peacefully over the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. We took the little cobblestone path behind our B&B and walked up the many ancient stairs to arrive in the center of Ravello.
Ravello unlike some of the other larger towns on this coast is quite peaceful. It has many gardens and parks and by far fewer tourists than it’s “Amalfi” cousins. An absolute must see is the Villa Cimbrone. The Villa and Gardens date back to the 11th century and offer beautiful grounds with breathtaking views of the Valley and the Sea.
Although each town on this coast makes it’s own Limoncello, the best we have tasted (and the cheapest), we bought at The Limoncello Factory at Via Trinity, 37. You can have a free tasting and watch through the window to see how this tartly sweet liquor is made.
So much has been written about this famous town. My mother and I visited here almost 30 years ago and Rob, Stephen and I visited almost 25 years ago when it was a much quieter fishing village – I must say that I loved it then. Today, it is difficult to get through the crowds of the never ending cruise ship tourists pushing to get through the streets and attractions before they need to tender back to ship. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a beautiful place, but I prefer the quieter towns above the Sea like Ravello, Praiano and the like.
We stayed in Praiano by mistake – it is a mistake that I am so glad that we made. Whenever we booked a hotel on this coast, we looked for a hotel with parking (which is rare – unless you are paying $300/night and above – we saw many hotels for $2,000 plus). However we discovered that each town has it’s own public parking lots which charge approximately $20 per 24 hour period. We could have stayed in a lovely historic part of Positano or Amalfi for $50/night had we not been looking for a place with parking. That being said, Praiano was magical and we are so glad that we stayed in this hilltop medieval town with views of Positano and the shimmering Sea below us.
If it wasn’t for the crowds, Positano would be my favorite city on the coast, but alas the crowds are almost as thick as in Amalfi.
This city is still magical to me during the day and the night. In the day the shops and cafes bustle with energy and the bougainvillea covered paths and streets offer great respite from the glaring sun. At night, the sea shimmers and the stars twinkle. The air is fragrant with lemons and oranges and one cannot escape the magical scent of this town.
From the Amalfi Coast we continued clockwise to Apulia.