Lazy Day Trips to the Amalfi Coast, Italy
If you’ve had a social media pulse over the last few years you will have heard about the Amalfi Coast. You might have seen photos of colourful villages perched on cliffs above the blight blue Mediterranean Sea, or shots of fancy hotels and the glamorous people who occupy them. How can the average traveller penetrate this picture perfect world? The best (and cheapest) idea is to do day trips to the Amalfi Coast from the slightly dodgy, run down city of Naples.
We had planned to be quite active during our day trips to the Amalfi Coast but a landslide, and subsequent road closure, meant we had no choice but to be a bit lazy. Here are some of the places we went:
If you want to get technical (not my strong point by the way), Sorrento isn’t on the Amalfi Coast, but it belongs in spirit. It is also the town you’ll pass through when on a day trip to the Amalfi Coast on public transport. It’s a great little town and would be a slightly (actually, a lot) more laid-back place to stay than Naples. Walking along the streets with chocolate crepes in hand is about as active as we got in Sorrento. You can get some nice views from the cliff top areas, but my favourite part of Sorrento was the old mill located at the bottom of a gorge. It looks like the perfect place to set a horror movie.
This is proper Amalfi Coast, the town you’ve probably seen on Facebok a lot over the years. It more than lives up to the hype. It’s easy to get stuck in Positano – we spent a lot more time there than anywhere else on the Amalfi Coast, it’s just such a nice town. What can you do in Positano? You can check out the beach, explore the narrow lanes and steep staircases and wander into a closed hotel for one of the best views in town. I can’t even remember the name of the hotel, but after being “caught”, the friendly owner invited us to spend as much time as we wanted admiring the view and taking photos. This is one of the many perks of winter travel in Europe – the other, obviously, being the lack of other tourists.
Positano was almost deserted and apparently some people find it a bit depressing in winter. We loved it and we were lucky to have nothing but sunshine the whole time – I almost considered swimming. It was hard to tear ourselves from Positano, but there was more to explore…
Praiano is another atmospheric little town on the Amalfi Coast, a short bus ride from Positano. It’s not quite as photogenic as its neighbour but it’s a fun place to explore. The deserted (in winter) alleys wind their way down to the sea, and while we couldn’t really find a beach, the view from the water’s edge was great. The best part of Praiano was the sunset – it was the best we saw in nearly 3 months in Europe.
The Emerald Grotto
“Looky looky, it’s a miracle!” the weird boat driver kept saying. He was worth the price of admission alone, but the Emerald Grotto (a small, water-filled cave) was interesting as well. It’s really small, probably the shortest distance I’ve travelled on a boat trip, but it’s pretty exciting when he swishes the paddle in the water making it sparkle. I’ve heard the boatman sometimes hits on women right in front of their boyfriends/husbands, but he seemed alight to us, apart from being a bit desperate for a trip. The Emerald Grotto won’t be the highlight of your trip to the Amalfi Coast but it’s cheap and fun.
How to do day trips to the Amalfi Coast
The road was closed just past the Emerald Grotto and taxis which took the upper road (buses weren’t willing to travel that road) were really expensive. We would have gone on to the town of Amalfi and also tried to do the Path of the Gods, a scenic looking short walk. It was a bit frustrating but we did get to spend more time in Positano, so it wasn’t all bad. Getting to the Amalfi Coast from Naples is easy – just take the Circumvesuviana from Naples central train station to Sorrento. From Sorrento there is a bus service which runs the entire length of the coast (unless there’s a road closure of course!). If you’re planning on also visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum (you should by the way, they’re awesome) it’s best to get a Campania Artecard – it covers 2 attractions, discounts to others and unlimited public transport use. You’ll use public transport a lot if you’re doing day trips to the Amalfi Coast from Naples, so the Artecard quickly becomes great value.
Further reading: Pompeii and Herculaneum: A Day Trip to the Past
Have you been to the Amalfi Coast? What was your favourite town? Let me know!
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