I just arrived back from the Amalfi Coast. I had a dreamy impression of the coast and the thrill of taking a car and driving the length of it with the vast expanse of sea and the electric blue skies above meeting and melting into one as the wind filled the car and left me with an unforgettable memory of the journey. Welcome to our Adventure Report from our own Amalfi Coast Road Trip.
Beautiful as the drive is, I should warn you, it is in no way relaxing!
Our Amalfi Coast Road Trip begins!
We flew into Rome, collected our car and took the 3 hour drive down to Naples. That would be our base, with the expectation to wake up early, visit Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii then finish our day in Sorrento. From there, we would finally start our highly anticipated Amalfi Coast road trip – heading past Positano, to Praiano then onwards to Vietri-sul-mare. To finish off, we would brush past Salerno and complete a triangle ready to fly back from Rome once again.
The first evening was spend in Naples and to be frank, an evening was long enough. I wasn’t sure what to expect before arriving but it really is not a well-cared-for city by any standards. The Castle of the Egg (Castel dell’Ovo – much more attractive in Italian) was nice but unfortunately, the best I could come up with for the rest of the city was that “it looks nice from a distance”.
It says a lot about the city that the only photos I took were of the hotel room (which was very cool by contrast)
Naples was just a base for us to get up early and beat the crowds to Vesuvius and Pompeii – we did just that. A shouty Italian con man attempted to trick us into paying him for the free car park when we arrived but this was something I was never going to do as we had read ahead that this could happen. We found our spot and clambered up the volcano bound for the crater.
Pompeii was next on the list. We had chosen to drive but in hindsight, we should never have attempted to try and get to Pompeii by car – the queues were insane ( I guess that traffic rarely features in all the Amalfi Coast road trip stories past and present – it sort of detracts from the magic!). We scrapped that idea and instead continued on to Sorrento where we had planned to spend the night ready for our boat trip to Capri in the morning. Upon arrival however, the receptionist (Maria at the Hilton Sorrento Palace) provided us with incredible insight into the area and mentioned that we could take a 20 minute train ride to Pompeii and bypass all the road jams. (We also had a bottle of champagne waiting for us in the room too!)
For me, Pompeii was a little underwhelming as I had quite high expectations of it. I’m sure we missed some of the attractions though as we didn’t really plan our route and were a bit lost at times. I won’t go into too much detail about the site as everyone will have their own opinions of it and I’m sure everyone knows the incredible story behind it. I’ll leave you all to make your own minds up on this one.
Another suggestion from Maria (and I’m normally sceptical of hotel staff making trips suggestions (normally because of the huge overpricing)) was to take a packaged day boat trip to Capri. We had originally intended to take a boat there ourselves and plan our own day but having looked at the prices and what the deal entailed, it actually made good sense to go with the hotel suggestion, which I was not expecting.
Our boat tour was with Vervece Tours – with Nando as our charismatic skipper. Around €80 got us a return boat trip to Capri (on a 12 person boat with leather-padded deck), lunch, beers and home-made limoncello and a tour around the whole island with time to jump off the boat and have a swim too.
You can also check TripAdvisor for more user feedback.
Capri isn’t strictly part of the Amalfi Coast but we had seen so many great photos of the island that we thought it might be a nice idea to leave the car behind for a day and just relax.
We met Nando, our boat skipper for the day, and picked our seats for the quick blast to Capri port. There was a girl on our boat who had obviously prepared for a slow sail across and upon laying down her towel and spreading herself out ready to tan, looked wholly shocked when she started getting battered by the waves and the boat lifting out of the water and falling back in again.
The ride was so much fun and so was watching her trying to maintain her sex appeal whilst getting a good pounding.
We got off the boat and spent a few hours exploring the island. Top of my to-do list was to take the chairlift (later turned out to be pretty much just a wooden chair) up to the highest point on the island, Mount Solaro.
The video (at the bottom of the article) gives you a much better impression of the boat trip, there’s no point me telling you about how much I enjoyed myself – I did though. We jumped off the boat and swam in the sea, we lazed on the leather padded front of the boat, we ate tomato and mozzarella ciabatta and were treated to a amazing view after amazing view as we circled the entire island.
We were shattered after our day out on the boat and under the sun but we still had to make the drive to our hotel in Praiano ready to eat dinner and sleep.
Amalfi, Ravello and Vietri-sul-mare
Our intention was to town-hop the last full day and tick off a lot of the quicker sights we wanted to catch. We took one last look back at the incredible view from our hotel in Praiano and then hopped into our huge Fiat 500X for the day of town/village-hopping.
First stop was Amalfi, a small town which, unsurprisingly leads to naming of the Amalfi Coast strip. I wanted to see the Duomo overlooking the town square (Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea for anyone who wants the Italian) as I do love a good Duomo! (Florence had my favourite before my visit).
Well signposted throughout Amalfi was the Valle delle Ferriere. We found that it was a nature walk with a small waterfall featuring at the top. Luckily I don’t mind a little walk and we clambered up through the hills (in the midday sun) beside a raft of lemon groves and a small stream which grew as we climbed higher.
We were both sweating insanely after over an hour of clambering up the muddy path and instead turned back around to make our way to Ravello for some lunch in the smart and tidy square.
In the early afternoon, we jumped back in our car and made a beeline for Vietri-sul-mare to make use of our villa complete with swimming pool in the hills overlooking the coast below. We took a quick walk to the local off-license to buy some pasta, chorizo, fresh tomatoes and wine ready to cook ourselves a healthy Italian dinner in the evening.
We spent most of the day in the pool, enjoying the last of the Sun’s rays before heading back inside to shower and finish our amazing Italian holiday with an even tastier Italian dinner.
As we try to do after every trip, I have put together a short video of the highlights of our trip. As I mentioned, the Amalfi Coast had long been a drive I had wanted to do and I left feeling happy that we had made the most of our opportunity there and had created some fantastic memories that will stay with us. Please enjoy the video!