Finally a visit to the Amalfi coast. Gotta admit we had high expectations as we have all seen fantastic pictures of the coastline with the colorful houses tucked into the mountains and hilltops. We imagined it to be mind blowing and exciting. Here is our experience. The Amalfi coast is an undisputed beauty with picturesque and scenic landscape. No wonder it is on Unesco world heritage list. The best way to grasp the scenery and get the full experience is from a boat ride along the coast line.
Getting to Amalfi Coast – we hired a private driver to pick us up at Pompeii. It is about 90minutes drive and around 85 euros if you book return. We used Benvenuto driver. There are of course cheaper alternatives like the train from Napoli to Selerno station then take a bus from there to your destination, whether it be Amalfi, Positano or Praiano. There is a direct bus from Napoli airport to Amalfi coast. For us with the intense hot weather and heavy luggage – it was money well spent for a pick up in an air conditioned comfy car. And you get to see the incredible coastal view on the ride.
Where to stay – we stayed at La Conchiglia in Praiano with immediate access to the beach. We were quite happy with the location of the Bed & Breakfast and stayed here for 4 days. Misson: RELAXATION and day trips to Positano and Amalfi.
Praiano – the small modest town with good seafood restaurants. From the secluded location we were based (the little cove at Marina di Praia) we liked it here as it was calm, Intimate and not crowded. Good seafood restaurants and the beach was right outside our hotel. Recommend Trattoria da Armandino restaurant and the lemon risotto.
Positano – the good thing about this town is that it’s beautiful and bigger than Praiano. We liked the narrow streets and vibrant colored houses on the hilltops giving you amazing views. We also loved that there were good art galleries. What we didn’t like was the amount of tourists in this town, which seems to entirely cater to tourism. There are many buses dropping off hoards of tourists all the time. There are few “original” shops and prices on (at best) mediocre clothes, jewelry and food are ridiculously high. It was crowded and just plain uninteresting. We took the bus from Praiano to this town.
Amalfi is a pretty town, with a beach much nicer than Positano. There are plentiful cafes and souvenir shops, but also here we felt the same issues as with Positano. Tourist-hell and not much to do. As far as sights go, there is not much (interesting) to see. There is the beautiful Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea, some okay art galleries and some nice buildings. We took a private boat to Amalfi, so we saw the beautiful coastline. Now THAT was really nice!
So to sum up, Amalfi coast will probably not be our first choice for vacation in the near future. It’s clear that these towns exist mainly for tourism, which we suspected before the trip. We like mingling with local people and enjoy some level of cultural authenticity, in this sense, Amalfi and Positano were a disapointment. Marina di Praia kinda saved our overall impression of Amalfi coast towns. Frankly we believe having a boat in the Amalfi Coast gives the full experience.