Along the southwestern coast of Italy, there is a land of boats, colorful beach umbrellas, and the most picturesque little cliffside houses. From the small towns of Praiano and historic Amalfi to the popular destination Positano and touristy island of Capri, there are so many different spots to explore. As an increasingly popular, but still fairly difficult to access vacation spot, I’m so happy I was able to visit and take in its immense beauty. Here are some of my favorite parts of this Italian paradise:
After our driver picked us up from the Naples train station, we headed towards the Campania region and were given the most scenic drive, winding down a narrow path overlooking all the boats and cliffside buildings. We were fortunate enough to have booked our stay at the cutest little AirBNB, with a sweet Italian family as our hosts. They greeted us with coffee in their beautifully colorful ceramic shop downstairs and showed us up the pathway to our private bed, bath, and kitchen with a sprawling ocean view from our sun bathing deck. I spent my mornings outside watching mopeds and boats of all shapes and sizes drift past without a care in the world as the sun rose in the sky. To begin our days down towards the actual water, we simply had to walk to a nearby bus stop that stopped along the different coastal towns.
The first town we ventured into boasted the namesake of the coast itself. Stepping off the bus, we were surrounded by shops filled to the brim with touristy goods, bakeries bursting with pastries & gelato, and the aroma of tempting Italian restaurant flavors. In the middle of it all, the great Duomo (Cathedral) stood, looking down upon everyone from its throne of steps. After spending the day roaming around, I was eager to jump on a boat towards Positano, with the wind on my face and the cliff side houses in sight.
The iconic colorful striped umbrellas and beach chairs of Spiaggia Beach are one of the most recognizable parts of the Amalfi coast (other than the cliffs themselves, of course). This area ended up being where we spent most of our time throughout the trip, which I couldn’t be happier about. Not many views can beat that of a rooftop cafe, sipping limoncello (one of those tourist necessities) while overlooking the water and a local artist recreating the scene on his oil canvas. Even a spur of the moment stop at a little restaurant for pizza and bruschetta before another boat ride ended up with us feeling as if we were at our own personal table right on the beach.
An unbeatable part of Positano is the amazing dining options – all with a beachfront view. One of the most popular is the Italian restaurant Chez Black, its walls displaying a gallery of photos with the rich and famous who have dined there. With its frontal structure resembling that of a wooden boat, the decorations are straight out of a mermaid lovers dream, from the seashell accents to the ceramic sea creature plates. This was easily the best pasta and clams I’ve ever tasted, and the fish my aunt ordered tasted so fresh in the hot summer weather. Another night, we tried a neighboring spot, Le Tre Sorelle, an Italian cantina right along the sand. While my aunt opted for pasta and clams this time, I decided on gnocchi, which was to die for. During our time there, I made sure to try a true Italian cannoli too, at the delicious Collina Bakery.
A boat ride away from Positano is the touristy island of Capri, home of the famous Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto). Approaching the docks of this shopping tourist hub, there is an even busier array of the classic boats, shops, and colorful buildings. We decided to head toward the city center known as the Piazzetta, which is loved for its high end designer boutiques, from Louis Vuitton to Hermes.
Being at the island, I had to cross off one of the top items on my world bucket list – The Blue Grotto. Even though I’ve watched the viral videos of it countless times, nothing can truly capture or begin to describe how amazing this experience was. We stepped into a tiny boat with the help of our guide and had to lie down in it to enter the cave. The water was the bluest I’ve ever seen, to the point where it looked like a factory of dye had exploded inside. Fish swam around us and the Italian singing of all the guides echoed from the rooftops of the cave. The experience left me both speechless and unable to stop smiling – this is one of those things I truly think everyone needs to do at one point in their life.
Thank you to the Amalfi Coast for the unforgettable memories, unparalleled food, and experiences like no other in this Italian paradise.