almafi coast drive

Whether you’re in Italy renting a car, traveling independently or stepping off a cruise ship and want to do an excursion along the Amalfi coast, here’s the information you need. We did this road trip with a very friendly taxi driver from Naples in early November. We were lucky with the weather. It was a sunny 21 degrees and it felt like the spring in Naples. We were stepping off a cruise ship and had no excursion booked. Do the next best thing: find a taxi driver outside of the cruise terminal or try to find a tour group to join. No tour groups were available so we bargained with a  taxi driver. We found one willing to take us along the Amalfi Coast drive as well a stop Pompeii, a stop in Sorrento for a meal and then bring us back to the ship, on time. His name was Maximo, full of very amusing quotes about Italian life.

Our first stop was the ruins of Pompeii outside of Naples. It will take you about two hours to walk through the archaeological site, depending on traffic of other tourists and tour groups. The entry fee per person is 11 euros but there is a seniors discount entry fee for seniors of the European Union. Show your passport to get the discount. Pick up a guide book or audio guide to the ruins if you want to know the identification of each part of the site and you don’t have a tour guide.

The visit to Pompeii is also somewhat accessible for handicapped travelers, especially if you have assistance to help you along the tour. Some of the paths through Pompeii won’t be as accessible because of the ancient roads made of stones. But don’t rule it out though. More on this in a later article.

After Pompeii, we headed to the mountains and drove passed a series of small charming villages such as Angeri. The vistas and views get more and more gorgeous. Our taxi driver pointed out some villages where people live to a hundred years of age because of the healthy food and lack of stress. One drives up into the mountains to get to Ravello and down the mountain range to Amalfi. There are plenty of places to stop along the where you can take some great photos.

Your first stop will be the town of Amalfi after Ravello.  This is a lovely seaside town to walk around in, stop for a coffee in one of the cafés, head to the town center a couple of minutes walk from the shore front. Visit the Amalfi Cathedral (Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea/Duomo di Amalfi).  Enjoy some souvenir shopping.  Buy some of that great Italian ice cream.

Positano is said to be even prettier than Amalfi, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide.  Stop by the Star Frutta Positano and pick up some fresh, fruits or vegetables or buy a pack of dried sun-dried tomatoes to take home.  The taste is incredible and you can enjoy it when you get home on top of bruschetta.  Food is incredible in Italy.  You’ll never tire of it and when you get home, you’ll miss the delicious tastes and varieties.

Jennifer Lopez vacations in Positano and goes by yacht between the Isle of Capri and Positano. While in town she stays at the San Pietro Hotel where a standard room begins at 1,000 euros a night.

Many beaches along the Amalfi coast are small and private.  To use some of the beaches such as Lionel Beach, Sorrento, Famous Beach, Stone Beach, Private Beach (actual names) will put you back about 70 euros by the time you’ve paid for ice cream (3 euros), coffee, coke (2.50 euros) parking (45 – 50 euros), a beach umbrella and two sun beds.

The Amalfi coast drive is a two lane winding highway around mountains, through mountains and up and down mountains.  At rush hour, it can get very hectic with big tour buses, goats and goatherds, people on motorcycles and Vespas and cyclists weaving in and out of the traffic. Leave yourself plenty of time if you have to arrive somewhere on time and you have to fight “rush hour traffic.”

We ended our tour of the Amalfi coast in the town of Sorrento and after a quick walk around the town, enjoyed a fabulous lunch at the Ristorante Tasso at Via Correale, 11d in Central Sorrento.  We ate pizza and Nerano-styled linguine with zucchini and zucchini flowers and some of that wonderful Italian coffee.  Expensive, but wonderful meal.

It’ll take a full day to complete the Amalfi coastal drive, but it’s worth the time and money because it’s breathtakingly beautiful.  After you’ve done the drive, you’ll be able to go back to the places you liked best and spend some time soaking up the beauty.

On the winding mountainous roads of the Amalfi coastline, as well as seeing the spectacular coastline, you’ll see big tour buses, Vespa type motorcycles, cyclists, and even goats and a goat herd on the Amalfi coast drive.
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