Italy is a big, beautiful and diverse country. Situated in the Province of Salerno along the southern edge of Italy is Amalfi Coast, known for its charming towns and pastel-colored houses that look like from the pages of a fairytale book. Its scenery is awe-inspiring that once you set foot in its lands, you will feel you have traveled to a completely different country. Whether this is your first trip to Italy or you’ve been here a few times before, a 3-day adventure to the “13 Pearls of the Amalfi” opens up tons of new and interesting things to do. The sequence of activities and attractions below are just a guide and you can definitely change it to suit your interests.
Things to know before traveling in Amalfi, Italy:
Language – Italian is the official language of Italy. Most Italian in the city and other main tourists spots, speak English so you can absolutely get by without speaking Italian language. Like other countries, speaking at least some Italian phrases or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by the locals.
Etiquette – Most Italians don’t like vulgar and loud people. As a visitor, you are expected to behave politely and dress appropriately. When you enter a shop or restaurant, acknowledge the people by saying “Buon Giorno”. First impressions are important, so conduct yourself properly while being aware of any social hierarchies. Always greet with “Signore” (for a man) and “Signora” (for a woman) followed by the family name. If you get into conversation with an Italian, do not go on the subject of mafia as this is considered to be rude.
Currency exchange – Italy uses euros, the same currency now used by most Western European countries with the exception of the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Norway. Prior to traveling, you can buy some euros (enough for one day or whatever your preference) and then exchange your money in the banks to get the best rates. You can also use the ATMs (called bankomat) at all main squares of every town, major airports and train stations. Credits cards are commonly accepted in most shops, restaurants and hotels. If you are going to take taxis, please note that most taxi drivers prefer cash payments as credit card transactions require them to pay a commission to the banks.
Getting around – Getting around the Amalfi Coast is not like getting around most cities in Italy. Taking the bus connecting the villages is the most popular way to get around. If you see yourself taking the bus often between the villages, then you may consider getting a Tourist Travel Ticket (options include 24-hour or 72-hour tickets) from the train stations in Salerno and Sorrento, tobacco stands and bars. It allows unlimited travel on buses within the villages of Amalfi Coast. Another option is renting a scooter or motorcycle. Renting a car and driving on your own is not recommended for drivers with little experience because of the “snaking” coastal roads.
Where to stay – Amalfi Coast is awash with various accommodation options with something for every level of comfort and budget. With 13 villages to choose from, the most frequent question from first time travelers is, “What’s the best area to stay in when visiting Amalfi Coast?” Without a doubt, the best place to stay in Amalfi Coast is the Positano, the iconic village filled with pastel-colored boutiques and breathtaking ocean view. It has the most number of restaurants, good bus connections, harbor and other attractions.
Hotels to consider in Positano:
Day by day itinerary: Discover Amalfi, Italy in 3 days
On your first day, take in a few of Amalfi Coast’s most famous attractions and get an introduction to its rich history. Upon arrival, check into your chosen accommodation in Positano. Then, rent a scooter and explore the village on your own. This is a great way to see the village without spending too much money on transportation. If you plan to take the bus instead, then don’t forget to go to the train station, tobacco stand or bars to purchase a Tourist Travel Ticket.
While it’s perfectly fine to just sit on a bench and enjoy seeing the pastel colored castles, houses, shops and restaurants because after all your on vacation, the village offers other activities and attractions. Spend the rest of the day at the luxurious Laurito Beach. If you want a bit of party vibe, then One Fire Beach in Praiano is your best bet. Aside from its music and cocktails, the sunset view here is outstanding.
On day 2, enjoy a comfortable journey through one of the most breathtaking scenery from Positano to Amalfi, the center village known for its 9th century cathedral. Although considered the main village and one of the largest, Amalfi can still be explored in just half day. But this does not mean it is not worth staying here, in fact, the village is a favorite of those who want to get away from the party scene. The village offers a quiet respite away from the crowds of its sister villages. In this village, do not miss to get a glimpse of the ancient paper techniques at Museo della Carta, visit the Duomo di Sant’Andrea, enjoy the wonderful views of the sea and marvel at the crystal clear waters from its pebble and sometimes sandy beach.
In the afternoon, make your way to Ravello, known as one of the most beautiful villages in the whole Italy perched high in the hills above the Bay of Salerno. Because of its close proximity to Amalfi, the village is pretty popular among tourists. Some of the attraction you can visit in this village are the Villa Cimbrone, Villa Rufolo, Piazza del Vescovado, and Duomo di Ravello.
Start your last day in Amalfi Caost by going to one of the best morning hot spots in one of its villages. After breakfast, get on a bus to Atrani, a tiny village just around the corner from Amalfi There is not much to do in this village, but if you prefer a day of just a few things to do, then Atrani will the best place for you. You may also make the village as your starting point to get to Ravello if you skipped it the day before.
The late afternoon can be spent on last-minute shopping and seeing those attractions that you haven’t yet had time for.
Have you been to the Amalfi Coast or anywhere else in Italy? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.
Featured image: Scenic coastal road, Amalfi, Italy (Pfeiffer / Shutterstock.com)