Best Things To Do in Amalfi Coast on a Long Weekend

May 9, 2017

Amalfi Coast

A visit to Southern Italy was one of the most amazing trips of my life. Italy never disappoints. In fact, the more I see of Italy, the more I fall in love with this spectacular country. This country has the most amazing food, history, culture, some of the most beautiful cities, I have ever seen. This time, our destination was Naples and its surrounding area. We visited Capri, Pompeii, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello on a long weekend. Where is the Amalfi Coast? You may wonder. Th Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline of the southern coast of Salerno Gulf. It is in the Salerno province of Southern-Italy. It is about 60 kms South of Naples. There were lots of things to do in Amalfi Coast and we loved every minute of the trip. The weather in Amalfi Coast at the end of May was absolutely perfect. It was not too hot yet. We could walk around in Summer cloths and enjoy the sun. May or September is the best time to visit Amalfi Coast, because it is less touristy and the weather is not too hot. This was my first time in Southern Italy and I was surprised by how different Southern Italy was compared to the North. There were no direct flights to Amalfi Coast, so we started our trip in Naples.

Naples

The first thing I noticed about Naples was the shape of the trees. You will only see these trees in the Mediterranean. The trees were tall and the bushes were concentrated on the top.

Trees of Naples - Naples tourist attractions

Trees of Naples – Naples tourist attractions

Naples looked like a slightly dangerous city first. I honestly was totally intimidated by the people who surrounded the railway station, when I got off the train from the airport. Next morning we got out to explore the city. There were many things to do in Naples as it is the second largest city in Italy after Milan. The weather in Naples, Italy was perfect for sightseeing. It was sunny, hot not overly hot. We took the cable car (furnicolare) up to the top of the city and I must say the view was quiet amazing from up there. Seeing the city from above is one of the best things to do in Naples, Italy.

View of Naples - things to do Naples

View of Naples – things to do Naples

Naples is a large stunning city with lots of history and the sea. Once we took the furnicolare back down to the bottom again, we had a hazelnut coffee at Il Vero Bar del Professore on Piazza Trieste, which is allegedly one of the best places for coffee in Naples. The hazelnut coffee is amazing, just make sure to tell them not to put any sugar in it. It is so not trendy any more to be drinking sugar these days. Then we walked over to a traditional Napolitan Pizzeria to try the local speciality. If you are wondering what to do in Naples, after a long day of sightseeing, head over to one of the famous pizzerias and try the local pizza. There were only two things on the menu: Pizza Margherita and Pizza Napolitana, the only difference was between the two that the Margherita had cheese on top. We ordered two of those. After the delicious pizza, we continued our walk to the old port.

If you are wondering what to do in Naples, Italy, head straight to the port and check out the wonderful view. We saw the ships and an old fort, from there we continued onto the old city of Naples. This area had some beautiful churches and nice squares. Some parts were a bit rough and edgy. Naples is a very interesting city. It had lots of ugly graffiti. Some parts are a bit ugly, but it has many beautiful sites for a tourist to discover. After seeing the main Naples, Italy points of interest, we hopped on a train to Sorrento to discover this beautiful beach town.

Square of Naples - Naples, Italy attractions

Square of Naples – Naples, Italy attractions

Church of Naples - what to see in Naples

Church of Naples – what to see in Naples

Sorrento

Where is Sorrento? It is a town overlooking the Bay of Naples in Southern-Italy. It is a short train ride away from Naples or Pompeii.

Sorrento is only an hour away from Naples by train. The train from Naples to Sorrento leaves from Porta Nolana Station every hour. The train has many stops, it stops by every bush, but in an hour you will reach Sorrento. You can also take the train or the bus from Rome to Sorrento. The train is the fastest way to reach Sorrento. It will take 2,5 hours to reach the city. The bus will take 4,5 hours. Driving takes about 3 hours. There are no direct flights to Sorrento. The nearest airport to Sorrento is in Naples or Salerno.

The town has an amazing atmosphere and it is very different from that of Napoli’s. It s a vacation spot with beautiful beaches, boats, amazing seafood restaurants on the beach. Weather in Sorrento at the end of May was perfect. It was too hot, but it was warm enough. There are many hotels in Sorrento and they are slightly cheaper than hotels on the Amalfi Coast or in Capri so Sorrento became our base and we did day trips from here to the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and Capri. If you are wondering where to stay in Sorrento, pick a hotel in the city center near the port or anywhere on the main street on Corso Italia. Sorrento is not very big, so you can reach most places on foot.

Beach of Sorrento - Things to Do in Sorrento

Beach of Sorrento – Things to Do in Sorrento

There are many things to do in Sorrento. The town is full of lemon trees. There are lemons everywhere you look. These lemons are giant. These are some of the largest lemons I have ever seen. The local drink is limoncello. You can drink it everywhere. I also like the meloncello, which is the same kind of liquor made out of melon. The local restaurants offer delicious seafood dishes made out of fresh caught fish. The gelato is truly amazing. My favourite gelateria (ice-cream shop) was a place called Raki where they would sell great flavours like Basil & Pineapple, Liquorice. The local food was spectacular as well. My favourite dish was the pistachio crusted salmon with passion fruit sauce, but I also liked the ricotta-stuffed gnocchi with tuna and cherry tomato sauce at Soul & Fish. This place was one of my favorite Sorrento, Italy restaurants.

Holidays to Sorrento can be relaxing and luxurious. Eating and drinking and enjoying the beach and the nightlife was one of the best things to do in Sorrento, Italy. If you want to be more active and wondering what to do in Sorrento, check out the lemon grove on Corso Italia. It s a very relaxing place.

The beaches in Sorrento are also beautiful, so it is a good place to swim when the weather is warm.

Beaches of Sorrento - Sorrento, Italy things to do

Beaches of Sorrento – Sorrento, Italy things to do

Pompeii

One of the best day trips from Sorrento was a visit to Pompeii.

Where is Pompeii?

The city of Pompeii in Italy was an ancient Roman town near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. It is located between Naples and Sorrento. The ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii is only about a half an hour train ride away from Sorrento. In order to travel from Sorrento to Pompeii, you will have to take the train that travels from Sorrento to Naples and get off at the Pompeii station. Traveling from Rome to Pompeii takes over 2 hours by train and almost 4 hours by bus. From Naples to Pompeii it takes 42 minutes by train or by bus and only 18minutes to reach the city by taxi or a car. There are no direct flights to Pompeii.

The good thing is that the museum has a luggage storage room, so you can visit the area on your way back to Naples. The cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum had an interesting history. How many people lived in Pompeii, when it was destroyed? It was a city of 11,000 inhabitants about 2000 years ago, when an eruption of the nearby volcano, the Vesuvio killed everybody and destroyed the whole city. Some fun facts about Pompeii, by the time of its destruction, it had a complex water system, an amphitheatre, a gym and a port.  The ruins of Pompeii is worth a visit for a day. What is Pompeii today? It is a massive archeological site, that can be visited by tourists, who are interested to learn about the history of this ancient city. Pompeii ruins in Italy is definitely good tourist attractions for adults, who love history. Pompeii for kids might be a bit boring. Also, the distances within the ancient city are rather large for children. At the entrance you can pick up a map of Pompeii and you can discover the remains of this massive, ancient city.

The Pompeii opening hours are the following:

04/01 – 10/31: daily from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm (admission closes at 6 pm)

11/01 – 03/31: daily from 8.30 am to 5 pm (admission closes at 3.30 pm)

Pompeii entrance fee is 11€ and 5,5€ for reduced fare for people between 18-25.

The Pompeii official site is here. You can purchase Pompeii tickets online if you follow the link.

If you dont want to do the tour by yourself, you can join one of the organized tours of Pompeii. The travel agency near the Sorrento train station can hook you up with a tour.

Most of the buildings are very well preserved today. The main square of the ancient city is interesting.

Here you can see the ruins of the ancient Temple of Jupiter, the butcher shop. It s quiet fascinating to imagine what Pompeii was like 2000 years ago. The only thing left here were some columns on the main square. Behind the square we saw the ruins of lots of houses.

Ancient Ruins of Pompeii - Pompeii Points of Interest

Ancient Ruins of Pompeii – Pompeii Points of Interest

Ancient Ruins of Pompeii - things to do in Pompeii

Ancient Ruins of Pompeii – things to do in Pompeii

There must have been hundreds of houses. To be honest, I was a little bored of seeing all these ruins. In the end, we found the amphitheatre. Took photos of the people inside who died because of the eruption. After 3 hours in Pompeii archaeological site, I was ready to return back to Sorrento. Adventurous travelers should be visiting Mount Vesuvius as well. It s the nearby mountain that erupted and destroyed these towns. It is considered to be the most dangerous volcano in the World and the only volcano on the European mainland that erupted in the last 100 years. Where is Mount Vesuvius located? It is located only 9 km away from Naples. If you want to travel from Pompeii to Vesuvius, just hop on the UNICO blue bus at the Pompeii train station and it will take you to the mountain. In the afternoon, I hopped back on the train and headed back from Pompeii to Sorrento. We spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach. That was very pleasant.

Bodies of Ancient Pompeii - what to do in Pompeii

Bodies of Ancient Pompeii – what to do in Pompeii

The Island of Capri

Visiting the Isle of Capri in Italy (Isla de Capri in Italian) by boat is one of the best excursions from Sorrento. How to get to Capri, Italy? Is a beautiful island about an hour away from Sorrento by boat. The boat ride from Sorrento to Capri was very pleasant and beautiful. If you want to travel from Rome to Capri, take the train to Naples and hop on a ferry to reach Capri. The ferry from Naples to Capri departs every hour and the journey takes one hour. Getting to Capri is easy, but there are no direct flights to Capri. You can check the Capri ferry schedule here.

Capri has some spectacular sights. Capri is one of the most beautiful islands of Italy. Once we landed on the island, we took the funicolare (cable car) up to the top of the mountain. The view from up there was truly spectacular. It is easy to visit the island on a one day trip as it is not far from the mainland and it is a small island, so you can see the whole island in a few hours. The island of Capri in Italy is a very romantic island.

View of Capri - things to do in Capri

View of Capri – things to do in Capri

Once we reached the top, we were wondering what to do in Capri. We walked to one end of the mountain to see the famous arch of Capri (Isola di Capri) that many of you probably have seen on postcards. Capri Island of Italy is veery picturesque. The weather in Capri was really hot in the end of May.

View of Capri - Capri points of interest

View of Capri – Capri points of interest

Then we walked to the other side of the mountain to see the view from up there also. The beaches in Capri were really spectacular. Then, we went Hotel Syrene in Capri to have a drink in this beautiful hotel. It is one of the best hotels in Capri. After our drink, we went to a traditional Italian restaurant to have the most delicious Italian food. My favourite dish is the eggplant parmigiana. There were not so many things to do in Capri, Italy, so in the early afternoon, we hopped back on the boat to head back to Sorrento. Our day trip to Capri was very memorable. This was one of our best trips from Sorrento.

View of Capri - Isla de Capri Italia

View of Capri – Isla de Capri Italia

Amalfi, Ravello, Positano Italy

On our last day, we hopped on a boat to the Amalfi Coast. The Amalfi Coast in Italy is an absolute dream destination and it is one of my favorite places in the World. If you are wondering how to get to Amalfi Coast, take a bus or a boat from Sorrento. You can also take a bus from Naples straight to the Amalfi Coast or a train from Rome or Naples to Vietri sul Mare and then a bus to Amalfi. The distance from Rome to Amalfi Coast is 275 kmand it takes about 3,5 hours by car or by train. If you are adventurous, I recommend driving the Amalfi Coast, but make sure you have full insurance on your car, because the roads are winding and narrow, so it is not easy. An Amalfi Coast road trip can be a beautiful adventure. There are also sightseeing tours from Sorrento. These tours will take you around the coast and a tour guide will show you the highlights of the area. You can book these tours next to the train station in Sorrento.

If you are only on the coast for a long weekend, an Amalfi Coast day tour is your best option to see the entire coast quickly. You can do this by the hop on hop off bus or by taking the boat around.

We opted for taking the boat as this was the most picturesque. We sailed by some spectacular hotels, we even saw Sophia Loren’s house on the side of the mountain as we were approaching Amalfi. She had a big helicopter parked outside of her house on the mountain. Amalfi had a truly spectacular view. If you are wondering what to do in Amalfi Coast, hop on a boat and sail around the coast. You can buy tickets for the boat in Amalfi town and there are a few boats every day that take you to Sorrento. The boat trip will allow you to see the entire coast. It is truly astonishing.

Amalfi Coast - Best Things to Do in Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast – Best Things to Do in Amalfi Coast

It is a must for everyone to see. It is one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen. Once we landed on Amalfi, we saw its beautiful cathedral on the main square, also saw its prize pieces at the Capella del Crocefisso. We walked through the exquisite 13th-century cloister, the Chiostro del Paradiso to reach the prize pieces.

After that, we walked around the city centre, had a coffee at the Bar Francese on the main square and hopped on a bus to see Ravello.  If you are staying longer in this charming town and wondering what to do in Amalfi, take the boat to Grotta dello Smeraldo. It is a swimming spot accessible by boat. You can also stop by Maria di Praia on your way home. It s a hillside village with nice cafes and restaurants.

Cathedral in Amalfi Coast - Best Things to Do in Amalfi Coast

Cathedral in Amalfi Coast – Best Things to Do in Amalfi Coast

Ravello

Ravello was about 20 minutes away by bus. The town was beautiful. There was a big white church in the middle of the main square. The town is small, but there are many things to do in Ravello, as it is a cultural center of the coast.

Ravello, Main Square - Best Things to Do in Amalfi Coast

Ravello, Main Square – Best Things to Do in Amalfi Coast

Colourful ceramics were sold in every store.

Ceramics in Ravello - Best Things to Do in Amalfi Coast

Ceramics in Ravello – Best Things to Do in Amalfi Coast

The town had beautiful old architecture and many ceramics shops. The town is a famous musical centre. They organize many open-air concerts in the Summer in Ravello. The beautiful white cathedral on the main square is a must see for everyone, who visits this charming town. There is a museum in the crypt as well. Ravello has two famous villas that everyone should see. One is the Villa Ruffolo and the other one is the Cimbrone, which functions as a hotel today.

Positano

Soon after, we hopped back on the bus to Amalfi and the boat took us to Positano. Where is Positano, Italy? You may have never heard of this place. Positano is a village of the Amalfi Coast in Campania, Italy. It is mainly in an enclave of the hills leading down to the coast. Positano was a prosperous port town of the Amalfi Republic in the middle-ages, but in the 19th century the town underwent a recession and more than half of the population emigrated to America. In the 20th century, it was a poor fishing village until John Steinbeck published an article about Positano in May 1953 in Harper’s Bazaar.  He wrote: “It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” After this article, tourists started flocking to the coast and the town became a major tourist destination.

Positano - Best Things to Do in Amalfi Coast

Positano – Best Things to Do in Amalfi Coast

Positano is a beautiful beach town with an amazing view. It is truly spectacular. It is not too big and there are not many things to do in Positano, but it is a charming town. We spent the afternoon on the beach here, had another amazing lunch and then hopped on the boat again to head back to Sorrento. If you are staying longer and wondering what to do in Positano, stay a boat to Grotta delle Matera to see the cave town. Also, stop at the three small islands called stop as Li Galli and learn about the story of the singing Sirens, whose songs would enthrall mariners who sailed by.

If you want to stay longer on the Amalfi Coast, you should visit some of the best beaches of the coast:

The Beach Marina Grande of Positano – Most desirable beach for the jet-set crowd 

The Beach Marina Grande of Amalfi – Busiest, most extensive beach on the coast

The beach of Vietri sul Mare – Sandy beach, easily accessible by car

The beach of Erchie – The highlight of the beach is spiaggia di Cauco, which can only be reached by boat

The beach of Furore (Most beautiful beach on the Amalfi) can be reached by sea or by taking the steep staircases from the SS163

The beaches of Maori – The beach of Cavallo Morto or Calla Bellavaia. These white sandy beaches can only be reached by boat. These beaches are the perfect places for snorkeling.

Where to Stay on Amalfi Coast?

If you want to stay overnight on this beautiful coast and wondering where to stay in Amalfi Coast, reserve a room in Ravello, because it is less touristy than the other towns on the Amalfi Coast and the views are spectacular.

A quick trip to Southern Italy was an incredible experience. I don’t remember ever seeing so much beauty in such a short period of time. Only in Italy can you see all these amazing sceneries, indulge in the best food and gelato, hang on the most beautiful beaches and learn about ancient history. I believe this country is heaven on Earth and I will surely return very soon.

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Summary

Article Name
Dream Vacation in Southern Italy
Description
Dream Vacation in Southern Italy is a journey around Southern Italy, Naples, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi Coast, Ravello, Pompeii, Capri.
Author

About Barbara

Barbara is a London based luxury travel and lifestyle blogger. She started traveling through Paris, London, New York, Milan, Tokyo at the age of 17 to conquer the World as a model. Ever since, she has visited 67 countries. She writes about the most exclusive jet-set destinations such as Cannes, Venice Film Festivals, Monaco Grand Prix, Oscar Parties in LA, Fashion Weeks in Milan or Paris as well as yacht parties in St-Tropez, Miami Art Basel, Biennale in Venice, Frieze in London or the Royal Wedding in Monaco.

  • Catarina Leonardo

    I totally agree that Italy never disappoints…. The places that i know are really amazing. I need to visit this amazing place of the coast.

    • Barb

      Yes, it is amazing. I hope you will visit it one day! You will totally fall in love with it.

  • megan_claire

    Brings back memories! We based ourselves in Naples and did each of these as day trips – Capri, Amalfi Coast and Pompeii were highlights – such a beautiful region of Italy 🙂

    • Barb

      Yes, it is one of my favorite parts of the World and Italy is my faorite country.

  • Elisa Subirats

    I have seen some of these places during long WEs but I am still missing Capri, Amalfi and Positano. I definitely need to go back to that area, so colorful and so much to explore!

    • Barb

      These are the most beautiful places on this list. So, yes, you should go back to see more.

  • Marissa Abao

    This is a great travel guide. I have not been to Italy yet. The Amalfi Coast looks really beautiful. I am sure that I would love the weather and culture. I also like ‘eggplant parmigiana’ and it must taste better in Italy. I hope that I can visit Italy someday.

    • Barb

      You must see Italy. It is my favorite country in the WOrld! I would love to have some eggplant parmiagiana now. I am sitting in a hotel in Seoul and I havent had western food for weeks.

  • I’ve visited a few places in Italy but unfortunately haven’t visited Naples or the Amalfi Coast. I’d love to see all the little village cut into the hillsides and I’ve always been fascinated with Pompeii. I’d love to explore the area one day.

    • Barb

      Yes, this is the most beautiful part of Italy, so I promise you wont be disappointed. Pompeii is less interesting than the rest, but the Alamfi is really beautiful.

  • Naples looks like a huge city, way bigger than I had pictured. My pick is Sorrento. The beach looks so lovely. I can just imagine sitting under an umbrella and reading a book.

    • Barb

      Sorrento is a very pleasant place. I loved it. The food and the ice-cream was great too. I think Capri is also very beautiful, so I think you would enjoy visiting that as well.

  • My daughter is currently studying the Italian Renaissance in Art History and she has told me that one of the parts of the painting that they must study are the trees. The shapes are just so different in every part of Italy that a tree in the background of a painting can reveal the city it was painted in and give reason to its context. Italy is a fascinating place, I went in 2012 and I hope to go again the future.

    • Barb

      Yes, it s very far from New Zealand, so it s a long way to go for you. Yes, the trees are so beautiful in Italy. I have never seen trees like these anywhere else before.

  • Great list. I’ve been fascinated by Pompeii since I was a kid after watching a scratchy Nat Geo documentary about it.

    What’s the best local-ish wine you tried?

    • Barb

      I dont drink alcohol, so I am not the best person to advise you on wine. I believe Tuscany is more famous for wine than this region.

  • Danik Bates

    I only drove around the area and never really checked out the place several years ago so I need to go back. But that photo of the bodies of Pompeii, are they real bodies covered in ash?

    • Barb

      Yes, they are. People were covered by lava and they just died is weird poses. It s abit freaky, but also interesting to see these figures.

  • Carol

    This is such a mouth-watering articles of the best coastal towns of southern Italy. Unfortunately, we only did Sorrento and Pompeii and then went up north right away. Should have explored the others, especially Amalfi Coast!

    • Barb

      Yes, the Amalfi is truly beautiful. It is one of the most romantic places I have ever seen in my life.

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