8 Things You Should Know About the Amalfi Coast (part 1)

Sara Anna Iannone | Live the World

November 23, 2022

As I’ve already mentioned in my article about the Breathtaking Terrace of Infinity in Ravello, the Amalfi Coast is literally a piece of heaven of earth. It’s impossible to be disappointed by it as the Amalfi Coast lives up to everybody’s expectations: a dream destination that is exactly what it looks like in your guidebook. However, as you might already be aware, there are one or two things one should know before reaching paradise, right? So keep on reading to discover the 8 things you should know about the Amalfi Coast!

The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline located in Campania in the southern part of Italy. Consisting of 13 colorful towns, it runs about 40 km (25 miles) from its starting point (Vietri sul Mare) to its end (Positano). Don’t listen to anybody who thinks Positano is the beginning and Vietri sul Mare is the end of the Amalfi Coast. They’re simply heathen who don’t know what they’re talking about. Also, no, the Amalfi Coast is not Cinque Terre, they’re two different (and perhaps equally popular among tourists) coastlines. Which one should you visit? The Amalfi Coast, of course!

1) Sorrento is NOT on the Amalfi Coast

Taken as a base camp for the majority of tourists (especially Americans, I must say), Sorrento is an extremely popular destination because it’s linked both to Naples by train and to Positano and Amalfi by bus. However, this does not make Sorrento part of the Amalfi Coast. On the other hand, Sorrento is the last coastal town of the Sorrentine Peninsula. This might sound as pure quibble to your ears but, believe me, although Sorrento is indeed a must for your stay in Campania, it’s completely different from the sceneries and landscapes offered by the Amalfi Coast. They're both breathtakingly beautiful, but they’re just two different kinds of beauty, I guess (here’ s a succinct tip of how to get to Sorrento from Naples).

2) There is NO train service along the Amalfi Coast

You’ve read correctly. To get to Amalfi or to any other town along the coast (please remember that Amalfi gives the name to the Amalfi Coast, but it’s also the name of one of its towns) you have three options: bus, rental car or boat. While the third option is the most expensive but also the most relaxing, I suggest choosing the second ONLY if you’re expert and careful drivers. I’m not joking, the road along the coast is one of the most amazing roads you’ll ever drive, that’s for sure. However, it’s NOT an easy one. Plus, there are many buses going all the way up and down and the bus drivers have neither time nor patience to waste on inexpert drivers.

The buses operated by SITA are your only option if you’re not eager to try the above-mentioned two other options. I’ll be honest with you, riding on one of those SITA buses is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The bus drivers are as skilled as hell and I’ve seen them parking in unthinkable places, taking on curves where the only thing below are cliffs plummeting to the sea… I mean, the journey is UNBELIEVABLE both for the view and the journey itself. There’s another thing you should know, though. Buses tend to be overcrowded during high season. Consider that it takes around one hour and a half from Vietri sul Mare to Amalfi, so if you suffer from motion sickness you might want to think it twice before getting on. Even though the view is spectacular, you should also be aware that many of the buses have poor conditioning. Okay, maybe I’m not selling it particularly well, but I’m here to help you know the place you’re visiting like a local, so I think it’s important you know all these information. As I said at the beginning, there's a price to pay to get in heaven!

3) The Amalfi Coast is Frigging Expensive

One thing is consciously splashing out on something during your holiday, another is being forced to do so. What I’m trying to say is that these places are very expensive so if you feel like it, go for it. If not, be prepared and take some water and some food with you. It goes without saying that fresh fish is expensive everywhere in the world, so don’t expect it to be cheap in any place. The fact is that on the Amalfi Coast everything tends to be overpriced because it’s the frigging Amalfi Coast. My recommendation would be to take some food with you while spedning some money to eat a good lemon-flavoured gelato or the famous deliziosa al limone (a soft little cake made of lemon cream). It’s definitely something more affordable, unique and local. Of course, if you spot a place you think is convenient for you, go for it!

4) Dress appropriately

I know, I know… you’re on holiday and want to relax and get away from every-day constraints… including those regarding dressing. Well, although I’m not big fan of this, I have the obligation to tell you that in Italy people are a little bit picky about looks. I strongly suggest refraining from going around in your swimming suits or bare-chested. I’m not talking about the beaches, of course, but about places in general. You won’t be looked down upon, yet sloppy dressing is not appreciated down here. I’m not suggesting that you should be well dressed, I’m just saying that you should dress properly: a pair of shorts and a tank top will be okay; going around half-naked won’t.

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