A Dream Trip to Amalfi Coast

Amalfi coast is a dream destination for many, as there seems to be something for everyone! History, culture, gastronomy and spectacular Amalfi coast landscapes are what you will bring back and cherish for years to come, as this without a doubt is stuff of dreams!

Our journey to Amalfi coast started in Rome, we left the city on a hot day in July, when the traffic is heavy, and everyone wants to leave the city for something breezier. It took us around 3 hours to reach Salerno. For this trip we used the rental company Maggiore and we don’t recommend it at all. Trust the bad the views, they really are accurate!

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Where We Stayed

Hotels & apartments we stayed at:

Alternative option for hotels is Agoda. For a smooth rental experience, try Rentalcars.

Don’t want to drive yourself? Enjoy a guided tour with GetYourGuide in Amalfi!

foggy days at sea on Amalfi coast

First stop – Salerno

We drive back endless sunflower fields in our tiny car, so tiny that the trunk barely holds our suitcases. We stop at the rest stops to have snacks and wonder about the never-ending highway fires – it seems every few hundred meters something is burning and the air is full of smoke.

Our first stop is Salerno, where we arrive after dark. When are staying in an apartment, B&B Stefani, which boasts “10” in reviews. The apartment is really very beautiful, and the owner tells us how a recent visitor has now spoiled the perfect rating, without any apparent reason. He is very sad and we say we will definitely give him a 10, as the place is nice! He tells us that is trying to make a bit of money with this apartment, himself sleeping on the sofa in the middle of the living room, and renting out the separate bedrooms.

Italian city of Salerno

In the morning we eat a really nice, hearty breakfast, bread with chocolate cream, coffee, everything as my Italian friend Francesca always ate – very sweet, as Italians eat sweet for breakfast.

We weren’t planning on spending a lot of time in Salerno, but while it isn’t too hot in the morning, we decide to take a quick stroll, take a look at the Salerno cathedral, built in 11th century. The church is pleasantly cool inside, and we are almost the only visitors. We also take a look at the crypt in the basement.

narrow streets of Salerno

This city is like movies about Italy. Apartment buildings near each other, laundry drying on the balconies and even the narrowest street has someone on a scooter, driving through.

Soon it becomes really hot, and we head out to Trieste Lungomare, also called the most beautiful promenade in Italy. Takes us a while, as there is a cycling competition to start soon, and many streets and parking places are closed. We finally find a parking place near a café and first head inside to have cafe crema, which tastes like coffee milkshake. We also get lemon granita, you must try some when here! This is our first introduction to the symbol of the Amalfi coast, the lemon. During the entire stay, sometimes, it feels like all we eat is granitas and cafe crema! After this trip, wherever I see these tasty treats, I always remember Amalfi, works like an instant flashback!

The promenade is empty, and so are the streets. The city is beautiful, alleys, palms, blooming oleanders. I can hardly believe it that people told me not to stop in Salerno and head directly to the Amalfi coast. How can it be better than this?

Finally Amalfi Coast

Our next stop is Vietri Sul Mare. I had prepared a plan at home, and, based on the recommendations from other travelers, it says “drive down to the beach, park the car and see the view from there”. That is exactly what we do, and the view is spectacular! This is the place where we truly understand why Amalfi coast is so famous. Cliffs on one side, royally blue sea on the other, and a bit of fog on top of it, just enough to make it blend with the sky. Only the shape of the boats signals where the sea ends, and the sky begins.

We stay in the city just a few minutes, stopping by ceramics shops. Most have a sign – no pictures! We also take a few snaps at the sculpture of the mermaid and off we go!

ceramics shops in Amalfi

We have only two days planned for this amazing Amalfi route, and we already spent some of our time in Salerno, so we are already very much behind. But still so many places to see! Cietara, Erchie, Maiori, Minori, Ravello, and, of course, Amalfi! The daylight time is very short, not like it is in the North of Europe this time around. We have reserved a hotel only 2 km from the coast and have no plans to go to bed soon but stay as long as we can outdoors! But the providence has other plans for us.  

Already starting our journey, we understand that it will not be easy to drive here. We have a tiny Italian car, and when driving up the hill, it feels like we will have to push the car ourselves. The streets are narrow, and we even get into a traffic jam – another car scratched the bus on the other side, and everyone needs to wait. The lanes are so narrow that it isn’t for the faint hearted. I am glad it is my husband driving and not me. From time to time, we get lucky and there is a small place to park near the road, so we run out to take pictures. But this isn’t often, and so we circle around the tiny villages, looking for parking places then to go back and take the coveted shot. We move at a snail’s pace, as there are so many places to take pictures of!

As we are so behind, we decide to rush to Ravello, to see Villa Cimbrone, only open til sunset. A short walk in the city and the gardens makes us sweat so badly we need to take a rest when we arrive at the villa built in the 11th century. While little remains of the original buildings, the most important place is still there, the Infinity Terrace (Terrazzo dell’lnfinito). One might recognize it from the “Wonder Woman”, where queen Hippolyta holds little Diana in her hands!

Nowadays Villa Cimbrone is a luxury hotel, a popular wedding destination, but even without spending the night here, you can wander in the beautiful gardens. Our first order of business is getting an ice cream, and the terrace must be one of the most spectacular places I have ever had this treat at! While we eat, looking at the bright flowerpots and the sea in the distance, a guy drops on one knee and proposes to his travel companion. The terrace is empty, and it is just us and another woman witnessing this moment!

lavender garden in Villa Cimbrone

We take a look at the gardens, the beautiful lavender and lemons, and soon it is time to go further. It is the afternoon lull, when everyone is hiding in their air-conditioned rooms, and we walk into shops to let our bodies rest from the heat, and eye the souvenirs (and, of course, every place offers fresh lemon juice). We seem to have the entire city to ourselves!

Next, we head to the town of Amalfi. There are some preparations going on at the cathedral, sound equipment is being set up. We quickly have a snack on one of the terraces and rush to the seaside, looking for the best blue hour shot! There are so many places, and so little time!

Atrani during blue hours

We might the top spot near Atrani, and are still wondering if maybe it makes sense to go for a swim, when for some reason I decide to check – is there a limit to when can we check in? Turns out, there is! Palazzo Lauritano only allows checking in til 9pm, and it is quarter to nine! While the hotel indeed is 2 km away from the beach, it is up the hill, and takes us about an hour to get there, even though the GPS tells us it will take 40 min. On the way I call the hotel and ask if they can leave the keys for us someplace or wait for us? The kind lady at the reception agrees to wait for us and we stay the night in a beautiful historic house.

fresh lemon in Ravello

The influencer hotspot Positano

We want to spend out next day in Positano, one of the most famous places on the Amalfi coast. It feels like every day is an influencer summit here! Bright dresses in the wind, super wide sunhats, photographers with all the equipment and so many poses.

Alina Andrusaite in Positano

We quickly park the car, shily take a few shots, walk to the beach but it is just way too crowded for our taste. It seems impossible that August is going to be even more crowded, as there are barely any free spots anywhere for anything! We do find a place for seafood lunch and spectacular view and head off. I would have loved to stay longer, but my next trip here will certainly be off season. They say sky and sea merging is even more beautiful in winter! And the second bucket list item for that trip will be a boat ride. This time around we didn’t do it, but the best views certainly are from the sea!

Positano views

Staying in Sorrento

Our path takes us to Sorrento, which is much closer to Naples. Here we are staying in a beautiful guest house, Ambrosio Relais, where we not only have a beautiful two bedroom room, but also a terrace with a view to a smoking Vesuvius. No, not erupting, simply grass burning at the side. The guest house also has a garden with a nice little pool. After the heat of the day, it is everything our hears desire!

sunset in Sorrento

We leave the room only around sunset, walking in the streets of Sorrento when it is almost dark. On the recommendation from the owners, we find a nice pizza place (seems to be closed now, unfortunately), and enjoy the best pizza we have ever had! The place is completely full, and we have to wait for a little while to get the table, but it is so worth it! One must try the true Napolitan pizza served in this part of Italy!

true napolitan pizza

We head to the port and gather information about the ferries going to Capri. Let’s go! I have been told it is even more beautiful than all the other places on the coast. What could be more beautiful than that? Capri proves to be an exceptional end to our trip!

Sorrento port after sunset

Capri – the place of gods

It is quite early when we board the ferry. Leaving the car in Sorrento, as during the hot season, no cars are allowed on Capri (except for those whose owners live there). The ride is a breeze – we stay outside, observing the disappearing ships in the fog.

When we arrive, we have to wait for a bus to take us up the hill, where all the best views are. Here we start chatting to a man from Australia who shares a tip – freezing bottles of water overnight and keeping those in his backpack – this way his back is always cool, and the drink always refreshing!

the ferry port in capri island from the top

Finally, we get into a bus, full to the brim, and soon we reach the top. We want to stop for a little while but are shocked at the price – a tiny can of soda costs 5 euros! We finally find a place that sells for 2, turns out, if you sit down at the table, also becomes 5. I also fall for something of a scam, the infamous friend stamps. I buy a few postcards and stamps at the local kiosk, but soon notice the stamps are weird looking. Turns out, these are not the regular Italian post stamps, but some others, called “friend post”, and there is a separate mailbox for those too. Unfortunately, none of the cards ever reaches the recipients.

views from the Monte Solaro in Capri

Our next task is to get at the very top of the mountain, on a cable car. Each person has a seat of their own, and while going up the views are nice, what you see on the top of Monte Solaro, is difficult to express in words. Some of the most beautiful sights that I have seen in all of my trips! Stunning, bright flowers, blue see, clear sky and sculptures. Very worth the visit!

Monte Solaro views in Capri island in Italy

Soon it is time to head back to the ferry, but we decide that rather than going by the bus, we will walk. So we head to the Phoenician steps. Up until the 19th century, this was the only way how someone could get up the hill, to Anacapri. As there was no well at the top, the women living in town had to walk down every day, and then walk back up, carrying water. Even heading down the 921 steps is an effort, so make sure to wear proper shoes and not flip flops!

sea views from the Phoenician steps in Capri

Car rental or how not to rent in Italy

Our flight home is on the next day, so we leave the city with plenty of time to spare. Traffic around Rome is horrendous, then, there are the fires near the highway again, this time, more serious, but we manage to reach the airport on time. While the car was rented with time to spare, turns out that when we picked it up, the rental agency has unilaterally changed the return time by 30 minutes, earlier, of course! Even with that, it would have been enough, unfortunately, they keep the counter til the moment you return keys. And we had to wait around 20 min in line to do so. So, because of this, Maggiore charges our cards for another full day rental fee, but not the fee we paid, but according to their own pricelist, which is three times more expensive than what we paid! Unfortunately, this left a very unpleasant residue on an otherwise wonderful experience. Amalfi coast was a place to remember and a place we will want to return to someday. Not only one of the most beautiful in all of Italy, but also, potentially, Europe!

For a smoother rental experience, try Rentalcars.

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  1. Thanks for sharing your experience! It looks like a beautiful place with a lot to see and do but I’ve noted down some of the things to be careful of such as friend stamps!

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