If you’re like me and missing the European Summer right now – this one’s for you. I’ve wrapped up Naples to Amalfi all into a one week itinerary – making sure not to miss anything! From the top of Mount Vesuvius to the stunning seaside towns of Capri and Amalfi, there’s something for all travellers to enjoy.
Day 1 – Naples; Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius
If you’re anything like me, you love a good taste of adventure – anything that sounds the slightest bit risky, adrenaline packed and bucketlist contending. And Mt Vesuvius has always been that for me. The most popular way to explore Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius is by day tours, so that you can fit both into one day including the cost to travel between the two destinations.
Today, Pompeii has UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is one of the most visited sites in Italy. So the question stands, is it worth being one of the 2.5 million visitors per year? Absolutely yes, the ruins of Pompeii are unlike any around the world. Though crowds are usually a deterrent at any destination, in Pompeii it can offer you a glimpse into how life once was in this booming ancient city. To the naked eye some of the landmarks and rooms are hard to identify, so visiting Pompeii with a tour guide is the best way to go to avoid wandering around aimlessly.
Though Mt Vesuvius can be explored very easily by yourself, coaches are allowed exclusive access to the car park by the start of the trek. As I visited with a group tour, all of the transfers up to the entrance were included. The path up to the crater is really just loose rocks and rubble (skree), so it can take a little while to walk up to the top. It winds up in switchbacks, and thought the trail is quite wide, it is also steep with no shade from the sun. I found the trail quite hot, but easy going. From the top you can wander around the crater, and take in the unparalleled views over the Gulf of Naples. Though now the crater appears quiet and calm, Vesuvius is currently considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to its vicinity to Naples. Its last eruption was in 1944 and thankfully it has been dormant since then.
If you want to know more about the tour I went on, you can find more info here; The Ancient Ruins of Pompeii & Mt Vesuvius In A Day
Day 2 – Sorrento
Next stop Sorrento! And Sorrento is our starting point for our journey along the Amalfi Coast. From Naples there are fairly regular trains to Sorrento, the journey taking about 1.5hours.
In the morning, we’ll head to the Baths of Queen Giovanna (Bagni della Regina Giovanna). Burrowed into the cliffside of Cape Sorrento the baths are the last remains of a Roman Villa. One of the most significant archaeological sites in Sorrento, it’s now a popular swimming hole for travellers and locals. As well as the baths there are also popular spots along the seaside where visitors can swim and sunbathe. Away from the bustling main beaches of Sorrento, the pools are a lot less crowded, and are easily accessible. The walk there is about 30minutes from Via s. Nicola in town or there are buses available every 40minutes. The bus goes down the main road so it’s just a short walk down from there. Once you reach the cliffside, you can look down over the pools – to get down you just follow the bush path that trails down some stairs to the water.
Though it was unfortunately under construction at the time of my visit, you can’t miss the Vallone dei Mulini – an old Italian crevasse filled with abandoned buildings overtaken by nature. Just a short walk from Piazza Tasso, it’s a great stop while wandering around town square.
Next stop, the beaches. Being on the cliffsides, there are a number of small volcanic beaches around Sorrento – some areas have beach clubs and platforms above the rocky coast. For those wanting to relax on some sunbeds, Spiaggia di Sorrento is the place to go. The volcanic pebbly sand is dark in colour but the water is refreshingly clear. For a more traditional beach experience you can also head down to Spiaggia Pubblica Sorrento – however this is only accessible by either a €2 elevator or a short but steep trail that zig-zags down the cliffside. The beach clubs and sunbeds have an entry fee/cost of use like everywhere else in Italy, but there also a few places you can wander around and relax for free.
Day 3 – Capri
Capri itself is its own destination, so if you wanted to you could probably spend a week or so here alone. If you’re like me and short for time – a day tour it is! The trip that I jumped onto was actually from Naples, but you can do plenty from Sorrento as well. If you don’t want to do a tour, you can also just take a boat trip there, explore yourself and then return later in the day. A good reason to go on a tour though is that it includes transport all around the island which again – is full of long steep cliffsides. So the only way to really get around is by the famous convertible taxis that drive around the island.
For the tour I joined, I met my guide in a nearby café and she escorted me to the ferry. From there we jumped into a comfortable minibus and headed up to AnaCapri from Marina Grande while learning a lot about the islands history. From here we were given some free time to either wander around, or take the chairlift up to Monte Solaro and take in the views over famous archway – Faraglioni di Mezzo. The cost of the chairlift is €12 or €9 Euro one way (this price is not included in my tour as it was optional). The chairs on the chairlift are made for a single passenger so you’re welcomed to uninterrupted panoramic views all the way to the top.
Next was our included lunch at a restaurant overlooking the seaside from towering AnaCapri. Now you can’t really miss a Caprese Salad in Capri – just have one! Haha!
The rest of the day was dedicated to exploring the Blue Grotto. The entrance fee was included in my tour, but unfortunately due to the high tide the entrance was inaccessible. In exchange they gave us the alternative option to take a boat tour around the island. Some of the other places we were able to cruise and explore included;
- The Statue of the Scugnizzo
- The Grotta del Corallo
- The Grotta Bianca
- The Natural Arch
- Villa Malaparte
- The Faraglioni (you cruise straight under the archway!)
- The Bay of Marina Piccola
- The Grotta Verde
- The Lighthouse at Punta Carena
So it was easily the perfect alternative to missing out on the Blue Grotto. For the afternoon we were welcome to relax on the beach by Marine Grande until we took the return ferry back home.
Day 4 – Positano
Positano is arguably the most popular destination along the Amalfi Coast, with its colourful cascading houses and beautiful shoreline. In Amalfi the SITA buses are the running network along the coast. Bus tickets can be bought in Sorrento Railway Station (nearby the bus terminal) and in any TISAK store. The TISAK stores are essentially a newsagency that you can find all around Amalfi. From Sorrento the bus to Positano takes about an hour and for my fellow backpackers there’s a stop right outside the towns only hostel.
Today is a day to relax, and where better to do that than on the famous Positano Spiaggia?? Sunbeds and umbrellas along the waterfront can get up to €25. Visitors can also just take a towel down to the open areas, but the black sand gets very hot very quickly.
Where to Eat & Drink in Positano
Positano Beach is an expensive area, so if you’re after food you can find cheaper alternatives by simply walking out of the central area and beachside. A classic you can’t miss is the lemon sorbet served inside a frozen lemon. This is available in Hotel Covo just to the side of the public beach area.
For sunset the most famous spot to sip on a cocktail is Le Sirenuse. Le Sirenuse is a Hotel that also has a bar open to guests – however it does get quite busy, especially if you want a seat along the balcony. I would recommend getting there early if you want to secure a spot. If you can’t get there, the street itself is the perfect spot to watch the sunset over Positano. There are other restaurants and bars around the area as well so your best option is to just head out early and explore!
Where to stay in Positano
Hostel Brikette is the only backpackers hostel in Positano so it’s the perfect base in Amalfi for those looking to meet other travellers. The rooms really vary in size and quality, some are ensuite and some are not – but the bar area/balcony is perfect. There is a bar onsite and the balcony overlooks Positano’s cascading houses and wide ocean.
Day 5 – Path of the Gods and Fiordo di Furore
The Path of the Gods is a must-do cliff top trail hike when hiking in the Amalfi Coast. Ideally hikers walk from Bomerano down to Nocelle – just above Positano. The walk in total is about 6-7km, taking about 2hours with time for breaks and taking photos. To do this you can get the SITA bus up to Bomerano from Amalfi (if you are based in Positano you will have to get the bus to Amalfi, and then change to the Bomerano Bus). The journey there takes about an hour, and there are two different stops in Bomerano, so be sure to get off at Agerola – the trail starts just a short walk from here.
This walk has some of the most amazing views I’ve ever seen on my travels throughout Italy. I couldn’t help but stop and take photos at almost every corner. There were buildings carved into the cliffside, and rows and rows of what I guessed were grapevines below me. These types of views are exactly what I hike for. It exceeded every expectation I had while researching this walk!
In all honesty I got lost while doing this hike, so it wasn’t the most amazing experience for me – so I would recommend not doing this hike alone. If you want to know how that went you can read about that here; I got lost for 6 hours while bushwalking alone in Amalfi, Italy
Furore is a small town on the Amalfi Coast, particularly known for its fjord. The fjord opens up into a beautiful beach hidden below the bridge of Amalfi Drive. The bridge arches over the water offering a perfect birdseye view over the bight. The narrow bay is accessible by a long descending staircase from the main road.
Day 6 – Amalfi and Atrani
Amalfi is the largest town along the coast and is also one of the most popular due to its central location. For beaches, Marina Grande is the place to be for a day out in the sun. Beachgoers can either relax on the pebble stone sand or hire out the sunbeds.
The town is quite small, so it’s easy to wander around and recognise the Duomo di Sant’Andrea, the famous Cathedral. Located in the Piazza del Duomo, the medieval Roman Catholic Cathedral was built in the early 1200s and is dedicated to the Apostle Saint Andrew whose relics are kept inside. Between 10am – 5pm the cathedral is only accessible for €3 in the adjacent Chiostro del Paradiso. This is part of a museum that includes the cathedral itself as well as the cloisters, the 9th century Basilica del Crocefisso and the crypt of St Andrew. Outside of these times (but within the opening times) you can enter the cathedral for free.
Now Atrani I actually found by accident. I was following a dodgy google map route and ended up in a completely different village. And I’m so glad that I did! Not only is it one of the smallest towns along the coastline, it is also one of the most beautiful. It curves around the shoreline, packed with suited blue beach umbrellas and pastel coloured houses stretching up the mountainside. From Amalfi its just a 15minute walk away through a pedestrian tunnel – otherwise it’s also easily accessed by SITA bus.
For beaches, there is just one – Spiaggia di Atrani. But my favourite thing to do in Atrani? Get lost. As simple as that, just go and get lost. The beauty of Atrani is really found in its maze of streets and blue umbrellas. If you’re a fan of religious art, the collegiate church of St Maria Maddalena is the perfect place. It was built in the 13th century in honor to the Madonna for having saved them from Saracen marauders.
Day 7 – Ravello
Due to its seclusion, Ravello is one of Amalfi’s more undiscovered towns. Located 365 above sea level, it’s home to Amalfi’s iconic terraced gardens that overlook the cliffside. Ravello is a resort town, very popular for romantic getaways as it offers an escape from the many tourists surrounding Positano and Amalfi’s beachfronts.
Within the historic town you’ll find both Villa Rufolo and Cimbrone, well known for their panoramic views, marble busts and cascading gardens. Villa Rufolo looks over the main square with an entry fee of €7. Villa Cimbrone is also €7 but is arguably really worth the entry price. Dating from at least the 11th century AD the Villas are really popular wedding and honeymoon destinations. The journey to Ravello takes about an 30mins to hour from Amalfi, again by SITA bus.