One day isn’t really enough time to experience all the Amalfi Coast has to offer. In the spirit of “one day is better than no days” my wife and I got aboard a very early morning bus leaving Sorrento for the ninety minute ride to Amalfi. It was great to leave the driving to someone else on the narrow and twisted roads, allowing us to just stare out the windows at the pristine beaches, cliffside towns and jagged rocky hills falling down to the sea.
The drive went by in a flash, and we climbed out of the bus on the waterfront in Amalfi. Of the towns along the Amalfi Coast, Amalfi is considered the least picturesque, which is a little unfair. I mean, this isn’t exactly the kind of place that hurts your eyes…
I guess if you’re comparing the beauty of seaside towns, someone has to come last. But standing out at the end of the wharf, I think Amalfi is pretty spectacular.
I’ll grant that Amalfi doesn’t have a great beach and that its waterfront area is a bit of a jumble of ferry docks and bus terminals, but walk a bit away from the water and you’re into a quintessential Italian coastal town. After a breakfast espresso and sfogliatella (which became a daily ritual after Naples on this trip), we stopped to watch a film crew shooting a scene on the steps of the Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea.
After a short walk through the town, we headed back to the water. Although we had planned on taking the bus to Positano, the perfect weather made a ferry ride seem like a much better idea. I’m so glad we decided on taking a ferry as the coastline on the half hour cruise was stunning.
Approaching Positano from the water was a once in a lifetime experience. To see the iconic beach and the houses on the cliffs come into focus was one of the highlights of this trip for me.
It became immediately obvious why this is such a vacation destination. As our ferry pulled into Positano, there was a great view of two of the medieval guard towers (the second one is just above the water level in the distance in the photo below) hanging right over the water. Once used to spot ships arriving on raids, many of these can now be rented out as hotel rooms.
And looking the other way on arrival, there’s that the world famous beach. On this mid October morning, it’s pretty laid back and empty. It was wonderful to visit here at this time of year… perfectly warm weather, and no hordes of visitors like over the summer months.
Here’s the same beach from the other end. Wandering along here, I kind of wished I could just lay on a reclining beach chair for a week or two staring out to sea.
It was getting on to afternoon, so we found a little spot just up the hill from the water for lunch. Positano had a sleepy feeling on this day with light breezes coming up off the water and scattered small groups of people speaking in hushed tones. After we ordered lunch, I was lamenting only having a few hours here… the curse of the day trip. Soon enough my mind quickly turned to lunch – delicious gnocchi alla sorrentina and a glass of local white wine.
After our late lunch, we wandered around Positano and started to slowly make our way up the hill toward the bus stop on the road above the town. There were some great views on our walk. Among them, the homes stacked above each other on the hills, the quaint stepped streets and the church of Santa Maria Assunta. Positano really is the quintessential Italian coastal town.
A steady, slow and steep climb from the water had us at the top of Positano (I imagine all of the 4,000 or so residents have amazing calf muscles). We stopped to linger for a few minutes in a spot used to take photographs I’ve seen in countless magazines. It was a lovely way to end our day trip before catching a bus back to Sorrento. A single day isn’t really anywhere enough time for the Amalfi Coast, but I was glad to have even that limited time in this part of Italy.