Tips and things to know
– The Food is great. Eat pizza, pasta and…more pizza til’ your heart’s content! No but really, the South is home to citrus fruits, fields of durum wheat for pasta, olive groves and vineyards. Seafood is also heavily enjoyed and mozzarella cheese is a must try! So in other words.. if you love food, then you will love Southern Italy.
– Limonchello is also a popular liquor produced in Southern Italy from the citrus trees throughout the region and is sold practically everywhere.
– Catch a boat to as many of the towns as you can! The views of the towns you will be greeted with are absolutely incredible from the water and views that you certainly wouldn’t get from catching a bus or car into town.
– Many of the beaches are private, meaning you will have to pay a fee to be able to use the sun umbrella and chairs that lay across many of the beaches.
– There is lots of opportunity for walking and hiking throughout this region. Many hikes can comprise of steep and ragged stairs, nonetheless the picturesque views are breathtaking and you can bet you will be burning off all the food you will be eating!
– Tipping in Italy is not necessary…I repeat, you do not have to tip nor are you expected to! It may be simply a nice gesture to tip a great taxi service, dining experience or tour company etc however it is not expected.
– Don’t assume you can buy tickets for public transportation directly on the bus/boat/train etc, because you cannot. They don’t have ticket machines to do so and you will need to buy your ticket prior to boarding from a tobacco shop and other various shops. If you’re planning a trip on Sunday, it’s a good idea to buy your tickets the day before to save yourself the hassle of finding an open store to buy a ticket.
When to go
Summer (June – August) – Summer is the busiest and most expensive time to visit, with many tourists flocking to Southern Italy for the hot weather, luxurious beaches and for the perfect vacation. August is also when many Italians take holidays, so if you’re planning a visit around August expect it to be busy and sweltering hot! But if you love local festivals and nightlife, July and August are the best months to visit as there is plenty of entertainment.
Spring & Autumn (March – May & Sept – Nov) – Spring and Autumn are great times as the temperature is very pleasant and mild with balmy nights and the days are still long and accommodation is still cheaper than July and August. September and October is great as many of the crowds from Summer have disappeared and the Spring months are beautiful with bright blooms beginning to flourish along the coastline and many restaurants begin to open their doors again after winter.
Winter (Dec – Feb) – The quietest time to visit with no crowds but many restaurants close their doors during these quieter months as they rely on the busy peak seasons for business. The temperature is coldest in these months with rougher seas crashing the shorelines but you can bet you will have no crowds to worry about.
Where to stay
There are many quaint (and absolutely gorgeous!) little coastal towns perched along the steep cliffs along the coast of Amalfi to pick from. Some are slightly quieter and cheaper than others, while others can offer something different to one another. Depending on your budget and what you would like to experience can determine this. I do recommend picking one or maybe even two towns as a base to stay as the great thing is that the towns can easily be reached by boat or car, bus, taxi or scooter (you get the picture)! Basically wherever you decide to stay, each town isn’t too far from one another making hopping from town to town super assessable.
Sorrento – Although Sorrento isn’t technically classified as being a part of the ‘Amalfi Coastline’, I’ll just say that it marks the beginning of the 50 kilometre stretch of Coastline.. Sorrento is a great spot to stay and venture to and from, however if you are planning a trip to see Southern Italy’s smaller seaside towns, definitely venture on and stay elsewhere along the Amalfi Coast.
Positano – Positano is more expensive and exclusive than many other towns however if you are willing to spend a little extra it will be well worth it to stay in Positano. The romantic vibes, zig zagged streets adorned with beautiful floral terraces and jaw dropping views are a few reasons to love Positano.
Amalfi – Amalfi is fringed with gorgeous lemon terraces that spread along the high hillside and cliffs and pastel, white washed villages running down the ragged cliffs. Amalfi is also home to pebbled beaches, markets for shopping as well as tasty food and views that will be hard to forget. Amalfi is arguably the busiest and most well known town, often used as a base for many travellers that want to explore further south of the coast.
Ravello – Ravello is known for its stunning views and with beautiful Cliffside gardens. Unlike Positano and Amalfi, Ravello hasn’t got beach access; instead this town is perched high up on the cliffs with sweeping views of the coast.
Praino and Conca De Marini Praino – These two sit not far from one another and are far less visited in comparison to some of the other popular towns such as Positano and Amalfi. Praiano and Conca are considered the most romantic spots along Amalfi with spectacular sunsets and views of Isle of Capri and Positano.
Cetara – Cetara is a little fishing village with secluded beaches and picturesque pastel villages, making it quite the hidden jewel for travelers who stumble across this sleepy fishing town.
Minori – Minori is another tiny seaside town not far from Amalfi, only uncrowed and more laid back. Interesting fact: The terraced gardens and citrus trees that sit up the rugged hillsides of Minori are often used to produce limoncello, (the area’s famous liqueur – that is delicious). Minori also hold an annual food festival GustaMinori.
Furore – Amalfi’s best kept secret is Furore. The tiny village of houses are tightly scattered along the steep mountainside overlooking the sea and is often completely overlooked by passing travelers. The most attractive thing about the village is its beautiful setting of olive trees and grapevines on terraces going up the ragged hillside and the deep blue sea.
Travellers can make use of a combination of travel methods such as boat systems, car and bus to get around to most major tourist spots but also to a number of off the beaten path locations.
Bus – There are enough bus services available to get from town to town without the hassle of driving yourself or catching a boat. SITA is a local bus service that travel along the Amalfi Coast. The buses can get very crowded – and I mean totally cramped – during the Summer months and often takes up to an hour or more to get from town to town depending on where you are going. Also, remember that you need to buy bus tickets before you hop on the bus. You can buy tickets from various cafes and look out for shops that display the SITA logo.
Boat/ferry – is a popular & quicker option to get around and run more frequently than the buses do. The major ferries ports are at Amalfi, Positano, Salerno, Capri, Naples and Sorrento. The ferry season opens generally from Easter weekend and runs until late October and tickets can at ticket stations located at the various ports. Note: Getting to other smaller & quieter towns will require a bus service to get you there once you are on a major port!
Rental car – some caution does need to be taken/considered as the roads can be challenging to drive due to the narrow and winding roads. The super steep cliffs also make it daunting for many drivers but if you are up for it, you can expect some spectacular views along the coastline! If you are more adventurous, you may also consider a scooter! And of course, private taxi services are also an option, just be prepared to folk out more.
*If you suffer from motion sickness, I recommend taking something to prevent you feeling sick. The winding and bendy roads are continuous all the way along the coastline and if you are catching a boat, the sea is often quite rough.
Basic Words in Italain to know:
Hello – Ciao
Goodbye – Arrivederc or Ciao
Good morning – Buon giorno
Good afternoon – Buon pomeriggio
Si – Yes
No – No
Thankyou – Grazie
Please – Per favore
Excuse me – Mi scusi or Scusa
How are you? – Come sta? Come stai?
Check out more Southern Italy photos: