Panorama of Positano, Amalfi Coast.

La Dolce Vita On Wheels - An Amalfi Road Trip

10 July 2017

Towering cliffs, pastel-hued ancient, medieval villages terraced into hillsides, lush gardens and glistening, turquoise water as far as the eye can see. Lauded by UNESCO and placed on its World Heritage list in 1997, the Amalfi Coast is widely considered as Italy's most scenic stretch of coastline and its Amalfi Drive - a narrow road that traverses the high cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea - has become a must-do road trip for travellers across the globe. 

From luxe hotels and ancient Roman ruins; to restaurants that will satisfy even the most demanding of gourmands, this stretch of Italian coastline truly has it all - and a road trip along it will definitely be one to remember.

Location: 

Amalfi Coast

Distance: 

48 kilometres

Highlights:

Visit two ancient World Heritage UNESCO sites in one day.

Splurge with a stay at Positano’s most exclusive - and most beautiful - celebrity hideaway, Il San Pietro.

Explore the fragrant gardens of Ravello.

Gaze at the intricately patterned facade of the Duomo di Sant' Andrea in Amalfi.

Bathe by Roman-era grottos in Sorrento.

Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii. It's easy to add in a trip to see Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii.

Day 1-2 - Naples to Sorrento

Having arrived into Naples and spent a day or two exploring the city, check out of your harbour fronted hotel (the best location to base yourself) and pick up Napoli’s most famous sweet treat - the delectable Sfogliatelle - to galvanise yourself before hitting the road.  A short drive from here and you can tick off two World Heritage UNESCO sites in one day: Pompeii and Herculaneum. Visit ancient public baths, wine bars and shops, step into private villas and see preserved frescoes and mosaics.

Onward to Sorrento - which overlooks the Gulf of Naples - this handsome town has ‘la dolce vita’ in spades. A seaside holiday spot, Sorrento is the perfect base for Amalfi Coast-hopping and for exploring the island of Capri, which is just a 20-minute ferry ride away.

Luxury Hotel Pick

While here make a beeline for the picturesque Bellevue Syrene hotel. Built on the foundations of a Roman villa there’s a mammoth network of Roman grottos situated directly below around which you can bathe in the warm azure seas. 



Cafe in Positano town. A cute cafe in an old cozy street in the Positano town.

Day 3-4 Positano

A pleasant 35-40 minute drive inland south from Sorrento over the hills of the peninsula and you’ll hit the southern side of the Amalfi Drive and the most popular town in Amalfi, Positano. Set at the base of a deep gorge, the main beach is still the hub of village life. Pastel-painted houses dot the rocky cliff-face and the streets are framed by vast bunches of purple bougainvillea.

Luxury Hotel Pick

Base yourself a short drive or walk away from the town centre in the exclusive hideaway of Il San Pietro. Regularly named one of the best hotels in the world, Il San Pietro is the go-to destination for European royalty and Hollywood stars in search of some privacy and TLC. Indeed, it’s celebrity guest list reads like a list of who’s who: Gregory Peck, Tina Turner, Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Robert de Niro and Sting, to name a few. The private beach - a natural cove with crystal waters and a large sunbathing deck accessed via an elevator - is a definite highlight. 


Beautiful Positano. Beautiful Positano.

Follow the route on our map of Amalfi Coast:

Day 5-6 Positano to Amalfi

About three kilometres from Positano the popular hamlet of Praiano and its majolica-domed church is a great pitstop. Keep following the winding coastal road and after around 45 minutes you’ll arrive at Amalfi. In its day one of Italy's four powerful maritime republics, now this scenic, seaside town is a hugely popular destination for both locals and international tourists. Make sure to admire the intricately patterned facade of the Duomo di Sant' Andrea, alongside its 11th Century Byzantine bronze doors. To escape the bustle of Amalfi take the popular walk along the Valle dei Mulini, a steep-sided ravine dotted with ruined watermills, which were once used to make paper, an industry for which Amalfi is still famous.

Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa. Sleep in a renovated 17th-century monastery at Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa.

Luxury Hotel Pick

Backtrack just 12 minutes' drive along the Amalfi Coast to find yourself at Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa. A renovated 17th-century monastery that's dramatically perched on the edge of a cliff over the Bay of Salerno and the fishing village of Conca dei Marini, it's truly spellbinding. There are just 20 rooms - all with ocean views - as well as stunning spa, infinity pool and restaurant.

Day 6-7 Amalfi to Ravello

Six kilometres inland - and some 350m above the Tyrrhenian Sea - lies the medieval town of Ravello. A mix of winding cobblestone streets, lush, fragrant gardens and jaw-dropping ocean views, its beauty means an ever-increasing number of visitors yearly.

Amalfi Coast view from Ravello. A panoramic view of the Amalfi Coast from a villa in Ravello.

Luxury Hotel Pick

Check into the Villa Cimbrone Hotel to enjoy the best gardens and views in town. Formerly an aristocratic residence this 11th century property now caters to a different kind of elite guest with its A-list guest roster covering everyone from Greta Garbo to Justin Timberlake. If you can’t afford a night here you can still visit the gardens, which are open to the public, every day of the year. 


Day 7 Ravello to Salerno

Hit the road on your final day and make the hour-plus drive east from the Amalfi Coast to Salerno. You’ll pass though several small villages, including Atrani - which is undoubtedly the cutest - and a few sprawling resort towns before reaching the final port of call on the road trip: Salerno. Though lacking in the charm of the other road trip destinations there’s enough history and foodie fare here to keep your entertained before heading home.

Hotel Raito in Salerno. Stay on the cusp of Salerno at Hotel Raito.

Luxury Hotel Pick

Top off your Amalfi Coast road trip with a five-star luxury stay at the evocative Hotel Raito, which is surrounded by vineyards and beautiful gardens. It's modern and elegant in design and flaunts incredible views to enjoy over a beverage come sunset.

Paul Ewart

Originally from the UK, Paul has lived and worked in three different continents: from the heady metropolis of Dubai, to North America and - as of six years ago - Sydney, Australia, a place he now calls home. His travel career spans 13 years across various print and digital outlets. Until recently, he worked as a senior TV producer for Channel 7. Now, he's back doing what he does best: travelling.

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