Moon Amalfi Coast
With Capri, Naples & Pompeii
By Laura Thayer
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- Flexible itineraries for spending 1 to 5 days in different spots along the Amalfi Coast, including Sorrento, Capri, Naples, and more, that can be combined for a longer trip
- Strategic advice for foodies, art lovers, hikers, history buffs, beach bums, and more
- Must-see highlights and unique experiences: Swim in turquoise waters, relax on sun-soaked beaches, or hop on a boat and cruise past cliffs, coves, and secret caves. Go underground to see ancient ruins in Naples or climb the towers of medieval castles. Take a day trip to Pompeii and hike to the top of Mount Vesuvius, ride a chairlift to the peak of Monte Solaro, or unwind in the natural hot springs that dot the island of Ischia
- The best local flavors: Stroll quiet village streets where the scent of Sunday ragu fills the air, feast on fresh seafood steps from the Mediterranean, sip local limoncello on a sunny terrace, and chow down on authentic Neapolitan pizza
- Honest suggestions from Amalfi local Laura Thayer on where to stay, where to eat, and how to get around
- Full-color photos and detailed maps throughout
- Helpful resources on COVID-19 and traveling to the Amalfi Coast
- Background information on the landscape, history, and cultural customs of the Amalfi Coast
- Handy tools including an Italian phrasebook and tips for seniors and traveling with children
Exploring more of Italy? Check out Moon Milan & Beyond with the Italian Lakes or Moon Rome, Florence & Venice.
About Moon Travel Guides: Moon was founded in 1973 to empower independent, active, and conscious travel. We prioritize local businesses, outdoor recreation, and traveling strategically and sustainably. Moon Travel Guides are written by local, expert authors with great stories to tell—and they can't wait to share their favorite places with you.
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DISCOVER Amalfi Coast
15 TOP EXPERIENCES
Planning Your Time
IF YOU WANT…
IF YOU HAVE…
Best of the Amalfi Coast
BEST FOOD AND DRINK EXPERIENCES
Sorrento and Island-Hopping
FUN FOR FAMILIES
Outdoor Recreation and Seaside Relaxation
With its pastel-hued homes clinging to the cliffs between mountain and sea, tempting beaches lined with colorful umbrellas, and postcard-worthy views in every direction, the Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s most popular travel destinations—and for good reason. This remarkable coastline is rich in natural beauty, culture, and history. Mix in a splash of warm southern Italian hospitality and that’s the charm of the Amalfi Coast.
Though its popularity means you certainly won’t be discovering the Amalfi Coast on your own, you’ll also find opportunities to wander off the beaten path. There are quiet piazzas where the scent of Sunday ragù (meat sauce) fills the air, little restaurants where you can eat impossibly fresh fish just steps from the sea, and hiking trails through terraced lemon groves that climb up the mountains.
Plan to spend time exploring the area, for just a short distance away you’ll find sunny Sorrento, Paestum with its incredibly well-preserved Greek temples, and the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum frozen in time. Or go island-hopping from chic Capri to Ischia’s thermal spas or to tiny Procida, where the sea laps at brightly colored fishing boats in the island’s picturesque Marina Corricella harbor.
When you’re ready for a burst of energy, head to Naples, where, to the soundtrack of buzzing scooters and Neapolitan songs, there lies an exciting and rewarding city. Often described as gritty, loud, and chaotic, Naples is all that—and yet so much more. It is a city that has been defying easy definition for centuries. It is, quite simply, a city to be experienced.
Few places in the world have as many layers as Naples, and only by experiencing it can you begin to unravel its fascinating tangle of culture, history, and, of course, food. Go underground in Napoli Sotterranea to see ancient ruins, climb the walls of medieval castles, and get lost in the twists and turns of the city’s busy streets, filled with baroque architecture. When it’s time to take a break, taste pizza in its birthplace. Around the next corner, you might just find that Naples has a way of making you fall in love with its vibrant charms just when you least expect it.
From secluded villages on the Amalfi Coast to hidden treasures in Naples, soothing spa experiences in Ischia, and unforgettable views in Capri, get ready to encounter a part of Italy that will capture your heart and leave you longing for more. One thing is for sure: You’ll make travel memories to last a lifetime.
15 TOP EXPERIENCES
1 Gazing up at Positano’s colorful cascade of buildings from the town’s Spiaggia Grande beach.
2 Hiking deep into Valle delle Ferriere, the mountain valley above Amalfi, to see waterfalls and ruins of old paper mills.
3 Climbing the grand staircase of the Duomo di Amalfi to visit the town’s cathedral, peaceful Cloister of Paradise, and fine small museum.
4 Soaking up the Mediterranean sun on the beach in the picture-perfect Marina Piccola in Capri.
5 Dining at the edge of the sea in Sorrento’s charming Marina Grande harbor.
6 Riding the chairlift up to the top of Monte Solaro, the highest point on Capri with breathtaking views over the entire island.
7 Standing right on the edge of the Terrace of Infinity at Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, taking in the sweeping panoramic view of the Amalfi coastline.
8 Admiring the incredible detail of the inlaid woodwork treasures on display at Sorrento’s Museobottega della Tarsialignea.
9 Kayaking the rugged coastline of the Amalfi Coast from the seaside village of Nerano, near the tip of the Sorrentine Peninsula.
10 Discovering the incredible antiquities at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, home to one of the world’s finest collections of archaeological treasures.
11 Climbing atop the Castello Aragonese and exploring the medieval castle, churches, and ruins on a tiny islet off Ischia.
12 Savoring traditional Neapolitan pizza in Naples, famous as the birthplace of pizza.
13 Walking down the streets of Pompeii, an ancient Roman town frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.
14 Relaxing in one of Ischia’s many spas, absorbing the healing properties of the thermal waters.
15 Strolling along Marina Corricella in Procida, where brightly colored fishing boats bob in a harbor lined with buildings that were once the homes of fishermen.
Planning Your Time
Where to Go
The Amalfi Coast
The first sight of the Amalfi Coast is a travel experience not easily forgotten. Whether you’re sailing into Amalfi’s harbor or inhaling the sweet scent of wisteria mixed with salty sea air in Positano, you’ll be captivated by the rugged coastline, rocky secluded beaches, and famous views that have been luring travelers for centuries.
With a cascade of pastel-colored buildings seemingly stacked up, one on top of another, Positano is one of the most visited spots on the coastline. Amalfi, the namesake town of this region, has a scenic port and a fascinating history dating back to the Middle Ages, when it was a maritime republic. Set high in the mountains, the town of Ravello is a big draw for its lovely gardens and panoramic views. While many visitors only see Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello, there are 10 more towns and tiny villages to discover on the UNESCO World Heritage-protected Amalfi Coast. Plus, just east of the coast lies the city of Salerno, with its attractive lungomare (waterfront), maze of medieval streets in the historic center, and remarkable cathedral. More tranquil than Naples, Salerno is a good home base in this area for travelers who like a bigger city vibe.
Sorrento and the Sorrentine Peninsula
With its convenient setting between Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento is a popular spot for travelers looking to explore all the top destinations in the area. With panoramic views across the Gulf of Naples, a historic center full of shops and restaurants, and picturesque Marina Grande harbor, this vacation setting combines beauty, charm, and convenience. Ferry service from Sorrento’s harbor offers connections to Naples, Capri, Ischia, and the Amalfi Coast. Along the Sorrentine coastline, there are quaint towns and beautiful coves for swimming that are a bit farther off the beaten path than you’ll find on the nearby Amalfi Coast.
This small island set in the Mediterranean, just off the tip of the Sorrentine Peninsula, is justifiably famous for its stunning views. Of course, this means it does draw crowds, especially during the high season, but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on its exceptional beauty. Stop in the bustling Piazzetta, the heart of Capri town, pick up a souvenir of your visit (or just browse) along the chic shopping streets, and don’t miss iconic views of the Faraglioni rocks. There’s also a quieter side of the island to discover as you hike to incredible overlooks, ride a chairlift to Monte Solaro, the island’s highest point, and get lost exploring narrow pathways past bougainvillea-draped villas. Whether you’re planning a day trip from the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, or Naples, or staying longer, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Capri’s beauty without being overwhelmed by the crowds.
Ischia and Procida
These two islands in the Gulf of Naples boast natural beauty to spare and an abundance of local charm, yet they don’t draw the day-tripping crowds like Capri. Known as the Green Island, Ischia is a lush retreat with little towns, beautiful beaches, and thermal spas. The spas have been an attraction on Ischia since ancient Roman times. Spend a day dedicated to wellness and relaxation in a thermal spa, or discover natural hot springs and steaming sand beaches around the island. Located nearby is the tiny island of Procida, famous for its colorful architecture and scenic beaches.
Though it has a reputation as a somewhat chaotic city, Naples buzzes with a vibrant energy and magnetism truly its own. Once you get to know the city, it’s easy to succumb to its allure while exploring the many layers of history and incredibly dynamic culture. How could you not fall for a city with royal palaces, world-class museums, castles, and some of Italy’s tastiest street food? Around every corner there’s something unexpected to discover, which makes the city well worth a visit in itself. Yet it’s also a great base for day trips to the archaeological sites in the Gulf of Naples as well as to Capri, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast.
Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Vesuvius
Mount Vesuvius looms over the Gulf of Naples and the archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, thriving Roman cities that were destroyed by the violent eruption of the volcano in AD 79. Walking through the streets of Pompeii and Herculaneum is a unique chance to see firsthand what life was like for ancient Romans. Though the last major eruption of this volcano was in 1944, it is still considered active and is monitored continuously. The volcano is now a national park, and it’s an awe-inspiring experience to climb to the top where steam occasionally seeps through the rocky crater.
When to Go
With its beautiful beaches and Mediterranean climate, the Amalfi Coast region is a top choice for travelers looking for a relaxing summer holiday. High season in this area runs from Easter through October, and July and August are the busiest months. During this peak period, everything is open and in full activity, and you can expect higher prices for accommodations and even rentals for sun beds and umbrellas at some beach clubs (stabilimenti balneari). For leisurely beach days, your best bet is to visit between June and August, and often September as well. August is peak season, so expect beaches to be full and public transportation to be at max capacity.
The spring shoulder season is a gorgeous time to visit the Amalfi Coast, especially as the wisteria blooms and the temperatures warm up. April and May are two of the best months to visit the coastline to enjoy all it has to offer before things get too warm and busy in the summer. The weather usually stays very nice through October and November, offering a great autumn shoulder season, when you can hike on the Amalfi Coast and catch a glimpse of autumnal hues across the mountainsides. Low season runs from November to Easter. The Amalfi Coast and islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida are much quieter, but still offer the fine views and far smaller crowds. During low season, many accommodations and restaurants will close for a period, especially on the Amalfi Coast and islands.
The question of whether to visit the Amalfi Coast and islands off-season depends on the type of travel experience you want. If you’re dreaming of a beach holiday, you’ll need to visit during the summer. If you’d prefer cooler temperatures for sightseeing and hiking, a shoulder season may be preferable. Though the area can be a bit rainy off-season, it usually doesn’t last for long and there are many clear, crisp days when the beauty of the Amalfi Coast is a splendor to discover.
Note that the impact of high and low season will be more noticeable in beach destinations on the Amalfi Coast and islands, such as Capri, than in larger cities like Salerno and Naples. On the Amalfi Coast, many hotels and restaurants and some shops close, and ferry service stops during low season. However, you’ll find fewer seasonal closings in the Sorrento area as well as on the islands of Ischia and Procida, but check in advance as many places do still close for the winter period, including the thermal parks. Accommodations and restaurants in Naples and Salerno are usually open all year, with the Christmas holiday time being very popular for both cities.
Before You Go
Passports and Visas
For travelers visiting Italy from the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, there are currently no visa requirements for visits of fewer than 90 days. You’ll only need a passport that is valid at least three months after your planned departure date from the European Union. For stays longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a visa at the Italian embassy in your home country before you travel.
For EU citizens, or citizens of the non-EU member states of the EEA or Switzerland, there are no visa requirements for traveling to Italy. You can enter Italy with your passport or National Identity Card.
Travelers from South Africa will need to procure a Schengen Visa to enter Italy. This currently costs €60 for adults (€35 for children aged 6-12, and free for children younger than 6).
You can check for the latest information on visa requirements and other restrictions at Italy’s Farnesina website (http://vistoperitalia.esteri.it).
The Aeroporto Internazionale di Napoli, also referred to as Capodichino, is well connected with flights from across Italy as well as international flights from more than 80 cities. Direct flights from the United States, however, are limited and are only available from May to October. The airport is very near Naples, only about 3.7 miles (6 km) northeast of the city center, and is the main airport for the entire region.
Naples and Salerno are major stops for trains operated by the Italian national railway company Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com), with Regional, InterCity, and high-speed trains connecting the region to destinations across Italy. The private company Italotreno (www.italotreno.it) also offers high-speed trains to both Naples and Salerno from Torino, Milan, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome, and many other smaller cities. The Circumvesuviana train line (www.eavsrl.it) connects Naples with Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Sorrento. The closest train stations to reach the Amalfi Coast are in Salerno and Sorrento.
Ferries offer an excellent way to move around the Amalfi Coast and Sorrentine Peninsula, and are necessary to reach Capri, Ischia, and Procida. The Porto di Napoli (Port of Naples) is one of the largest in Italy, offering ferry service to Capri, Ischia, Procida, and destinations on the Sorrentine Peninsula. Ferry service from Salerno and along the Amalfi Coast runs seasonally from Easter through October.
Bus companies like Flixbus (www.flixbus.com) offer service to Naples and Salerno from cities across Italy. Local buses provide an inexpensive option to get around the Amalfi Coast, islands, and larger cities like Naples and Salerno. Since ferry service along the Amalfi Coast is seasonal, buses are the best way to get around during the off season (November-Easter).
Given the famously chaotic traffic of Naples, the narrow and curvy Amalfi Coast Road, and congested island roads, driving is not recommended in this area. With train, bus, and ferry options available, it is best to stick to public transportation, especially if you’re traveling during high season.
What to Pack
Amalfi Coast style is relaxed, so when you’re packing, think casual yet elegant resort wear. Formal clothes may be required for fine dining and opera in Naples, but even fine dining in the coastal areas and islands is often a more casual affair. For women, a scarf can come in handy for layering, and to tuck into your bag as a shoulder wrap to use when you visit churches. Though dress codes are not always strictly enforced, modest dress is recommended at religious sites where tank tops and short skirts or shorts are not considered appropriate attire.
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- On Sale
- Feb 8, 2022
- Page Count
- 496 pages
- Moon Travel