A Day on the Beautiful Amalfi Coast

Another must-do activity when in the Naples area is to take a trip to the Amalfi Coast. We hired an English-speaking driver for the day and set off bright and early from our country home in Sorrento.

The Journey Along the Coast

From our farmhouse high above Sorrento, our trip took us further up the hill. Soon we dropped down the other side to what is officially called the Amalfi Coast. From the hillcrest, we could see the bay of Naples on the left and the Bay of Salerno on the right. We could even see the island of Capri. The views were spectacular.

As we drove along the coast, we saw a number of ruined Roman towers. The towers are part of a series of lookout towers built by the Romans a couple of thousand years ago. From our vantage point high up on the mountain, we could see loads of boats gently resting in the bay. We got a kick out of the mega yachts. I guess if you have enough money for a mega yacht, you’ll also have jet skis, and inflatable water toys. We even saw slides from the top deck into the water. You can’t just lay around on deck all day, or can you?

Visiting Positano

The first town after leaving Sorrento was Positano. We had heard people ooh and ahh about Positano for years so we went to see it. It was extremely crowded, but I think because the streets are so narrow, it may always seem that crowded. Like Cinque Terra in the north, Positano falls down the mountainside into the sea. Being so similar, Positano wasn’t as exotic to us as it may be to others, so honestly, we weren’t that impressed.

Our driver dropped us at a parking spot above the pedestrian part of the city and we walked down from there. That meant that we had to walk up from the water when we came back, but I wanted to see the beach. The sand was brown, (read not too pretty). But there were lots of chairs set up waiting for the sunbathing throngs always present during the summer months.

As with all of the towns in the area, there were many shops with touristy stuff, though fewer lemon accessory stores than Sorrento. We saw a really cool shop selling beautiful Italian ceramic table tops. We spent a pleasant hour or so exploring the town before moving on to our next stop.


The small town of Praiano is often recommended over Positano if you are looking for a relaxing stay along the Amalfi coast. The town tumbles down to the sea but it is more laid back and less known than Positano and Amalfi. We viewed the town from above but the most beautiful section was a beach tucked between two cliffs with turquoise water for swimming.

The Town of Ravello

Ravello is another town that Mike had read about and wanted to visit. Since we had our own driver we could pretty much go wherever we wanted. Ravello sits on the top of a large hill overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. It looked quite defensible and had Roman ruins like most of the other hill towns in the area. The town seemed to crawl down the hill towards the main square that had a beautiful view across a small valley to another small town called Scala.

We spent about 45 minutes exploring Ravello, climbing up and down the streets of the town that led from one church and square to the next. Then it was time for lunch.

The Town of Scala for Lunch

Our driver had told us that he knew where we should go for lunch and he would make reservations for us. It seems that this is the routine with all tours but then we didn’t have to worry about figuring out where to go. Interestingly, we drove down the hill from Ravello, crossed the little valley, and started climbing up the opposite hill. In fact, we had just been taking pictures of this area from Ravello. The restaurant had a lovely patio looking back across the valley toward Ravello. This prompted us to take a picture in the opposite direction, this time from Scala.

There really wasn’t much of a town to explore, so we decided to spend the next hour or so eating lunch and drinking a bottle of wine. Good use of time in our book. The food was good but not spectacular but the scenery from the patio looking toward Ravello and the sea was worth the visit.

Minori for Delizia al Limone

All over Sorrento, we saw these white domed deserts called Delizia al Limone, a specialty of the Sorrento/Amalfi area. I had been waiting for just the right time to try one and we found the perfect opportunity after our lunch in Scala.

When I first saw this dessert, I was curious about it so I looked up the recipe. I was surprised to learn that there were five or six different components that you had to make separately beforehand. First, you make the cake, make several different kinds of lemon cream and curd and then you can finally actually assemble the dessert. After learning that, I had much more respect for the people who made it.

Coincidently, Mike had read in some food blog that the dessert originated at the Sal de Riso café in the town of Minori. Since Minori happened to be a little bit past Amalfi our driver was willing to take us there so we could taste the original Delizia al Limone. We got to the café that was right in front of the harbor and took a seat outside. They have a huge dessert menu. So naturally, we had to order more than the Delizia al Limone. During our time in Sorrento, we had also seen another dessert everywhere, Baba Rum. The Baba Rum at Sal de Riso was also excellent and the Delizia al Limone was delicate and lemony, as it should be.

We considered it a special treat to be able to try this dessert in the café that created it. Of course, after a long lunch and dessert, we were sleepy but we still had once more stop.

The Town of Amalfi

The town of Amalfi turned out to be our last stop for the day. By the time we got there, we were happy to go explore Amalfi and shake off the sleepiness. The town starts at the waterfront and extends back and uphill through a narrow valley between two cliffs. Most of the shops were similar to the ones in Sorrento, with lots of them specializing in “lemon paraphernalia.” But there was one unique lemon delicacy that we hadn’t seen before, lemon ice cream/sorbet served inside the biggest hollowed-out lemon you have ever seen. I really wanted to try it but I was just too full so we had to satisfy ourselves by just taking pictures of it.

We did climb a bunch of stairs to a church and we were treated to a magnificent interior and a museum. The most interesting thing about Amalfi is the way the town is literally one street wide as it climbs up from the water between two cliffs. We only visited the lower town but I know there is more to town that we didn’t see. Another time.

We had a wonderful day exploring the Amalfi coast with our friends.

Which town appeals to you the most?

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  1. We had interesting experiences with Baba Rum, finding that it had a distinctive chemical scent: model airplane glue. At first we thought we just got a bad one so tried again at a prominent and fancy pastry shop in Naples. Same scent: yup, that’s Testor’s in a tube. But a delicious airplane glue pastry nonetheless. I guess it had a Durian characteristic: a foul smell but tastes great.

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