One of the most visually dramatic parts of Italy’s rugged coastline, the Amalfi Coast, is a must see on any avid traveller’s list. This stunning region in what is a truly fascinating country is not one to be rushed, and is definitely a place that demands more than just a long weekend. From boat trips to church visits and from lazy lunches enjoyed in seafront trattorie to long walks through olive and lemon groves, the Amalfi Coast has so much to please even the most discerning of visitors.
My advice is to leave your agenda at home and take one day at a time. That said, however, I do have a few highlights you might want to include when the mood takes you.
Highlights of Amalfi
This beautiful ninth century Roman Catholic cathedral can’t be missed when you find yourself strolling through the town. It is typical of an Italian structure of its age and has been remodelled over the years, featuring architectural influences that include Romanesque, Arab-Norman, Byzantine, Gothic and Baroque. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Andrew, whose remains were brought here in 1206 and placed in the crypt two years later.
Most visitors find admiring the cathedral from the exterior as satisfying as visiting its interior. The striped marble front with its laced arches and tympanum’s mosaics depicting ‘The Triumph of Christ is certainly impressive, and the wide, steep steps that lead up to the magnificent bronze doors complete the striking entrance. The doors are reputably the oldest of their kind in the country, while the bell tower, featuring Romanesque architecture and Arab style towers, is an important addition to the main building.
Inside, two crucifixes hang, one wooden and one made of mother-of-pearl. You should also look out for the painting of the Martyrdom of St. Andrew, by Andrea dell’Asta, which hangs above the altar.
Amalfi Paper Museum
This region was one of the first places to produce paper, back in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Proud of its heritage, the town now has a charming little museum dedicated to the history of paper making in the area. Founded by Nicola Milano, it’s an interesting place to visit. The guided tour is very informative and you can even have a go at making your own paper.
Valle dell Ferriere
For something completely different, and a lovely way to spend a morning, head to Valle delle Ferriere. Not only can you enjoy a peaceful hour’s walk to get there, but on arrival you are greeted by a scene of absolute tranquillity and beauty. Waterfalls cascade down the slopes from high rocky ridges, streams run along the valley floor and footpaths wind through the landscape, making this an ideal spot for further exploration.
Thanks to the perfect climate and protection from the extremes of weather, the terrain here is fertile and fruitful. This is a nature lover’s paradise and there are several species of interesting plants from the pre-glacial era still surviving here.
I suggest making your way to the Riserva Naturale Orientata (Nature Reserve) right at the centre of the valley. Here you’ll get the chance to really appreciate why this place is so unique, ecologically speaking.
The above suggestions are all very different, but equally rewarding. While they are a mere smattering of what there is to see and do in this wonderful part of Italy, they give you a taste of what this region is all about.
How to Get to Amalfi
Naples International Airport is the recommended airport for travellers heading to the Amalfi Coast. Several weekly flights connect the UK with Naples and there is a good choice of reputable airlines, including British Airways. The journey takes around two and a half hours and flights can be very reasonably priced if you do your research.
On reaching Naples Airport, you will no doubt be keen to get straight to your accommodation. If seamless onward travel is what you are looking for, then book in advance with Shuttle Direct. This excellent transfer company provides a professional and reliable service that can be booked on a private or shared basis. Forget battling with public transport and instead choose the comfort of a Shuttle Direct transfer.
Where to Stay
NH Collection Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi – Located on the cliff tops, this converted thirteenth century monastery boasts modern rooms, marble bathrooms and a tranquil, elegant ambience. Complimentary toiletries mean you can leave your heavy bottles of shampoo at home, and the mini-bar is a bonus when you fancy an evening drink but would rather stay in and admire the sunset from your room. Free Wi-Fi makes keeping in touch really convenient at the NH Collection Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi and the beautiful infinity pool overlooking the incredible coastline is luxury epitomised. Enjoy an al fresco meal at one of the restaurants while you peruse your travel guides, or take the five minute walk into town in the evening to check out some local eateries.
Hotel La Pergola – A little further from the town itself, the appeal of this beautiful hotel is its location in the gorgeous lemon groves that have contributed to the fame of this pretty region. I definitely recommend trying a limoncello after dinner! Despite being further from town, you can still make the trip on foot, which is a lovely way to see the local area especially if you are in no rush. (Wait for the cool of the evening and avoid the midday sun.)
With a bar on site, terraces that look over the crystal waters below, and bright, airy rooms, Hotel La Pergola is a popular option with independent travellers. I love eating here when I stay and the food is simple but some the best I have tasted in the area. The garden at the hotel is the source of many of the ingredients.
About Shuttle Direct
For efficient transfers direct from airport to accommodation, book with us at Shuttle Direct. Our reputation as one of the go to transfer services in Europe and North Africa is founded on our professional, competitively priced service that aims to provide seamless onward travel, wherever you may be heading.