The Almafi Coast: Positano, Almafi, and Ravello

Positano

The Almafi Coast: with its breath-taking views, it is no surprise this coast of Italy is a popular tourist destination. We spent five nights with our home-base in Sorrento, making day trips to places like Capri, Positano, Almafi, and Ravello.

fried fish and calamari

While there are cheap buses (3€) that can take you to each major city along the Almafi Coast, they can get extremely crowded and hot during the summer. The roads are also windy, which doesn’t sit well with my weak stomach 🙁 Instead, our friends Richa and Megan recommended Rick Steves’ discount with Mondo Tours, which included a full day car tour for just 50€. Instead of paying full-price for a private car, you can reserve spots to share the day with other tourists. We were matched with other friendly couples from Austin, TX and Auckland, NZ. It was a really nice way to meet other people.

Almafi’s beach

Surprisingly, there weren’t a ton of beach options that we saw. I expected to be sunbathing every day (though I still got plenty tan!) Just like in Cinque Terre and Capri, there were maybe a few tiny beaches where you could go swimming… but they were often really crowded. Most of the cities are situated on cliffs, so instead you get really nice panoramic views from restaurants and bars.

The one place we didn’t get a chance to dine at was one of the prettiest hotels, Le Sirenuse. The views from both their formal dining room and their Oyster Bar look amazing. You can also eat a more casual lunch there. Just make sure you email them way in advance to make reservations!

We did spend one day at La Marinella, a beach and restaurant in Sorrento. With all these private beaches, guests pay a flat entrance price for the day, with extra fees for chairs, umbrellas, and swimming equipment. It cost us about 12€ each for our own lounge chairs.

I finished three books this trip: The Circle (a contemporary version of 1984 that’s now out in theaters), Beyond the Label (a memoir by former Chanel CEO Maureen Chiquet), and The Lost Wife (an historical fiction about two lovers separated by Nazi invasion in Prague.)

We tried a lot of gelato in attempt to combat the heat. Our favorite shops were Pasticceria Savoia in Almafi, along with Antica Gelateria and Raki Gelateria in Sorrento. My favorite flavors? Vanilla-ginger, banana, fig, and of course, stracciatella (all eaten separately of course!)

Villa Rufolo, Ravello

While Positano and Almafi are beautiful, our favorite city of the day was Ravello. It was less touristy and therefore quieter. During the tour, our guide Vincenzo gave us about two hours of “free time” to explore each stop on our own. It was nice wandering the paths of Ravello and checking out all of its crops and gardens. We even saw kiwis growing.

If you’re looking to hike, our friends highly recommend the Path of the Gods, a 3-hour trek along the Almafi Coast. If we were based in Positano, we probably would have done it. I guess there’s always room for next time!

Personally, I enjoyed Cinque Terre over the Almafi Coast, which came as a surprise to me. I still recommend visiting them both, just be sure to set aside a day for travel if you’re taking the trains. These two spots aren’t the most convenient to travel between, but are definitely doable with proper planning.

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