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A Trip to the Gulf of Naples and the Amalfi Coast

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Embark on a breathtaking road trip along the scenic Amalfi Coast and the charming Gulf of Naples where you’ll discover quaint villages perched on cliffs, the remnants of ancient history, and the relaxed vibes of southern Italy. The recommended tour is 4 to 7 days and includes the highlights of the Gulf of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. The tour starts and ends in Naples, with limited travel distances due to the region’s windy and narrow roads. It is advisable to check in advance for regulations regarding hours or days of driving in the area.

Join us as we outline your itinerary!

Popular itinerary in Amalfi Coast, Italy:

Day 1: Naples

The city of Naples, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is known as a historical center. Those approaching from the sea are greeted by Castel dell’Ovo, a historic castle offering beautiful views of the Gulf of Naples. It also serves as the starting and ending point for a walking tour in the historic center of Naples (Centro Storico), a UNESCO World Heritage site that is characterized by a maze of narrow streets, historic churches, and bustling markets. Visit iconic sites like Piazza del Plebiscito, the Royal Palace, and the Naples Cathedral, and be sure to dedicate two to three hours to the National Archaeological Museum, which houses an impressive collection of Greek and Roman artifacts such as sculptures, mosaics, and treasures from Pompeii and Herculaneum, cities that were obliterated by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Naples is also known for its delicious street food. Indulge in the famous Neapolitan pizza, Sfogliatelle (a sweet pastry), and various seafood dishes. For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Capodimonte Royal Palace and Museum is a must, with its extensive collection of art and historical treasures, including works by artists such as Caravaggio and Raphael.

Day 2: Pompeii and Sorrento

On our way to Sorrento, we will visit the historical city of Pompeii, the ancient Roman city buried under the thick volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius when it erupted in 79 AD. Until that time, Pompeii had been a thriving Roman city, serving as a commercial, cultural, and industrial center. This catastrophic event led to the abrupt destruction of the city and the tragic loss of thousands of lives. For centuries, Pompeii lay buried and forgotten until its rediscovery in the 18th century. Archaeological excavations revealed a remarkably well preserved city, with its streets, buildings, and even remnants of its inhabitants and animals documented in detail, offering insights into the social, economic, and cultural life of Pompeii’s residents.

From Pompeii to Sorrento is a short journey. If you arrive in the evening, enjoy the breathtaking sunset, considered one of the most beautiful in the world. Take a stroll through the historic town center and wander through the charming alleys overlooking the open sea. The Sorrento Marina Piccola is located at the foot of the city, and from there, you can sail to the shores of the island of Capri.

Atrani town on Amalfi coast, Sorrento, Italy
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Day 3: Capri

Boats traveling to the island of Capri operate at different frequencies depending on the season. It is highly recommended to make advance reservations and adhere to the schedules, especially for the return trip from Capri to Sorrento. To maximize the day, be sure to get an early start!
When you reach Capri, make your way to the legendary Blue Grotto (La Grotta Azzurra). This iconic sea cave is renowned for its exceptional blue waters, brilliantly illuminated by sunlight streaming through an underwater cavity. Check in advance whether sea conditions allow entry into the cave by rowboat—it’s a magical experience!

Next, explore the heights of Anacapri, a quieter and less crowded part of the island. Here, a visit to Villa San Michele awaits – a stunning villa perched on a peak with a panoramic view of the Gulf of Naples. The villa’s exquisite gardens are adorned with Roman and Egyptian artifacts curated by its early 20th century creator, the Swedish physician Axel Munthe.

Follow the town’s scenic pathway, where one side leads to a dual-seat cable car ascending to the summit, overlooking houses, orchards, and vineyards. The view from Monte Solaro is truly awe-inspiring. On the opposite side, the pathway guides you to the entrance of the “Phoenician Steps,” a staircase with 921 steps descending to Capri’s marina.

In the evening, return to Sorrento, the city of lemons, and indulge in the delightful taste of Limoncello, a lemon liqueur.

Boats in Capri Island, Italy

Day 4: Amalfi

Today, we embark on the breathtaking journey along the Amalfi Coast, renowned as one of the most picturesque routes in the world. This scenic route reveals a series of striking coastal cliffs, flourishing vineyards, and charming villages clinging to the mountainsides. Our final destination is the enchanting town of Amalfi, and the winding road leading to it is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. It is advisable to check in advance for traffic restrictions on the road through official announcements or via car rental offices.

On the way to Amalfi, stop at the Grotta dello Smeraldo (the Emerald Grotto). This sea cave is known for its mesmerizing emerald waters, illuminated at the underwater entrance. An elevator descends from the ticket office, and a boat ride takes you on a journey through the heart of the cave, surrounded by emerald-colored waters.

Amalfi is a delightful town. Its historic center is a charming maze of narrow streets dotted with lovely shops and inviting cafes. Make sure to explore the impressive Duomo di Sant’Andrea, a 9th century cathedral with a unique Arab-Norman architectural style. As evening falls, enjoy a dinner in a local restaurant where you can savor the flavors of the regional cuisine. Amalfi is renowned for its seafood dishes, fresh pasta, and delicacies, many infused with lemon. Don’t miss the opportunity to stroll along the picturesque dock, where the city’s fishing boats add a splash of color to the scene.

Sunset at Amalfi, Italy

Day 5: Ravello

Today, our destination is the hilltop town of Ravello, celebrated for its tranquil gardens and sweeping views of the Amalfi Coast. The journey from Amalfi to Ravello is picturesque, impressive, and charming. Along the way, you’ll encounter stalls selling local produce, lemons, and ceramics. Visit Villa Rufolo, a historic villa with beautifully landscaped gardens overlooking the sea. The villa gardens are adorned with colorful flowers, sculptures, and breathtaking lookout points. From there, proceed to Villa Cimbrone, famous for its “Terrace of Infinity,” offering unparalleled views of the coastline. If you’re visiting during the summer months, check for events or concerts as part of the Ravello Festival. This annual music festival takes place in the gardens of Villa Rufolo and provides a magical setting for classical performances.

Sculptures at terrace of Ravello village, Italy

Positano

Our journey back towards Sorrento retraces the scenic path we initially took, offering a fresh perspective on the breathtaking landscapes. Our next stop is the renowned town of Positano, a stunning enclave nestled on terraced slopes that descend to the gorgeous sandy shoreline. As we navigate the charming and colorful winding streets leading to the waterfront, a tapestry of beautiful houses, shops, restaurants, cafes, and galleries unfolds before us. Make sure to visit the iconic Santa Maria Assunta Church, distinguished by its beautiful dome adorned with vibrant ceramic tiles.

Aerial image of city Positano, Italy during sunrise

Day 6: Vesuvius and Caserta

On our way to Caserta, we’ll head towards the road ascending Mount Vesuvius, which reaches heights of about 3937 feet, showering its surroundings with its volcanic ash. It is anticipated that the volcano, which was active as recently as 1944, will erupt again, though it is unpredictable.
Following the ascent, we’ll find ourselves in a parking area, providing access to the central crater of the mountain.

Our final destination is the Royal Palace of Caserta (Reggia di Caserta), a UNESCO World Heritage site often likened to the Palace of Versailles in France due to its grandeur and influence. Built in the 18th century for the Bourbon kings of Naples, the palace boasts magnificent architecture, beautifully landscaped gardens, and a stunning cascade of fountains. It’s recommended to explore the opulent rooms of the palace and its expansive gardens.

Vesuvius and Pompeii, Italy

Day 7: Naples

We’ll conclude the tour in the city of Naples for additional sightseeing, great food, and the lively Neapolitan atmosphere. Shopping enthusiasts should consider exploring Galleria Umberto, a remarkable architectural gem from the late 19th century. This venue is highly recommended, offering a diverse array of shops including luxury brands, jewelry stores, and delightful cafes.

A road trip through the Gulf of Naples and the Amalfi Coast, timeless, beautiful, and inviting destinations, is truly an unforgettable experience.

Port of Procida island in Gulf of Naples, Italy
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