Amalfi Coast and Capri
In-between city slicking around Rome and Venice, we headed to Italy’s Amalfi Coast for a week of hiking and touristing during the end of September. Rather then driving the coast along it’s nerve-wracking narrow roads – we opted to hike from Amalfi to Positano.
On arriving to Amalfi (via train to Salerno) – we were instantly charmed by this quaint, yet touristic, town that seemingly clings to the mountainside on the Mediterranean Sea. To stretch our legs, we walked over to Atrani – and were introduced to something we will become quite familiar with – steep stairs.
That evening we ate dinner at a restaurant in a quiet square away from the bustling main street. After eating breakfast at our restored 12th century hotel, we set off on foot to Praiano. Without a clear trail, we pieced together the route from a hiking guidebook. Along the way, we made a wrong turn (which also allowed us to go up 600 vertical feet of stairs), had multiple unannounced trail closures, and sweated a lot. This area is known for its amicable locals – which we experienced first hand with a vineyard offering up some freshly picked grapes. On arriving to our hotel in Praiano, we were greeted with open arms (even though we likely stunk really bad) and given a welcome drink. For dinner, we replenished more then our share of burned calories and had one of our best meals thus far on the trip.
The next morning, awaking still full, we had what felt like a 4 course breakfast (I actually don’t think I’ve felt hunger for the last 3 weeks). With Katie insisting I might vomit the lemon cake I just ate, we climbed ~2000 feet over many stairs up a vertical slope. With the name of “Path of the Gods,” today’s hike was actually marked and offered stunning views down the coast towards the Isle of Capri. We had near aerial views of the stunning town of Positano throughout the majority of the hike. Arriving earlier today, we had more opportunity to explore this charming Italian coastal town. We spent the afternoon wandering the town and people watching, then overnighted in a cheap room with incredible views – again enduring hundreds of stairs to arrive.
Isle of Capri
Today we took a ferry to Capri, which is an island in Italy’s Bay of Naples. Here we took the well-organized bus system to Anacapri, which was our basecamp the next two nights. We adored the Isle of Capri with its stunning cliffs, awesome views, and bluer then blue water. There are two main areas of Capri – Capri (eastern side) and Anacapri (western side). Feeling restless from lots of tourist crowds, we were grateful to find that our B&B in Anacapri was off the beaten path and peaceful. With Katie wanting to jump into the ocean finally – we went to a “beach,” which here just means a concreted tidal pool where a bunch of Italians sun themselves like a can of sardines – not exactly my cup of tea. That evening, we hiked to a lookout – offering stunning 180-degree panoramic vistas.
The next day was forecasted for cloudy day – but what we needed was a day to do nothing but sit. We took the bus over to Capri, which has more fancy designer fashion stores then I knew existed. Feeling inadequate with our merino wool hiking shirts that we bravely challenged to actually stink – we settled into a “beach club” for the day. Here, the “beach” is still a concreted tidal pool – but instead of sardines, you pay for a chair and space. Getting our money’s worth, we sat here for 6 hours (which might be a record for me) – with our only movement getting up to eat lunch and jump in the sea. That evening we walked to dinner in the pouring rain (how romantic!) and later enjoyed a glass of wine at a wine bar. The best part of the evening? We only heard Italian being spoken! We slept soundly to a night of torrential rain and then headed back to Rome.
After time in the mountains and cities – it was time to experience the sea! The Amalfi coast is a charming and quintessential romantic Italian experience. Although our first day of hiking was less then stellar, we enjoyed the “slow” route to better see the smaller towns along the way.
Pros: charming scenery, good food
Cons: millions of steps (or a pro for the buns of steel?). No reliable trail description, especially of the first day – the Sunflower guide we used was quite terrible
Tips: if you plan on hiking, go in September or later– otherwise, the heat would be unbearable.