Amalfi Coast the Second Time Around
Andy and I really enjoyed our week in Minori on the Amalfi Coast in 2013. It was a gorgeous place to be and we didn’t do much besides relax and gaze at the water. I almost didn’t want to leave at the end of the week. This time around, we picked Maiori, the next town over, because it’s a little bigger and we wanted to make sure things were still open in October. Surprisingly, the bus from Salerno was packed even that late in the season. We just barely made it onto the bus, with Andy at the back and my parents and I in the front practically on the driver’s lap.
Maiori felt relaxed and had just enough restaurants you could eat somewhere different every meal for several days, but it wasn’t overly crowded. There was a castle up on a hill that we couldn’t figure out how to get to and beautiful sunsets over the water. We didn’t do much besides relax, and by this point in the trip, we needed it.
One thing Andy and I didn’t get around to last time was a trip up to Ravello, so we made sure to go this time. It’s one of the towns that isn’t actually on the water but up on the cliffs above the coast. This meant amazing views, which is one of the big draws.
After having lunch at a restaurant my dad saw on a cooking show, which also had wonderful views, we headed back down to sea level. Since we had to switch buses in Amalfi anyway, we took my parents to walk into the center to see the cathedral. This led to a gelato stop, which turned out to be a huge mistake. The place Andy and I got gelato from last time ripped us off pretty badly, so this time we tried the shop across the street. They charged us even more. Granted, we should’ve taken our ice cream to go instead of sitting down, but it still would’ve been outrageous. A small (which was actually rather large) bowl of gelato should never cost 7 euros!
We were already really disappointed by Amalfi and Positano when we visited last time. These towns just detract from the beauty of the coast. They are overcrowded, overpriced, and unpleasant. I would encourage anyone who is interested to visit the Amalfi Coast but don’t stay in either of those towns. Stay somewhere else and go see them as a short day trip. Take the ferry along the Amalfi Coast for some great views. But don’t stay in Amalfi or Positano. As gorgeous as this part of Italy is, I doubt we’ll ever go back. Two visits were plenty, and I’m not sure it’s worth the torturous bus ride for a third time. Plus there are so many other destinations I’d love to explore!
You might also enjoy:
- Making Pizza and Eating Our Way Through Rome
- Scenes From Florence
- How Much We Spent Traveling in Rome
- How Much We Spent Traveling on the Amalfi Coast
January 19, 2015 @ 10:10 AM
Personally for me, I would probably visit the Amalfi coast just the once, do it slowly and spend a few weeks there visiting all the towns/villages along there. However knowing the constraints that you and Andy face, I can understand fully why you guys had to do two visits to take it all in.
As for the expensive gelato, take heart! 7 euros is probably the minimum you would pay for a bowl of gelato in Melbourne’s Lygon Street (Italian) district. Sure it would be good but 7 euros is ten bucks plus Australian nowadays. That’s way too much for ice cream. Places like that that charge that much bring to mind the words “tourist trap”.
January 21, 2015 @ 2:24 PM
Matthew, it’s the kind of place that begs for you to just relax! Even during our 2 visits, we couldn’t possibly see all of it. But I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to see EVERY village. It’s worth checking out Positano and Amalfi, because they truly are beautiful, but then some of the less visited towns are nice because they’re so laid back and it doesn’t feel like people are trying to sell you stuff at every turn.
I believe you about the ice cream in Melbourne. I can’t believe how expensive Australia is! When I was there a few years ago, a guy I knew told me it was cheaper for him to buy a motorbike from the US and have it shipped over than to buy one in Australia. Insane.
January 19, 2015 @ 7:51 PM
We were in Positano last May and it wasn’t at all like you described. I think, as with many places, there are good and bad times to visit. We could definitely tell that it was becoming slightly more crowded by the time we left (we spent several days there), but it wasn’t too bad. I’m sure it’s much more touristy than some other places, but if you’re able to visit during a slower time of year, then it’s well worth it to actually stay there for a few days. We also spent a few days in Salerno, which didn’t seem touristy, but I really didn’t like it. It was a good place to stay for ease of accessing trains to other cities and attractions (such as to Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii), but other than that I didn’t think there was anything special about Salerno.
January 21, 2015 @ 2:28 PM
Traci, I am so glad you had a good experience in Positano! It really is a beautiful town. We didn’t go there this time around, but in 2013 we were there in mid June. There were quite a few tourists, which is understandable given the time of year, but I think what really bothered me were the venders. In Positano and Amalfi, I felt like venders were trying to sell us things at every step, and the commercialism was ruining the experience for me. I think that’s why I liked Minori and Maiori better, they were much more relaxed and no one was pushy. I haven’t spent any time in Salerno except to change from the train to the bus, but I can understand what you mean about it not being anything special.
January 19, 2015 @ 7:52 PM
Oh wow, those photos are stunning!
January 21, 2015 @ 2:28 PM
January 22, 2015 @ 12:01 AM
The prices here in Australia are indeed insane.
I no longer buy books in Australia at all period. I always get mine shipped from either the US or Europe and I use a book search site called booko.com.au that lists the prices in Australian dollars of books, DVDs and Blu-Rays. I find buying them overseas is 1/2 to 1/3 the price of buying them in a bookstore either online in Australia or the traditional bricks and mortar variety.
Clothes are even more ridiculous. I now have a US forwarding address because I can’t find clothes that fit me through the online apparel stores here in Australia. Next to none of them carry big and tall sizes. I happen to be one size into the big sizes and only Target sells clothes in that size. And honestly, who wants to wear Target? Not anybody in Australia, certainly not in Canada (because they are closing there) and probably not in the US either.
So I signed up for a US forwarding address through of all places Australia Post. They handle the end to end solution including customs, repackaging and the like. I send the goods I buy in America to an address at a suite in Portland, Oregon and the process starts from there. I’ll be doing the same with computer parts and probably some electronics and software as well. The prices here are beyond a joke and considering there is next to no customer service, the relatively high wages of staff and retail rents don’t explain the entire markup.
Then there is the whole scandal of Australian passengers paying more for their airfares on exactly the same route as foreigners. Take Sydney to LA as an example. Australians pay more to buy their airfares online for the same tickets than do Americans or any other foreigners. The solution is to go into incognito mode when buying tickets online or using a VPN. You then get the cheaper fares automatically.
January 22, 2015 @ 11:28 AM
OMG Matthew, that IS crazy! I can’t believe you have to do all of that just to get affordable things! But also, I’m glad you were able to find a way around it. I’ve heard about that airline trick, and apparently it happens in lots of different places, not just Australia. So annoying.