Amalfi: Coasts, Cliffs, and Cocktails

What we Saw

Our first day in Amalfi was a lazy one. We explored the small town, and checked off all the touristy basics. On our second day we chose to take a ferry to Positano, arguably the most beautiful of the Amalfi coastal towns. We intended on renting the iconic blue beach chairs (you know the ones you see all over instagram) on Positano’s main beach, Spiaggia Grande, but were unable to do so because the space was being used to film a movie. I did manage to get one picture of Cody at the chairs before a security guard not so politely escorted us out while condemning my photography aspirations. Instead we chose to hike about 20 minutes to a more secluded (at least in October) beach called Fornillo. There we spent all day drinking exceptionally strong cocktails and relaxing on the beach. I would highly recommend scouting out one of the less popular beaches (such as Fornillo) to save some money, and allow yourself room to swim in the clear blue waters uninterrupted by tourists.

The next day we hiked the “Path of the Gods” from Bomerano to Positano. To start the hike you take a bus to the small town of Agerola, then walk through the town to the trailhead. I mention this because even if you are staying in Positano I would STRONGLY discourage you from hiking this path in the opposite direction. The views overlooking Positano on your way into town are half the fun. The hike takes about 3 hours depending on how many pictures you stop to take and at which spot you choose to finish the hike. Cody and I did NOT do our research and ended up accidentally extending our hike with 1500 stairs. The views were incredible and we were greeted by a multitude of cats on the journey, but my legs were shaking the whole time and persisted to be sore for the next 3 days. The stairs are NOT for the faint of heart. If you choose to forgo the stairs (an option I regrettably learned too late) you can finish the hike in about 2 hours at Nocelle and bus into Positano for a well earned gelato and Aperol spritz.

Where we Stayed

Amalfi Apartment

Nicola, our host, picked us up at the bus stop in Amalfi, and took us to his apartment on the northern side of town. It was a cute space adorned in the blue and white colors seen all around the coast. The spot had a lovely view and boasted a small kitchen in which we were able to cook all of our breakfasts. It was roughly a 30 minute downhill walk into town, but the walk back up to the apartment seemed to last ages, especially with a belly full of wine. Luckily there was a bus stop directly out front of the home allowing us to skip the hills for a mere 2 euros.

What we Ate

Amalfi is a town made for tourists, and I felt that was evident in the food. The cuisine seemed slightly less authentic than what we have previously encountered, however, the region is known for it seafood specialties which Cody and I chose to forgo due to our vegetarian lifestyle. We did find a few hidden gems though. The first of which was a coffee shop called the gasbar just a stones throw from our apartment. The espresso and pastries were top notch and the views while eating them were even more incredible(see the pic). The second spot was a joint known for its pizza called Da Maria Trattoria Pizzeria. We had already enjoyed pizza for lunch though so we opted for the homemade spaghetti. The noodles were obviously hand rolled, evident by the varried diameter of each pasta shaft. The sauce was well balanced and plentiful. We finished off our meal with the regions specialty, Limoncello, a liqueur made by steeping lemon zest in grappa and then sweetening it with sugar.
 
I also think this would be a good time to mention the importance of being observant when it comes to food traditions and etiquette in the places you are visiting. One of my favorite memories from Amalfi was a server going off on a tourist for requesting a fork to eat his pastry with. The server simply denied his request saying “No, just eat it”. I snickered with my nose in my book as I enjoyed my finger foods and cappuccinos. The waiter was jesting, but the point still holds.

Lessons we Learned

1) There is a fee for sitting in the cafes. If you are in a casual coffee shop, you can save a few euros a day by enjoying your cappuccinos and pastries on your feet.
2) Keep small bills on you for tourist tax and bus tickets. If you are in a hurry to catch the bus during the busy times there is often someone selling tickets at the stop, but you need euros to pay them. Other than that a travel credit card has sufficed for most of our needs.
3) DO NOT by any means rent a car to drive in Amalfi. The bus system is easy to navigate and the roads are thin, windy, and chaotic.
4) When traveling from town to town on the coast, take the fairy. It is a bit more expensive, but 5 times as fast and doesn’t leave you feeling carsick. We took the ferry to Positano because of the views it provided and then chose to bus back to Almalfi, but the bus is at the top of a pretty long set of stairs so if you plan to take the bus out of Positano make sure to plan enough time to ensure you can make the hike to the bus stop.

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