Amalfi Coast Boat Day Venuelust

Italy’s renowned Amalfi Coast is one of our all-time favorite dream destinations. It truly is one of those once-in-a-lifetime locales that we believe should be on everyone’s bucket list. But with so many cities to choose from and so many attractions to hit, it can be hard to fit everything you’d like to do in a week-long trip. So, today, we wanted to offer up some of our favorite insider tips and overview information on this unforgettable location.

Where is the Amalfi Coast?

The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of absolutely breathtaking coastline along the Southern coast of Italy (right along the Sorrentine Peninsula). It consists of 13 cities and runs about 25 miles from its starting point (the city of Vietri Sul Mare, which sits on the eastern end of the peninsula) to its “end” point (Positano, which sits on the more western end of the peninsula).

What's the Amalfi Coast like?

Amalfi Coast Venuelust

Essentially, the best way we can describe the Amalfi Coast is this: it’s the setting for all of those quintessential Italian scenes you see in beautiful paintings, photographs and, yes, as stock desktop backgrounds. It’s chock-full of steep Cliffside's, stark blue water and storied homes, churches and storefronts stacked right upon one another. We’ve traveled to a ton of places and, to this day, it remains one of the only places where we arrive and feel like we are in a true storybook setting.

While tourist destinations in Northern Italy tend to be more casual, most spots on the Amalfi Coast are a little more upscale. Keep this in mind while packing. Casual is fine for the daytime, but you should dress up for dinners out.

Where to stay in the Amalfi Coast?

Il San Pietro Di Positano Entrance

The best tip we can offer for travelers visiting for shorter periods of time (1-2 weeks) is to establish a base camp. Because it is a coastline, you’ll be able to see the entire coast by boat (see more on this below). There’s really no need, then, to spend time packing up your belongings to move from hotel to hotel. We recommend setting up shop at our favorite Amalfi-Coast hotel, Il San Pietro Di Positano.

Il San Pietro Di Positano Tennisi Courts

One of our favorite activities at Il San Pietro is tennis on the cliffside. They also offer yoga and complimentary paddles boards and kayaks (and the sunset view of Capri in the distance from Il San Pietro's private beach is unbeatable).

Venuelust Positano Amalfi Coast Sunset

We also love that it strikes that perfect balance of offering 5-star service without feeling overly stuffy. It’s both quaint and luxurious, refined and comfortable, which is one of our all-time favorite combinations. Keep in mind that the hotel is not in the heart of Positano, but just down the coast on its own area of coastline. To get to shops or restaurants outside of the hotel, you can take a boat or quick car ride to Positano (though the two hotel restaurants are both unbeatable).

View of the city of Positano from Il San Pietro Di Positano hotel

View of the city of Positano from Il San Pietro Di Positano hotel

Seeing the coast by boat:

Venuelust Amalfi Coast Boat

Il San Pietro Di Positano's boat, "The Joey"

Without a doubt, this is the number-one must-do while you’re on the Amalfi Coast. Set up base camp in the city of your choice (like we mentioned earlier, ours is Positano) and rent a boat to take you along the coastline. Most hotels, like Il San Pietro Di Positano, offer their hotel boat and captain for either an hourly or day-long charge. If you can afford the splurge, definitely rent it for the entire day.

We recommend scheduling your boating day for your second day in. You want to give yourself a chance to settle in, but still should see the entire coast toward the beginning of your trip, as you'll likely discover towns you may want to come back to or spend more time in.

Venuelust Amalfi Coast Boat Day Med

The best part about renting a private boat is that you'll have an experienced, local boat captain (who will likely tell you more about the coast and its history than any website or book ever could). Spend the first part of the day letting them show you the coast their way--they'll have tons of historic stories to share and will tell you all about their favorite towns and local spots. Don't forget a camera--every structure has a story behind it.

Amalfi Coast Venuelust

Venuelust Amalfi Coast History

After you've boated down the coast and seen some sights, spend some time swimming in the Med and working up an appetite for lunch. Because it’s such a salty body of water, floating is an absolute breeze for even the most timid of swimmers. Your boat captain can also take you to number of caves along the coastline where you’ll be able to jump off the boat and take a quick swim in the warm water through meandering caves. Definitely bring along a GoPro or water-proof camera for the trip--you’ll see some unbelievable sights, and the water is so clear.

Venuelust Amalfi Coast Boat Day

Of the 13 cities, you'll boat by many, but will want to stop in a few for lunch and shopping. Our one major recommendation is to stop in Amalfi and visit the Cathedral of Saint Andrea. Have your captain drop you in Amalfi for a few hours where you can grab a bite to eat, do some shopping and see the Cathedral.

Venuelust Amalfi Coast Cathedral

You don’t have to be religious nor do you have to be a history buff to appreciate the stunning cathedral and its storied history. (And while you're in Amalfi, treat yourself to some of its famous hand-painted ceramic goods. They’re worth the price you’ll pay to ship them home.)

Capri:

Amalfi Coast Capri Venuelust

Though not technically part of the coastline, no trip to the Amalfi Coast would be complete without a stop in Capri. A famous island right off the coast in Italy’s Gulf of Naples, Capri is known for its high-end designer stores and daytime beach resorts. If you're visiting for longer than a week and choose to split up the trip, we recommend spending the first half of your trip on the coast in Positano and then moving to Capri for the last half of your trip (you'll do lots of shopping in Capri, so it's a spot best saved for last).

(Tip: No trip to Capri would be complete without purchasing a pair of custom handmade leather sandals. Ask around--the locals will send you to the famous shops where shoemakers take your measurements and, within the hour, craft a beautiful handmade leather sandal for your traveling feet.)

Venuelust Amalfi Coast Punta Tragara Capri 2

Punta Tragara is one of our favorite hotels in Capri. Punta means point--the boutique hotel sits right on a point of the island, boasting the best views of the Mediterranean and the famous Faraglioni rock formations.

Venuelust Amalfi Coast Capri

The Faraglioni Rock Formations, boat view

Their pool is also great spot for relaxing toward the end of your trip (and the pool bartenders make killer cocktails). Or, you can also head down about 300 stairs to the beach club (it's worth the walk, trust us).

Venuelust Amalfi Coast Capri Punta Tragara

The Blue Grotto:

Photo via Glen Scarborough

Photo via Glen Scarborough

This is one you’ll read about over and over when researching the Amalfi Coast (and for good reason). The Blue Grotto is one of the most famous attractions Italy has to offer. Just near the island of Capri, the “Grotta Azzurra” is a stone cave lit by the most saturated natural blue light you’ll likely ever see.

You can take a boat from Capri out to the edge of the Blue Grotto, where you’ll then need to hop in one of the small wooden boats that can actually enter the grotto. Bring along cash, as you’ll need to pay the captain of the smaller boat separately. Be sure to check times and tide calendars before you head out, as you won’t be able to enter the grotto during high tide.

Local Eats:

Italian Cuisine Venuelust Amalfi Coast

There are few things Italy does better than food, and the Amalfi Coast is no different. Traditional dishes on the coast are much lighter than those you’d find in Northern Italy. White sauce (lemon- and white-wine-based) is more prominent than the heavier meat-based marinaras and bolognese that Rome and Northern Italian cities are famous for. (In fact, you'll rarely see a red sauce on the menu at restaurants on the Amalfi Coast.)

Fish is especially prominent in dishes and is caught fresh daily. You’ll notice many dishes--everything from fish plates to pastas--are served “caprese style” with fresh tomatoes and soft mozzarella (and sometimes even capers). Familiar with the famous Salad Caprese we’ve come to know and love in the states? It originated in Capri (hence “Caprese”).

Capri Lemon Stand Venuelust Amalfi Coast

You'll also notice lemon-ice stands everywhere--don't pass these by. Our favorite was on the walkway to the Punta Tragara. A local Italian woman serenades you as she makes your lemonade. (Notice the size of the lemons. They were as large as most grapefruits in the states.)

As far as restaurants go, the famous Da Paolino in Capri (also known as “Lemon Trees Restaurant”) is one of our all-time favorite dining spots in the world. Dine al fresco under a whimsical canopy of mature lemon trees. There's no other sight like it (and don't forget to try the limoncello).

photo via paolinocapri.com

photo via paolinocapri.com

We also love Conca Del Sogno. About a 20-minute boat ride from Positano, we recommend visiting this spot for lunch on your boat day.

{Insider’s Tip} Ask to purchase bottles of balsamic to take home. Theirs is the best on the coast.

photo via ConcaDelSogno.it

photo via ConcaDelSogno.it

Overall, visiting the Amalfi Coast is an experience in and of itself, so, above all, don’t pressure yourself to fit everything in--there's nothing wrong with enjoying a book and a glass of wine on your balcony. Even just choosing two or three of our tips and must-sees will be plenty for your trip. If nothing else, be sure to take a dip in the Med, drinks lots of limoncello and bring home some of that famous balsamic.

Il San Pietro Di Positano Room Balcony

Your Turn...

Have we missed any Amalfi-Coast must-see or must do's? Share them in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.