You will never forget the first moment your eyes glimpse the Amalfi Coast. It’s a panorama which still takes my breath away despite having been there now dozens of times. The water is the deepest azure, while the sky’s shadings of blue make it hard to distinguish the horizon from the sea. . . and there’s that ever-present giant, Mt. Vesuvius. Its silhouette anchors the backdrop from every angle. True, I never tired of this area’s beauty, yet there are still so many ways I have yet to “see” it. I share here with you, the Top 5 ways to explore the Amalfi Coast.
On foot – this is the basic, most accessible way to explore any new terrain. Inhale the perfume of the air around you, where scents of jasmine and orange blossoms make you heady with delight. See the colors of the flowers in springtime up close, as the purple of the wisteria and hot pink bougainvillea pop around each corner. Feel the clear waters of the Bay of Naples tickle your toes as you stare into a boundless sea, where boulders lie at the shore as they did for the ancients.
By sea – Set sail, board a ferry, rent a local boat called a gozzo and play pirates for a day. This coast, after all, was once the maritime stronghold of the Byzantine Empire in the Middle Ages. The water provides up close views of the ruins of ancient Roman Towers which once stood watch to protect the Amalfi Coast from the Saracens. A sea view allows you to see just how the villages which dot the shore grew out of this rugged, cliff strewn coastline.
Underwater – This is where the true adventure lies in exploring the Amalfi Coast. If you are lucky enough to be scuba-certified, you can dive among the ancient ruins just off the coast of Naples at the Underwater Archaeological Park of Baia. Explorers will feel as though they have found the lost city of Atlantis as they swim across the mosaic remains of an ancient Roman villa and reach out to touch statues which lie in situ in their watery graves. Those who can’t dive are invited to take a snorkeling class or explore the bay by glass-bottom boat.
Cable car – Hop on the cable car to Monte Faito. Visitors wanting a bird’s eye view can grab the ride in the town of Castellammare di Stabia and soar up the mountain which stretches 1,131m from sea level. The cable car is quite close to the train station in Castellammare, which is on the Circumvesuviana Line. The journey up is quite steep and a bit nerve-wracking but in under 10 minutes you are at the mountain and ready for panoramas unlike any other.
By air – If you have a bit of spare change, flying along the Amalfi Coast is a once-in-a-lifetime journey. Helicopters buzz overhead, allowing visitors to feel as though they can reach out and touch the mountaintops.
Lisa Fantino is an award-winning journalist and New York attorney. She is the creative force and Italian travel specialist behind Wanderlust Women Travel, and the recently launched Wanderlust Weddings, for the perfect destination wedding and Amalfi Coast Honeymoon.