Combining Naples and the Amalfi Coast makes for a great itinerary. You’ll see many of the highlights of Southern Italy in one trip. It’s one of the best places in Europe for a vacation.
Some people head straight to the Amalfi Coast. If you spend some time in Naples you’ll be able to add some major cultural highlights to your trip. It depends what kind of vacation you want to have. That’s what makes this route so great: you can tweak it to suit your interests.
You won’t find much of a gay scene in Naples or the Amalfi Coast. It’s not really a party place. Head to Ibiza or Mykonos for that. Naples and the Amalfi Coast is all about food, drink, culture and exploring picturesque Italian towns.
Your Amalfi Coast adventure will begin in Naples. It may be a rundown city but it’s worth spending a few days here. You can use it as a base to discover some of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions.
Pizza was invented in Naples, so you’ll definitely want a Neapolitan pizza while you’re in town. We’d strongly recommend staying in the historic centre (Centro Storico). When you veer out of the historic centre Naples can be chaotic.
Naples is a very ancient city. Head underground to the Roman aqueduct and join a guided tour. It’s well worth doing and it won’t take more than a few hours. Naples’ history stretches back before the Romans. It was founded by the Greeks and it was one of the major cities of Magna Graecia. You’ll find buildings dating back to the Ancient Greeks, all the way to Napoleonic palaces.
Insider’s tip: Order a drink in a bar and you’ll be furnished with a meal’s worth of snacks. Seriously, they don’t hold back. Be prepared for carbs! If you’re on a budget you could live off bar snacks in Naples.
Take an early morning day trip to Pompeii from Naples. The train is direct and it takes no more than 30-minutes. Pompeii is, of course, one of the greatest tourist attractions on the planet. As you’ll recall from school, Mt Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD and destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Pompeii’s sudden burial preserved it throughout the centuries. It was discovered in the late 16th century, the best preserved time capsule of antiquity.
Visiting Pompeii is as close as you’ll ever get to seeing how people lived two millennia ago. When you plan your trip to Naples and the Amalfi Coast, you should definitely factor in Pompeii.
When you’ve visited Pompeii and returned to Naples for a pizza and a beer, you may wish to visit the volcano that destroyed it. You’ll see Mt Vesuvius from the train window as you go to Pompeii.
Mt Vesuvius is still an active volcano. It will erupt again and it could well be as destructive as it was in 79 AD. Naples is only 9km away from Mt Vesuvius so it’s likely to go the way of Pompeii – hopefully not for a long time!
You can take a bus to Mt Vesuvius and take a hike up one of the world’s most iconic volcanoes. There are clearly mapped out routes and you don’t have to go all the way to the top.
It only takes an hour to get to Sorrento from Naples on the train. Sorrento is a charming little town. When we say small we mean small. You’ll need no more than a day in Sorrento. It’s touristy but worth visiting. Sorrento is known as the gateway to Amalfi. It has been a tourist attraction since the early days of tourism. People like Byron visited as part of their “Grand Tour.”
The plunging views from the cliffs offer spectacular views. Take a stroll around the winding streets. There are plenty of little shops to explore. You’ll then want a limoncello or maybe an aperol spritz when you sit on a terrace for a drink. A glass of aperol spritz appeared to be all but mandatory when we visited.
Insider’s tip: You can do Pompeii and Sorrento on the same day. Go to Pompeii early, explore the ruins and then take a short train ride to Sorrento. Alternatively, you can visit Sorrento on your way to Amalfi from Naples – you’ll just have to store your bags at the station.
You can rent a car and drive to Amalfi from Sorrento. If you’re a bit fancy, you could enlist the services of a driver. The bus is the most popular option. There are no trains to Amalfi. The bus wends its way along windy roads and plunging cliffs. You will too if you drive, so only get a car if you’re free from vertigo.
It takes around 1 hour 40 minutes on the bus from Sorrento to Amalfi. You’ll see some great views on the way. You’ll head through Positano on your way to Amalfi itself. There are many hotels and apartments along the Amalfi Coast to choose from. We tend to favour staying in the town of Amalfi itself. It’s twinned with Atrani – a tiny village just behind Amalfi but it’s essentially a part of Amalfi.
This is one of the most aesthetically pleasing parts of the Mediterranean. You’ll find many little cafes and bars with sweeping views of the coast. It’s worth opting for a hotel or apartment with a balcony facing the coast – the view is really something.
You can take day trips from Amalfi to Positano and Ravello, the latter being the former home of Gore Vidal. Otherwise enjoy the bars, the restaurants and the good life. The Amalfi Coast is such a great place to unwind in a luxurious, dreamy setting.
Are you sold? If you’re ready to plan your trip to Naples and the Amalfi Coast, our colleagues at Out Of Office can tailor-make the perfect itinerary for you.
by Alex | On: Gay Naples