The one-holiday destination that pops up most often onto my Explore tab on Instagram is the Amalfi Coast. Of course, that might have something to do with me having been in love with the thought of it for over one year now. The social media algorithms do work like that. But it’s highly likely that if you’re the slightest bit interested in travel, this area located in the South of “Bella Italia”, can be found on your to-visit list. However, most times, romanticizing holiday destinations through social media can be tricky: it’s either as good as it seems or a lot worse.
Before visiting it, I fantasized about eating Caprese Salad in Piazza Duomo di Amalfi for months on end. A while later, I finally made it happen, too. After booking our stay in Amalfi six months in advance, August finally came, and I got the chance to turn that fantasy into an actual memory. But having returned home and let go of the much craved Italian vibe, there’s a thought that keeps on lingering in my mind: “Is The Amalfi Coast Overrated?” Being so mediatized, throughout the trip, I couldn’t quite grasp the real feelings I had about it. Until now.
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Are the views on the Amalfi Coast overrated?
If there’s one thing that isn’t overrated on the Amalfi Coast, it’s the views. In fact, that’s the reason why you see so many pictures of it on Instagram and travel blogs alike. Because its views are something you won’t be able to put into words. You cannot call them stunning, for it is way too small of a word to describe them properly. Mesmerizing isn’t suitable enough either. Breath-taking is the one that’s closest to making a point about them. And yet, it’s still too little. Because no picture could capture the authentic beauty of this place that you can only make sense of by visiting.
And when you do, to understand this, you shouldn’t miss out on:
- Driving around Amalfi – to enjoy the full experience, do not hesitate to drive your car in Piazza Duomo, either;
- Riding a Vespa across the Costiera Amalfitana;
- Visiting Positano – once by bus, and once by boat: the views on the way to Positano will strike you so much more different depending on how you get there;
- Booking a boat tour to Capri – where you must experience going up from Anacapri to Capri by the funicular railway;
- Taking the bus to Sorrento, Ravello, and Maiori – for you to be amazed by how different from one another they are.
Are the touristic attractions on the Amalfi Coast overrated?
It’s foolish to believe that visiting this coast will give you tourist attractions to visit. If you want just that, then you’d probably enjoy visiting the North of the country better. Rather, if you want to enjoy a holiday where you spend your days mixing sightseeing with days spent on the beach, then the Amalfi Coast is your go-to destination. Thus, if you choose to spend your vacation here, you’ll soon come to realize that in this area, the Amalfi Coast is the main touristic attraction in itself. For one, I, personally, skipped the “days spent on the beach” part, and only stuck with the sightseeing.
While doing just that in Amalfi, I came across a few places that are worth including on your must-see list, such as:
- Museo della Carta (Museum of Paper). At first, you’d expect that visiting it would mean you’d only get a tour of the museum, finding out information about the history of making paper in Amalfi. What’s going to surprise you is that if you choose to pay an extra 5€, your tour will also include an experience. The experience of making paper yourself, just like it was made back in the days by the Italians.
- Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea (Sant’Andrea Cathedral). Hands down, this cathedral is the most enchanting I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Located right in the Piazza Duomo, in the center of Amalfi, it could never go unnoticed: it makes a striking impression at the top of a sweeping 62-step staircase. Once you enter it, what you’ll find is a four-section museum, incorporating the cloisters, the 9th-century Basilica del Crocefisso, the crypt of St. Andrew, and the cathedral itself.
- Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Cave). Located near the Conca Dei Marini village in Amalfi, the only way to make it to this cave is by boat. And if you, too, are based in Amalfi, then it’ll probably take you 15 minutes to make it there. Once you arrive there, stairs and an elevator descend to a marine cave. Before you know it, a magical sight – which hides stalactites, emerald-green glowing water, and rays of sunshine – will lay open in front of you.
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Is the food on the Amalfi Coast overrated?
Pasta, pizza, Caprese salad, “Frutti di mare”, gelato, you name it – they all taste better than anywhere else I’ve been so far. To answer the above question, the food on the Amalfi Coast isn’t overrated. However, if you’d like to eat at a restaurant on a budget in any of the cities making up the coast, then you should know that’s very unlikely. Don’t expect to be buying any restaurant meals for less than 10€, ‘cause you won’t be finding any. If you’re looking to eat on a budget during your stay on the coast, then you should turn to the shops in the piazzas for that.
However, if you’re to eat out at a restaurant, here are some of the ones which you shouldn’t miss out on throughout your stay on the coast:
- While you’re in Amalfi, it’s a must for you to stop by at Enoteca & Gastronomia Il Protontino. Although it’s a wine bar (whose Amalfitan rosé wine tastes incredible), their meals taste just as better as the wine. Their Parmigiana di zucchini mouth-watering meal is the one that left me wanting to stop by at theirs once more before leaving Amalfi.
- Chez Black (1949) is a restaurant that’s not only famous in Positano, where it’s located, but also in all of Italy. Stopping by to eat either lunch or dinner at this restaurant, if you do order pizza (which you should) you don’t just get the Italian pizza – but you get it heart-shaped. On top of that, you also get the Positano beach views, and the Italian music as well.
- Arriving hungry in Capri, I stopped to eat lunch at the very first restaurant which offered pasta that I came across: Midici Food Experience. Without researching it before, I was lucky enough to have discovered the restaurant that offered the tastiest, softest, most aromatic pasta that I ate during my stay in Italy. It’s Fusilli Alla Siciliana I’m talking about.
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Drawing the line, it has the views, a few interesting touristic attractions, and the food. However, it’s the kind of jewel that’s not for everyone’s taste. And it shouldn’t even be. Thus, if your vacation definition means going somewhere where the surroundings aren’t crowded, busy, and loud, then the Amalfi Coast isn’t for you. If you wouldn’t want to spend crazy amounts of money on tourist taxes and parking spots, then you wouldn’t like it. And if you’re looking to travel on a budget, then this coast isn’t an option – especially during summer, when their tourism is flourishing with tourists from all over the world. This is also why you should care about the commuting options, accommodations, and shops that are to be found on the Costiera Amalfitana.