It’s all here, looking entirely as it should, as it always has. The cove-hidden beaches reached only by boat. The terraced lemon and olive groves on near-vertical hillsides. The glittering cliff-top resorts, the pier-side tavernas, and the Cubist-painting townscapes—Ravello, Amalfi, Praiano, Positano, Nerano—overlooking the Gulf of Salerno, nattily threaded together by one of the world’s most spectacular roads. If you’re returning after many seasons away, it will be just as you remember it. And if you’re arriving on the Amalfi Coast for the very first time—lucky you—the very sight could make you laugh out loud at how absurdly, exactly right it all seems.
La Costiera Amalfitana is both a location and a worldview, international shorthand for a lifestyle at once endlessly sophisticated and effortlessly simple. It’s an easy mind-set to embrace, and a hard place to come down from. (Wherever you travel after this will inevitably pale in comparison.) No matter: there’s always next year.
I spent two weeks exploring the peninsula by bike, scooter, open-top cab, rented Mercedes, pedalo, inflatable dinghy, 1972 Riva speedboat, hydrofoil, yacht, water taxi, and in the muddy backseat of a farmer’s Fiat Panda. Searching for the people and places that define the costiera now, I revisited old classics and unearthed new and unsung favorites. Here are, in my opinion, the Amalfi Coast’s can’t-miss experiences.