We’d both wanted to visit the Amalfi coast for awhile, and we were excited to have 10 days there after a summer of traveling to relax and settle into a beautiful area. We’d intended to stay in the town of Atrani, which is next to Amalfi but much quieter and less touristy. We thought we booked an apartment in Atrani until we realized that the airbnb map was wrong and the apartment listed in Atrani was actually in Pogerola, a small village above Amalfi. When I contacted our host to point out that his listing was incorrect, he seemed unconcerned and pointed out his “no cancellation” policy. Tricky tricky.
Our initiation to the Amalfi coast included a 2 hour bus ride from Salerno, during which we were pouring sweat, completely nauseated, and piled in a bus with eight thousand other toursits and their luggage. The roads are all carved into the mountain sides and seem to defy laws of gravity. We tried to catch glimpses of the shimmering blue water through the view of strangers’ armpits while trying not to throw up. Once we got off the bus, things started looking up.
Roads carved into mountains.
View of Amalfi from the town dock. The village we stayed in, Pogerola, is tucked back behind the hill just behind Amalfi to the left.
Looking up at the edge of Pogerola (top left of photo).
Staying in Pogerola meant that we were a little more isolated from the other Amalfi towns since we had to either walk down the 800ish steps to Amalfi or catch a nauseating and, frankly, terrifying bus ride down the hill in order to get anywhere. It was still a very pretty little village though, and we certainly earned our pasta dinners walking to and from Amalfi.
Amalfi town square.
Atrani, the much cooler much less crowded much prettier little town just next to the touristblob that is Amalfi.
We set out one morning to do a little walking and explore the nearby towns. We didn’t quite realize that exploring towns on the Amalfi coast requires walking up and down (and back up, and back down) very large hills with many, many, many (many) stairs. Thus, we accidentally hiked about 10.5 miles in order to see Atrani, Ravello, Scala, Pontone, and then walk back down to Amalfi to catch the 800 step staircase back up to Pogerola. We not only earned our pasta, but also our 3 euro magnum of wine.
Visiting Atrani, blissfully unaware of the stairs ahead of us.
Atrani’s center square (Ravello is perched on the hill above Atrani to the right).
Ravello: Up. Obviously.
Ravello town center, where we sat to rest, and enjoy the view and our lunches.
After wandering Ravello for a bit, we decided to walk to the town of Scala that we could see on the other side of the valley.
Church in Scala town square:
View back at Ravello from Scala.
Beautiful town square in Pontone, just below Scala.
Since no cars can make it up to Pontone, the construction materials are transported by mules who walk up and down the hills carrying materials on their backs.
Pontone construction crew.
The ruins of Sant’Eustachio, built in the second half of the twelfth century.
Looking down at Atrani (where we came from) on the water to the left of the point and Amalfi (where we’re going) on the water to the right.
In Pontone with Ravello behind us.
One hike we did on purpose was the Sentiero Degli Dei, or the Path of the Gods hike. This hike follows an old footpath from the peaks of hills of Bomerano to the hilltop town of Nocelle, just above Positano. After another nauseating bus ride from Pogerola to Bomerano (no boats in the mountains, and we couldn’t bring ourselves to walk 3 hours uphill to the start of the hike), we found the trailhead and began the walk.
Compared to other hikes we’d done in Europe this one was certainly the easiest, but it was also one of the most beautiful. We had a view straight down the Sorrento peninsula to Capri for most of the hike, and the path itself meandered on the edge of hilltops connecting different towns.
View from one of the lookouts. The large town, Positano, is our destination.
After the path reached Nocelle, we could either continue up in the hills or start descending to Arienzo Beach, which is one of the sunniest beaches in Amalfi due to its southwest facing position. We opted for beach, also called “300 steps beach.”
Stairs: The Amalfi Coast Story.
Looking down at Arienzo Beach.
Finally – Beach time.