During our week on the Amalfi Coast, Andy and I enjoyed relaxing and doing almost nothing in Minori. But we did take one day trip to the towns of Amalfi and Positano. Amalfi is obviously where the coast gets its name, and the town has a lot of history there about the region’s maritime roots. Positano has been featured in several films, such as Under the Tuscan Sun. They are the most famous towns on the coast, therefore they’re packed with tourists.
When our bus arrived in Amalfi, Andy and I started walking in towards the center of town. We could already feel the difference between this tourist hub and our sleepy coastal village. People were all around us taking pictures, souvenir shops were on every corner, and we saw more restaurants in a five minute walk than in all of Minori.
One of the biggest sights in Amalfi is the church, where we paid a 3€ entrance fee. The church has a nice inner courtyard with palm trees and a view of the bell tower, lots of art work from various time periods, and the tomb of St. Andrew. Overall it was nice, but it didn’t blow me away.
After the church, we decided to get some gelato. The guy working behind the counter in the shop we chose was holding a cup in one hand and a cone in the other, and we both picked the cup. Once the man scooped out our flavors, the guy at the register told Andy it was 10€ for our two cups.
This insanely high price was a bit surprising, and Andy went looking for a price sign. It turns out the man holding the cup and cone was only holding the large size, so we didn’t even realize there were options of smaller sizes. Feeling tricked, we paid and went outside to eat our ice cream.
We wandered through the streets to see a little more of the town and find lunch. Luckily we found reasonably priced pizza, but after that we were pretty much done with Amalfi. It was a beautiful town but the crowds of tourists and the opportunistic shop keepers were wearing us down. We went to the docks and bought our tickets for the ferry to Positano.
shopping mall town of Positano
The views of the coast from the ferry were gorgeous, and I was really looking forward to seeing the famous town of Positano. But within minutes of getting off the ferry, I was already half-joking that we should go back. The lead-up to the dock was lined with stalls selling everything from excursions to trinkets, and I just wasn’t interested.
We saw a pathway hugging the coast leading away from town, so we started walking that way. It led to another beach, but since we didn’t have our bathing suits, we just hung out in the shade for awhile admiring the view. Eventually we decided to turn back and go check out the town.
Almost immediately we were faced with shops. Souvenirs, clothing, shoes, bags, and in between, a few trendy looking cafes. We climbed stairs and wound our way through the little alleyways of the town finding almost no sign of local culture. It was basically like an outdoor shopping mall marketing right at the tourists.
Our original plan was to find a restaurant with a nice view for dinner, but since that would’ve meant hanging out in Positano for another four hours before even sitting down to eat, we decided to leave.
I’m sure if we were staying in Positano or Amalfi we would’ve had more time to explore more and see beyond the theme park atmosphere, but the few hours we spent in both towns was enough to remind me of how much I liked Minori. So we took the ferry back to Amalfi, the bus from Amalfi to Minori, and had a relaxing dinner there instead. Amalfi and Positano were beautiful to look at but we left disappointed.
Update: We returned to the Amalfi Coast in October 2014 and stayed in Maiori, which is the next town over from Minori. It had a little more to offer in terms of restaurants and places to stay, but it still wasn’t overly crowded. I also recommend Ravello, which is up in the hills. It doesn’t have beach access, but it’s gorgeous and quieter than Amalfi Town and Positano.
You might also enjoy:
- Unconventional Italy Guidebook: 100 Locals Tell You What to Do, Where to Eat, and How to Fit In on Kindle or full-color PDF version
- Top Sights in Rome to See Other Tourists
- How Much We Spent Living in Pisa and Traveling in Tuscany
- How Much We Spent Traveling on the Amalfi Coast