With Mount Vesuvius towering in the background, the Naples Bay is one of the most glorious regions in all of Italy. A mix of southern Italian hustle-bustle and serene seaside living can be found in this Mediterranean paradise, where you might take a day to explore ancient Roman ruins, enjoy freshly caught seafood and stroll beautiful clifftop gardens. Whether you’re in the mood to relax or run free, we’ve rounded up our favorite day trips from Positano to add an extra dose of la dolce vita to your next Amalfi adventure.
Drive Time: By Land: 40 minutes By Sea: 25 minutes Options:
Ferry ride, Private car, Private boat, Helicopter, Taxi
The largest village along the coast, Amalfi is over one thousand years old and was once a major Mediterranean trading power to rival Venice and Genoa. Today this little city built into dramatic cliffs at the mouth of a river gorge is beloved for its beautiful beaches, sunny piazzas and splendid hiking trails. In contrast to the steep steps of Positano, you might enjoy a stroll along Amalfi’s relatively level streets, a peak at the grand Byzantine Cathedral, or a meal at one of the town’s many wonderful restaurants. The 10 mile drive down the 700-year-old winding coast is an adventure unto itself, but you can also hop aboard a ferry in the summer for a quicker commute.
Drive Time: By Land: 40 minutes By Sea: 40 minutes Options:
Ferry ride, Private car, Helicopter, Taxi
Across the bay from Naples, clifftop Sorrento is considered the gateway to the Amalfi Coast. A serene resort town set among the citrus groves, Sorrento takes its name from the ancient Greek for “siren” and has plenty of ruins and historic elements worth visiting. If anything, you’ll want to pass under the ancient stone gate to Marina Grande for super authentic, fresh seafood served on the pier. There’s no beach here, so you may opt to go for a passeggiata along the lively pedestrian streets and grab a gelato before finding a good spot to watch the sunset over the Isle of Capri.
Catch the early morning jet boat to this romantic rocky landscape floating in the peaceful Gulf of Naples. Once a vacation hideaway for Roman emperors, this tiny four-by-two mile island is home to two lovely little towns. In larger Capri, you’ll find delightful restaurants and fabulous luxury shopping along the playfully named “Rodeo Drive.” If you’re in the mood for adventure, take a boat around the island’s limestone cliffs and visit the fabled blue grotto, walk around the elegant gardens at the edge of town, or take the chairlift over lush orchards to the summit for amazing views of the entire island and even Italy in the distance.
Further down Amalfi Drive, the dreamy resort town of Ravello sits on a rocky mountain plateau high above the sea. If you’re searching for romance and tranquility, you will find it along Ravello’s quiet cobblestone streets. Linger over a glass of wine in an ancient piazza, take in the ocean views from the iconic clifftop gardens at Villa Cimbrone, or unwind at one of the area’s many fabulous spas. Beyond all the opportunities for relaxation, a class at Mamma Agata’s famous cooking school is also reason enough to make the trip to this coastal Italian paradise.
Drive Time: By Land & Sea 3.5 hours Options:
Private Car, Ferry Ride, Helicopter
Larger than Capri and less frequented by tourists, the volcanic outcrop of Ischia is a magical place to escape the mainland. Known as “the green island,” this lush Mediterranean landscape is covered in forests, vineyards and gardens, along with many ancient towns and villages. Fabulous sandy beaches can be found all around, while ruins date back to Ischia’s days as an ancient Roman fortress. Your adventure might include a dip in the thermal hot springs, or a visit to the Aragonese Castle, built on a rock just off the island’s coast in 474 BC.
Start your day in Pompeii with a hike to the top of Mount Vesuvius for incredible views of the Naples Bay. Then, go for a tour of the city below. Preserved for centuries by the ashes of the volcano, erupted in 789 AD, these sprawling ruins offer a rare glimpse back in time. Once an important commercial center of the Roman empire, Pompeii was a thriving city with bars, restaurants, theaters and brothels. You can tour ancient mansions for a glimpse into aristocratic Roman lifestyles, complete with colonnaded courtyards and colorfully frescoed rooms. Explore the old city streets freely or allow a guide to show you around.
Wondering how George Clooney and GP do Amalfi? This is a playground for A-listers and high rollers after all, so if you’re in the mood to Kim K or Tay Tay-it, there are plenty of services to make your day trip that much more glamourous. Grab your most extravagant sunnies and take a private car to Ravello, a private boat to Capri—or even go for a helicopter ride to see the beautiful rocky coastline from above.