Amalfi Coast Travel Guide

Graced with dramatic landscapes, crystalline waters and alluring old-world abodes, the Amalfi Coast is absolutely the quintessential Mediterranean getaway. Moneyed nobles relaxed here in the age of Ancient Rome, and the region's charms are just as irresistible today.

The idyllic destination lies between the towns of Positano and Vietri sul Mare, near Salerno, and the area is renowned for its rugged cliffs, romantic bays and lush foliage. Precariously perched and threatening to topple into the sea, the small town of Positano is a great attraction for tourists, with its cluster of multi-coloured houses and remarkable setting. A cliffside stairway provides the perfect vantage-point from which to admire its glorious sea vistas.

Four miles (6km) down the coast is the quaint town of Praiano. A stroll from here towards Amalfi will take visitors to a ramp leading to Marina di Praia, a 400-year-old fishing village nestled in the embrace of a tiny ravine. Another notable stop between Praiano and Amalfi is the Grotta dello Smeraldo (the Emerald Cave), which takes its name from the green light inside the cave. The effect is caused by natural sunlight from outside that enters the cave through an underground passage. The water filters the sunlight so that only green wavelengths reach the cave.

The busy seaside town of Amalfi basks in the glory of its history as the first Sea Republic of Italy, and as the hometown of Flavio Gioja, the inventor of the compass. It's referred to as the 'pearl of the coast' and has a bit of everything for the weary traveller. A pebble's throw away from here is the quiet village of Atrani, whose tranquil beach rests languidly on the water's edge against a superb backdrop of mountains.

Further down the coast is Minori, a small town that's popular with holidaying Italians, and is notable for its lemon exports, its festive seafront and atmospheric pedestrian shopping streets. The tranquil town of Ravello retains the charm prized by Renaissance author, Giovanni Boccaccio, who dedicated part of his famous work, the Decameron, to it.

A journey along this southern route of enchanting villages, bays and inlets will live long in the memory, and is a must for lovers of beauty and romance.