The Amalfi Coast
After our adventures in Naples, it was a relief to arrive in the pleasant city of Salerno, the southern gateway to the Amalfi Coast. From there, we took the blue SITA bus to Minori, the lovely town that would be our base for the next six days. As we started our bus ride along the windy coast road, we realized why everyone wants to come here. The terraced hills, covered with lemon orchards, climb up to dramatic, craggy mountains, laced with lush, green vegetation and various species of pine trees. The tidy and picturesque villages hug the main road and climb steeply up the cliffs. The deep blue Mediterranean is clean, clear and inviting.
Walking the coast road—not advised
April has been a good month to be here. The temperature has hovered in the low 70s and we’ve had sun every day. The popular towns, like Amalfi, Ravello and Positano have plenty of visitors already, but it’s easy to get around and the busses aren’t too crowded yet. We’ve heard that the coast road gets very congested in the summer. But this time of year, everything seems to be going smoothly.
Walking from Minori to Ravello
If you like to swim, April might be a bit early. We got our feet wet after a hike, but we weren’t tempted to dive in. May or the fall might be better months for swimming and warmer water temps. However, some people are swimming and sunbathing this week and there’s quite a bit of windsurfing going on.
We came to the Amalfi Coast to relax and hike, so the middle of April has been perfect for that. It’s been warm enough to hike all day in a T shirt, but the sea breezes have kept us from getting too hot. A lot of the trails are exposed to the sun and could be quite hot in the middle of summer. The hikes also involve some steep ascents and descents (often with hundreds of stone stairs), so the mild temperatures make for pleasant hikes.
Villa Cimbrone Gardens in Ravello
There are a wide variety of trails to chose from and most towns have a TI (Tourist Information Office) with free town maps that show some basic trails. If you want better descriptions and detailed maps, these are available for about 5 euros. The local bookstores and Amazon have many more books that give helpful itineraries and descriptions. If you plan to do some serious hiking, the more detailed books are not a bad idea. We managed to do three nice hikes, which I’ll be describing in my next blog.
Looking down at Minori
Besides the most popular towns of Positano and Amalfi, there are several smaller towns that have just as much to offer. We found a small apartment in Minori for a great price, so we decided to stay here. Minori is one of the smaller towns on the Amalfi Coast, but it has a few hotels, several B&Bs, rooms to rent and even an Agriturismo. We’ve found good restaurants, exceptional pastries and two pleasant piazzas for happy hour or people watching. We even have a short Lungomare with a nice beach and an all weather youth soccer (it could be just futsal) pitch. From this town, you can take a pleasant, but uphill walk to Ravello or you can catch a bus to all of the other major towns and hiking trail heads.
If you don’t need a lot of shops and 50 choices for limoncello, try a smaller town like Minori, Maiori or Praiano. Just check your map to make sure the location fits your needs.