Amalfi Coast | The most beautiful (and stressful) trip

Amalfi Coast. Goodness, where should I start? This was the destination I was MOST looking forward to visiting, but I wasn't anticipating the sheer volume of tourists (you know my thing with tourist traps...) and honestly had a tough time getting over that.  Isn't that weird? But really, expectations are the enemy of travel and I hadn't let mine go. Don't be like me :)

Sorrento food tour

We drove to Sorrento, where we did the smartest thing ever and took a food tour. I'm still not over the lemon sorbet, saltimbocca, or the sweet layers of sfoliatelle. More importantly though, food tours have an amazing way of teaching you about the lifestyle and culture in a place and served as our 101 course to Life on the Amalfi Coast. 

We loved our time in Sorrento and during our stay in Nocelle, ended up changing our schedule so we could go back. It was charming and, though a bit touristy, we could easily navigate toward the more local areas.

Driving along the Amalfi Coast

From there, we drove the roads to iconic Positano. What initially reminded me of the breathtaking roads of Highway One in California, soon became a drive of panic-inducing hairpin turns on a single lane road with oncoming tour buses (don't get me started on those blasted tour buses).

As we approached Positano,  we found ourselves in a line of traffic as the Caribinieri worked to reduce the inevitable bottleneck along the winding one way drive through town. Scooters whizzed past us with abandon, waving at the Caribinieri, following an unwritten set of rules somewhere between a car and a pedestrian.

We laced our way through Positano, folding in our side view mirrors so as not to hit parked cars or tourists-really the only way vehicles can make it through the crowded streets.

Our stay in Nocelle

From Positano, we wound our way up the side of a cliff to our Bed and Breakfast in Nocelle, a teeny town just above Positano. We loved our stay there-the views were stunning, the town was quiet, and the 17 flights of stairs  to get there was a great workout! It felt like such a Mediterranean escape.

It was here, though that Stephen got sick and, as he tossed and turned with a fever and nausea, I stayed up all night researching how to drive a stick shift and how to get care in an Italian hospital. (he worked it off and was fine, thankfully!)

Path of the Gods and a beach day!

After Stephen perked up, we hiked the Path of the Gods, grabbed fresh squeezed lemonades, and hit the iconic beach for a bit. It was truly everything I had hoped for in my ideal day in Positano. As we sat at a beachside cafe after hanging out on the Spiagga Grande, I felt the relaxation sink in. 

Exploring historic Ravello and my tourist retribution

After that relaxing day, I wholeheartedly enjoyed our visit to Ravello, where we explored Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone before our client's destination anniversary session. Ravello seemed quieter and I fell in love with it's historic charms! Everywhere I looked, a patina covered every surface, lending a nostalgic feel to every turn in the path. 

After my embittered attitude toward the busloads of gawking tourists, I felt like I got my retribution in Ravello, much to my delight! As I sat in the pedestrian only town square waiting for Stephen to get something from our car, I noticed in wonder as a car zoomed through the tunnel, past the ZTL sign (uh oh...) and into the town square, where the driver stomped on his brakes upon seeing a road now filled with cafe tables, shops, signs, and pedestrians leisurely strolling. I rolled my eyes at first, but couldn't look away. I watched as the couple in the car argued over a map, gesturing wildly to each other and shaking their heads. A small crowd was starting to gather in curiosity, which seemed to stress the driver out.

Finally, the exasperated driver whipped his car into gear and began an approximately 17-point turn to get out of the crowded square. In a final act of frustration, the driver backed up forcefully...SLAMMING into the side of Villa Rufolo! With a shocked look on his face, he accelarated quickly, gunning his way back through the tunnel as a crowd of onlookers stood videoing the poor guy.

I laughed incredulously as the female passenger shielded her face with their crumpled map as they blitzed past us. I felt this teeny sense of justice at their foiled attempt to zoom thoughtlessly through the quiet town, hanging out the window snapping photos...

We explored, marveled, and made notes-to be honest, our time along the Amalfi Coast was the most beautiful but the most stressful. I created a list of tips for a trip back and would love to share those with you too! Sign up below to get our Amalfi Coast travel tips delivered to your inbox and start planning your trip.