One of the best things we did when we were in Amalfi was to hire a private tour guide. Our driver was Tony. He was fantastic. I cannot stress that enough.
We had the van and driver all to ourselves. Tony kept up a running commentary pretty much the whole drive to each place. (He apologized for not being funny, but we thought he was hilarious.)
We had him for about 11 hours, and the tour was under $70 a person. Just think about that. We had him the WHOLE DAY. We had the car to ourselves, we didn’t have to deal with other (i.e., obnoxious) tourists. We could do essentially whatever our hearts desired, go wherever the wind would take us along one of Europe’s most beautiful coastlines.
Tony picked us up at our hotel in Sorrento in the morning, told us all about the citrus that Sorrento is so famous for and what makes the region great for growing them before we jetted off to Positano.
I had been to Positano before. When my husband and I spent time in Amalfi in 2015, we sat there while we were waiting for the ferry to take us to Capri (i.e., so we weren’t there long), but the views absolutely cannot be beat. Pastel houses are stacked seemingly on top of each other and are nestled into the mountainous coastline.
Tony let us out of the van and gave us about an hour to wander around the narrow cobbled streets and tiny shops. They had so many vintage-y looking things, I could have gone nuts there if it hadn’t been for the price (no surprise there, Positano is expensive as hell). As with other touristy places, everything starts to look the same after a while, but it doesn’t stop Positano from being ridiculously charming.
From there, we drove to Ravello, which was the farthest away. It took a while to get there, but with Tony’s commentary and the views, who could complain? I got a ton of awesome pictures from the safety of the van (the trick? make sure you hold the camera flush against the window and you won’t get that pesky shadow of your phone in the photo!).
Ravello was a charming little town, a bit smaller and quainter than Positano, but surrounded by green hills. Again, lots of little shops and restaurants and art galleries. Before we our meet-up time, we wandered down this ancient-looking windy path down toward the water (see below, middle right) and got not only some cool pictures but great views of the sparkling blue Mediterranean.
The last town Tony took us to was Amalfi, the coast’s namesake. Early on in our tour, Tony asked us when we would like to have our lunch, and based on our answer, he recommended a restaurant to us and offered to make a reservation for us. Also based on our lunchtime, he rearranged the order of the towns we visited accordingly. It was, as advertised, a build-your-own kind of tour, super flexible, and Tony obviously cared that we enjoyed ourselves and saw all that the coast has to offer.
The restaurant he took us to was right on the water, and it was the time of day (my favorite) when the sun hits the water and makes it shimmer and dance, so we had a spectacular view. I had the shrimp scampi, and let me tell you, that shrimp was FRESH. How do I know? Because I had to dig out the meat myself; what fun! Normally, I’m not a fan of fighting for my food, nor do I like it staring at me while I tear its little body apart in search of delicious meat like some wild beast, but hey, it was fresh and it’s all part of the dining experience! Plus, the lemon tiramisu we had for dessert was divine! (Oy with the lemons again!)
After lunch, Tony gave us some time to roam around Amalfi.
There wasn’t really a whole lot to see there, aside from the beauty and charm typical of that region in Italy (oh, the hardship!).
After the tour was over, Tony was lovely enough to talk to me about getting to Capri the next day. He even offered to set up an alternate tour if Capri didn’t end up working out, which was awesome, and he even emailed me the timetables for the ferry. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer or more competent tour guide. He made the day one for the books. So, if you’re short on time in Amalfi and want to see it all, book Tony’s tour and let him give you a little taste of all the highlights!
TIP: Tony is the one who taught us all about those swindling black taxis (he was actually really angry when we told him our story). When we booked the tour a few months before our trip, Tony immediately texted offering to pick us up from the airport or train station in Naples for 100 euros. If you’re going anywhere along the cost from Naples, take him up on the offer. You know he’s legit, and it’s less than we paid our shady taxi driver.
PIN for later:
- italy travel tip: plan for pompeii
- italy travel tip: what to see, eat & buy in florence
- italy travel tip: wander around the amalfi coast town of sorrento