We cannot talk about southern Italy without mentioning the stunning Amalfi Coast and the world-famous town of Positano. The best way to see this coastline is by going on a boat trip. You can get the public boat Metro del Mare which departs from Salerno stopping off at Cetara, Minori, Maiori and Amalfi. If you want to go to Positano, you have to change when you get to Amalfi.
The boat trip from Maiori to Positano
The ticket from Salerno to Amalfi is about 8 euro and cheaper if you go between the towns of Maiori and Amalfi. You can also get the bus, but it is much more pleasant and comfortable seeing the coastline from the sea. I would like to share with you my escorted boat trip to Positano.
We departed from Maiori. I had my passenger list ready to take 12 guests to Positano on a yacht. Me, Andrea, the skipper and Antonio, his assistant were getting very excited to welcome our 12 new guests onto the private yacht.
Welcoming guests onboard the yacht
The yacht was due to set sail at 10am from Maiori for Positano. Between 9.30 and 9.45 the guests started to arrive. I, Andrea and Antonio were there to welcome them. We were smiling and so happy to have them onboard. Once everyone sat down, Andrea and Antonio took to the ropes and I to the microphone ready to give my commentary on the Amalfi Coast.
I would face the group with enthusiasm knowing that they were going to love what they were about to see. I was also so happy to go along that coastline, even If I had done it a hundred times. It was amazing to watch their faces light up as we started cruising along the Amalfi Coast. Cameras starting to appear from nowhere eager to capture every little thing they saw.
Luxurious villas clinging to the cliffs
Most of the time you would hear wow, incredible, amazing, etc… The atmosphere was such a joyous one as everyone was so happy to be in such a wonderful place and see the most incredible natural beauty. We sailed past luxurious villas clinging to the limestone cliffs almost like dipping their toes in the deep blue sea below. Some of these villas have their own docking area, and steps spiralling down to the sea, all built within the most beautiful gardens amidst lemon groves.
The villas of the rich and famous in the Amalfi Coast
Some of the villas had luxurious terraces with swimming pools and people would be sitting having their breakfast or staring at the sea in complete awe. My group could not help giving them a wave. Some of the dwellers would even wave back. Some of the other villas were the property of the rich and famous. The film director Franco Zeffirelli previously owned the villa Treville. It is now a luxury hotel.
You can see pictures of the villa here. Sofia Loren and William Waldorf Astor also had property. Many famous actors spent time on this coast filming, while many celebrities choose to spend their holidays here. It is no wonder they choose these locations with views to take your breath away.
Most of the villas even have a lift or private cable car to reach the main road of the Amalfi Coast. At the entrance of these properties, which are usually located on the main road, there is another wonderful terrace with iron gates all around it. They use it to park their expensive cars. If you happen to take the bus, you can see some of these cars through the gates. I have often seen a ferrari parked.
Celebrity spotting on the boat trip
It is the perfect location for privacy and tranquillity when not filming or working. Many writers wrote their most successful books while writing on the terrace. Our skipper went close to the villas, but not too near in order to respect their privacy.
Nevertheless, the cameras were on the ready to see if they could spot anyone famous and capture that precise moment. Unfortunately, most of the time they didn’t see anyone famous, but were happy enough to have seen the villa and have the photograph of it.
Our skipper would stop the boat for a few seconds making sure everyone had taken enough pictures before setting off. We passed the beautiful town of Amalfi and could get a clear view of it from the sea. Our boat trip did not include a stop to Amalfi as we were going to stop in Positano for 3 hours. Some boat trips will give you the option to visit either Amalfi, Positano or both.
Luxury hotels in the Amalfi Coast
Cameras were out again as they snapped at the houses all climbing on top of each other all the way up to the monumental cemetery. Some of these people have to climb 300 steep steps in order to reach their homes. I would not want to forget the milk if I lived there.
I started hearing the wow word again as we were approaching the beautiful 5 star luxury Hotel Santa Caterina and high above us, the famous Hotel Cappuccini Convento, once a monastery with magnificent gardens amidst lemon groves.
We could get a good view of the Hotel Santa Caterina. Some holidaymakers were on the bathing platform sunbathing and going for dips in the sea. We could also see Santa Rosa in the distance. Another monastery perched high up in the cliffs.
Santa Rosa pastries and monastery
Once, nuns would be busy in the kitchen making these delicious pastries named Santa Rosa. The local speciality of the Amalfi coast is a pastry with custard cream and a cherry on top. (sfogliatelle in Italian) Today this monastery is now another luxurious hotel. See photos here. We passed the famous emerald grotto in Conca dei marini and the former villa of Sofia Loren and Carlo Ponti.
Swimming and snorkelling included in the boat trip
It was time for swimming and snorkelling while our skipper and his assistant prepared cool refreshing drinks and light snacks for our guests. Once everyone had eaten and relaxed for a while, it was time for us to make our way to Positano. On the way there, we passed the Saracen-style hotel right on the beach, many other coves, stopping close to the little picturesque fishing hamlet Furore with its colourful fishing boats and dramatic scenery. One of the most photographed places in the world.
After having admired the Grand Hotel San Pietro, the Norman and Saracen towers, the pretty town of Praiano, we approached Positano. This for me is one of the most beautiful places in the world. We gave the group 3 hours to explore this pretty town. It is a small town with two beautiful beaches with elegant bars, hotels, restaurants and attractive lidos.
The typical summer wear of Positano
The highlight of this town is the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Definitely worth visiting also for the views you get from up there. You can find plenty of shops in narrow streets and alleys selling the typical summer wear of Positano, pretty white summer dresses, colourful skirts and tops made with the finest cotton. You can see more styles here. There are also countless art galleries and quite often you see artists on the beach painting the incredible landscape.
I recommend staying in a hotel and spending the night in Positano. The day trippers disappear and the town becomes a pleasant place to explore its nooks and crannies. Make sure you try the lemon granita. I used to come in the evening when accompanying tourists from Sorrento and another time when I was invited for dinner at a luxurious villa owned by a wealthy hotel owner.
Positano at night
It was an incredible experience sipping cocktails on the terrace and admiring Positano at night. I have stayed at this hotel. Make sure you book a sea view room for Positano. It is something extremely special. After 3 hours, the group met up with me and looked happy and sad at the same time. They did not want to leave Positano. I gave them the option to stay longer and return with the public boat service.
A few people decided to do this while the others came back with the yacht. Nobody wants to leave Positano. At least we know we can always return. I was lucky when I was accompanying groups, I could see it once a week and it was always like seeing it for the first time.
The enjoyable boat trip
Just seeing the groups smile, capture every little thing they saw was enough for me. The thing I liked most was when they would tell you at the end of the boat trip how much they enjoyed themselves. This is the most rewarding thing for any guide.
Unfortunately, the boat trip I escorted was a while ago and since then many boat operators have set up business taking tourists out on private yachts and boats. You can find a similar one here. Whichever one you choose, you won’t be disappointed. The guides will share their stories and the little things you cannot find in a guide book.
The skipper and his crew
The skipper and his crew know exactly what to show you and really look after you. Some boat trips include light refreshments and others food on board. They really make the day for the tourists.
They say that this is the best job for them, being able to share their beautiful Amalfi coast with enthusiastic people. Some of them even sing and play the mandolin for them. You can also go on a private boat trip for 6 persons here
It is an enjoyable experience and definitely the best way to see the coastline. You can read about my recent weekend to the Amalfi coast here.