Why the Amalfi Coast is at its most relaxing in spring

The waters of the Mediterranean are sparkling in the sun at this time of year, says Anna Selby – Francesco Riccardo Iacomino

Long recognized as one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, the dramatic rugged mountains of Amalfi jut into the sea, with ruined towers, churches, colorful cathedrals and colorful villages clinging to medieval peaks on their lower reaches. It’s all beautiful – so it’s no wonder everyone wants to visit it. And here lies the problem.

In winter, most of the hotels and restaurants of Costa Amalfitana close. In the summer, the crowds (not to mention the heat) can be overwhelming. You can’t move in the small towns or on the narrow and winding roads between them, especially when the cruise ships dock in the nearby port of Naples and thousands of passengers turn astray, piling onto the buses that take the bends hair through the Lattari. (Bó Finne) Mountain Nature Park, making their way down to that pleasant coast.

The Amalfi coast is one of the most picturesque in the worldThe Amalfi coast is one of the most picturesque in the world

The Amalfi coast is one of the most picturesque in the world – Getty

There is a moment, however, when you can really get the place to yourself. And that moment is now.

Amalfi itself is a town, as well as a coast. From my balcony at the elegant Hotel Santa Caterina, I could look across the terraces of pink, cream and ocher houses above the little port, down to the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Salerno and, squeezed into every available space, the orange and , in particular, lemon trees weighed down with fruit at this time of year.

Amalfi lemons (called Sfusato Amalfitano) huge that are highly prized by chefs for their intense flavor and used by local ice cream vendors as an attractive cup for that gelato al limone. But then, you’d expect Amalfi’s flavors to be as delicate as its coast. Apart from the lemons, you will find the freshest of seafood, soft Mozzarella di Bufala cheese, the best pizzas, pastas and risottos and pastries that can’t be beat. And, of course, Amalfi is home to that delicious elixir called limoncello.

Amalfi is famous for its lemonsAmalfi is famous for its lemons

Amalfi is famous for its lemons – Getty

Tempting to sample these desserts at a table on a cobbled street while watching the world go by, Amalfi is much more than a sensory delight. Indeed, it occupies an unexpectedly important place in Mediterranean history. Long before Venice rose to supremacy, it was a Maritime Republic. In the 9th-11th centuries, it ran the shipping of the region, trading grain and slaves, silks and timber as far away as Egypt and Syria.

As a result of the wealth built a magnificent cathedral with recognizable Arabic and Byzantine influences. They could even find the remains of St. Andrew, the first apostle of Christ, which is buried in the magnificent ornate crypt of the Cathedral, from which “manna” has been sweating from the tomb in a crystal ampule for the past 750 years. (No one is exactly sure what this is but it is generally seen as a sign of friendship.)

Accommodation is also better priced in the springAccommodation is also better priced in the spring

Accommodation is also better priced in the spring – Getty

At this time of year, it’s easy to get to nearby towns and villages – no small feat with driving times quadrupling in the summer. The nearest is Atrani, a tiny fishing village, one of the smallest in Italy, but nevertheless with its own cliff-top cathedral. Minori is famous for its beautiful sandy beach backed by a wonderful promenade. Ravello, up in the hills, has stunning views of the coast and the Villa Rufolo – a 13th century palace with more rooms than days in the year – with gardens so beautiful that Wagner declared them, on a visit in 1880, to be the model of “Klingsor’s magic garden”.

However, the best way to explore the coast with its dramatic mountains, caves, inlets, secluded beaches and piers is by boat. This was, of course, the way the ancient Greeks and Romans reached the beautiful nearby town of Positano – a popular holiday destination in the ancient world.

Amalfi has beautiful beachesAmalfi has beautiful beaches

Amalfi has beautiful beaches – Shutterstock

His archipelago Li Galli was the famous home of Homer’s sirens and one of his islands was bought by Ballets Russes dancer Léonide Massine and Rudolf Nureyev bought it after her death. Today, it takes only 30 minutes to reach Positano by ferry from Amalfi and there are also ferries from Amalfi to Naples, Salerno and the Island of Capri.

The waters of the Mediterranean glisten in the sun at this time of year, as the Amalfi wakes up, refreshed after its brief winter slumber. The perfect moment, then, to heed the call of the graves and step into the spring sunshine in a place where la vita is as long as you could want.


Anna Selby was a guest at Hotel Santa Catarina (hotelsantacaterina.it) which has double rooms from £388 per night, including breakfast.

Various UK airlines fly to Naples, including EasyJet from London Gatwick (from £16 one way; easyJet.com); Ryanair from Manchester (from £23 one way; ryanair.com) and TUI from Glasgow (from £10 one way; tui.co.uk). EasyJet will fly twice a week from London Gatwick to the even more convenient Salerno from 13 July.

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