Ports We Love: Sailing The Amalfi Coast

By: Cruising Tips, Destinations

We walked to the top of the street to stretch our legs after a day of sailing. The sun baked the colorful hillsides and the air was rich with the smell of citrus.  After a climb up what appeared to be abandoned stairs we were greeted with a trail along the canyon and a stream that flowed below us. Across the valley were rows and rows of lemon trees on the steep hillside. 

This is the Amalfi that we had never seen on postcards. This is the Amalfi that sailors should experience.

High above the tourist attraction that is the quaint town of Amalfi we made our way along a shaded trail.  Our hike/walk led us past an abandoned Villa and to a small tranquil stream that merged from beyond a stone archway.  This could be the perfect spot for an afternoon nap. We stopped for a snack that consisted of a saved Porchetta sandwich from a shop along the busy streets down below. The only way to improve on this experience would have been if we had packed a crisp white wine from Campania.

In these moments, the experiences that travelers (and sailors) experience are very much different than those that ordinary tourists will encounter.  When you set the bow in a direction you aim for a new adventure.  From the helm of a sailboat, your perspective allows your mind to ponder the “what ifs” of exploration.  The Amalfi Coast is precisely the place to fulfill your need to wander.

In the middle of the busy summer season, we found the quiet and tranquility of this beautiful region. 

Five Things You Need To Do on the Amalfi Coast

  • Change your perspective on Anchovies. An Aperol spritz and some tiny fish in a bowl. Have them fried, broiled, salted or any other way they are serving them. The salty fish are perfect for snacking and help you stay thirsty. Open your mind and enjoy these tiny treasures from the sea. Anchovies and olive oil are the snacks you never knew that you wanted.
Beachside in Positano
  • Grab an umbrella and experience a beach like an Italian. If you typically travel to the beach for a wide expanse of sand you will be surprised by just how little space you have on a beach in Amalfi. The umbrellas are right next to each other and the beach day is really a very cozy affair with a few hundred people within arms reach. That is where the fun begins! Have a conversation, people watch or just enjoy an entirely different beach culture. You have to experience a beach day like this at least once in your life.
  • Limoncello in its natural environment. I didn’t know limoncello until I had limoncello while sailing on the Amalfi coast. Of course, I have had limoncello but to truly appreciate it you have to experience the well-balanced, citrusy and refreshing flavor of fresh Limoncello made with Amalfi lemons. You cannot replicate this flavor anywhere else in the world. 
Pasta al Limone in Amalfi
  • Indulge in Pasta al Limone – Food should be a mainstay in your sailing adventure in Italy. After all, wine and good eats are what Italy is all about. The Amalfi is home to lemons with flavors that you will not get anywhere else in the world. Couple those lemons with regional olive oil and you get a pasta dish that should be a requisite for any sailing holiday.  Head to KM 0 in Amalfi and Ristorante Amalfi Cantina Miseria E Nobilta is a treasure that delivers Amalfi cuisine. 
  • Drop anchor along a tiny village on the cliffs.  As you sail along the Amalfi coast you will notice quite a few small coves with single-building developments.  Ignore the giant fancy buildings and instead pick the smaller quaint spots. What you’ll experience is fresh seafood, refreshing drinks, and genuine Italian hospitality that is prevalent outside of the bustling tourist centers.

Where to Sail From Amalfi

Sorrento at Sunset

Sorrento – Tuck away in one of the large coves along the towering cliffs and enjoy this seaside town that is a taste of everything in this region. They have the lemons from the south, the pizza of Napoli from the north, the wine from the surrounding region, and the fresh seafood from the ocean that frames every view you get in Sorrento. This is less crowded than Amalfi anchorages and with many options for onshore excursions. 

Ischia – Sail to this island and you’ll question why people always decide on Capri. The food is better, the crowds are not as big and the people are incredible. Roam the Castello Aragonese d’Ischia a 2000-year-old castle or soak in a thermal bath.  There is a good chance that you’ll drop a hook in the shadow of the castle and spend a few extra days sampling the seafood at the seaside restaurants.

Ischia Anchorage from an Ancient Castle

Napoli – If you can get a guest slip near Castel dell ‘Ovo you’ll be within walking distance to so many attractions and beaches in Napoli. You will have to have the pizza and you cannot miss the rich cultural significance of this port.

Vietri Sul Mare – It is easy to pass up this small town that does not get the fanfare of the busy coastal gems such as Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. The smaller spots are just as intriguing. Consider Maiori,  Cetara and Vietri Sul Mare.  In these smaller towns, you get a closer representation of Italian hospitality without the crowds or the hassle of finding an anchorage. 

One more thing…

Don’t throw your trash overboard…ever.