The Amalfi Coast and Mt. Vesuvius are some of the most memorable sites you’ll see in Italy. Amalfi is famous for its colorful towns and hidden coves that attract millions of worldwide visitors a year. People that love to hike are rewarded with spectacular sea views on Mt. Vesuvius. Today’s post is about why these 2 incredible sites should be on your next itinerary to Italy.
We spent 2 weeks exploring several areas of Italy in 2016 and wanted to check off the Amalfi Coast and Mt. Vesuvius from our bucket list. We chose Sorrento as our base since it’s centrally located.
The main highways were great and even fun to drive from Florence to Sorrento, but became a nightmare once we got into town. The streets of Sorrento are one big hodgepodge of cars, scooters, and pedestrians that share unmarked roads. I’ve never seen hubby Mike so stressed out driving before. Trust me, you don’t want the headache.
I had this fantasy to drive along the Amalfi Coast with the top down, swerving along the scenic winding roads and the wind blowing in my face. After driving through Sorrento which nearly gave us a heart attack, we decided to take a boat tour along the mountainous coast instead.
Day 1: Amalfi Coast Boat Tour
- TOUR NAME: Amalfi Coast Boat Experience: from Sorrento to Positano, Li Galli, Rotonda and Castelletto
- TOUR TYPE: Small Group Tour
- PRICE: $117-153 per person & $91 per child as of April 15, 2020. Check for lowest price guarantee here.
- CHECK-IN POINT: Capitano Ago, Via Marina Grande 92, 80067, Sorrento Italy
- TOUR DURATION: 8 Hours
- NOTE: Drinks, snacks, sandwhiches included but bring towels, swimsuits, & money for shopping or dining during leisure time.
We took a tour called the “Amalfi Coast Boat Experience: from Sorrento to Positano, Li Galli, Rotonda and Castelletto,” by Capitano Ago Boat Excursions.
The motor boat can comfortably accommodate up to 14 people. The tour came with a Skipper to show us around the coast that day. He was a riot and full of energy. The drinks and snacks that included sandwiches were also nice to supplement the day.
If you’re looking to town hop up and down the Amalfi Coast, taking a boat tour is perfect. The boat makes a stop at each town on the itinerary where we could have leisure time to explore on our own. Everyone meets back at designated time. The boat also stops at a couple of scenic spots to just swim.
The Famous Amalfi Coastline
The Amalfi Coastline is about a 31 mile stretch of famous coastline along the Sorrentine Peninsula. We enjoyed the beautiful vistas and relaxed in the sun. We were amazed by the fishing villages and the incredible architecture built directly into the rocks.
We were able to stop by a few towns to have our leisure time and shop eat, or explore on our own. Positano, Li Galli, Rotando, and Castelletto were all beautiful by land and sea. When we return, we’d love to actually stay in Positano next time. It’s very posh with spectacular views.
The Amalfi Coast also has nooks and private coves locals and knowing travelers love to escape to.
The Emerald Grotto
During our day trip, the group members had an option to see the Emerald Grotto or sometimes referred to as the Green Grotto. In Italian, it’s called ThevGrotta dello Smeraldo. This is not the same or to be confused with the Blue Grotto in Capri.
We visited the Blue Grotto a couple days beforehand and it was a completely different experience. If you are able to catch the Blue Grotto, you won’t feel like you missed out by not going to the Emerald Grotto. If you have to pick between the two, hands down the Blue Grotto is the more authentic and unique experience.
Insider Info: The Emerald Grotto in Amalfi is not to be confused with The Blue Grotto in Capri. They are 2 very different sea caves. The Blue Grotto can be much more difficult to see due to its small size and entry point. The Emerald Grotto is large and easily accessible, but is staged for tourists rather than an all natural setting like The Blue Grotto. Read more about our unique Blue Grotto experience here.Travoodie Queen
The Emerald Grotto is located at Conca dei Marini off the Amalfi Coast. It’s a sea cave that’s made to feel like some kind of temple. Although naturally beautiful, the artificial artifacts staged by the site operators made it feel more like a tourist trap.
- PRICE: 5 euro per person, pay at entrance
- HOURS: 9:30am to 4pm daily but can change without noticed
Swimming in the Tyrrhenian Sea
The Amalfi Coast lies on the Tyrrhenian Sea and we loved swimming in its deep blue waters. The water is a dark hue due to the volcanic ashes that lies underneath. In the Summer time, the temperature is perfect for water sports and we stopped at a couple of places to swim.
After spending an 8 hour day with a small group, it’s hard to not make friends! We met a wonderful English family of 4 from Peterborough, England. We still keep in touch and have seen them in Florida since this trip in Italy.
What makes this day so perfect and memorable were the bonds we made. Everyone had a great time and we looked out for each other throughout the day. We were so glad we took this tour by boat instead of by car. I’m convinced it was much more relaxing too.
Day 2: Mt. Vesuvius
- TOUR NAME: Mt Vesuvius 4×4 Tour from Sorrento Including Hike, Lunch and Wine Tasting (currently unavailable)
- TOUR TYPE: Small Group Tour
- PRICE: $86 per person in 2016 when we went
- CHECK-IN POINT: Sorrento Italy
- TOUR DURATION: 6 Hours
- NOTE: This Tour is unfortunately no longer available by the tour excellent company we had, Acampora Travel. Check for other operators and lowest price guarantee here.
Now that we’re relaxed from our boat tour, we were ready to rough it on Mt. Vesuvius located in Naples, Italy. This volcano is famous for several things that we found fascinating during our hiking tour.
The number one reason why people flock to hike Mt. Vesuvius is to see its famous crater!
Check out the massive crater in our video!
Fascinating Facts About Mt. Vesuvius
- Mt. Vesuvius is not just 1 but made of 2 active volcanos.
- It destroyed Pompeii in 79 AD and has erupted about 3 dozen times more since then.
- The last eruption was in 1944 and lasted 2 weeks. It destroyed almost 80 planes and had 26 deaths, but 12,000 Solerno citizens were displaced.
- The volcano is believed to be 17, 000 years old and can still erupt again today.
- It buried the Roman cities Pompeii and Herculaneum. The ash and pumice covering the victims helped to preserve their last moments of fear on their faces and clothes on their bodies.
- Mt. Vesuvius is the only active volcano on the European mainland and is considered highly dangerous due to volcanic activity.
To get to the starting point of the hike, you need to get to the trail entrance that ends at the summit where you can see the famous crater. Our tour took us there by a 4×4 because the terrain is rugged and steep. The 4×4 was rather comfortable and a Mercedes, which is a common brand in Europe.
The hiking trail is about 2 miles long and can take abut 30-40 minutes to hike depending on your pace. It is a moderate trail and can get very hot in the Summer time. You’ll want to plan accordingly if you have health concerns or bad knees. More people complained about the hike down because it was worse on their knees.
The trail has beautiful views of the sea, cities, and natural surroundings. The walk goes by rather quickly because of all the stimuli that kept us entertained. Once in awhile, a nice breeze would hit us and it felt like pockets of AC.
Lunch and Wine Tasting
After our hike, we went to a charming vineyard for lunch and a wine tasting. We do not drink alcohol, so they gave us juice instead. The lunch was pretty basic. Pasta, salad, and tiramisu with some bread and olive oil to start.
What I enjoyed was hearing about the vineyard and how they care for the grapes to make wine. Everywhere we visited in Italy, the farmers used organic techniques for their produce.
We hope you can see why we loved these 2 days of adventure off the Sorrentine coast of Italy. It was a wonderful contrast of land and sea. We hope these tips and insights will help you build your next fabulous itinerary to the Amalfi Coast!
Sorrento makes a fantastic central location to the Naples, Amalfi, and even the Capri islands. For the perfect day itinerary in Capri, be sure to check out our post:
The Perfect 1 Day Adventure in Capri, Italy. Featuring the Blue Grotto and Monte Solaro
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You may have the Universe if I may have Italy.-Giuseppi Verdi
Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country, what a wonderful looking place to explore.
Your photos are beautiful and what a fun adventure. We learned about this area in homeschool a few years ago. Payton would love to visit! Thanks : )
I can’t get over the beautiful colors! The green of the Emerald Cave and the blues from the Summit are just breathtaking! I hope to visit here someday. Just amazing!
Been wanting to go to the Amalfi coast for years. We’ve been to Italy twice but never made it that way. We’d planned on actually being there right now but with Covid it’s obviously changed our plans
GAhhhhhhh! Your trip looks amazing! Amalfi and Sorrento are on our bucket list…we’ve been to Italy 3 times but haven’t hit those spots yet. You’ve just inspired me to move them up a little higher on the list!
Your photos and videos are always so wonderful. It really gives the reader a real feeling of what it’s like to be there. The Amalfi Coast and Mt. Vesuvius look amazing. I would love to experience this area one day!
Wow, what a thorough trip report and guide for future travel planning. Thank you! Your photos are simply amazing too.
That is an awesome 2 day adventure. I would love to visit the sea cave.
This is so beautiful! Definitely moving higher in my list!
It looks like another amazing trip! I love small group tours, well actually I like private ones, but small is good too.
We were supposed to be heading to Italy next month, but have had to reschedule our trip to 2021 because of COVID-19. We had a day trip to Pompeii scheduled, but after reading your post we may add an extra day to explore the Amalfi coast some more. Thanks for sharing.
I haven’t heard of either of these before but they will promptly got on the list!
Looks like amazing experiences on the Amalfi coast and Mt Vesuvius
Wow, what an amazing 2-day adventure! Looks like a small tour group is the way explore Amalfi Coast and Mt. Vesuvius. Nice that you made friends and are able to reconnect with a family in your tour group. Oh my! The llist of places to visit in Italy is getting longer.
Bucket list destination! These tours look AMAZING!
you guys look like you are having so much fun. what a great once in a lifetime opportunity!
We have been eyeing the Amalfi coast for a while now since we have been pretty much everywhere else in Italy but never thought to tie in Mt. Vesuvius as well! Do you think it would be doable with kids (ages 8/10) because it looks like a wonderful experience!
I’ve always wanted to visit the Amalfi Coast! So beautiful! All of your activities look awesome too. What a great trip!
I’ve been to Italy but need to return as we didn’t have the opportunity to explore the Almafi Coast…stunning photos!
I want to do the tour of Mt. Vesuvius, but the whole itinerary looks fabulous!
A boat tour sounds fabulous. We did a bus tour because it was too early in the season when we went to do the boat. I want to do the boat tour!
Beautiful. Can’t wait to travel to Italy.
Looks like such a great day! When I sold guided vacations Italy was the number one destination everyone wanted to visit. I hope to make it there some day!
What a beautiful place to visit! I’d love to check out the Emerald Cave. That looks gorgeous. And I’d like to sample some of the wine. The hiking looks great, too!
Wow! Looks amazing! So much fun! Great post
That boat ride looks fabulous. We climbed Mt Vesuvius with my 3 year old grandson. Cracked me up that he was dragging his Grammy up that mountain. It was quite the little hike I must say. It was very hot the day we chose.
I loved this area of Italy as well. It looks like you had the perfect skippy for your adventure too. I fell in love with Lemoncello in Amalfi.
I would absolutely LOVE to visit Amalfi – I’ve seen it in so many movies and I always think it looks like perfection!
Ahh.. this brought back memories. I absolutely love this part of the world. Your photos are stunning.
Wow, this looks like an incredible trip. The boat tour looks like the perfect way to spend a day–those views!!!