Try Southern Italy: How to get the most out of a trip to the Amalfi Coast

by Matt Jones on May 15, 2024 in sponsored,

Done the Renaissance hotspots? Want to zhuzh up your Instagram feed? The seaside towns and plentiful secret spots in Italy south of Naples should be this summer’s destination.

Let’s be honest: Italy is one of the all-time great vacation destinations, but Tuscany is so early 2000s and Venice has already been done. I prefer giving some love to Southern Italy, especially the string of villages along the Amalfi Coast. Whether I’m walking through villages that spill down a mountainside or sipping limoncello on the beach, they mix lived-in and luxury in a way that leaves me truly refreshed every time. Best of all, these ideal summer vacation destinations are a breeze to access from Naples, and booking a private car service like Daytrip between Naples and the coast makes a quick trip even more stress-free. Here’s an Amalfi Coast itinerary that I recommend for uncovering the most in this underappreciated part of Italy.

Pizza and Pompeii: Naples to Sorrento

Photo courtesy Daytrip

If you’re flying out of Houston or Dallas, getting to Naples isn’t any harder—or more expensive—than flying into Rome. So it makes good sense to make this your point of arrival, if for no other reason than to give yourself a chance to try pizza on its home turf. That said, Naples is the country’s third-largest city, so getting out of town to start relaxing should be your second priority.

Booking private transportation from Naples to Sorrento is the best way to get into vacation mode before you even leave the city. Car services like Daytrip provide you with a clean, modern vehicle and a professional, vetted driver, giving you the freedom to move around the Italian countryside without the added steps or stress of white-knuckling a rental through the notorious Italian streets. Best of all, booking in advance means you can leave whenever you like and take advantage of sightseeing stops along the way.

Photo courtesy Daytrip

This second part is particularly valuable because the hour-and-a-half route from Naples to Sorrento takes you straight past Pompeii and Herculaneum. It’s hard to overstate how well these sites are prepared for curious travelers, with tours and explanatory notes on offer to guide you through the UNESCO-enshrined ruins. If you prefer a more active way to stretch your legs, though, you’ll also be passing by Mt. Vesuvius—thankfully significantly more geologically peaceful than in the Roman era. For €10 you can enter the national park, hike around or up the slopes, and take in coastal Italy from above. Your private driver, of course, will gladly wait to help you continue on to the Amalfi Coast even once you’ve tired yourself out.

Appropriately nicknamed “The Gateway to the Amalfi Coast”, Sorrento greets arrivals with whitewashed buildings glowing against rugged cliffs. You can have your driver drop you off precisely at the door of your hotel or AirBnB—it’s time to hit the beach!

To the Amalfi Coast proper: Sorrento to Positano

Photo courtesy Daytrip

Full of trattorias and lined by fragrant Sorrento lemon trees, Sorrento’s beaches and seaside Marina Grande make it an ideal place to stop for a few days (or more!). If you tire of looking out over the Isle of Capri, however, things get still more quaint in colorful Positano, just 45 minutes further south at the true heart of the Amalfi Coast.

Along the way, you shouldn’t pass up the little-visited Villa Poppaea. Buried by the same eruption that covered Pompeii and Herculaneum, this former imperial pleasure palace is more sumptuous and less crowded than its headline counterparts: if you want to really take some time out to soak in ancient ruins, this might actually be your preferred choice.

Wringing out the last: Positano to Naples

There are plenty of other villages worth visiting on the Amalfi Coast—Praiano and Revello to name just a couple—and all are ideal destinations for getting out of Positano for an afternoon. Eventually, though, every Italian holiday has to come to a close. But that doesn’t mean you have to do so abruptly: as you head from Positano to Naples, a final private car transfer will help you stay in the Italian mindset as long as possible.

Photo courtesy Daytrip

My recommendation is to spend a long, loungy afternoon at Cantina del Vesuvio. Family-owned by the Russos since the 1930s, their vineyard makes the most of the region’s volcanic soil to turn out some exceptional wines—you’ve got your own driver, so you should taste them all! While you’re at it, traditional local products and stories from the family themselves will leave you glowing with Italian hospitality even if your driver drops you off directly at the airport doors.


Cover Photo courtesy of Daytrip.

Matt Jones is originally from the Wild West but has been a globetrotting writer for over a decade. He’s contributed to scientific, financial, and tourism publications, and he’s been all over North America, Europe, and Asia.

This post is a sponsored collaboration with Daytrip.