Amalfi Coast Drive is an aesthetic and iconic road running all along the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in Italy’s Campania. It is well-known for its breathtaking views of the blue Mediterranean Sea, picturesque villages, and amazing landscapes all along the way. The road will take you through the most beautiful parts of the Amalfi Coast. It goes to the towns of Positano and Amalfi, making it a must-see destination for tourists and road trip enthusiasts.
Where is Amalfi Coast road located?
Amalfi Coast Road, officially known as SS163, is an impressive road that runs on the Amalfi Coast in Italy’s Campania region. The road starts in Sorrento and extends all the way to Salerno, passing through some of the most breathtaking and remarkable parts of the whole Italian coastline.
The road spans approximately 60 km (37 miles) long and is well-known for its breathtaking views of the seaside and twisting shape, which over time has earned it the nickname of the “road with 1,001 turns.”
In addition to its beauty, the Amalfi Coast road is conveniently located close to Naples, making it a popular destination for those visiting the city and frequently included in their itinerary.
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General road information
The Amalfi Coast road, also named “Amalfitana”, overlooks the steep coast and the Gulf of Salerno. At about 100 meters (330 feet) above sea level, the SS163 road runs along the cliff. The route is about 60 km (37 miles) long and consists of numerous turns and steep bends, and has only one fairly narrow lane in each direction.
The road crosses small valleys open to the sea, where the towns of the Amalfi Coast such as Positano and Praiano are located.
Who built the road along the Amalfi Coast?
The project was undertaken by Giuseppe Bonaparte, dazzled by the beauty of the Amalfi Coast; it was continued by Murat and was opened by Ferdinand II only in 1854. It was the construction of this road that raised the tourist profile of Positano.
How long does it take to drive the Amalfi Coast ?
The road takes approximately two hours to drive without taking any stops.
However, it is highly recommended to plan more time for multiple stops on your road trip to enjoy the breathtaking views, charming towns and scenic beaches along the way. Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello are some of the most popular towns to visit along the road.
If you have the time, it is well worth your while to spend a few days exploring the Amalfi Coast, as there are numerous attractions and activities to enjoy. Plan your itinerary accordingly to make the most of this spectacular drive.
Is the Amalfi Coast road difficult to drive ?
The Amalfi Coast road can be a bit challenging to drive, especially for those not used to narrow, twisting roads. The road was not nicknamed the “Road with 1,001 turns” for no reason. It winds along the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast and has sharp turns and switchbacks.
However, despite its challenges, the road offers breathtaking views that are absolutely worth the road trip. Always drive with caution and take breaks when needed. Additionally, if you plan to rent a car, you might want to rent a smaller car, as bigger vehicles may struggle to navigate the tight turns and crossing other cars.
How to get to the Amalfi Coast ?
The most popular way to join the road is to start in Sorrento. From Naples, the most direct route is to take the A3 highway south of Naples to Salerno. Exit the A3 at Castellammare di Stabia and follow signs to Sorrento, where the SS163 road starts.
The drive from Naples to Sorrento will take approximately one hour, depending on traffic conditions. Indeed, it is the same road that leads to the ancient city of Pompei, also very popular for tourists in the region. Additionally, some sections of the road require a toll, so plan consequently and have enough change on you.
If you are coming from southern Italy, you might want to start your coastal road trip in Salerno. To do so, exit the A3 in Salerno and join the SS163 in the western part of the town.
You can have a preview of the itinerary on the map below :
What to do on the Amalfi Coast ?
The Amalfi Coast is a popular Italian tourist destination known for its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. The area offers a variety of activities, and here are a few highlights to consider during your visit.
The town of Positano is a must-see stop on the Amalfi Coast. This small town is famous for its colorful cliffside villas that look out over the sunny Amalfi Coast and the Mediterranean Sea. Indeed, it is super aesthetic and its scenery is one of the reasons why it became one of the most popular destinations in Italy.
Another must-see on the Amalfi Coast is the town bearing the same name. It is the largest town on this coast and a popular destination for tourers looking for a mix of beauty, culture, and history. It has plenty of sights to explore, from churches and museums to lively piazzas and shops.
Two of the most popular ones are the “Duomo di Amalfi,” a medieval cathedral, and “Villa Rufolo,” an Arab-style villa and gardens with impressive sea views.
Amalfi Coast beaches
Some highlights of the Amalfi Coast are its great beaches. The Southern Italian beaches, including those along the Amalfi Coast, have gained the reputation of being some of the best in Europe. Indeed, with their crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and free from rough currents and high tides, they are perfect for swimming, sunbathing or just relaxing.
Some of the most popular beaches along the Amalfi Coast include Praiano’s Marina di Praia, Amalfi’s Marina Grande, and Positano’s Spiaggia Grande. Each beach has its own unique charm, with Praiano’s offering stunning views of the coast and Amalfi’s being a lively hub for beach-goers, while Positano’s is known for its picturesque location surrounded by towering cliffs.
Other sights nearby
If you’re wanting to explore beyond just the Amalfi Coast road, there are plenty of interesting places to visit in the area:
- Capri: Known for its luxurious atmosphere. Capri is a popular destination for celebrities and jet-setters and is just a ferry ride away from the Amalfi Coast. It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation.
- Pompeii: This ancient Roman city was destroyed in 79 CE when the nearby volcano, Mount Vesuvius, erupted. Today, Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its ruins provide a fascinating glimpse into the past, showcasing the devastation caused by the eruption.
- Naples (or Napoli in Italian): Known as the birthplace of pizza. Naples is a city with a rich history, beautiful piazzas, a UNESCO-listed historic center, and stunning surroundings. Its old buildings, castles, and charming streets make it a must-visit destination for anyone who loves history, architecture, and culture.
Is Amalfi Coast road open?
The Amalfi Coast road is open year-round. It may close for weather conditions and maintenance. It’s best to check local authorities or the official website for the most up-to-date information on road closures or restrictions.
In summer, because of the large number of tourists, some sections of the experience particular difficulties with traffic. In fact, there are measures to limit traffic, such as a ban on long and heavy vehicles during the day. Additionally, it often happens that in the narrowest sections, there are traffic jams due to the simultaneous passage of buses. If you are driving in a motor home or larger vehicle, check if you are allowed to drive the road.
Preview of the road :
If you are planning your road trip on the Amalfi Coast, you can have a preview of what the drive is like by watching this YouTube video:
Finally, the SS163 road is a breathtaking and unforgettable road trip with the best views and plenty of activities along the way. Its shape and the landscapes it goes through makes it a really great road trip. From the colorful cliffside villas in Positano to the bustling town of Amalfi, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Credits: By Berthold Werner, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31426190 / By Glen MacLarty – originally posted to Flickr as Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8016824 / By Alpha 350 from Hungary – Amalfi, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54399811
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