October 21, 2013

Scenic Drives: The Amalfi Coast with the Kids on the Backseat

A drive along the 50km Amalfi Coast is considered to be one of the world’s greatest road trips. Dramatic coastal scenery fringes the glittering emerald ocean all the way along the southern edge of the Sorrento Peninsula, a landscape characterised by beaches, historic villages, stylish port towns and lemon groves. The beauty of the region has earned it UNESCO World Heritage status, offering a further indication of its world-class appeal.

The Amalfi coast and Sorrento holidays present the opportunity for a classic family vacation on the road, as there’s as much to enjoy for kids as there is for adults. We’d be very surprised if you hear a single ‘are we there yet’! Here’s a kid-friendly itinerary for exploring the region.

Naples to Pompeii

This bustling Italian city is a great place to begin if travelling with children due to the relatively cheap flights that are available, the ease of car hire and the proximity to two of the biggest attractions on the coast: Mount Vesuvius and the ancient ruined city of Pompeii.

Drive 4,000 feet to the top of Vesuvius, Europe’s only active volcano (providing there are no eruption warnings!) for soaring views and a lunar landscape. An eruption almost 2,000 years ago devastated the city of Pompeii but also led to its streets being incredibly well preserved. This insight into Roman past is both fascinating and ghostly – a perfect combination for kids. Pompeii is considered to be Europe’s greatest archaeological site by many so there’s plenty for adults to appreciate too.

Pompeii to Positano

Arguably the best Amalfi scenery can be enjoyed on the drive along the coast from Pompeii to Positano. Stop in Sorrento for lunch in one of the old quarter restaurants, looking out to sea from the terrace and taking in the town’s impressive cliff side setting.

Depending on how much time you have you may want to stay a couple of days in Sorrento, or go on to Positano to let the kids enjoy the sandy beach and explore the timeless quality of the painted buildings and Classical church.

Positano to Ravello

Enjoy the sweeping cliff top view as the toad winds around the coast between Positano and Amalfi. The latter is a hugely popular resort and for good reason, so take some time to enjoy the town’s stylish cafes, scenic waterfront setting and diverse array of shops.

A stunning corniche road then takes you along the coast to the picture-book town of Ravello, surely one of Italy’s best preserved and most beautiful towns. It’s elevated setting on terraced slopes gives it an almost magical quality that the whole family will be hard pressed not to fall in love with.

It’s an easy drive back from here to Naples to return the car and catch your flight. There are a number of hidden gems such as secluded swimming spots, stunning coastal walks and historic buildings along the way so make sure you thoroughly investigate the area before you go, as well as making time for a few spontaneous stop-offs. The twisting, turning coastal roads of Western Italy are perfect for a real family adventure, so all that remains to start planning!

Katherine Meadows writes for a number of publications on and offline and specialises in unusual family travel in Europe and beyond. 

Image View from Ravello, Amalfi Coast by Jimmy Harris used via creative commons.