Oh, the Amalfi Coast. Like Cinque Terre, this stretch of coastline in Italy is a regular on many bucket lists for the postcard-like views of the cliffs and ocean, with beautiful towns sprinkled in the mix.
You've probably read blog posts about people visiting the Amalfi Coast, getting their sun tan on, going on boat rides, and sipping drinks by a pool. But what is it like in the winter? I visited last November and I can tell you now that if you're looking to do the things I just mentioned, you will be disappointed. The beauty of this area still stands, even on the rainy days, but many of the shops and hotels will be closed.
November is the rainiest month for this part of Italy, with temperatures ranging just above 5 degrees Celcius to just under 20 degrees Celcius. Of course it was raining the day I visited. But I got a good enough taste of the Amalfi Coast to know that I'll want to visit again on a sunny day.
The Bus Ride
The famous bus ride along the cliffs to get to the Amalfi Coast is still enjoyable on a rainy day in November. Yes, it is probably more stunning on a beautiful day when I would imagine the sun and blue skies would make the waters a beautiful blue. But in the winter, you do get the perk of not having to be packed into a busy bus! Watching the bus navigate the tight turns on the narrow road is like watching a suspense movie, although I personally found the bus in Capri more harrowing.
Some tips if you're taking the SITA Bus from Sorrento heading into the Amalfi Coast: sit on the right-hand side of the bus (facing the front) to get the famous views, and on the left-hand side of the bus on your way back to Sorrento.
Positano has been on my personal bucket list for as long as I can remember, and it was my first stop on the Amalfi coast. The SITA Bus makes two stops in Positano. If you get off at the first stop (from Sorrento), you'll get some of the famous views of this town that you've likely seen on Pinterest.
It was raining constantly while I was there, but the views did not disappoint. However, a warning to anyone visiting in November: things get pretty quiet. Most stores are closed completely for the season, but you can still visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta (for free) and wander down the windy roads of Positano! The roads get pretty tight though and sticking to the side of the road avoiding traffic is an experience in itself!
My next stop on the Amalfi Coast was Amalfi. I'm happy to report that it was a lot more lively than Positano, with most of the shops still open for the off season. So if you're in the area in the winter and want to do some souvenir shopping, this is the town for you.
Here, we admired the Amalfi Cathedral. Perched on top of a flight of stairs, this cathedral has an amazingly detailed and unique facade.
We had lunch at Lo Scugnizzo which was a spur of the moment, un-researched decision. While the food left a lot to be desired and they only had a couple of things available out of all the items they had listed on the menu, the waiter was very entertaining to watch. He was an eccentric man with a gruff exterior, wearing a scarf and sunglasses while sipping on a glass of wine in between serving food and taking orders. There's nothing quite like having an interesting person to people-watch while having a meal!
After lunch, we did a little wandering around town. We discovered the Pearl of the Coast fountain (below left) which was built during the 18th century, and looks like a scene from a fairytale. We also bought limoncello at one of the stores near the square to take home as souvenirs. It was the cheapest limoncello we saw, even cheaper than the ones we found at a supermarket in Sorrento.
After a walk by the seaside, we hopped on a bus filled with high school students (it reminded me of taking the school bus back in high school, which I didn't really enjoy) to Ravello.
My final stop on the Amalfi coast before heading back to Sorrento was Ravello. Perched up on the hills over Amalfi, it was the quietest of the three towns that I visited. It was less colourful than Positano and Amalfi, but I found it the most charming with a rustic sort of beauty. I can imagine how lovely it would be to walk the streets here on a summer evening, and I'd love to come back one day to do that!
Ravello attracts many artists and musicians, and I can see why. If I had any talent at all in the arts, I think I would be very inspired here!
So is the Amalfi Coast worth a visit in the winter? It depends on what you're after. If you want to come to relax on the beach and to catch some sun, then no. But if you are happy to explore and enjoy the views in the area when it's more quiet, then yes, definitely. Just bring an umbrella in case it rains when you visit!
Want to get here from Sorrento?
We took the SITA bus from in front of the Sorrento train station. It was 8 Euros for a day ticket, and we were able to use that ticket all day, hopping between towns on the coast.
Pin it for later!