Written by Alexandria Nolan
We’ve been to the Amalfi Coast before. In fact, we’ve visited several times. For our honeymoon, for our second honeymoon two years later, and again (third honeymoon?) two years after that.
And then we had Arthur and the honeymoon was over.
No, but really.
That isn’t to say that the Amalfi Coast isn’t still a gorgeous, exciting, delicious paradise. It most definitely is! But with a little one, it is decidedly less romantic—and that’s okay. This past summer we visited one of our favorite spots, and had the opportunity to see it through new eyes—Arthur’s.
Getting to the coast isn’t the most straightforward. We took a flight from Calgary to Rome, a train from Rome to Salerno and then rented a car to drive the rest of the way. We stayed in various AirBnbs around the coast, but honestly, if we learned anything from this trip with a toddler, it was that AirBnB is not our kind of vacation. We thought we would benefit from having a kitchen to cook in, an apartment or house that felt like home—but cooking for yourself in Italy isn’t really as great as it sounds, and boy did we miss having a maid come clean the room every day. (I’m not crazy about cleaning up after the three of us at home, and I really didn’t care for it on vacation!) So, where should one stay? There are tons of little bed and breakfasts, luxury hotels, apartments, and villas scattered liberally all up and down the coast. There is a lot to be found in every price range. The most popular city is Positano— and for that reason, I would avoid it. By staying in a smaller place Maiori, Minori, Amalfi city, you will pay a lot less for rooms, but still have easy access, via ferry, to the rest of the coast.
At first we weren’t certain what we would do with a toddler. We were used to sitting at cafes or in the middle of the piazza, sipping wine and eating snacks until late at night. And while we still drank a lot of wine, and sat in many piazzas, we weren’t able to do so very late at night. But, we kept him so busy at the beach, in the waves, walking up and down the cobblestone streets and narrow passages that Arthur was pretty well tired out by the time we got to the nighttime wine drinking, giving us a little peace at the end of the day. There are numerous public and private beaches, and as lovely as the public beaches are, the private ones give great value. For around 30 euros you can get an umbrella and two lounge chairs for the day, in a prime spot on the beach. The waves are subdued in this area of the Tyrrhenian Sea and there are never a shortage of children on the pebbly beach. There are also public playgrounds in every city along the coast, as well as museums and hiking paths that offer beautiful views and enough cat and dog sightings to keep children happy.
It’s Italy—there isn’t a bad meal to be found. If you like seafood, head to Lo Smeraldino, right on the water in Amalfi. Beautiful views and the seafood couldn’t be fresher. In the tiny city of Atrani, there’s a Gorgonzola gnocchi dish that tastes just like macaroni and cheese but on another level of delicious. Being so near to Naples, the birthplace of pizza, almost everywhere on the Amalfi Coast serves up a 5-8 euro pizza that will knock your socks off. And for dessert— gelato of course. There are many places to choose from, and all make theirs in-house. But the famous flavor for the Amalfi Coast is lemon, in homage to the acres and acres of terraced lemon groves along the coast. (Arthur’s preference was hazelnut, however)
I could write about Amalfi for weeks and not finish. It’s a magical place filled with beautiful little towns, from Ravello at the top of the hills to Atrani right on the water, or the esplanade of Maiori or the luxurious Isle of Capri, you really can’t go wrong. The best things about the coast, though? Italians love children. Arthur was welcomed into the swankiest restaurants, doted on by waiters, his cheeks were patted by black-veiled covered Italian grandmothers and women on the street would stop to gush over him. So even though this trip was slightly...less romantic—Arthur was welcomed to the coast with the same fervor that we always felt, and it made our trip so much more fun and special.
We’ve been to the Amalfi Coast before, and now with Arthur, we’ll be returning again and again.