The Amalfi Coast is a dramatic stretch of coastline in southern Italy. Craggy green mountains plunge into the Mediterranean with colourful towns clinging precariously to their sides. The best way to see the coast is by boat—you get a real sense of the location, can marvel how the towns were built into the steep mountainside, and avoid nauseating bus rides on the windy roads.
We spent a week on a yacht sailing to the Bay of Naples islands and the Amalfi Coast. Our trip was hosted by Intersailclub who are the Airbnb of sailing, linking yacht owners with guests—you can book a cabin on a shared yacht, making it much more affordable than chartering the whole boat.
The trip we chose was part of the Wine & Sail flotilla organised by Sail Italia. We followed the same route as nine other yachts and took part in wine tastings in the evenings. I’ll write more about that soon—this post will focus on the sailing we did during the day.
Our sailing trip started in Procida, a place we’d never heard of before. We learnt that it’s the smallest (4 km sq) and least touristy island in the Bay of Naples and decided to spend a week here before the trip started. We fell in love with its laid-back charm, lemon groves, and the vibrant Marina Corricella.
On Saturday evening we joined five other guests on Miaplacidus, a gorgeous 65 ft yacht owned by Intersailclub founder Luca Lianza, plus a crew who did everything for us—sailing, cooking, cleaning, and stocking the boat with supplies. All we had to do was relax and enjoy the scenery. And there were plenty of places to relax—the spacious cockpit, two cushioned sunbathing areas, and a hammock on deck. We were spoilt with the largest of the four cabins which has a double bed bigger and more comfortable than in many hotel rooms, plus an ensuite, plenty of storage, and even air conditioning.
The next morning we set off on the short trip to neighbouring island Ischia. It’s a lot larger and more mountainous than Procida with a lovely coastline of colourful villages and the dramatic Aragonese Castle perched on a volcanic rock.
We spent a leisurely lunch break anchored off a beach sunbathing and swimming in the sea. For most of the week we motored more than sailed, but that first afternoon we got the sails up and Simon steered us around Ischia to Marina di Forio where we spent the night.
It was a long morning sailing the next day to Capri in choppy waters, but it was worth it when we arrived. The craggy limestone rock soars over the blue sea. Its imposing form seems inhospitable yet it’s dotted with lush green trees, purple bougainvillea, and white cube houses. We anchored for the night off Marina Piccola, an oasis in the rock.
We took the bus up to Capri town, in the middle of the island, and wandered around the cute narrow winding lanes past designer boutiques. Dinner was a trio of local specialities— insalata caprese (tomato and mozzarella salad), ravioli caprese (pasta stuffed with ricotta and herbs), and torta caprese (flourless chocolate cake).
Waking up with this view was something special.
Leaving Capri was just as stunning as we sailed its rugged coastline and passed through the Faraglioni, three towering rock formations emerging from the sea.
I sat back and enjoyed the view.
After leaving Capri we sailed along the Amalfi Coast with spectacular views of the jagged peaks and tumbling towns. A few weeks before we’d hiked the Path of the Gods from Agerola to Positano and we enjoyed seeing the coast from a different perspective.
We spent the night in Salerno’s new Marina di Arechi. It was a bit disappointing—unattractive and far from the historic centre, but we did have a great evening visiting the nearby archeological ruins Paestum.
We woke up to ominous clouds and eventual rain so we stayed in the marina for the morning.
After lunch the weather cleared and we sailed the five miles to Cetara. We got the sails up again and I had a go at steering.
One of the guests was a yoga teacher from Hong Kong and she led a yoga class as we sailed. Balancing was a challenge but it was wonderful with the sound and feel of the wind and the view of the sea and the sails soaring above us against a blue sky.
Green hills tower over the fishing village of Cetara—my favourite town on the Amalfi Coast. It’s far less touristy than other places on the coast with more locals than visitors. Fishing nets are piled up in the marina, old men hang out in the piazzas, and fruit shops sell lemons the size of grapefruits.
Tonight’s wine tasting was in the town’s tower. We looked down at our yacht anchored below and the storm coming in.
The wind howled all night but the storm didn’t hit. We woke to a cloudy, windy day and a very rocky boat. Luckily the sun came out when we arrived in Positano, the most famous town on the coast.
It is stunning with yellow, pink, peach, and white houses tumbling down the steep mountainside. Walking around the town is a challenge—the streets are mostly narrow staircases and the tourist crowds are intense. We’re glad we visited but preferred admiring it from a distance.
By the time we reached Amalfi in the evening we were all relieved to get off the rocky boat. An apertivo outside the Duomo, the facade glowing in the late afternoon sun, was the perfect way to recover.
Our final day’s sailing took us back to Procida where we anchored off Marina Corricella for lunch and swimming.
We’re so glad we got to see the Amalfi Coast this way. We enjoyed the few days we spent in Agerola hiking the coast but the windy roads and my travel sickness meant that exploring further by bus wouldn’t have been much fun. We saw so much more on the yacht and could enjoy the scenery in complete relaxation.
Our trip was sponsored by Intersailclub, a yachting matchmaker that helps you find the perfect boat with like-minded people. We did the Wine & Sail trip but they have a huge range of sailing holidays available all over the world with themes including yoga, scuba diving, and kite boarding.
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