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Basking on the Amalfi Coast

From Glam to Chill, the Best Beaches on the Costiera Amalfitana

Basking on the Amalfi Coast

Italy's Amalfi Coast is a like a dream. Just as dreamy as John Steinbeck said it was in the early 1950's All pastel houses spilling down precipitous rocky heights down to a crystal clear sea. Complete with boats bobbing, gentle waves lapping and colorful stripy umbrellas providing shade from the Mediterranean sun.

To reach this bewitching place, you can travel the famous SS16 - the official name of the Amalfi Drive - with its 36 kilometers of twists and bends, or arrive by sea from one of the many ferries that leave from Sorrento.

The Amalfi Coast is home to some of Italy's best beaches. Almost every bend in the road reveals a private cove or quaint town. To enjoy beach life on the Amalfi Coast, I have a few pointers.

Amalfi Coast Beaches: What to Expect

The beaches all along the Amalfi Coast are not wide empty swaths of sugary sand, but instead often small slices of pebbly beach carved out of the towering mountain. Make sure to pack a pair of thick soled flip flops or water shoes. Some of the best beaches can be difficult to reach, with as many as 800 steps down from the road. If all that climbing seems a bit arduous, there are boats to take you in between towns and tiny coves.

One of the first things you will notice about beaches along the Amalfi Coast are the rows and rows of umbrellas and chairs. All over Italy, most of the coastline is divided up into private beach clubs called stabilimenti balneari. For a daily entrance fee, each stabilimento offers a range of facilities ranging in levels from simple to luxurious. In addition to your beach lounger (lettino) and umbrella (ombrellone), you can expect changing rooms, bathrooms and showers, a lifeguard, a bar for coffee, snacks and light meals and a full service restaurant. Some clubs have children's activities and playgrounds, and water activities like paddle boats and kayaks for rent.

My Favorite Beaches and Beach Towns along the Amalfi Coast

Positano

Positano is a perfect combination of relaxed beach town and elegant resort. You can play guess the celebrity yacht and have your morning coffee with barefoot boat skippers at the same time. It it also one of the best towns for the beach lover.

Spiaggia Grande

This is the place to see and be seen. The closely packed, orange striped sun beds and umbrellas take up a large section of the main beach in Positano known as the Spiagga Grande. Dive in and enjoy a real busy and boisterous Amalfi Coast beach experience.

Fornillo

For a quieter day at the beach take a stroll along the shady via Positanesi d'America that begins just above the port to Fornillo.

A quieter alternative to the buzzy Spiagga Grande here you will find brightly painted beach cabanas and restaurants on stilted wooden decks. At either end of the large cove you will find a free beach areas.

Da Adolfo - Laurito

At the small port area of Positano look for a small wooden boat sporting a bright red fish. This boat will whisk you away to one of the best beach days you can imagine. The chairs are a little rickety and squeezed into a tiny sliver of beach, but the vibe is chill and the food some of the very best on the coast.

Amalfi

A short ferry trip or a couple of bends away from Positano is the historic town of Amalfi. Some sightseeing is called for here with its beautiful Duomo and famous paper workshops still producing paper with the same techniques learned from Arab traders centuries ago. Families head to Duoglio Beach via a boat shuttle from the Amalfi port. The beach here is slightly less rocky than most.

Minori

A day in Minori is like stepping back in time to the Amalfi Coast of decades ago. Minori is less hollywood glamour and more authentic Italian holiday destination. The town is also well known as a gourmet paradise. Make sure you stop for a pastry or gelato at Sal di Riso's famous shop in Minori's main piazza. For the history buff, don't miss the first century Roman villa with its pompeii-style frescoes and intricate mosaics.

Our Insider is Gillian McGuire

Gillian McGuire is a Rome based blogger, app writer, information curator, coffee and cocktail drinker and Italian beach expert. She is your go-to girl for the best information on just about anything in the eternal city and the Amalfi Coast. For more of Gillian's Amalfi Coast picks, download her app Amalfi Coast Travel Essentials.

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