You don’t have to be loaded to enjoy this stylish coast, especially now that the summer crowds have gone. Nicky Swallow selects 10 stops that offer dizzying views, but down-to-earth places to stay and eat
One of Europe’s most desirable and romantic destinations, the Amalfi coast has been seducing visitors since antiquity. But until the 40km-long Strada Statale 163 – connecting the hilltop village of Meta, just outside Sorrento, with Vietri sul Mare in the east – was blasted out of the base of the Lattari mountains in 1852, there was no road linking the coastal communities.
Today, this “road of 1,000 bends” hugs soaring cliffs and weaves tortuously in and out of deep gorges, passing olive groves, lemon terraces and tumbling whitewashed villages, all against a background of a shimmering azure sea. It is barely wide enough for two lanes of traffic, so in the crowded summer months traffic jams are inevitable, and best avoided by visiting off-season. In spring, the colours are bright, the air is fresh but the sea is chilly; better to come in late September or early October when the evenings are balmy, the water is still warm and the crowds have all but disappeared.