Live the Good Life From Stunning Amalfi to the Italian Riviera
Savor traditional Neapolitan dishes at a family-run trattoria, linger in the sidewalk cafes of terraced Ravello or romantic Capri, and delight in the scent of lemon groves, rosemary, and jasmine along the way.There’s a good reason why Italy makes the list of five most visited countries in the world each year. With 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and incomparable attractions, history, culture, scenery, cuisine and lifestyle, it’s a dream destination for many. And the gorgeous Italian coast synthesizes many of the country’s best features.Here are three ways to enjoy Italy’s enviable coastal regions.
In a country of exceptional beauty, southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast stands out for its scenery, where soaring rocky cliffs plunge into the sun-dappled Mediterranean Sea and where pastel-colored villages laden with cascading flowers cling to the steep hillsides. You can feast on all this and more on VBT’s most popular walking vacation, the 10-day small-group tour, “ The Amalfi Coast & Capri.” Stroll along iconic trails such as the Path of the Gods, whose name was inspired by its divine views of Capri and the islets of Sirenuse, famous for the mythical sirens that attracted seafarers, and the scenic Alta via dei Monti Lattari trail, which winds through a lovely chestnut forest and wildflower field before ending with dazzling vistas of the Gulf of Salerno. Off the trail visit the ruins of Pompeii, the storybook towns of Positano and Ravello and the renowned island of Capri, where you can amble through their charming hilly streets. Learn the ancient art of paper-making at the Museo della Carta in Amalfi. Savor traditional Neapolitan dishes at a family-run trattoria. Linger in the sidewalk cafes of terraced Ravello or romantic Capri. And delight in the aroma of lemon groves, rosemary, and jasmine along the way. Ah, la dolce vita.
Circumnavigate the Italian isle of Sicily like royalty on one of Windstar Cruises’ small luxury yachts. The 10-day Sicilian Splendors itinerary takes in the fascinating town of Catania with three UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Port Empedocle with some of the best ancient ruins in the entire Mediterranean at Agrigento; the centuries-old city of Syracuse, which Cicero himself called “the most beautiful of all”; the ancient Phoenician salt marshes and gorgeous sea views at Tripani; and the timeless island of Lipari, reachable only by small ship and known for its pastel-colored seafront, Spanish castle and baroque cathedral. The cruise also calls on the Maltese capital of Valletta, known as “The Fortress City.” There you can feast on the paintings of Caravaggio in St. John’s Cathedral, the stately Palazzo Parisio, where Maltese knights once gathered, and shorelines that beg to be photographed. Finally, sail along the stunning Amalfi Coast and marvel at its postcard-perfect views of limestone cliffs and terraced villages spilling into the Mediterranean Sea. Before returning to Rome, spend a day exploring the towns of Amalfi, Positano, or Ravello and toast your good fortune with a glass of the region’s signature limoncello liqueur. Saluti!
What could be more heavenly than a string of five candy-colored fishing villages clinging to the serpentine coastline of Italy’s Riviera? Country Walkers’ seven-day guided walking tour, Portofino & Cinque Terre, takes you to the famed Cinque Terre, or Five Lands, which continue to beguile even the most jaded travelers. Accessible only by boat, rail, and footpath, these seafront towns along the Ligurian Sea are the centerpieces of this itinerary. Wind your way through the five — Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore — by following cliffside stairways and narrow trails through citrus and olive groves, and passing neatly terraced gardens, hillside grape arbors, and medieval hand-cut stone walls. It’s no wonder the area has attracted its share of writers. You’ll visit the Roman-Byzantine town of Portovenere, once frequented by Dante, and you’ll take a vintage wooden speedboat across the Gulf of Poets, which once inspired Byron, Shelley, and Petrarch. The tour also features chic Portofino, where fishing boats and sleek yachts bob in the harbor and stylish boutiques and cafes line the narrow winding streets. With so much mesmerizing beauty, just be sure to make time for savoring fresh-caught seafood, swimming in the clear blue water, and lingering over the eye-popping sea views with a chilled aperitivo in hand.For more information on VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, visit vbt.com or call 800-245-3868. VBT is the value leader in active biking vacations and has been rated among the “World’s Best Tour Operators” by the readers of Travel + Leisure for six years. VBT offers more than 55 deluxe, small group bicycling, walking, and barge and bike vacations in 26 different countries and 11 U.S. states.For more information on Windstar Cruises, visit windstarcruises.com or call 877-880-1311. Recognized by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler on the 2016 Gold List of Favorite Cruise Lines and by USA TODAY readers for Best Boutique Cruise Line, Windstar’s fleet of small luxury sailing ships and all-suite power yachts with 148 to 300 guests bring you closer to smaller ports and exclusive local experiences around the world.For more information on Country Walkers, visit countrywalkers.com or call 800-234-6900. For more than 38 years, Country Walkers has provided active and immersive travel experiences on five continents. They offer two distinct ways to explore: scheduled, small-group Guided Walking Adventures and independent Self-Guided Walking itineraries.For more travel experiences available from Xanterra Parks & Resorts and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/explore.