5 reasons to visit the Amalfi coast

The Restaurants

It’s a time-honoured summer favourite, but in case you need reminding, the Amalfi Coast is still one of the most rewarding playgrounds in the Mediterranean. No matter whether you decide to visit on a private yacht or enjoy a luxury yacht charter on the Amalfi coast you’ll be in good company with a host of celebrities, including Beyoncé and Jay-Z, choosing to vacation there every summer. Some of the world’s coolest yachts are also frequently spotted along the picturesque coastline. Bernard Arnault’s Symphony, James Packer’s Arctic P and David Geffen’s Rising Sun are a just a few that have visited the iconic destination this summer. Find out why you should follow in their footsteps.

1. The restaurants

Whether it’s a simple dish of pasta or a full-blown ten-course tasting menu you’re after, you’ll find it here. Don’t leave this coast before you’ve dined in La Sponda in Le Sirenuse (one Michelin star), one of the best luxury hotels to visit by superyacht. This place embodies everything that is great about Italian cuisine: perfectly prepared local ingredients served in the prettiest of dining rooms, by waiters so charming you’ll feel like an old friend of the owner. Truly la dolce vita.

If you’re headed to Capri, Da Paolino, is a must. Within easy walking distance of the Marina Grande this wonderful, family-run Capri favourite — everyone from Tom Cruise to Mimi Rogers and George Hamilton has dined under its citrus-covered canopy — serves melt-in-the-mouth Ravioli Caprisi with a tangy lemon sauce so delicious you'll immediately want to rebook.

For a dash of culture set a course for Amalfi’s celebrated La Caravella restaurant (one Michelin star). This is where Andy Warhol hosted his first show in the Sixties (the restaurant opened in '59 and got its star in '66), when the region was an arty, bohemian enclave. Or if you’re in the mood for a full tasting menu, Quattro Passi restaurant (two Michelin stars), will collect you in the harbour of the tiny port of Nerano whisking you up the hill to the surreal dining room, where you’ll be greeted by a giant golden egg and fish heads and tails emerging from the ceiling.

It has something of a vagabond reputation, but don’t be tempted to overlook Naples and if you can arrive by boat and avoid the gridlock, then all the better. The Palazzo Petrucci (one Michelin star) restaurant, near Marina Molo Luise, on the Villa Donn'Anna beach is a lovely location with views over the beach. Try the appetiser of raw prawns and mozzarella, followed by pasta of ricotta-stuffed paccheri pasta with Neapolitan ragout.

The Beach Clubs

The recently revamped Villa Treville Beach Club in Laurito Bay, Positano is must-visit for a relaxing lunch. Accessible only by boat, the club reopened for lunch last summer after being rescued from destitution by the hotel’s new owners. It attracts the hippest Positanese and a smattering of A-list action, with Kevin Spacey and Gwyneth Paltrow both dropping by for lunch and Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet throwing her star-studded fiftieth birthday party at the venue. This year they are open in the evening too. Tender in — the jetty will take a 20 metre chase boat — for a sunset aperitivo and dinner with the spectacular views of Capri and the Ferallon Islands.

Over in Capri fall head-over heels in love with the Capri Palace hotel’s Il Riccio Beach Club & Restaurant next to Anacapri’s Blue Grotto cave. The setting here is perfect. Arrive in your tender and settle in at the blue-and-white restaurant. After a lunch of delicious seafood overlooking the sparkling Med you can sun yourself in the beach club solarium or take a swim in the blue grotto caves. Alternatively if you are looking for some pampering the hotel also has one of the best luxury spas in the Mediterranean.

The Shopping

Jammed with designer boutiques from Prada to Dolce & Gabbana, Capri is a shopper’s paradise. And now Bulgari, the coloured gem stone specialist, will bring the shop to your yacht so that you can enjoy a little retail therapy without wasting precious cruising hours. Simply ask your captain to contact the store a week in advance and before you know it you’ll be being seduced by one of its signature handmade timepieces or a Serpenti bracelet.

For souvenirs or gifts with a real local flavour, venture to Carthusia – I Profumi Di Capri. This niche perfume house sells ancient floral scents rooted in the history of the island. Every stage of the process is carried out by hand using the same techniques as the Cathusian monks who first made the perfume here. You can see the production process in action at the on-site factory and then amble up to the nearby Gardens of Augustus for stunning views of the famous Faraglioni rocks.

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The Views

Top or tail your jaunt around Capri with a leisurely aperitivo on the terrace at the chic JK Place, Capri, in the Marina Grande. It certainly helps that this brightly elegant waterfront hotel also serves an afternoon tea of pretty puffs of pastry, pink mandolins and chocolate truffles that tastes as delicious as it looks.

Back on the mainland, the best view in Positano comes courtesy of the Oyster and Champagne bar terrace at the Sirenuse. If you tire of gazing across the pastel coloured houses and sparkling tiled dome of Santa Maria Assunta, you can always switch to people-watching: this perfectly placed terrace attracts many a gorgeous designer-clad couple with its intimate candlelit setting and resident DJ.

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reasons to visit the Amalfi coast

This coastline offers rich pickings for anyone interested in classical sites – Pompeii is just 30 minutes from Naples – and there are many venues only open on a private hire basis that come steeped in local history. One such treasure is Castellammare di Stabia (Castle in the Sea), a medieval castle on the Sorrento Coast, 25 minutes from Naples. The moat might now be planted with olive trees but the prison room, complete with torture bench, is still very much in evidence.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a private island hideaway that’s steeped in intrigue, the former home of Russian ballerina, Rudolph Nuryev, should fit the bill. Built on the ruins of an ancient Roman site on the largest of the three Li Galli islands — Gallo Lunga — between Positano and Capri, it was here, according to Homer’s Odyssey, that Ulysses was captivated by the sirens. The majestic villa first belonged to American choreographer Leonide Massine and was later refashioned by Corbusier, before Nuryev bought the property in 1985 for more than 3 billion lire, embellishing the décor to resemble a Maharajah palace. Naturally, Nuryev built a helipad and today’s guests also have a motorboat and a 35 metre yacht on hand. Greta Garbot, Ingrid Bergman and Jacqueline Kennedy are just a few of the cultural icons who have stayed here.

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