One of the most gorgeous places on Earth, this corner of the Campania region captivates visitors today just as it has for centuries. Poets and millionaires have long journeyed here to see and sense its legendary sights: perfect, precariously perched Positano; Amalfi, a shimmering medieval city; romantic mountain-high Ravello; and ancient Paestum, with its three legendary Greek temples. Today, the coast's scenic beauty makes it a top destination, drawing visitors from all over the world, who agree with UNESCO's 1997 decision to make this a World Heritage Site. This entire area is also a honeymoon haven—it is arguably the most romantic stretch of coastline on Earth.
The justly famed jewels along the water are Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello, but smaller villages—including Conca dei Marini, Furore, Atrani, Scala, and Cetara—offer their own charms. The top towns along the Amalfi Drive may fill up in high season with tour buses, but in the countryside not much seems to have changed since the Middle Ages: mountains are still terraced and farmed for citrus, olives, and wine, and the sea is dotted with fishermen's boats. Vertiginously high villages, dominated by the spires of chiese (churches), are crammed with houses spilling down hillsides to the bay and navigated by flights of steps called scalinatelle often leading to outlooks that take your breath away.
Considering the natural splendor of this region, it's no surprise that it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. White, sunbaked villages rise above cliffs hollowed out with grottoes and crystal lagoons lapped by emerald green water. Larger beaches, like those in Positano and Amalfi, are easily accessible, but the magic often lies in finding hidden coves and scenic spots, such as the picture-perfect Marina di Praia.
Semitough daily realities lurk behind the scenic splendor of the Costiera Amalfitana, most notably the extremes of driving the twisty roads the endless steps, and virtually nonexistent parking. So what? For a precious little time, you are in a land of unmarred beauty.