While planning our trip to the Amalfi Coast, one thing we heard often is that the best way to see the Amalfi Coast is from the water.
After considering the various options to see the coast by boat, we decided on a private tour on a smaller boat. We also did a private boat tour in Thailand and really enjoyed it, so thought we would try it out here. We contacted a handful of companies and learned that most offered similar rates and only varied when it came to the type of boat you wanted. We chose a company called Grassi Jr., which was also recommended to us by our hotel.
Can’t be stopped by the Amalfi Coast chop!
The weather was not great during the majority of our stay in Positano and we woke up to cloudy skies on the morning we were scheduled to go out on the boat. As I was checking my email, I saw that the trip was cancelled. Then it was back on again. Then cancelled. Then on again. Finally, they requested we walk down to the beach to chat with them about our options. After speaking with them about the weather and the outlook for the next couple of days, we decided to go out despite the cloudy skies and that we would turn back around if it started raining. Fair enough!
The water was CHOPPY. A crew of five helped get the boat close enough to the pier to pick us up and get us onto the boat between sets of waves. Once we were on, we met our captain: Francesco. The first 10 minutes, I felt guilty for having Francesco take us out on this less than ideal day, but I quickly realized that it was choppy for us because we didn’t spend our lives on the water. It was just another day at sea for Francesco.
We cruised down the coast slowly, hugging the shoreline the majority of the time. In addition to proving to be a great captain, Francesco also turned out to be a great source of local information. He pointed out all of the sights along the coast, including the lighthouses that were converted into vacation rentals and the celebrity homes. He also told us about the restrictions on the exterior paint colors of the buildings along the Amalfi Coast and the limited options for schools and hospitals in the area. And, it’s true, the Amalfi Coast is spectacular from the water.
Amalfi Coast treats and treasures
Typically, the boat tours all include a stop for a swim at the grottas, but the water was too choppy for most of them. We did get to pull into a grotto called Pandora’s Grotto. It was wild to be inside a grotto and to be able to listen to the water crash against the cave walls and then echo off of them.
You can see a video of Pandora’s Grotto here.
We cruised along the coast and saw the 30 meter (98 feet) high Furore Bridge where each July, athletes and spectators gather for the annual high dive competition.
We saw the town of Amalfi, which is the largest town on the Amalfi Coast.
And, we saw L’uomo e il mare, which is a small waterfall near the town of Minori. On calm days, you can swim in it.
A private lunch on the Amalfi Coast
As we neared the end of the southern portion of the Amalfi Coast, Francesco offered to stop for lunch on the way back. As we slowed and turned towards land, we weren’t pulling up to a town, but to a small building surrounded by massive limestone cliffs.
We stopped and anchored right at the entrance of the cove and a gentleman on a rubber dingy came to pick us up.
Again, we waited for sets of waves to pass, which the two watermen had mastered, and then the three of us leaped into the dingy. The dingy took us to a small jetty where we repeated the process again.
When we arrived at the restaurant we were the only ones there. It was awesome. We had a feeling that the restaurant was so empty because of the weather, and it was, but primarily because Ristorante Bar Da Teresa was only reachable via water and not many boats were out that day.
We had a fantastic meal and thoroughly enjoyed our very hospitable and funny server. We had a delicious seafood platter, some pasta and wine (of course).
We asked for some espresso at the end of our meal and with our espresso came some homemade limoncello. It was all such a memorable experience.
To get back to the boat, we stood at the edge of the jetty as the waves crashed over it and waited for Francesco and the other waterman to coordinate getting the dingy to the jetty and then their signal for us to come down the jetty and then jump into the dingy. It was a bit of an adventure, but we were very safe with those two experts.
You can see a video of the sets coming into the jetty here.
As we slowly cruised back up the coast, Francesco offered us two Peronis, which we gladly took him up on.
As we pulled back into Positano, Francesco took some photos of us with that iconic Positano background.
We pulled up to the pier and, again, had to time the sets before being able to leap off the boat.
Check out the water crashing over the pier here.
Despite not having the best weather, we had an amazing time during our cruise along the coast. If you decide to see the Amalfi Coast this way (you should), we highly recommend Grassi Jr. And, ask for Francesco!