Exploring Salerno, Gateway to the Amalfi Coast

Adam Jones | 20/05/2019
Explore Salerno.
Minerva's Garden in Salerno

On your way to the Amalfi Coast? Ease into your journey with a stop in Salerno, an ideal gateway city to many of the areas most popular attractions. With a more relaxed vibe than nearby Naples, Salerno is an excellent portal to Pompeii, Positano, or the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park.

What to expect

Salerno offers a more tranquil approach to the oft-buzzing Amalfi Coast region. A friendly port town with a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere, it’s an excellent starting point to begin your dive into historic ruins, lay on scenic beaches, soak in beautiful parkland, and sample a taste of authentic southern Italian cuisine. 

Arriving

Depending on where you’re coming from, the easiest way to arrive in the city is via the Salerno train station or the newest Amalfi Coast airport, conveniently located in Salerno. Flying into Salerno may save you some versus arriving in Naples, as it’s closer to the Amalfi Coast.

The quickest route by train would be a short ride from Napoli Centrale or Piazza Garibaldi stations. Make booking a breeze by buying your tickets on ItaliaRail

What to see

Considering its relatively modest size, you won’t run into a shortage of things to do in Salerno. 

In the heart of the city itself, you’ll find many impressive sights. Begin by taking in views of the city and sea. At 300 metres above sea level, Arechi Castle gives you a panoramic view of the city while the remarkable Gulf of Salerno stretches at your feet. An authentic medieval castle dating back to the 6th century, you can wander the towers and crenellated walls while drinking in the impressive view.

After seeing things from above, head down to the city itself for a stroll through the historic town centre. The Rione Duomo district will give you a feel for the distinctive character of the city with great architectural delights like the Duomo, the Provinciale Architectural Museum and the Villa Comunale. 

For an under-the-radar gem consider visiting the Duomo, Salerno’s cathedral, considered by experts to be the most beautiful medieval church in Italy. With elaborate mosaics and a heavily patterned interior, it’s sure to provide delight. 

What to do

Salerno Beach is a great destination for all kinds of outdoor activities. Beyond relaxing on the beach, consider delving into nature itself. A visit to the protected marine area of Punta Campanella will keep you away from the crowds and offer up some supernatural views. Think we’re kidding? This area is rumoured to be the home of the famous sirens from Roman mythology.

If your feet are tired from all that exploring, consider a soak. The spas of Contursi, just outside the city, date back to Roman antiquity. Take a break at the Contursi Terme or Montesano sulla Marcellana. Indulge like a noble of old with a mud bath, hot spring soak or other treatment. Visit for the day or spend the night to maximize your relaxation. You may prefer a night in the elegant Hotel Terme Capasso if you aren’t already staying in one of many Salerno hotels. 

Getting to the coast

Traveling from Salerno to Amalfi is a straightforward endeavour. You can take the famous twisting cliffside drive, but you may get stuck in traffic on the cliffside streets. 

Traveling by ferry may be your best option. Instead of being on the road you can be on the water, with a breathtaking view of the coastline. For a handful of Euros you can find yourself in Amalfi in a mere 35 minutes. Stay on the boat, pay a little more, and you’ll be in Positano in another 35 minutes. It’s worth it for the view alone, but you’ll also save time and money when it comes the hassle of parking in these small towns.