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3. Eat fish in the bay
The Amalfi Coast is renowned for its seafood, and the best way to taste it is to eat as close to the ocean as possible. The Conca dei Marini has a secluded beach set amid cliffs that forms one of the coast’s most beautiful coves. There is no way to drive here – visitors must either climb down steep stone steps from the road or take a boat from Amalfi town. Yet it’s worth it for a visit to La Tonnarella, a beach restaurant serving whatever has been caught that day. Waiters run back and forth with overflowing platters of luscious mussels and clams, pink and white octopus, heaps of fried calamari and chargrilled seabass, accompanied by carafes of white wine filled with slices of ripe peach. Tables must be fought for; locals arrive early and stay for the entire afternoon. (La Tonnarella, Conca dei Marini, between Amalfi and Furore; mains from £11; 00 39 89 831939)

2. Sleep like a saint
For those seeking spiritual fulfilment rather than glamour on the Amalfi Coast, there is the Oasi Madre della Pace, a convent dedicated to the Venerable Teresa Manganiello, hidden amid silvery olive trees and gardens dotted with yellow pansies in the hills above Sorrento. Run by Franciscan nuns, the convent opens its doors to guests from all over the world, who come for anything from a formal spiritual retreat to just a night or two of downtime. The kitchen garden is along a path of sunflowers and grows everything from traditional lemons and tomatoes to kiwi fruit. Yet the convent’s most striking feature is the view – a spectacular panorama across Sorrento and the Bay of Naples to the active volcano, Mount Vesuvius. Certainly a pleasant way to atone for your sins. (Oasi Madre della Pace, Via Parise – Zona Priora, Sorrento; from £60)

1. Leap into the Mediterranean
The waters off Amalfi Town are filled with boats, ranging from modest dinghies to massive super-yachts. Some coves along the coast become floating cities at the weekend, with scores of vessels moored together and parties in full swing. Yet the greatest thrill to be had on the Amalfi Coast is to head out for the open sea. Every town along the coast has a sign reading ‘noleggio barche’ (boat hire), indicating that anyone with a few euros to spare can become the captain of his or her own vessel. Speeding away from the quay, the vastness of the Tyrrhenian Sea and sky opens up ahead. It’s not clear where one ends and the other begins; the whole appears as alternating bands of periwinkle and petrol blue, shot through with ribbons of deep rippling cornflower. The sun heats the varnished wooden deck to the point where it feels like an egg broken on the side would fry in an instant. With everyone at egg-cooking temperature, the time has come. Lining up along the side, toes clinging to the edge: three, two, one… with a yell, they all leap into the warm air and plunge down into the sea. For a submerged moment, all around is blissfully cool and quiet. Then they bob up again, snorting salty water out of their noses, scrambling back on board to do it all over again. (Boat hire is available on most harbour fronts along the coast; from £18 per hour for a small motor launch.)

 

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The article ‘Live the good life on the Amalfi Coast’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Magazine.

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