A vacation should give you every chance to experience exactly what you want. Do you long to slip into a state of pure relaxation and dream of crisp sea air filling your lungs? Do you seek remarkable, natural beauty that mesmerizes and provides an escape from the ordinary? Well, you’re in luck. The Amalfi Coast has it all.

From the moment you first gaze upon the fabled area of Southern Italy, expect to be awed by a pastel pageantry of colorful homes along the steep cliffs that seem to rise straight from the cobalt-blue Tyrrhenian Sea. Here, modern towns and all their luxuries hold well-preserved ancient ruins, natural marvels, and fascinating art and architecture.

Getting to the Amalfi Coast

To start this one-of-a-kind adventure, most fly into the Naples Capodichino International Airport. From there, you can drive, take the train, then a bus, or take a boat to the city of Amalfi to kick off your journey. No matter how you arrive, you’ll need to navigate the roads and many stairs. Animal-loving travelers will quickly notice something remarkable about the winding, complex, and sometimes scary roads: the well-being of wild animals is considered here, with high walls to keep them out of the heavy flow of freeway traffic and overpasses replete with abundant greenery that attracts animals and allows them safe passage.

Once you make it through to the sea, history seems to come alive as you stroll through the coast’s ruins and sculptures that date back centuries, making it easy to see why the entire coast is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Amalfi’s ancient Roman origins are on display with many ruins around the city, including the Arch of Tiberius—a monument that was created during the reign of the emperor in 16 AD.

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In nearby Positano, make your way to the Spiaggia Grande beach where you can stand on the rocky sands and take in the best views of the cliffs and sea. In a 1953 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, John Steinbeck once famously wrote, “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” This remains true nearly 70 years later.

Nowhere is Positano’s pull more evident than on the Path of the Gods, a cliffside footpath that spans close to four miles and leads you through a kaleidoscope of shifting panoramic views. Allow time for frequent breaks to take in little discoveries—everything from gorges and caves to goats and colorful salamanders—along the way.

A visit to Paestum, which was founded as the Greek city of Poseidonia around 600 BC, brings the opportunity to see the grand, ancient temples dedicated to Athena and Hera. They’re considered to be perhaps the world’s best-preserved temples from this time period. Paestum’s archaeological museum brings personal histories to life through art and cultural artifacts, empowering visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history along the coast that can inspire hope and anticipation for the future.

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Where to stay

After soaking up all the local beauty, make your way to Casa Angelina, a gorgeous and vegan-friendly place to stay along the coast. Located in the heart of the small, coastal town of Praiano, a stay at this boutique hotel will give you direct access to the jaw-dropping La Gavitella Beach. Gaze at the mesmerizing blue waters and take a swim, or take part in the local tradition of watermelon slicing with sabres—then enjoy the sweet fruits of your labor. In the late afternoon, bask in the sun’s rays much later than most of the Amalfi Coast beaches allow since La Gavitella Beach is one of the few that faces west.

The thought-provoking and diverse artwork throughout Casa Angelina makes one feel like they are staying in a luxuriously comfortable museum. Enchanting sun and moon figures by Mexican sculptor Sergio Bustamante might inspire you to look at sunrises and sunsets in a whole new way. The Impressionist-inspired paintings by Argentinian-born Patricia Valencia Carstens wow with their beauty, while the whimsical, colorful patina-coated bronze frog figurines from Tim Cotterill inspire lots of smiles.

After exploring the coastal cities, returning to a modern, bright, sunlit room will soothe you as you unwind. Chic, contemporary furnishings contrast and complement the natural palette of each room. The best part, though, might be the sea-view terraces, allowing you to sleep with windows wide open for fresh sea air.

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Casa Angelina has its own organic garden where many seasonal vegetables and herbs are grown for daily use. The earth-to-table experience allows you to participate in the harvest using traditional tools along with the property’s chef and gardener. Help pick tomatoes, eggplants, lemons, basil, mint, zucchini, and other fresh vegetables. Then later, the chef may put on a show as he makes a vegan, locally inspired meal like spaghetti with zucchini and cherry tomatoes, and basil focaccia. A truly irresistible, veganized eggplant parmesan features baked eggplant covered with a rich tomato sauce with vegan mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.

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From the breakfast buffet to light lunches to a fancy vegan menu for a special dinner, any plant-eater will be well-fed here. For your morning cappuccino, choose from alt milks galore—almond, soy, rice, coconut, and oat are all offered. Un Piano Nel Cielo (“a floor in the sky”) is the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant that will dazzle every one of your senses. After the stunning, top-floor vistas satiate your craving for another peek at the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea, get ready for the vegan-customized four-course menu to satiate your appetite, too. The Sfusato Amalfitano lemon, Amalfi Coast’s beloved lemon, is used in the creamy and exquisite Acquerello Risotto for its intense aroma and semi-sweet flavor, alongside Sichuan pepper and wild fennel.

Where to eat

Sensuous and delectable vegan food can be found all up and down this picturesque coast. It would be easy to indulge in tender, handmade pasta or hot-out-the-oven pizza loaded with some of the freshest vegetables you’ve ever tasted. And why not? When in Amalfi, do as the Amalfitani do.

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Pillowy gnocchi, fragrant basil, and plump tomatoes are just a few parts of the classic, regional cuisine that happens to be vegan-friendly. For a morning bite, feast on light and flaky, butter-free croissants at Collina Bakery in Positano. The vegan experience at the aptly named Sensi Restaurant brings you creative dishes like vine-ripened zucchini with quinoa, saffron, vinegar, and mint. Their Italian twist on hummus is served with crunchy vegetable chips, caper leaves, and a taste-bud-tingling ponzu sauce, while the tempeh with red pepper cream, powdered olives, and endive is all but guaranteed to satisfy. While dining, try a drink with limoncello liqueur. The vegan-friendly liqueur is sweet with an intense lemon flavor, and it’s largely made from the Sfusato Amalfitano fruit that grows along the coast.

Whether you’re experimenting with plant-based pleasures or delving into ancient history along the sun-soaked coast, a trip to this breathtaking locale will almost immediately prove why la dolce vita is the phrase of the land. Roughly translated, it means “a life of heedless pleasure and luxury,” but something essential is lost in translation. The Amalfi Coast is about the wonder you feel when climbing up to a view that may be world-famous but can simply not be fathomed until you gaze upon it in person.

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