Amalfi Coast family vacations

In AD 79 Mount Vesuvius erupted so violently that it destroyed the town of Pompeii, and the sky across the Bay of Naples went dark. Today, the bay sparkles in near-constant sunlight. The volcano? Like gelato wouldn’t melt.
“I was really looking forward to going to Pompeii because I remember going there as a child,” says Tom Wilkinson, product manager at our specialist vacation company, Exodus. He travelled on an Amalfi coast family vacation in 2018. “I wanted to go back with my own kids,” he said. “We had a bit of time to explore Pompeii, which was brilliant.”
Some things never change – and our childlike fascination with Pompeii is one of them.
Raining ash enveloped the unfortunate town in a matter of hours. It was covered so completely that archaeologists had to dig down five metres to find it again.

“It’s good for when they’re studying the Romans in school,” says Tom, explaining how kids aged nine and up get the most out of the sites. Nearby is Herculaneum, with its MAV (virtual archaeological museum), which brings what appears to be a bunch of dusty stones back to life with the aid of visual reconstructions. It’s good for youngsters who like their museums to have buttons.

Family recipes

Kids don’t want to sit and listen, they like to get stuck in. “If your child is curious and active and likes exploring then this trip is perfect,” says Tom. “it keeps it interactive.”

Nearby the Amalfi paper mills once produced large quantities of charta bambagina – a thick paper unusual for being made from cotton. Though the paper is prized for its quality among stationery fans, the traditional process is now at risk of dying out. Today there’s a museum devoted to the process and it encourages children to get involved. “The paper museum – is a little bit out of the way. You wouldn’t know it was there – it's in the winding streets of Amalfi,” says Tom. Children can use the old machines to pound and press their own piece of parchment.

In Agerola, there’s the opportunity to make your own mozzarella. Balls of the soft salty cheese are made by stretching curd in a process known as pasta filata. The process is satisfyingly similar to playing with slime or silly putty, and the result is caprese salad perfection.

Families can also have a go at creating the colourful Amalfi coast ceramics seen in shops and galleries throughout the region, made from the rich local volcanic clay and delicately painted. Kids might not apply the same delicacy with a brush, but they’ll still get to paint a tile and have it fired in the week, ready to grace your bathroom back home.

At the end of every day, everyone convenes around a huge table in a family-run hotel, and devours bowls heaped high with pasta. Sure, there’s been no volcano-related drama, but the Amalfi Coast will have left a lasting impression on your family.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Amalfi Coast or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

What do family trips entail?

In eight days you can enjoy some of the highlights of the Amalfi Coast at a pace that won’t leave the kids exhausted. You could join a small group tour, where several families will travel together. This is great for making friends, and sharing a bit of the load of parental responsibility.
To keep things relaxed, stay at a single hotel where nearly all meals are included – you’ll get to know the owners and won’t need to worry about where to eat every night. You could stay in a village like Bomerano, which is set back from the coast. It’s a little quieter than Amalfi, but only a short transfer or bus ride away. Italy’s family-run hotels are experts at welcoming their guests – and adept at feeding them well.

Why is the Amalfi Coast good for families?

Italy is a nation of families – it's extremely common for children to return home after university, and the average age in which they leave the family home is as high as 30. Italian grandparents are used to hosting Sunday meals every week for all the relatives. As a result, kids big and small are made to feel very welcome, and the food – pasta (which was actually invented in Gragnano, near Pompeii), pizza (invented in Naples), and gelato – is kid friendly too. “The hotel staff were very indulgent and friendly – no one was shushing children,” recalls Tom, of the family-run hotel where they were based for the week. “You felt like they were always someone looking out for them.”

How old should your children be?

Nine and up is best, so your kids should already have learnt a bit about the Romans and be able to apply some imagination to the more unassuming ruins. The famous ‘Path of the Gods’ walking path features some vertiginous cliffs and sheer drops, and is best walked by older kids who won’t go running. Capri doesn’t tend to feature on family trips. “It’s one of those places that’s very well-known but it’s more for adults in my opinion,” says Tom. There's little about Capri’s boutiques and fancy villas that will interest kids – for them, it’s just another day shopping.

When is the best time to go?

If you’re tied to the school vacations, you can visit any time from the Easter vacations to the October half term – the family trips tend to coincide with these vacation dates, and run through the summer too. By October there will still be kid splashing in the sea but it is a little chilly though it is quieter. In August, when it’s hot and busy, your guide will factor in a few more shady rest stops on the way.
Written by Eloise Barker
Photo credits: [Page banner: Nikola Radojcic] [Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius: Harshil Shah] [Jetty: Jo Byrnes] [Best time to go: KaLisa Veer]
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