Kayak Italy’s ‘Island of the Sirens’

Kayak along the Italian Riviera
Kayak along the Amalfi Coast

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Observing a kayak on glowing amber waters off the coast of Amalfi one evening made me think of Homer, Greece’s epic poet of antiquity. He described the Mediterranean as having wine-dark seas, but he was also blind. This evening, however, the usual cool blue waters gave way to a brilliant, fiery orange.

Paddling over the often-visual underwater ruins of ancient Roman and Greek civilizations is enough to excite anyone. Words often fail to express a kayaking day over the Bay of Naples, down the Amalfi Coast, or the many other crystalline waters off the shores of Italy.

Amalfi coast Italy 1
Amalfi with a sprinkling of boats in the Mediterranean

This September, I will be exploring the wonders of Italy again for three weeks. Sea Kayaking is on my must-do list. Drifting by hidden grottos, dipping into caves, paddling through volcanic archways and observing castles and fortresses on the rocky mainland as I drift by is an experience I just can’t pass up. To see Italy from the water will be like getting to know it all over again.

the Siren
Siren of the Archipelago

The Island of the Sirens (la Sireneuses) is an archipelago of tiny islands off the Amalfi Coast of Italy between the Isle of Capri and 6 miles SW of Positano. Kayaking throughout these ancient mythical islands is breathtaking. Made up of three main islands, mythical sirens are believed to have inhabited them. They sang or played the lyre and flute, and bedeviled anyone happening to hear them. Strabo, a 1st century BC geographer, would warn you to plug your ears and avoid crashing your kayak on the rocky coast. Go ahead and explore their secret hideaways along magical shores, but be careful!

Explore the coastline by kayak between Portofino and Cinque Terre on the turquoise Ligurian Sea. The subtle play of light on the colors of the landscape is spellbinding. Harbors of bobbing boats, homes that cling to rugged cliffs, vineyards and olive trees that dot the terraced hillsides envelope you as your kayak glides by. Coves and promontories provide enticing exploration moments. Sunlight gives way to the shadows of rocky outcrops.

Tofino Expeditions offers kayaking tours from the Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre. Top-rated by National Geographic Adventure and an established sea-kayaking outfitter for 25 years, they also offer an 11 day excursion by kayak combined with some great on-land adventures.

Amalfi Kayak provides excellent local knowledge and insight into the area along with Kayak rentals and expeditions. If you like to support local business, as I do, this is a great option. They offer customized itineraries based upon your interests, time available and level of skill. 

Italy Kayak Tours offers expeditions around the Island of the Sirens.

“At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much.”
– Robin Lee Graham

Alassio is a small but elegant seaside resort ...
Welcoming waters on the Italian Riviera

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