“The Amalfi Coast is a dream place that doesn't seem real” said Moravia and I agree with him. The Amalfi Coast is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and fascinating places in Italy and it is not hard to understand why foreigners go crazy for it. Its landscapes are incredible, with the mountains that drop sheer to the sea, the characteristic ones seafaring villages and several hotels and restaurants among the finest and most luxurious in Italy. A magical territory that can be explored even in a few days starting from NAPLES (of course if you have more ... so much the better!). I was lucky enough to come back after so many years, as a guest of a super local friend, and I spent some really special days! (I also promised her not to reveal all her goodies..lol)
When to go to the Amalfi Coast
The best time to visit the Amalfi Coast is definitely spring, with flowering and fragrant lemon trees, all the gardens in bloom and few people. In summer, especially in August, the Amalfi Coast can be really crowded and you may have traffic problems (the road is single and very narrow), parking and, above all, prohibitive prices. Better September and October, when it's still hot and most of the tourists have already left. In winter, temperatures are quite mild but most of the structures are closed.
Getting around on the Amalfi Coast
Given the particular geographic conformation, the coastal road that crosses all the towns is very narrow and full of curves so, despite the short distances, the journeys are quite long. Parking is also scarce and getting around the Amalfi Coast by car, especially in summer or during the holidays, can make your trip very stressful. My advice is to get around using public transport. The little ones bus area of South site they serve all the towns of the Amalfi Coast and have different types of tickets, as well as Travelmar hydrofoils which connect Positano, Amalfi, Minori, Maiori, Cetara and Salerno. Alternatively you can rent a scooter or a bike through sites like this one.
Where to sleep on the Amalfi Coast
If you only have 3 days and 2 nights available, you should sleep one night around Positano / Praiano and another in Ravello to avoid going back and forth. If you have more days, on the other hand, you can easily base yourself in the same place and then move from there to visit a little bit of everything. In this second case I would recommend you Praiano because it is quite central and less messed up than Positano or Amalfi, or Atrani or Ravello. Sleeping on the Amalfi Coast costs a lot (here are some of the most luxurious and exclusive hotels in Italy) so to find structures at human prices you will necessarily have to move a little outside. You can try looking inland in towns like Agerola or Nocelle) or near Salerno, Cetara, Erchie or Vietri sul Mare.
- Hotel Le Fioriere (Praiano): nice hotel with a spectacular terrace.
- Fisherman's House (Atrani): economical but very nice solution in the historic center of Atrani.
- Hotel Luna Convento (Amalfi): magnificent hotel housed in an ancient convent dating back to the XNUMXth century.
- Hotel Villa Cimbrone (Ravello): dream hotel surrounded by one of the most beautiful English gardens in Italy. Starred restaurant inside.
- At Borgo Torello (Ravello): cheaper but very nice and bucolic solution just outside the center of Ravello.
What to see on the Amalfi Coast in 3 days
With 3 days at your disposal you will be able to see the most famous villages of the Amalfi Coast (Positano, Praiano, Amalfi, Atrani and Ravello) and maybe spend a few hours on the beach or walking along the Path of the Gods.
Starting from the north, from Naples and Sorrento to be clear, the first town on the Amalfi Coast you will meet is also the most famous and picturesque. Positano is a vertical cascade of pastel-colored houses in shades of pink and yellow that can be explored by descending and climbing steep stairways and small streets adorned with plants and flowers. The most beautiful view of Positano can be enjoyed from Big Beach, by boat from the sea, or from above. The Spiaggia Grande is occupied by not exactly cheap establishments with a small piece of free beach always very crowded, but it is also the place where the most famous restaurants and clubs overlook. If you are looking for a quieter beach you can walk to it Fornillo beach, climbing a fair number of steps. But the beauty of Positano actually consists in getting lost in its alleys that climb the mountain, visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, stop in some artisan shop or bar. A must stop is definitely the Pastries La Zagara to eat the best lemon delight on the Amalfi Coast. For an aperitif, on the other hand, you can go to the super exclusive Franco’s bar (the bar of the Hotel Le Sirenuse, one of the most photographed in Italy) or al Music on the Rocks, practically the only nightclub on the Amalfi Coast. In both cases you will have a super view of Positano and the sea.
The Path of the Gods (from Agerola to Nocelle)
If you are sporty you can't not do it !! The Path of the Gods it is considered among the most beautiful hiking trails in Italy and think that it was, for centuries, the only link between the villages of the Amalfi Coast! The coastal road was in fact built only in the 800th century by the Bourbons. For years the path has continued to be used as a mule track, but it is only in recent times that it has been rediscovered and adapted to make it a hiking trail. The Path of the Gods starts from Bomerano, a hamlet of Agerola (there are buses that depart from Amalfi and stop in Bomerano) and can be traveled by following the upper or lower route. The high path it starts from Bomerano and ends in Santa Maria Del Castello: it is slightly more difficult because you climb in height. The low path it is what it goes through Nuts, and most tourists choose to travel just that. The view is the same, with the rocks overlooking the sea and the crazy views of the Amalfi Coast. Once you arrive in Nocelle you can then reach the center of Positano via a long staircase (1500 steps) and about 500 meters on foot. Alternatively there is the bus service. The Path of the Gods can also be reached from Praiano but you will have to face a long staircase to get to the starting point. The path is about 8 km long and can be covered in 3-4 hours on average.
Praiano, together with Ravello, it is the village that I liked the most. Unlike Positano and Amalfi, it is much quieter and less chaotic. It has no real center and the houses are scattered along the ridge of Monte St. Angelo, 120 meters above the sea level. To reach the sea, you have to face several steps, 300 to be exact to reach the beautiful one Cavitella beach (book a cot in advance). Moving a couple of kilometers south there is then Marina of Praia, with a suggestive beach and a small port from which the boats for excursions depart. Here, what were once the fishermen's houses today host restaurants including the Da Armandino Restaurant, very well known in the area and very good. Going further you will find one of the most instagrammed places on the Coast, namely the fjord of Furore with the microscopic Marina of Furorand, a very small fishing village that rises at the bottom of the fjord. If you happen to be in Praiano during sunset time, you can't not go for an aperitif on the rooftop of the Hotel Le Fioriere! From here you will see the sun setting with a breathtaking view of Positano and the sea (booking more than recommended!).
Once a powerful Maritime Republic, Amalfi it is together with Positano, the best known and most touristic village of the Amalfi Coast. The heart of the town is Piazza del Duomo, with the splendid Cathedral of S.Andrea in Arab-Sicilian style. Its polychrome facade is magnificent as well as the colossal bronze door that was built in Constantinople and brought here by sea. From the left side of the Duomo you can then access the Cloister of Paradise, a Moorish-style cloister built in the second half of the 600th century to house the remains of the illustrious citizens of Amalfi. The small alleys of the historic center are also very nice, which you can visit in a short time, perhaps making a stop in the historic center Pansa pastry to eat the famous lemon delight or Santarosa (a sfogliatella filled with cream and ricotta). For those wishing to take a bath there is Big Beach with many establishments and a small piece of free beach.
Walking along the Amalfi seafront towards the south, after the gallery it will reveal itself to your eyes atrani, the smallest Italian municipality by area and one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. All the streets of the village start from the lively square with the Church of S. Salvatore de Bireto, which is located just behind the arcades and the beautiful city beach. Atrani is truly a gem; if you want to stay close to Amalfi but away from the hordes of tourists .. here .. it is just the place for you.
The real jewel of the Amalfi Coast for me is her, Ravello, perched on the hills above Amalfi, with gardens and villas of unique elegance. Loved by the likes of Richard Wagner, Virginia Woolf and DH Lawrence, Ravello is a refined and elegant town that hosts the Ravello Festival, with concerts, ballets, exhibitions and performances of international appeal. Start from Piazza Duomo, with the beautiful medieval Cathedral to reach the entrance of Villa Rufolo with its fourteenth-century tower. The villa was built in the 700th century for the wealthy Rufolo family and was used as a residence by numerous popes and by Roberto D'Angiò, ruler of Naples. But the villa is most famous for its magnificent gardens created by the Scottish Scott Neville Reid in the mid-800th century, with lush flowers and superb views of the sea and the coast. Going up a little from Piazza Duomo there is then Villa Cimbrone, a villa that dates back to the early 900s, which today houses a luxury charming hotel and a starred restaurant. Here too, the English gardens with the terrace overlooking the sea flanked by classical statues are magnificent. It was in this villa that Greta Garbo took refuge with her lover, but the villa also had many other illustrious guests such as Churchill and Salvador Dalì.
What to see on the Amalfi Coast in 5 days
Having a few more days at your disposal going down towards Salerno you can visit Maiori and Minori, Cetara and Vietri sul Mare. Proceeding instead towards Naples it is certainly worth visiting Sorrento and Capri, perhaps with a boat trip (in this article you will find all the info).
Maiori and Minori
The small village of Minori it is located a few kilometers south of Amalfi, but can also be reached on foot with a downhill walk from Ravello of about 1 km. Formerly among the favorite places of stay of the imperial Roman aristocracy, today Minori is known above all for the gastronomy that has earned it the name of City of Taste. Quality pasta has been produced here since the Middle Ages and the specialty is scialatielli, which you will find on the menu of all local restaurants. Almost attached, just over 1 km away, there is Maiori, which has the longest beach of the entire Amalfi Coast (almost 1 km of plain due to the flood of 1954), characterized by dark volcanic sand and a smaller beach in the hamlet of Erchie.
Raise your hand if you don't like anchovies! Cetara is a very picturesque seaside village, and has always been a fishing village, it is no coincidence that its name derives from the Latin Cetaria, tonnara, or from cetari, sellers of big fish. The product she is most famous for is the colatura di alici which is the proceeds of the fermentation of anchovies put to marinate, which is thought to derive from garum, a Roman condiment. It is worth coming here even just to eat 'the original' spaghetti with anchovy sauce.
Vietri sul Mare
The last village on the Amalfi Coast is Vietri sul Mare capital of ceramics bell, whose production dates back to Roman times. Towards 1500/1600 it was then launched on an industrial scale and became famous throughout Italy. The style of Vietri ceramics is characterized by bright colors, especially in yellow and blue. To find out more, you can visit the Museum of Ceramics, in the nearby village of Raito, which is located inside a beautiful villa with a park.
Where to eat on the Amalfi Coast
- Buca di Bacchus (Positano): beautiful place on several levels with sea view located on the seafront of Positano. Excellent fish cuisine (but not only).
- The Taverna del Leone (Positano): show cooking and excellent food for this restaurant located along the coastal road, between Positano and Praiano.
- from Adolfo (Positano): breathtaking location and excellent cuisine for this restaurant located in the Laurito fjord, a fraction of Positano. It can be reached by sea with a free shuttle from Positano.
- Risorgimento restaurant (Conca dei Marini): very nice location, right on the water, in a small bay. It can be reached by sea (or with many steps) starting from Praiano. Good fish cuisine with excellent value for money.
- Trattoria Da Armandino (Marina di Praiano): restaurant with very good authentic and traditional cuisine. The view and the atmosphere are also beautiful.
- La Brace (Praiano): a good restaurant with a sea view, excellent pizza, but also the first and second courses.
You might also be interested in these other articles I wrote about Naples and Campania:
- What to see around Naples: 7 trips out of town not to be missed
- Unusual Naples: 10 places not to be missed
- Where to eat in Naples, the best pizzerias and pastry shops
- What to see in Naples in 3 days
- Excavations of Pompeii: guide to the visit
- 10 beautiful farmhouses with swimming pool in Campania