Italy is not just Roman architecture, art museums and old churches. There’s another side to its personality, flaunting gorgeous sunny beaches and fragrant hilltops. And one place that exhibits all these distinct traits is the Amalfi Coast.
Italy’s most romantic and seductive destination, The Amalfi Coast, is a 40 km stretch between the Bay of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno. Also popular as the ‘Road of 1000 bends’, this drive encircles sky-kissing cliffs and deep valleys. Frilling the shimmery Azure Sea, you will come across gorgeous landscapes of olive groves, lemon blossoms and peacefully white-washed villages.
The Amalfi Coast has gained attention in the recent years after its back-to-back appearance in the Hollywood. Although its charm was alive and kicking among writers, poets and musicians since times immemorial.
A perfect haven for leisure travelers and hikers alike, the village-strewn cliffs bulge onto the sea, offering fine dining, flamboyant hotels and breathtaking visions. But the fact that it isn’t as popular as Rome and Venice leave prospective tourists intrigued about its details.
So I am jotting down a detailed note on the Amalfi Coast. I will be including things like where to expect of this place, what to eat and do, which places to visit, etc.
By the way, this is a very popular website for finding cheap hotels. You can use it to book your accommodations in Amalfi.
Amalfi Coast’s Points of Interest
There are 13 towns lined beside this strip of land. The coast has been declared a UNESCO world-heritage site. Among these, the most famous ones are Amalfi, Praiano, Positano, Furore and Ravello.
Amalfiis the largest town of this coast. But don’t think of it as Rome or Venice. It is still small enough to make you feel intimate and cosy. It is located at the mouth of a deep abyss with a dramatic seafront and countless cafes and bars.
A’Paranza, a popular restro in Atrani sells delicious fish recipes combined with pasta.
The Cathedral of St. Andrews located in the center of the Square is quite impressive. The alleys in the town have many interesting workshops for explorers and learners. All in all, Amalfi is an overdose of nature and culture.
Ravello, or the Spirit Homeland, as they call it, is all about stunning landscapes and monuments. It is rightfully closer to the sky than seas. Perched on a ridge higher than Amalfi with Atrani in its vicinity, the place has been an inspiration for artists and intellectuals.
Attracting mostly the glitterati travelers, Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone are a must-go. Some consider it to be a little out-of-the-way. So it’s mostly crowded in the daytime. The nights are calm and peaceful.
Ravello hosts the oldest music festival in Italy, The Ravello Festival. Followed by musicians of all disciplines, it exhibits a new theme every year.
Amalfi Coast is primarily famous for culinary science. Try out misto di primi at Jacky O and Gore Vidal is a mouthwatering pasta dish. They serve enough quantity for 2 pax.
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Positano is the most centrally located village on the coast. The backdrops are absolutely beautiful and photogenic. Tourists flock to its beaches every summer, the most famous ones being the Marina Grande, Li Galli and Fornillo.
Positano is way beyond just beaches and backdrops. Small villages of Nocelle and Montepertuso are extraordinarily picturesque. The town alleys of Positano sell gorgeous made-to-measure leather shoes and cotton/linen clothing (or Moda Positano, as they say). Strappy and Safari are two genuine sellers of leather material.
Its seafood is one to die for! Its almond cake Torta Positanese and the lemon crème pastry Delizie Al Limone are perfect examples of Amalfi gastronomy. Adolfo’s shack on Laurito Beach offers ultimate meals. Soak your feet in the sands and grab a bite of Spaghetti a la Vongole and Mozarella grilled on lemon leaves!
Le Sirenuse and Villa Rosa are recognized hotels offering exotic vistas of the sea, worth every buck spent. The white-walled rooms have personal spacious terrace gardens. Fresh baked pastries and cappuccino served in the morning complete your picture-perfect holiday.
Praiano stands for Open Sea. This tiny seaside village hides between Positano and Amalfi. The place is known for its tranquility. Its staircases and little votive altars are almost everywhere. The panoramic views from the Sea Tower Torre A Mare attract maximum tourists.
Praiano is the best place for sunset views across the Amalfi Coast. Marina di Praia is a beach amidst a valley of steep and ghastly eroded cliff. The place is perfect for scuba diving. LaGavitella is another popular beach for sunbathing.
Furore lies safe amid the mountains of the Amalfi Coast. The town comprises of scattered villages surrounded by vineyards. There is a secret fjord lying on one side, with the Tyrrhenian Sea on the other. The furious roar of water splashing in the stones gives the place its name- Furore.
Furore offers beautiful murals and excellent local wines. Hostaria di Bacco, an upmarket right beyond Furore serves amazing seafood. Do try the Ferrazuoli with steamed swordfish, tomatoes and nuts.
Whether you do it yourself or have someone take you around, the following are must see’s in Amalfi!
There are a number of touristy things to do in and around the coastal villages of the Amalfi Drive. Among the towns mentioned above, there are some noteworthy attractions worth your time.
1. Visit the Duomo of Amalfi town
Town’s popular spire, St. Andrew’s Cathedral carries the remains of the Apostle till date. Hordes of tourists visit this Duomo. The gigantic bronze doors would leave you awestruck, as will the Basilica of Crucifix next door.
2. Trek to Santiero Degli Dei
This trail nestles on the slopes of Monte Peruso. Popular as ‘The Path of Gods’, it connects a small village named Agerola and Nocelle with a tiny fraction of Positano.
The path begins from the village of Bomerano, a place between Sorrento and Amalfi.
As you hike, vistas of vineyards, caves and valleys strike you en route. A perfect place for adventurer travelers visiting the Amalfi Coast. The hike is roughly of 4.5-5 hours.
3. Feast out at the Festival of Sant’Antonio in Amalfi
The Church of St’Antonio is situated between Atrani and Amalfi. The festival of St. Anthony of Padua is the most unique religious celebration of this area. The unique part- the celebrations are made both on land and in the sea.
The boat procession is something you wouldn’t find anywhere else on the planet. The music that comes from the Band Boat is truly amazing.
4. Check out the Museo Correale in Sorrento
Located in Sorrento (a very outdoorsy town on the neighborhood of the coast), this museum is the most major attraction of Sorrento. This 18th century villa comes under the administration of the patrician Correale family.
The museum has finest collections of Neapolitan paintings, gorgeous arts and Capodimonte porcelains. The opulent Rococco portrait miniatures remind you of the age when art was the soul of Italy.
The bougainvillea is replete with palm trees, groves, floral nurseries, and a splendid view of the Sorrento coast.
5. Don’t miss out the Museo Della Carta in Amalfi
This 13th century Paper Mill has now become a museum. Amalfi has a history of making easily handcrafted paper gifts. The fact that they could get transported without any hassle made them very popular.
To get there, walk up the straight road away from the sea. When you see those small tourist shops thinning out, you will see the paper museum on the left.
6. After-party at the Africana Famous Club at Praiano
Totally one of a kind, this club is spread in a huge 800 meters of natural caves, only 10 meters above the sea level!
After being closed for a very long span of time, this club now has the most uncommon furniture and most cutting-edge lights and sounds. It hosts all sorts of events like business meetings, receptions and weddings, and so on. The music variety is equally never-ending, like contemporary, House, Retro, lounge music, live piano, etc.
7. Chow down at the Food Festival of Sagra Del Tonno
A festival dedicated to Tunas and Anchovies, it takes place in late July and Early August. It is celebrated at the village of Cetara and showcases mouthwatering cuisines along with some really good music.
8. Splurge out at Antonello della Mura
For trend-setters and avid fashion followers, Antonello della Mura is an eternal home. Impeccable designs by Antonello (a Graduate from St. Martin’s College of Art and Design, London) himself pull many celebrities to this elegant and exclusive fashion boutique.
Set up in a low key street of Positano, you can find Hermes quality silk scarfs here, for as less as 100 Euros. Italian White shirts and crisp linen are in abundance. Besides, feather-light women’s couture is one to die for!
9. Time for some Beach Party in Positano
This hidden gem is situated 2 miles away from the center of Positano. Unlike other beaches on the Amalfi Coast which are steep, this one’s a cove; rocky but very unique. And the best part, there are fewer crowds here. The earlier talked about Adolfo’s shack is right here.
10. Conca dei Marini
A very exquisite tourist spot, the architecture here is all Mediterranean style; white houses and flowery balconies. The place has been a personal favorite of royal families and other eminent men like Princess of England, Queen of Holland, Jacqueline Kennedy and Carlo Ponti .
This charming little village is a keeper of many famous churches besides the well known Emerald Cave. The grotto got its name when the submarine entrance of this place filtered sunlight and made the water turn emerald green.
11. Explore the Baths of Queen Joan
Sorrento is well-liked for its scenic coastal views and sun-kissed beaches. The remotely located Bagni della Regina Giovanna is one such example.
Nestled below rocky cliffs and a well-reserved shore, this beach can be reached only on foot. This works in its favor as it is less crowded and more untouched. A perfect getaway from the bustling cities of the coast, its epic views and a quick access to La Solara add more to its beauty.
12. The Best Restaurants and food shacks on the Amalfi Coast
The Coast has not one but countless food joints to try seafood, local cuisines and delicious wine. The most talked-about are located mainly in Positano and Ravello, with a few of them in other villages.
Here’s a list of a few most famous ones:
Taverna Del Capitano in Positano; for its tempting seafood and yummy desserts.
LoGuarracino at Spiaggia Fornillo in Positano; a perfect place to enjoy the sunset while having a pocket-friendly seafood meal.
LaCambusa on the main beach near the church Dome in Positano; a jack of all trades.
Palazzo Della Marra in Ravello; cooks food from local fresh produce and serves reasonably priced Campanian Wines.
Rossellini’s at the Palazzo Sasso Hotel in Revello; famous for simple dishes like the Bread Salad (Insalata di Pane).
CumpaCosimo near the Duomo in Ravello; for those seeking a break from fishy meals.
L’Arsenale in Minori; its local pasts speciality Scialatielli ai Frutti di Mare (Seafood Spaghetti) is practically perfect.
Acquapazza in Cetara; specializes in Tuna in Oil and Anchovies.
The Amalfi Coast is a very high-rated tourist attraction in Italy. So obviously the rush is too much. Most crowded months are May-June. So I’d suggest you to plan a tour in or after September. Try not make it too far away from the main season, as the facilities well-nigh shut down between November and mid of March. By then, crowds are gone, weather is romantic, and you can enjoy the drive in peace.
All in all, I am totally thrilled to plan a vacation here. I hope you are, too!
If you’d like to take the headache away from planning things to do in Amalfi, I recommend taking a guided tour around this region. There are LOTS of tours to choose from.