17 Aug The best tips for holidays on the Amalfi Coast
The Costiera Amalfitana, as the Italians call the Amalfi Coast, is a sight in itself and is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn more about one of the most beautiful coasts in the world in this detailed blog article.
Where is the Amalfi Coast located?
The Amalfi Coast is located between Naples and Salerno on the Sorrento Peninsula in southern Italy. To be precise, the section between Positano and Vietri sul Mare is the Amalfi Coast, on the Gulf of Salerno.
When is the best time to travel to the Amalfi Coast?
The best time to travel to the Amalfi Coast is definitely spring or autumn. It’s less busy, it’s not too hot for sightseeing or hiking and it’s cheaper. In spring there are enchanting flowers along the coast and in autumn the sea is at its warmest and there are specialities like truffles and chestnuts. In high summer, not only many foreign tourists make their holidays on the Amalfi Coast, in August many Italian tourists join them and the roads are permanently clogged and there is no way to get ahead. It’s just no fun then. In winter, on the other hand, almost everything is closed and accommodation and restaurants are often unheated and it’s uncomfortable. My favourites are June and September. Here you can find out the current entry requirements for Italy and other destinations.
What is the best way to get around on the Amalfi Coast?
You can take the train to Sorrento from Naples. This is also the closest airport. Otherwise, you can take the bus, which connects the coastal towns. Cycling doesn’t seem like a good idea because of the narrow, winding roads and the way drivers drive. It is possible to walk from place to place along the Amalfi Coast on the Sentiero degli Dei. The most flexible option is certainly a rental car. However, you’ll get stuck in traffic just like the bus, and finding a parking space is difficult in high season. A particularly stylish experience is to drive along the Amalfi Coast in a vintage car. Last but not least, you can go by boat or ferry.
Which accommodation should you choose on the Amalfi Coast?
You come to the Amalfi Coast for the view and not primarily for the beaches. The higher the accommodation, the better the panorama. I would recommend a nice hotel with a pool, where you can enjoy the amazing view of the Amalfi Coast with a glass of wine after an eventful day. I recommend you these hotels.
What can you do on the Amalfi Coast?
Mainly boat trips, sightseeing, water sports, swimming in small bays and of course feasting! Here are my best tips on what to do on the Amalfi Coast:
The houses in Sorrento are beautifully colourful, clinging to the rock. Here, Italy looks the way foreign tourists use to imagine it: Narrow streets, spectacular views of the Gulf of Naples and the volcano Vesuvius, great cuisine and that indescribable dolce vita. There is also a small beach below Sorrento, including fishing boats.
Have a taste: From Sorrento a speciality comes that is widespread all over Italy. Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, i.e. gnocchi topped with fruity tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
You can reach the cape at the westernmost tip of the Sorrento peninsula by turning off the road from Sorrento to Positano. The Punta Campanella Nature Park is a paradise for hikers and divers. The highlight for divers is the underwater mountain “Secchetella dei Galli”. Here you can find unexpectedly beautiful corals in red, yellow and black, various species of fish and lobsters.
Clinging to the mountain, there are the colourful houses of Positano, in the south of the Sorrento Peninsula, where the Amalfi Coast officially begins. It is not cheap here, the place and many of its visitors are rich and beautiful. The most photographed motif is the church of Santa Maria Assunta with its extraordinary colourful dome in the centre of Positano. Don’t do it like us and have something to eat in one of the restaurants in the piazza. I had the worst lasagne I’ve ever had in Italy, and at a steep price. Positano is beautiful, but you have to be careful not to fall into the tourist traps. It’s best to ask at your accommodation which restaurant is recommended.
A drink on the rather large beach at the foot of Positano is still worthwhile, no matter how much it costs. There, the flair of the Amalfi Coast is priceless!
Praiano is one of the sleepier places on the Amalfi Coast. Situated between Positano and Amalfi, it is a little more peaceful. Just like the other towns on the coast, Praiano is built in steps into the rock, which means you have a great view from the top: of the sea, the surrounding mountains and even Positano. The good hidden beach “Marina di Praia” is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Amalfi Coast.
The place is really called like that. And it definitely lives up to the name. Why? The Furorefjord is the only fjord in Italy and the favourite of Instagrammers. A bridge spans the fabulous fjord of Furore. There you can pose for your Insta account or you simply let the scenery take its effect on you: steep rock faces, lined with green vegetation, a small beach below and turquoise water.
A serpentine road snakes up the mountain to the village of Furore along the vineyards. Take in the view with a good glass of wine!
Conca dei Marini
The village of Conca dei Marini is small but nice and clings to the rock like a swallow’s nest up to 400 metres above sea level. If you can’t make it to Capri, the “Grotta dello Smeraldo” is a more than worthy substitute. Another sight of Conca dei Marini: proudly enthroned on a cape, you can find an ancient watchtower from the 15th century.
The whole coast is named after Amalfi and it is worthy of its name. The highlights of Amalfi include the Duomo di Sant’Andrea and the Marina Grande, one of the most beautiful beaches on the Amalfi Coast. A staircase leads up to the cathedral square in Amalfi with many cafés and boutiques. Visitors can be close to the relics of Saint Andrew in the cathedral, walk the cloisters or simply admire the exuberantly decorated facade with mosaics and gold.
Furthermore, it is a good idea to take a boat trip from the pier at Piazza Flavio Gioia and see the beautiful coastline from the water.
Outside Amalfi, a visit to the Valle delle Ferriere is worthwhile. This valley has impressive waterfalls and wild rivers for the adventurous.
Sentiero degli Dei
Seen enough souvenir shops and crowds? Not in the mood for traffic jams? The “Path of the Gods”, the translation of the name Sentiero degli Dei, is beautiful and also strenuous, depending on how fit you are and how hot it is. Breathtaking views are included, especially if you don’t have a head for heights 😉 From up here, the villages seem so small and the sky so close. You can explore the Amalfi Coast by walking on the Path of the Gods from Amalfi via Positano to Sorrento.
Ravello is the place on the Amalfi Coast that has always attracted artists and intellectuals. Among other things, the “Ravello Festival” dedicated to Richard Wagner takes place. Stately villas that you can admire during a visit provide unique views. For example, Villa Rufolo or Villa Cimbrone with its beautifully landscaped garden with even more beautiful views over the Amalfi Coast and the mountains.
Ravello is also known for its ceramic tiles, which range between art and kitsch. The most common motif is lemons. A nice souvenir are tiles with house numbers, for a Mediterranean flair at home 😉
It is 10 kilometres from Amalfi to Ravello. For the fit hiking enthusiasts, there is a path from Atrani (east of Amalfi) to Ravello.
Atrani is not as frequently visited as the other towns on the Amalfi Coast. Day trippers usually leave the place to the left. Good for you, because here you can still discover real Italian life. Children playing in the alleys, laundry hanging to dry from the balconies and grannies sitting in the shade in front of the house chatting with the neighbours. Perfect for a great lunch away from the big tourist crowds.
Maiori, the seaside resort
The longest and only sandy beach on the Amalfi Coast is in Maiori. Here you can relax on the beach when you’re not strolling through the alleys of the town, which offers everything a tourist’s heart desires. Boat trips to all the destinations around are offered at the harbour.
Vietri sul Mare
Vietri sul Mare is where the Amalfi Coast ends (or begins). The most famous sights are the church “San Giovanni Battista” and the bridge “Ponte di Molina” from 1564. Don’t miss the viewpoint above the town, which can be reached via a section of the “Sentiero degli Dei”.
Excursions around the Amalfi Coast
While you’re there, you can also check out other highlights in the area. They are no more than 1.5 hours’ drive from the Amalfi Coast.
Ever heard of Salerno? Probably not. That’s exactly why Salerno is still an insider tip. A real contrast to the polished Amalfi Coast! Here, Vespas rattle through the streets, students turn night into day, and even so, there are sights to see in between all the normality. The “Castello di Arechi” above the city, a cathedral and the romantic Minerva Garden. Quite unexpectedly, a medieval aqueduct runs through the residential streets. Wonderfully normal and yet special, the provincial capital of Salerno with its more than 100,000 inhabitants.
Speciality: South of Salerno begins a plain with many stables along the road. From there comes the buffalo mozzarella, which tastes heavenly-spicy on the pizza. Be sure to try it!
Do you know that typical German song? I already have it in my head. Wenn bei Capri die rote Sonne im Meer versinkt… The sunset on the island of Capri is said to be one of the most beautiful in the world. The rich and the beautiful have been holidaying here since time began and let themselves be drawn into the spell of the whitewashed alleys. You’ve probably heard of the Blue Grotto, whose waters glow in unreal shades of blue when the light conditions are good.
This is the best way to plan your day trip to Capri: Take the ferry from Sorrento, Positano or Amalfi and book a boat trip to the Blue Grotto as soon as you arrive in Capri. The time between 12 and 14 o’clock promises the most spectacular play of colours in the Blue Grotto. Afterwards, you can stroll through the alleys of Anacapri and have a sophisticated dinner in the evening and – what else – watch the red sun sinking into the sea.
What does the ferry from Sorrento to Capri cost?In high season, the round trip from Sorrento to Capri costs between 35 and 50 euros per person.
Definitely worth seeing, even if you have zero interest in the ancient world. Apart from well-preserved buildings including mosaics and murals, I was most impressed by the roadway in the streets of ancient Pompeii. The idea that thousands of vehicles have driven through here and eroded the stone pavement of the road makes the past feel very real. I have very rarely had this feeling at an excavation site. And Pompeii has been buried since 79 AD, when Mount Vesuvius erupted. Here you can lose yourself among the ruins all day, a must! The drive from the Amalfi Coast to Pompeii takes 1 to 1.5 h, depending on where you start from.
Where is the most beautiful place on the Amalfi Coast?
You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you prefer nature or towns. My favourites are Sorrento, which is not actually on the Amalfi Coast, and the Sentiero degli Dei, which connects the towns of the Amalfi Coast and offers fantastic views.
What speciality should you try on the Amalfi Coast?
The lemon liqueur Limoncello, of course, for which the Amalfi Coast is famous. A delicious souvenir that tastes like a holiday and the sun. Or buy some lemons and make your own limoncello at home. You can find recipes on the internet or you can ask local people to share their recipe with you.
Naples is not far away, so you can also get incredibly delicious pizza on the Amalfi Coast. But beware: once you’ve had an original Napolitan pizza, you’ll be spoiled and suddenly disdain most pizzas served outside of Italy.