Why Visit the Amalfi Coast?
With over a dozen villages and 100 individual beaches, it can be difficult to venture away from the crowds and find your own path. This coastline becomes home to roughly 5 million travelers each year, and for good reason, not only is it an UNESCO protected world heritage site, it is also one of the most beautifully colored, eclectic coastlines there is. Although each of the villages reside in close quarters to one another, the level of variation between each is always noticeable and occasionally drastic. For this reason alone, it is incredibly important to do your research before you go. You may be looking for unique architecture and vibrant villages, you may be looking for a quiet fishing town or you may want to hike the local mountaintops. Whatever it may be, we have an in depth guide of the most unique towns on the Amalfi Coast to help guide your decision.
Known as the door to the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento is not technically included in the villages of Amalfi, but due to the similarities and close periphery, we’ve decided to include it in our list. Situated just above Naples, it is the perfect spot to stay if you’re thinking of exploring areas like Pompeii or even beginning your journey down the coast. Due to the beautiful scenery and convenient location, Sorrento draws a large crowd and hosts many charming establishments to cater. The Bellevue Syrene is one of our favorite luxury establishment not to be missed during a visit here. Become acquainted with typical Renaissance/Baroque style design as you wind through a spider web of lanes. Stop by the Marina Grande to sample some iconic seafood the Amalfi Coast is so famous for or visit I Giardini di Catalodo, one of Italy’s most famous Lemon groves. Depending on your style of trip you can laze on the volcanic beaches or hike a beautiful hill during your time here.
The steepest of all towns on the Amalfi Coast, Positano is known for its brightly coloured houses that line the mountainous hills all the way down to the seafront. Located between Sorrento and Amalfi, Positano draws a crowd due to the spectacular views it provides and the many lavish, top tier hotels that can be found here. Albeit a daring walk, journeying from the top of Positano to the bottom is not without its rewards, vertically slanted staircases overlook a sea of washed pinks and oranges as you gaze out onto the ocean. Because of its popularity, this is one of the more expensive towns along the coast. However, there are a wide selection of high-end boutiques to cater for those looking to buy something special.
If arriving to Praiano from Positano, it is an absolute must to visit Sentiero degli Dei “the Path of the Gods”. This preserved pathway will take you through forests and around cliff faces as you journey into the wilderness. Like Positano, Praiano is mostly comprised of whitewashed buildings overlooking a cliff face. However, the majority of Praiano is situated on more even ground, making a stroll here a slightly more relaxed endeavor. For fashion lovers, Positano is your place, but for art you come to Praiano. There’s no Sistine Chapel, but you will find unique works such as a large majolica tiled floor by Chiesa di San Luca Evangelista and artwork by Paolo Sandulli inside the Torre a Mare. Praiano is supposedly home to the most impressive sunset on the Amalfi Coast, we urge you to see for yourself.
You can’t come to the Amalfi Coast and not visit the bustling village of Amalfi. Although it may be touristy, people don’t just come for the name. One major attraction of Amalfi is the beautiful cathedral, with architecture representative of both Doge’s Palace in Venice and the Duomo in Milan, it truly is an exceptional piece. A giant, majestic looking staircase leads from Piazza del Duomo up to the cathedral door, something reminiscent of an Aztec temple. Piazza del Duomo itself is always a hot spot of activity and buzzing with life, a great meeting spot to start your journey throughout the town. As one of the coasts busiest towns, there is plenty to cater for everyone whether it be nightlife, secluded beaches or winding cobblestone streets, Amalfi has it.
Decidedly the most romantic of the Amalfi villages, Ravello may not be surrounded by a plethora of beaches. However, what the town lacks in seaside, it more than makes up for in art, architecture and intricately designed gardens. Perched atop a hill overlooking the bay of Salerno, Ravello is a feast for the senses. This village is a favorite of movie stars and celebrities alike, looking for that quiet getaway. There are many high quality hotels and private villas to cater if you are considering a stay here, the Belmond among our favorites. Attend outdoor concerts, visit Duomo di Ravello or simply take in the view at this awe inspiring, yet subtle town.
Conca dei Marini
Inhabited by a mere hundred or so people, Conca dei Marini is unassuming, yet stunningly beautiful, with styling representative of Mediterranean and Greek influence. Sitting 400 meters above sea level, this town is made up of numerous dainty cottages, the likes of which can be rented out for a genuine local experience. Due to its secluded nature, Conca dei Marini is one of the most romantic getaways on the coast. Over the last century this town has been frequented by many political figureheads, including; Jacqueline Kennedy, Princess Margaret of England and the Queen of Holland. Even with this claim to fame, the village is still largely unspoiled with tourism and modernization. Two unique characteristics of this town are its local dessert “Santa Rosa Sfogliatelle” and the Emerald Grotto. Santa Rosa Sfogliatelle is such an important part of the town that the recipe was kept secret for 150 years and the pastry is now celebrated with an annual festival. The Emerald Grotto is a semi submerged sea cave, famous for the shimmering green light it emits, a favorite among divers in the area.
With unspoiled streets and a stunning coastline, it is no wonder that Atrani has been used as a set in multiple Hollywood films. Situated between two cliffs and around the corner from Amalfi, this 1,000 person seaside town is far from the hustle and bustle of its larger counterparts. This small fishing village is almost all on the same level and close together, so that everything’s within arm’s reach. Piazza Umberto is the star of the show here and a great place to sit down for an evening meal after lazing on the black sand beach. Keep an eye out for the 13th century Baroque style churches and fountains throughout the town. Much like a lot of the Amalfi coast, you will find vibrantly colored houses, flower covered balconies and cobble streets all around.
Home to the Amalfi Coasts longest beach, Maiori has long been known as a popular tourist destination. Younger crowds and families come here to take advantage of Maiori's great nightlife and reasonable prices. If you decide to visit Maiori, we recommend taking a boat out to some of the surrounding beaches or Grotta di Pandora, a beautiful sea cave. Originally an ancient Roman settlement, there are historical ruins to visit during your time here, Villa Marittima is among our favorites. Additionally, the waterfront is home to many boutique shops and shoemakers if that tickles your fancy.
Minori has been famous for its pasta since the 16th century, leading it to become quite a popular attraction, but thankfully not too crowded. With museum exhibits dating back as far as the 1st century, there is a lot of cultural history to be found here. The area is also famous for its lemon groves as it is local tradition to make Limoncello and the famous pastry, “Delizie al Limone”. Whilst here, make sure to visit the mouth-watering pastry shop “Pasticceria Sal De Riso” and if you come at the right time of year, you might even catch the annual food festival. This is a favorite stop for foodies travelling Amalfi.
Vietri Sul Mare
With a rich tradition of art and ceramics, Vietri Sul Mare is home to some of the most colourful and extravagantly decorative buildings on the Amalfi coast, some baring similarity to Murano and Burano. It is here where the art of Majolica pottery first began and can now be seen on display all throughout the town. Anywhere you go in this town you will find decorative plates, vases and mosaics, there is even a museum of ceramics in the Tower of Villa Guariglia. Make sure to visit the church of St Giovanni and take in the view from here as it is simply breath-taking.
well known for its Tuna and Anchovies, the fishing village of Cetara is a mere 40-minute drive from Amalfi. If you are looking for a secluded romantic getaway, beach included, you've found it here. Since the village largely relies on exports for income, tourism is a less obvious trait. You didn’t hear it here, but Cetara is said to bare some of the best seafood on the whole Amalfi Coast. If food, ambiance and romance is what you’re looking for, look no further.