Every year about 5 million people crowd onto the Amalfi coast to experience its UNESCO world heritage landscape and culture, sample its mouth-watering cuisine and walk in the footsteps of celebrities past and present. Despite existing shoulder to shoulder for hundred of years, there is a surprising amount of variation between the towns on the […]
Every year about 5 million people crowd onto the Amalfi coast to experience its UNESCO world heritage landscape and culture, sample its mouth-watering cuisine and walk in the footsteps of celebrities past and present. Despite existing shoulder to shoulder for hundred of years, there is a surprising amount of variation between the towns on the Amalfi Coast. Here are some tips for figuring out which town is best suited to the style and price point of your Amalfi Coast holiday.
Sorrento is the official starting point of the Amalfi Coast and the easiest town to reach. This accessibility is both a blessing and a curse because it places Sorrento firmly on the Amalfi Coast itinerary of most day-trippers – meaning its population swells to the bursting point during the summer high season.
This small city in the southern part of Italy features wonderful hills, deep valleys and beautiful mountains. Nearby, you will find small local villages, prestigious hotels, camping and even the opportunity to work local farmland if you so choose. Sorrento makes a good starting point for numerous excursions to nearby cities and islands around the famous Amalfi Coast. You will love driving along the coastal and winding roads overlooking the sea. It’s the perfect place for a road trip along with your family.
In the south, you can explore the peninsula’s unspoiled countryside, to the east is the breathtaking Amalfi Coast, to the north lie Pompeii and other archaeological sites and offshore lies the fabled island of Capri.
Also, Sorrento is an extremely fun place to be in. With that thought in mind, there are many fun things to do in Sorrento with complete ease.
Dive along the cliffs is one of the many fun things to do in Sorrento! The beaches around Sorrento are such that they may not be the greatest – or even the most conducive for actually lazing around, but at the same time, you can easily dive from the lower cliffs down to the sea for memories which will quite likely last a lifetime! Renting a scooter on Capri is an especially fun and very local way to explore the island.
Stay here if: You want to ease into your Amalfi Coast experience; you want to stay somewhere where most everyone speaks English; you want a strategic location for easy travel and day trips within the region; you don’t have a lot of time on the coast; you want a mix between new world conveniences and traditional atmospheres; you want to day-trip from Naples or to Pompeii.
Sant’Agata is a pretty hill town between two gulfs: the Bay of Naples with the imposing Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Salerno with the Li Galli archipelago. A bit off the coast, this tiny hill town has a great view of Capri Island as well. Visit the ancient Greek necropolis nearby and the Monastero del Deserto, a Carmelite monastery that has been attracting travellers with its gorgeous panorama since Goethe visited in the late 19th century.
Just down the road is the fishing village of Nerano, whose beaches sit in the center of the Punta Campanella Natural Marine Reserve. Its rocky seabed and clear waters are a favourite among scuba divers, but be careful; according to Greek mythology, this is where the sirens sang to tempt Ulysses off course.
Stay here if: You want to explore the Amalfi Coast with your taste buds; you’re interested in ancient Greek history or archaeology; you want to follow the footsteps of Ulysses; you don’t mind being off the coast (if you stay in Sant’Agata).
Positano is the Amalfi Coast's most photogenic and sophisticated town, with vertiginous houses tumbling down to the sea in a cascade of sun-bleached peach, pink and terracotta. No less colourful are its steep streets and steps, flanked by wisteria-draped hotels, smart restaurants and fashionable retailers.
Take a boat with your family and enjoy the breathtaking scenery! With an Italian Prosecco and some snacks, you’ll love to discover the beauty of the Amalfi Coast in one day. Also, don’t miss the famous Fiordo di Furore, one of the most fascinating geological features on the entire Amalfi Coast. The view from the bridge is stunning and you can stop here for 2 hours to take your vitamin sea: the beach is incredible.
On your way to Amalfi town, visit by boat the Emerald Grotto! The name comes from the green-blue light that bathes the cavern. Here, you can explore the stalactite and stalagmite encrusted inside, while the visual spectacle will delight your gaze. The entrance ticket to the Grotto is 5 Euros.
Stay here if: You want to vacation in luxury with a few A and B-list celebs; you want to shop; you’re physically fit; you want to stay at a sandy (as opposed to rocky) beach; you’re looking to splurge; you’ve come for the nightlife; your idea of an Amalfi Coast vacation includes those pastel coloured houses and of course Instagram photos with your lovely family!
Located exactly halfway between Amalfi and Positano, tiny Praiano and even tinier Conca dei Marini are far too often overlooked. Much quieter, Praiano is generally considered the most romantic Amalfi Coast town due to its views – extending from the Bay of Positano to the island of Capri – and its gorgeous sunsets. The cherry on top is that Praiano is also a great base for hikers: the famous trail called the Sentiero degli Dei starts from here.
Stay here if: You want non-stop beach time; you don’t need to be near major transportation hubs; you want to soak in the small-town atmosphere; you’re looking for the most romantic spot on the coast; you are on your honeymoon; you’ve come to hike; you want to explore the sea caves nearby.
Amalfi is the largest town along the coast and the perfect place to stay for those who want the luxury and beauty of Positano without the VIP nightlife. The town has a little something for everyone, with great pebble (and sometimes sandy) beaches, as well as interesting culture and history. As one of the region’s main maritime powers since at least the 6th century, Amalfi is packed with historical interest and beautiful medieval buildings.
Stay here if: You’re looking for an energetic daytime atmosphere; you want to be right in the middle of the Amalfi Coast for easy travel to the other towns on the coast; you have many different travel preferences to satisfy; spending a lot of time on great beaches is a priority for you; you’d like some art, architecture, and history along with your beach time.
Ravello is a tiny village that sits back from the coast, perched atop a cliff overlooking the sea. The most romantic places along the coast are its known jaw-dropping vistas to ogle the gardens and opulent villas. Don’t miss Villa Rufolo built in the 13th century for the wealthy Rufolo dynasty. The panoramic views here are absolutely magnificent!
Stay here if: You want peace and quiet; you don’t want to share your Amalfi Coast town with the crowds; you don’t mind not being directly on a beach; you don’t mind the lack of nightlife; you want to take beautiful travel photos; you want to relax with your loved ones.
Maiori is home to the biggest beach on the Amalfi Coast, as well as a host of other beaches only accessible by boat. It's a perfect destination for families with small children. It's also notable for being an ancient Roman settlement and it's home to some spectacular ruins, most notably the Villa Marittima Romana, one of the most important Roman archaeological sites on the coast. After exploring the town, take a boat to the stunning sea cave called the Grotta di Pandora, or some of the other beaches of Maiori accessible only by boat.
Nearby Minori enjoys a fresher microclimate than many towns on the Amalfi Coast and is almost always blessed with a pleasant breeze. Its beach is small and can be cramped, but it also soaks up the sun for the entire day. Known as the “City of Taste”, Minori’s terraces house vineyards and lemon trees, but the town’s real fame comes from its pasta. Minori has been a pasta powerhouse since the 16th century and today its fresh, carefully-made pasta is celebrated nationally. Minori’s restaurants are on the Amalfi Coast itineraries of all real gourmands. Both Minori and Maiori are still curiously crowd-free when compared to the more trendy towns on the Amalfi Coast.
Stay here if: You’re travelling with children and looking for a family-friendly atmosphere; you’re not interested in nightclubs or VIP bars; you’re hoping for a beach with some space between umbrellas; you want to avoid the crowds in Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello; you’re interested in small boat excursions; you’ve come for the pasta!
Cetara is a picturesque fishing village with a reputation as a gastronomic hotspot. It has been an important fishing centre since medieval times and today its deep-sea-tuna fleet is considered one of the Mediterranean’s most important. At night, fishers set out in small boats armed with powerful lamps to fish for anchovies. Right beside Cetara is Erchie, a tiny hamlet with a massive Norman tower on the coast and two small beaches. Legend has it that Hercules founded the town on his arrival from Greece.
Stay here if: You want a no-frills atmosphere that is as unchanged by tourism as you are going to get on the Amalfi Coast; you are a die-hard seafood lover; you’re fascinated by ancient Greek history; you want to relax without the tourists; you’re looking for a good value along the coast.
Its size makes it less quaint but gives it an eclectic mix of clubs, pubs, and restaurants next to cathedrals and castles. Its centro storico is also exploding with life. Here you can visit the Medieval Cathedral when you’re not lounging on one of Salerno’s many beaches, which are also bigger than most of the beaches along the typical Amalfi Coast itinerary.
Stay here if: You want to be on the main train line to Rome or Pompeii; you’re looking for convenience; you want a mix of small-town charm and city life; you’re a public transportation pro; you want something less touristy than Sorrento.
Vietri sul Mare is technically the last small town on the Amalfi Coast and just two miles from the city of Salerno. As with all the towns along the coast, Vietri sul Mare enjoys great food and great views, but its real claim to fame is its rich ceramics tradition. Vietri sul Mare is the cradle of Italy’s brightly-coloured earthenware pottery known as majolica. In fact, the whole town seems to be covered in beautiful ceramics!
Stay here if: You don’t need tons of tourist bells and whistles; you want to avoid tourists at all costs; you’re a lover of fine ceramics; you don’t need to hang out with a celebrity crowd; you’ve come for a simple seaside holiday.
For all the lovers of good music and concerts of classical music, the Ravello Festival is a must. Famous for its tranquil atmosphere, Ravello is positioned on the Amalfi Coast on a 350 meters high hill, offering various architecturally refined buildings. In 1880, admiring this marvellous scenery, Wagner drew inspiration for his Parsifal. Today, in his memory, in the garden of a villa, concerts of the Ravello festival are held. The Festival spans diverging cultural areas, ranging from symphony to chamber music, dance, visual art, cinema, literature, science, design and, for the first time, also theatre. This Festival is traditionally staged at Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone.
Lemon Festival Massa Lubrense is a gastronomical festival dedicated to the lemon. Every year in July, in Piazza Vescovado, Massa Lubrense, a festival dedicated to the aromatic citrus of Sorrento is staged: the lemon. The festival aims to celebrate the smell, taste and manner in which the lemon is cultivated and consumed according to the secrets passed down for centuries, from generation to generation. The products, typically based on the lemon, are numerous: citrus honey, lemon cream gelato, lemon crushed ice, delizie (lemon delicious), mousse, baba` al limone (traditional cake soaked in a lemon liqueur) and Limoncello.
The Grape Festival in Sorrento, in October, the biggest protagonist of this annual event is grapes and their diverse uses. The festival provides a rich program of activities that is not limited only to aspects of the exhibition and its stands, but also includes music, shows and cabaret.
The “Pesce Azzurro” is a traditional Sorrentine event in October not to miss; whoever may feel like tasting these genuine specialities, emerging in the aromas of fresh catch and salty shores, the ‘’Pesce Azzurro’’ Festival in Marina Grande is where to be!
Sorrento Jazz, one of the many events in Sorrento dedicated to music, is the Sorrento Jazz Festival, which includes an abundant musical program dedicated to all the lovers of jazz music. The Festival is held in differing locations, like the Saint Francis Cloister (Chiostro di San Francesco), churches or historical villas. Sorrento Jazz lasts approximately one week and occurs between the months of August and September.
Whatever you choose to do, a holiday to Amalfi Coast offers families the chance to explore the timeless beauty of Italy between the wonder of its top attractions (Positano, Capri, Villa Rufolo, Furore, Valle delle Ferriere) and the freshness of its local specialities. Offer your loved ones spectacular views and unforgettable experiences, while you rejuvenate your mind and soul for a long time. Because a journey here turns into a legendary one. Amalfi Coast is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life! Don’t waste your time and book your next Summer holiday here. It’s gonna be awesome!