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Amalfi Coast Holidays

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Amalfi Coast Holidays

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Dreaming of an Amalfi Coast Holiday: The Ultimate Guide for Food, Wine, and Scenic Lovers

The Amalfi Coast of Italy is one of the most beautiful and sought-after holiday destinations in the world. With its picturesque seaside villages, stunning coastal scenery, ancient ruins, delicious food and wine, and glamorous reputation, it’s no wonder why tourists have been flocking to this slice of paradise for decades.

Planning a holiday to the Amalfi Coast can be overwhelming, especially for first-time visitors. This ultimate guide covers everything you need to know to plan the perfect Amalfi Coast holiday, from the best towns to visit, top attractions and activities, where to stay, tips for getting around, and more.



Key Takeaways


An Introduction to the Amalfi Coast:

  • A 30-mile stretch of picturesque coastline.
  • Main destinations: Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, Sorrento, Salerno, and Capri.

Best Times to Visit:

  • Shoulder seasons: April-June & September-October.

Top Sights and Activities:

  1. Coastal Views: From Positano’s Church, Villa Rufolo, and Path of the Gods.
  2. Beaches: Marina Grande, Duoglio, La Praia, and Arienzo Beach.
  3. Boat Tours: Visit Grotta dello Smeraldo, Li Galli Islands, Furore Fjord, and Capri.
  4. Towns & Villages: Atrani, Cetara, Maiori, and Minori.
  5. Archaeological Sites: Villa Jovis, Paestum, and Pompeii.
  6. Hiking: Popular trails include Path of the Gods and Valle dei Mulini.
  7. Cooking Classes: At Casa Mele, Sorrento Cooking School, and Mamma Agata’s.

Accommodation Recommendations:

  1. Positano: Le Sirenuse, Villa Franca.
  2. Amalfi: Hotel Santa Caterina, Residenza del Duca.
  3. Ravello: Belmond Hotel Caruso, Villa Cimbrone.
  4. Sorrento: Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, Maison La Minervetta.

Getting Around:

  • Consider driving, shuttle buses, boats, taxis, and walking.

Food & Wine Experiences:

  1. Seafood like spaghetti with clams and grilled orata.
  2. Neapolitan-style pizza.
  3. Limoncello, the famous lemon liqueur.
  4. Mozzarella di Bufala.
  5. Local sweets from Pasticceria Pansa.
  6. Wines from Marisa Cuomo and Villa Matilde.

Suggested Itineraries:

  • 3 Days: Explore Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, and Capri.
  • 5 Days: Add Sorrento, Maiori, and Vietri sul Mare.
  • 7 Days: Further include Salerno, Paestum, Agropoli, and Velia.

With stunning seaside villages, rich history, and mouth-watering cuisine, the Amalfi Coast promises an unforgettable holiday. Enjoy planning and buon viaggio!

An Introduction to the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast occupies a stretch of coastline along the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula in the Campania region. It overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Gulf of Salerno. The famous coastal road, known as the Amalfitana or SS163, hugs the cliffs and shoreline for about 30 miles between the towns of Vietri sul Mare and Positano.

Some of the most popular destinations along the Amalfi Coast include:

  • Positano – Known for its vertiginous pastel-colored houses cascading down to the sea. It’s the most photogenic and upscale town.
  • Amalfi – The main town with a striking cathedral and medieval streets. It was once a powerful maritime republic.
  • Ravello – A tranquil hilltop town acclaimed for its breathtaking views and classical music festivals.
  • Sorrento – A lively town popular as a base for exploring the region. It’s the gateway to the Amalfi Coast.
  • Salerno – A port city with an elegant waterfront promenade and medieval old town. It’s at the eastern end of the Amalfi Coast.
  • Capri – A glamorous island famed for the Blue Grotto, reached by boat from Sorrento or Naples.

When to Visit the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, making it a year-round destination. However, the best times to visit are in the shoulder season from April to June and September to October when the weather is pleasant, and crowds are smaller.

  • Spring (April – May): Mild temperatures and blooming flowers make spring a lovely time for sightseeing. The sea may still be too cold for swimming.
  • Summer (June – August): Peak tourist season with hot weather and ideal beach conditions. Prices and crowds are at their highest.
  • Fall (September – October): Warm weather and fewer tourists. Hotel rates start to drop.
  • Winter (November – March): Temperatures are mild with some rainy days. Many hotels and restaurants close.

Top Sights and Activities

The Amalfi Coast offers endless options for sightseeing, relaxation, and adventure. Here are some of the top things to see and do:

Take in the Coastal Views

One of the best activities is simply admiring the spectacular scenery along the Amalfitana road and coastal hiking trails. Don’t miss:

  • Positano’s Church of Santa Maria Assunta – Climb the steps for panoramic views.
  • Villa Rufolo in Ravello – Marvel at cliffside gardens and Gulf of Salerno vistas.
  • Path of the Gods – Hike this trail between Bomerano and Positano.
  • Via Krupp in Capri – Walk this scenic pathway carved into the island’s cliffs.

Relax at the Beach

With its picturesque coves and crystalline waters, the Amalfi Coast is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports:

  • Marina Grande Beach (Positano) – Easily accessible beach with cafes and restaurants.
  • Duoglio Beach (Amalfi) – A small pebble beach in the heart of Amalfi.
  • La Praia Beach (Positano) – Reached by boat or steep steps, with a restaurant and bar.
  • Arienzo Beach (Positano) – Quiet beach accessible by 300 steps down a cliff.

Take a Boat Tour

Boat tours allow you to experience the coast from a different vantage point and access secluded coves. Options include:

  • Grotta dello Smeraldo – See the emerald green cave only accessible by rowboat.
  • Li Galli Islands – Boat to these small islands once owned by Rudolf Nureyev.
  • Furore Fjord – Visit this narrow inlet used as an ancient harbor.
  • Capri Island – Cruise to the famed island to see sights like the Blue Grotto.

Visit Charming Coastal Towns

In addition to the main towns, spend time wandering photogenic villages like:

  • Atrani – An ancient fishing village with a lively piazza.
  • Cetara – A low-key fishing village famed for anchovies.
  • Maiori – A resort town with the longest beach on the coast.
  • Minori – A small town with Roman ruins and pastry shops.

Tour Archaeological Sites

The Amalfi Coast has several fascinating archaeological areas to explore:

  • Villa Jovis (Capri) – Ruins of Emperor Tiberius’ cliffside palace with incredible views.
  • Paestum (Salerno) – Well-preserved Greek temples and ruins dating back to 600 BC.
  • Pompeii – The famous ancient city destroyed by the 79 AD eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

Go Hiking

The Amalfi Coast has endless hiking opportunities with trails winding along the cliffs and through lemon groves and vineyards. Popular routes include:

  • Path of the Gods – Spectacular 4-5 hour coastal hike from Bomerano to Positano.
  • Valle dei Mulini (Amalfi) – Follow old mule tracks through ruins of paper mills.
  • Montepertuso Hill Trail – Climb the steep steps up the cliffside village of Montepertuso.

Take a Cooking Class

Learn to make classic Amalfi Coast specialties like pasta, pizza, limoncello, and seafood dishes through a cooking class. Recommended options:

  • Casa Mele (Praiano) – Take a small-group class focusing on the area’s cuisine.
  • Sorrento Cooking School – Learn about local ingredients during a market tour and hands-on class.
  • Mamma Agata (Ravello) – Cook and feast in the home of Ravello’s famous cookbook author.

Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast offers every type of accommodation from luxurious cliffside resorts to cozy B&Bs and vacation rentals. When choosing where to stay, consider:

  • Location – The town or village where you want to base yourself along the coast
  • Views – Prioritize hotels, B&Bs, or apartments with sea vistas
  • Accessibility – Ease of accessing the property by car, public transport, or steps
  • Amenities – On-site restaurants, pools, access to beaches, parking
  • Budget – Rates rise in peak season and luxury hotels command top prices

Here are some of the best places to stay in key Amalfi Coast destinations:

Positano

  • Le Sirenuse – Historic luxury hotel with a pool, spa, and restaurants.
  • Villa Franca – Charming boutique hotel with a panoramic restaurant.
  • Casa Albertina – Family-run B&B with a rooftop terrace and views.
  • Villa Rosa Positano – Hillside villa rentals with fully equipped kitchens.

Amalfi

  • Hotel Santa Caterina – A coastal resort with a private beach and seaside restaurant.
  • Hotel Lidomare – Elegant hotel in the heart of Amalfi with a rooftop terrace.
  • Residenza del Duca – Small boutique hotel in a 15th century aristocratic home.
  • Morea Hotel – This good budget option is located up the hill from the center.

Ravello

  • Belmond Hotel Caruso – Stunning clifftop converted 11th-century palace.
  • Villa Cimbrone – Historic villa hotel with lush gardens and an infinity pool.
  • Hotel Villa Maria – Family-run hotel with views from the restaurant terrace.
  • Agriturismo Monte Brusara – Farm stay accommodation located in the hills above Ravello.

Sorrento

  • Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria – Historic luxury property with bay views and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
  • Maison La Minervetta – Elegant boutique hotel in a clifftop villa with a pool and terrace.
  • Hotel Cristina – Affordable 3-star hotel near the train station and town center.
  • Ulisse Deluxe Hostel – Well-rated modern hostel close to the beach.

Getting Around the Amalfi Coast

Navigating the Amalfi Coast can be challenging due to the winding cliffside roads and limited parking. Here are the best transportation options:

Driving

Renting a car gives maximum flexibility for sightseeing but requires confidence in driving on narrow, mountainous roads. Only small cars like Fiat 500s can handle most roads. Always confirm parking is available at your hotel.

Shuttle Buses

SITA buses run frequently between Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, and Salerno. Purchase tickets at tabacchi shops or major bus stops. The routes hug the coastline and provide access to towns and beaches.

Boats

Passenger boats and ferries connect towns like Positano, Amalfi, Maiori, and Salerno. It’s the best way to access beaches and avoid traffic. Book tickets at harbors or through tour operators.

Taxis

Taxis can be booked for transfers between coastal towns or to access areas only reachable by steps. Agree on a fixed rate before getting into the car as meters may not be used.

Walking

Hiking along the well-maintained trails is popular, but be prepared for steep ascents and descents. Wear proper footwear and bring plenty of water.

Top Food and Wine Experiences

The Amalfi Coast’s cuisine highlights fresh seafood, pasta, pizza, and local ingredients like lemons, olive oil, tomatoes, and mozzarella. For a true taste of the region:

Feast on Seafood

Indulge in fresh-caught fish and shellfish. Popular dishes include spaghetti with clams or shrimp, grilled orata (sea bream), octopus salads, and fried anchovies.

Savor the Pizza

Neapolitan-style pizza with a thin, charred crust is a specialty. Must-try pizzerias include Pizzeria Da Franco (Positano), La Zagara (Positano), and Pizzeria Vittoria (Amalfi).

Slurp Down Limoncello

The famous lemon liqueur is produced throughout the coast. Sample different versions at local bars and buy a bottle to take home.

Try Mozzarella di Bufala

This fresh buffalo milk cheese is beloved on pizzas and pasta. Taste it at Ristorante Lo Guarracino (Amalfi).

Indulge in Sweets

From creamy gelato to tagliatelle pastries, the Amalfi Coast tempts with sugary treats. Top shops include Pasticceria Pansa (Amalfi) and Gelateria David (Positano).

Sip Local Wines

Sample wines made from indigenous grapes like Fiano, Falanghina, and Biancolella. Recommended wineries to visit include Marisa Cuomo (Furore), Villa Matilde (Cetara), and Tenuta San Francesco (Tramonti).

What Seasonal Events and Festivities Can I Expect During my Amalfi Coast Holiday?

During your Amalfi Coast holiday, you can enjoy a wide variety of festive events in Amalfi Coast. From the traditional religious processions and feast days to the lively music festivals and colorful local celebrations, there’s always something happening to immerse you in the local culture and traditions.

Amalfi Coast Itinerary Ideas

With so much to see and do, planning an Amalfi Coast itinerary can be daunting. Here are suggested itineraries for 3, 5, or 7 days on the coast to help you decide where to go and how long to spend in each place.

3 Days on the Amalfi Coast

Day 1 – Positano & Praiano

  • Wander Positano’s pretty streets, visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta and shop for limoncello.
  • Have lunch at a seaside restaurant like Chez Black in Praiano.
  • Relax at Arienzo Beach or Marina Grande Beach.

Day 2 – Amalfi & Ravello

  • Visit Amalfi’s Duomo di Sant’Andrea and stroll the Piazza Duomo.
  • Have lunch at Ristorante La Caravella in Amalfi.
  • Take the bus up to Ravello and admire the views from Villa Rufolo’s gardens.
  • Explore Ravello’s Villa Cimbrone and the medieval Castello di Ravello.
  • Dine at the Belvedere Restaurant for sunset views.

Day 3 – Capri Island

  • Take a ferry from Positano or Sorrento to Capri.
  • Ride the funicular up to Anacapri and see Villa San Michele.
  • Walk down the famous Via Krupp pathway with panoramic vistas.
  • Have lunch at a restaurant like Da Gelsomina with a terrace overlooking the Faraglioni rocks.
  • Visit the Blue Grotto sea cave by rowboat.
  • Wander Capri Town’s upscale shops and Piazzetta before returning by ferry.

5 Days on the Amalfi Coast

Day 1 – Sorrento

  • Admire views from Piazza Tasso and explore the historic center.
  • Visit lemon groves and sample Limoncello on a farm tour.
  • Take a cooking class and learn to make Neapolitan pizza or pasta.

Day 2 – Positano & Praiano

  • Same as a 3-day itinerary

Day 3 – Amalfi & Ravello

  • Same as 3-day itinerary

Day 4 – Maiori, Cetara & Vietri sul Mare

  • Relax on Maiori’s long sandy beach.
  • Sample anchovies and seafood in Cetara.
  • Browse ceramics and art in Vietri sul Mare.

Day 5 – Capri Island

  • Same as 3-day itinerary

7 Days on the Amalfi Coast

Days 1-3

  • Follow the 5-day itinerary

Day 4 – Salerno & Paestum

  • Stroll Salerno’s medieval old town and harborfront.
  • Tour the archaeological sites and Greek temples in Paestum.

Day 5 – Agropoli & Velia

  • Visit Agropoli’s Aragonese Castle on the sea.
  • See ancient Greek ruins in the town of Velia.
  • Relax on sandy beaches like Trentova Bay.

Day 6 – Ischia Island

  • Ferry from Sorrento to Ischia island.
  • Visit the Aragonese Castle perched on a rock.
  • Relax at thermal hot springs and beaches around Sant’Angelo.

Day 7 – Pompeii & Vesuvius

  • Tour the ruins of Pompeii with a guide.
  • Hike partway up Mount Vesuvius for views of the crater.
  • Return to Sorrento by train.

The Amalfi Coast offers endless opportunities for exploration and relaxation. Use these suggested itineraries as a starting point and customize your trip based on your own interests and the amount of time you have. Wherever you go, prepare to fall in love with the spectacular scenery, delicious food and wine, fascinating history, and relaxed way of life. Have an amazing holiday on the divine Amalfi Coast!

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