The Ultimate Amalfi Coast Travel Guide

Things to Do, What to See, and Where to Stay

Accommodation

The Amalfi Coast is notoriously expensive, but that doesn't mean it's off limits to budget travelers. The quaint towns and dramatic coastline make it a top tourist destination, and there are a surprising diversity of accommodation options and styles to accommodate all types of travelers, if you know where to look.

Budget Accommodation

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Although you won't find too many backpacker style hostels along the Amalfi Coast there are a couple tucked away in a few towns. Hostel Brikette is located in the famous town of Positano and has dorm rooms as well as private rooms for reasonable prices. Another option is A Scalinatella which has a quiet location in the town of Atrani just a ten minute walk from the town of Amalfi. They have dorm rooms and private rooms for budget travelers.

If you're looking for a wider selection of budget options, you should look for a small, independently run bed and breakfast. There are many scattered about with small and simple private rooms for a decent price. Some even have a kitchen available to guests.

For more budget options, check out our guide to the best hostels on the Amalfi Coast.

Midrange Hotels

If you're willing to spend a little more, there are a wide selection of midrange hotels throughout the Amalfi Coast. You can expect to pay about €100 to €200 a night and you can find something in a great location, often with a good view. The widest number of options are found in Positano or Amalfi, but the other towns also have no shortage of places to stay. If you're planning to do a lot of day trips, it's best to stay in Sorrento, Positano, or Amalfi as they have the greatest number of transportation connections.

Luxury Hotels

If you're looking for luxury, then the Amalfi Coast has it. Luxury hotels can cost anywhere from €300 and up depending on exactly how much pampering you need.

Le Sirenuse is a favorite luxury hotel for high end travelers. It's location in an 18th century palazzo in Positano gives visitors the experience of staying in a historical building with modern comforts. There's a beautiful pool as well as a Michelin-starred dining-room, so you can expect nothing but the best at this hotel.

If money really is no object, then you'll love the Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello. This classic Italian hotel has an impressive decor with historical style, but modern luxuries. Everything from the infinity pool to the spa and gardens immerses guests in the local beauty and charm.

Ravello, Italy, on the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast's Seaside Towns

The Amalfi Coast is lined with many colorful towns, each with its own personality and character. The largest and most popular with tourists are Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi. Each of these towns offers the most frequent transportation connections, so if you're doing a lot of day trips, these towns are most convenient. If you want something a little more off the beaten path, there are plenty of options as well. Other beautiful towns along the Amalfi Coast include Ravello, Praiano, and Sant'Agata. Atrani is a very tiny village that's very close to Amalfi, so it's easy to bounce between the two towns.

For more detailed descriptions of each of the towns along the Amalfi Coast, see our article describing the Amalfi Coastal Towns.

Transportation

Most people travel to the Amalfi Coast from either Naples or Rome. From Naples, you can take the the Circumvesuviana, which travels to Sorrento (ticket prices here). From there you can catch a SITA bus along the Amalfi Coast. If you're traveling from Rome, there are direct trains down to Salerno. Alternatively, you can take a train to Naples and take the Circumvesuviana from there (tickets).

There are several options for traveling around the Amalfi Coast. Buses run along the coastline, but during peak seasons they can be very crowded with long lines. Sometimes they skip stops because they are full. There are also ferries that travel between some towns along the Amalfi Coast, most commonly Positano and Amalfi. Hiring a private car and driver is the easiest way to get around, but also the most expensive. It's not recommended to drive yourself as you'll miss the views and parking is challenging.

For an in depth look at transportation to and around the Amalfi Coast, see our Amalfi Coast Transportation Guide.

Things to See & Do Along the Amalfi Coast

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Take a Boat Tour Through Grotta dello Smeraldo Cave (The Emerald Cave) This beautiful cave is located between Amalfi and Praiano and it is truly an impressive sight. The natural emerald light creates abeautiful affect making this one of the most beautiful caves in Italy. You can reach the cave by stairs or elevator and then take a guided boat tour through the caverns.

Visit the Waterfalls at Valle delle Ferriere If you're interested in hiking, then the Ferriere Valley is a beautiful area to explore. It's located in the province of Salerno and has breathtaking natural scenery through beautiful forests. There are plenty of hiking and cycling trails through the protected area and it offers a nice retreat from the usual tourist crowds. Some trails offer great views back on the towns.

Take a Boat Ride from Amalfi Many visitors enjoy taking a relaxing boat tour of the Amalfi Coast. Taking a private boat tour lets you enjoy the views without the hassle of buses or cars and the view from the water is truly impressive. This is one of the best ways to see the many towns that line the dramatic coastline.

The Island of Capri
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Capri is on of the most popular destinations off the Amalfi Coast and the hype is well deserved. It's located off the western edge of the coast and is accessible by ferry boats which leave from several different towns. Capri has beautiful landscapes and nice beaches and it's worth spending a full day here. The island has a vibrant nightlife scene and there are some great bars around the main square. Many visitors also take a tour to the Blue Cave Grotto from Capri, which is a unique and amazing experience.

Visit the Sirenuse Islands The Sirenuse Islands are located off the southern part of the Amalfi Coast between Capri and Positano. They're named for the mythological Sirens that were once said to to live here, but today they offer a great excursion for tourists. You can't actually set foot on the islands but the area has great snorkeling and swimming which you can enjoy from your boat. The chain of islands includes Isca, Vetara, Galla Lungo, La Castelluccia, and La Rotonda.



Hike the Path of the Gods
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This breathtaking route takes you through dramatic scenery and quaint towns. The path starts in Bomerano and ends in Positano. If you do the full length, the trip takes about four hours, but a more popular options is to hike to the town of Nocelle, eat lunch, and then catch a bus to Positano. This option takes about three hours.

Go Horseback Riding in Salerno Bay Horseback Riding along the coast is a truly unique experience. There are a variety of options available including half day excursions or two hour trips.

Go Scuba Diving in Secchetella Dei Galli This underwater mountain is a top scuba diving spot along the Amalfi Coast. It's part of the Marine National Park of Punta Campanella and it has a wide variety of sea life including red and yellow gorgonias, lobsters, fish, and Mediterranean black coral.

Do a Wine Tour in Furore Most people don't think about wine when they think of the Amalfi Coast, but the region does have thousands of vineyards that are beautifully set against the dramatic coastline. Furore is the place to do a wine tour and this is an experience that you really shouldn't miss. Wine tastings are only available between the months of January and August. Also make sure you stop by the fjord of Furore. This impressive gorge and the small beach is the perfect place to relax or swim.

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Day Trips From the Amalfi Coast

Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Mount Vesuvius

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The famous ruins of Pompeii are a popular day trip from the Amalfi Coast. If you move quickly you can combine them with either Herculaneum or Mount Vesuvius as well. The unique sights are truly worth the time and kids and adults alike will enjoy stepping into this world where time is frozen in a moment.

If you're leaving from Sorrento, just take the Circumvesuviana train line which goes to Pompeii Scavi for the excavations of Pompeii. The trip takes about half an hour and it's an additional 17 minutes to reach Herculaneum by train (get off at Ercalano Scavi). You can catch a bus on to Mount Vesuvius as well if you wish.

If you're starting in either Positano or Amalfi, you'll need to take a bus to either Sorrento or Salerno before catching the train. This trip can be significantly longer.

Naples

Naples is a fascinating city and it's well worth the trip to experience this Italian city that overflows with personality and authenticity. You'll likely spend most of your time in Naples in the historic center of the city. Popular sights include Santa Chiara Monastery, underground Naples, and the cathedral. Also make sure to visit Castel Nuovo and the Naples National Archeology Museum.

If you're leaving from Sorrento, simply catch the Circumvesuviana train line and you'll be in Naples in just over an hour (tickets). You'll likely want to get off at Napoli Porta Nolana, which is a nicer area than the main train station and easily walkable to the historic center. If you prefer to travel by water, there are also ferry boats that travel between Sorrento and Naples.

If you're staying in another town along the Amalfi Coast, you'll need to take a bus to Sorrento first before catching the train or ferry.

Capri

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For most visitors, a trip to the island of Capri is not to be missed. The island is known for its nice beaches, beautiful scenery, and the famous Blue Grotto. You'll arrive by boat at Marina Grande and from there you can take a funicular up the hill to the main town of Capri. Mariana Grande is also where you catch boats to the Blue Grotto. You can visit the highest town on the island, Anacapri, by catching a bus or taxi. The town has impressive views and beautiful gardens.

There are many ferries and hydrofoils that travel from Sorrento to Capri. There are also decent options from Positano and Amalfi. During the winter months the frequency is much lower. Make sure you check at the port for schedules as they change regularly.

Island of Ischia and Thermal Spas

Visitors go to the island of Ischia for its thermal pools and healing spas. People believe that water from the natural hot springs can help with all kinds of conditions including arthritis. Although the island is further away than Capri, it makes a nice stop as it is less popular and less crowded.

If you're leaving from Sorrento, Positano, or Amalfi, there are two ferries in the morning that stop at Capri and then travel on to Ischia. If you miss these ferries it is sometimes possible to take a ferry to Capri and then transfer to another ferry that travels to Ischia. Schedules are highly variable and unpredictable, so your best option is to ask at the port when you arrive.

Food & Dining

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Dining, like many things in the Amalfi Coast, can be opulent and expensive. There are a number of Michelin-rated restaurants in the region, particularly in Amalfi and Positano which are known for their luxurious cuisine. If you're looking for more budget friendly options, head where the locals go. For Italians living on the Amalfi Coast, Pranzo (lunch) is the main meal of the day. Most restaurants are open from noon until 3 pm, but locals usually eat around 2 or later. Cena (dinner) is a lighter and simpler meal. Restaurants are open again from 7:30 pm to 11 pm, but most locals don't eat until after 8:30 pm.

The Amalfi Coast has a variety of different regional dishes. Some towns are known for their cuisine and worth the trip simply to sample the local dishes. Wherever you are along the Amalfi Coast, you can enjoy traditional Italian pasta or pizza, or sit in a cafe and sip cappuccino, but make sure you seek out the meals that are special to the area, as many local favorites are hard to find elsewhere in Italy.

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Seafood is the mainstay in the region and whenever possible you should include it in your meal. One of the most popular seafood dishes in the region is scialatielli ai frutti di mare. This is a pasta dish that includes a wide variety of different types of seafood such as shrimp, redfish, blue fish, sea urchins, octopus, mussels, bream, mollusks, and pezzogna. If you want the freshest and best tuna in the area, head to Cetara which is known for its long established tuna fishing industry. Cetara is also famous for its fish sauce, made from anchovies - Colatura di Alici. Minori is another favorite town among foodies as it is the birthplace of Ndunderi, considered one of the oldest pastas in the world by UNESCO. It's a ricotta gnocchi and it's available everywhere around town.

Aside from the seafood, Amalfi is famous for its lemons. Lemon trees grow throughout the region and it's used in a variety of dishes from pastries and desserts to drinks and the world famous limoncello.



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