Italy: Making the Most of Your Amalfi Coast Trip
Stretching the southern side of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast is a wonderland of food, beaches, and scenery. Despite having existed side by side for hundreds of years, the towns on the Amalfi Coast are surprisingly unique. Consequently, the secret to making the most of a visit to the coast isn’t going where your friends or the guidebooks tell you to go. It’s finding out exactly which of the numerous Amalfi Coast towns fits your travel style.
Perched on a cliff overlooking Vesuvius, Sorrento is the official starting point of the Amalfi Coast. It is also the easiest town to reach, which is both a blessing and a curse. Its population swells during the summer high season, but eases off the rest of the year. Sorrento is also the perfect place to stay for day trips to Naples and Pompeii.
Great for travellers who: want to ease into their Amalfi Coast experience; want to stay where most everyone speaks English; want a strategic location for easy travel and day trips within the region; don’t have a lot of time to spend on the Amalfi Coast.
Positano is known for its picturesque pastel-hued buildings, clinging impossibly to an almost sheer cliff face. They don’t call it the “vertical town” for nothing though, so be prepared for a lot of steps. The town is centrally located, is bursting with life, and is popular—especially among the rich and famous. This means peak-season crowds and perennially high prices.
Great for travellers who: want to holiday in luxury with a few A and B-list celebrities; are physically fit; want to shop; are looking to splurge.
Located halfway between Amalfi and Positano, tiny Praiano is often overlooked. A quiet, low-key contrast to Positano, the sprawling village of Praiano works well as a base for your Amalfi adventure. Praiano is also generally considered the most romantic Amalfi Coast town, due to its stunning views and pretty sunsets.
Great for travellers who: are on their honeymoon; want lots of beach time; want to soak in the small-town atmosphere; want a base to explore other towns nearby.
Amalfi is the largest town along the Amalfi Coast and one of the most popular. A maritime hub since the 6th century, Amalfi is packed with historical landmarks and insights to the area. It’s also centrally located on the coast, making it a great base for easy day trips to Capri or smaller towns to the east and west.
Great for travellers who: want the luxury and beauty of Positano without the VIP nightlife or prices; want to explore great pebble beaches; are interested in culture and history; want a base for easy day trips to the island of Capri or smaller towns to the east and west.
Ravello is a tiny village perched atop a cliff overlooking the sea. Many visitors only stop for a day, because there’s no direct beach access. This allows those who do stay overnight, the opportunity to enjoy peaceful evenings and spectacular views. Ravello is a garden paradise and a perfect opportunity to do something different on your Amalfi Coast adventure.
Great for travellers who: want to be away from the nightlife; want to stay in a romantic coastal town; want the glamor of Positano and Amalfi without the crowds; don’t need beach access.
Maiori is relatively crowd-free when compared to the trendier towns on the Amalfi Coast. An attractive old-school town with a sandy beach, Maiori also holds the nearly intact remains of an ancient Roman villa. Home to the biggest beach on the coastline, Maiori’s cheaper prices and atmosphere make it a great destination for families.
Great for travellers who: are looking for a family-friendly atmosphere; aren’t interested in a nightlife; want a beach with some space between umbrellas; want to visit ancient ruins.
The authentic, untouched village of Cetara offers a taste of what the Amalfi Coast must have been like before mass tourism. With striking architecture and secluded beaches, Cetara is one of the jewels of the Amalfi Coast. While here, visit nearby Erchie. Although just a tiny hamlet, legend has it that Hercules founded the town on his arrival from Greece.
Great for travellers who: want to avoid tourists; want a simple seaside holiday; are fascinated by ancient Greek history; are looking for good value.