When summer comes and it’s time for a break from Italy’s museums and ruins, the Amalfi Coast lures travelers with an exotic little paradise wrapped in lemon fragrances and glittering sun rays. A 50 km stretch of coastline along the Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast is a glamorous summer destination for sun seekers.
Dotted with pastel fishing villages and pretty towns perched on hillsides or hiding in deep green valleys, the Amalfi Coast mesmerizes visitors with a dramatic scenery dominated by plunging cliffs connected by a narrow, winding road, from the Bay of Naples to the Gulf of Salerno. Famous for its legendary beauty and a muse for artists and writers, the Amalfi Coast is a lively and romantic Italian destination.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this coast is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and glorious views, as well as for its wonderful monuments. Visitors flock to the Cathedral of Amalfi, the churches of Atrani and Conca dei Marini, the fjord at Furore, and the impossibly picturesque villages of Positano and Ravello.
The most famous and admired town on the Amalfi Coast, Positano will take your breath away. The scene of a cluster of cubed, pastel buildings perched one above the other on a mountainside that overlooks the sea, this town is a beautiful painting that captures the essence of “la dolce vita”. Descend the many, many steps from Piazza Mulini to the Spiaggia Grande, to discover yellow and orange umbrellas neatly organized along the shore of a turquoise sea.
Positano is crowded and touristy, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting it, especially at the sunset, when the crowds retire to prepare for dinner, and you can enjoy an empty beach basking in the gentle sunset light.
For the most beautiful views of Positano drive the cornice from west to east or rent a boat and discover a different view of the town, as well as spectacular villas with terraces suspended over the sea, draped in lemon trees and purple flowers. The pier at Positano is a departure point for the ferries that will take travelers to Capri.
Situated above the sea along the Lattari mountain range, Ravello welcomes visitors with splendid views. Start your journey of exploration at the Villa Ruffolo and capture beautiful views of the Norman and Moorish style tower and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Walk along the towns pedestrian streets and stop at Villa Cimbrone to discover wonderful gardens and the fabulous Terrace of Infinity that delights visitors with a superb view of the coast. A tour of the town unveils beautiful villas, 11th and 12th-century churches, and luxury hotels where many celebrities and royals hide away from the world.
If you’re up for a hike, the Via delle Signore footpath from Amalfi will take you to Atrani, a quiet little village hidden between two hills. The village has been a muse for many artists and, if you follow their path, you’ll get to the tiny Santuario Santa Maria del Bando from where you can admire dizzying views of the village and superb lemon groves.
The narrow alleys and steep stairways of the town will guide your steps to bohemian little cafes, a sandy beach and a beach club. The blue and white striped umbrellas on the beach are set on a beautiful background dominated by whitewashed residences. Head out to sea to capture a beautiful view of Santa Maria Maddelena, the only Rococo style church on the coast.
Not as picturesque as the other towns on the Amalfi Coast, Amalfi is still a must-see. After all, the coast has been named after this town, so there’s must be a good reason behind its popularity. The town is home to fascinating historic monuments, including the beautiful Arabo-Norman Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea adorned with a superb façade that dates back to the 9th century and outstanding bronze doors made in Constantinople in 1066.
Once a glorious Maritime Republic, Amalfi is now the busiest town on the coast the region’s heart. Wedged between the sea and the mountains and fringed by many lemon terraces, all (crowded) roads of Amalfi lead to Piazza del Duomo where you’ll find the cathedral, but also numerous cafés and shops.
Also known for its papermaking, Amalfi was once home to 16 paper mills. The locals learned this craft from the Arabs. You can find more about the history of papermaking at Museo della Carta housed inside a 15th-century mill.
Shy Conca dei Marini
It’s so easy to miss Conca dei Marini, a tiny village situated between Amalfi and Furore. However, you should try your best not to drive past it. This fishing village is home to one of the most beautiful attractions on the Amalfi coast. This is where you’ll find the extraordinary Grotta dello Smeraldo. A quick boat trip will take you inside a magical cave where the sun and the sea play an innocent game of hide and seek, creating surreal effects on the water.
Conca dei Marini is also a great destination for those who can’t say no to sweet treats. This is where they’ll find Sfogliatella Santa Rosa, a delicious, orange scented ricotta stuffed pastry created in the 17th century by nuns from the Convent of Santa Rosa.
And there’s more! Despite its small size and discrete presence, Conca dei Marini is home to one of the most wonderful restaurants in the world, Le Bonta del Capo. The restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine while offering spectacular views.
Take your time to discover each and every town and village on the Amalfi Coast and you’ll encounter a picturesque world that seems created for gods. Lucky you!