Jaw dropping views of lush, vine yard filled hill sides, leading into the Mediterranean sea. Crystal clear waters littered with yachts and tiny paddle boats. Colorful houses scattered amongst winding roads lined with lemon trees and blossoming flowers. Scents of fresh made pastas and pizzas fill the air as the sound of wine pouring into a glass flows out from surrounding restaurants. It all sounds like heaven, and it nearly is. The Amalfi Coast is undoubtedly one of the most stunning places on the planet. Although it can become very overcrowded in the summer months, this stretch of Italian coastline should be the destination you’re thinking about for your next vacation. There is plenty to see and do on the Amalfi Coast, but there are five towns that stand out among the rest.
* Table Of Contents *
The most famous and picturesque town of the Amalfi Coast delivers some incredible scenery. Positano is where Instagram dreams are made of. The streets and tiny houses are engulfed in flowers and the cliff side views are remarkable. The waters are bright blue and twinkle in the hot Mediterranean sunlight. The small harbor plays host to yachts, motorboats and an occasional cruise ship. Lemon trees hang over the ledges of cliffs in preparation for making delicious limoncello. Rich and historic buildings dominate the streets as the town is built upon the side of a hill. The entire town feels like a painting.
Positano itself, but the view from the water is its most famous. Who hasn’t seen a picture of a model in a bikini with the colorful hillside town as the backdrop? Although, don’t expect to get this shot as it will cost you more than you would expect. If paying airfare, trains, cabs and ferries to get there isn’t enough already, you have to pay to use the beaches as well. One beach is open to the public, but that calls for an extremely crowded swim.
Positano is spectacular, one of Italy’s prettiest towns, but it is often overcrowded and a bit pricey. The more you post this beautiful town on Instagram, the more people are going to want to come. However crowded and somewhat expensive, you can’t go wrong with visiting Positano at least once.
The main town of the coastline, and my favorite, Amalfi is just as dramatic as the aforementioned Positano. While Positano is built upon the sides of a hill, Amalfi is constructed between them. The surrounding cliffs create some stunning scenery as the colorful buildings are nestled comfortably below.
Saint Andrew’s Cathedral commands the scene of Amalfi, as it lies in the heart of the town. This 11th Century structure displays some gorgeous architecture as well as colorful art work. The Cathedral is surrounded by beautiful views in each direction from sparkling sea to cliff side lookouts.
Although Amalfi can be overcrowded as well, it is not as bad as Positano, but only slightly. The big positive of Amalfi is that its streets are easier to navigate. As it has not been built upon steep hills as other Amalfi Coast towns, the walk ways are much flatter. The streets are overwhelmed with handmade boutiques and some great places to indulge in delicious Italian cuisine.
This hilltop town is much less crowded than the previous two, probably because it is a lot harder to get to. It is an adventure in itself making your way to Ravello, but the views from the top are definitely worth it.
Ravello is home to the most photographed tree in Italy and one of the Amalfi Coast’s best views. To see this gorgeous umbrella tree and its incredible backdrop, you will need to visit the town center and go into the gardens of Villa Rufolo. The stunning view of the tree surrounded with blooming flowers, overlooking the coastline and Church of the Annunziata, lies in the back of the Villa. The gardens alone are beautiful and charming as the walkways take you through some colorful displays and cliff side views. It is worth the $7 entry fee to experience this famous Villa and catch a glimpse of one of the most spectacular views you will ever see.
After checking out Villa Rufolo, it is in your best interest to walk through Ravello itself. While most people visit for the view, the town is great too. As most places on the Amalfi Coast can feel overcrowded, Ravello seems quiet which gives it a charm of its own. Sure, it is similar in scenery and architecture to Amalfi, but there is something about not having to push your way around to navigate the streets.
The easiest way to get to Ravello is by bus for about $10 round trip. It is a short 15-20 minute ride up the hill from Amalfi. The winding roads are unique as they take you through vineyards and along cliff edges. This is not the kind of drive you want to do on your own as these roads are very difficult to navigate. If riding the bus is not on your radar, you can hike up to the town. If you’re on a relaxing vacation, I would not recommend this, as it will leave you drenched in sweat.
Not close in comparison to size as its neighbor Amalfi, Atrani is the best place for a relaxing day at the beach. You cannot come to Italy, or the Mediterranean in general, with expectations of pristine beaches. If you’re looking for soft sands and snorkeling, then you should have gone to the Caribbean. The Amalfi Coast is a destination to enjoy delicious wine and food while taking in incredible scenery. Too many people vacation here hoping for a beach getaway and leave angry. Do your research people!
While the beaches may be beautiful, they aren’t always the best place for swimming or walking as they are covered in rocks and sea urchins. However, there are a few spots along the coast that have a good beach and Atrani is one of them. This is the smallest sea side town in Italy which will make sure you have some peace and quiet. The beach is surrounded by a rock wall and is one of the only sand beaches around. Walking here will feel like luxury on your feet compared to the rest of the coast line. The best views of Atrani are seen out in the waters by boat as the archways of the road cut beautifully through the town.
You won’t find this area in too many blogs. Agerola is practically hidden away from the rest of the Amalfi Coast as it sits in a valley on the top of a cliff. It is a completely different atmosphere from the rest of the towns below it as it does not entertain nearly as much tourism. You better know where you’re going and what you’re doing if you come to Agerola, because the locals hardly speak English and the maps can be confusing. Not to scare you, just a warning of preparation.
Agerola is not as dramatic as Amalfi and Positano, but it is the gateway to the ultimate piece of the Amalfi Coast, Sentiero Degli Dei, or the Path of the Gods. This hiking trail is one of the most beautiful in the world and an activity you should not miss when visiting. The trail takes you along cliffside views of the coast line from Agerola to Positano. On a clear day, you can even see the island of Capri from the distance and the famous, Lovers Arch. The trail can be accessed from Positano, but it is a much better via Agerola to Positano. The hike is about 3 hours without stopping, but expect to turn that into 6 hours for some photos and a picnic with a view. It is worth staying a night or two in Agerola for a gateway of hiking this incredible trail.
For everything you need to know about hiking Sentiero Degli Dei, follow this link to my blog post, “Hiking Like The Gods On The Amalfi Coast”…
Amalfi Coast Tips
While the Amalfi Coast is a spectacular destination that everyone should see at least once in their life, it must be known that the people here are not always the most friendly. It is more often than not the locals will try and rip people off or just entirely ignore them. Tourism is the main business through out the country, and the locals take advantage of it, but that doesn’t mean they enjoy it. They have a mindset that if they don’t like it, then they don’t care. They will ignore you and refuse to help if they don’t want to. It can be frustrating for a traveler visiting and trying to find information, but there are ways around it.
First, make sure to do your research before hand and have an idea of exactly what you’re going to do. Yes, there are definitely people who are willing to help, but you have to be ready to be shut down. Second, be polite and don’t make a scene. There is nothing Italians hate more than a gawking tourist. And lastly, It is good to know a little Italian or even some Spanish when visiting Italy, as the people really appreciate the effort. Remember, not everyone is like this at all! But you will run into a few.
How To Get There
Naples is typically the jumping point for an adventure to the incredible coastline. There are many options to visit the coast, but that entirely depends on your ideal means of transportation. Driving along the hillside towns will be the most expensive way to get there, and is something to avoid due to the tiny and winding roads that take you along the edges of cliffs. It is better to put your trust in an experienced driver’s hands. You could take a bus, but that will be uncomfortable and take hours. The ferries are easily the best option for traveling between towns and you will be able to enjoy the views of the lush, vineyard filled cliffs leading into the surrounding water.
A ferry service sounds easy, however, it can be a bit tricky and need some planning. The ferry service will not take you from Naples and directly into the more popular towns of Positano and Amalfi. Your best option is to first take the short ride out to Capri or Sorrento, then catch another ferry into the heart of the Amalfi Coast. An alternative is to board the 30 minute train ride from Napoli Centrale into the most Eastern town of the coast, Salerno. From there, you can catch a ferry to any of the towns along the coastline.
For a full ferry schedule, go to …
How To Get Around
You really can’t go wrong with the ferry service. A bus and cab may feel easier, but I can promise you they are more expensive, overcrowded and ALWAYS late. The ferry service is the way to go and its generally cheaper. A bus ride to Ravello or Agerola is necessary, but other than that you should enjoy the views and relax while taking the ferries.
Where To Stay
Staying in Italy is not as expensive as everyone thinks it is, but it can be difficult to find a place when visiting the Amalfi Coast. It all depends on the kind of experience that you want, whether you want a sea side room and beautiful villa or a hotel centered around the night life. I would recommend finding a place on AirBnB as there are many options. Hotels are great, but can be very steep in price and are typically booked. I for one enjoy having some quiet time, which makes Agerola a good spot. It is also a lot cheaper than most of the towns around. Agerola has easy access to get just about anywhere as it is a central location.
Agerola has many places to accommodate people, but I recommend going to the Bed and Breakfast at “Valle Deli Dei”. It is one of the highest points of the valley and you will have a nice terrace to overlook the entire area. Not only is the house gorgeous, the owner Vincent is one of the best hosts that I have ever had. He is easy to contact and will pick you up at the bus stop if needed. He prepares an excellent breakfast in the morning and gives some great local tips. Vincent was also able to provide us with some local homemade wine that was delicious and ordered us some great Italian food from his family’s restaurant close by to enjoy while watching the sun set over the valley. Talk about a great experience!
While the Amalfi Coast becomes more and more crowded every year (thanks Instagram) it is a must see place. I cannot say enough good things about the Amalfi Coast and how incredibly stunning it is. Do not let prices scare you! It is not as expensive as you think and is truly easy to get to. If you want more information about a trip to the Amalfi Coast, do not hesitate to email me or message me on Instagram and ask questions! You can email me @ email@example.com as well as message me on Instagram @travelingle and @egtrotters
Comment below and let me know if you have been to the Amalfi Coast before and have anything else to add or change on my list! Enjoy your next Italian vacation! =)