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The Ultimate Amalfi Coast Travel Guide: Must-See Destinations and Hidden Gems

Updated: Jun 18



 

Here's my hot take: The Amalfi Coast is so underrated. Most of my clients request trips to other Italian destinations– like Tuscany, Venice, and Florence– and I'm always shocked. I've realized that people must not know just how truly amazing the Amalfi Coast is... so I'm here to tell you. 👇


Picture this: rolling cliffs, breathtaking vistas, and charming towns, all nestled along a tranquil yet vibrant coastline. The Amalfi Coast is a dream destination for many travelers, even if they don't know it yet. I mean it when I say that there's something here for everyone, and you couldn't ask for a more gorgeous backdrop.


Whether you’re planning your first visit or returning for more, keep reading! I'll take you through both the iconic spots and hidden gems that make the Amalfi Coast so special.

 

Must-See Destinations





 

1. Amalfi:

The historic town of Amalfi gives the coast its name and offers a rich blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty. Once a powerful maritime republic (AKA bustling port city), Amalfi boasts impressive monuments and ancient buildings that speak to its long and legendary past. The town is made up of cozy, narrow streets all brimming with vibrant culture and friendly people. Follow these to discover charming piazzas, medieval cathedrals, and bustling markets, where the scent of fresh lemons fills the air.

 

Chelax Must-Do's 👇

  ⛪️ Visit the stunning Amalfi Cathedral and the Cloister of Paradise.

 🌼 Explore the Valle delle Ferriere nature reserve

🍋 Taste the world-famous Amalfi lemons (and limoncello! 🍸)


Where to Eat 🍴

🐟 Da Gemma – Established in 1872, this family-run restaurant is a local institution serving traditional Amalfi flavors.


Best Place for a Drink 🍷

🍸 Bar Francese – Located right on the main square, it’s perfect for sipping a drink and watching the world go by.


Instagram Spot 📸

⛪️ Capture the grand staircase leading up to the cathedral.


Top Hotels 🏨

 🌊 Santa Caterina Hotel: A luxury cliffside hotel known for its elegant rooms and stunning sea views.

 🔔 NH Collection Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi: A beautifully restored 13th-century monastery with modern amenities.

 🌙 Hotel Luna Convento: Offers authentic charm with spectacular views and a rich history as a former monastery.




 

2. Positano

Positano is my pick for the most picturesque town on the Amalfi Coast. Every glance feels like a scene straight out of a postcard! Cliffside houses in pretty pastels cascade down to the sparkling waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It's no wonder Positano's beauty is world-renowned, and as a hidden gem, it feels relatively untouched and yet to be discovered.


Positano has a laid-back vibe, and you'll certainly feel welcome here! I encourage you to explore the winding alleys beneath the bougainvillaea and ivy and plan an escape to the intimate beaches to bask in the Italian sun and wade between gentle waves.


Fun fact: According to local legend, Positano owes its name to a miraculous event. A painting of the Virgin Mary aboard a ship spoke the words "Posa, posa" (set me down, set me down). The sailors obeyed, and a safe haven was found in the town that sprung up in that very spot!

 

Chelax Must-Do's 👇

 👟 Stroll through the town, and be sure to visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta while you're there!

🏝 Take a breather and relax on Spiaggia Grande Beach

 🛥 Take a boat tour to explore hidden coves and grottoes along the coast.


Where to Eat 🍴

🍝La Tagliata - The menu changes daily so you never know what you're going to get. Instead, they bring out four to five courses from a fixed menu, expertly paired to perfection with wine.



Best Place for a Drink 🍷

🌆 Franco’s Bar – This sophisticated rooftop bar at Le Sirenuse offers fabulous cocktails and the best views of Positano.


Instagram Spot 📸

🏩 Capture the view from the terrace of La Sirenuse hotel.


Top Hotels 🏨

 🌊 Le Sirenuse: An iconic hotel offering luxury accommodations with breathtaking views of the town and sea.

🏝 Il San Pietro di Positano: A secluded haven offering unparalleled luxury and private beach access.

🤗 Hotel Poseidon: A family-owned hotel with charming rooms and a welcoming atmosphere.




 

3. Ravello:

Ravello is a place of total tranquility. You can retreat to this haven high above the Amalfi Coast to view spectacular vistas that have inspired artists, musicians, and writers for centuries. Known for its lush gardens and classical architecture, Ravello has an almost unreal beauty– visiting feels like a dream. The town is less crowded than other popular spots, and the seclusion and high-level views make it feel like you're looking down from the clouds!

 

Chelax Must-Do's 👇

 🌸 Explore the gardens of Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo.

  🎻 Attend the renowned Ravello Festival of music and arts if your visit coincides.


Where to Eat 🍴

🍝 Cumpà Cosimo – A beloved local gem run by the Ferraioli family, known for its heartwarming Italian classics and welcoming atmosphere.


Best Place for a Drink 🍷

🌁 Belvedere Restaurant & Bar at Hotel Caruso – Enjoy a drink while taking in panoramic views from this luxurious spot.


Instagram Spot 📸

🌟 Take in the views from the Terrace of Infinity at Villa Cimbrone.


Top Hotels 🏨

👀 Belmond Hotel Caruso: A luxurious hotel with panoramic views and exceptional service.

 🛎 Palazzo Avino: An elegant 12th-century villa-turned-hotel offering stunning views and top-notch amenities.

 🌿 Villa Maria Hotel: A charming hotel with classic Mediterranean décor and beautiful gardens.




 

4. Sorrento:

Perched on the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples, Sorrento offers a blend of old-world charm and modern-day vibrance. The town's location makes it a perfect base for exploring both the Amalfi Coast and the neighboring regions, so if you're planning to spend a few days here (and I recommend that you do!), consider staying in Sorrento. The beautiful coastal views don't hurt, either! Sorrento's bustling streets are lined with orange and lemon groves, while its serene marinas offer a quiet retreat from the lively Piazza Tasso. The sights, scents, and ambiance are unmatched!

 

Chelax Must-Do's 👇

 🏛 Stroll through Piazza Tasso.

⚓️ visit the historic Marina Grande.

☀️ Take a day trip to Capri.

 👩‍🍳 Join a cooking class to learn how to make authentic Italian dishes, including an immersive experience in the countryside where you can cook with local chefs using fresh, organic ingredients.


Where to Eat 🍴

🦐 L'Antica Trattoria – A family-owned trattoria that offers authentic Italian cuisine in a charming, rustic atmosphere in the heart of Sorrento.


Best Place for a Drink 🍷

🕶 Fauno Bar – Situated on Piazza Tasso, it's the perfect place to enjoy a drink and people-watch.


Instagram Spot 📸

🌋 Snap a photo from Villa Comunale for a panoramic view of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.


Top Hotels 🏨

🦢 Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria: A luxurious hotel with elegantly appointed rooms and stunning views.⏳ Bellevue Syrene: A boutique hotel offering timeless luxury and exceptional service.

🌅 Hotel Minerva: A historic hotel with charming décor and spectacular sea views.

 

Bonus 🤫 Hidden Gems in the Amalfi Coast area

 




Fiordo di Furore:


Hidden between towering cliffs, the Fiordo di Furore feels like a secret paradise untouched by time. With stunning emerald waters and quaint fishing village vibes, it's a perfect hideaway for those looking to escape the crowds. This quiet inlet, accessible only by foot or boat, offers a unique and tranquil experience that feels worlds away from the busier towns on the coast. This is also where they hold the redbull diving competition.

 

Chelax Must-Do's 👇

🌊 Swim in the turquoise waters

🏖 Explore the small beach nestled between the cliffs.


Where to Eat 🍴

Bianca Zita Ristorante – A family-run eatery with stunning views and a menu of delicious, locally-sourced dishes.


Best Place for a Drink 🍷

There aren’t many dedicated bars, but enjoying a drink at Bianca Zita's terrace is your best bet.


Instagram Spot 📸

Snap a photo from the bridge overlooking the fjord.


Top Hotels 🏨

 B&B Il Canto delle Sirene: A charming bed and breakfast offering a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Locanda del Fiordo: A family-run hotel with breathtaking views and cozy accommodations.

 La Casa del Melograno: A boutique hotel offering personalized service and stunning scenery.




 

Cetara:

Cetara is a true beauty set against a backdrop of lush hills and the shimmering sea. Cetara is a small fishing village known for its anchovy production. Cetara's old-world charm and slower pace of life offer an authentic Italian experience, far removed from the more touristy areas. Its streets have an aura of history and community, and the taste of its seafood makes for a meal you'll never forget.

 

Chelax Must-Do's 👇

🏠 Wander through the quaint streets

🗼 Visit the Torre di Cetara

🍤 Enjoy a meal at a local seafood restaurant.


Where to Eat 🍴

🎣 Il Convento – Family-owned and dedicated to traditional anchovy dishes, this cozy spot is perfect for a genuine culinary experience.


Best Place for a Drink 🍷

🍇 Cetara Punto e Pasta & Bistrot – A cozy spot to enjoy local wines and watch the locals go about their day.


Instagram Spot 📸

🛶 Capture the charming harbor with its colorful fishing boats.


Top Hotels 🏨

 🐚 Hotel Cetus: A family-run hotel offering stunning views and a private beach.

☕️ La Corte dei Naviganti: A cozy bed and breakfast with a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

🍋 B&B Lemons Coast: A charming bed and breakfast with beautiful views and personal touches.

 



Atrani:

Although it is the smallest town on the Amalfi Coast, Atrani may be one of the most charming. Just a stone's throw from Amalfi, this cozy village cradled by mountains and sea feels like stepping into a fairytale. With pastel-colored houses stacked neatly on top of each other, intimate piazzas, and century-old churches, Atrani offers a serene and picturesque escape.

 

Chelax Must-Do's 👇

🚪Explore the narrow alleys,

⛪️ Visit the Church of San Salvatore de' Birecto

⛱ Relax at the tiny but beautiful beach


Where to Eat 🍴

🦪 A' Paranza – A family-run gem specializing in fresh seafood and homemade pasta, located in the heart of Atrani.


Best Place for a Drink 🍷

🧘‍♀️ Bar Birecto – Located in the main square, it's ideal for a drink and absorbing the tranquil atmosphere of Atrani


Instagram Spot 📸

☀️ Capture the view from above the town overlooking the beach and church.


Top Hotels 🏨

 🏛 Palazzo Ferraioli: A boutique hotel offering modern comforts in a historic setting.

☕️ Me Fra Camere: A charming bed and breakfast with a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.

 🌄 Lae Domus: A delightful guesthouse with beautiful views and personal touches.

 



Conca dei Marini:

This serene village is a hidden retreat that offers unspoiled beauty and a sense of peace. Home to the enchanting Emerald Grotto, Conca dei Marini's coastal scenery is nothing short of mesmerizing. Take a dive to peek at the sea life, bask on the quiet beaches, and lose yourself in the idyllic atmosphere.

 

Chelax Must-Do's 👇

💧 Visit the Emerald Grotto (Grotta dello Smeraldo)

🏝 Relax on the beach

🦀 Enjoy a seafood meal at one of the local restaurants


Where to Eat 🍴

🌅 Le Bontà del Capo – A family-run restaurant known for its fresh seafood and breathtaking views of the coast.


Best Place for a Drink 🍷

🥃 Bar Santa Croce – Enjoy a drink with stunning views of the coast. This spot is perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring!

Instagram Spot 📸

💚 Capture the vivid colors of the Emerald Grotto.


Top Hotels 🏨

🌹 Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa: A luxury spa hotel set in a restored monastery with breathtaking views.

 🛎 Hotel Belvedere: A family-run hotel offering stunning sea views and personalized service.

 🐚 La Conca Azzurra: A charming boutique hotel with beautiful terraces overlooking the sea.

 

Our Top Three Choices 🏆

 

1. Amalfi:

Amalfi is a favorite for its authenticity and vibrant local interactions. The town retains a unique charm that makes it stand out along the coast.

 

2. Positano:

The most picturesque town is best seen from the water. Hiring a boat or dining at the esteemed Da Adolfo, which provides a boat pickup service, are excellent ways to appreciate its beauty.

 

3. Sorrento:

Sorrento is the most centralized, making it the ideal base for exploring the region. The town's convenient location allows easy access to nearby attractions.


 

 Adventure and Activities

 

🥾 Hiking Trails:

 

🙏 Path of the Gods (Sentiero degli Dei):

This iconic trail is a hiker's dream, offering breathtaking views of the Amalfi Coast from Agerola to Nocelle, near Positano. The name "Path of the Gods" is no exaggeration; as you traverse this trail, you'll be treated to panoramic vistas that are nothing short of divine. The trail takes you through fragrant lemon groves, ancient ruins, and dramatic cliff edges, with every step revealing a new, awe-inspiring perspective. Allow about 3-4 hours for the hike, and consider starting early to avoid the midday heat.

 

🌳 Valle delle Ferriere:

Hiking through this nature reserve offers a lush, green contrast to the coastal scenery and ends at a stunning waterfall. The trail starts in Amalfi and leads through a shaded canyon filled with rare ferns, mosses, and cascading streams, creating a serene and calming experience.

 

💧 Water Activities:

🚣‍♀️ Kayaking and Paddleboarding: Available in most towns, offering a unique perspective of the coastline.

🤿 Diving and Snorkeling: Particularly great around the islands of Capri and Ischia.

 

🍽 What to Order

 

🐙 Seafood: Given its coastal location, the Amalfi Coast offers some of the best seafood in Italy. Try dishes like grilled calamari, spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams), and anchovy specialties in Cetara.

🍋 Limoncello: Originating from the region, limoncello is a must-try. This lemon liqueur is perfect after a meal. Be sure to sample some from local producers in towns like Amalfi and Sorrento.

🍹 Limoncello Spritz: A refreshing twist on the classic cocktail, made with limoncello, prosecco, and a splash of soda.

🍨 Lemon Sorbetto: A refreshing treat to enjoy on a hot day, often served in a hollowed-out lemon for an added touch of flair.

🍊 Sfogliatella: This pastry, native to the Campania region, is a delightful treat filled with ricotta cheese and flavored with orange zest.

🍕 Pizza: You can't visit this region without trying authentic Neapolitan pizza, available in many restaurants across Sorrento and beyond.

 

💶 Souvenirs to Buy

 

🍾 Limoncello: A bottle of limoncello makes a perfect souvenir. Look for locally produced versions for the best quality.

🏺 Ceramics: The Amalfi Coast is famous for its beautiful hand-painted ceramics. Head to shops in towns like Vietri sul Mare for some unique pieces.

👡 Leather Goods: Sorrento is a great place to buy high-quality leather goods, such as handbags, sandals, and wallets.

🐟 Anchovies: Particularly from Cetara, these are a must-buy for foodies. They’re often sold preserved in jars.

🧼 🕯 Lemon Soap and Candles: Bring home the fresh scent of the Amalfi Coast with lemon-scented soaps and candles.

🧣 Lemon Silk Scarf: A luxurious accessory that captures the essence of the region, perfect as a gift or personal keepsake.

🧵 Local Crafts: From lace to hand-painted tiles, various towns across the coast offer unique local crafts that make perfect gifts.

 

 


Our Final Thoughts

The Amalfi Coast is a dreamlike escape for lovers of vibrant culture and quiet serenity alike. It's truly incomparable in its beauty, an oasis carved into cliffsides surrounded by sparkling seas. It's mind-boggling to me that most people don't put the Amalfi Coast at the very top of their travel list, but for you, dear traveler, this could be an advantage: plan your trip now while these seaside escapes are still hidden gems!


At Chelax Adventures, we go so you know. We've tried and tested all of the best things the Amalfi Coast has to offer, and we can't wait to share them with you! Let us book your dream vacation, tailored to your likes and preferences, beside the sea. 🌊 🍋 Click here to get in touch!

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