The allure of the Amalfi Coast has drawn people to the region that is now Italy for centuries. Its dramatic landscapes and idyllic weather enticed ancient Roman nobles to build their villas there, and the high-end real estate trend never faded. Today, the mountains and cliffs remain dotted with breathtaking historic houses perched above the crystalline waters, making the coastline one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. Coastal Campania, the area that includes the Amalfi Coast and the islands of Capri and Ischia, has seen a wave of new hotels opening over the last few years, making it one of Travel + Leisure’s 50 best places to travel in 2024.

Its fragile cultural landscape — churches, gardens, vineyards, and towns — is divided into 16 municipalities and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi are the area’s top destinations, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, but it’s also worth getting off the beaten path to explore smaller towns like Vietri sul Mare and Nerano. Unfortunately, the Amalfi Coast is a bit of a victim of its own success, and in recent years has made headlines for overcrowding and the ensuing traffic jams. That doesn’t mean you should avoid it, though — you just have to be a bit strategic about when and where you go. Here’s how you can navigate this fabled coast like an expert.

Top 5 Can’t Miss

  • Le Sirenuse in Positano is a legendary family-run hotel immortalized by John Steinbeck.
  • Head up into the hills of Ravello to take in the spectacular views from Villa Cimbrone.
  • Don’t miss the local pastries and gelato at Pasticceria Pansa in the center of Amalfi.
  • Shopping for ceramics is a must on the coast, and the best place to get them is Solimene in Vietri sul Mare.
  • Savor an aperitivo at Palazzo Avino’s glamorous Lobster & Martini Bar.

Best Amalfi Coast Towns to Visit


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If you’ve seen the Amalfi Coast on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen Positano. With its brightly colored houses spilling over cliffs around the bay, and dramatic mountains rearing up in the background, the village is picture-perfect.

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Best Hotels in Positano

Le Sirenuse is a Positano institution, terraced into the cliffs with spectacular views of the beach. It’s a feast for the eyes, surrounded by exquisite tile work, lemon trees, and plentiful art. Run by the second and third generation of the Sersale family, this member of the Leading Hotels of the World is known for its glamorous pool, delicious cuisine, and warm southern Italian hospitality, which have earned it a spot in T+L’s World’s Best Awards in 2022 and 2023.

Book a room at the four-star Hotel Poseidon to immerse yourself in Positano’s bohemian flair. Family-owned since it opened in the 1950s, this property is laid-back and friendly. Vintage-style rooms are large, and all but one overlook the town and sea from private balconies. Perched above the center of Positano, it’s removed enough to avoid the tourist crowds, but still a quick walk down to the action.

If you prefer to stay right in the center of it all, the charming Hotel Palazzo Murat is located in the pedestrian zone by the waterfront. While it lacks the knockout views of higher-up hotels, its sizable private courtyard planted with palms and fragrant flowering vines is a lovely place for a candlelit aperitif.

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Best Things to Do in Positano

When in Italy, learn how to cook as the Italians do. Buca di Bacco is a hotel that offers cooking classes to visitors. During these lessons, offered daily, trainees help chefs prepare regional appetizers and first and second courses.

For history enthusiasts: Mar, the Roman Archeological Museum, is a stunning Roman villa beneath the town’s bell tower. The relic has undergone excavations for a decade and only opened to the public in 2018. Restoration work continues, but the colorful frescoes are primed for admiration and worth the visit alone.

Positano is also the endpoint for one of Italy’s most stunning hiking trails. Hemmed into the mountains above the coast, the Path of the Gods is a gentle, four-hour hike that snakes high above the sea. It starts outside the village of Bomerano and runs west of Amalfi, to Nocelle, then to Positano.


Best Shopping in Positano

Travelers can find shops selling locally made linen clothes and tailored vintage styles. Positano is particularly known for its handcrafted sandals — try Nanà, where the Ruocco family has been making them to measure for generations.

Francesco Sersale, a third-generation owner of Le Sirenuse, recommends Emporio Sirenuse, which sells caftans and swimwear, as well as home design items like hand-painted ceramics and the glass tumblers used at Aldo’s bar. “Also, Safari Club in the center of town makes custom sandals shaped around your foot in one hour,” he says.

Courtesy of Le Tre Sorelle Positano

Best Restaurants in Positano

At Michelin-starred restaurant Zass, chef Alois Vanlangenaeker builds artful culinary creations from fruits and vegetables grown on the property, local meats, and seafood caught fresh each day. Hotel Poseidon’s Il Tridente may not have a Michelin star (the owners deliberately avoid making this a hot spot to keep the familial atmosphere), but it’s also exceptional. You’ll eat local dishes, like the sublime shrimp carpaccio, off crockery hand-painted in Vietri sul Mare.

Another place to try is Da Vincenzo. Since 1958, the family-owned restaurant has served regional seafood and pasta dishes, like rigatoni alla Genovese and cod cooked in oil and Amalfi lemon peel. Le Tre Sorelle, a more affordable dining option located on the beach, is consistently good and has served traditional Amalfitano dishes since 1953.

“One of my favorite restaurants I’ve been visiting since childhood and has remained authentic and absolutely delicious is Da Adolfo,” says Sersale, who recommends the zuppa di cozze (mussels soup). This casual restaurant and beach club is located on a small cove a five-minute boat ride from the center of Positano.

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Amalfi is the largest town on its namesake coast. It serves as a major intersection for nearly all the buses, boats, and ferries shuttling tourists between the islands and towns, which means the crowds can be overwhelming. Many would argue that the town’s ninth-century Duomo di Amalfi makes the swarms of tourists worth braving, though. The church is treasured for its collision of various architectural styles and materials — it draws on Arab-Norman, Romanesque, Byzantine, and Rococo designs.

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Best Hotels in Amalfi

The Anantara Convento di Amalfi Grand Hotel, a converted 13th-century monastery, sits high up on the cliffs like a white palace. It’s an eight-minute walk from Amalfi and has two restaurants, a pool area, a gym, and a spa. Those who drive to Amalfi will appreciate the hotel’s on-site valet parking.

A bit further west, Hotel Santa Caterina provides an excellent buffer from the hectic summer crowds. The property has a beach club with a pool and a sun deck with views of the town. The rooms and suites, most with small terraces and sea views, are few, which makes this exclusive member of the Leading Hotels of the World more intimate. It’s a favorite of Sersale, and T+L readers agree — they named it one of the top resorts in Italy in the 2023 World’s Best Awards.

Borgo Santandrea, which opened in 2021 two miles west of town, features a fresh, modern take on Amalfi style that combines mid-century and Mediterranean design. One of its major highlights is the elevator that rides down the cliff to a private beach complete with a restaurant.

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Best Things to Do in Amalfi

Amalfi used to vie with Venice and Genoa as one of the three maritime republics of the Italian Peninsula, and if you look past the shops selling lemon soaps, limoncello, and Amalfi tea towels, you’ll see some fascinating remnants of history. The Museo della Carta — dedicated to Amalfi’s handmade paper industry — is one of them. Take a tour of the still-operational 13th-century mill to see exactly how the paper is produced. 

Of course, Amalfi lemons are everywhere, but the best way to see them is through the Amalfi Lemon Experience. The Aceto family has been growing lemons less than a mile from the coast for six generations. The farm is open to the public for limited tours of the lemon groves, picnics, and cooking classes with the family. Not only is a visit lovely, but you’ll get an idea of the backbreaking labor involved with growing lemons on mountain terraces and working the land by hand.

Best Shopping in Amalfi

La Scuderia del Duca sells art and stationery on the famous Amalfi paper, plus the odd antique.

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Best Restaurants in Amalfi

Amalfi locals have been eating at Da Gemma since 1872. You could spend an entire afternoon grazing through its tasting menu, enjoying locally sourced dishes like tuna carpaccio and homemade pasta.

For a more casual dining experience, go for pizza or a plate of seafood in the homey dining room of Trattoria da Maria. The pies here are simple and traditional, topped with combinations like buffalo mozzarella and ham or sausage and broccoli.

Make sure to try some local pastries, too. Pasticceria Pansa has been an Amalfi institution since 1830. Try the delizie al limone: lemon cream in a sponge case, drizzled with lemon sauce. Grab a seat on the terrace overlooking the main piazza or stand at the bar for an espresso and sfogliatella like the locals do. Or, head across the piazza, where Pansa has a gelateria, for a cone of the creamy good stuff.

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Perched high in the hills above the Amalfi Coast, Ravello lacks access to the sea, but makes up for it with breathtaking views. Historically, while Positano was a fishing town, Ravello was favored by the aristocracy, artists, and writers like Richard Wagner and Maurits Cornelis Escher, who found inspiration in the town. Today, it’s still an exclusive perch, slightly removed from the crowds of Positano and Amalfi, thanks to its elevated position in the hills.

Courtesy of Belmond

Best Hotels in Ravello

Most accommodations in Ravello come with gorgeous views of valleys, mountains, oceans, and ancient towns. Still, there are a few five-star standouts. Caruso, a Belmond Hotel, has 50 rooms and suites, with details such as vaulted ceilings and 18th-century frescoes, and beautiful grounds overlooking the coast.

There’s also the jaw-dropping Hotel Villa Cimbrone, a 12th-century building perched on the sea cliffs and enclosed by stunning gardens.

The over-the-top rooms and suites at Palazzo Avino — a member of the Leading Hotels of the World — feature antique furniture and rugs, giving it a more classic, regal feel, though some of the accommodations have been renovated in a more sleek, modern style. The hotel’s beach club is spectacular and built right into the cliffs, with a poolside restaurant and bar that was decked out by Valentino in 2022. The Avino sisters who run it have given it some feminine touches, including the addition of a shop called The Pink Closet. Sersale counts it among his favorite hotels on the coast.

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Best Things to Do in Ravello

If you visit Ravello and don’t spend an hour or two roaming through Villa Cimbrone’s gardens, you’re essentially missing the point. From Ravello’s central piazza, signs will lead you to the storied gardens, which are part of a palatial, centuries-old compound perched on the coast. Some, like the well-traveled late American writer Gore Vidal, have proclaimed the spot the most beautiful they’ve ever visited.

Within the historic center of Ravello is the Villa Rufolo, a stunning example of regional 13th-century architecture with beautiful Italianate gardens overlooking the blue water below. During the summer months, the villa and gardens host spectacular outdoor concerts.

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Best Restaurants in Ravello

Tourists from all over the Amalfi Coast queue up for a table at Il Flauto di Pan in Hotel Villa Cimbrone. Chef Lorenzo Montoro is at the helm of this Michelin-starred establishment, drawing on the surrounding countryside to create his menu. It’s costly, but the superb food and sea views from the garden terrace are worth the expense.

Tucked away between Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone, Mimì Pizzeria & Cucina is a local favorite spot. It serves both pasta and pizza highlighting local recipes and ingredients. Try to snag a table outside if you can.

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Vietri sul Mare

Those brightly colored, hand-painted plates and bowls sold all along the coast? They’re likely from Vietri sul Mare. There’s even a museum dedicated to the tradition — the t — just outside town.

Best Hotels in Vietri sul Mare

Deluxe rooms and suites at the five-star Hotel Raito open up to terraces overlooking Vietri and the coastline. The decor is crisp, elegant, and, of course, includes locally made ceramics. Relax by the pool in the sun before cleaning up for an upscale dining experience on the terrace of on-site Il Golfo, where views abound.

Palazzo della Guardia is a six-room bed-and-breakfast in a historic building just steps from the main shopping area. There’s no restaurant, but guests can make coffee and tea in a communal kitchen. The hotel also offers vouchers for cappuccinos and pastries at a nearby cafe.

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Best Shopping in Vietri sul Mare

Walk around the streets, and you’ll see tiles everywhere: donkey-shaped designs for every house number, portraits of saints painted over strips on walls, and tiles that have been adorned with the same patterns for centuries. Solimene is the primary producer, housed in a gigantic warehouse store above the town, clad in tiles like a Gaudi building in Barcelona.

Then, there’s Mirkò, a superb modern artist who has taken the Vietri tradition to new heights. His artworks, which can cost thousands, are sold around the world, but he also makes smaller, much more affordable tiles for his shop in his hometown.

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Best Restaurants in Vietri sul Mare

Take in the essence of Vietri from an outdoor table at Ristorante Sud Est, a laid-back pizzeria serving fluffy Neapolitan-style pizza, seafood, and pasta dishes. Or, take a break from the typical pizza-and-pasta fare and try the Mediterranean tapas at Passariello Cantina Mediterranea, a casual wine bar also known for its cocktails.

Ristorante 34 da Lucia is a great option with ample seating outdoors and reasonably priced seafood specialties. The red-and-white checked tablecloths and hand-painted ceramic serving dishes add to the atmosphere, and the spaghetti with lobster is a must.

When the time calls for a more polished environment, Il Principe e la Civetta is a great option. Menu standouts include ricotta and lemon ravioli with pumpkin and shrimp, spaghetti with pesto and anchovies, and the fresh catch of the day.

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Best Time to Visit the Amalfi Coast

The weather on the Amalfi Coast is best in May, when it’s warm yet fresh enough to walk the vertiginous towns. September and June are also beautiful, as is October, when the sea is still warm enough for swimming. July and August tend to be very hot and humid, which is made even more uncomfortable by the throngs of tourists jamming into the towns.

The Amalfi Coast isn’t so much a destination for the winter months, since most activities revolve around the water. Outside of the busy season — April to October — you might struggle to find accommodations, and many shops and restaurants are closed. So, instead of going for a winter bargain, try April, early May, or late September to October. Prices tend to rise from June until mid-September.

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How to Get to the Amalfi Coast

There are multiple ways to get to (and around) the Amalfi Coast. Whatever mode of transportation you choose, be sure to book it well in advance. “I suggest avoiding travel by car,” says Sersale. “Traveling by ferry is by far the best, and take boats where possible. If you can, stay in a hotel with a great concierge to help you navigate the logistics of the coast.”

Kaitlyn Collins

By Train

The cities of Italy are connected by an extensive high-speed rail network. Make your way to Salerno from Rome (2.5 hours), Naples (one hour), or another destination. From Salerno, there’s a local train to Vietri sul Mare, the first town on the Amalfi Coast. The second leg takes only about 10 minutes.

By Boat

Ferries run along the coast between Amalfi and Salerno (30 minutes), Vietri sul Mare (45 minutes), and Sorrento (one hour). Travelmar operates between Salerno and Positano, stopping at all the main towns. From Sorrento, options include the Navigazione Libera del Golfo (NLG) and Alilauro Gruson. Alternatively, Alilauro runs a ferry service directly from Naples to Positano and Amalfi.

If you don’t fancy ferries, you can also charter a boat. In most towns, travelers get their pick of companies offering private trips. If you want to book ahead, try Positano Boats or Lucibello.

By Car

The Amalfi Coast is one of the world’s most famous road trip routes. Driving along its switchbacks, high up on the cliffside, is truly spectacular, utterly nerve-racking, or both, depending on your perspective. Both Salerno and Sorrento have all the major car rental companies, though local companies often offer better value. Salernorental is one that’s known to be reliable.

Because traffic can be excessive, the company that manages Italy’s motorways rolled out an alternating license plate system for rental cars traveling the stretch between Positano and Vietri sul Mare. Since 2022, rental cars with odd-numbered plates have been banned from that section on odd-numbered days, and the same goes for cars with even-numbered plates on even-numbered days. The rule is enforced throughout much of the tourist season (April through September), with some exceptions. Check the exact dates before you hit the road so you don’t get fined for driving on the wrong day.

Another word of warning: If you’re driving, be aware that the road is narrow in parts and full of sharp switchbacks, some of them requiring a bit of back-and-forth to get around. Note that traveling by road takes much longer than by sea — at least an hour from Positano to Amalfi, for example, compared to 25 minutes by ferry — and parking can be a challenge.

By Bus

Sita Sud buses run the length of the Amalfi Coast and provide some of the cheapest transportation. Those traveling from Rome or Naples can opt for one of the economic shuttle sharing systems, like Positano Shuttle. It’ll scoop you up from the airport in Rome or Naples and deliver you to your accommodations in Positano.

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