A short distance from the popular city of Naples, the Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s prettiest and most exclusive holiday destinations. Along this stretch of beautiful coastline are picture-perfect villages backed by dramatic mountain scenery, looking out towards the glittering waters of the Mediterranean. You’ll also find unforgettable views from the rooms of our Amalfi Coast boutique hotels.
A drive along this area’s coastal road is a must; considered one of the best drives in the world, you’ll pass breath-taking sea views, ancient churches and colourful traditional houses. Along the way you can pay a visit to the individual towns, with each offering an unbeatable atmosphere, amazing local cuisines and the area’s famous ceramics for sale. Here are just five you need to visit if you are exploring the Amalfi Coast.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Positano was just a humble and poor fishing village, however, its fortunes quickly changed when tourists first discovered the place. Located high on a hilltop, it commands stunning views out over the rest of the coastline, making guests want to return time and time again. The Santa Maria Asunta church is the village’s main landmark, and has some stand-out features including a black Madonna statue and a dome made from majolica tiles.
Positano is just the place for some shopping – we recommend Emporio Le Sirenuse, packed with a little bit of everything and curated by Carla Sersale.
To eat well in Positano, hire a boat from Positano Boats (Spiaggia Grande) and head to Da Tommaso allo Scoglio (Sirene 15, Marina di Cantone) for some of the best homecooked-style dining in the region, with spectacular views over the beach.
Once a hiding place for invaders, today people flock to Ravello to revel in the charm of this city and its spectacular surrounding scenery. Wandering the cobbled streets is a joy in itself, though there are also some lavish landmarks in the form of the Duomo de Ravello and Villa Cimbrone, which is surrounded by spectacular gardens.
Ravello is a centre of ceramics – we recommend Ceramiche Da Lena for an impressive range of vases, places and decorative bowls that will look great at home.
If you are in Ravello from March until November, Cumpo Cosimo is a beloved eatery that has been keeping visitors happy since 1929.
Built up as a centre of trade from the 9th to the 13th century, today Amalfi combines this historical charm with incredible beauty. Its medieval architecture acts as the centrepiece of the village, with the 11th-century Cathedral of Sant’Andrea the stand-out landmark, decorated inside with statues and ceiling paintings.
Amalfi is justifiably famous for the beautiful handmade paper it produces. To buy some gorgeous paper, just perfect for a special occasion, head to Cartiera Amatruda (Via delle Cartiere 100) – they’ve been in business since 1483, so they know their craft!
For delicious seafood in Amalfi, try La Caravella (Via Matteo Camera 12), high above the town with stunning views over the coast.
With less than a thousand residents, Atrani is one of the smallest towns in the area. Don’t underestimate its size, however, as its beauty has ensured it acts as the backdrop for many commercials. Here you’ll find a truly beautiful beach, as well as an impressive 15th century hilltop fortress. The church of San Salvatore de’Birecto also dates back to the tenth century.
Atrani is well-known for the wonderful seafood brought off the boats – you can eat fresher-than-fresh local specialities at A Paranza (Via Comunale Traversa Dragone, 1).
A highlight of Atrani is the ‘Path of the Gods‘, a spectacular mountain pathway with an trail-head above the town – ask at local restaurants for the best way to reach the trail.
Praiano was first a tourist destination way back in the tenth century when it was the place of leisure for the Doges of the Duchy of Amalfi. It’s uniquely positioned on the edge of a steep cliff, offering great views out over the coast towards both Amalfi and Positano, which the village sits between. If you stop to explore the town, you’ll find a number of pretty churches.
If you’re near Praiano, make the effort to visit the Gran Furor Divina Costiera winery in nearby Furore (Via Giambattista Lama, 16/18), makers of fine DOC Costa d’Amalfi whites and reds.
To eat well in Praiano, make sure you visit Onda Verde (Via Terramare 3) for great local dishes, including seafood, and massive salads.
Image: Eric Hossinger, available under Creative Commons