Italy is known for some of the world’s most iconic travel destinations. And depending on who you ask, the Amalfi Coast might just top the list. This 30-mile stretch in Southern Italy faces the Mediterranean Sea, and boasts a dreamy collection of easy-going seaside hamlets, dramatic cliff-top villages, and nearly 100 beaches. Here, luxury and glamor are beautifully complemented with rugged, rustic simplicity for that exciting dose of la dolce vita, and the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast include a little bit of both.
As Go Ahead traveler Rhonda put it, “Just when you thought you could not see anything more beautiful, around the corner was something more beautiful to behold.” Here’s how to spend 48 hours on the Amalfi Coast.
Just west of the city of Salerno, Vietri sul Mare is a modest village that receives fewer travelers than other towns in the region. But a visit there to shop in its countless ceramics stores is one of the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast (and could be a perfect way to spend a free day during our trip to Puglia & Southern Italy). ere, ceramics are an artistic expression, and you can find just about anything you could want at Ceramica Artistica Solimene. This is the most famous destination for everything from beach-inspired dining sets to decorative sculptures. If you can dream it, they can make it (using centuries-old techniques, no less).
So important is ceramics to the village that there is a museum dedicated to the craft. Inside Villa Guariglia, peruse hundreds of beautifully painted pieces at the Raito Ceramics Museum.
During our Amalfi Coast Walking Tour, we dedicate a guided half-day visit to romantic Ravello. This hilltop town is one of the area’s most picturesque (and that’s saying something). Whether you’re discovering the architectural details of its Duomo with its opulent bronze doors or just strolling through its historic villas, Ravello offers plenty to marvel at—even if it doesn’t have direct beach access. Go Ahead traveler Monica praised its tucked-away location. “We enjoyed Ravello immensely,” she said. “It was away from the beaten crowd, and was a really nice little town with beautiful gardens.”
Your Tour Director will lead you through Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone, both of which are famous for their colorful, fragrant gardens. Villa Cimbrone’s Terrace of the Infinity, however, might just be one of the most stunning Amalfi Coast tourist attractions. The sculpture-dotted edge that looks out to the Mediterranean Sea is simply iconic.
It’s not just all about sea and sun on the Amalfi Coast; there’s plenty of educational history to unearth, too, especially in its namesake town of Amalfi, which was once its own republic that rivaled the likes of Genoa and Venice. Allow your expert Tour Director to lead you through the Duomo di Amalfi, which is packed with centuries-old artifacts.
Amalfi’s main square is also a great perch for people watching. Head to Pasticceria Andrea Pansa, one of the oldest pastry shops in town, for an almond nougat and glass of limoncello, a lemon liqueur that originated in the area thanks to plentiful lemon trees. Then, just enjoy the ambience.
Many places in Italy are known for a unique dish that is best savored in that very city, town, or village. Nerano to the west (very close to Sorrento) is one of the best places to visit on the Amalfi Coast for a couple of reasons: There are idyllic beaches to relax on, and it’s known for a local pasta called Spaghetti alla Nerano. (Actor Stanley Tucci is a big fan!) It’s a fresh, summer-perfect combination of spaghetti, zucchini, provolone, and a generous sprinkling of basil, and it’s best enjoyed on Lo Scoglio’s over-the-water patio.
Fabulous wine can be found all over Italy, but if you’re looking for some spectacular local vini while you’re exploring the Amalfi Coast, you’ll want to pay the experts at Cantine Marisa Cuomo a dedicated visit. The cliffs of Furore, halfway between the towns of Amalfi and Positano, protect the cellars of this famous producer, known for delicious late-harvest wines. Those same breathtaking cliffs, the sun, and the sea characterize these wines so uniquely, you won’t taste anything else like it. On the winery’s Mediterranean-facing pergola, savor every sip of their award-winning Furore Bianco Fiorduva, a white wine that magically tastes both salty and fruity.
Visiting Positano is one of the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast—just be prepared to walk. Lovingly nicknamed the “vertical town,” Positano’s pastel-hued houses often look like they’re stacked right on top of each other, hinting at the winding, up-and-down streets that they’re perched on. Still, the hike on steep, steep steps from the sandy beach to the bustling town up top is worth it. Given this otherworldly beauty, some of Italy’s fanciest hotels are in or around Positano. Pick one with an outdoor bar (maybe Franco’s Bar at Le Sirenuse?) and then reward yourself with a sparkling cocktail as you marvel at the unbelievable views that make the Amalfi Coast so unforgettably special.
Not far from Positano, this small coastal commune is often overlooked in favor of its more famous next-door neighbor. But it’s exactly this quieter reputation that makes it a fabulous choice for some beach time. Sunsets on Praiano’s beaches are especially magical, making this commune a romantic end-of-day hangout—or just a great place to take some exceptional photos. You can watch boats sail by from pebbly Marina di Praia. Or soak in the ambience on La Gavitella, one of Amalfi’s most spectacular beaches for views that stretch to Positano, and even all the way out to the island of Capri.
P.S. speaking of Capri, there are so many magical moments to soak in on that island, too! Plus, adding it to an Amalfi Coast itinerary is easy to do. Check out 5 things not to miss in Capri, Italy →