Amalfi Coast, Italy: travel guide to the exceptionally scenic Amalfi Coast

Photo of Amalfi coast (Campania region)

Visit Amalfi coast

The Amalfi Coast is a spectacular 50 kilometre long section of coastline that follows the southern edge of the Sorrento Peninsula from Positano in the west to Vietri sul Mare (near Salerno) in the east.

Along the route there are several beautiful towns and villages, typically on steep hills leading down to the sea and divided by dramatic cliffs and rocks plunging into the Mediterranean, and very attractive coastal scenery.

Amalfi coast in Italy

Many places get described in travel guides as 'awesome', 'stunning', 'spectacular' and so on. In this case you can believe them - the Amalfi Coast is one of the great coast roads of Europe, perhaps the world.

The coast here is also now a listed UNESCO World heritage Site.

Travelling along the Amalfi Coast

The majority of visitors stay in Sorrento and explore from there, so below we have introduced the villages for from west to east.

A different option is to stay in or near Salerno, which is less touristic and less expensive than Sorrento (and also less attractive but does have a beach) and explore from there.

If you choose this option and plan carefully you can usually be heading in the opposite direction to most of the other traffic on the road!

Towns and villages (west to east along Amalfi coast)

Positano town, on a steep hill sloping down to the sea, is the start of the Amalfi coast tour and one of the most lovely coastal towns in Italy. See the Positano guide.

Praiano to the east of here is less visited than Positano but is also a popular destination worth exploring and in a lovely location

Furore, with its picturesque small natural inlet (a fjord) with a small beach and a few traditional fishing houses. Note that the main village of Furore is harder to reach, being on the hill behind and not on the main coast road. Nearby Conca dei Marini is very small but certainly worth stopping to see the harbour area.

Amalfi is the most important town on the Amalfi coast, very picturesque, and all visitors will want to come here for a look around the old streets and also to see the cathedral. SeeĀ Amalfi guide for details.

Atrani, just a short walk from Amalfi, gets much less visitors than its famous neighbour and you can get a glimpse of how the towns here were before tourism arrived! See Atrani guide.

Scala has attractive coastal views - this section between Amalfi and Ravello is perhaps our favourite along the Amalfi coast - and is a popular starting point for walks into the hills north of the coast.

Ravello is another unmissable highlight, especially for the famous villas called Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone and their terraced gardens that are open to the public and have some of the most lovely views along the whole of the Amalfi coast. See Ravello guide.

The coast east of Ravello and to Salerno is less visited but also has many interesting scenic locations and viewpoints and small traditional fishing towns and villages including: Minori, Tramonti, Maiori, Cetara and Vietri sul Mare, a beach resort. There are also various small villages hidden away in the hills behind the coast, reached by pleasant walks from the main resorts.

Amalfi Coast activities

While beaches and small coves exist in the small towns and along this section of the coast, the coast here is not perhaps ideal for those seeking to simply spend a week on the beach but rather for those wishing to explore the scenery and villages with an occasional break on the beach.

Ferries to the beautiful island of Capri leave from Positano. You should consider the trip to spend a day exploring Capri to be another unmissable highlight of your visit to the Sorrento-Amalfi region!

Practicalities

It is true that the road that follows along the Amalfi coast is very busy at the height of summer, but don't let that deter you from visiting - around each corner you find a view even more impressive than the one before, so driving fast will not be your highest priority!

There are also buses that follow the route, with Sorrento and Salerno as start and end points. These are an excellent way to explore without worrying about parking, which can be challenging and expensive. But the buses can be very busy, to the point you will sometimes find you can't get on one and need to wait a while for the next one to arrive...

When we visited ourselves we didn't have a car and we stayed in Sorrento which meant catching these buses along the Amalfi Coast. Because the buses were always very crowded we did wonder if for our next visit we would actually stay somewhere along the Amalfi coast itself, at least for one night, despite the expense!

Eating out

All the popular towns and villages here have a wide choice of restaurants, and spending a long lunch in one of them is obligatory - this is as much part of your travel experience as enjoying the scenery! We recommend you try one of the numerous fish restaurants that will attract your attention and offer a great chance to sit and enjoy great fresh food while quietly enjoying the atmosphere.

See also:

Map of Amalfi coast and places to visit

Amalfi coast places to visit

See more places nearby in the Campania guide