The Mediterranean landscape of the Amalfi Coast seems to be a grand balcony overlooking winding roads with lemon terraces and mountains that plunge into the blue foamy sea. Dotted with small beaches and pastel-coloured fishing villages, the Amalfi Coast is Italy’s go-to coastal destination.
With towns such as Positano or Amalfi, which are some of the most popular spots on the coast, this guide will include some of the less touristy places and how you can make the most out of your Amalfi Coast visit.
Best time to visit: May and early June or September to early October
Stop #1: Vietri sul Mare
Vietri sul Mare is the first town (coming from Salerno) before you start ohhing and ahhing your way along the spectacular cliffside scenery of the Amalfi Coast.
Often overlooked, Vietri has built a reputation as the “city of ceramics”. Whether it’s a street sign, a house number, a public fountain or a shop front, they’ve all been adorned with whimsical hand painted decorations.
The town’s pottery production dates back to Roman times. The unmistakable local style celebrates the sea, the local life and landscapes, having the most beautiful tones of yellow, , red, green or blue.
Stop #2: Cetara
Further along the coast, right after Vietri Sul Mare, you’ll find the beautiful Cetara. This fishing village will give you a taste to what the Amalfi Coast must have been like before the height of tourism. Pastel-hued houses surround the harbour and are all embraced by a Lattari mountains.
What’s in a name? Well, everything is this case. ‘Cetara’ comes from the Latin ‘cetaria’ which translates as ‘fish pond’, indicating its importance through time as a fishing settlement. Nowadays, it’s deep sea tuna fleet is one of Mediterranean’s most important, along with another food staple: anchovies.
Particularly famous is the “colatura di alici”, a dark, salted liquid made from locally caught anchovies. This delicacy has Roman origins and is made by marinating anchovies in salt and storing them in wooden barrels. The sauce is a great addition to pasta, grilled veggies or even pizza.
Stop #3: Erchie
Up next, after Cetara is another lesser known location along the Amalfi Coast. Erchie is a small town with a very laid back atmosphere. With less than 100 residents, it is a great alternative to some of the more famous locations on the coast, which will be heaving with tourists over summer.
The town unfolds its pastel hued house by a bay with a small golden beach. Even more secluded is the “spiaggetta degli innamorati” (Lover’s beach), which can only be accessed by sea.
Stop #4: Maiori & Minori
Moving on along the Amalfi Coast, more surprises lie in wait. The first one is called Maiori, the home of the largest beach on the coast. Equally significant are the historical and cultural values of this place. With records dating back to Etruscan and Roman times, this place still keeps the beauty of its architecture, art, and nature at its heart.
Sentiero dei limoni (the lemon path) is perhaps one of the most suggestive. The path connects Maiori to Minori, and is one of the most evocative walks on the Amalfi Coast. Besides the great views and the fair amount the stairs that you’ll need to climb, the path also offers a glimpse into traditional households and lemon cultivation.
The path starts is Maiori with the first stairway, called Scala Santa. The path takes you pass the Santa Maria a Mare Church with its typical majolica roof tiles pained in yellow and green. The path also serves as a reminder of ancient times, this being the only road that connected Maiori to Minori by land. The authenticity of this path lies in the Sfusato d’Amalfi, the world famous lemon that thrives in this environment.
Route length: 6.5k (4mi)
Stop #4: Ravello
Green mountaintops overlooking the Tyrrhenian sea, cobbled streets and an infinite source of inspiration for so many artists, writers and musicians. Ravello stands for all of that, sowing the seed for the works of people like Giovanni Boccaccio, Richard Wagner or André Gide.
If you’re looking to add some cultural flavour to your holiday, then Ravello if the perfect place just for that. Art and music and airy balcony over the Amalfi Coast make Ravello seem like a setting out of a fairytale.
Stop #5: Amalfi
Amalfi still maintains it’s age old charm, being oldest of the four Maritime Republics on the coast. Tucked away between mountains and the sea it’s the place where nature meets history. Besides it’s very popular sea front, Amalfi is also famous for it’s paper tradition and great trekking routes. Particularly famous is the “Valle dei Mulini” hike, which starts in Amalfi, just after you’ve reached the Paper Mill Museum (via delle Cartiere).
The route will start off on a paved path surrounded by houses and lemon orchards. After about 1km, you’ll enter the forest and you’ll discreetly hear Canneto River. You’ll also find many ruins covered in moss and ferns. Those once served as mills and they were used to produce the famous Amalfi paper. The path has also a few waterfalls and towards the end, you’ll also see great views of Amalfi.
Top tip: Once in Amalfi, head the info centre, they’ll give you all the details you need for this walk, as well as a map which includes this hike as well as others.
Stop #6: Praiano
Another gem of the Amalfi Coast. Praiano is one of the few towns on the coast with a beach surrounded by a natural fjord. Marina di Praia beach has deep blue waters and breathtaking views. Other nice feature of this beach is the walkway carved right into the rocky cliffs. The pathway leads you to the Il Pirate restaurant, which had definitely got one of the best seafront views on the coast. The restaurant, like the pathway, has been carved out of the mountainside, so take a sneak peak inside. Just after the restaurant, the path will take uphill, where you’ll get a great view of the coastline, including the cove with its beach.
Top tip: there’s parking space available at the beach, however it’s not free.
Stop #7: Furore
Neighbouring Praiano, Furore is another piece of paradise waiting to be discovered. Famous for it’s fjord and lovely beach, this place offers breathtaking views with immense cliffs, topped with green lush vegetations and very clear blue waters.
The 30m high bridge that bypasses he fjord is also a great spot for bella vistas. This natural fortress, with its paths and stair practically not visible from the coastline, had earned the name of “village that doesn’t exist”. Today, the cluster of old fishermen’s houses that cling on the cliffs and the narrow gorge created by the Schiato river, are difficult to miss while travelling on the coast.
Top tip: It might be difficult to park during high season (June to August). There is a bit of space for about 3-4 cars near the bridge. There are also two restaurants further down after you pass the Furore Bridge, where you could leave the car and walk. Local buses may stop at this spot if you ask the driver.