The Amalfi Coast is one of Europe’s most famous coastlines, renowned for its scenic cliffside highway, postcard-perfect seaside villages, balmy Mediterranean climate, and chic “dolce vita” vibe. There are 13 towns in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, but Amalfi, Positano, and Ravello are by far the most popular. Though there are a few historic and cultural sights to visit, the main draws of the Amalfi Coast are its traditional cuisine, elegant shopping, and fashionable resort atmosphere.
The Amalfi Coast can get uncomfortably crowded during summer, and the road along the coast is often plagued by gridlock. Avoid the traffic by booking a private boat tour that docks at each of the major villages with free time to explore on foot, or join a small group for a full day tour by bus that leaves the hassle of navigating and parking to a professional driver. From the Amalfi Coast, you can take a cruise to Capri and Ischia, day trips with a local guide to Pompeii and Herculaneum, and sightseeing tours to Mount Vesuvius, Paestum, the Bay of Naples, and the surrounding region of Campania.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bring a hat and sunblock, and wear comfortable clothing and footwear, as much of your time touring the Amalfi Coast will be spent outdoors.
- Most of the villages along the Amalfi Coast are set on the water's edge, but Ravello—home of the elegant Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone—is perched on the clifftop and must be reached by car or bus.
- The towns along the Amalfi Coast are steep, and may be a challenge for those with limited mobility. An excellent alternative is a private tour by boat that does not require much walking.
How to Get to There
The Amalfi Coast is in southern Italy between Naples and Salerno, both of which are large cruise ports and transportation hubs. There is no train service along the Amalfi Coast, so you must take the local bus to the villages along the coast; buses depart from Salerno or Sorrento (you can take the train from Rome or Naples to Sorrento, then transfer to the bus). There are also ferries from Sorrento to Amalfi and, in summer, Positano.
When to Get There
The entire coastline is crowded in summer; during winter, smaller villages like Positano and Ravello essentially shutter for the season. The best times of the year to visit, if you want to avoid crowds, are spring and fall.
The Blue Grotto is on the island of Capri just off the Amalfi Coast; the Emerald Grotto is instead on the coast itself.