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The Amalfi Coast in Italy is the perfect travel destination for those who love to explore authentic old villages with spectacular views, delicious food & wine…and the local lifestyle!
The beautiful and colourful villages are perfect to explore on foot. Visit churches, flowery gardens, cute shops, wonderful villas, and Italian beaches; enjoy Italian gastronomy, wine & lemon-based delicacies while getting a taste of local lifestyle.
Get ready for an experience that will stimulate your senses!
Where is the Amalfi Coast?
The Amalfi coast is a picturesque 50 km coastline in southwestern Italy. Fishing villages between cliffs overlooking the beautiful blue sea and winding roads that connect them are part of the Amalfi coast landscape.
Five villages visited
Sorrento, Positano, Praiano, Amalfi and Ravello.
My takeaway from each village & travel tips
The city of Sorrento is bigger than the other places I visited during my trip. I was surprised to hear a taxi driver from Positano say that Sorrento was a big city.
What I liked about Sorrento is the fact that it is divided into two parts, both with different atmospheres. At the bottom, by the water, there are private beaches, a port with beautiful views of the city perched on top of the cliff, and a marina with more beaches, restaurants and a fishing village feel to it. At the top of the cliff is the city with beautiful sea views, churches, gardens, busy narrow streets with shops and ‘gelaterias’ left and right.
Piazza Tasso is the main square of Sorrento. It’s surrounded by lively cafes, restaurants, a sightseeing train stop, shops, stairs to a road that goes down to the port, and beautiful hotels with scenic views of the Bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius, beaches and the marina.
Take the lift to the port and the beach
There is a lift in Piazza Francesco Saverio Gargiulo that connects the city centre to the beaches and the port of Marina Piccola for about 1€. It opens at 7:30am until around midnight in high season.
The diva Sophia Loren
There is a wonderful photo exhibition of Sophia Loren, an honorary citizen of Sorrento, in beautiful Villa Fiorentino. The exhibition was launched in May 2019 and will be open until the end of October.
A bit of luxury
The Grand Hotel Excelsior is the most luxurious hotel in Sorrento and it has scenic views to the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. A drink and/or dinner in one of the terraces is a great way to enjoy the best quality of food and drinks in a beautiful setting.
Positano is a cliffside village overlooking the sea. It is one of the most popular villages on the Amalfi coast and therefore, one of the busier and most visited. Positano has a colourful architecture that covers the cliff and looks beautiful from the sea. The views from the top are spectacular!
You can reach Positano by ferry or boat, arriving at the port at the bottom of the village, right by the pebble beach and pedestrian streets. You may also arrive by bus or taxi, arriving at the top of the village.
Be careful with your feet
The steep narrow streets lined with boutiques and cafes have no real sidewalks, so pay attention when you explore Positano on foot. Once the pedestrian area by the port and the beach becomes motorised, cars, buses, motorcycles and people share the beautiful narrow streets of Positano.
A helping hand for a fee
If you arrive in Positano with luggage, you may use the porter luggage service available. They will take your luggage to your hotel or final destination in Positano for a fee.
A piece of advice
I needed to go from Sorrento to Praiano with luggage, and I wanted to do it by water. My first idea was to take a ferry from Sorrento to Positano and then take a taxi to Praiano which is the village next to it. I hadn’t realized that the port and the taxi rank were not connected. Instead, I took a ferry from Sorrento to Amalfi and a taxi to Praiano. In Amalfi, the port, the taxi rank and the bus stop are right next to each other, whereas, in Positano, you would have to walk uphill.
Positano, like many villages on the Amalfi coast, produces beautiful sandals with an array of designs and materials. Swarovski crystals look beautiful on the sandals and they are quite popular. Many shops have on-site shoemaker who can make bespoke sandals. You may choose the material, the heel height, the sole colour, the design and they will adjust them to your feet. I found a family run shop in Positano with great service and good advice – Nana Positano. The father is the shoemaker, the mother runs the business with the son who speaks English and has lived in London.
Franco’s Bar is a must for sunset drinks. The bar is carefully designed and decorated by different artists, and the views are spectacular. Don’t worry if you forgot to wear a hat and the unmerciful sun hits you on the face, they have hats that you can borrow.
Good to know
Franco’s Bar opens at 5:30pm but people start queuing half an hour before. Everyone is after the best tables by the window, with the views of Positano and the sea.
A delicious meal
Ristorante Next 2 was a wonderful experience. I love sea urchin and they had a day-special that I’ll never forget – spaghetti al dente in a subtle parsley sauce with sea urchin and algae powder.
Moving around the Amalfi coast can be done via public bus; usually crowded but cheap SITA bus, by ferry (there are several companies,) by water taxi, and by taxi. For taxis, I was very pleased with the Positano Royal Limousine service; punctual, great drivers in those narrow winding roads, comfortable and clean cars.
Great tip from a local taxi driver
Weekdays are much busier on the road that links the Amalfi coast villages, than weekends. Tour buses that take people on day trips on weekdays delay the traffic. They don’t run on weekends. Consider this when you decide how to go to other villages.
While Positano is a shopper’s paradise with busy shopping streets, great restaurants and cafes, Praiano, next door, is an oasis of peace.
Praiano is a chilled village with great views. The streets of Praiano are isolated, with an almost ghost town feel to it. Marina di Praia is a small pebble beach located between cliffs. It has some hotels and restaurants around and several kiosks that offer water taxi transfers, boat tours around the Amalfi coast, kayak and paddle–board rentals.
Private style port
Praiano has no port therefore, it is reachable by bus, taxi, private boat or water taxi.
Swimming in Praiano
Praiano doesn’t have sand beaches. Marina di Praia is a pebble beach that is usually crowded. I enjoyed renting a sunbed and umbrella at Il Pirata, a comfortable and more private experience. There are many other similar beaches around. The water is wonderfully fresh and clean, however, you have to jump in or go down some steps.
The coast from a different perspective
Renting a kayak or a paddle-board is a nice way to explore the caves, beaches and get a different view from the coastline at your own pace. It gets windy in the afternoon so it’s advisable to rent the kayak or paddle-board in the morning.
Beware of jellyfish
Watch out for jellyfish around the Amalfi coast. Some days there are many and some others, none.
Some local restaurants
Marina di Praia has a few simple, unpretentious Italian restaurants. It’s a nice escape from the tourist crowds.
Trattoria Da Armandino is a crowded authentic restaurant that serves great pasta and seafood. The Mother makes a decadent pistachio cheesecake.
La Conchiglia is a family-run hotel and restaurant with beach views. They serve simple, inexpensive and delicious Italian food. The ‘Nono’ is the barman, the Mother and the ‘Nona’ are the cooks and the daughter, who speaks English, works with her family in the hotel and restaurant. The highlight of the meal was ‘Nona’s’ lemon cake – the best we had in all the Amalfi coast.
Cool lounge bar
Il Pirata has a really cool atmosphere with great views. Drinks after a long day of exploring the Amalfi coast villages, with great sea views and cool music was a great way to unwind and chill.
If you happen to be in Praiano in summer on a Friday or Saturday night, Africana Famous Club is a good option to party.
A romantic stroll
The “Path of Love” is a panoramic walk that starts in Marina di Praia and ends in Africana Famous Club. The walk is beautiful and takes about 20’ each way.
Scenic views and great food
Up in Piazza Moressa, is the Italian bistro & lounge bar La Moressa. The views are spectacular, the fish is fresh and the atmosphere is fun.
Amalfi is a bigger village with beautiful luxury hotels nearby, busy narrow streets that are fun to explore on foot, many shops, cafes, restaurants and colourful ceramics shops.
One of the highlights of Amalfi is the Cathedral.
A convenient fact worth noting
The port and the bus stop are both by the water and next to the beach.
The beach in Amalfi is one of the best sand beaches I’ve seen throughout my trip.
Ravello is a relaxing and mostly pedestrian village with sea views and green hills. If you like a peaceful village with beautiful gardens, quiet narrow streets, fantastic views and cute little shops; wander in Ravello and get lost in its narrow streets and alleys.
It is common to find family–run businesses in Italian villages; I bought a beautiful coral and silver bracelet in a shop run by mother and daughter.
How to reach Ravello?
Ravello is not by the water but on a hilltop above the Amalfi coast. It is reachable by bus or car from Amalfi.
There are villas that can be visited for a fee. I went to Villa Rufolo which has beautiful gardens, flowery squares, impressive sea views, a majestic tower and some old ruins.
A highlight of my visit to Ravello was the lunch I had at Da Salvatore Ristorante e camera. It is located just before the bus stop and has amazing panoramic sea views. The food was excellent.
I noticed a couple of wedding groups in Ravello – it’s a fantastic quiet village to host a wedding that lasts two or three days.
The Amalfi coast is a beautiful holiday destination. As soon as you arrive in the first village, you forget about life and your little world; it’s very easy to disconnect and enjoy the moment with all it has to offer.
If you have more travel tips from the villages in this post, please share them in the comment section below.