The Amalfi Coast is one of the most stunning stretches along Italy’s Mediterranean Sea. Its dramatic cliffs drop straight down to the turquoise waters below. Its charming fishing villages are now some of the most fashionable boltholes in the world. It also offers spectacular waterfront hotels and restaurants. But which are the best places on the Amalfi Coast for a luxury getaway? Read on…
The beauty of the “Costiera Amalfitana” has been celebrated since the times of ancient Rome. Today, this relatively small area UNESCO-listed spot in southern Italy is among the most popular destinations in the world. To avoid the crush of tourists that invade each summer, we suggest staying at least a few days on the coast. That way you have time to savor its picturesque towns, jewel-like islands, nearby archaeological sites, and even Naples.
One of the first decisions you need to make when planning a luxury vacation on the Amalfi Coast is where you want to book your hotel or villa. At Visumo Travel, we know this area intimately. We can offer insights and assistance for booking your accommodations and planning your itinerary. Here’s a guide to help get you started on dreaming about your custom holiday on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
The Best Places on the Amalfi Coast
The Best Places on the Amalfi Coast – Sorrento
Though Sorrento is often considered part of the Amalfi Coast, this historic resort town is actually located outside the strict boundaries. A busy cruise ship port and bus tour destination, Sorrento sits halfway between Naples and Positano. It’s a convenient and popular base for the entire area from Naples to Vietri sul Mare, the southernmost village on the Amalfi Coast.
Unfortunately, its relatively accessible location makes it very crowded between June and September. This is when the high-season day-trippers clog the narrow lanes of the old town. We recommend booking a hotel or villa in Sorrento only in the spring and fall.
Sorrento is one of the best places on the Amalfi Coast if you plan on spending your time on the coast sightseeing most days. Its central location makes it easy to explore with a private driver on land or by sea with a private day cruise. The top towns, islands, and sights are all within about an hour.
If you’re traveling with family, you may also want to consider staying in Sorrento as the town is relatively flat. Other villages along the Amalfi Coast are virtually vertical and the steps and hills can be tough on children. Corso Italia, the main shopping street, is closed to traffic. There are also a number of family-friendly beaches in and near Sorrento, including Marina Grande and Marina Piccola. These beaches just below the center of town.
Best Places to Stay in Sorrento
Our top pick by far in Sorrento is the storied Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria for its timeless elegance and breathtaking terrace overlooking the sea. This is an ideal choice for couples (the spa is a huge perk) but also for families. The sprawling resort has ample outdoor space with a separate children’s pool and play area.
We also love the indulgent suites at the Bellevue Syrene. This chic Mediterranean gem perched above the sea has gorgeous interiors, private indoor pools, and panoramic dining on the terrace.
Best Places to Eat in Sorrento
We recommend Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890, one of the best fine-dining restaurants in southern Italy with two Michelin stars. The chef uses ingredients sourced from the family’s farm on Punta Campanella and other local producers. The restaurant is located in Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi, just outside of Sorrento.
The Best Places on the Amalfi Coast – Amalfi
The Amalfi Coast is known for its postcard-perfect scenery and unparalleled cuisine, as well as a unique La Dolce Vita atmosphere. There isn’t much along the coastline as far as art and architecture as most of the villages were modest fishing hamlets until the mid-20th century. The one exception, however, is the bustling town of Amalfi, for which the coastline is named.
Once a wealthy maritime republic, Amalfi today holds the lion’s share of the coast’s cultural treasures, with a spectacular cathedral and historic paper making museum. It’s the largest town on the coastline and sits roughly at its center. It’s one of the best places on the Amalfi Coast if you are looking forward to visiting all the Amalfi Coast towns from Positano to Vietri sul mare.
Even if you stay within the confines of the town for the duration of your stay, there is plenty to keep you busy. First and foremost, visit the splendid 10th-century Duomo and its Cloister of Paradise. Other highlights include the 18th-century majolica floor in the Church of San Biagio and the historic Arsenale. This is where the Republic of Amalfi’s shipbuilders could once turn out an entire ship in just weeks. Amalfi’s Paper Museum is also worth a visit, dedicated to the town’s important history as a producer of hand-crafted paper.
Amalfi has some of the best shopping on the Amalfi Coast. B sure to buy handmade paper by Cartiera Amatruda, a workshop that has been producing stationary for royalty for 500 years. It also offers waterfront dining and a number of beaches. Just outside Amalfi, the clifftop villas of Ravello and winding staircases and narrow lanes of Atrani – the tiniest town in southern Italy – beckon.
Best Places to Stay in Amalfi
Amalfi is home to one of our favorite insider gems on the Amalfi Coast, the glorious cliffside Hotel Santa Caterina just outside of town. The hotel features two panoramic restaurants, a heated pool, and a private beach with elevator access. Our guests have a hard time tearing themselves away from this coastal paradise.
Couples who really want to get away from it all for a few days can settle in at the superb Monastero Santa Rosa. This is of the hottest newer luxury retreats along the coast set above tiny Conca dei Marini outside of Amalfi.
Best Places to Eat in Amalfi
We love the old-world atmosphere of the historic Da Gemma restaurant. They have been serving authentic Amalfi dishes since 1872.
The Best Places on the Amalfi Coast – Positano
Considered the pearl of the Amalfi Coast, Positano was once a humble fishing village. Today, it’s one of the most elegant boltholes along the coast. The center is bursting with luxury hotels, fabulous restaurants, and high-end boutiques and art galleries.
Though the town is now a buzzy outpost, its original jumble of colorful houses tumbling down the cliffside to the beach remains. The bright bursts of bougainvillea frame the towering church majolica dome, one of its most famous landmarks.
Positano is among the best places on the Amalfi Coast to stay if you just have a few nights to stay on the Amalfi Coast. You can experience all its beauty and glamour without ever having to leave the town. It’s also the hands-down favorite if you’re celebrating a special romantic occasion like a honeymoon or anniversary.
Best Places to Stay in Positano
The most famous hotel is the iconic Le Sirenuse, a luxury landmark. Scores of celebrities and nobility have stayed here over the decades. Today, its classic décor and luxurious dining options still position it among the finest hotels along the coast.
The indulgent San Pietro is also a Positano favorite with our clients. We love the chic interiors, attentive service, and inviting family atmosphere.
Best Places to Eat in Positano
For the meal of your life, there is no better place than dinner at La Sponda, the fine-dining restaurant Le Sirenuse. Each night, 400 candles are lit to bathe the dining room in an unforgettable golden glow.
The Best Places on the Amalfi Coast – Ravello
This tiny delight is the only town along the Amalfi Coast that does not sit at the water’s edge. Instead, it offers bird’s-eye views over the Bay of Salerno from the top of the coastal cliff. Ravello is famous for its two historic villas, the 13th-century Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. Villa Cimbrone has an exquisite botanical garden and the Terrace of Infinity with some of the most sweeping views on the Amalfi Coast.
Set a bit apart from the other coastal towns, Ravello generally sees fewer visitors and the overall atmosphere is quiet and relaxed. In addition to its landmark villas and gardens, you can visit the town’s pretty cathedral and wander the sleepy old town center.
Best Places to Stay in Ravello
The Belmond Hotel Caruso is one of the best places on the Amalfi Coast to stay. This white-glove resort sits in an 11th-century palazzo on the clifftop with one of the most stunning infinity pools in Italy. Perfect for a relaxing retreat far from the crowds, you can unwind on the grounds or poolside. Guests also indulge in luxury spa treatments and enjoy drinks and meals with a view at the restaurants. The hotel shuttle runs between Ravello and Amalfi several times a day. Most of our clients are happy to settle in and recharge for the duration of their stay, however.
Best Places to Eat in Ravello
The Michelin-starred Il Flauto di Pan restaurant in Villa Cimbrone serves its contemporary Mediterranean cuisine made with organic ingredients grown in the villa’s gardens.