Italy is filled with amazing ruins, museums and churches, but sometimes even the most cultured traveler wants a little sun and nothing to do but sip cocktails. That’s when you head to Italy’s famed Amafi Coast. It’s here that colorful fishing villages cling to the cliff side and cars, buses and vespas vie to get by one another on the road with 1000 bends. The honking and the plunging cliffs are stomach wrenching, but the views of the azure Mediterranean, the cool sea breeze and the incredible sea food make the traffic jams on the barely two-lane wide coastal road worth it. Follow this guide to the must-see sights on the Amalfi Coast, where to eat, where to stay and more for the perfect holiday.
Ravello is my favorite of the towns on the Amalfi Coast. Set 350 meters above the other towns like Amalfi and Minori, many people never make the trek up. On one hand, it’s a shame because the views from Ravello are like no other. On the other, Ravello is a blissful retreat from the madness of tour buses and cruise ships far below.
Where to eat in Ravello
Cumpà Cosimo is a rustic family-run restaurant that has regularly served the likes of some of the world’s glitterati like Jackie O. In the family for four generations now, it’s Netta Bottone that is at the helm of the kitchen. When we dined, Netta herself even delivered our second courses as she toured the restaurant to ensure all her patrons were happy. The menu changes according to whatever is in season and inspires Netta, but no matter what you try it is sure to be delicious.
Cumpa’ Cosimo is sometimes closed on Mondays and reservations are essential. Via Roma 46, Ravello, 84010
Must-See Sights in Ravello
It’s no wonder that the rich and famous hole up at Villa Cimbrone. With its spectacular views over the Bay of Salerno, fabulous pool and romantic gardens, Villa Cimbrone is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Italy. Don’t miss the Terrace of Infinity for one of the most jaw-dropping views on the Amalfi Coast (the other is from Villa Rufolo).
Villa Cimbrone‘s gardens and Terrace of Infinity are open to the public daily from 9am – sunset. Admission is €7 per person.
Conca dei Marini
Perched on a cliff not quite as high above the sparkling sea as Ravello, Conca dei Marini is another quieter of the charming fishing villages. The small village is surprisingly home to a number of the Amalfi Coast’s most beautiful buildings, monuments and artworks. You’ll even find part of the skull of St. Barnabas the Apostle here, which is one of the most important relics of the Amalfi Coast
Where to eat in Conca dei Marini
The Calajanara Restaurant has a stunning sea view terrace open in the summer months. While you never really get a sunset on the Amalfi Coast as the sun sets behind the mountains, the sky dazzles in shades of pinks and purples. Book a table for around sunset and feast on specialties like the seafood paccheri and stuffed squid.
Calajanara Restaurant, Via Smeraldo 35, Conca dei Marini 84010
The sfogliatella is a pastry that was invented in the 17th century at the Monastero Santa Rosa when the now luxury hotel was a monastery. While you can find the pastries throughout the Amalfi Coast, there’s no better place to try one than in the very place they came in to existence. The secret recipe the nuns created is still used today.
Amalfi is exactly the opposite of Ravello; sitting at sea level it is the Amalfi Coast’s busiest town. It’s so small that its hard to grasp that this village was once a maritime super power and an independent republic. Once home to some 70,000 people, you can now explore Amalfi from end to end in about 20 minutes. It doesn’t make sense until you learn of the earthquake of 1343 when most of the old town and its population simply slid in to the sea.
Where to eat in Amalfi
Walk to Pier Darsena and look for a boat that says Santa Croce. The free boat, which operates frequently between 9am – 5pm, will whisk you to the Santa Croce restaurant just down the coast and only accessible by boat or a very long staircase down from the main road. The menu changes daily based upon the fresh fish and ingredients available that day.
Must-see Sights in Amalfi
Dating back to the 11th century and sitting mightily atop a staircase, the Duomo (Saint Andrew’s Cathedral) is the heart of the village of Amalfi. You can visit the interior, richly decorated in golds of the late Baroque style and be sure to descend the stairs to the crypt where a tomb holds a portion of the relics of the apostle Saint Andrew.
Cetara is so different from the tourist ladden Amalfi and the elegant Ravello. This is what all of the villages must have been like when they were all traditional fishing towns. Tourism hasn’t got its grasp on Cetara yet and its the only town remaining with a working fishing fleet. The beach has just a smattering of locals on it mid-week and its blissfully quiet.
Where to eat in Cetara
In Cetara the anchovy is king. Head to Acqua Pazza with its smattering of outdoor tables with a view of the beach and small port. I’m not personally a fan of anchovies, so thankfully the menu features other fresh fish like the tuna carpaccio with kiwi that I tried. But if you are an anchovy fan, this is definitely the place to try them. The small shop also sells anchovies and an anchovy fish sauce.
Acqua Pazza, Corso Garibaldi 38, Cetara 84010
Amalfi has the best lemons in all of Italy and on a hot day, there’s nothing better than a lemon granita. Pop in to Bar Miramare just a few meters from the beach for a granita limone.
Know Before You Go
- Palazzo Avino, Ravello
- Hotel Villa Cimbrone, Ravello
- Ravello Art Hotel Marmorata, Marmorata
- Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa, Conca dei Marini
- Conca Azzurra Boutique Hotel, Conca dei Marini
- Lloyd’s Baia Hotel, Vietri Sul Mare
You can read our reviews of each of these individual hotels in our guide to the best places to stay on the Amalfi Coast.
This SalernoC2C Amalfi and Cilento Coast trip was provided by the Confesercenti Provinciale di Salerno in partnership with To Salerno in order to bring you this story. However, Luxe Adventure Traveler maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and enthusiasm for travel are entirely our own. This article contains affiliate links. When you book on Booking.com or Walks of Italy through our affiliate sites, we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.