The Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s premier tourist destinations, welcoming millions of visitors annually. A lot of those people think that the only way to see this incredible coast line and visit these beautiful fishing villages is to take an organized tour. But that it is just not the case! We’ve put together this Amalfi Coast Itinerary to help plan your own Do-It-Yourself Amalfi Coast Tour with tips on how to get there, how to travel between villages, where to stay (on any budget!) and where to eat to help you plan the perfect trip!
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This post was co-written with Barbara of Jet-Settera
The Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana) is a stretch of coastline about an hour south of Naples in the Gulf of Salerno. The Amalfi Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Italy with the region hosting 5 million visitors annually. It’s a popular vacation destination for Italians and foreigners alike.
The only land route to the Amalfi Coast is the 40 kms long Strada Statale from Vietra sul Mare to Positano. The road is also known as the ‘Road of 1000 bends’ (we bet you can’t guess why!) But visitors who take the scenic drives along it find themselves traveling through lemon groves and little villages while enjoying the coastal view as they make their way into the heart of the Amalfi Coast.
There are 13 small cities located on Italys Amalfi Coast. Many of these are centered around tourism and the main towns along the coast that most tourists visit on an Amalfi Coast Itinerary are the historic centers of Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Get To The Amalfi Coast
- 2 Positano – Amalfi – Ravello: The Perfect Amalfi Coast Itinerary
- 3 Where To Next?!
How To Get To The Amalfi Coast
Before you can start working your way through our Amalfi Coast Itinerary, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to get the region. You can get to the Amalfi Coast either by boat from Sorrento or by bus from either Sorrento or Vietra sul Mare (the road of 1000 bends we mentioned above). The boat is a more picturesque option because you can enjoy the magnificent coastal and sea views while cruising the waters. It also gives you the option to observe the houses of some of the rich and famous on the side of the cliffs.
Taking the bus is the cheaper way to reach the coast, but be warned, the narrow roads are winding and the traffic is usually bad. The buses run frequently (timetable), or there are a few high speed ferries between Sorrento and the Village of Positano. Or if you’d like to skip public transport completely, a private transfer can be arranged and financially may be a better option for groups of 4. Also, if you’re feeling brave about driving to and between the villages, AutoEurope have got some great car hire deals!
Many tourists visit the Amalfi Coast on boat tours or on an Amalfi Coast day trip from Sorrento, while some stay longer to enjoy the colorful, romantic towns of the Amalfi coast. Ideally between 48 hours and 4 days is sufficient to get a proper Amalfi Coast experience, visit its charming towns and soak in the beautiful views, and the below can be used as a 4 day itinerary.
RELATED: Feeling overwhelmed? Read this for more handy information about planning a trip to Italy.
Positano – Amalfi – Ravello: The Perfect Amalfi Coast Itinerary
Day 1-2: Positano
Arrive to Positano and spend the day there. This coastal town used to be a scarcely populated fishing village in the 1950s, but it quickly became popular and within a few decades, it became one of the most popular jet-set destinations of Italy. Positano is a vertical village situated on the side of the mountain. Only about 4000 locals live here, but thousands of tourists flock here during the Summer season.
There is not much to do in Positano besides hanging on the beach (or at one of the fancy beach clubs!) and watching the yachts cruising around or going shopping for locally made linen and sandals. Tourists will also enjoy sitting on a terrace of a restaurant sipping Campari and watching the beautiful people walking by on the beach.
Take a boat to explore the coves along the coast and have lunch at the World famous restaurant Da Adolfo. This place can only be reached by boat. It may not look like a fancy place first, but it serves some of the tastiest dishes in Italy. Its zuppe di cozze, a shellfish soup in thick tomato sauce is World famous. All their ingredients are fresh and locally grown, the fish is caught fresh every day.
After a delicious lunch at Da Adolfo, a good option is to head to Li Galli, the archipelago made of three tiny islands for snorkeling. Here the water is crystal clear and the visibility is great. Once you discovered the area, head back to Positano and consider walking the path of the gods before traveling over to Amalfi, to discover this beautiful historical town.
Eating & Drinking in Positano
La Sponda ($$$) – It s a Michelin star restaurant in the Le Sirenuse hotel. It provides a romantic dining experience where couples can have a candlelit dinner while listening to mandolin and guitar playing. Chef Matteo Temperini prepares amazing fresh, Mediterranean flavors. It’s the perfect place for food and drink.
Other Dining Options: Ristorante da Costantino ($$), Da Ferdinando ($) & C’era Una Volta ($-$$)
Where To Stay in Positano
- Le Sirenuse – 5* Luxury Stay ($500+ per night)
It is one of the legendary hotels in the World with a terrace overlooking the sea and the entire town. The hotel is filled with pictures and antiques. The hotel has 59 rooms and its champagne & oyster bar makes it a prime aperitivo spot. Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
- Villa La Tartana – 4* Mid-Range Stay ($250-300 per night)
Another beautiful hotel on the hill, with on site dining options, 24 hour room service and free wifi.
Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
- La Maliosa D’Arienzo – Budget Stay (<$200 per night)
Set within the picturesque countryside of Positano, La Maliosa D’ Arienzo offers comfortable accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis. Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
Day 2-4: Amalfi
It takes about 45 minutes to reach the seaside town of Amalfi from Positano (by ferry or water taxi); and about a 1 hour drive via car or bus.
About 1000 years ago, Amalfi was a large maritime republic with a population of 80,000 people and the town was competing with big trade hubs like Venice, Genoa and Pisa. Today, the town is packed with tourists who make it their home base while exploring the area and who come here to enjoy the view and often take home ceramics and limoncello as a souvenir.
The center of the town is Piazza del Duomo, which is dominated by a striped Norman-Arab style cathedral – the Duomo di santandrea. Pasticceria Panza is a famous pastry store where a wide selection of limoncello based pastries are sold. Perfect for relaxing and enjoying your time.
Amalfi is also the departure point for buses and ferries to more off-the-beaten-track villages on the Amalfi Coast, such as Maiori, Cetara, and hidden gem Erchie.
For adventurous tourists, take a walking tour along the footpath that leads over the hill to Atrani, an authentic Italian fishing village and enjoy dinner at Trattoria A’Paranza. This is just one of the great Amalfi Coast Hikes that you can do in the region.
Where To Eat in Amalfi
A’Paranza – A low key trattoria that was renovated a few years ago. It is famous for delicious seafood dishes and deep-fried courgette flowers stuffed with cheese and the ricotta and pear flan is also incredible.
Where To Stay in Amalfi
- Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel – 5* Luxury Stay ($500+ per night)
This converted monastery perches atop the cliffs between Positano and Amalfi. The hotel was reopened not long ago after a 10 year long renovation. The hotel has an exceptional view overlooking the coast. The service is also excellent. Visitors can often spot celebrities in this hidden gem. The place has an excellent chef who prepares outstanding Italian dishes. Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
- Amalfi Holiday resort – 3* Mid-Range Stay ($250-300 per night)
5 self-contained, recently refurbished apartments come with a kitchenette and coffee maker and are only a 10 minute walk from Amalfi Cathedral. Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
- Villa Maria Amalfi – Budget Stay (<$250 per night)
The bed & breakfast offers comfortable accommodation, with a flat-screen TV, heating and a hairdryer.
Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
Day 5: Ravello
Spend the night in Amalfi and head to Ravello the next day to discover this tiny village, which is considered to be the jewel of the coastal crown. Ravello is situated on the top of the coast, high above sea level. The view from up there is truly spectacular. Ravello was also a larger, more prosperous town back in the days. Its magnificent gardens and palazzi attracted many artists and musicians.
There are two famous gardens that most tourists visit in Ravello, one is Villa Rufolo that became famous because Richard Wagner drew inspiration from the garden for his opera Parsifal. The other place Villa Cimbrone is another famous garden and hotel. It served as a love nest for Greta Garbo and Leopold Stokowski in the 1930ies. Ravello is home to the coast oldest and most beautiful church, which was built in the 11th century, the Duomo di Ravello. Ravello is famous for colorful ceramics.
*EXTRA* – Scala
Just beyond Ravello, a less touristy town Scala is located. It is a sleepy town, set 400m above sea level – with stunning views – and is the oldest town on the Amalfi Coast. As the former outpost for the Amalfi Coast, there are many remaining palazzi (palaces) and a large duomo from the 12th century. It is a great place for people who enjoy a good hiking trail (or two!) or would like to experience traditional daily life on the Amalfi Coast; and the perfect place to explore if you are looking for a little off the beaten path additions to their Amalfi Coast Itinerary.
Eating and Drinking in Ravello
Rossellinis – is a two-Michelin star restaurant overlooking the Salerno Coast. The chef, Pino Lavarra, prepares tasty food with local flavours. The service is very friendly and attentive.
Where To Stay in Ravello
- Palazzo Avino – 5* Luxury Stay ($500+ per night)
It is a pink palace with magnificent views to the coast. Some of the rooms even have private terraces. The hotel is famous for the excellent service. It has an amazing terrace that overlooks the entire coast. The hotel also has a free shuttle bus to its private beach club. Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
- La Moresca resort – 3* Mid-Range Stay ($150-200 per night)
La Moresca Ravello is conveniently located for guests wanting to sightsee in the area and offers free WiFi. The hotel has 9 unique rooms offering all the necessities to ensure an enjoyable stay. Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
- Al Borgo Torello – Budget Stay (<$100 per night)
Borgo Torello has 4 well-appointed rooms that are equipped with a range of essential facilities to ensure guests have a comfortable stay. Ravello’s well-known attractions are within close proximity to the bed & breakfast, with Villa Rufolo just a brief walk away. Minori and Scala are located a short drive away. Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
Where To Next?!
Ravello/Scala are the last stops on our DIY Amalfi Coast Itinerary – but that doesn’t mean your Italy trip has to be over! Hop on a bus/private transfer to stand in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius when visiting Pompeii (the famous archaeological site), spend a couple of days in Naples (to look out of the Bay of Naples or visit the commune of Massa Lubrense), or Lake Garda for those epic views.
Or why not head to the other side of the Peninsula and visit the stunning town of Sorrento where you could people watch from Piazza Tasso or spend a half-day/few days on the islands of Capri where the incredible Blue Grotto and Mount Solaro are located. From these bigger towns, the whole of Italy is accessible via the train stations! (Think Cinque Terre, Venice & Rome) (click for timetable info to start planning). Or if it is time to head home, head to Salerno or Naples Airport and catch a flight out of there!
And that’s a wrap folks! I hope this post has got you excited to explore the Amalfi Coast and given you enough trip inspiration to help you plan your own Amalfi Coast Itinerary. How many days in the Amalfi Coast do you think will be enough? If you have any hints and tips I haven’t covered, or questions about the area, let me know in the comments below!
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Vicki is the Lawyer turned Content Creator, Editor-in-Chief and all round Boss Lady at MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld.
She has lived and worked in 7 different countries and started the site to show everyone that it is possible to travel whilst holding down a full time job (because not everyone can – or wants to – quit and walk away from it all).
Her style of travel has always been to get the best out of a destination as a time poor traveler making the most of limited vacation days and all without breaking the bank; BUT she does know where to save and where to splurge to have the most incredible travel experiences – such as luxury hotels and over-water bungalows, safaris, spas and more(!) – where the situation calls for it.