What do you look for when picking the perfect vacation spot? Beautiful beaches? Charming towns to explore? Shopping? Restaurants with a view? Colorful sunsets? Romance? What if I told you that you could get all of these in one place…the Amalfi Coast. In this article, learn about the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast with tips to have the best experience.
So far, we have visited the Amalfi Coast twice. The first time we traveled as a family, when Tyler and Kara were 9 and 11 years old and we were on a strict budget. Eight years later, just Tim and I returned to the Amalfi Coast, this time without kids and with more money in our pockets.
From our two trips, we have spent about two weeks on the Amalfi Coast, staying in both Positano and Sorrento. We have learned how to tour the Amalfi Coast on a budget and what it is like to be able to splurge on a fancy hotel room.
You can have an amazing experience here without spending a fortune. But if you have a fortune to spend, there are many, many places on the Amalfi Coast that will help you unload some of that cash.
In this article, we first list the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast (regardless of budget) at the end of the article, give suggestions based on your budget.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Overview of the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline that runs along the Sorrentino peninsula. There are 13 towns along this coastline and Salerno and Sorrento sit at either end. Some of these towns are located right on the water, like Amalfi and Positano, and others are located higher up on the hills, like Ravello and Praiano. For an overview of all 13 towns, plus a few hidden gems, take a look at our article Beautiful Towns to Visit on the Amalfi Coast.
Amalfi Drive is the main road that travels through the Amalfi Coast. It is 50 km long and runs through most of these towns. There are a few Amalfi Coast towns that are located higher in the mountains, such as Ravello and Tramonti.
To get around the Amalfi Coast, you have a lot of options…by car, bus, ferry, small boat tour, private boat, taxi, private driver, and tour. How you get around depends on several things: how long you will be in the Amalfi Coast, what you plan to do, and how much money you have to spend.
In this guide, for each of the things to do on the Amalfi Coast, we’ll also list the best way to get there/do it.
Best Things to Do on the Amalfi Coast
In no particular order, here is our list of the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast.
1. Visit the Amalfi Coast Towns
Dotting the dramatic coastal cliffs of the Amalfi Coast are small, colorful towns that are a delight to explore. Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello are some of the most famous, but some of the smaller, less known towns, such as Tramonti and Nerano, are well worth some of your precious time.
Atrani | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Duomo | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
Cetara | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
There are 13 towns on the Amalfi Coast: Amalfi, Positano, Atrani, Maiori, Minori, Conca dei Marini, Cetara, Furore, Vietri Sul Mare, Scala, Ravello, Tramonti, and Praiano.
Sorrento and Salerno sit just outside of the Amalfi Coast but are also popular places to visit or use as a home base for exploring the Amalfi Coast.
Nerano is a small, coastal town that sits between Positano and Sorrento and technically, it also sits just outside of the Amalfi Coast. However, this lovely little town makes it onto a lot of boat tours of the coast and we loved our time here (dining on spaghetti Nerano, spaghetti with zucchini in a light cream sauce is the thing to do here).
With so many places to visit, how do you decide where to go?
The “big 3” are Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. If you only have one day on the Amalfi Coast, these are the three towns we recommend visiting. You can learn how to do this on our Amalfi Coast itinerary (coming soon).
Atrani is a very small town with a great beach that sits right next to Amalfi, so it’s also worth a little bit of your time.
If you are day tripping along the Amalfi Coast, starting and ending in Sorrento, it’s not worth going past Amalfi, because this adds more travel time and the towns beyond Amalfi aren’t worth the time on a quick visit, in our opinion.
How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
2. Take a Boat Tour of the Amalfi Coast
One of the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast is to take a boat tour. Nothing beats seeing the coastal cliffs, colorful towns, beaches, and sea caves from the water. And there are several different ways to do it.
The most budget friendly way to cruise the Amalfi Coast is by ferry. It’s also the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast in the summertime, to avoid the traffic jams along Amalfi Drive. You can learn more about traveling by ferry in our guide to How to Get Around the Amalfi Coast.
Small Group Boat Tour
If you want to cruise along the coast, not spend a fortune, and avoid the ferry, take a small group boat tour. These boat tours can range from full day tours of the Amalfi Coast, where you visit a few towns and sea caves, to shorter tours, such as this sunset tour of the Amalfi Coast.
If you are going to splurge on one experience during your trip to Italy, this gets our vote. Relax on a private boat, sip on prosecco, visit small coves and caves that are inaccessible by ferry and difficult or impossible to get to by car or bus, and zip up and down the coastline faster than any car or ferry out there.
Sorrento and Positano are good places to hire a private boat.
We took a private 8-hour boat cruise from Positano, visiting the Smeraldo Cave, Fiordo di Furore, Amalfi, Maiori, Minori, Atrani, and Nerano. This 8-hour boat tour with Luxury Boats Positano was one of our best and most memorable experiences in Italy.
Amalfi | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
Prices for a full day cruise range from €800 to as high as €3000, depending on the boat and company you choose. If you are traveling as a group of four to six people, splitting the cost of a €800 or €1300 boat is not as crazy as it first seems, especially given the advantages that come with having a private boat.
And if you want the private boat experience, without spending a crazy out of money, Luxury Boats Positano and other companies have shorter tours. How about a 2-hour sunset cruise along the Amalfi Coast?
3. Spend Some Time on the Beach
Soaking up the sun on a beach is another wonderful thing to do on the Amalfi Coast. The “beach experience” ranges from free beaches in some towns to exclusive, VIP clubs where you spend up to €500 per day to rent a lounge chair.
Spiaggia Grande in Positano | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
If you are traveling on a budget, one of the best beaches to visit is Spiaggia Grande in Positano. This pebbly beach has a beautiful setting in Positano, and from here, you can rent kayaks and it is just a short walk to several great restaurants. Other towns, such as Amalfi, Minori, Maiori, and Vietri sul Mare also have free beaches.
Then, there are the beach clubs.
Beach clubs come with an entrance fee, and this fee can vary dramatically, depending on the property and time of year.
In Positano, you can spend about €30 per person to enter the paid section of Spiaggia Grande, and for that price, you get a lounge chair and umbrella, and less crowds than the free section of the beach. Or, walk 10 minutes to Fornillo Beach, pay your €20, and visit a quieter beach in Positano.
Along the Amalfi Coast, there are many exclusive beach clubs. Arienzo Beach Club and Laurito Beach Club are some of the most famous and these are also located in Positano.
Arienzo Beach | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
One of the most exclusive beach clubs is La Scogliera. Prices here range from €100 to €500 for a sun lounger for the day, depending on season and location of the lounger. This tends to be the spot where the celebrities hang out.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you plan to spend the day at one of the smaller, more exclusive beach clubs, make a reservation in advance. And if you plan to visit a free beach, get here early to stake out your spot on the beach.
4. Taste Limoncello
As you visit the towns on the Amalfi Coast, it is impossible to miss the shops selling limoncello, lemon soaps, and ceramics painted with brilliantly yellow lemons and coastal scenes.
Growing on the slopes of the Amalfi Coast are lemon trees. The peels and zest from these lemons are combined with a rectified spirit, then mixed with simple syrup, creating the sweet, tasty limoncello.
Limoncello is typically served cold, or even frozen, as an after-dinner drink.
There are shops throughout the Amalfi Coast where you can taste the limoncello and then purchase to bring home as a souvenir.
Limoncello | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
5. Visit the Villas in Ravello
Ravello is a cliffside town on the Amalfi Coast. Two of the most beautiful villas are located in this town.
Villa Rufolo was built in the 13th century and was used to host banquets for kings and nobility. It is now one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Amalfi Coast.
Capturing the photo of the tree, the church, and the Amalfi Coast is one of the most iconic shots of Ravello.
Villa Rufolo in Ravello | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
The Ravello Festival, which runs for two months in the summer, is a music festival that is held at Villa Rufolo.
Entrance tickets for Villa Rufolo cost €7 and the villa is open daily from 9 am to 8 pm. Hours can vary from July through September during the festival. Get updated pricing and hours before you go on the official website.
Villa Cimbrone is even older, dating back to the 11th century. However, most of the gardens and building as we see them today are about 100 years old, dating back to the early 20th century.
Visitors to Ravello can visit the gardens, which are extraordinarily beautiful. Guests can stay in the villa, a luxury 5-star hotel, and Villa Cimbrone is a popular destination for luxury weddings and events.
The Infinity Terrace of Villa Cimbrone | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
For most visitors, the highlight of Villa Cimbrone is the Infinity Terrace (Terrazza dell’Infinito). This terrace is lined with marble busts and has a stunning view out over the Amalfi Coast.
Entrance tickets cost €10 and the gardens are open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. The gardens can close for special events at the villa.
6. Hike the Path of the Gods
Located high above the coastal towns of Positano and Praiano is one of the most beautiful walks in Italy, the Path of the Gods (also called Sentiero degli Dei). This is the most popular hike to do along the Amalfi Coast and it is famous for its jaw-dropping views over Positano and the Sorrento peninsula.
Path of the Gods | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
The most common way to do this hike is to start in Bomerano, hike the Path of the Gods to Nocelle, and either walk to Positano or take the bus.
The hike is relatively easy to do (it is 5.6 km/3.5 miles one-way and mostly downhill) but the logistics can be a little bit challenging.
Get the full details on how to do this hike in our Path of the Gods Hiking Guide.
7. Visit Smeraldo Grotto (The Emerald Grotto)
The Emerald Grotto is similar to the Blue Grotto on Capri. On a visit to this cave, you will sit in a rowboat and your guide will paddle around the cave, pointing out stalactites, stalagmites, and an underwater nativity scene.
But the main reason to visit the Emerald Grotto is to see the blueish-green water. The water in the cave is illuminated from a 16-meter-long underwater tunnel that leads outside.
If you have never been inside of a sea cave, then a visit to the Emerald Grotto is worth it. But if you have visited the Blue Grotto, or have plans to visit the Blue Grotto, skip the Emerald Grotto. We thought the Blue Grotto is a much better experience.
The Emerald Grotto | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
How to Visit the Emerald Grotto
Get here by boat (this is a popular stop on small group tours of the Amalfi Coast) or by land. There is limited parking on Amalfi Drive and you will walk down a long set of staircases to get to water level.
There will most likely be a line. At the end of October, we got here in the morning and waited about 10 minutes to enter the grotto and then 10 more minutes to board a rowboat. The rowboat tour lasts 15 minutes.
8. Fiordo di Furore
Fiordo di Furore is a narrow cove that has a small beach and is a popular swimming spot in the summer. Beyond the beach is a small fishing village and several paper mills.
Fiordo di Furore | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
Fiordo di Furore
Best Way to Get to Fiordo di Furore: The best way to get here is on a boat tour of the Amalfi Coast. We visited Fiordo di Furore on a boat tour and were able to enter the cove on the boat. Your next best option is to get here by bus. From the bus stop, descend the steep staircase to the beach to take a photo or go swimming. You could also hire a driver or taxi to be dropped off here. If you will be driving the Amalfi Coast, we have heard that parking is extremely difficult, so you might be limited to a quick glimpse of the cove as you drive over the bridge.
9. Go for a Drive along the Amalfi Coast
Driving along the Amalfi Coast, past dramatic coastal cliffs, some of the most beautiful towns in Italy, and famous beaches, is a bucket list experience for some people.
But this is also an extremely windy, crowded road and during the summer months, becomes a nightmare of traffic jams and struggles to find parking spaces.
If driving the Amalfi Coast is something you want to do, we only recommend it during the off season. That would be from mid-October through the end of April.
During the summer months, an alternating license plate system is in effect. That means, if you have a rental car, you can only drive the car on alternating days (on odd days if you license plate ends in an odd number and even days if your license plate ends with an even number).
If driving the Amalfi Coast sounds like something you would like to do, make sure you read our guide on How to Drive the Amalfi Coast.
Amalfi Coast Drive clings to the cliffs along the coastline
10. Go Shopping
One of the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast, as you visit the small towns, is to go shopping. Popular things for sale are ceramics, handmade leather sandals, clothing, perfume, and of course, limoncello.
11. Dine with a View
Having a sunset dinner with a view of the Amalfi Coast is a wonderful way to end the day.
La Sponda | Photo Courtesy of Le Sirenuse; Photographer Credit: Brechenmacher & Baumann
In Positano, we recommend La Sponda, Il Tridente, Panoramic Restaurant, Le Galli Bistrot, RADA Ristorante Rooftop, and Ristorante Adamo ed Eva.
Zass is a one-starred Michelin restaurant in Il San Pietro di Positano hotel, just outside of Positano. They offer pick up by boat from Positano or you can drive here from Positano.
12. Try a Lemon Delight (Delizie al Limone)
This small, cream filled cake is topped with a thick, delectable layer of icing. You will see it on menus throughout the Amalfi Coast but one of the best places to get one is at the award-winning pastry shop in Minori, Sal de Riso.
Lemon Delight | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
13. Splurge on a 5-Star Hotel
The Amalfi Coast is a romantic getaway destination, making it a perfect place to splurge on a hotel, especially if you are on your honeymoon or a special occasion.
Luxury hotels can be found all along the Amalfi Coast. Positano is home to a large number of these hotels.
We stayed at Villa Bohème, a luxury boutique property that offers three suites. From our wide, private terrace of the Puccini Suite, we began and ended each day with one of the best views in all of Positano. Breakfast was served to our terrace each morning. Our room had a living area, small kitchen, luxurious bathroom, and lovely bedroom. With breathtaking views of Positano, exceptional service, and beautifully decorated rooms, this place is amazing.
Our terrace at Villa Bohème
Other hotels worth the splurge are Le Sirenuse (a 5-star hotel in Positano and a popular hotel with celebrities), Il San Pietro di Positano (Positano), Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel and Spa (Conca dei Marini), Villa Cimbrone (Ravello), Hotel Eden Roc Suites (Positano), and Casa Angelina (Praiano).
For more recommendations to stay on the Amalfi Coast, including budget and mid-range properties, check out our Amalfi Coast Hotel Guide.
14. Tour the Amalfi Coast Wine Road
Tramonti is the main area of the Amalfi Coast Wine Road, a driving route that takes you past various vineyards on the hills of the Amalfi Coast. And while you can explore multiple vineyards along the Wine Road, Tenuta San Francesco is one not to skip.
This vineyard is the Amalfi Coast’s best off the beaten path experience.
The owner, Gaetano Bove, gave us a tour of the vineyard. As we walked through the vineyard, Gaetano picked a bunch of grapes off the vine for us to taste. We also toured the wine cellar and the owner also opened a tap to one of the fermentation vats and gave us a taste. It was amazing.
We just happened to be there on a day that they were harvesting grapes. What a beautiful sight to see…crates and crates of dark purple grapes.
Next up on our visit was a leisurely lunch where we ate panzanella, pasta, and desert as we sampled the vineyard’s wines.
After working out a vet emergency (Gaetano is one of the owners of the vineyard and he is the local veterinarian), he rejoined us for a glass of wine and shared stories about his past and starting the vineyard. I don’t know if every visitor has that same personal experience with the owner or if we just got lucky (they didn’t know we manage a website so we didn’t get special treatment), but all of the staff members were simply amazing and went out of their way to make sure that their guests had a top notch experience.
The staff proudly showed off some of the celebrities that have visited their vineyard, like Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, and they were open to sharing stories about those visits. We also got to witness a couple purchase a palette of wine, which is 56 cases or 672 bottles! Now that is a testament to how much people love the wine and experience here. Tim asked the couple if they owned a restaurant, liquor store, event venue, etc. Nope, just an ordinary couple who now has a lot of wine.
Overall, it felt like we were visiting long lost relatives that happened to own a vineyard versus just visiting any ole vineyard.
15. Day Trip to Capri
One of the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast is to take a day trip to Capri. Like the towns of Positano and Ravello, Capri is another Italian destination popular among both tourists and the rich and famous. On the to-do list in Capri are a boat tour of the island, a visit to the Blue Grotto, a ride on the chairlift to Monte Solaro for panoramic views, and a bit of shopping in lovely Capri town.
To day trip to Capri from Positano, Amalfi, or Sorrento, you can either take the ferry, join a tour, or hire a private boat. Learn how to do this in our guide How to Spend One Perfect Day in Capri.
The view of Capri from Monte Solaro
The Amalfi Coast for Budget Travelers
If you are traveling the Amalfi Coast on a budget, here are a few tips.
During the summer months, plan on taking the ferry to get around the Amalfi Coast. The bus is an economical choice, but there are two downsides to taking the bus: (1) it can get caught in traffic jams on Amalfi Drive, and (2) it is frequently late and crowded and hot (we know because this is how we got around on our first visit).
If you plan to visit the beach at one of the Amalfi Coast towns, get there early to get a spot.
One of our favorite cheap experiences was renting kayaks for an hour at Positano and paddling around. The views of Positano are gorgeous from the water.
Stay in Sorrento, rather than an Amalfi Coast town, because it can be easier to find budget accommodations in Sorrento.
Ideally, visit outside of peak season (avoid June, July, August, and early September). Crowds will be lower and prices will be a little cheaper.
Kayaking in Positano | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
Our Favorite Experiences on the Amalfi Coast
Here are our favorite experiences on the Amalfi Coast. These range from budget activities to excursions that cost more money.
Visiting Tenuta San Francesco. Lunch with the wine pairings, meeting the owners, and watching as the grapes were harvested was one of our most memorable experiences on the Amalfi Coast. What we thought would be a quick lunch turned into a long afternoon at the vineyard. This is a mid-range excursion (lunch is relatively cheap but you will have to hire a driver, which makes this a bit more expensive) and great for those who want to go wine tasting and get off the beaten path on the Amalfi Coast.
Staying at Villa Bohème. This is a big splurge, but to start and end each day with a postcard perfect view of Positano was like a dream.
Kayaking in Positano. We did this with our kids and it was one hour of pure fun and beautiful views. It’s one of the best budget-friendly things to do on the Amalfi Coast.
Boat tour of the Amalfi Coast. This can get pricey, but to cruise around on a boat, sip prosecco, and avoid the driving nightmare of Amalfi Drive makes this one of the best ways to spend one day on the Amalfi Coast.
Eat. The food is so good! Fresh seafood, pasta, wine, limoncello…delicious!
Hiking the Path of the Gods. This is a gorgeous hike. Get to the starting point on foot, or by bus, taxi, or private driver. Great for all budgets.
Ravello and Positano. These are our two favorite towns on the Amalfi Coast. You can get to them by bus, taxi, private driver, car, and on a guided tour.
Sunset in Positano | Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to visit the Amalfi Coast?
The best time to visit the Amalfi Coast is from mid-April through May and mid-September through October, when the weather is pleasant and crowds are manageable. The busiest months to visit the Amalfi Coast are July and August and during this time, traffic jams along the Amalfi Coast are common and crowds are huge in the Amalfi Coast towns.
How much time do you need on the Amalfi Coast?
It’s possible to road trip or travel by ferry along the Amalfi Coast in one day, visiting a few towns, such as Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi. With more time, you can explore more Amalfi Coast towns, visit the beaches, go hiking, go wine tasting in the wine region, try out a few restaurants for dinner, or simply unwind and relax. For a leisurely visit to the Amalfi Coast, plan on spending about three to five days here.
Is the Amalfi Coast worth it?
The Amalfi Coast, with its dramatic coastal cliffs and colorful towns, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy. It’s romantic, it’s photogenic, and it is fun to explore, with proper planning. The Amalfi Coast is well worth the visit on a tour of Italy.
What is the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast?
During the summer months, the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast is by boat (ferry, small boat tour, or private boat). The views are beautiful and you can avoid the traffic jams on Amalfi Drive. If you are traveling on a budget, travel by ferry or by bus. From June through September, avoid driving the Amalfi Coast if possible, since traffic jams are frequent, parking is a nightmare, and rental car traffic is limited by the new alternating license plate system.
More Information about the Amalfi Coast
AMALFI COAST TOWNS: For an overview of where to go, check out our article 17 Beautiful Towns to Visit on the Amalfi Coast. We also have detailed guides about how to visit Positano and Ravello. Learn how to plan your time with our Amalfi Coast Itinerary.
GETTING AROUND: Learn how to travel from Rome to Sorrento, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast and how to visit Pompeii when traveling between Rome and Sorrento. We also have a guide to the Best Way to Get around the Amalfi Coast and what it is like to drive the Amalfi Coast.
PATH OF THE GODS: The Path of the Gods is a gorgeous hike on the Amalfi Coast.
WHERE TO STAY: For recommendations of where to stay, including Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello, take a look at our Amalfi Coast Hotel Guide.
VISITING IN OCTOBER: Learn what it is like to visit Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast in October and November.
ITALY ITINERARY: On this 10 day southern Italy itinerary, visit the Amalfi Coast, Castelmezzano, Matera, Alberobello, and more towns in Puglia.
If you have any questions about the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast, or if you would like to share your experience, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Italy
PUGLIA: Alberobello is one of the most popular towns to visit in Puglia. Here’s a list of the best things to do in Alberobello. We also have a guide to the best things to do on the Gargano Peninsula and how to spend one day in Vieste.
MATERA: Matera is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy. Here is a list of the best things to do in Matera.
ITALY ITINERARY: If you have two weeks in Italy, check out our 14 day Italy itinerary, which covers the highlights (Rome, Florence, Venice, the Amalfi Coast, and the Cinque Terre).
ROME: For a list of the top experiences in Rome, read our article Best Things to Do in Rome. Learn how to put these together in our 2 Day Rome Itinerary. And don’t miss our guides to the Best Views of Rome, best Rooftop Bars in Rome, and our Rome Restaurant Guide.
We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, Basilicata, and Puglia.
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