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Your guide to Amalfi Coast
All About the Amalfi Coast
With rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and turquoise waters, the Amalfi Coast is a scenic 31-mile stretch of coastline 90 minutes south of Naples in Southern Italy. The area has earned a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for its outstanding Mediterranean landscapes, where 13 picturesque, historic villages sit along the coast — many perched on cliff tops offering dramatic sea overlooks.
Sorrento is the largest town and gateway to the Amalfi Coast. Positano is the most famous: the village is built vertically into a cliff, with stairs leading past colorful buildings to the Spiaggia Grande, the 1,000-foot-long beach. A towering cathedral dominates the town of Amalfi, and high above it in the mountains is Ravello, which has panoramic views of the Bay of Salento.
The Amalfi Coast is known for its seafood dishes, and many visitors come for the scialatielli ai frutti di mare, a long, flat pasta served with clams and mussels. In the village of Cetara, locally caught anchovies are the star of the much-loved colatura di alici, a famous fermented fish sauce that Ancient Romans used to dress their food. When cocktail hour arrives, limoncello is the signature drink of the Amalfi Coast — a refreshing alcoholic liqueur made from lemons harvested from the groves lining the hills.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Amalfi Coast
Summer on the Amalfi Coast comes alive with warm days and balmy nights perfect for enjoying the beaches and al fresco dining. The Ravello Festival takes place in summer, with several concerts in the hilltop town. The highlight is the Concerto all’Alba (Concert at Dawn) in August, when at 4:30 a.m. a full symphony orchestra performs against an incredible coastal backdrop as the sun rises.
Spring and autumn on the coast are a little quieter, but the weather is still sunny. In September, the Festa Del Pesce in Positano celebrates the sea with a feast of locally caught seafood, sangria, and music from folk musicians. In winter, things wind down with cooler conditions and fewer visitors, and you can expect some restaurants and shops to be closed. But whenever you decide to visit, there are a range of lovely villas and houses to rent along the Amalfi Coast.
Top things to do in Amalfi Coast
The Town of Ravello
If you head up the mountain above Amalfi, you’ll find the peaceful town of Ravello, with the most expansive outlooks of the coast. Ceramic shops, gelaterias, and maritime pines line the square of Piazza Centrale near the Duomo of Ravello. When you’ve worked up an appetite, you can find a seat at one of the many restaurants with outdoor terraces, and enjoy a meal with a view.
Sorrento is the largest town on the Amalfi Coast, perched high on a cliff overlooking the sea. Shops, bars, and restaurants line the old town’s winding streets. Head down to the sea below the cliffs and you can jump off the piers for a refreshing dip. The Marina Grande retains a traditional feel, and you can stop for a sample of the local limoncello here — or anywhere else in town.
The Island of Capri
You can take a ferry from Sorrento or Positano to Capri, known for its beautiful beaches, lines of lemon trees, and restaurants serving fresh seafood and pasta. The island is surrounded by sea caves and rock formations, the most famous being the Blue Grotto. You can only enter the cave in a small rowboat, where you’ll find glistening blue water caused by refractions of sunlight. If you take the chair lift from the central square up to Mount Solaro, you’ll get a fantastic view over the island and the Italian mainland.