Best Things To Do in Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast can be seen and experienced a number of ways. Adventure travelers wanting to work up a sweat can traverse the many scenic hiking trails that snake through the region. Those strictly seeking relaxation can find solace at one of the coast's 100 beaches, including the ultra-secluded Furore Fiordo. If you have sufficient sea legs, seeing Amalfi by boat is said to be an unforgettable experience, as is bearing witness to the littoral views from the sky-high Villa Cimbrone. But if you're on a tight itinerary, the postcard-worthy Positano, with its colorful architecture and luxurious amenities, is quintessentially Amalfi and not to be missed.
Updated July 5, 2017
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If you only have time to visit one town in the Amalfi Coast, it should be Positano. Positano is everything you'd dream the Amalfi Coast to be; lush cascading cliffs stacked with colorful Mediterranean architecture, luxury yachts and speed boats docked on turquoise waters, and narrow streets and ornate stairways lined with boutiques and trattorias. And of all the towns on the coast, Positano caters to visitors the most, offering up the most hotels of any destination in the region. What's more, Sita buses and ferries stop directly in Positano and many Amalfi Coast boat tours depart from here.
Positano also boasts some of the Amalfi Coast's most beloved beaches. Marina Grande Beach is the most famous and most central, sitting at the base of the colorful seaside town. There's also the Fornillo Beach, another traveler favorite, located less than a half-mile east of Marina Grande Beach. Fornillo Beach can be accessed directly from Marina Grande via the cliffside Sentiero degli Innamorati pathway, an attraction in its own right. For a truly secluded shoreline, check out Arienzo Beach, which is situated between two cliffs and is accessible via a 300-step stairway.
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Though the Amalfi Coast is the kind of place where you should kick back, relax and soak up the stunning scenery, you'd be missing out on all it has to offer if you didn't make room for a little adventure in your itinerary. In between the coast's various towns are a plethora of beautiful pathways and trails begging for further exploration. Though you can easily admire the sea from the many cliffside hotels, restaurants and lookout points that dot the region, getting up close and personal with the natural elements of Amalfi's spectacular terrain can't be missed.
There are a bevy of hikes that vary in length and difficulty. One of the most popular pathways is the Il Vallone delle Ferriere, an almost 4-mile trail that snakes through a wooded area found just atop the town of Amalfi near Ravello. The path is lauded by travelers for its picturesque setting: think fern-lined streams, cascading waterfalls and ruins of medieval foundries and paper mills, the latter of which Amalfi is widely known for producing. For more coastal views, seek out La Baia di Ieranto, a 4-mile journey considered moderate in difficulty. Located in the small fishing village of Nerano, this trek on the tip of the peninsula takes visitors to the Bay of Ieranto, passing through a sea of lush, Mediterranean shrub along the way. From the Bay of Ieranto, travelers can see the nearby island of Capri and venture down to the pebble beach of Ieranto Bay. There's also the Il Sentiero degli Dei, otherwise known as the Path of the Gods (once you reach the top of the peak, you'll understand why it's earned such a grand title). This 5-mile-long journey nestled in Positano hugs Amalfi cliffs, offering truly unforgettable views of the seemingly never-ending coastline. You can also catch a bird's-eye view of Positano where the path eventually terminates.
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A trip to any coastal destination wouldn't be complete without a trip to the beach. In the case of the Amalfi Coast, your vacation wouldn't be complete without visiting multiple beaches. One of the things that makes this region so unique is the sheer amount of beaches found here (100, to be exact). Due to the topography of the Amalfi Coast, long, sandy beaches are nonexistent. Instead, travelers will be greeted with beaches consisting of pebbles or just a rocky platform over the water.
Positano's Marina Grande Beach is a great place to start since it's located smack dab in the middle of the town, with Positano's famous colorful, cliffside buildings towering over both sides of the shore. The beach is also one of Amalfi's biggest, measuring nearly 985 feet in length. Another popular spot for tourists is Arienzo Beach, also located in Positano. Arienzo is much smaller than Marina Grande and more secluded. Situated between two cliffs, travelers must descend a 300-step stairway to reach the beach. Though some admitted it was a bit of a trek, many travelers liked this beach because it was the opposite of Marina Grande; more peaceful and less crowded. If you're looking for something a little bigger, but still want a sense of seclusion, travelers say Fornilla Beach is your best option.
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If you're looking to take in spectacular views without breaking too much of a sweat, head to Villa Cimbrone. Situated in the mountaintop town of Ravello, Villa Cimbrone is a luxury hotel lauded by both experts and recent visitors for its gorgeous on-site gardens. The property's gardens are considered one of the most important examples of English landscape and botany culture in the south of Europe, housing a handful of rare botanic species. And with the exception of a few trees, all of the plants that live within the garden's grounds are estimated to be about 100 years old.
As such, you can expect vegetation of all kinds along your walk, including roses, hydrangeas and chestnut trees, to name a few. Along with beautiful botany, travelers are also greeted with equally stunning architecture. Though, the star attraction within the gardens has to be the Terrace of Infinity. This terrace, lined with busts, features unobstructed panoramas of the ocean, along with picture-perfect views of Amalfi's cascading cliffs from both directions.
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To explore Amalfi by land is only half of the experience. The best views are seen from the ocean, where unobstructed vistas of the coast's world-renowned cliffs, as well as the gorgeous vegetation and colorful architecture, can be admired. The most cost-effective way to experience Amalfi by sea is by taking a ferry. Ferries run from April 1 to Oct. 31 annually, with one of the most trafficked routes, Sorrento to Positano to Amalfi, starting in mid-May. Sorrento to Positano takes about 40 minutes, while Amalfi to Positano takes about 20 minutes. There is also a ferry service that goes directly to Capri (a traveler favorite) and takes close to an hour to reach. Ticket prices vary depending on the port of departure, but are typically less than 20 euros (about $23) for a one-way journey.
If you're looking to take a tour rather than just get from point A to point B, there are plenty of outfitters in Amalfi offering short cruises, semi-private small group tours and private boat rentals. Shorter cruises are by far the most affordable option, averaging about 35 to 40 euros (about $39 to $44) for a trip. Though if you're looking to treat yourself, a private boat tour with a skipper tends to start around 150 euros (about $168) for a two to three-hour trip. The average Amalfi tour stops at various points of interest on the coast, including the fjord of Furore, the Emerald Grotto, the islets of Li Galli and the bays of Arienzo and Laurito, to name a few. Some even stop at villages and allow for time on shore. Among the more affordable companies is Positano Boats. For 50 euros (About $56), the Amalfi Coast tour takes visitors to popular spots on the coast, including the Furore Fiordo, Emerald Grotto and the waterfalls of Marmorata. Though some of these excursions can be pricey, many travelers agreed that this is the best way to see the coast. For more information about boat tours, visit the Positano Tourism Board's website.
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The Amalfi Coast is filled with so many secluded beaches it's nearly impossible to pinpoint where exactly all of them are, let alone allot enough time to get to them. But if you were to choose just one, you should make it to the Furore Fiordo, considered one of the most interesting geological features on the Amalfi Coast. The Amalfi Highway connects the two sides of the fjord via a bridge, acting as both the beach's main focal point and its point of access. From there, travelers can descend stairs that cascade down the gorge's stony cliffs and either take a dip, admire the surrounding scenery or explore the other trails situated at the beach. One trail takes visitors farther along the cliffs, leading to direct views of the ocean, while another opposite the beach leads explorers into an old fishing village and a series of paper mills. The town of Furore is located just above the gorge and is also accessible via a trail.
Many recent visitors found the attraction to be nothing short of picturesque, and those who did visit during the warmer months thoroughly enjoyed swimming in the turquoise waters. What's more, many reported that despite its popularity, the beach wasn't overrun with tourists. And though some found it difficult to get to (citing the lack of parking and steep stairs as hinderances), most said it was completely worth it, with some travelers calling it the highlight of their Amalfi trip.
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