Let's make one thing clear right off the top: staking out a claim to your personal slice of paradise on the Amalfi Coast for the day is a luxury reserved for the fortunate few. Though many visitors come to this stretch of coastline thinking that they will be taking a "beach holiday", the reality of the geography here is that there are few true beaches and the handful that are hidden in coves at the foot of these dramatic coastal cliffs are tiny and difficult to reach. To grab your umbrella and sunbed, be prepared to take on a long, steep flight of stairs down the cliffside or hire a taxi boat or shuttle. You'll need to arrive at sunrise to spread your towel on a public beach before the crowds arrive or book months in advance for a place on the popular beach clubs...and, of course, you'll need to take on the coastal crowds to reach the shoreline in the first place.
In short, it takes careful planning and tricky logistics to bask on an Amalfi Coast beach, but the views, crystalline water, and chic vibe make it worth the effort.
Those in the know head to the top-shelf beach clubs, where the struggle to get there is offset by the white-glove services and impeccably maintained waterfront...often with fabulous beach restaurants and trendy cocktail bars as part of the package. If you want to experience the best of the beach on the Amalfi Coast, here are the clubs to book:
Beach Club Arienzo
There are two ways to reach this exclusive beach club just east of Positano: climb down the 300 steps from the road above (but keep in mind that you have to climb back up at the end of the day) or hire a boat to take you by sea. Though the steps are fabulously scenic, passing Villa Tre Ville and the former residence of Franco Zeffirelli and its private chapel, the thought of having to take the hundreds of steps back up to the roadside after a day of sunbathing, dining on pasta seafood, and downing cocktails can give even the fittest traveler pause. Instead, hop on the shuttle that makes the trip back and forth regularly throughout the day between the beach and the dock on Positano's main Spiaggia Grande. This ride is equally scenic and makes for a great selfie against the backdrop of Positano.
This beach club is especially known for its cocktails, served directly to your lounger by the welcoming staff. Try the "sgroppino" with vodka, prosecco, and lemon granita. Guests who don't want to give up a minute of sun can even enjoy lunch on their loungers, with a table set up directly on the beach. Otherwise, the waterfront restaurant is just steps away and offers a small clutch of tables under a shaded pergola.
This beach club offers full-day packages with lunch, lounger, sun umbrella, and drinks from EUR 70/person.
Take a break from the crowds and chaos on Positano's main Spiaggia Grande and head to this iconic spot, famous for its white sunbeds and umbrellas. Visitors who want a more relaxing atmosphere and privacy flock to this remote cove with its stretch of sand and terraces built directly over the water.
There is plenty of room between the sunbeds and umbrellas on this adults-only beach, so the vibe is chic and sophisticated and the noise level at a minimum. Cocktails and lunch are served on the terrace bar and restaurant facing the Li Galli Islets with a view of Positano. The beach club closes at sunset on some days but on others remains open for DJ sets by moonlight. Prices for the day begin at about EUR 50 for a sunbed and umbrella.
Conca del Sogno
If you want to rub elbows with Hollywood stars, this is the beach club to book. Celebrities moor their yachts just offshore and head here for their "sgroppino" created by theatrical mixologists who know how to put on an Instagram-ready show. You can reach the beach on land by taking the unpaved road from the Nerano beach, but the easiest (and most stylish) way to make an entrance is by boat. The beach club restaurant is known for its spaghetti alle zucchini, there is music each afternoon, and after sunset this corner of the coastline is one of the most romantic on the Amalfi Coast.
You would never know that this rustic beach club is one of the most exclusive on the Amalfi Coast. Waiters run up and down the stairs barefoot and laden with heaping plates of pasta, the sunbeds have seen better days, and the restaurant tables are perched rather precariously here and there on the coastal rocks. Yet this is where all the stars want to head for at least one day during their time on the coastline to relax and eat a generous portion of "impepata di cozze" like commoners.
Good luck booking ahead (unless, of course, you know someone who knows someone) since they rarely answer the phone here, never answer emails, and won't take bookings via Instagram. If you try to board their shuttle boat from Positano, you'll be told that only clients with confirmed reservations are allowed on board. So how can one manage to get a sunbed and lunch reservation? Try calling during the quieter low season or ask your hotel concierge for an insider recommendation…
One Fire Beach Club - La Gavitella
Located in Praiano, the only spot on the Amalfi Coast with sunset views, this beach club has the added perk of sunlight until late in the day, ideal for evening cocktails and dance parties. One Fire is the hottest beach club on the Amalfi Coast, famous for its afternoon “melon time” with DJ sets and theatrical watermelon slicing for guests. If you came to party, this is the beach club for you.
Keep in mind, however, that this club does not actually have a beach but a platform over the water and sunbeds set on flat areas of the coastal cliffs.
Lido degli Artisti
If you're looking for a more casual beach club that's less about the glamour and more about the chill, Lido degli Artisti tops the list. Set on the Duoglio beach near Amalfi, this beach club can be reached via a long flight of stairs from the road above or the beach shuttle boat that departs from Amalfi daily and stops at a number of area beaches.
In addition to classic beach club services like sunbeds, umbrellas, and a waterfront restaurant, this club also offers a number of water sports like sea kayak rentals, windsurf lessons, and a sailing school.
This beach club is inspired by the ancient Romans, who loved to unwind at their opulent baths and hot springs. The complex includes a winter spa set in the middle of Minori next to the town's Roman villa (open from October through May) and a summer beach club that also includes a pool, jetted tub, chromatherapy showers, ice treatments, an eco-sauna, and Kneipp pools.