Maiori, The Largest Beach on the Coast
Maiori's wide stretch of beach that covers about a kilometer of Italian coastline in fine and large-grain sand is the town's top attraction, making it a lively and popular destination, especially for families. Italy's Amalfi Coast does not have many spacious sandy beaches; the coastline is instead home to countless tiny coves lined with rocks or small beaches with pebbles worn smooth by the waves, many of which are already crowded with visitors at the first light of day.
The town of Maiori's main seafront beach was formed as a result of the catastrophic floods of 1954 which destroyed the whole of the historic center and is located right next to the rebuilt modern center, easy to reach on foot from anywhere in town and sitting at the bottom of the main Corso Reginna. There is a section of free public beach and a number of private beach clubs that rent loungers and sun umbrellas, restrooms, and showers. There is also a lovely waterfront promenade with restaurants, cafés, and shops, another rare sight on the Amalfi Coast. The downside of the large beach is that Maiori has a less "postcard-perfect" atmosphere than Amalfi and Positano, with a large urban center and a clutch of modern buildings.
How to Get to Maiori
The historic town of Maiori is one of the most vibrant on the Amalfi Coast, with a friendly Mediterranean vibe that harks back to its origins as an ancient Roman resort town. Strategically located next to Minori and between Amalfi (and Ravello) and Capo d'Orso and home to the largest beach on the coastline, Maiori is one of the top spots in Campania for families with children.
Maiori is located just before Amalfi along the Strada Statale 163 from Vietri Sul Mare, where you'll need to exit from the A3 highway. You can also take the Sita bus, Salerno - Amalfi line.
Other Beaches in Maiori
Maiori is home to another, smaller sandy beach located in Erchie that stretches about 200 meters and has both public free areas and beach clubs. There are two Norman towers overlooking the coastline that make the Erchie beach uniquely picturesque and popular among locals and visitors. Other nearby beaches that we recommend you visit include the Spiaggia di Glauco, Capo d’Orso, and the wild Cala Bellavaia, known locally as the Spiaggia del Cavallo Morto.
The Norman Tower
Looming over the main Maiori beach, the Norman Tower is the symbol of this small town and can be seen both from the sea and from the coastal road, announcing to visitors that they have arrived. Once known as the Torre dell'Angolo, this watchtower was built in 1563 to protect the coastline of Maiori from pirate and enemy attacks by sea. Still today, with its impressive bastions that seem to blend into the rocks of the coast below, this tower remains one of the most striking of the many watchtowers that line the Amalfi Coast. The "Torre Normanna" in Maiori is now home to an elegant restaurant that is very popular in the summer, so be sure to book in advance. We suggest visiting the tower at sunset or in the evening when it is romantically lit. For spectacular photos, try to visit the tower when the sea is stormy and the waves crash against its base.
The Grottoes of Maiori
From Maiori, book a boat tour to visit the Grotta di Pandora, located just a few minutes away along the coastline. This grotto can only be visited by sea either with an organized boat tour or with a private boat rental. The Grotta di Pandora is a popular diving site, and boasts striking emerald waters and dramatic rock formations beneath the waves. You can enter the grotto on board a boat (with the engine off). Another coastal highlight is the Grotta Sulfurea, called by some in Maiori the Grotta Suffregna, which can also be entered on board small rowboats. This grotto gets its name from the sulfuric waters that spring directly into the grotto, which can be seen with the naked eye from above. Be sure to stop for a swim in these curative waters that are a mix of sulfuric and marine.
Art Masterpieces in Maiori
Like the other jewels along the Amalfi Coast and the island of Capri, Maiori is more than just a resort town but is also home to beautiful and important historic and cultural treasures. Visit the Chiesa di San Nicola de Thoro-Plano and the Church of Santa Maria (officially the Collegiata Santuario di Santa Maria a Mare), known for its majolica-tiled cupola that is common among the historic churches along the Amalfi Coast. If you are interested in sacred art, stop to visit the Museo degli Arredi Sacri adjacent the church. You can also stop to admire the Renaissance Church of San Francesco.
Just outside of town, the monumental complex of Santa Maria de’ Olearia sits inside an immense cliffside cavern along the road from Salerno. Considered one the most important Benedictine monastic settlements in this area, the monastery includes three small churches containing numerous medieval frescoes dedicated to the Virgin Mary and San Nicola.
The Maiori Castle
Kids (and their parents) will love the Castle of San Nicola (or the Castello di San Nicola de Thoro-Plano), a mysterious 11th-century fortress that is partially in ruins sitting atop a particularly panoramic hill above Maiori. If you're lucky, you may even be able to visit with Mastro Crescenzo, the custodian of the fortress and local historian who knows all the legends and lore of Maiori and is happy to share anecdotes about the castle and town. The Castello di San Nicola de Thoro-Plano is open daily from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to p.m. Confirm opening times before heading up the hill!
Maiori may not have the beauty of Amalfi and Positano, but it is the perfect base if you're looking for an accessible town with a large beach that is less expensive than other towns along the Amalfi Coast or Sorrento Peninsula.
Where to Eat in Maiori
Book a table at the Torre Normanna for a spectacularly romantic dinner. For Michelin-starred dining, choose Faro di Capo d'Orso in Maiori, known for its cellar that stocks more than 1,000 different labels.
Where to Sleep in Maiori
Of the many Maiori hotels, one of our favorites is the beautiful Hotel Botanico San Lazzaro, a 5-star luxury hotel with panoramic views, jacuzzi, and private gym. Check in and unwind in the exotic garden, an unforgettable spot to relax on the coast.