Things to Do in Positano and the Amalfi Coast

12 things to do (and 3 not to do) in Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello

Things to Do in Positano and the Amalfi Coast
Things to Do in Positano and the Amalfi Coast
Things to Do in Positano and the Amalfi Coast
Things to Do in Positano and the Amalfi Coast
Things to Do in Positano and the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is a 34-mile-long stretch of towns and villages along the coast in southern Italy's Campania region. Technically speaking, the Amalfi Coast includes 13 towns and villages: Amalfi, Atrani, Cetara, Conca de' Marini, Furore, Maiori, Minori, Positano, Praiano, Ravello, Scala, Tramonti, and Vietri sul Mare. It includes the stretch of land between the Gulf of Naples and the Lattari mountains. Geographically this starts in Salerno and goes to Punta Campanella, which is the junction between the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno. Sorrento and the Sorrento peninsula lie on the northern side of the coast. The entire Amalfi Coast area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its artistic and architectural beauty, natural diversity, and the way it showcases a unique type of Mediterranean history rich in traditions.

Many people consider visiting the Amalfi Coast an essential bucket list item, a “once-in-a-lifetime” destination given its breathtaking views, beautiful beaches, coastal towns lined with pastel-colored homes, and some of the best hotels in Italy. The atmosphere here immediately brings to mind the iconic Italian Dolce Vita, an experience of beautiful places and beautiful people.

On busy days and throughout high season, however, this idyllic corner of paradise can quickly turn into a challenging vortex of tangled traffic and tourist crowds. That's why it’s so important to plan your trip carefully with a trusted travel guide, building a clear itinerary and booking your various activities, day trips, and day tours well in advance. In this article you’ll discover our top 12 picks for things to do on the Amalfi Coast, from sightseeing to finding the best views to covering every picturesque town. You’ll also find various in-depth articles on our site with practical suggestions for organizing everything.

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Browse our list of the top 12 things to do on the Amalfi Coast, with helpful tips for making the most of your trip, whether it’s just a day trip, a road trip, or a longer stay. We also provide some suggestions on what to avoid.

1. Explore three iconic locations: Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello

The Amalfi Coast is made up of 13 charming towns built upon the rocky cliffs, which offer breathtaking views of the sea. The most famous of these are Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello.


What to see in Positano

Positano is easily one of the most-photographed towns on Instagram. This picturesque village is famous for its colorful houses lining the hillside, as well as its pebble beaches and trendy shops. A walk from Piazza dei Mulini to Spiaggia Grande will give you a quick taste of the magic this village has to offer. If you're looking for a calm respite, locate the side stairs that start from the path that leads to Fornillo Beach and continue up to the center of town.

If you want to discover a hidden gem, go down to the foundation level of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta to admire the remains of an ancient Roman villa. Even the ancient Romans used to come to Positano on vacation!

To take in a breathtaking sunset travel to nearby Praiano, the only town on the Amalfi Coast where you can watch the setting sun sink below the horizon of the sea. This small village also has many excellent restaurants for a quiet dinner by the sea, far from the tourist crowds. Simply head down to Marina di Praia to taste the local specialities.


What to see in Amalfi

The town of Amalfi gives this entire area its name, and it's the oldest town along the Amalfi Coast. Historically it was a maritime republic, just like Livorno, Genoa and Venice. Vestiges of this historic past can be found in its intricate urban architecture of narrow alleys and majestic porticoes, as well as the impressive Amalfi Cathedral. We recommend dedicating some time to visiting the Duomo, also known as the Cathedral of Sant'Andrea, where construction began just a few years before the turn of the century in 1000 AD. You can admire the frescoes in the naves, the Chiostro del Paradise cloister, and the adjacent diocesan museum.

After a visit to the Duomo, a stop at the Pansa pastry shop is a must. Make sure you try their famous Lemon Delight (Delizia al Limone).

Continue with a visit to the Paper Museum at the historic Amatruda paper mill and look across the Valle delle Ferriere valley. This is a hiking path that you can take in its entirety if you wish, starting from the hamlet of Pontone and descending towards Amalfi.

With a short walk from Amalfi you can reach Atrani, famous as "the smallest town in Italy," with its delightful little square.


What to see in Ravello

No tour of the Amalfi Coast is complete without a visit to the town of Ravello, where Richard Wagner was inspired to imagine Parsifal's enchanted garden. Visit Villa Cimbrone, Villa Rufolo, Oscar Niemeyer's auditorium, and if you can, treat yourself to a concert at the Ravello Festival, a summer music and arts festival.

2. Take a boat tour of the coast

An Amalfi Coast boat tour offers a unique perspective on this stretch of coast. You can see the cities from the vantage point of the sea, discover hidden sea caves, and enjoy a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters. Boat tours depart from all the cities along the coast. You can choose a shared group tour or a private tour and decide whether to sail along the coastline or head towards the island of Capri. On our website you'll find a curated selection of boat tours along the Amalfi Coast. Contact us if you'd like help selecting the best boat tour for your needs.

Book a boat tour

3. Spend time at the beach

The beaches of the Amalfi Coast are famous for their beauty, but also for being small and difficult to reach. Beaches here are rocky, with little or no sand and limited room for sunbathing. Browse our page with detailed information on the beaches on the Amalfi Coast.

4. Taste limoncello

Limoncello is a sweet liqueur produced with local lemons. The varieties in this area are the sfusato from Amalfi and the ovale from Sorrento.

Limoncello is a digestive liqueur served after a meal. At restaurants it's generally offered after dinner. It's not the type of drink you order at a bar; in recent years, however, limoncello-based aperitif drinks such as the limoncello spritz have become popular.

All along the Amalfi Coast you'll find shops where you can purchase a bottle of limoncello to take home with you. In Meta di Sorrento you can also visit a working limoncello factory (Sorrento Excellence) or book a tasting tour with visits to traditional lemon groves in the area.

5. Visit wineries

Although the Amalfi Coast area isn't suitable for large-scale wine production, there are small wineries dedicated to the cultivation of "heroic" vines. These are small areas of land obtained from terraces overlooking the sea that are exposed to the southern wind and sun, which produce a limited number of fine bottles. If you're a wine enthusiast, be sure to organize a visit to Cantina di Marisa Cuomo winery overlooking the Furore Fjord. Other wineries are located in Ravello, Tramonti, and Vietri sul mare.

Discover the wineries on the Amalfi Coast

6. Walk the Path of the Gods

In recent years the Path of the Gods (Sentiero degli Dei) has become a must-do attraction on every trip to the Amalfi Coast. Its beauty is undeniable but keep in mind that it's a mountain path that requires the right preparation and appropriate clothing. You can find all the information you need on our Sentiero degli Dei page. The classic stretch of the path requires about two hours of walking from Agerola to Nocelle (a hamlet of Positano). If you don't feel like walking it, you can just visit the village of Nocelle, located at the end of the route. The view is the same and you'll have the experience of visiting a small village that was once accessible only on foot.

7. Visit the Emerald Grotto

The Emerald Grotto is a sea cave that takes its name from the emerald color of the water. It's located in Conca dei Marini and is accessible by boat or on land by taking an elevator down to the cave entrance. The Emerald Grotto is open year-round, but only accessible when the sea is calm.

8. Discover the Furore Fjord

One of the most-photographed places along the Amalfi Coast, the Furore Fjord is a deep, narrow inlet surmounted by an arched bridge, with a small pebble beach on one end. Take a photo with the Fjord in the background and then capture even more iconic views by going up the steps that lead to the sea, heading towards the historic center and its characteristic painted houses.

9. Take a trip to Capri

Any holiday on the Coast is enhanced by spending at least one day on the island of Capri. Throughout the summer, hydrofoils to Capri depart from Positano, Maiori, and Amalfi. You can also reach Capri with a boat tour, either private or group. The boat will dock at the island's port and you'll have a few hours of free time to visit the island and the Blue Grotto. This is an option we especially recommend during the months of July and August.

Book a tour on Capri

10. Go shopping

The Amalfi Coast offers many opportunities for shopping for artisanal products, first and foremost the famous ceramics of the town of Vietri sul Mare. You can purchase these ceramics in one of the many shops in the town or simply admire their designs in a visit to the Ceramics Museum. In Positano you can refresh your summer wardrobe with Positano beachwear style clothes and custom-made sandals. In Cetara focus on shopping for traditional food products such as colatura di alici, anchovy sauce.

11. Visit the surrounding area

A trip to the Amalfi Coast is the perfect chance to visit some interesting sights in the surrounding area. In addition to Capri, which we've already mentioned, other areas worth a visit include the cities of Sorrento and Naples. Another spectacular place to visit is the archaeological site of Pompeii, a unique example of a Roman city that was buried under volcanic ash and thus remained intact. You can combine a visit to the ruins of Pompeii with a climb to the crater of Mount Vesuvius.

12. Taste everything!

Perhaps this one goes without saying, but it would be a real shame to miss all the traditional culinary delights of the Amalfi Coast! Among the dishes you absolutely must try are delizia al limone (lemon delight), parmigiana di melanzane (eggplant parmesan), pasta con i frutti di mare (seafood pasta), alici di Cetara (Cetara anchovies), and the list goes on. Browse our page on restaurants in Positano and on the Amalfi Coast and choose the ones you want to try.

And a few things not to do:

Don't trust the public buses

Bus timetables can be unreliable due to traffic. Long lines often form in the afternoon for the return trip to Sorrento and it can be difficult to get a seat. Don't depend on the last bus of the evening to return to Sorrento after dinner in Positano, because sometimes the bus doesn't run and if that's the case, you'll end up having to take a taxi and pay a huge fare.

Don't rent a car

If you're not an expert driver, the winding, car-crowded curves of State Road 163 will definitely not provide an experience such as the one you see in the many car advertisements filmed here. It's best to hire a private driver or travel the area by sea.

Don't book hotels in upper areas

Even though on the map many Amalfi Coast hotels seem close to the sea, you should always take the height factor into consideration. A given hotel could be just a hundred meters from the sea but to get there from the beach you have to climb a 300-step staircase. Before booking any hotels, make sure you check the location carefully and ensure it's suitable for your physical condition and mobility.