Staying on the Amalfi Coast
With its soaring cliffs, picture-perfect villages, and dreamy blue seascapes, the Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s most spectacular destinations. It’s also one of the busiest, and each summer, holiday-makers, and day-trippers flock to its main towns, Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello.
Accommodation is plentiful in the area, ranging from luxurious palaces to romantic hideaways and family-friendly vacation rentals. But with so much choice, it can be hard to pinpoint the best place for your traveling style. Are you on a honeymoon or a family holiday? Is beach access important or do you want to escape the crowds?
Here we look at the main towns and villages, highlighting top places to stay and offering useful practical advice.
Best Places to Stay on the Amalfi Coast
- Best Luxury Hotels on the Amalfi Coast
Il San Pietro di Positano (Positano) • Hotel Santa Caterina (Amalfi) • Palazzo Avino (Ravello)
- Best Boutique Hotels on the Amalfi Coast
Hotel Villa Franca (Positano) • Casa Angelina (Praiano)
- Best Honeymoon Hotels on the Amalfi Coast
Belmond Hotel Caruso (Ravello) • Le Sirenuse (Positano)
- Best Beach Resorts on the Amalfi Coast
Hotel Lidomare (Amalfi) • Residence Hotel Panoramic (Maiori)
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels on the Amalfi Coast
Villa Nettuno (Positano) • Albergo Sant’Andrea (Amalfi)
- Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast for a Honeymoon: Ravello
Few places can rival Ravello for a heavenly honeymoon. A charming hilltop village set amidst lemon terraces and olive groves, it oozes elegance with its historic villas and unforgettable views – for one of the best views, stay at Hotel Villa Cimbrone. Touristy by day, it comes into its own in the evening when the day-trippers have gone home and romance hangs in the balmy air. Accommodation-wise, it has several fabulous hotels, including the Belmond Hotel Caruso whose magical infinity pool is made for romantic selfies.
- Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast without a Car: Amalfi
Without wheels, Amalfi makes an excellent base. It’s centrally located, and as the coast’s main transport hub, has excellent bus and boat connections, making day-tripping a breeze. If you want to stay put, there’s plenty to see in town, including a beach, medieval cathedral, and historic paper museum. All the main sights are in the compact center which can easily be explored on foot. There’s also a good choice of accommodations for all budgets and plenty of cafes, bars, and restaurants.
- Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast for Families: Maiori and Minori
Less obviously quaint than many Amalfi Coast towns, Maiori is a good bet for families with small kids. It has a long sandy beach and a good choice of restaurants and hotels – accommodation here tends to be slightly cheaper than elsewhere on the coast. Parents with strollers will appreciate the flat streets which make getting around pretty stress-free. A short hop away, the smaller town of Minori is another kid-friendly resort popular with Italian families.
- Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast for Swimming and Beaches: Positano
Beach-lovers are well served in Positano. The town has 2 beaches of its own, and with good bus connections and a wealth of boat hire outfits, it’s well set up for beach-combing. In town, Spiaggia Grande is the focus of Positano’s hectic summer scene, while Spiaggia Fornillo provides a quieter alternative. Nearby, Spiaggia Arienzo is a charming beach reached by a flight of almost 300 steps. Positano is many people’s first choice on the coast, so expect to pay top whack if you stay here.
- Where to fly into for the Amalfi Coast?
The nearest airport is Naples International Airport though it’s also easy to get to the coast from Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) Airport. From Naples, take the Campania Express (mid-March to mid-October) or slower Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento, from where buses run to Positano and Amalfi. Alternatively, get a faster train to Salerno and pick up a bus from there. Boats run year-round from Naples to Sorrento and in summer from Sorrento and Salerno to towns along the coast. Another option is a private transfer from Naples.
- When is the best time to visit the Amalfi Coast?
The coast is at its best in spring (April to June) and autumn (September and early October). Spring is a colorful time with pleasant temperatures and blooming flowers; autumn brings sunny weather and thinner crowds. As a rule, it’s generally warm enough to swim from June through to October. Try to avoid August when everywhere is packed, prices skyrocket, and temperatures are torrid. Note that many hotels, restaurants, and bars close over winter, typically from November to Easter.
- How do you get around the Amalfi Coast?
Forget driving. The narrow coastal road (the SS163) is not an easy drive with lots of blind curves and heavy summer traffic. Parking is also a nightmare. Better to use public transport. Buses are a good, cheap option with regular services to all the main towns and villages. Be warned though, travel sickness is a possibility, particularly for kids. To avoid the roads, seasonal ferries run along the coast serving Amalfi, Positano, and other ports of call between mid-May and October.
- How long is the Amalfi Coast?
The Amalfi Coast forms the southern shore of the Sorrentine Peninsula, a mountainous spur of land about 30km south of Naples. The main stretch runs for 40km from Positano in the west to Vietri sul Mare in the east. Distances are not huge but traveling along the tortuous coastal road is time-consuming. As a rough guide, allow just over an hour for the bus ride from Sorrento to Positano, and an hour and forty-five minutes from Sorrento to Amalfi. Approaching from Salerno, plan on an hour and fifteen minutes to Amalfi.
The 10 Best Towns on the Amalfi Coast
Positano is the most visually stunning of the coast’s main towns. A riot of multi-colored houses, it cascades down a steep hillside to a small beach overlooked by a domed church – to get the best views, try to arrive by sea. There are few sights in town, though time here is usually spent hanging out on the beach and browsing boutiques filled with ceramics and wispy linen fashions. There’s plenty of accommodation, but hotels are in high demand and rates are universally high.
- Best Luxury/Boutique Hotels: Il San Pietro di Positano • Hotel Palazzo Murat • Hotel Marincanto • Le Sirenuse • Hotel Villa Franca
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels: Villa Nettuno • Hotel Bougainville
One of the coast’s most popular towns, Amalfi impresses with its seafront location and historical attractions. These include a museum in a centuries-old paper mill and a striking cathedral, a vestige of Amalfi’s past as a medieval maritime republic. Action is centered on Piazza del Duomo, an attractive square flanked by cafes, restaurants, and bars. Nearby, you can laze on the town’s small beach or hop on a boat to the Grotta della Smeralda, a sea cave famous for its eerie emerald light.
- Best Luxury/Boutique Hotels: Hotel Santa Caterina • Hotel Luna Convento
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels: Albergo Sant’Andrea • Residenza del Duca
Overlooking the coast from its high hilltop perch, Ravello is an enchanting village famous for its breathtaking views and elegant gardens. Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone are the two main sights, both boasting lush, landscaped gardens. Culture-vultures will also enjoy its popular summer festival which sees events staged across the village from July to September. As there’s no direct access to the sea, few people stay in Ravello, but if you’re after a quiet, romantic stay, there are some magnificent top-end hotels here.
- Best Luxury/Boutique Hotels: Belmond Hotel Caruso • Palazzo Avino • Villa Cimbrone
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotel: Villa Casale
Praiano is a sprawling village midway between Positano and Amalfi. Generally overlooked by visitors, it’s becoming increasingly trendy with travelers who are drawn by its authentic, low-key vibe. It boasts few sights but it’s well placed for the beach – a steep staircase leads to the popular Spiaggia della Gavitella – and its sunset views are among the best on the coast. Walkers will like it too as it marks the start of the Sentiero degli Dei, the Amalfi Coast’s best-known, and most accessible, hiking trail.
- Best Luxury/Boutique Hotel: Casa Angelina
With its long sandy beach and bustling seafront, Maiori is the most obvious resort-like town along the coast. It’s a favorite with vacationing Italians, and while it lacks the picture-postcard charms of its better-known neighbors, it is laid-back and lively. It’s also one of the coast’s less expensive towns. Minori, a short way to the west, offers more of the same but on a smaller scale. Minori is also home to one of the coast’s most important ancient sites, the 1st-century Villa Roma Antiquarium.
- Best Luxury/Boutique Hotel: Hotel Botanico San Lazzaro
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotel: Residence Hotel Panoramic
Cetara is a small village on the less crowded eastern part of the coast. It’s a pretty enough spot with a small beach and typical domed church, but its main claim to fame is its seafood, considered the best on the coast. Tuna is a local specialty, and the village is home to an important tuna fishing fleet. Anchovies are another revered local delicacy. For a taste, try spaghetti alla colatura, made with Cetara’s signature anchovy sauce.
Just 6km from Salerno, cliffside Vietri sul Mare marks the easternmost point of the Amalfi Coast. Few visitors stay here; most people stop by to shop for ceramics. Vietri is the capital of Campania’s ceramics industry and has been producing glazed majolica pottery since Roman times. Its colorful streets are lined with ceramic murals and shops burst with tiles, tableware, and objets d’art, many hand-painted in shades of sunny lemon yellow.
Even though it’s not technically on the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento makes a good base for exploring the coast and surrounding areas. It’s a handsome, laid-back town with an appealing historic center, dazzling views over to Mt Vesuvius, and a whole host of hotels, souvenir stores and restaurants. Good transport links give plenty of scope for day trips: buses and summer ferries run to Positano and Amalfi; hydrofoils serve Capri; the Circumvesuviana train rattles up to Pompeii and Naples.
- Best Luxury/Boutique Hotel: Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotel: Ulisse Deluxe Hostel
The coast’s principal eastern gateway, Salerno lies a few kilometers to the west of the Amalfi Coast. A working port city, it’s not an obvious place to stay, but if you’re looking for someplace well-connected, vibrant, and relatively tourist-free, it’s worth considering. In town, check out the palm-fringed seafront and historic center, an atmospheric tangle of shady cobbled lanes, neighborhood trattorias, bars, and boutiques. The city’s Norman cathedral, considered one of Italy’s most beautiful medieval churches, is also located here.
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotel: Hotel Montestella
The quintessential Mediterranean idyll, the island of Capri boasts ancient ruins, white cube villages, and a rugged, rocky coastline. Most people visit on a day trip – ferries sail from Naples and points along the coast – but it has a good supply of high-standard accommodation if you want to stay. Action is focused on Capri Town and its chic open-air salon, Piazza Umberto I, but try to make time for the hill-top Anacapri and the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto), a famous sea cave accessible by boat from Marina Grande.
- Best Luxury/Boutique Hotels: Capri Tiberio Palace • Hotel Quisisana
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels: Hotel La Tosca • Hotel Villa Eva
Naples is a great base (and transport hub) for exploring the highlights of the region: Pompeii, Herculaneum, Mt. Vesuvius, Campi Flegrei, and the Amalfi Coast. There are also regular boats to Capri, Ischia, Sicily, and Sardinia. But Naples is the 3rd largest city in Italy and packed with culture, charm, history, and plenty of must-see landmarks so travelers shouldn’t be too quick to head for the port or train station.