You’ve seen it in the movies, you sighed numerous time when you saw breathtaking photos on Instagram and posh magazines, you dreamt about it and put it a long time ago on your travel bucket list. And now you finally got a chance to book a one day visit to Amalfi Coast.
So, what now? How do you choose where to go, what to do, make the most of it?
Don’t worry – I got you covered. From basic info about the coastline and how to get from Rome or Naples to Amalfi, to Amalfi coastal towns you don’t want to miss and secret tips to make your visit even better.
Read on, and don’t worry about taking notes. Bookmark this ultimate one day guide to visiting Costiera Amalfitana and get ready for an unforgettable trip.
Basic Information about Italy’s Amalfi Coast
Costiera Amalfitana is located in Southern Italy, in the region Campania, province of Salerno, about 60km south of Naples. So, yes – this coastline is located in the birthplace (birth region?) of pizza.
How long is the Amalfi Coast?
The coastline road (Strada Statale 163) is about 40 kilometres (25 miles) long. It runs along the coastline from Vietri sul Mare (just above Salerno) to Positano.
Even though they’re super close – Sorrento doesn’t belong to Amalfi coastline, but Sorrentine Peninsula. While Costiera Amalfitana belongs to the province of Salerno, Costiera Sorrentina is located in the province of Naples.
However, Amalfi and Sorrento are connected with a narrow road along the high cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea – the Amalfi Drive.
This brings us to the next question.
How do I get from Naples to Amalfi Coast?
There are a few ways to reach your destination from Naples.
If you’re up for a road trip – you can rent a car. It will take you around an hour and a half to reach Vietri sul Mare – the first town of South Italian seashore.
The other option is to take a train from Naples Centrale to Salerno, and then from Salerno to Vietri sul Mare. The entire trip takes just above one hour, and the price of the return ticket is around 10 euros. You can easily purchase the tickets on the Trainline website.
The last option is to go by bus. If you’re going directly from the airport Capodichino – there are a couple of private companies with shuttle buses, as well as Sita bus that will take you to Sorrento or Salerno.
You can find in-depth information on how to get from Naples to Costiera Amalfitana on Sorrento vibes blog.
How do you get from Rome to Amalfi Coast?
If you’re on a holiday in Rome and decide to take a day trip to famous South Italian seashore – there are a couple of ways you can do it. Though doing everything in one day would be pretty exhausting.
The coastline is some 277 kilometres (172 miles) south of Rome, so the fastest way would be by high-speed train from Roma Termini to Stazione Salerno train station. It will take you about 2h and 30 minutes. There is also a regular speed train and this would be the cheapest way to reach Salerno, though the ride can take anywhere from 4h to 5h. Keep in mind that Salerno is yet another beautiful coastal city, with the astonishing historic centre, packed with authentic restaurants, and a beautiful boardwalk where you can sip on your cappuccino (or cocktails in the evening) enjoying the sound of the sea.
If you’re not particularly fond of trains, you can always take a bus. But keep in mind that the ride takes about 5h.
Probably the best way to travel from Rome to the Costiera Amalfitana would be by car – because of the flexibility. Unlike Cinque Terre – the coastal towns are not well connected, and they are not within a walking distance from one another. So, if you don’t have your own way to move around it, you won’t see anything.
But, travelling by car is a sword with two blades. The curvy road SS163 is always packed with traffic, and even though it’s possible – it’s not that easy to park a car on every amazing viewpoint because the road is sometimes very narrow. So, what’s the solution?
What is the best way to see Costiera Amalfitana?
Let’s be real – how many times will you be able to visit world-famous coastline? If you’re lucky – you’ll probably get just this one chance.
So ask yourself – do you really want to spend this day jumping in and out of the bus with a guide hurrying you up? Or do you want to enjoy the Amalfi drive the Italian way?
Honestly – South Italy’s Costiera Amalfitana is worth investing in. It’s an experience you will treasure for the rest of your life!
What are the benefits of exploring it this way?
Why is Costiera Amalfitana so famous?
This part of Campania’s coastline has been popular with famous movie stars, artists, diplomats, adventure-seeking people, or those who simply enjoy the retro vibes since the mid 20th century. And the reason is very simple:
Amalfi coast is all the best that Italy has to offer in one:
It’s your chance to live a day or two in the most romantic Hollywood movie ever!
But subjective experience aside – Costiera Amalfitana was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997:
“The Amalfi Coast is an area of great physical beauty and natural diversity. It has been intensively settled by human communities since the early Middle Ages. There are a number of towns such as Amalfi and Ravello with architectural and artistic works of great significance. The rural areas show the versatility of the inhabitants in adapting their use of the land to the diverse nature of the terrain, which ranges from terraced vineyards and orchards on the lower slopes to wide upland pastures.”
But, before we dig into the list of must-visit places and must-do things, here’s a list of the Amalfi Coast towns:
What is the most beautiful Amalfi Coast town?
If you ask me – this question is a bit blasphemous. Some towns (like Tramonti) are not so famous and not easily reachable, so you should leave those for the next time. But this doesn’t mean they aren’t special in their own way.
You see, every single one of them has its own story and something unique for it. But if you have only a day or two, you’ll have to make some hard choices – so here’s the list of the places and things you cannot miss out on:
#1 Stop – Amalfi Town
Once you reach Vietri sul Mare, go straight to the Amalfi. A couple of hundreds of photos and curves later, thousands of ahhs and oohs – you’ll reach the coastal town with pastel houses rising proudly from the steep cliffs.
As soon as you pass through a “gateway” you’ll officially be inside of the historic centre. Just to the right, you’ll see the famous Duomo di Amalfi – the Medieval Roman Catholic church of St. Andrew.
This mixture of Western and Oriental elements, architecture solutions that date back to the 9th century, and various styles (Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, etc) rises majestically above the Piazza del Duomo.
Yes, you’ll see some super cute restaurants and cafes on the Piazza Duomo, but trust me – take the main street, and look for Pescheria C.I.C.A. on the left side. Order a big seafood cone and enjoy one of the best lunches you’ll ever have – a mixture of freshly fried fish, gamberoni, polpette made of algae.
But don’t just stop there. Take a turn in one of the side allies and get lost in secret treasures of Amalfi. Random stands with gigantic lemons (bigger than your head) are just one of the surprises that await around the corner.
Keep in mind that the entire coastline is famous for its colourful ceramics. While you may not be able to take away amphora worth thousands of euros, you’ll be able to find a cute, handmade magnet or plate to hang on your wall.
You can also buy a beautiful scarf with characteristic colours and representations of the most famous Campania cities and islands (they cost around 30 euros).
Another great idea is to buy a wine cork with a ceramics ending. You can also use it to close a bottle of authentic olive oil.
#2 Stop – Positano
Ok, yes, everybody goes here, and it’s becoming a cliche, BUT – there is a very good reason for it.
Positano is the last town on the Amalfi coast drive. It is famous for its colourful hill of houses that rises from a volcanic beach. The sight from the top is breathtaking, but the one from the beach will leave you in awe.
So, how do you get down to the famous beach of Positano?
Play a soundtrack of Renato Carosone, load yourself with patience and take that curvy road all the way down. If you’re going in your car do not fall into the trap of the first parking you see – you’ll still have oh so much until you reach the beach. Plus – they’ll already be jam-packed.
Don’t despair, and go as low as possible.
You’ll see a shady looking parking place, it’s gigantic, and there’s practically always some free spots left. The best thing about it? You’ll be just a few steps away from the covered streets that will take you down to the beach.
Take your time to admire the view. I mean, even princess Diana took her time to admire it.
Plan ahead and bring a bottle of prosecco – this is the place where you want to make things as romantic as possible. Celebrate your happiness with style!
If you’re planning on popping the questions though – there’s an even more romantic place to do so. And for that one – you’ll have to climb the hills. All the way to Ravello’s world-famous Villa Cimbrone.
#3 Stop – Ravello
Until I visited Ravello, Amalfi held a strong first place in my heart.
Yes, everybody is rushing in Positano, but the shabby-chic of Amalfi town suits me better. However, once I saw Ravello – Amalfi’s first place got some serious competition.
Ravello is situated above the seashore, high in the hills, and exactly this scenic location earned it a special place in the hearts of many. It is not surprising that many celebrities chose this place to tie the knot.
Villa Cimbrone stands on a rocky outcrop known as “Cimbronium”, and it is from this landscape feature that the villa takes its name. Though the date of the original structure is unknown, art historians place it at least in the 11th century AD.
Today, this villa is a hotel and a luxurious wedding destination. Fortunately, its gardens and the most important part – Terrace of Infinity, are open to the public (you’ll have to buy the ticket though).
Everything from the cloister through somewhat mysterious gardens is breathtaking. But all of that beauty cannot measure with the incredible Terrazzo dell’lnfinito. So, if you want to pop the question – I don’t think you’ll be able to find a more romantic place than this.
Other than villa Cimbrone, Ravello hosts a world-famous summer music festival. Its official name is “Wagner Festival”.
The festival has been held yearly since 1953 when the town fathers decided to use the historical fact of the visit to Ravello in 1880 by German composer Richard Vagner.
When you approach the historic centre, you’ll immediately see a gorgeous ceramics shop. But you’ll notice that the ceramics have somewhat different, softer colours than those in Amalfi.
Buy yourself a cup of takeaway cappuccino (no reason to spend extra money to sit on a square), and roam freely the narrow streets. Choose yourself a handmade scarf, dress or shirt in the typical colours of Costiera – cream white, beige, sand.
Head over the square toward the festival gardens, and go through the tunnel. It will take you directly to an amazing viewpoint with a cafe-restaurant just beneath it. Order a glass of wine and enjoy the most romantic sunset ever.
But do not take the dessert here! You still haven’t tried the famous Amalfi lemon cake – and you wanna do that in its birthplace.
#4 Stop – Minori
To recap – fish cone in Amalfi for lunch, prosecco in Positano, light dinner with wine in Ravello, and the dessert in Minori. That’s how you wanna play it.
Back in the (very) old days – Minori was among the preferred vacation spots of the imperial Roman aristocracy. Another historic fun fact is that this town is also the oldest inhabited site on the Costiera Amalfitana.
But, that’s not why you want to finish your one day trip here.
Pasticceria Sal De Riso is located on the esplanade in Minori, and it is owned by Salvatore de Riso – the creator of Delizia al limone.
Once you enter – promise me you won’t get lost in all those absurdly delicious looking cakes! Ask straight away for delizia al limone – this is what you came here for!
Here’s a little secret – if you take a table, you’ll pay almost double the price. If you order a takeaway, you’ll pay much less. This doesn’t mean your first encounter with this delicacy will be any less perfect!
Pass the pasticeria and head over to the beach. You’ll see on the right side a boardwalk that goes into the see. Pick a bench you like and enjoy the moon, the stars and the whisper of the waves while enjoying your dessert.
I’m an art historian – digital marketer – passionate traveler – addicted writer – dedicated member of a long distance relationship mashup.
I’m a materialist that has an urge to help the world. I have absurdly logical mind that helps me focus my creative hyper-energy.
It’s ok to be a crazy mixture of completely opposite ingredients.