What To Do & See on the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations, famous for its pastel-colored villages with houses seemingly stacked higgledy-piggledy atop one another in an effort to climb out of the sea. The towns along this stretch of Campania coastline get crowded each summer with vacationers from all over the world (and a number of celebrities on holiday, too).

It’s not the sort of place to which visitors arrive with a long to-do list, however.

The Amalfi Coast is where you go when you primarily want to relax, when you want the most taxing part of your days to involve the word “browsing” or possibly “strolling.” This is a haven for leisure travelers who want to sleep in, lie on the beach, poke around boutiques, sip wine at lunch, and stare at the sea.

If at any point during your Amalfi Coast trip you need something to do, however, the area is not lacking for entertainment. Here is a by-no-means comprehensive list of some of the things to do and see on the Amalfi Coast. Use it as the starting point from which you’ll craft your own Amalfi Coast itinerary.

For more help in planning your trip, don’t miss my Amalfi Coast travel guide.

The Amalfi Coast’s Top Attractions

Duomo in Amalfi || creative commons photo by Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

Duomo in Amalfi || creative commons photo by Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

  • Duomo in Amalfi – Dedicated to Amalfi’s patron saint, Sant’Andrea, the Duomo overlooks the town’s main square from the top of a steep set of stairs. The gorgeous facade is relatively new (19th century), but there are parts of the church complex (including the underground crypt) that date from the 9th century.
  • Villa Cimbrone – It takes some walking from Ravello’s main square to reach Villa Cimbrone, and then some more walking to reach the end of its tranquil gardens, but you’ll be glad you made the effort. The famous “Terrace of Infinity” provides perhaps the best view overlooking the Amalfi Coast (though it’s also vertigo-inducing).
  • Sentiero degli Dei – The name of this hiking trail high above Positano translates to, “Path of the Gods,” alluding to the spectacular views it affords. It’s one of the best-known hikes in Italy.
  • Blue Grotto – One of the most famous sights on the island of Capri is this surreal underwater cave. It’s only accessible by small boats, and only when the conditions are right, but once inside the water appears to glow bright blue.
  • Amalfi Paper Museum – Amalfi was once a center of paper-making, with a number of paper mills in the valley behind the town. Today, you can learn about that history in the Museo della Carta, the Paper Museum, inside a 15th-century paper mill.
  • Spiaggia Grande in Positano – There are better beaches on the Amalfi Coast, but this one at the heart of Positano is easy to reach and very popular in summer. With the backdrop of Positano, it’s also one of the most photogenic beaches anywhere.
  • Snorkeling & Diving – There are plenty of opportunities to go snorkeling and swimming while on boat tours along the Amalfi Coast, and the Cilento area not far from the Amalfi Coast is great for diving.
  • Roman Ruins on Capri – Emperor Tiberius loved Capri so much he moved and ruled from there in the 1st century C.E. The remains of some of the dozen villas he had built on the island can still be seen and explored, including Villa Jovis, the largest one.
  • Duomo in Ravello – Hilltop Ravello’s cathedral was originally built in the 11th century, though the current structure dates mostly from the 12th and 17th centuries. The huge bronze doors and Medieval pulpits are two of the church’s most famous elements.
  • Ceramics Museum – The town of Vietri sul Mare is world-famous for its ceramics. In addition to browsing the town’s shops for handmade souvenirs, you can also visit its Museo della Ceramica to learn about the area’s ceramics history and see pieces dating from the 15th century.
  • Villa Rufolo – The entrance to Villa Rufolo and its gorgeous gardens is just off Ravello’s main square. This is one of the settings for the town’s beloved annual music festival, and the villa itself dates from the 13th century.
  • Villa San Michele – The gardens of the Villa San Michele are some of the most photographed (and most beautiful) on the island of Capri. The design incorporates ancient artifacts, some of which were found on Capri, and offer stellar views.
  • Arsenale della Repubblica – Amalfi is a small town now, but it was once the epicenter of a powerful maritime republic. The Arsenale is what remains of a Medieval shipyard, and it features a couple of museums about Amalfi’s history.
  • Valle dei Mulini – This area in the hills behind Amalfi used to be full of paper mills, hence the name “Valley of the Mills,” and today is a prime hiking spot. There are ruins of some old mills along the trails you can see.

Guided Tours on the Amalfi Coast

Weird Attractions on the Amalfi Coast

Furore Fjord || creative commons photo by yashmina

Furore Fjord || creative commons photo by yashmina

  • Grotta dello Smeraldo – Capri’s Blue Grotto is perhaps the area’s most famous illuminated underwater cave, but it’s not the only one. The Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Grotto) is between Positano and Amalfi and can only be reached by boat or by taking the elevator down from the parking lot up above.
  • Roman ruins under Positano’s Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta – The majolica tiles of Postiano’s pretty Santa Maria Assunta church feature in many vacation photos, but the church has been hiding something for years. Roman ruins of an ancient villa underneath the church were rediscovered in 2004, and have now been opened to the public.
  • Supportico Rua – Amalfi’s main street feels pedestrian-friendly, but it’s still a thoroughfare used regularly by cars. Many people avoid it altogether by ducking into the Medieval tunnel-like walkway, the Supportico Rua, that runs alongside it. When the Supportico Rua was built, that busy main street was a river – so this was the only place to walk.
  • Flavio Gioia Statue – Amalfi honors one of its favorite sons, Flavio Gioia, who is believed by some to have invented the maritime compass, with a statue near the harbor. Still others say Gioia never existed and the whole compass thing is a farce. Just don’t say that to the Amalfitani.
  • Hidden Furore Fjord – The town of Furore sits high above the sea, and the lovely views make it enchanting enough. It has a secret, though – a fjord mostly hidden from view. You can climb down a long staircase to Marina di Furore in the fjord itself to reach a secluded little beach.

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