Top Amalfi Coast Towns to See in One Day

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Who hasn’t heard of the incredibly beautiful Amalfi Coast? It’s one of the most popular places to visit in Italy—and with good reason!

There are a lot of Amalfi Coast towns you can visit, so how do you choose?

If you have one day, you’ll need to prioritize. It’s a great idea to see a mix of towns so you can see what this area is like. I’ll guarantee you one thing—after one day in the Amalfi Coast, you are going to want to come back to see more!

Here are the top Amalfi Coast towns to see in one day, and what you can expect from each.

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Where is the Amalfi Coast?

The Amalfi Coast is a strikingly beautiful and dramatic stretch of coastline in southern Italy, south of Naples. It overlooks the Gulf of Salerno and the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is south of the Sorrentine Peninsula, where the city of Sorrento is located.

The Amalfi coast is known as a “jet set” location where wealthy Europeans have vacationed for centuries. Today, it’s a popular area that welcomes thousands of international tourists on all levels of the financial spectrum.

The Amalfi Coast is named after the town of Amalfi. This town is a political center for the region and a historically important area.

amalfi coast, amalfi coast towns

The Amalfi Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

As you may know from many of my other posts, I’m a tad in love with UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These sites represent historically important and/or beautiful natural landscapes worth preservation.

The Amalfi Coast was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. It was recognized both for its dramatic topography, as well as its historical evolution. It has been populated since the early Middle Ages and several towns have significant artistic and architectural works.

So, you may have heard about the glamour, beauty, and dramatic coastline of the Amalfi Coast and it definitely has all of that. Given its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site, that was enough for me to want to check it out.

Amalfi Coast Towns

There are thirteen municipalities located on the Amalfi Coast. These include Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, Atrani, Scala, Tramonti, Minori, Maiori, Cetara, Praiano, Furore, Concha dei Marini, and Vietri sul Mare.

The towns are located on a relatively steep coast. There is only one land route through this area, with the 25-mile (40 km) Amalfi Drive (Strada Statele 163) running from Positano in the west to Vietri Sul Mare in the east.

The ride has many dramatic drop-offs and cliffs and takes quite a quite to navigate. Traffic can be quite fierce as well during the main tourist season in the summer. It can be busy even off-season as well.

As a result, you can’t possibly see all 13 municipalities in one day. You’ll need to make a decision as to what you want to see. Based on my research and my driver’s recommendation for the most popular towns to visit on the Amalfi Coast, we went to Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello.

Positano

If you’re driving from Sorrento, which is where I stayed when I visited the Amalfi Coast, you’ll hit the gorgeous Positano first. Amalfi Drive offers some dramatic cliffside views so while you may be tempted to rent a car, you might want to consider hiring a driver to fully enjoy the views.

Madonna di Lourdes Statue

A driver will know the best places to stop, including the viewpoint overlooking the town of Positano by the Madonna di Lourdes statue. There are some ridiculously beautiful views of Positano and the coast from this viewpoint.

madonna di lourdes statue in positano, madonna di lourdes

Visiting Positano

After you take in the incredible views from the statue, you’ll drive down into the town of Positano. It’s etched into the side of a cliff and almost looks like a painting as you drive into it.

The homes in brilliant shades of pinks, yellows, reds, and white seem to cling to the cliffside. You’ll get a workout climbing up and down the steep roads and many staircases, but it’s so pretty to wander around and take in the views.

It’s an incredibly picturesque and beautiful city. From the beautiful flowers and vines to gorgeous buildings, it’s such a lovely place to visit.

buildings on side of cliff in positano, positano italy

Top Things to Do in Positano

If you’re visiting the Amalfi Coast as a day trip, you likely will only have a couple of hours to visit Positano. It’s worth it even for a couple of hours to wander the winding roads in this town. It won’t be enough time, of course, except to fall in love and plan a return visit.

Walk down to the beach and enjoy the views looking up, which are just as impressive. And meander through the many small boutique shops filled with stylish clothes, handcrafted pottery, and souvenirs.

Some of the most popular things to do in Positano include:

  • Hike the Path of the Gods (Sentiero degli Dei) if you have the time (which takes several hours).
  • Sip limoncello on a restaurant terrace overlooking the water.
  • Visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta (Ciasa di Santa Maria Assunta). It is home to many Byzantine treasures from the 13th century and has a gorgeous Moorish tiled dome.
  • Buy locally-made leather sandals.
  • Meander through the town and enjoy the incredible views. Each is more amazing than the last.
  • Take a boat ride.
  • Join a cooking class to learn how to make local cuisine.
  • Stop at Grotta di Fornillo on your way out of town, heading towards Amalfi. It’s a fun and festive detailed carving in the rock near one of the tunnels worth seeing.

Of course, some of these things will depend on how much time you have to visit. I visited the Amalfi Coast on a day trip. We went during the off-season and decided to stay in Sorrento as there is more open during that time. But, I fell in love with this beautiful town and will certainly return.

Where to Eat in Positano

Restaurante C’Era Una Volta is located on top of a hill and has a beautiful terrace where you can sit and see the views of the gulf below. They have a wide variety of menu items specializing in seafood, wood-fired pizzas, and pasta. All ingredients are fresh and locally sourced.

Lo Guarracino is a small restaurant with a wooden deck that overlooks the sea. On weekend evenings, they have live music and dancing. Make sure to try the linguine all’astice (pasta with lobster and cherry tomato sauce) or the spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams and garlic sauce).

Saraceno d’Oro has a small home feeling with only a few tables. You can also sit in the shaded outdoor area if you want to people watch. They have a traditional menu with all your Italian favorites, but they are most known for their wood-fired pizza and freshly caught seafood dishes.

Where to Stay in Positano

Budget: Villa Rosa is a cliffside hotel with some of the best views of the Amalfi coast. The rooms have large windows giving them a bright and airy vibe with stunning views. Definitely upgrade to a sea view room! The hotel offers free breakfast and scooter and boat rentals for a small fee.

Mid-range: Hotel Palazzo Murat is a renovated 18th-century building that’s just a 5-minute walk from the beach. The rooms are very elegantly furnished and all have a terrace so you can either see the beach or the botanical gardens from your room. Make sure to take advantage of the free breakfast and the large outdoor pool.

Luxury: Eden Roc Hotel is set on a large cliff with beautiful views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Most of the rooms have furnished balconies with incredible views of the sea where you can have your morning free breakfast. They also have a gym, spa, and wine bar.

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Amalfi

On a day trip, you’ll probably get around an hour and a half in Amalfi. It’s smaller than Positano and there are fewer things to see and do. So, it’s not a lot, but it’s enough to get a feel for the town and to see if you might want to come back.

One of the top attractions in Amalfi is the Duomo di Amalfi, or Duomo di Sant’Andrea. As a lover of historic architecture, I absolutely loved this church. It’s stunning and takes a center stage in this town.

When I visited, it seemed like the town was basically built up around this large church. There is one main road where you’ll find a lot of shops and restaurants worth poking in.

hillside view of amalfi, amalfi coast itinerary, amalfi coast holidays

Top Things to Do in Amalfi

When you visit Amali, here are some of the things to check out:

  • Visit the Duomo di Amalfi—Of course, this would be the first thing on my list. Take lots of pictures of the picturesque front on the steps. You get great views of this busy little town. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to tour inside as we wandered around the town and there was a long line when we got back to the church. Given how amazing the outside is, I’d expect it’s well worth a tour inside.
  • Enjoy the Fontana Sant’Andrea—Located in front of the church is this exquisite fountain.
  • Check out the Fontana Cap è Ciuccio—This fountain dates back to the 18th century and was used for donkeys carrying goods. It’s town a tourist spot with drinking water. It’s an interesting display worth a quick look.
  • Shop on Via dei Mercanti—The main road has a lot of great little shops with pottery, souvenirs, and the like. It’s worth exploring a bit. If you get hungry, there are ample gelato shops. Or, we got an incredible mortadella sandwich at a deli. Who knew bologna could taste SO good??

Where to Eat in Amalfi

Ristorante L’Abside is a small restaurant with a few tables in the main square of the city. It’s a perfect place to sit and people watch. They specialize in seafood, but they have many other options including lamb, pizza, and salads. Make sure to try the hot chocolate cake for dessert!

Da Maria is set in a classic Italian rustic dining room. Most people come here for the fresh pizzas or the seafood dishes. Their menu changes seasonally and depending on which fish were caught that day. Make sure to check out the menu on their website before heading there!

Il Tari Amalfi Restaurant is a cozy restaurant that mainly focuses on raw ingredients. Their menu changes every season. They do have staples that you have to try though including sliced octopus, carnaroli risotto, and some amazing fresh juices.

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Mortadella sandwich

Where to Stay in Amalfi

Budget: Villa Maria Luigia has bright and colorful rooms—some with sea views! Each room also has free Wi-Fi and a minibar. There’s a small cafe in the lobby with free snacks and coffee and they also have free breakfast every morning. Make sure to check out the pool and sundeck if you are there in the warmer months.

Mid-range: Terrazza Duomo is within walking distance of the Amalfi Cathedral and the Museum of Paper. Make sure to get a room with a terrace so you can get stunning views of the cathedral. The rooms are colorful with pretty tiles and they have free hot breakfast.

Luxury: Santa Caterina Hotel is definitely worth the splurge when you are traveling. It’s a villa on a hillside overlooking the sea and is within walking distance to the duomo. Make sure to have at least one meal at the restaurant on the terrace overlooking the water for stunning views!

Ravello

Ravello is a quaint and charming small town on the Amalfi Coast and a great last stop for a day trip. If you have more time, it’s worth just exploring the scenic streets and incredible views.

Ravelo dates back to Roman times. However, in the Middle Ages, it gained status and wealth from trade with the Orient. These wealthy merchants built large homes, churches, castles, and villas.

Ravello is known for the Ravello Music Festival and other musical events. It’s a popular place for music lovers and tourists alike.

If you’re doing a day trip to the Amalfi Coast, you’ll likely be given an hour in Ravello. Negotiate at least for an hour and a half as this charming town will beg to be explored.

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Top Things to Do in Ravello

Ravello is a great small town to just aimlessly wander. You get incredible views given how high it is on the coast, and there are some beautiful narrow roads to get lost in this town. If you’re looking for things to do, here are some of the top sites:

  • Visit the villas. If you only have time to visit one villa, then head to Villa Rufolo. It’s known for having inspired Wagner to write an opera called Parsifal. The villa is stunning and the views are simply majestic.
  • Explore Villa Cimbrone. If you have time, check out the second gorgeous Ravello villa, Villa Cimbrone. It’s now a hotel and boasts incredible gardens.
  • See the San Pantaleo Cathedral. It may look simple on the outside, but this cathedral is striking inside. It was established in 1087 and has doors from the 12th century to enter, and a pulpit on top of six spiral columns. You’ll see sculptures and art dating back to Medieval and even Roman times.
  • Wander the narrow streets of Ravello and explore this quaint and charming town.
  • Shop in the lovely pottery and art shops for local crafts and wares. You’ll find some lovely things in small shops tucked around the town.
scenery of villa rufolo, small garden, views of the sea, ravello,
Villa Rufolo

Where to Eat in Ravello

Salvatore Ravello is a cliffside restaurant overlooking the sea. Make sure to go around sunset and grab a table on the terrace. They have a large wine menu with local and international choices. All desserts are handmade fresh every morning, so it’s a great spot to go even if you just want something sweet with a drink or coffee!

Ristorante Vittoria has traditional Italian recipes with modern spins on them. They also add seasonal fresh ingredients to almost every dish. The fish is freshly caught daily and all the meat only comes from local suppliers. Make sure to check out the extensive wine list and the pizzeria next door owned by the same people.

Mimí Pizzeria is the place to go if you are craving pizza only. The dough is made fresh every day and all the ingredients are grown locally. They also have calzones and a small pasta menu for those not wanting pizza! They have happy hour every day at the bar with a small food menu and great drinks including the local famous limoncello!

cat sitting in front of pizza sign, ravello, towns amalfi coast

Where to Stay in Ravello

Budget: Hotel Santa Lucia is a small hotel just a 5-minutes walk from the beach. They have basic rooms as well as suites. They have free breakfast every morning and an on-site restaurant and bar. Hotel Santa Lucia is only just 3 miles from Amalfi Cathedral.

Mid-range: Rosa e Valentino is chic with rooms decorated in all different colors! The large windows also make the rooms bright and sunny. The hotel is about a 6-minute walk from Villa Rufolo and a 15-minute drive from Duomo di Amalfi. Breakfast is included in your price and is made from local ingredients.

Luxury: Gala Residence Villa Giovanni is within walking distance of both the Villa Rufolo and the Duomo di Amalfi. They have a beautiful terrace with beautiful views of the sea. They serve free hot breakfast every morning and have a large rooftop outdoor pool.

town center of ravello, town square, gelateria, ravello
Ravello town center

How to Get to the Amalfi Coast

There are a number of different options to get to the Amalfi Coast. One of the easiest ways is to take a group tour, which you can easily do from Naples, Sorrento, and even Rome.

You can also take a private tour by hiring a driver. The benefit of this option is that you can focus on what you’re most interested in, and you can determine how much time you want to spend anywhere you stop.

You can also take public transportation from Naples to Sorrento, then take the bus system around the Amalfi Coast. This is the least expensive way to get around. However, it will limit your free time as you’re dependent on the schedules.

Another option is taking the ferries. This is an option during the busy season from around April to October. However, you need to check the schedule as it can change.

To decide what’s best for you, consider your budget and your time. A private driver can cost around $400 USD from Sorrento or more, and approximately the same from Naples. The bus is very inexpensive, however, more time-consuming and less flexible.

We chose to hire a driver to go to the Amalfi Coast. We actually hired him as a Pompeii guide, and he offers tours throughout the region with a number of guides he works with. His son actually took us to the Amalfi Coast, and I’d highly recommend him. He is recommended by Rick Steeves and gets great reviews on Tripadvisor.

You can reach out to Tony (Antonio) Somma at:

If you contact Tony, tell him Sam from My Flying Leap travel blog sent you!

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Positano

Naples to the Amalfi Coast

An easy way to get to the Amalfi Coast from Naples is to take the ferry. You can take a direct ferry from Naples to Positano/Amalfi. The ferry takes around an hour and a half each way or a little longer and runs fairly often. You can check schedules here.

Another option is to take a taxi. If you’d rather use an app, Get Transfer is one that came highly recommended by someone who had traveled to the region before. Uber and Lyft aren’t available.

You can also take a small group tour, or hire a driver as we did for a private tour.

Rome to the Amalfi Coast

To go from Rome to the Amalfi Coast takes around three and a half hours. Your best bet is to take the high-speed train from Rome to Naples and to take the ferry from Naples or hire a driver.

There are multiple train options from Rome to Naples, so be sure you get on the right one. It takes around an hour and ten minutes to get to Naples.

You can also do a small group tour, which is a convenient way to go and lower cost than hiring a driver. It makes for a long day, but it’s worth it if your time is limited.

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Sorrento to the Amalfi Coast

Sorrento is only around an hour’s drive to the Amalfi Coast. Of course, that depends on traffic. You have an option to rent a car if you choose, though I wouldn’t recommend it. Parking can be a challenge and driving can as well on the narrow, windy road.

There are buses that you can take from Sorrento to the Amalfi Coast. You can also take a ferry in +/- an hour, which is a good option. They run a few times a day between Sorrento and Amalfi and Sorrento and Positano.

They do not run during the off-season though, so check the schedule. This is typically from October to April though it may vary.

Otherwise, consider using a service like Get Transfer, hiring a driver, or taking a small group tour.

Amalfi Coast Weather

The most popular time to visit the Amalfi Coast is during the summer. It gets incredibly crowded and you’ll see traffic backed up on the narrow winding road to get between the towns for miles. The festivals are mostly in the summertime. Temperatures tend to run around 75 to 81°F (around 23 to 27°C).

The best times to visit are in May or September. They are more shoulder season in this area and the weather is incredible for travel. Temps tend to be around 66°F to 77°F (18.9°C to 25°C).

If you want to avoid crowds, from November to March is the best time to go. The weather is less desirable though and rains a bit at this time. I went in November and we did have scattered showers all day and the weather was consistent for the week we were in the area. It was still amazing, though not ideal.

cloudy skies in the coast, beaches on the amalfi coast, amalfi coast weather

Where to Stay in the Amalfi Coast

If you have more time than a day, you’ll definitely want to stay to explore the Amalfi coast further. This area is simply gorgeous and there is a lot to see and do. You can’t go wrong staying in any of these towns as you could easily spend a couple of days or more exploring each.

Positano, Italy is a very popular town for Amalfi Coast holidays, and it’s one of the larger towns in the area. But, if you’re looking for something a little smaller, you can’t go wrong with Amalfi or charming Ravello.

grotta de fornillo, amalfi
Grotta di Fornillo

Beaches on the Amalfi Coast

When you picture the Amalfi Coast in your mind, chances are you see a mix of dramatic landscapes with houses climbing up into the mountains, and stunning beaches. You’ll see a lot of both in this region!

It’s a great place to visit to explore as well as to relax and soak in the ambiance. Here are some of the most stunning Amalfi Coast beaches in or near Positano and Amalfi.

  • Marina Grande, Positano—Top hotspot for travelers. Rent a chair for the day and see how many celebs you can find.
  • Spiaggia Arienzo, Positano—Enjoy this slightly quieter beach, taking 300 stairs down to get to it. Of course, there’s a beach club to enjoy with lovely sunbeds and umbrellas.
  • Santa Croce, Amalfi—This secluded beach is tucked away and you can only access it by boat. You can take a ferry from the main pier and enjoy the two beach clubs, Da Teresa and Santa Croce.
  • Arienzo Beach, Positano—Enjoy the lovely afternoon sun and nice clear water at this beach. You do need to climb down 300 stone steps offering incredible views.
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The Best Amalfi Coast Towns Are Waiting for You!

Few areas in Italy are more impressive than the Amalfi Coast. It’s a popular destination for jet setters and anyone else and one not to be missed. With its exquisitely dramatic landscape and picturesque towns, you may want to stay forever!

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