I escape to the Amalfi Coast almost annually (it’s only a few hours from my home in Italy), and Amalfi is often where I choose to hang my hat for a few days. It’s the largest town on the Amalfi Coast as well as its main transport hub, making it the ideal base for exploring the famous stretch of coastline. Plus, many of the area’s cultural and historic treasures are packed into this former maritime republic (and in Ravello, set on the clifftop just above).
The old town is relatively level and thick with great restaurants and shops for all budgets, and you can hit the trails in the nearby Lattari Mountains or bask on the beach when the crowds get overwhelming. Here are my tips for taking in the best of Amalfi in three days.
Temperatures soar in the summer, so don’t set off in the morning without sunblock, a hat, and water.
If you only have time for one thing, visit Amalfi’s stunning Duomo (be sure to wear clothes that cover shoulders and knees to enter).
Spend your first morning delving into Amalfi’s historic roots. The city is home to one of the most magnificent cathedrals in southern Italy, an impressive historic arsenal where massive ships were once built, and a captivating old town crisscrossed with winding lanes and staircases. Visit the paper museum to learn how Amalfi was once an important paper manufacturer, then settle at a table in the main square to sip a limoncello (lemon liqueur) and soak in la dolce vita.
Set sail this morning with a scenic boat tour along the coast to Positano. The Amalfi Coast is best admired by sea, far from the crowds and chaos on land; dozens of boat tours set off from Amalfi’s busy port each day. Most include stops to swim and snorkel plus free time to explore Positano’s old town and browse its chic boutiques.
Tonight, connect with a local host to experience Amalfi’s authentic culture and cuisine with a home cooking demonstration and dinner. Pick up tips for preparing classic dishes, then sit down together for an informal dinner.
The Amalfi Coast is home to some of the most scenic hiking in Italy, and a number of panoramic trails are within striking distance of Amalfi. Explore the wooded Valley of Mills in the Lattari Mountains just above the old town, hike up the trail that leads from Amalfi to the hamlet of Pogerola for sweeping views over the coastline, or walk the “Path of the Lemons” (Sentiero dei Limoni) through terraced citrus groves along the water’s edge from the village of Minori to Maiori.
Spend the rest of the day relaxing at the beach now that the crowds have subsided. Rent an umbrella and loungers at Duoglio or Santa Croce just outside of town—you may even get a discounted rate during the final hours of sun before dusk.