If you are looking to plan an adventurous Amalfi Coast itinerary, this post has you covered.
This gorgeous coastal region in southern Italy is defined by its sheer cliffs and a rugged shoreline linked by a string of pastel-colored fishing villages. It’s one of the most famous beach destinations in Italy despite not having the absolute best beaches in the country.
Whether you’re motivated by Italian food, hiking, pottering around cafes and boutiques, or soaking up the rays, the Amalfi Coast will grant you an unforgettable vacation.
Keep reading for inspiration for your itinerary for the Amalfi Coast.
Where is the Amalfi Coast?
The Amalfi Coast is a 31-mile (50 km) stretch of coastline in the Campania region of southern Italy. It starts in Punta Campanella at the south edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula and concludes in the town of Vietri sul Mare, just west of the city of Salerno.
How many days for the Amalfi Coast itinerary?
Ideally, you will devote seven to 10 days to your Amalfi Coast trip itinerary. Five days is doable, but you might feel more rushed to hop from one place to the next, which kind of goes against the mentality of Southern Italy.
Here in the Amalfi Coast is where you should experience il dolce far niente, the sweetness of doing nothing.
If you are looking at an Amalfi Coast itinerary of three days or less, it would be best to pick one of the towns – such as Positano or Amalfi – as your base and explore the local area from there.
Best time to visit the Amalfi Coast
The best time to visit the Amalfi Coast is during the shoulder season months of May, June, and September.
Although July and August bring the warmest temperatures, the region gets so overwhelmed with visitors that you might not get the best experience.
Coupled with the hot weather, it can make tours and bus rides an uncomfortable experience. Furthermore, accommodation prices skyrocket.
However, if these factors don’t bother you, then go ahead – but do book your hotel way in advance.
Getting to the Amalfi Coast
The nearest large city is Naples, where you can connect via Naples International Airport (code: NAP) or take a train from any other magical city in Italy.
Direct trains link Napoli P. Garibaldi with Sorrento in 1 hour. Meanwhile, trains from Naples Centrale take as little as 40 minutes to reach Salerno. You can search timetables and fares with Omio.
Getting around the Amalfi Coast
Once in Sorrento or Salerno, you have four choices for getting around the Amalfi Coast.
SITA operates a regular bus service linking all the towns typically covered on an itinerary for the Amalfi Coast. This is the cheapest way of getting around.
You could hire a car. However, we wouldn’t recommend this unless you are extremely confident behind the wheel and have experience driving in Italy. The road hugs the cliff and is a nail-biting ride. Even if you do the wise thing and take it nice and slow, you’ll have to deal with other vehicles overtaking you.
Another option, you could rent a private driver or take taxis between the towns. This is the most costly option but it would work well if you are traveling with kids or as part of a group.
Last but not least, ferries serve the larger Amalfi Coast towns. Consult schedules with Ferry Hopper and either book via the platform or buy tickets in person.
Amalfi Coast Itinerary
This itinerary for the Amalfi Coast is written with the mindset of a 10-day trip. As a general guide, you could split your time somewhere along the lines of:
- Sorrento: 3/4 nights
- Positano: 2/3 nights
- Amalfi: 2/3 nights
- Salerno: 1/2 nights
However, the exact number of nights you need in each place will be determined by what exactly things you want to do on the Amalfi Coast.
Essentially, you can use this Amalfi Coast itinerary as a stepping stone to plan a shorter vacation if you’re dealing with less time.
Sorrento is the natural start or end point for your Amalfi Coast itinerary.
As one of the best Italian beach towns for a touch of glamour, you can spend your days swimming off the pebble beaches and sampling all the flavors in the gelato bars of Old Town.
As the heat subsides, drink up views of the Gulf of Naples from Villa Comunale di Sorrento and sip home limoncello in the trattorias.
With an abundance of things to do in Sorrento (this blog post goes into detail), you should aim to spend three or four nights in town as part of a 10-day Amalfi Coast itinerary.
This way, you can tap on a Capri day trip and/or visit the ancient sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii besides exploring the Old Town, marina, and lemon groves of Sorrento.
Check out our video to how we spent 48 hours in Sorrento here.
Where to stay in Sorrento:
Treat yourself to a couple of nights at Hotel Antiche Mura where traditionally appointed rooms (some with balconies) are affixed to tiled en suites. The resort features a shared pool surrounded by citrus trees. A touch cheaper, Casa Marino is centrally located with cheerful rooms overlooking the street.
Where to eat in Sorrento:
- O’Parrucchiano La Favorita is a dreamy restaurant with beautiful interiors and a patio decorated with lemon trees. They serve their own twist on the classic gnocchi alla Sorrentina, prepared with rich tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil.
- Colorful, tiled Mò Mò opens early for brunch (try the pancakes) and serves lunch and dinner with a focus on seafood and comfort dishes at a reasonable price.
- Get your sugar and caffeine fix at Bougainvillea Gelateria with the option to dine-in or enjoy from the adjacent Parco di Villa Fiorentino.
Positano is one of the prettiest towns you’ll encounter on your Amalfi Coast trip itinerary.
It’s the postcard image of an Amalfi fishing village, with cobblestone streets awash with wisteria and boutiques where you’ll happily blow your vacation budget!
The main beach, Positano Spiaggia, gives a wonderful view of the buildings hewn into the cliffs.
It’s quite pricey to rent a sunbed (prices are usually €30/$32 USD for the day in high season) and the beach is pebble rather than sand, so you might want to get your photos and skedaddle.
In town, you can lose hours mooching around the bakeries and gift shops. If you would rather spend less time in Sorrento, it’s possible to take a Capri day trip from Positano as well.
One of the more adventurous things to do in Positano is to hike the Path of the Gods (II Sentiero Degli Dei) which is just of the many hiking trails on the Amalfi Coast. Following old mule routes, his 5-mile (8 km) trail is moderately challenging and requires a good level of fitness as well as decent hiking boots. It takes anywhere between three and five hours to complete the hike,
However, you will also need to travel to Bomerano (accessible by bus) to start the hike, which takes around 90 minutes. Once you conclude the hike in Nocelle, you’ll need to take another bus or taxi back to Positano.
Therefore, plan to dedicate an entire day out of your Amalfi Coast trip itinerary to the hike and book three nights in Positano if you have a 10-day trip.
Otherwise, the Le Tese di Positano hike to Chiesa Santa Maria del Castello starts right in town. It’s a shorter hike but extremely steep, and you’ll need to set off as early as possible.
Where to stay in Positano:
Rooms at Casa Mandara B&B come with terraces overlooking the cliffs of Positano. As a bonus, breakfast is delivered to your own balcony.
Where to eat in Positano:
- Luna is a low-key restaurant where the food competes with the views. The wait staff are charming and will help accommodate special diets – gluten-free, vegetarian, etc – while the place is lovely for a romantic dinner.
- In reality, no bakery in Positano will let you down but the pizza, pastries, and coffee at Collina Positano Bakery are top-notch. At least visit to sample their iconic lemon sorbet.
- Sited in the garden of a former royal residence, Al Palazzo is the place for an indulgent supper on your Amalfi Coast itinerary. Gnocchi and ravioli are particularly tasty.
In truth, Amalfi is pretty similar to Positano at first glance with its dramatic cliffs with streets and residences hewn into the rocks.
Its star attraction is Duomo di Amalfi with its striking facade of striped marble with Arab-Moorish influences and Gothic elements. Outside, you can cool down with a scoop of gelato in front of the Saint Andrew Fountain.
Other notable sights in Amalfi include the Museo Diocesano di Amalfi and the Chiostro del Paradiso.
Meanwhile, the Antico Arsenale della Repubblica di Amalfi takes you on a journey through the region’s maritime history. Plus, there are a couple of swimming beaches with umbrellas for rent at similar rates to Sorrento and Positano.
While in Amalfi, you can take a boat trip to the Grotta dello Smeraldo.
This sea cave is filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and water the color of sapphires and emeralds. Also, it’s a great shout if you need to escape the fierce sunshine!
Ravello is another side trip convenient for Amalfi, where the terraces and gardens of Villa Rufolo grant what is possibly the finest sea views in the entire region.
If you are looking to plan a shorter itinerary for the Amalfi Coast then you can choose to book accommodation in either Positano or Amalfi.
Overall, Positano is the popular pick, being a fraction more picturesque and livelier.
However, Amalfi has the benefit of being quieter with affordable accommodation. Also, it is much flatter than Positano which makes it a better fit for wheelchair users, the elderly, and parents with strollers.
Another option to consider is taking the ferry all the way to Amalfi from Naples, spending a few nights in the village, and then visiting Positano and Sorrento in succession.
Where to stay in Amalfi:
Cozily outfitted rooms at the L’Arabesco B&B grant sea views from your personal terrace, where you will enjoy daily breakfast. Mind that the walk to the town center is around 20 minutes or less than 10 via local bus.
Alternatively, Terrazza Duomo is right in town with unobstructed views of the Duomo from select rooms. Breakfast is served in the rooftop restaurant.
Where to eat in Amalfi:
- The signature dish at Trattoria da Gemma is grilled octopus washed down with a crisp pinot grigio. If you want to sit on the patio, get there ahead of the lunch rush.
- Pasticceria Pansa Amalfi is an elegant bakery with pastries and Italian cakes plated up with aromatic coffee. Definitely try their “lemon delight.”
- While in Ravello, eat at Ristorante Salvatore. Artistic dishes and fresh pasta tossed with seafood are served on the panoramic terrace of this hotel restaurant.
Unless you prefer to double back and wrap up back in Sorrento, you can conclude (or start) your Amalfi Coast trip itinerary at the city of Salerno.
As a port city, Salerno offers a mix of beaches, museums, parks, and dining. It’s not particularly well-known – which is all the more reason to visit.
Once a flourishing center for medicine students, Salerno juxtaposes a unique space in history alongside its glorious architecture.
Visit the Cattedrale di Santa Maria degli Angeli to see one of the most ornate church crypts in the country – if not the continent. There are also the remains of a medieval aqueduct in the heart of the city.
Lungomare Trieste is a chill promenade along the seafront where you can stretch your legs with an ice cream in hand. Beyond the city, you could pop back along the Amalfi Coast to visit the smaller village on this side of the region.
Alternatively, if you have a thing for the classics, you can take a day trip to the site of Paestum where the ancient temples resemble the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens.
Where to stay in Salerno:
Located on the seafront, some rooms at Hotel Centro Congressi Polo Nautico have balconies with views over the Gulf of Naples. A wonderful buffet breakfast is included in the rate.
Where to eat in Salerno:
- Taverna Santa Maria De Domno is an attractive trattoria down a side street off the shoreline in what was once a church. They have an extensive wine selection to go with your chosen catch of the day.
- Buttery croissants and sugary Italian biscuits and cakes: Baracano’s Cafe is a reason alone to visit Salerno. Note, it’s take-out only.
Add ons to an Amalfi Coast itinerary
If you have a few more days, you can add a few extra stops to your Amalfi Coast itinerary.
First of all, one can’t possibly miss at least a few hours in the city of Naples.
On your way from Naples to the city of Sorrento, you have two of Italy’s most famous destinations – Mount Vesuvius and the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii. It is easy to take a Pompeii day trip from Naples.
Pompeii is particularly accessible. You can simply hop on the train between Naples and Sorrento and get off at the Pompeii station. The entrance is about a five-minute walk from the station.
To get to the hiking trails or viewing platform of Mount Vesuvius, you’ll still get off of the train in Pompeii, but from there you will hop on a bus to the entrance of the park. You can find the bus schedule here.
As you can see from the content on this website, we absolutely love Italy and it’s a country we visit as frequently as we can.
The Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s gems and although it’s popular and quite touristy during the summer months, it’s well worth visiting to explore this region up close.