Best villages to stay in Amalfi Coast
The town of Amalfi is the largest and most popular resort on this dramatic stretch of coastline. It's the perfect place to stay if you're an aficionado of architecture and history as there's an abundance of ancient Roman ruins to be explored. For historical buffs, a visit to the 9th century Duomo, which sits proudly at the top of a wide set of steps in the town's central piazza, is a must. Here you'll find not only sculptures and mosaics but a fascinating museum too. You may want to set some time aside to head a little further inland into the valley and wander through the abundant lemon groves, past the remnants of old paper mills, followed by a visit to the Paper Museum on the Via delle Cartiere in the historic Cartiere Milano.
Amalfi is also a great place to stay if you're looking to be right in the middle of the Amalfi Coast. It makes an excellent base if you intend to visit other parts of the coastline, as it's easy to move around from here. Young couples will enjoy staying in Amalfi as it has a lively nightlife, together with plenty of restaurants and bars, although perhaps it's not the best choice if you're looking for a relaxing and peaceful holiday, as it can get extremely busy, especially in the high summer season.
If you're a beach lover, there's a small beach where you can hire the usual sunbeds and towels, but be warned, this can get extremely busy in the height of the summer; so if you prefer a bit of space when you're sunbathing, you may want to consider taking a trip around the headland, where you'll find a smaller, but infinitely quieter beach at Atrani.
Of course, no vacation to Amalfi would be complete without exploring the maze of narrow white alleyways which lead down to the harbour and seafront; it's a great place to take a leisurely stroll before settling down to eat some freshly caught fish, washed down with one of the local specialities, limoncello, the traditional lemon liqueur. After dinner, a walk around the marina to view the luxurious yachts and fishing boats would be the perfect way to end an evening's entertainment.
Hotels in Amalfi
Perched high above Amalfi, you'll find the captivating village of Ravello, whose winning charms have inspired artists, musicians and movie stars to linger amongst its beauty. It's easy to see why it's a popular destination for honeymooners, as it's the perfect place for a totally relaxing holiday with its fabulous views and wonderful gardens. The infamous Greta Garbo was a regular visitor here and, while she may have said that she wanted to be alone, was quite happy to spend a great deal of time at the Villa Cimbrono with her lover; especially as it has 'the most beautiful view in the world' according to artist Gore Vidal.
The Villa Rufolo, with its equally spectacular views, is the venue for summer outdoor classical music concerts, organised each year by the Ravello Concert Society. And certainly, this picturesque town seems to inspire the arts, as Wagner is said to have written Parsifal while in residence here, so if you're a lover of classical and chamber music, you'll love spending time in this idyllic village.
The town itself is dominated by an impressive cathedral or duomo, which is dedicated to San Panteleone, and the Museo del Duomo. Of course, while the town is home to many restaurants, bars, cafes and shops, it's possible to walk to Amalfi down the steep mountain paths if you're relatively fit and able, however, you probably won't want to make the return journey on foot.
While Ravello's quiet charms will appeal to those of you who are looking for a completely relaxing break, it's maybe not the best place to stay if you love the hustle and bustle of crowded resorts and it's definitely not the best place to choose for a holiday if you love the beach, as Ravello is the only town on the Amalfi coastline which doesn't have one; the nearest beach is down the mountainside in Amalfi itself.
Hotels in Ravello
Once a small fishing village, Positano has grown into a popular and upmarket tourist resort. Loved by the rich and famous, it's the perfect place to go celebrity spotting or people watching. It's built a first class reputation for its luxury hotels, Michelin starred restaurants and high end boutiques. From June to September, it's awash with thousands of cosmopolitan tourists who come to eat, shop, relax and have fun in this millionaire's paradise, and can get extremely busy and crowded.
It's an ideal holiday destination for young couples, who are looking for a lively nightlife, or indeed any holidaymakers who love to party well into the night. However, due to its steep, narrow roads, it's probably not the best place to atay with a young family, or if you have problems with mobility.
Though the steep rocky cliffs plunge straight into the azure sea, Positano does have a couple of dark, gravel beaches, so if you'd like a change from your hotel pool, it's a great place to laze in the sun or take a swim.
However, the beaches do tend to get packed during the summer months. For culture lovers, there are several churches to explore, including the attractive duomo set on a tiny piazza by the beach with an impressive green and gold dome and airy white and gold interior.
Read more about where to stay in Positano.
Praiano is a quieter, traditional fishing town with numerous small restaurants selling an array of seafood and pasta dishes. There are beautiful beaches for relaxing- including the only one on the Amalfi coast that remains sunny till sunset. There is the seaside church of San Gennaro and nearby church of San Domenico, which is the setting for the annual ‘Luminaria di San Domenico’ -Festival of Light which takes place at the end of July- beginning of August.
The trendy place to stay in Praiano is the upmarket boutique hotel, Casa Angelina. The hotel has an amazing modern art exhibition and stunning views of the Amalfi Coast and faraway Capri. The town is fun to walk through and admire examples of the majolica tiles – a local craft. It is the perfect place for nature lovers with small coves and numerous trails, with the promise of a cool cocktail at the al fresco Seascape Bar.
Hotels in Praiano
This lively town used to be called ‘Reghinna Maior’ after its river that flooded the town so badly in1854. It was once the principal port on this coastline. As well as the largest beach to enjoy, there are numerous places of historical interest to explore. The town is dominated by the 15th century castle of San Nicola de Thoro-Plano, which is open to the public. The Collegiate Church of Santa Maria a Mare is worth seeing too as it has a wooden statue of Our Lady which was found floating in the sea close by. Whilst you are, stop to admire the church’s dome which has been made with majolica tiles.
The crypts and catacombs of Santa Maria Oleania were where the first monks in the area lived. Maiori is well known for its night life and excellent restaurants. If you are looking for somewhere special, the Torre Normanna Restuarant is situated on the top of an ancient watch tower with beautiful views.
Hotels in Maiori