The Amalfi Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage sight for many reasons…mountains shooting up out of the deep, blue sea; pastel villages on the two-lane road that hugs the mountains along the water; long, languorous, al fresco lunches of fish just-plucked from the sea; lemon groves; medieval villages rich in history; colorful ceramics galore; water gazing and big, bright views. Let’s go!
BOOK NOW: “By March, the best hotels start to sell out.” (I can personally vouch for this great advice from Andrew Harper)
- Il San Pietro and Le Sirenuse hotels are the two grandes dames of the Amalfi Coast, and both are in Positano. While Positano is crowded, these hotels are glorious.
- Il San Pietro di Positano Il San Pietro sits by itself just outside of Positano, clinging to a cliff overlooking the sea. Decor is classic Italian. Definitely go for a drink on this spectacular terrace, as I did. This uber-glamorous hotel is recommended by Vogue and Andrew Harper, although you will probably run into a lot of Americans.
- Le Sirenuse (recommended by Andrew Harper, the NYTimes, goop.com & me) is super glam, with a lemon tree scented terrace overlooking the deep, blue sea; you will run into lots of Americans here. Decor is old world Italian. An extremely well-traveled and good friend of mine recently stayed at Le Sirenuse and loved it! Read the Sirenuse Journal on their website for excellent tips on the Amalfi Coast. (58 rooms and suites)
- also in Positano
- in Ravello (relaxed pace, less crowded than Amalfi & Positano)
- Belmond Hotel Caruso , former 11th century palace recommended by impeccable sources: Town & Country, Vogue, Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop.com, and Andrew Harper
- Palazzo Avino (formerly Palazzo Sasso) Travel aficionado Andrew Harper recommends this 33 room hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant in a former 12th century private villa
- Villa Cimbrone Recommended by Elle Décor, Vogue & NY Times, the Villa Cimbrone is noted for its beautiful gardens
- In Conca dei Marini (not crowded)
- Monastero Santa Rosa (recommended by the NY Times, Town & Country, Bazaar, How to Spend It, & Vogue–pretty impressive!) — This is the place to stay if you want to get away from the crowds in Positano and Amalfi. This former 17th century monastery, whose decor is not overly sophisticated, is in a tiny town with a charming little church, breathtaking views AND a great-looking Michelin-starred restaurant. I think it would be a peaceful, beautiful experience. (20 rooms and suites)
- In Praiano (uncrowded)
- In Salerno
- In Amalfi
- La Caravella is recommended by Mario Batali (see Food & Wine article) and Andrew Harper
- Marina Grande (NYTimes) click here to watch a transporting video of the restaurant/beach club
- Pasticceria Pansa, per the NYT
- Da Gemma: ” I feel very good sitting on the terrace, drinking ice-cold Fiano and eating marinated anchovies, at Da Gemma,” said Mario Battali in Food & Wine
- For post-prandial drinks and live music, the NYT recommends Masaniello Art Cafè
- Il Refettorio Michelin-starred restaurant in Conca dei Marini at Monastero Santa Rosa
- Don Alfonso 1890 in Sant’Agata recommended by Andrew Harper
- Il Buco in Sorrento, recommended by Andrew Harper, who has good taste
- Torre del Saracino in Vico Equense, recommended by Mario Batali (see Food & Wine article) and Andrew Harper
- Il Pirata (NYTimes) in Praiano–“a lounge and restaurant in an unbeatable location with tables on a stone terrace beside the sea.” Let’s go now!!
- Babel Wine Bar Deli & Art in Ravello, per the NYT
In an excellent article in Food & Wine, Mario Batali recommends:
- in hard-to-find Massa Lubrense, La Scoglio, Taverna del Capitano, and Quattro Passi
- La Tagliate in Montepertuso – “ I love this town dearly as a relief from the chichi beach and Armani crowd,” said Mario Battali in Food & Wine.Vogue likes it, too!
- in Positano, Il Capitano (“high above the sea”), Chez Black (“right on the water” & Vogue magazine also likes Chez Black), and “the restaurant in Le Sirenuse is quite tasty.”
da Adolfo, “a hippie spot” on Laurito Beach where Carla Sersale, who runs Emporio, the boutique at her family’s hotel (the fab Le Sirenuse), spends some of her time off, according to an interview in Veranda Magazine. Click here for details. This place looks like so much fun! The Financial Times‘ excellent “How to Spend It” magazine also recommended it, as do goop.com and Vogue magazine.
See the Sights
Drive the Drive: The drive from Vietri to Positano along the Amalfi Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That’s how spectacular it is!!! While nerve-wracking at times, you MUST do the drive as it is gorgeous. We had to back up on this narrow, two-lane road with STEEP drop-off to make room for a truck; take your time!).
Village Hop along the Way: For a great article by Elle Decor on which towns to visit along the Amalfi Coast, click here
Boat the Coast: For a different perspective, see the Amalfi Coast by boat! Take the Travelmar ferry to points along the coast
Hike for Views: An alternative way to take in the stunning sea views is suggested by the NYT: “For better views and less congestion, head to Bomerano, a mountaintop hamlet, to hike Il Sentiero degli Dei, or the Path of the Gods. As the name suggests, the up-in-the-clouds views are spectacular along this well-marked trail. Though not recommended for anyone prone to vertigo, it’s a relatively easy three-hour hike to the town of Nocelle, where hundreds of steps then lead down to the beach at Arienzo and a well-deserved dip in the sea.”
See Amalfi’s Duomo’s façade of mosaics and striped arches and Chiostro del Paradiso, a 13th-century cloister
BTW, have I mentioned that Positano and Amalfi are crowded?! The NYTimes (“36 Hours on the Amalfi Coast” ), Vogue and/or Elle Décor (recommend seeking out these following charming smaller towns:
- Cetara (medieval village, anchovy sauce)
- Vietri sul Mare (ceramics, majolicas)
- Praiano (click here to read the NYTimes‘ article on Praiano & click here to read Vogue‘s article)
- Conca dei Marini
- Maiori (has a sand beach, unlike most of the other AC beaches, which are all pebbles; Collegiate di Santa Maria a Mare)
- Minori (Villa Marittima, a first-century Roman villa ruins)
- Ravello (Click here to read Vogue‘s article on Ravello; Villa Cimbrone’s gardens; Villa Rufolo — the inspiration for the magic garden of Klingsor in Wagner’s “Parsifal;” Ravello Festival attracts world class music talent from July-September)
- Pompeii is an easy day trip by train from Sorrento
- Capri — Take a day-trip on a Riva speedboat
Lucio Liguori, Via San Vito 49, Raito, 84019 Vietri sul Mare. Tel +39 339 310 7071. Studio visits on request.
- Casa e Bottega (recommended by How to Spend It) in Positano
- Antonello della Mura, for “the chicest clothing shop on the coast,” according to Town & Country
- Il Palo Borracho: An outdoor boutique that mostly sells linen goods. (goop.com)
- Emporio Le Sirenuse in Positano is open April to October and has been recommended by every stylish travel and fashion magazine I read
For more shopping opp’s, see goop.com
When to Visit
Elle Décor recommends May-June and Sept-Oct, when the weather is slightly cooler.
My husband and I spent part of our honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast 20 years ago, so I thought it would be the perfect location for a Valentine’s Day post.
Happy Valentine’s Day!