The ultimate guide to the Amalfi Coast

A vista overlooking a small town and azure waters on the Amalfi Coast

Zoe Macfarlane

Posted June 15, 2023

Southern Italy is a dream destination for many Australian travellers, especially to the idyllic Amalfi Coast.

This UNESCO World Heritage region is home to 13 picturesque seaside towns where whitewashed homes hug the craggy cliffs and overlook the azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Amalfi Coast is a place to discover, relax, and indulge in equal measure.

If you’re planning to drive while you’re overseas, you may need an International Driving Permit. You can apply online, but check the country you’re visiting requires one before you travel and allow time for processing.

Explore the Amalfi Coast’s best towns and villages

The Amalfi peninsula offers cliff-top vistas, tiered lemon groves, and whitewashed villages that pop in contrast to the brilliant blue skies. This is Italy’s paradise coast, just a short train away from Rome.

With 13 picturesque towns to explore – Amalfi, Atrani, Cetara, Conca de' Marini, Furore, Maiori, Minori, Positano, Praiano, Ravello, Scala, Tramonti, and Vietri sul Mare – the choice is yours to find an ambience and pace that matches your Italian holiday goals.

If you’re keen to enjoy the Amalfi Coast in all its glory, Positano and Amalfi are where it’s at. Considered the jewel of the Amalfi Coast, Positano impresses with its pastel-coloured cliff-side homes and narrow streets filled with upscale boutique stores and galleries. Popular with A-list celebrities and wealthy millionaires, Positano’s glamorous restaurants, bars, and clubs are buzzing late into the night.

Once a maritime powerhouse, and namesake of the region, Amalfi is a gorgeous town, filled with piazzas, waterfront restaurants, and historical points of interest. Its location in the middle of the Amalfi Coast makes it a great base to explore from.

To discover the beauty of the Amalfi Coast at a more relaxed pace, three places stand out. Nestled between bustling Positano and Amalfi, romance-inducing Priano is a more affordable destination. The fabulous views, quaint restaurants, and laidback beaches appeal - including the one beach on the Amalfi Coast that enjoys the sun until it sets!

The quiet streets, historic sites, and fabulous pasta of Minori entice as a mellow base at an affordable price. Cetara is a no-frills destination revealing the traditional fishing lifestyle of residents on the Amalfi Coast.


A cliffside town lit up at dusk on the Amalfi Coast

There are 13 picturesque towns to explore on the Amalfi Coast. Image: Shutterstock.

Discover the Amalfi Coast’s most significant landmarks

Dotted with historical attractions, there are several landmarks that reveal a glimpse into the Amalfi Coast’s rich heritage. The Duomo di Amalfi, the Amalfi Cathedral, is a stunning building blending architectural styles that date to the 9th century. Take your time here; the joys are in the tiny details of the cathedral’s interior and exploring the atmospheric Chiostro del Paradiso.

In enchanting Ravello, explore Villa Rufolo, a 13th-century villa with spectacular gardens and even more spectacular views. Nearby the 11th-century Villa Cimbrone is also worth a visit for its Terrace of Infinity, with sweeping views of the Amalfi Coast and Gulf of Salerno.

Go back further in time at Minori’s Villa Marittima Romana. This well-preserved archaeological site dates to the Roman times of the 1st century when the elite enjoyed the spoils of the Amalfi Coast. 


Spanish Steps

Take time to enjoy the monuments on the Amalfi Coast, like the Chiostro del Paradiso. Image: Shutterstock.

Get active on the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is best enjoyed outdoors. A must for hiking lovers, Sentiero degli Dei, the Path of the Gods, is a historical trail that winds you through the mountains for breathtaking views of the Amalfi Coast. Allow 3-4 hours to walk this 7.5-kilometre ancient mule route soaking in the wildflowers, olive groves, and vineyards at a steady pace. Alternatively, the easy 4.7-kilometre Bay of Ieranto coastal trail is ideal.

For a more leisurely outdoor pursuit, take a boat ride. There are plenty to choose from to suit your tastes, including private yacht charters, half- and full-day boat tours, and even hopping aboard a passenger ferry.

Seeing the towns of the Amalfi Coast from the sea allows you to experience the region from a new vantage point. A day trip to the island of Capri is recommended, with a stop at the famed Blue Grotto, a sea cave that glows a vibrant, mesmerising blue! In contrast, sail from Conca dei Marina to the stalactites and green hues of the small karst Emerald Cave.


A woman walking along a clifftop on the Amalfi Coast

Opportunities for scenic hikes abound but you can also experience the coast leisurely via a boat ride. Image: Shutterstock.

Enjoy the Amalfi Coast’s sumptuous cuisine

With a focus on fresh ingredients and simple preparations, the flavours of the Amalfi Coast satisfy the palate. With its coastal location, freshly caught seafood plays a prominent role on the menu and on the plate, especially anchovies, mussels, and clams. A favourite dish is pasta alla vongole, with clams and spaghetti tossed in garlic, olive oil, and white wine sauce.

With its proximity to Naples, it’s no surprise that Naples’ favourites – like pizza – are prevalent along the coast. Be sure to try sfogliatella riccia (curly) and frolla (shortcrust) pastries - filled with ricotta cheese or almond paste. These are morish treats enjoyed at any time of the day. Join the locals for a breakfast tradition of Neapolitan café and a custard-filled pasticciotto pastry.

From nearby Capri, order insalata Caprese, a flavourful salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.

The Amalfi Coast is famous for its lemons with limoncello its most popular lemon-based export. This sweet-yet-tangy liqueur is the perfect after-dinner digestif and as a fabulous souvenir to remember your Amalfi Coast adventures by.

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