Amalfi, the Enchanting Seaside Town on the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi is an enchanting seaside town on the Amalfi Coast. Its colourful houses, the amazing views of the sea, the good climate for almost the entire year, have made the Amalfi the dream summer place for many travelers, including our family.

Things to do in Amalfi, day trip to Amalfi
The marina of Amalfi, Italy

While the information about Amalfi Coast is available everywhere on the website, we found it quite difficult to get detail information about things to do in the Amalfi.  Originally, based on limited information, we only planned to spend half a day there. But in the end, we spent our entire day there. In fact, there are more things to do in Amalfi than we have expected. Below are the main activities that we have done in a day:

    • Piazza Municipio
    • Beach walk
    • Stunning at the colourful marina
    • Join the crows at the Piazza del Duomo (the main square)
    • Visit the landmark Saint Andrew’s Cathedral
    • Lost ourselves among Amalfi’s traditional streets and alleys
    • Take the loop walk around Saint Andrew’s Cathedral

Piazza Municipio

On the way to Ravello the other day, we passed Amalfi and noticed the parking problem. Having known the parking situation, we went there very early to be able to park our car in the parking house, Luna Rossa. The tunnel Pedonale Amalfi-Parcheggio Luna Rossa inside the parking house links both Amalfi and Atrani.  From the parking house, it takes only a few minutes to walk to Amalfi town centre.

The exit of the tunnel is the small square called Piazza Municipio.  At the end of the square is the Civic Museum of Amalfi (Municipio di Amalfi). The museum is free of entrance, open only during the weekdays, from 8 am to 1 pm.  It was around 10:00 in the morning. The square was very silent, and no single tourist was in sight. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the simplicity of the inner side of old town.

The tunnel Pedonale Amalfi-Parcheggio Luna Rossa inside the parking house links both Amalfi and Atrani.
The tunnel Pedonale Amalfi-Parcheggio Luna Rossa inside the parking house links both Amalfi and Atrani.
Things to do in Amalfi, piazza Municipio
Things to do in Amalfi, piazza Municipio
a day trip to Amalfi
Outdoor settings of some restaurants are ready to welcome the first guest.
best things to do in Amalfi
The beach club owners were busy preparing the beach setting.

Beach walk

Form the Piazza Municipio, we turned toward the seaside. The main road (SS163) next to the seaside is very busy. The pretty promenade next to the beach had a few pedestrians. Trees and potteries line up the walkway. Outdoor settings of some restaurants are ready to welcome the first guest. The beach club owners were busy preparing the beach setting and flattening the sands.  The clear water of the Tyrrhenian Sea touched the beach gently. A truly silent moment before the mass tourists arrived!

Stunning at the colourful marina

Our family continued marching toward the colourful marina, where most buses stopped. There, tourists arrived and departure, a busy scene you would see in a usual tourist place. We passed through the crowds and went to the harbourside, where we could have the panorama view of the old town. At the water edge, Amalfi lies at the mouth of a deep ravine, surrounded by cliffs and coastal scenery. In the distance, towers, vaulted houses, ancient churches, and chapels cluster on the rocks.  Everything tells the rich merchant history of Amalfi, which was the capital of the maritime republic. Amalfi held importance as a maritime power between 839 and around 1200.

Nowadays, Amalfi is a popular cruise destination, especially for luxury cruise lines. On that day, our favourite Azamara Cruise arrived. In the waterfront, many private boat owners were waiting for the busy of the day. They offer small boats as well as yachts, from simple ones to the luxury ones. To charter one luxury one, the starting price is around 500 Euro per day plus fuel cost. If the owner drives the yacht for you, extra cost applies. It is also an unforgettable experience to see town from the sea. The following tours are very popular along the Amalfi coast area.

Join the crows at the Piazza del Duomo (the main square in Amalfi)

Sidewalk cafes and elegant shops are around the main square. The Majority of travellers spend time there,  eating, drinking, and doing shopping. We tried the typical Italian ice-cream and bought some Lemon products, such as lemon soup and several packs of lemon-flavoured sweets. The most famous local product is, however, the Limoncello, a type of sweet liqueur made from lemons. We tried the one mixed with pistachio flavour. The Liquor contains around 17% of alcohol, but the fruity Lemon taste and the rich aroma of the pistachio reduce the alcohol effect.

Visit Saint Andrew’s Cathedral, the landmark of Amalfi

The most eye-catch site near the main square is Saint Andrew’s Cathedral. Around 60 steps of staircases lead the way up to Saint Andrew’s Cathedral. Date back to the 11th century, the cathedral also combines some of the Arabian patterns which reflect Amalfi’s important commercial role during medieval times. Its façade is Byzantine in style and is adorned with various paintings of saints.  Michelangelo Naccherino, a student of Michelangelo, sculpted the bronze statue of Saint Andrew in the cathedral. In 1206, Pietro Capuano brought Saint Andrew’s relics to Amalfi from Constantinople after the completion of the cathedral.  You can see a golden reliquary which originally housed his skull and another one used for processions through Amalfi on holy days.

To enter the cathedral, you need to pay a couple of Euros. For prayers, however, it is free of charge between 7:30 am-10 am and 5 pm-7:30 pm. We had a small break in front of the entrance while overlooking the main square, the heart of Amalfi. People were busy taking photos of the cathedral, with or without themselves, and from every corner of the square. Others were looking around the shops selling local products. It was a sunny later summer day, and the outside seating areas of all restaurants are nearly full.

what to do in Amalfi
The main square in Amalfi
the Limoncello, a type of sweet liqueur made from lemons
Limoncello, a type of sweet liqueur made from lemons.
Saint Andrew Cathedral
Saint Andrew Cathedral

Lost ourselves among Amalfi’s traditional streets and alleys

The famous cathedral in Romanesque-Baroque style and the elegant buildings around the square are certainly the must-see sites for the majority of tourists. However, we discovered the traditional streets and alleys are more attractive because of their layout and the clustered houses. They are the main part of the Amalfi’s townscape.  Such streets and alleys are on both sides of the main streets. Randomly, we turned into a backstreet where it marked as “Up to the Ancient Staircases” and is opposite the street Salita d’Ancora.

The staircase leads to the Amalfi neighbourhood. Hidden behind the doorways are some local restaurants whose tables occupy nearly two-third of the narrow staircases. I can imagine a suggestive atmosphere in the evening when all the restaurants are busy. Hotels and restaurants dominant this area. We passed the restaurant Da Memè, Ristorante Pizzeria II Teatro, and Trattoria San Giuseppe, and arrived at a small square, Piazza dei Dogi, which are surrounded by various types of local restaurants. This is, in fact, one of the best things to do in Amalfi.

Related post: A Guide to the Types of Italian Restaurants – Where and What to Eat

Amalfi’s traditional streets and alleys
Amalfi’s traditional streets and alleys
Hidden behind the doorways are some local restaurants whose tables occupy nearly two-third of the narrow staircases.
Hidden behind the doorways are some local restaurants whose tables occupy nearly two-third of the narrow staircases.
a small square Piazza dei Dogi, Amalfi town
A small square, Piazza dei Dogi

Take the loop walk around the Saint Andrew’s Cathedral

Among many things to do in Amalfi, I would suggest having a walk around the cathedral. On both sides of the cathedral are the staircases directing to other interesting sites. Both staircases start from the main square, next to the foot of the cathedral. The loop walk begins from the staircases from one side of the cathedral and returns to the staircases on the other side.  It takes less than an hour to complete the loop walk.

We went up the staircases next to Pasticceria Andrea Pansa. At the end of the staircases, a covered passageway stretches to the residential area, where we saw the community library (Biblioteca Comunale). The library is at the back of the cathedral.  You can also walk up the staircases at the other side and see the Cloister Of Paradise without doing the loop walk.

a long tunnel stretches to the residential area
A long tunnel stretches to the residential area.
Amalfi library
Amalfi’s community library (Biblioteca Comunale)

Other things to do in Amalfi

If you stay in the town for a couple of days, these are also the things to do in Amalfi:

  • Visit the museums such as the Paper Museum (Via delle Cartiere 24)
  • Hike to Torre Dello Ziro
  • Explore Amalfi Coast from the sea by joining one of the boat tours below.
  • Hike to Atrani from Amalfi to see the smallest town in Southern Italy

In my opinion, the last activity is a must-see. The coastal walk has rewarded us an unforgettable experience of the Amalfi Coast trip.

Travel tips

Parking

Parking is, in general, a problem in Amalfi. The public parking near the marina can be full quickly in the early morning.  Besides, there are always many tourists walking around there. So it is a stressful experience to seek a parking place near the marina. But the parking house Luna Rossa is very good equipped. The parking slots are spacious and easily accessible from the roadside. As most travelers tend to park near the marina, you should try to use Luna Rossa parking house first to avoid the crowds near the marina. 

Getting there by joining a tour

To get there, you can use all means of transportation, trains, buses, ferries, or self-driving. The Amalfi coastal driving is not a fun thing to do, not to mention the parking situation when you finally arrive at the towns. The ferries’ costs are not cheap.  While the public buses take time, they are frequently not on time because of the traffic jams or other unpredictable situations.

So, before you read the other options below, you might consider joining one of the stress-free tours. Many tour start in Rome, Sorrento, or Naples. By joining the tours, you can see the Amalfi Coast and towns on the land and from the sea.

Where to stay

Hotel Fontana is set right in the main square of Amalfi, Hotel Fontana is just 100 m away from the port, and bus stops so you can immediately start enjoying your holiday.

Hotel Fontana, Amalfi Italy (source)

Appartamenti Casamalfi provides you with your own little home in the heart of Amalfi. The property is hidden in the traditional streets and alleys. Many restaurants are nearby. It is easy to dine out and enjoy the night atmosphere.

Residence Casamalfi, Amalfi, Italy (source)

How to get there

Getting there from Sorrento

SITA buses operate daily and almost hourly from Sorrento to Amalfi.

Getting there from Salerno

SITA buses run from Salerno to Amalfi frequently as well,  with stops in Vietri sul Mare, Maiori, Minori, and Atrani.

Getting there from Naples via Sorrento

The closest international airport to the Amalfi Coast is in Naples (the Capodichino airport). From the Capodichino airport in Naples, the Alibus runs frequently and directly to the Circumvesuviana train station in Sorrento.

Alternatively, you can take the Circumvesuviana train from the main Naples station (Napoli Centrale). The Circumvesuviana train ticket from Naples to Sorrento costs only a few Euros. From Sorrento, take SITA buses to the destination.

Or, you can book a shared transfer from the airport to Sorrento.

Getting there from Naples via Salerno

You can consider taking a direct train from Naples to Salerno. The train ride takes less than 40 minutes. From Salerno, you have the option of taking the SITA bus to the Amalfi.

Getting there by ferry

From the port in Naples (Moro Beverello), you can catch a ferry with Alilauro to Positano or Amalfi by first stopping in Sorrento. However, ferry tickets aren’t so cheap.  The best alternative is to take a boat tour which leaving Sorrento, as I already mentioned above.

Self-driving

Follow the Amalfi coastal road SS163 you can reach the Amalfi by car.

Related post: Atrani, an Undiscovered Village with a Secret Scenic Hiking Route from Amalfi

 

 

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