Amalfi is an enchanting seaside town on the Amalfi Coast. Its colourful houses, the amazing sea views, the mild climate throughout the year, have made the Amalfi the dream summer place for many travelers, including our family.
There was enough information for Amalfi Coast, but not sufficient information for the Amalfi town. We planned only a half-day activity for our 8-day Amalfi coast itinerary. But incidentally, we discovered a scenic hiking trail from Amalfi to Atrani, the smallest village in southern Italy. The scenic route is one the best things to do when traveling to Amalfi town.
Below are the highlights of our Amalfi trip:
- Piazza Municipio
- A leisurely beach walk
- Stunning at the colourful marina
- Joined the crowds at the Piazza del Duomo (the main square)
- Visiting the landmark Saint Andrew’s Cathedral
- Exploring Amalfi’s traditional streets and alleys
- Loop walk around Saint Andrew’s Cathedral
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 and were 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 the old town.
A lesurely beach walk
The main road (SS163) next to the waterfront is busy. The pretty promenade next to the beach had a few pedestrians. Trees and potteries line up the walkway. The 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.
Stunning at the colourful marina
Our family continued marching toward the colourful marina, where most buses stopped. There, tourists arrived and went, a busy scene you would see in a usual tourist place. We passed the crowds and went to the harbourside to get the panorama view of the old town.
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, the capital of the maritime republic.
On the waterfront, many private boat owners were waiting for the business of the day. They rent out small boats as well as yachts, from simple ones to 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 charges apply. It would be an unforgettable experience to see the town from the sea.
Joined the crowds at the Piazza del Duomo (the main square in Amalfi)
Sidewalk cafes and elegant shops are around the main square. The Majority of travelers spend time there, eating, drinking, and doing shopping. We tried the typical Italian ice-cream and bought lemon soaps and two packs of lemon-flavoured sweets.
However, one of the most famous local products is the Limoncello, a type of sweet liqueur made from lemons. We bought the one mixed with pistachio flavour, containing 17% of alcohol. It has a fruity Lemon taste, and the rich aroma of the pistachio reducing the alcohol effect.
Visited 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 with various paintings of saints. Michelangelo Naccherino, a student of Michelangelo, sculpted the bronze statue of Saint Andrew in the cathedral.
To enter the cathedral, we had to pay a couple of Euros. But for prayers, 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.
Explored Amalfi’s traditional streets and alleys
The famous cathedral in Romanesque-Baroque style and the elegant buildings around the square are certainly the must-sees. However, we discovered the traditional streets and alleys are more attractive because of their layout and the clustered houses. Such streets and alleys are on both sides of the main road. 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 could imagine a suggestive atmosphere in the evening when all the restaurants are busy. The whole area is full of hotels and restaurants. We passed the restaurant Da Memè, Ristorante Pizzeria II Teatro, and Trattoria San Giuseppe, and came to a small square, Piazza dei Dogi, which are surrounded by various types of local restaurants.
Took the loop walk around the Saint Andrew’s 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 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.
Other things to do
If you have more time, here are something you could do as well:
- Visit the museums such as the Paper Museum
- Explore Torre Dello Ziro
- Hike to Atrani from Amalfi to see the smallest town in Southern Italy
Where to stay
You can use all means of transportation, trains, buses, ferries, or self-driving, to get there. However, the Amalfi coastal driving is scenic but time-consuming. Due to the traffic congestion and other unpredictable situation, the public buses do not arrive on time, and self-driving is time-consuming. Besides, the parking situation is terrible in each coastal town.
So, before you read the other options below, you might consider joining one of the stress-free tours.
How to get there via public transportation
- From Naples Capodichino Airport, Bus frequently runs to the Circumvesuviana train station in Sorrento. You can also book a shared transfer from the airport to Sorrento. Once you are in Sorrento, take SITA buses operating daily and almost hourly to Amalfi.
- Alternatively, you can take the Circumvesuviana train from the Naples station (Napoli Centrale) to Sorrento.
- From Naples via Salerno, the train ride takes less than 40 minutes. SITA buses from Salerno to Amalfi frequently run, with stops in Vietri sul Mare, Maiori, Minori, and Atrani.
- You can catch a ferry with Alilauro from the port in Naples (Moro Beverello) to Amalfi.
- By car, you can reach Amalfi by following the Amalfi coastal road SS163. The parking house Luna Rossa is easily accessible from the roadside.