Atrani, a fishing village, is linked to its graceful neighbour, Amalfi. The total area of 0.12 km² and around 1000 inhabitants make it the smallest village in Italy. Atrani is isolated from main road traffic because it is protected by its houses placed one upon another. Therefore, its ancient character as a small fishing village is well preserved and intact.
As with most villages along the Amalfi coast, steep streets, narrow alleys, and pretty houses are the charms of the village. However, tourists overlook it easily when visiting the Amalfi Coast. We accidentally discovered this village when we parked our car in Luna Rossa parking house, which links both Amalfi and Atrani. In the usual case, tourists can reach there via SS163. But on the top of the parking house, there is a cliff walkway to Atrani. The walkway is a very impressive and scenic route. It is the best way to explore Atrani.
I break down my hiking experience into following sections:
- Start hiking from the cliff
- The hidden view point before entering the Atrani’s alleyways
- Zig-Zag down to the village centre
- Have a lunch at Piazza Umberto, the main square
- The small beach of Atrani
- Walk back to Amalfi
Start hiking from the cliff
Inside the Luna Rossa parking house, there is a long tunnel which has exits to Atrani and Amalfi. The elevator at the exit to the Atrani direction mainly serves the residents. As tourists, we had to pay a small fee to use it. The elevator brought us to the top of the rocks and arrived at a long coastal walkway.
Don’t be in a hurry to start hiking when walking out of the elevator. The view in front of the elevator is stunning! The sea was jewel-blue, and the sky was like a silk curtain. Far out to sea, a sheer white cruise ship was waiting for the passengers from its tender boat. Below the cliff, the waves were crawling gently to the shore. I shaded my eyes from the glowing daylight and let the sun toasted my skin. It was a heart-warming experience!
The hidden view point before entering the Atrani’s alleyways
The cliff walkway is a well-paved stone track. Walking on the gently descending path, we continued enjoying the breath-taking sea view. On the left side of the walkway are several houses and courtyards hidden behind the thick stone walls.
Shortly before the Via Don Guglielmo, near the Eva Rooms, there is a viewpoint where we could take pictures of the coastal view from a different angle. It isn’t an authorized viewpoint. We are not sure if it belongs to the hotel or in the courtyard of the residents. You can easily overlook the viewpoint from the cliff walkway. And, we had to walk down a few steps to reach the small platform.
There we had a panoramic view of the Atrani village. The village clings to the cliff face and is directly above the sea. We could picture the entire Santa Maria Maddalena Church as well as the bell tower next to it. The beach beneath wasn’t busy.
Zig-Zag down to the village centre
Follow the Via Don Guglielmo we soon lost ourselves in the enchanting beauty of Atrani’s alleyways. The residential area comprises of a cascade of houses interspersed with steep steps, covered passageways, arches, tiny gardens, and mini squares. They are all incredibly intact.
The steep steps even form crossings, where we had to decide which way to go. Sometimes, the preferred alleyway is just a dead-end street. And we had to walk back and choose other directions for the next try. Each of those narrow alleyways is not long. Usually, after a few steps, we had to make a left or right turn to find the next alleyway. If my family walked quicker than me, I had to look for them the next moment. We felt like doing the hike-and-seek game. Regardless of the orientation problem, our family had a lot of fun among the narrow alleyways.
Some benches are available in several passageways. While we were relaxing there, we saw someone was jogging up and down the steep steps. We waved and greeted each other with a “ciao!”.
You won’t find several small streets on the Google map. So it was helpless to use the map for our navigation. Nevertheless, even without proper navigation tool, it wasn’t so hard to get down finally. We exited at the Via Campo and arrived at the Piazza Umberto I.
Have a lunch at Piazza Umberto, the main square
Compared to Amalfi, the restaurants and bars in Atrani are quite limited in the amount. Most of them are around the square. It was at lunchtime, and we opted for the Ristorante Savo.
Italian food is simple but incredibly tasty. The quality and the freshness are the secrets behind the culinary excellence. Although we randomly selected this restaurant, it didn’t disappoint us. The Sea Bass in lemon and the eggplant steamed with cheese were in super quality and flavour. And, the Nougat ice-cream decorated with caramelized sugar was just the perfect dessert to complete my three-course lunch. Served by the waiter who had a permanent smile on his face, the restaurant has a very friendly atmosphere.
We sat on its terrace watching the passers-by. It was such a friendly atmosphere. A few shops around the square mainly target the locals. The entrance to the church of San Salvatore de Birecto is found in the Piazza Umberto I.
The small beach of Atrani
The Piazza Umberto I of Atrani leads directly to the beach and the sea by passing under the arches of the viaduct, which carry the main Amalfi Coast Road. Compared to the pebbly beaches of the Amalfi Coast, the small beach of Atrani is known for its beautiful stretch of soft sand. The beach curves around the small bay and is enclosed by the town and cliffs behind it.
The Tyrrhenian Sea is clean and clear. It was such an ideal place along the Amalfi Coast to spread my towel on the beach of Atrani. It was during the holiday season, and the beach seems never to be full. Like any other typical Italian beach, the beach clubs there provide sunbeds and parasols for you to hire.
Watching the waves dribbling onto the sand carelessly, being astounded by the coastal scenery of Atrani, we appreciated this little piece of heaven and the silence after our lunch.
Within easy walking distance of Amalfi and a short drive from Ravello, isn’t it an ideal spot to get away from the crowds on the Amalfi Coast?
Walk back to Amalfi
The main street Via dei Dogi starts at the beach. From the beach level, we wandered through the narrow, winding streets again. We didn’t follow the same way back. Instead, we turned left near the Hotel A’Paranza and reached the crossing of Via Papa Giovanni XXIII and Via Giacomo Matteotti.
Followed the Via Giacomo Matteotti, we continued strolling towards Amalfi direction. But soon, we lost our orientation. After several attempts, we met the Via Pei Monti. The narrow street meets the Via San Sebastiano, which extends to Via Torricella.
After a few minutes of walking along Via Don Guglielmo, we were back at the unauthorized viewpoint. Surprisingly, several tourists also found this hidden spot. Having made another stop there, we were able to take several pictures with better light conditions.
Soon we were back to the elevator. On the right side of the elevator, there is a sign indicating the direction to Amalfi. We decided to walk down instead of taking the elevator. The way down to Amalfi is somewhat easier. On the ground level, it is just a few minutes walking back to the parking place.
Where to stay
Staying in a town like Atrani was like having the perfect space to relax. Only 150 m from the centre of Atrani, the above mentioned family-run Eva Rooms features elegant rooms with a large private terrace overlooking the sea. It offers free Wi-Fi and is only 50 m from the beach.
There are quite a few hotels in the village. The prices in the main holiday seasons are reasonable compared to those in Amalfi. If possible, you should book earlier to secure a better offer.
How to get to Atrani
By joining a walking tour
SITA Bus runs along the Amalfi Coast frequently and stops at Atrani. Please check here to find the schedule.
Follow the coastal road SS163 you will reach Atrani.
Related post: Amalfi, the Enchanting Seaside Town on the Amalfi Coast