A vacation in Italy can encompass many things. History and culture buffs can fly to Rome for a spectacular tour of the city’s most treasured buildings (or piece together their Lizzie McGuire movie moment). Perhaps you would prefer to visit the fashion capital of Milan, where you can browse the ateliers for the best designer items. However, those who truly live for the drama will likely find themselves in a boat cruising along the breathtaking scenic wonder that is the Amalfi Coast.
Believe us: you will scream “la dolce vita” at the top of your voice from the moment you arrive until you leave. The relaxed lifestyle goes beyond the idyllic views of the Mediterranean Sea you get from every crevice of the coastline. It’s the heavenly aroma of freshly picked tomatoes and shaved Parmesan cheese escaping from a single swirl of spaghetti, the flavor lingering on your tongue after devouring limoncello ice cream on a balmy summer day, and the light mist of salty seawater on your skin as you cruise back and forth on the water between towns for lunch and dinner.
There’s a reason you can’t escape photos of your friends’ Italian adventures on Instagram. And if you can’t beat them… limit your FOMO with this curated guide to all the best spots the Amalfi Coast has to offer.
As soon as you enter the town square of Amalfi, you are sure to behold this landmark. The Duomo di Amalfi, aka Amalfi Cathedral, has undergone several changes over the years, but has remained solid since the 9th century. While the wide staircases and its Byzantine façade are a real delight to behold, the real beauty lies in the many rooms inside which continue to tell the stories of its beautiful architecture and history.
Arenzio Beach Club
Dedicate at least one day to relaxation at the Arenzio Beach Club. Not only are the bright orange beach umbrellas and chairs Instagram-perfect photo ops, but the venue is only a short boat ride from the bustling tourist crowds of Positano, or a long flight of stairs for those trying to take their steps. The beach is divided into two parts, with a free part and a private part for a more premium experience (champions and a fruit plate, anyone?).
The Emerald Grotto
The Emerald Grotto takes its name from the blue waters with an underground opening that emits a green tint and, when it meets the reflection of the sun, illuminates the entire cave with a charming emerald hue. This magnificent underground beauty can only be seen by boat, so it’s best to book a boat tour that makes a stop in Conca dei Marini.
Donna Emma Restaurant
No view of the Amalfi Coast is as beautiful as the one you get while sitting at Donna Emma Restaurant. Located at the top of one of Amalfi’s many hills, this gastronomic experience takes you on a sensory tour. Your attention will shift between the calm waves crashing against the shore and the exquisite seafood dishes. Take an evening reservation to watch the sunset as the lights dotted along the coast illuminate the sky nocturnal. Yes, this is paradise.
This family restaurant is famous for its long list of celebrity patrons, including Jackie Kennedy, who frequented the restaurant so often that a dish of spaghetti is named after her (Spaghetti alla Jaqueline). Pasta lovers will appreciate this extensive menu of traditional and contemporary dishes complemented by fresh vegetables and aromatic Amalfi seafood. PSA: You’ll need a boat to visit La Tonnarella, which is located in a cove in the picturesque village of Conca dei Marini, but it’s worth it.
Pasticceria Pansa Amalfi
A dinner in Italy is not complete without a sweet treat. The entrance to Pasticceria Pansa Amalfi is almost always awash with guests sipping a glass of wine or indulging in one of the shop’s tastiest pastries. Those who prefer the tang of lemon will surely enjoy a Delizia di Limone (translation: lemon delight) with a cup of coffee, it’s Italian style.
Why chase sunsets when you can have the perfect view sitting at Franco’s Bar? This rooftop marvel located in Positano is strictly for drinks, with a menu that mixes traditional and contemporary cocktails, inspired by the founder’s global explorations in Italy and beyond.
Aldo’s Cocktail Bar and Grilled Seafood
Aldo’s Cocktail Bar & Seafood Grill is the upscale Italian restaurant you’d only find in a romantic comedy. This is the restaurant where the characters giggled and sipped a glass of wine shyly on the first date, or where a group of women gathered with their closest girlfriends to recap the drama of the past week. With a view of the Mediterranean Sea and an even better Mediterranean menu, everyone is the main character.
Bellavista Cocktail Bar
The Bellavista Cocktail Bar is a calm and elegant rooftop that knows how to relax you. For example, the bar is suspended above the sea for an unobstructed view of the coast and has lounge chairs ideal for relaxing with family and friends. Did we mention there is a great Italian-style martini? Cheers.
This is very easy to get lost in the beauty of Miramalfi that you forget there is a whole downtown Amalfi to explore. The rooms have a spectacular balcony view of the water, surrounded by vibrant greenery. To cool off, take a dip in the large swimming pool with a mountainous bottom, or at the beach club with private access to the sea. You can spend your days lounging in the sun in the hotel gym or call the service free shuttle to take you into town.
Among the range of magnificent buildings and architecture nestled in the hills of the Amalfi Coast, you will find the beauty of Palazzo Avino. Let’s state the obvious: the pink exterior immediately captures your attention. Keep your cameras charged, as there’s a picturesque view at every turn of this hotel, whether you’re basking in the coastal vistas or circling the hallways and luxury staircases.
Villa Fiorella Art Hotel
Villa Fiorella Art Hotel feels less like a hotel and more like a home. The cozy rooms are spacious, with touches of prints (cushions, pendant lights, etc.) that give a touch of character to the white walls and bedding. Head to the sky bar for an alternative panoramic view of Amalfi, perfect for watching the sunset or snapping photos that will make all your followers jealous.
Nerisha is the beauty business editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty (and fashion and music). She has a penchant for sneakers and nude lip glosses, and spends way too much time rewatching ’90s sitcoms.