“The allure of the Amalfi Coast’s natural beauty has been drawing people to the region long before it had a name. Its dramatic charm and idyllic weather enticed ancient Roman nobles to build their villas there, a real estate trend that, overtime, never faded. Today the mountains and sea cliffs are dotted with pastel confections of holiday homes and sumptuous villas, which have elevated the coastline to one of the most fabulous and unique destinations in the world. Its fragile cultural landscape—churches, gardens, vineyards and towns—are divided into thirteen different municipalities and were listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1997. Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello are the area’s top destinations, attracting thousands of jetsetters each year.

When to Go
The best time to explore the Amalfi Coast is between May and October. The sea is warm, and hotels, restaurants, boutiques, and cultural sites like Ravello’s Villa Cimbrone, are operating in the full throttle. June, July, and August can be challenging, as each town is swarming with tourists. You’ll have a difficult time trying to reserve a hotel on the fly or find open tables at restaurants. The influx of people during these months can also result in frequent logjams on the narrow costal highways.

Traveling to the Amalfi Coast
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Ferry or Boat:
No matter how you arrive to the Amalfi Coast, the journey is always scenic. Depending on the time of year, it’s possible to take fast ferries like Alilauro from Napoli to the main port of Amalfi. The two-to-three-hour journeys are not direct, and many make stops in destinations like Capri or Sorrento before reaching Amalfi’s port. Additionally, boats like the Travelmar leave from Salerno and stop at most of Amalfi’s largest coastal municipalities.

> Train or Bus:
Traveling on Trenitalia, Italy’s national train company, is the best for those who can’t stomach a sea commute. Their Freccia Rossa trains from Napoli Centrale to Sorrento are the most direct and efficient. Once in Sorrento, catch a bus to your destination, as many companies like Sitabus depart regularly from the city’s stations. Those traveling from Rome or Naples can opt for one of the new economical shuttle sharing systems like Positano Shuttle. It leaves from both international airports and deposits travelers directly in Positano.

> Car:
For many, traveling by car is still the most romantic and independent way to get from one destination to another.  You can rent a car at either international airports in Rome or Naples, or opt for something more lavish from the Positano Car Service.  Their fleet of large and small luxury vehicles will ensure you’re the most stylish tourist on the road.

General Tips
No matter which means of transportation you choose, you’ll want to make sure that everything is booked well in advance of your trip. The last thing you want it to wait in line only to find out that the service is sold out. Busses, though very frequent during high season, tend to sell out quickly, and train and ferry prices rise incrementally as your travel dates approach. Make sure to check with your hotel about any provided transportation before booking. Some on the Amalfi coast have their own private car or boat services to shuttle you between Naples and other destinations in the area. Additionally, you may have a hard time finding accommodation outside of the warmer months. Most hotels are seasonal, and only operate between May and October.”

Positano

What to Do
“Check out the many boutiques selling locally crafted goods from lemon liquors to beautifully painted ceramics. It’s popular to buy handmade sandals from Positano, and if you’re there, check out Safari, or La Botteguccia Di D’Antonio Diodato. They both produce dozens of styles and can craft made-to-measure footwear in a couple of days. A great way to sea Positano and get a greater sense of the region’s stunning geography is by taking boat tour. There are a reliable handful of companies to choose from, like Positano Boats, who in addition to their island transfers offer day and night tours of the Amalfi coast. Lucibello, whose boats are smaller and more private, also offers tours of Capri, Ischia and other local islands. Additionally, many hotels in towns throughout Amalfi work with local tour operators and can arrange a day at sea for you. When in Italy, you might as well learn how to cook as the Italians do. Ristorante Buca di Bacco offers cooking classes to visitors wanting to learn simple, southern Italian dishes. They typically operate daily between 3:30-5pm, and clients are invited to help chefs prepare regional appetizers, first and second courses, and a dessert. For more sophisticated Italian cooking lessons, reserve a cooking place at il San Pietro di Positano’s cooking school, located in the hotel’s private beach front restaurant, Carlino.”

Where to Stay
> Il San Pietro di Positano
Often included in ‘World’s Best’ lists and frequented by such stars as George Clooney and Julia Roberts, the legendary and oh-so-glam San Pietro lives up to its reputation. But the luxuriousness and spectacular setting belie what is, at the heart, a family operation, so the five-star service comes with a smile.
Contact: T: +39 089 812 080 | F: +39 089 811 449 | E: info@ilsanpietro.it
Location:  The hotel lies less than a mile from Positano town center along the State Road 163 towards Amalfi.
Total # of Rooms: 61 rooms.
Dining:  Zass: Overlooking Praiano and the coast, Il San Pietro’s Michelin starred restaurant is surrounded by a bright, Mediterranean atmosphere. Chef Alois Vanlangenaeker ‘s dishes embody his quest for purity, harmony & refinement. His creations recall contemporary paintings while seeking to maintain Italian gastronomic tradition. Carlino: Offers al fresco dining next to the sea. It’s the perfect place to sample popular local dishes made from fresh seasonal ingredients.

> Hotel Palazzo Murat
Palazzo Murat enjoys a prime position just off Positano’s main drag down to the beach, yet is shielded from the worst of the crowds by its lush, exotic garden. With lovely rooms, an excellent restaurant, a small pool and an air of aristocratic living, it’s one of the nicest hotels in the town centre.
Contact: T: +39 089 875 177 | F: +39 089 811 419 | E: info@palazzomurat.it
Location:  On one hand you’re right in the center of the town’s pedestrian area, on the main road that leads in a few minutes to the Spiaggia Grande. On the other hand, the garden that surrounds the building protects it from the bustle and offers it privacy, silence, and absolute quiet.
Total # of Rooms: 30 rooms & suites.
Dining:  Al Palazzo Restaurant: In his culinary creations, chef Giuseppe Forte blends the flavors of fragrant Amalfi lemons and of Cilento pulses, Paestum artichokes and Lattari Mountains buffalo mozzarella, to our own red basil, rosemary, and mint from the garden of Donna Carmela.

> Le Sirenuse
Stylish and immaculate, in the centre of this chic and vertiginous resort. An exceptionally romantic candle-lit dining room, a shady pool terrace and small but beautifully presented spa make it particularly popular with honeymooners, well-heeled European couples, touring Americans and occasional celebrities.
Contact: T: +39 089 875 066 | F: +39 089 811 798 | E: info@sirenuse.it
Location:  At the center of the village of Positano, on the Amalfi Drive.
Total # of Rooms: 58 rooms & suites.
Dining:  La Spondi: The light Mediterranean cuisine of our Michelin-starred La Sponda restaurant is based on fresh local ingredients and inspired by the great culinary traditions of Naples and the Amalfi Coast.

Where to Eat and Drink
> Zass 
Overlooking Praiano and the coast, Il San Pietro’s Michelin starred restaurant is surrounded by a bright, Mediterranean atmosphere. Chef Alois Vanlangenaeker ‘s dishes embody his quest for purity, harmony & refinement. His creations recall contemporary paintings while seeking to maintain Italian gastronomic tradition. Make sure you try the lemon lemon pasta.
A: Via Laurito 2, inside Hotel Il San Pietro di Positano | Hours: 1pm-2:45pm & 8pm-9:45pm | Price: $$$$ | T: +39 089 875455 | E: reservations@ilsanpietro.it | W: ilsanpietro.it | Reservations: Recommended

> Da Vincenzo
Since 1958, the family owned restaurant has served up regional seafood and pasta dishes, like braised beef rigatoni and char grilled octopus. It’s easy to find a table for lunch but dinner reservations are a must.
A: 172 Viale Pasitea | Hours: 12:15pm-2:45pm & 6:15pm-10:45pm | Price: $$$ | T: +39 089 875 128 | E: reservations@davincenzo.it | W: davincenzo.it | Reservations: Recommended

> Le Tre Sorelle
Le Tre Sorelle, a more affordable dining option, is consistently good, and serves delicious hearty food. Lots of travelers come to grab a quick pizza, but you can also sit for hours at a table outside sipping cold white wine while indulging in something more substantial like their grilled sea bass.
A: Via del Brigantino 27-31 | Hours: 12pm-11pm | Price: $$$ | T: +39 089 875 452 | W: le-tre-sorelle.thefork.rest | Reservations: Recommended

Amalfi 

What to Do
“Of all the costal stops south of Sorrento, the town of Amalfi is the most heavily frequented by travelers. Part of that has to do with the fact that it’s a major intersection for nearly all of the buses, boats, and ferries shuttling tourists between islands and towns. The crowds can be overwhelming, but try to visit the town’s 9th century, Duomo di Amalfi. The church is one of southern Italy’s treasures for its collision of various styles of architecture and materials. The structure draws on Arab-Norman Romanesque, Byzantine, and Roccoco design, and has massive bronze doors cast in Constantinople, Egyptian marble. It’s truly remarkable.
Speaking of beauty, one of Italy’s most stunning hiking trails is hemmed into the hills above the Amalfi Coast. The Path of the Gods, as it’s called, is a gentle five-hour hike that snakes high above the coast through small villages. You’ll encounter valleys with farmers and sheepherders selling their products, and beautiful sea views. Pack comfortable shoes and rain gear for late autumn and winter weather treks.”

Where to Stay
> Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi
This historic early 13th-century monastery, slung across cliffs above Amalfi’s harbour, first became a hotel in 1885. Reached by lift (or a path that zigzags up the cliff face), it’s a lofty world of its own, including church, cloister, lemon groves and pool.
Contact: T: +39 089 873 6711 | E: nhcollectionghconventodiamalfi@nh-hotels.com
Location:  Within walking distance of Cattedrale di Sant’AndreaDuomo di Amalfi, Chiostro del Paradiso, The Arsenal of The Maritime Republic, and the Museo Civico on Via Annunziatella.
Total # of Rooms: 53 rooms.
Dining:  La Locanda: This open-air restaurant, located close to the swimming pool area, serves up a variety of snacks, salads and main dishes and is open as long as the weather is good. In the rare event of a chilly or rainy afternoon, lunch is served in the main restaurant indoor.

> Hotel Santa Caterina
A mix of familial warmth, glamour and professionalism makes Hotel Santa Caterina stand out from the competition. Now run by the fourth generation of the family that opened it as a hotel in 1904, it’s the sort of homely yet sophisticated place that you long to return to (repeat bookings amount to nearly 40 per cent).
Contact: T: +39 089 871 012 | F: +39 089 871 351 | E: info@hotelsantacaterina.it
Location:  Hotel Santa Caterina is located a short distance from the historic center of the city of Amalfi, overlooking the sea of ​​the Amalfi Coast.
Total # of Rooms: 36 rooms & 13 suites.
Dining:  Santa Caterina Restaurant: Mediterranean cuisine in an elegant and welcoming dining room. Al Mare: The Beach Club’s Al Mare Restaurant, which overlooks the Santa Caterina Hotel’s private access to the sea. Grilled fish and pizzas cooked in a traditional wood oven are the specialties of this small but rich restaurant

Where to Eat and Drink
> Trattoria da Gemma
Diners in the know have sung the praises of this understated landmark since 1872. The kitchen glistens, the menu is printed on local handmade paper, and Italian foodies appreciate dishes such as paccheri con burrata e scungilli (large pieces of pasta with cheese and sea snails). For dessert try the local specialty: eggplant and chocolate. Tile floors, white tablecloths, and a terrace set above the main street create a soothing ambience.
A: Via Fra Gerardo Sasso, 11 | Hours: 12pm-3pm & 7pm-11pm | Price: $$$ | T: +39 089 871 345 | E: info@trattoriadagemma.com | W: trattoriadagemma.com | Reservations: Recommended

> Pasticceria Andrea Pansa
Opened in 1830 by Andrea Pansa, a master in the art of confectionery, and managed by five generations of Pansas, the café/pastry shop has been satisfying the cravings of writers and musicians, aristocrats and commoners with its sweets, cookies, candied fruit and chocolates.
A: Piazza Duomo, 40 | Hours: 7:30am-12am | Price: $$ | T: +39 089 871 065 | E: info@pasticceriapansa.it | W: pasticceriapansa.it | Reservations: Recommended

Ravello

What to Do
“If you visit Ravello and don’t spend an hour or two roaming through Villa Cimbrone’s gardens, you’re essentially missing the point. From Ravellos central piazza, signs will lead you to the storied gardens, which are part of an 11th century palatial compound. Famous writers such as Gore Vidal, who traveled extensively, have visited the gardens and proclaimed the spot to be the most beautiful place ever visited.
Within the historic center of Ravello is the Villa Rufolo, a stunning example of regional 13th century architecture with beautiful Italianate gardens. You can visit the rooms in the villa, as the German composer Wagner did in 1880. During summer months, the villa and gardens host spectacular outdoor concerts.

Great Day Trips
The hike from Ravello to the small town of Atrani is in commitment, though an all-downhill trek that won’t have you gasping for breath. The 45-minute descent leads you into Atrani, where you can rehydrate in the town’s tiny piazetta. There are a handful of bars and restaurants, like Ristorante Savo, or i Tre Re just around the corner on the port. From Atrani, it’s an easy 15-minute walk to Amalfi. If you want a challenge, you can take the local Sita bus from Ravello down to Atrani and Amalfi, have lunch, then ascend back up to Ravello. The trek will take longer, about 2-2.5 hours, and is best to tackle during the daytime.”

Where to Stay
> Hotel Caruso
This sprawling edifice, perched high above the hilltop town of Ravello overlooking the Bay of Salerno, is one of Amalfi’s most romantic hideaways. It began life as an 11th-century palazzo, and its location is matched by the traditional Italianate charm of the décor.
Contact: T: +39 089 858 801 | E: reservations.car@belmond.com
Location:  Perched on a clifftop 1,000 feet above sea level, Belmond Hotel Caruso overlooks the spectacular Amalfi Coast from its location at Ravello’s highest point.
Total # of Rooms: 51 rooms & suites.
Dining:  Belvedere Restaurant: The spectacular outdoor terrace overlooks the coast, there is also an elegant indoor dining room, both serving  Mediterranean specialties from the local Campania region (vegetarian dishes available).

> Hotel Villa Cimbrone
Occupying one of the most romantic spots in the world, Villa Cimbrone comprises beautiful gardens, open to the public during the day, and rooms full of antiques, paintings and frescoes. This is a hotspot for anyone wanting to enjoy the special magic of Ravello.
Contact: T: +39 089 857 459 | F: +39 089 857 777 | E: info@hotelvillacimbrone.com
Location:  The Hotel is reachable along a panoramic stone paved walk way alternated by steps, for about 10 minutes’ walk from the main centre.
Total # of Rooms: 19 rooms.
Dining:  Il Flauto di Pan: After sunset, guests are treated to the delicacies of refined Mediterranean cuisine, which is given a fresh interpretation by the restaurant chef Crescenzo Scotti. There are organic ingredients grown at the Villa, innovative flavours and spicy Eastern aromas.

> Palazzo Avino
Ravello’s most overtly luxurious hotel occupies a pink-hued, fairytale palazzo in a quiet location with extraordinary coastal views and top-of-the-range service and facilities.
Contact: T: +39 089 818 181 | E: info@palazzoavino.com
Location:  Tucked away in the medieval hilltop village of Ravello and perched high on the cliffs, 1,000 ft above the sparkling Mediterranean.
Total # of Rooms: 43 rooms & suites.
Dining:  Rossellinis Restaurant: Choose from a myriad of delectable dishes ‘a-la-carte’ or set tasting menus. Rossellinis features hand-picked regional wines that are carefully paired with each serving. Terrazza Belvedere: Serves an array of appetizing small bites and fresh pasta dishes on a terrace perched over the property with magnificent views of the coastline.

Where to Eat and Drink
> Il Flauton di Pan
At the helm of this Michelin-star establishment is Chef Crescenzo Scotti, who draws from the Italian coast’s seafood stockpile to create dishes like octopus and scampi carpaccio, blue Mediterranean, and tuna wellington. It’s costly, but the food is superb and the sea views from their garden terrace are worth the coin.
A: Via S. Chiara, 26, Inside the Hotel Villa Cimbrone | Hours: 7:30pm-10:30pm | Price: $$$$ | T: +39 089 857 459 | E: info@hotelvillacimbrone.com | W: hotelvillacimbrone.com | Reservations: Recommended

Source: T&L