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Things to Do in Amalfi Coast
Things to Do in Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast Things to Do Travel Guide

The Amalfi Coast is a simply stunning stretch of shoreline on Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula featuring adorable coastal towns and villages positioned along the brilliant blue water of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is a premier vacation destination for travelers from all over the world who hope to escape day to day life and instead revel in the area’s tremendous natural beauty and activities.

Festivals and Event in the Amalfi Coast

Though the Amalfi Coast villages are small and, in some cases, fairly secluded, the area as a whole is known for a few important annual festivals and historic traditions.

Since 1993, the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival has been the biggest annual celebration of the arts in the area. Taking place in July, the festival features musicians, artists, and music lovers from across the world who collaborate creatively and celebrate their love of all things music and visual arts. The festival features classical music concerts, including piano recitals, as well as opera and other vocal performances. In addition to the music, art classes and writing workshops are offered.

The Festa di Sant’Andrea is a religious festival celebrating Amalfi’s patron saint, St. Andrew. The event takes place each year in two parts, one on June 27 and the other on November 30. In June, the locals celebrate an attempted sixteenth century pirate raid of Amalfi that is said to have been thwarted by St. Andrew who protected the city with a powerful storm. In November, the people of Amalfi honor the saint by marking his death. There is a ceremonial procession in which locals carry a large silver bust of the saint around town. The event concludes when the locals run the statue of the saint up the steps of the Amalfi Cathedral, followed by music and a fabulous fireworks display.

An annual event held since 1953 is the Ravello Festival, which has earned Ravello the nickname of the “City of Music.” Much of the summer concert series takes place at the breathtaking Villa Rufolo. This celebration of music usually lasts from July through September and features orchestra music, jazz music, pop music, opera, dance, and more. One of the highlights of the festival is the Concerto all’Alba, a pre-dawn musical concert in August in which concertgoers are able to admire the beautiful sunrise from the panoramic terrace of Villa Rufolo.

The town of Praiano is home to a tradition that is more than 400 years old called Luminaria di San Domenico. Every year from August 1 to August 4, the locals celebrate St. Dominic, a saint that has been revered in the area since the arrival of Dominican monks in Praiano during the seventeenth century. According to legend, when St. Dominic’s mother was pregnant, she dreamt of a dog that set the world ablaze with a torch in its mouth. Every year the locals of Praiano light candles throughout the town in honor of St. Dominic. Centuries ago, the locals would gather kindling and other materials year-round in preparation of the event. Today the Luminaria di San Domenico is renowned for the thousands of candles lit in Praiano’s main square, Piazza San Gennaro, as the sun sets.

OUTDOOR

The Amalfi Coast is a long stretch of shoreline on the Sorrentine Peninsula consisting of thirteen towns including the likes of Amalfi, Cetara, Positano, Ravello, Tramonti, and more. Each city’s piazze, courtyards, gardens, and beaches contribute to the beauty and ambiance of this part of Italy, making the best way to experience it hopping from one city or village to the next. Explore the outdoors of each city and discover what makes them an intricate part of the Amalfi Coast’s legacy.

If traveling by foot between the villages of the Amalfi Coast is not your cup of tea, consider indulging in a fantastic boat tour of the shoreline. In addition to a day on the gorgeous blue water of the Tyrrhenian Sea, boaters will also get to see the Amalfi Coast from a whole new perspective than they do on land. A boat tour of the coast can also offer amazing photo opportunities.

The site of the Ravello Festival, the Villa Rufolo, is a favorite for many travelers. The villa’s history can be traced back to as early as the fourteenth century and possibly earlier. At one time it was the most renowned villa on the Amalfi Coast for both its size and beauty. The spectacular gardens of the villa combined with its jaw dropping views of the Tyrrhenian Sea make it one of the loveliest places on the coast.

In addition to Villa Rufolo, the Amalfi Coast is home to several other striking villas, such as Villa Cimbrone, which is also located in Ravello. Believed to be one of the oldest villas on the coast, Villa Cimbrone’s origins date back to the eleventh century. The current appearance of the villa is a result of extensive renovations led by a British nobleman during the twentieth century. Though today the villa is a 5-star hotel, the stunning gardens are open to the public and are certainly worth a visit on their own. Like Villa Rufolo, Villa Cimbrone also has a panoramic terrace. In this case, the terrace is lined with iconic marble white busts that reflect against the blue waters of the sea below. In addition to the gardens, the public may also visit the villa’s cloister and crypt.

The Amalfi Coast is filled with natural wonders, and one of the best examples is the Fiordo di Furore. This small inlet features a gorge that is connected on either side by a stone bridge. At the base, travelers will find a small, rocky beach, considered to be one of the most picturesque in the Amalfi Coast.

When it’s time to dine, choose from one of the many seaside restaurants along the Amalfi Coast. In addition to the delicious seafood fare, fresh olive oil, and homemade bread, take your culinary experience a step further by dining al fresco as the sun sets for a view that is social media worthy.

INDOOR

The Amalfi Coast is best known for its outdoor splendor, making indoor activities less prominent compared to other parts of Italy. However, in addition to some fascinating ancient buildings and churches in the area that are worth a tour, there are also indoor educational and craftsmanship opportunities found in the Amalfi Paper Museum and local ceramic factories.

Travelers seeking to admire the art and architecture of the coast will find plenty of churches to choose from. Among the most renowned are the Cathedral of Sant’Andrea in Amalfi, the Cathedral of Ravello, and the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Positano. When visiting Amalfi’s Cathedral of Sant’Andrea, do not miss your opportunity to spend time at the adjacent Chiostro del Paradiso (Cloister of Paradise). If you find yourself in Praiano, be sure to stop by the Church of San Gennaro, which is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in the villages of the Amalfi Coast.

When it comes to museums, Amalfi’s Paper Museum is a delightful change of pace from most. The museum was founded in the late twentieth century and is located within an ancient paper mill. Guests can see the machines of yesteryear used in producing paper, such as a hydraulic wheel, wooden mauls, and a printing machine. Travelers can also view ancient printings of manuscripts, posters, and other documents. Before leaving the museum, do not forget to stop at the gift shop on site for a one-of-a-kind paper souvenir.

Another favorite activity for visitors is touring ceramics and terra cotta factories in Vietri su Mare and Positano. The beauty of these delicate arts is only enhanced by the appreciation one gains after seeing the process from start to finish.

FAMILY

Most families traveling to the Amalfi Coast have one goal in mind, to have fun together! Some of the best ways to do so can include taking a family cooking class or shopping along the coast.

Many of the area cooking classes teach participants how to make an authentic Italian meal together. Shopping in the plentiful boutiques in the cities of the Amalfi Coast allows for regional finds of hand painted ceramics, limoncello and all things lemon, as well as handcrafted leather sandals.

KIDS

Young children have lots of energy to expend, and the Amalfi Coast can be a wonderful destination for Italy Family Vacation. There is an abundance of outdoor play opportunities that the whole family will enjoy.

A day at the beach might just be in order, and with the miles of shoreline along the Amalfi Coast, there are several beach destinations to choose from, though keep in mind that due to the local geography the beaches are small and mostly feature pebbles rather than sand. In fact, the majority of the local beaches are positioned at the base of rugged cliffs and are accessed by boat. Among the most well-known local beaches are Positano’s Marina Grande, which is a favorite of the jet-set crowd, and Amalfi’s Marina Grande, which is considered to be the largest beach in the area. One of the few sand beaches can be found in Vietri sul Mare, which is accessible by car and a favorite for families with children. Other beaches, such as Gavitella Beach in Praiano are accessible only by stairs, but their scenery is more than worth it.

Hiking is also a favorite pastime for travelers. The coastline features many pre-marked trails that differ in mileage, landscape, and geographical area. Perhaps the most famous is the Sentiero degli Dei, or Path of the Gods, which connects Agerola and Nocelle. This cliffside path meanders along the coast offering some of the best panoramic views of the surroundings and the sea below. The full path is nearly five miles and takes approximately three to four hours to complete. Travelers with kids should plan to walk from Agerola to Nocelle as in this direction the route runs downhill. There are plenty of other paths to explore as well and truly one of the best ways to experience the beauty of the coast is by hiking. We recommend planning at least a half day to dedicate to a hiking path that fits your activity level and take the kids on a grand adventure.

UNIQUE IN THE AMALFI COAST

Not far from Amalfi is the Grotta dello Smeraldo in Conca dei Marini. The name of the cave translates to “Emerald Cave” because as sunlight enters the cave via underwater openings, the cave is illuminated in a bright emerald color. Accessible by both land and sea, the compact cave took thousands of years to form. Depending on the weather and the water levels, travelers may be able to take a small boat inside the cave for a truly unique experience. Be advised that the cave is small and does take a little bit of work to get to but is well worth the effort.

From vibrant cultural events to romantic landscapes composed of rugged cliffs and charming villages resting along the water’s edge, the Amalfi Coast is a picture-perfect vacation destination for all travelers seeking a change of pace from daily life.