The 10 Best Things To Do Outdoors On The Amalfi Coast
Just don't forget your camera.
When people picture the Amalfi Coast they probably imagine postcard-like images of colourful houses perched on sea cliffs overlooking a turquoise shimmering sea. The picturesque location has this, but also so much more. Think rocky hiking trails high up on the cliff-side with panoramic views of the glistening coastline. Think hair-raising journeys along narrow clifftop roads, followed by steaming hot pizza and limoncello under the lemon trees. Think ancient terraced gardens bursting with flowers, and tranquil natural lagoons leading out to a calm Tyrrhenian Sea.
With its amazing walking trails, superb urban exploring, and indulgent, delicious food, the Amalfi Coast has something for every adventurer.
#1 Walk the Path of the Gods
This hiking trail will blow your mind. It winds along the craggy cliffs above the towns of the Amalfi Coast from Bomerano to Nocelle, with panoramic views of the turquoise sea and surrounding mountainous landscape. As you ascend, it’s not long before the towns below start to resemble tiny toy villages and you begin to fully understand why it’s called Path of the Gods. Making your way along the rocky path through the rugged landscape, you’re treated to spectacular views of the coastline, unobscured by trees for the majority of the walk.
Just make sure you watch your footing while you stare slack-jawed at the dazzling scenery – with the vertigo-inducing cliff edges, some rocky scrambles, and some highly untrustworthy hand rails, there’s a distinct sense of adventure to this hike. There are some different options for the walk, but I recommend the ‘lower path’ – don’t be fooled by the name, the lower path has some sheer vertical drops along the path’s edge. Depending on where you start, and how many times you stop to take pictures, the path takes around four hours in total, and at the end of it you’ll be ready to devour a plate of spaghetti alla Positano and a few limoncello.
#2 Have gelato on the pier
Of course, it goes without saying you should eat gelato at every given opportunity when in Italy, but this couldn’t be truer than on the sunny, warm Amalfi Coast, with its leisurely pace and summer holiday vibes. Grab a silky-soft, delicious gelato in whatever flavour takes your fancy (classic lemon? Pear and ricotta? Something decadent with Nutella and nuts? All of the above?) and take a wander out to the pier at Amalfi. Breathe in that Tyrrhenian Sea air while watching the waves crash, marvel at the colourful buildings jumbled on top of one another, neatly tucked into the cliff side, and sigh at the jagged rocky mountains standing over the town and reaching into the clouds. Soak it all up.
#3 Walk from Atrani to Ravello
Once you’ve re-energised with gelato in Amalfi you’re ready for the walk up to Ravello. Make your way from Amalfi to the small town of Atrani through the convenient tunnel (only about a ten minute stroll) and then meander up through the narrow streets of Atrani to begin the path. Step away from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy areas and into a slice of the ‘real’ Italian way of life.
The path winds up past local’s houses and terraced vegetable gardens, olive and lemon groves, and along the narrow valley roads. The walking trail is not particularly well signed, so look out for the white arrows on the ground to help guide you. It’s like a fun treasure hunt finding the clues that signal you’re going in the right direction. When you reach the charming Ravello, it’ll all be worth it. Step back in time in this quaint little town, with its busy cobblestoned square, tiny streets, and the centuries-old icons Villa Rufulo and Villa Cimbrone with their gorgeous terraces, gardens and sweeping coastal vistas.
#4 Check out Villa Rufolo
While in Ravello, visit the 13th century Moorish-style Villa Rufolo. The villa is famous for its views of the coastline from the beautiful terraced gardens, as well as the cliff side concerts held here during the annual Ravello Festival in summer. At different times of the year, varying plants flower in the gardens of Villa Rufolo, and apparently the wisteria in the springtime is something to behold.
#5 Take postcard-perfect photos in Atrani
While you’re in Atrani, you have to take a few (hundred) photos of the little town perched precariously on the sea cliff over the stunning blue water. Atrani is the epitome of Amalfi Coast ingenuity, with their steeply stacked buildings boldly clinging to the side of the cliffs. The colours of sunset make the pale buildings of Atrani come alive, so stop to take copious amounts of photos on your way back from Ravello. Your Instagram will thank you.
#6 Eat pizza at Pizzeria Donna Stella
After your steep walk up to Ravello and back, you’ve earned a cheesy carb-laden meal, and the best place to stuff your face with some steaming hot pizza is Pizzeria Donna Stella. Sink into a chair under the lemon trees and soft lights in the breezy courtyard. Try to take your time savouring one of the best pizzas in the world, because you’ll want to inhale it. Have a beer and a full size pizza to yourself. You deserve it.
#7 Explore the alleyways
Whether in Amalfi, Positano, Praiano, or any of the coastal towns, just wandering around the alleyways and streets is a sensory feast. Soak in the sights and sounds of Italian life – tiny vegetable gardens and olive and lemon groves with ripening fruits and vegetables, rows of washing hanging in between buildings, loud Italian voices drifting down the narrow alleys, and the sense of community that comes from living inches away from each other. Bask in the sounds of church bells and beeping horns, and savour the flavours of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and seafood.
#8 Visit Bagni della Regina Giovanna Lagoon
Take a bus from the Amalfi Coast to Sorrento to visit this spectacular natural lagoon. It’s an adventure just getting there – a 45 minute walk from Sorrento along the narrow roadside (which, as you’ll learn in Italy, is always a hair-raising experience) with Fiats and mopeds rushing past you as you try to make yourself as small as possible.
The tranquil lagoon has a natural rock arch that leads out to the sea. Pack your swimmers so you can have a dip and feel the tiny pebbles between your toes. Swim out under the arch to the open sea where you have a unique perspective looking back to Sorrento – if you’re there in the late afternoon, the golden light of sunset lights up the town. It’s truly something special.
#9 Just walk down
While you’re at it, whichever town you’re staying in, just walk down. Let gravity guide you and wind your way toward the sea. You’ll discover all sorts of little alleys and gardens on your stroll, and if you’re lucky you might come across a tiny hidden rooftop bar tucked between houses, like Café Mirante in Praiano (see above). Down the bottom you might find a small rocky beach where you can listen to the soothing sound of the waves washing over the pebbles, or some old Italian men peacefully throwing in a line off a dock. In any case, you’ll find a new vantage point to enjoy the scenery.
#10 Take a boat trip
From March to October ferry services run along the Amalfi coast, so you can enjoy the sea breeze in your hair as you hop from town to town. There are also day trips to the nearby Isle of Capri, and a range of other seafaring day tours in the area. It’s a great way to get a wider view of the gorgeous Amalfi coastline, and spend some quality time up close with that turquoise water.