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What to Do in Amalfi

Best Things to Do in Amalfi

Amalfi isn’t just the name of a coastline in Italy, it’s a town at the heart of the UNESCO-listed Amalfi Coast between Sorrento and Salerno. It’s one of the most beautiful along this stretch that’s considered one of the world’s most breathtaking coastlines. As the name belies, it’s the town that gave the name to the area, medieval in origin, experiencing a time of splendor when it dominated Mediterranean trade routes in the 10th and 11th centuries. This prosperity is what led to much of its magnificent architecture, some of which still stands today.

Nestled between the mountains and the water, it’s nearly vertical, with the space defined by the geography. There are several reasons most visit, one being its stunning location, two being the easy access to drives on the Amalfi Coast, and three, its historical importance. While it is small, you’ll find a number of things to do here, including these.

Piazza Duomo

Piazza Duomo

Piazza Duomo is the bustling main square in Amalfi, off Via Lorenzo, one of the main thoroughfares in town. It serves as a popular gathering place and hosts a variety of cafes, restaurants, and shops, with its eastern edge home to the elegant façade of the Cathedral of Saint Andrew, also known as the Amalfi Cathedral, which is worth a separate feature of its own. In the middle of the square, you’ll see the famous Fontana Sant’Andrea, a marble fountain with intricate details that’s dedicated to the patron saint of Amalfi, Andrew. The baroque-style fountain dates to the 18th-century and represents the apostle with a nymph and four cherubs at his feet. On the 27th of June every year, the patron saint is celebrated with the procession running through town starting at the fountain. Most of the time, it’s a great place for photographs and people-watching while unwinding at one of the sidewalk cafes.

Amalfi Cathedral

Amalfi Cathedral and the Cloister of Paradise

As noted, Amalfi Cathedral, or the Cathedral of Saint Andrew, is located right on Piazza Duomo at the eastern edge. The Roman Catholic cathedral dates back to Roman times, dedicated to Apostle Saint Andrew. It’s a stunning sight from the inside out, with the bell tower especially popular for photos. While the cathedral itself has been renovated and added on to multiple times, its roots date back to the 9th century. It’s worth stepping inside, with various artifacts like a mother-of-pearl crucifix. A small entrance fee includes access to the crypts below and the picturesque courtyard right next to it, the “Cloister of Paradise.” Built in the 13th century and used by noble families during medieval times, it’s filled with lush greenery, including palm trees. You’ll also see beautiful old paintings, sculptures, and mosaics along with 120 elegant white Arabic-style columns that reveal its long history as a maritime port.

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Narrow Alleyways

One of the best things to do in Amalfi town is to simply wander through the alleyways. Getting “lost” among them is how you’ll discover the many hidden delights, from pretty corners ideal for photo ops to “secret” courtyards, passageways, balconies, and unique shops. There are many narrow alleyways that branch out from the main thoroughfare connected to Piazza Duomo, providing a maze of enticing streets. Much of the architecture was designed to protect citizens from rising threats during the days that it dominated the Mediterranean trade routes, along with Genova, Pisa, and Venice. The meandering alleyways form a labyrinth, constructed this way to keep potential invaders lost. You’ll find access to the upper part of town for a fabulous view overlooking the gulf along with many other surprise spots for romantic glimpses of the town’s magical setting. As you roam, it’s easy to imagine life as it was here in the distant past.

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Museo della Bussola e del Ducato Marinaro, Aresenale di Amalfi

Moved from the city hall to the historic Arsenale di Amalfi, the impressive, vaulted stone halls where the city’s ships were once built, Museo della Bussola e del Ducato Marinaro, translating to the Museum of the Compass and of the Maritime Dukedome of Amalfi, is dedicated to Amalfi’s rich seafaring history. This is the place to go to discover its rich past, providing a trip back in time to the glory days of the medieval Republic of Amalfi. Among the items on display are paintings by local artists, various antique nautical instruments, traditional costumes for the historical boat race Regata Storica delle Quattro Antiche Reppubliche Marinare, and the crown jewel: Codice Foscariniano. This 17th-century compendium of nautical history and rules contains one of the earliest examples of the Tavole Amalfitane, 66 chapters of rules and bylaws drawn up between the 11th and 14th centuries here in Amalfi, the world’s first international maritime code.

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Amalfi has many interesting shops with everything from beachwear to gifts, souvenirs, and Limoncello. The majority of shops can be found around Piazza Duomo, the center of shopping, and along the main street, Ruga Nova Mercatorum. There are designer boutiques if you’re looking for high-end clothing, including apparel by famous Italian brands tucked between restaurants and cafes that offer the perfect break in between your shopping exploits. Don’t miss the specialty food shops and grocery stores which sell aromatic Mediterranean herbs, premium olive oil, dozens of different cheeses along with jams and honey from local farms. With this region famous for its lemons, the fruit is a common ingredient in many sweets, and, of course, Limoncello liqueur is always a popular souvenir. Many restaurants serve it as a finale to a meal throughout southern Italy, so you’ll find plenty of places to sample it and buy a bottle to bring back home.

Amalfi Beach

The Beach

Not all towns along the Amalfi Coast have a proper beach, but Amalfi has several. It’s worth spending a day on one of them. When you first arrive, you’ll see the large main beach in front, Spiaggia Grande, just across from Piazza Duomo. Nearly 1,000 feet in length, it includes sandy and pebbly stretches framed by the stunning blue waters of the Gulf of Salerno. While summer is a popular time to be here, with many coming to cool off on a hot day, it’s worth visiting in any season with plenty of room to toss down a beach towel or a blanket and enjoy the magnificent view. There are sunbeds and umbrellas available for rent on the paid section of the beach too, along with showers, restrooms, and various eateries. If you’d rather enjoy a quieter stretch, you’ll find other options here like Lido delle Siren at the other end of town.

Limoncello Tour (Amalfi)

Limoncello Tour

Not only is Limoncello commonly sold in Amalfi shops and served in restaurants, there are tours that will bring you through the entire production process with a sample included at the end. The lemons that are grown in this region are known for their sweet flavor that are perfect for making this liqueur and you’ll get to learn how its made right here. The most popular will take you into Amalfi’s lemon gardens which are unique vertical farms, often with forests, bees for pollination and honey production, and crystal-clear spring water, before heading into the factory where Limoncello and other lemon products are made. There will be other products available for tasting and for sale at special discounted prices too, such as Limoncello cream, lemon cakes, lemon jam, lemon honey, and lemonade. Other than the tasting, one of the highlights is time to relax by the lemon groves while enjoying the sweet aroma of the lemons.

Boat Tours

Boat Tours

A variety of boat tours can be enjoyed from Amalfi that will bring you to discover some of the top spots along the Amalfi Coast. Getting a perspective of its beauty from the sea is really a must-do. Just one of the many options is a grotto boat tour that will take you to discover caves like the Emerald Grotto (Grotta dello Smeraldo), the most famous in the region with the water inside a stunning shade of green. You might also visit Grotto Africana where you can swim inside the cave. The island of Capri is a popular destination for sailing excursions that will include the famous Blue Grotto as well as time to explore the island and its many designer boutiques. There are multiple types of vessels for exploring too, including kayaks. Sea kayaking tours are led by experienced local guides bringing the opportunity for fun and educational

The Path of the Gods

The Path of the Gods

Hiking is a popular activity among visitors to the Amalfi Coast, with The Path of the Gods a favorite. It can easily be reached from the town of Amalfi by taking the bus to Bomerano. The four-hour trek will take you to pretty Positano while providing some of the most magnificent views from high up in the mountains. Or climb from Amalfi, hiking through the Valley of the Ancient Mills (Vallone dei Mulini), passing lemon groves, waterfalls, and crumbling buildings before finishing in Ravello. No matter how busy the piazzas and coastline are, within minutes you’ll be far from the crowds while experiencing a way of life that’s existed for generations. See the old paper mills that the Earth is now reclaiming, residents tending to their lemon trees, precariously perched atop a wooden lattice, and meandering streams flowing through pristine landscapes, all within an amphitheater of dramatic cliff faces.



Pompeii is about an hour’s drive from Amalfi and it’s one of the most interesting destinations in the entire country. If you rent a car, you can easily get there on your own, but there are tours that will bring you from Amalfi that include an expert guide for an excellent, in-depth introduction to one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites. You’ll learn all about life in this city that was blanketed by volcanic ash during a Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD. You’ll see ovens that are still intact, thermal baths, homes, an amphitheater, a meat and fish market, brothels, and much more. While strolling the streets, you’ll see the tracks made by ancient chariots centuries ago. Tours are enriched by anecdotes and stories of life here under Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago. They typically include skip-the-line admission tickets, making for a more enjoyable visit without having to wait in a long line.