This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)
The Amalfi Coast is visited every year by over 5 million people: it’s one of the must see destinations usually added to every itinerary for a trip to Italy. Famous for its winding roads, mouth-watering Italian cuisine, movie sets and breathtaking natural landscape, it can also be one of the most expensive and crowded places… ever. Finding where to stay on the Amalfi Coast should be your number one priority, whether you’re renting a car or not. What you might not know, in fact, is that each and every one of the Amalfi Coast towns has a specific culture and unique identity, despite existing shoulder to shoulder for hundred of years. Some travelers might be looking for instagrammable spots and a lively nightlife, some others for a secluded spot. You need to be careful with your choice, especially if you intend to visit all the best beaches on the Amalfi Coast. Some of them are quite hard to reach! Accommodation here ranges from luxury hotels to family owned B&Bs. The secret to enjoying your Amalfi Coast vacations is finding the village that best fits your style: being a local, I think I can help with that. Let’s go find the best places to stay on the Amalfi Coast according to your needs and budget!
Where to stay in Positano – livin’ la vida loca
Positano is probably the most famous town on the Amalfi Coast, thanks to the pastel-colored houses that spill down the cliff into the sea. It is also known as the “vertical town“. Once you get down to the beach, you need to hike back up and it can be hard!
From April to October there’s a special ferry from Positano, so it is a great option if you’re also planning a day trip to Capri.
If you are renting a car, make sure you find one of the top hotels in Positano that also offer parking discounts or parking spots. You can’t use your car in most of Positano anyway!
One of the popular activities in this colorful town is to buy handmade sandals (you can find some amazing ones at Artigianato Rallo or La Botteguccia) and locally crafted goods like ceramics or limoncello as souvenirs from a wonderful trip to Italy.
Positano is the best town to stay on the Amalfi Coast if you want to try the sweet, Italian life. You might meet celebrities, there are a lot of amazing instagrammable spots and the food is to die for. It has at least three awesome beaches, and from April to October you can plan day trips and tours to explore the islands.
Yet it might not be for you if you don’t like the crowded, touristy spots. Accommodation is also pretty expensive, more than the other towns on the coast… the same goes for clubs and restaurants. There are also lots of stairs between you and the beach: take it into account!
In case you decided you want to give it a try, here are the best places to stay in Positano:
- Hotel Marincanto – the views from its rooms and terraces are truly spectacular. The style is “traditional-Mediterranean”, which means that each room is very stylish. It includes local elements like hand painted ceramics, and the chance to sit on a small balcony with a view that you will never forget. Hotel Marincanto is one of the Positano luxury hotels, where many couples decide to stay when they plan an Amalfi Coast wedding. If you visit in spring it will be less crowded and you will have the chance to enjoy fresh breakfast surrounded by flowers on the large terrace that overlooks the colorful houses and the sea. There’s also a glorious infinity pool!
- Hotel Montemare – is yet another one of the Amalfi Coast Luxury hotels. As such, every room offers breathtaking views across our sea. You can enjoy a romantic Italian date with your significant other sitting on the terrace, sipping cocktails as the sun sets and the town starts to light up below. Or you can just enjoy a delicious breakfast featuring local dishes while getting ready for another day at the beach. Hotel Montemare is located in a quiet area, away from the crowded beaches and vicoli. While it will be crowded anyway if you visit during high season, you might still be able to enjoy a piece of Positano without having to push your way through the tourists.
- Le Sireneuse Hotel – I couldn’t not mention this institution in my chapter about the best places to stay in Positano. Le Sireneuse is probably the most famous hotel on the Amalfi Coast, terraced higher into the seaside cliffs: celebrities lodge here on a regular basis. They have a Michelin-starred restaurant, La Sponda, and a lovely terrace cafè/club, Franco’s Bar. The theme is undoubtedly “Amalfi Coast”. You’ll find hand painted tiles and lemons everywhere!
- Hotel Buca di Bacco – one of the few Positano hotels on the beach, it is well known in the area for being a place where the guest is “sacred”. They always make sure you have everything you need. Buca di Bacco is also famous for its restaurant, but what you might not know is that they also offer simple and fun cooking classes. Their clients are invited to help chefs prepare Southern dishes like appetizers, main courses and desserts. It really is easy to follow and aimed also to the English-speaking guests!
- Hotel Savoia – don’t expect to find Amalfi Coast hostels in Positano. The best option if you have a smaller budget is Hotel Savoia. This 3-star hotel overlooks Positano from a hilltop. It’s less expensive because you have to walk for about 10 minutes to get to Positano ferry terminal, and it’s also family-owned. This means that they pay a lot of attention to detail, and try to establish always a friendly relationship with every guest. Ask away if you are in need of recommendations for restaurants or shops!
Where to stay in Amalfi – icy limoncello shots!
Amalfi is the largest town on the Amalfi Coast. It’s very famous in Italy and abroad for its Limoncello. This delicious liquor is made with lemons harvested in the Amalfi gardens and fields.
Packed with historical interest and beautiful medieval buildings, Amalfi is right in the middle of the coast. The perfect base for easy day trips! If you hop on the bus to Sorrento (then you’ll have to take the bus to Napoli) you can spend one day in Naples and maybe another one to Pompeii Archaeological site.
In case you have a sweet tooth just like me, head over to Pasticceria Pansa, and sit outside in Piazza Duomo. They make a delicious “Delizia al Limone“, a fresh and yummy lemon pastry. Another great pastry shop is Pasticceria Leone, which serves also icy shots of limoncello.
Amalfi is the perfect place to stay if you want the luxury and beauty of Positano without the expensive prices. It’s one of the liveliest towns on the Amalfi Coast, and a major intersection for nearly all the buses, boats and ferries shuttling tourists between islands and towns. If you love art and history, mixed with beautiful beaches and great food, by all means, book a room at one of the Amalfi town hotels!
The cons are that Amalfi is just as crowded as Positano, especially in high season. Parking is almost as expensive as in Positano, yet the bonus is that there are more parking spots, and you can use your car in most of the town.
The best hotels in Amalfi that you can book for a dream trip to Italy are:
- NH Collection Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi – located at 10 minutes from the exquisite Amalfi Cathedral, it’s one of the best places to stay on the Amalfi Coast if you’re looking for a unique feel. This upscale 5-star hotel is in fact set inside an historic former 13th-century monastery! It’s also one of the few Amalfi hotels with a pool, with the added bonus that their infinity pool overlooks the coast and its cliffs! NH Collection Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi is perfect for a relaxing vacation, as they also have a gorgeous wellness center and deals on spa bundles: they use local beauty products. If you don’t feel like going out, they have everything you need inside, included two restaurants and a gym. In case you’ve rented a car, they also have on-site parking!
- Hotel Santa Caterina – is within walking distance from the center of Amalfi, providing the perfect setting for the crowded summer days, when you just want to stay away from all the traffic and crowds. This liberty style hotel has its own beach club, a pool and a terrace with a beautiful view on Amalfi town. They don’t have many rooms (in my opinion it’s a very good thing), and most of them have private terraces with sea views. Hotel Santa Caterina also has two restaurant. One is named Restaurant Santa Caterina and it’s only indoors, while the other, Al Mare, has a lovely outdoor terrace which is very romantic at night.
- Hotel Miramalfi – this is the midrange option if you can’t spend too much on accommodation on the Amalfi Coast. While it’s not as glamorous as the previous two, its rooms are clean, comfortable and classy. You will still get gorgeous views of the rugged cliffs along the coast, a sun terrace, a pool and the chance to dine under the stars, but you’ll spend way less! Yet the truly huge bonus about Hotel Miramalfi is that they have a tiny, private beach accessible by a lift carved out of the rock face. This means that you won’t have to face the terribly narrow stairs to get to the beach every morning!
Where to stay in Sorrento – the gateway to the Amalfi Coast
Sorrento isn’t officially one of the towns on the Amalfi Coast, but it’s the easiest town to reach from Naples. There is in fact a direct Circumvesuviana train from the Stazione Centrale in Naples (Piazza Garibaldi). Also named the “gateway to the Amalfi Coast“, it’s a quite large city built right on top of steep cliffs. The fact that there’s a direct train connection makes it absolutely easy to plan day trips to Naples, Pompeii and Herculaneum, but it’s not all. Sorrento is in fact also the perfect starting point for day trip to the islands in the Gulf of Naples.
It is thus a good place to stay for a wide-ranging holiday in which you can visit many of the surrounding areas. In case you are renting a car, Sorrento has many parking spots and it will be easy to drive around.
Yet you need to be aware of the fact that Sorrento is pretty crowded in high season, especially because it’s a cruise ship port. It’s also not very close to the Amalfi Coast towns. Whether you’re driving or riding a bus, it might take you hours to get to Amalfi or Positano, especially if you visit from May to August due to the traffic on the main road.
The best hotels in Sorrento are:
- Bellevue Syrene – one of the few Amalfi Coast resorts with a view on the impressive Mount Vesuvius. Located atop a towering cliff, it offers access to the beach with a private lift (which is amazing since it’s not easy to reach the beaches at the bottom of the cliffs from Sorrento). With a 10 minute walk from Bellevue Syrene hotel, down a cobbled lane, you can also reach the charming fishing village of Marina Grande, full of cute shops and restaurants.
- Grand Hotel Cocumella – this hotel used to be a Jesuit monastery and Latin grammar school, but it was turned into a hotel in 1822. The rooms are all uniquely decorated with period furniture and rare artworks. They have romantic alcoves with a large jacuzzi and a marble fireplace that you can enjoy with your significant other (the perfect spot for a Valentine day date!). Located a short distance from Sorrento, they have a private transfer, and if you don’t feel like going to the beach, they will let you stay at a swimming pool which sits among the groves of lemons. Because there’s more space around Grand Hotel Cocumella (unlike some of the cramped hotels in the city center), they also feature tennis courts and an elevator which transports guests to a private black sand beach.
- Villa Manning Relais – the “budget” option if compared to the more expensive Amalfi Coast resorts, Villa Manning is a 19th-century villa, located in a lush garden, beyond the gorge known as Valley of the Mills. You have a lovely 10 minute walk to get to the Sorrento city center. Villa Manning Relais features rooms overlooking the bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. They only have five rooms, which is very nice as it’s way more quiet than many other hotels on the Amalfi Coast, but it also means that you have to book well in advance to make sure you can lodge here! The manager offers a personalized service, which means that you can ask them everything, from a specific tour to a transfer from Capodichino airport, to a hairdresser: they even have a babysitting service upon request!
Where to stay in Ravello – for the romantic ones
Ravello is a tiny village is set back from the shoreline, located atop a cliff overlooking the sea. It doesn’t have direct beach access, and is sadly famous among us locals because there’s barely a few parking spots outside the city (which are also pretty expensive). This village, a romantic and peaceful enclave, has all the glamour and affluence of the nearby towns during the day, turning into some sort of fairytale village at night, when most of the tourists leave.
The views from Ravello are spectacular. It is one of the best places to stay on the Amalfi Coast if you want to take a break from the crowds. The view from Villa Cimbrone alone is considered to be one of the most spectacular in the world. And if it looks familiar, it’s because it was featured in the Wonder Woman movie, with quite a few scenes filmed on the infinity terrace at Villa Cimbrone! Even many writers such as Gore Vidal have visited the gardens and claimed that it helped them to feel at peace with the world.
Another bonus is that within walking distance you will be able to access several hiking trails, if you want to explore the off the beaten path areas on the Amalfi Coast.
The cons of staying in Ravello are that it’s up the hill, so you will have to hike back to your hotel every time you go out, and it’s difficult to get to the beaches. There’s only one bus that gets up here and either taxis or shuttle buses are quite expensive (besides they probably won’t be able to drive you to the door of your chosen hotel).
Yet if you’re looking for a romantic hideaway on the Amalfi Coast, here are the best hotels in Ravello:
- Villa Cimbrone – without question, this is one of the most stunning and sophisticated hotels in Italy. It is mostly due to the fact that it’s a 12th century building, perched on the cliffs and enclosed by the world famous Villa Cimbrone Gardens. Lodging here feels like staying at some kind of fairytale castle. While it’s within walking distance from all the highlights in Ravello, Villa Cimbrone is so beautiful that you’ll probably want to spend all your time by the pool, or exploring the library with its huge stone fireplace, or getting pampered in their wellness center. This is one of the few Amalfi Coast hotels open all year long!
- Palazzo Avino – this 5-star hotel is yet another 12th century palazzo, located on the edge of Ravello’s Eastern ridge, with breathtaking views across the valley to Monte Avvocata and the Bay of Salerno. Palazzo Avino, yet another peaceful and romantic sanctuary, has 33 rooms and suites, each uniquely decorated in the style of the Italian noble family that used to live here. The huge bonus of this hotel is that they have a private beach club, and offer a free shuttle service to get there. There’s also a spa with hammam steam bath and sauna. The on-site Michelin starred restaurant, Rossellinis is probably the most romantic dining spot on the whole Amalfi Coast (there’s also a lobster bar serving local Mediterranean lobster).
- Ravello Art Hotel Marmorata – located well below the village of Ravello, this building was once a paper factory, and now offers all the modern comforts you can think of. Air conditioning, mini fridge, powerful Wi-Fi and more. While it has a modern soul, it’s still full of the Amalfi Coast character, as you can see from the gorgeous Vietri tiles. All the rooms at Ravello Art Hotel Marmorata have sea views and are decorated with a lovely nautical theme. This is one of the few hotels that has family rooms available, for families with up to two children. One of the bonuses is that they offer a free shuttle service that will drive you to Amalfi. Of course there’s also a gorgeous beach, a swimming pool and a sun deck.
Where to stay in Praiano and Conca dei Marini – beaches galore
Praiano and the tiny Conca dei Marini are often overlooked. These two towns on the Amalfi are located halfway between Amalfi and Positano and are usually loved by the couples who want to enjoy a romantic trip to the Amalfi Coast. From Praiano you can in fact see Positano and even Capri: the sunsets are gorgeous. Once a fishing village, Praiano looks a bit like Santorini, with lots of cute white houses… and lots of stairs to get to the beach!
Only about a hundred people live in the cottages on the cliffs at Conca dei Marini. They guard the legendary Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Grotto), a partially-submerged cave filled with beautiful, green light, that people often compare to the Blue Grotto in Capri. Even if it’s a tiny village, Conca dei Marini has its own dessert (among the things you can eat in Naples as well) known as “Santa Rosa“. It looks like a sfogliatella riccia, so it’s crunchy and delicious, but it’s not covered in powdered sugar. You can recognize a Santa Rosa because it’s decorated with custard and cherries in syrup.
Both towns are known for its charming little beaches, and the fact that they are way less crowded than Positano and Amalfi. They will let you soak in the small-town atmosphere, allowing you to mingle with the locals. Another good point is that while accommodation ranges from designer chic to modern holiday villas, it’s still less expensive than the other Amalfi Coast hotels. You do have access to a lot of lovely beaches in Praiano and Conca dei Marini, as well as the chance to hike in the area.
The negative points of both cities are that you will absolutely need a vehicle to get around. Positano, the closest town with a good connection to the main boat lines, is 10-15 minutes away. In high season the local buses fill up to the brink pretty quickly (it’s not uncommon to find quite a line just to get on the bus) and you might need to wait for a long time for one because of the traffic jams. Another point you absolutely need to take into account is that there are lots of stairs to get to each one of the cute beaches. Also both Praiano and Positano only have pebble beaches with a rocky and steep coastline.
If you have decided, here are a few suggestions for your Amalfi Coast vacations in Praiano and Conca dei Marini:
- Monastero Santa Rosa – located on the top of the rocky coastline, this former monastery turned hotel (here they invented the local pastry “Santa Rosa”) was purchased by Bianca Sharma, an American businesswoman, after seeing it from her boat. She turned it into one of the top luxury hotels on the Amalfi Coast. At Monastero Santa Rosa they only have 20 guest rooms (former nun cells) with coastal views and lovely bathtubs. There’s a heated infinity pool that will spare you the hassle of having to climb down lots of stairs, and that will keep you warm also if you visit Italy in winter. Another great point is that they do have free parking on site, so lodging here will sort out a few of the cons I mentioned above!
- Hotel Le Fioriere – a 3-star hotel that can be a budget option if you aren’t looking for stylish decor and hand painted maiolica. Hotel Le Fioriere has rooms with private balconies or small terraces where you can have breakfast on your own or with your significant other. The rooms are clean but very simple. They always include a large Italian breakfast. I think it’s a good choice if you do have a car because booking a room you also get a parking spot. The downside is that to get to the beach you will need to climb the dreaded stairs (lots of them)!
- La Conca Azzurra – this hotel in Conca dei Marini has been family-run for more than 50 years: the entire family still works here. Because it’s slightly off the beaten path on the Amalfi Coast, it is a 4-star hotel which offers great value for its rates. It’s not big, they only have about 20 rooms with sea view, and guests can arrive to the hotel by ferry. The Hotel in fact shares a dock with the Amalfi ferry stop that brings people to Grotta dello Smeraldo. Aside from the small pool, La Conca Azzurra also has a lavish outdoor jacuzzi with views on the gorgeous coastline. Parking spots are free but they have to be reserved upon booking.
Where to stay in Maiori and Minori – stuff for foodies!
Maiori and Minori are the “twin towns” on the Amalfi Coast. They share the same main street, and you wouldn’t know where one ends and the other starts! Another thing they share is a long stretch of sand, the longest beach on the Amalfi Coast (there’s yet another one in Maiori but it’s only accessible by boat). This long beach is flat, accessible from the street (no stairs, yay!) and family friendly.
I always tell my friends to find lodging in Maiori or Minori when they visit the Amalfi Coast. Hotels are in fact way cheaper if compared to the expensive ones in Positano or Amalfi. Usually from June to early September there’s a quite nice “summer bazar” on the seaside road that connects Minori and Maiori. You can find street food (with local delicacies like fried anchovies), but also souvenirs, shell necklaces, sundresses and more.
Minori is notable for being an ancient Roman settlement and home to spectacular ruins, especially the Villa Marittima Romana, one of the most important archaeological sites on the Amalfi Coast. From Maiori you can also take a boat tour to the Grotta di Pandora, a stunning sea cave.
Minori enjoys a fresher microclimate than many of the other towns on the Amalfi Coast, as it’s always blessed with a pleasant breeze. Known as the “city of taste“, it has vineyards, lovely lemon trees and it produces some of the best pasta in the South of Italy.
Both Minori and Maiori are usually way less crowded than the other popular towns. They are a good choice also if you’re traveling with children or if you want an easy-to-reach sandy beach. The foodie travelers will love all the good restaurants in Minori and Maiori. Starting with the king of the Amalfi Coast: Sal De Riso. One of the most popular confectioner in Italy has a shop in Minori. It looks like a pastry boutique, every little pastry is always colorful and bursts with flavour. Sal has his own lemon orchard that he uses to produce amazing Delizia al Limone, also sold in many popular restaurant in Italy! Once you’re there, try to eat his “Melanzane al cioccolato“. While you might probably be terrified of trying the combo eggplants with chocolate, it is a local treat (specifically from Minori) and surprisingly good because Sal De Riso uses his grandmother’s recipe!
The downside of staying in Minori or Maiori is that the towns are pretty far South. It will take you about one hour to get to Positano. Yet you won’t need to get so far if you just want to visit Capri, because from April to October there’s a direct ferry also from Minori.
If you are looking on where to stay on the Amalfi Coast and want a practical, budget option, here are my suggestions for Maiori and Minori:
- Hotel Club Due Torri – pretty popular in Maiori for its large pool with views of the coast, it’s very clean and well-maintained. In spring and summer at Hotel Club Due Torri you will be offered a large Italian breakfast on the sun terrace, that you can enjoy with a delicious cup of Neapolitan espresso. Located just out of the center of Maiori, it is strategically placed, so you can just forget about your car and walk to the main highlights and to the beach, as they are just a few minutes away.
- B&B Maiurè – probably the loveliest b&b on the Amalfi Coast. This building used to be the house of a noble family, which is clearly reflected in the classy furniture. Located on the main street in Maiori, a few steps away from the beach, it offers the right mix between the elegance of the luxury resorts on the coast and a vacation at a local’s house. Every room has paintings from local artists, and breakfast, usually featuring local delicacies, is usually served on the terrace. Junior suites at B&B Maiurè feature a pretty big jacuzzi for two.
- Hotel Santa Lucia – we have lodged here in April and it was such a lovely stay! The hotel is tiny and very pretty. It is located in Minori at the town entrance. You can get to the beach with an easy 2 minutes walk, and it’s 1 minute away from the ferry harbour in Minori. Because the hotel is located in an area full of restaurants, all the rooms are soundproofed, so you will be able to sleep like a baby. Hotel Santa Lucia has a small parking lot, just a few steps away from the Sal De Riso shop. Considering that in finding a parking spot in Minori is very difficult, count it as a luxury that we absolutely appreciated! The only thing you might not be used to is that they have smaller rooms (albeit cute and stylish) if compared to other hotels on the Amalfi Coast.
Have you decided where to stay on the Amalfi Coast? If you’re visiting our Country, please, make sure you know the tipping rules in Italy so you won’t be rude to the locals!