Avoid the tourist traps, venture off the beaten path and discover some most beautiful under-the-radar gems located along the Amalfi Coast.
Loyal readers of the Luxury Wanderer know that we’re absolutely obsessed with southern Italy, which boasts some of the most beautiful stretches of dramatic coastline, picture perfect beaches, and gorgeous coastal islands in the world.
The famous Amalfi Coast towns of Amalfi, Positano, and Sorrento are undeniably beautiful, but they can also be touristy and extremely crowded, especially in the summer. Avoid the tourist traps, venture off the beaten path and discover some under-the-radar gems along the Amalfi Coast (and some non-touristy activities in the region). There’s plenty to see, do, and—best of all—eat along this famous slice of Mediterranean coastline!
Ravello is one of the most charming towns on the Amalfi Coast. Despite its beauty, this small village is one of the quietest along the Amalfi Coast, set 365 meters above the Tyrrhenian Sea and its busy beaches. Ravello is home to iconic cliffside gardens and offers some of the best views of the famous coastline, with sweeping seascapes and incredible panoramas.
Known as the “City of Music”, Ravello has long been known as a favorite retreat for artists, musicians, and intellectuals looking for inspiration in the tranquil scenery, far removed from the bustle of the coastline. Given this history, it should come as no surprise that this sleepy village hosts important cultural events like the Ravello Festival and chamber concerts organized by the Ravello Concert Society.
If you’re looking for a less musical activity, sign up for a world-renowned cooking class at Mamma Agata’s Cooking School, which take place in her private Ravello home high on a cliff overlooking the coast.
TLW Tip: Don’t miss Villa Cimbrone, which was once an abandoned farmhouse that has since been transformed into a luxurious residence surrounded by stunning gardens that are home to rare botanic species, statues, fountains, temples and artificial grottos. The garden’s paths lead to the Infinity Terrace, widely known as one of the most beautiful views in the world.
Conca dei Marini
The tiny, quaint fishing village of Conca dei Marini is often overlooked by tourists en route to the larger and more famous Amalfi Coast towns of Amalfi and Positano (the village is nestled between the two). Once known for being a favorite retreat of Jacqueline Kennedy, Conca Dei Marini offers virtually endless things to do—if you know where to look.
The main draw of Conca dei Marini is the Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Grotto), one of the most famous caves in the world. Partly filled with sea water, the Emerald is home to an underwater nativity scene created from artisan ceramics in 1956. Since then divers travel from around the world to pay a visit to the Holy Family at Christmas.
Just above Conca dei Marini you’ll find the Convent of St Rosa. Famous for being the birthplace of the internationally-renowned Neapolitan dessert called sfogliatella, which was first made by the nuns in the 17th century. This delicious dessert is celebrated every year in Conca dei Marini on August 30, with the local Festa della St Rosa.
Be sure to also hit at least one of the beaches in Conca dei Marini, which are much less crowded than those in Amalfi, Positano, and Sorrento, despite being every bit as beautiful.
TLW Tip: If you’re planning to stay in Conca dei Marini (a wonderful idea), be sure to book a room at the jewel that is Monastero Santa Rosa. This charming 17th-century convent-turned-luxury hotel is perched high on the hills and features an infinity pool that boasts some of the best views of the coast. The hotel is just nine years old and with only 20 rooms, the service is beyond compare.
Located about 3.5km east of Amalfi, (or a steep 45-minute walk down from Ravello), Minori is a small, unpretentious and uncrowded seaside town. Known as a laid-back fishing village, Minori is decidedly scruffier (and less expensive) than the upscale coastal towns of Amalfi and Positano—don’t be surprised to see wooden fishing boats parked on the beach amidst the umbrellas and sun-bathers.
For the foodies, it’s important to note that Minori is dubbed “the town of good taste”. Known for its history of pasta making, which dates back to medieval times; the specialty in Minori is scialatielli (thick ribbons of fresh pasta), which featured on many local restaurant menus. Minori solidifies its place as a gourmet center with its annual food festival GustaMinori.
The town of Minori is surrounded by terraces of lemon groves, which produce the amazing lemons this area is famous for. Each grove is linked by a historical path (fittingly known as the ‘path of lemons’) which also links Minori with the nearby town of Maiori. The path can be walked in about an hour, and the 400 steps it includes make for a great way to work off all the pasta you’re sure to consume.
Praiano is yet another quiet fishing town located along the coast. The town is known for its steps—there are steep stairways all across Praiano, which lead down to quiet Vettica beach, and all the way up to Piazza San Gennaro, where you can enjoy a sweeping view of the Amalfi Coast and Capri. Praiano is said to have the best sunsets on the Amalfi Coast thanks to its west-facing position.
Praiano also features an abundance of restaurants and coffee bars, perfect for enjoying a cappuccino or glass of wine while the sun sets.
TLW Tip: Easily reachable by bus or boat, Praiano is an ideal base for a vacation on the Amalfi Coast. Check out Casa Angelina, which bills itself as a lifestyle hotel. There are 40 rooms (plus 4 seaside suites); 2 restaurants; a chic bar with cigar lounge; and a gorgeous pool surrounded with lemon trees.
For Andrew, travel is so much more than just learning history or taking photos. Rather, the value of travel is witnessing a lifestyle, bonding with locals, and gaining rich cultural experiences. That’s why he founded the Luxury Wanderer; a place to share itineraries, offer advice, swap stories, and foster a like-minded community of curious travellers.