An Italian vacation can encompass many things. History and culture buffs may fly to Rome to experience a spectacular tour of the city’s most treasured buildings (or reenact their favorite Lizzie McGuire Movie moment). Perhaps you’d prefer to visit the fashion capital of Milan, where you can peruse ateliers for the best designer goods. However, those who truly live for the drama will likely find themselves in a boat cruising along the breathtakingly picturesque wonder that is the Amalfi Coast.
Take it from us: you’ll be shouting “la dolce vita” at the top of your lungs from your initial arrival up until your departure. The good life goes beyond the idyllic view of the Mediterranean sea you get from every crevice of the coastline. It’s the heavenly aroma of freshly picked tomatoes and shaved parmesan spilling from a single twirl of spaghetti, the lingering tang on your tongue after devouring limoncello gelato on a balmy summer day, and the light mist of salty sea water on your skin as you shuttle back and forth on the water between towns for lunch and dinner.
There’s a reason you can’t escape photos of your friends’ Italian adventures on Instagram. And if you can’t beat them…curb your FOMO with this curated guide of all the best spots that the Amalfi Coast has to offer.
From the moment you enter Amalfi’s town square, you’re guaranteed to gaze toward this landmark. The Duomo di Amalfi, aka the Amalfi Cathedral, has gone through several changes over the years, but has been standing strong since the ninth century. While the wide stairs and its Byzantine-esque facade are a real delight to the eyes, the true beauty lies within the many rooms inside that continue to tell the stories of its beautiful architecture and history.
Arenzio Beach Club
Dedicate at least one day to relaxation at the Arenzio Beach Club. Not only are the bright orange beach umbrellas and chairs a perfect Instagram photo-op, but the venue is only a quick boat ride away from the bustling Positano tourist crowd, or a long staircase away for those trying to get their steps in. The beach is split into two sides, with a free side and a private side for a more premium experience (champs and a fruit plate, anyone?).
The Emerald Grotto
The Emerald Grotto is named after the blue waters complete with an underground opening that emits a green hue, and when met with the sun’s reflection, illuminates the entire cave with a charming emerald shade. This gorgeous underground beauty can only be seen via boat, so it’s best to book a boat tour that makes a pit stop in Conca dei Marini.
The Donna Emma Restaurant
No view of the Amalfi Coast is as beautiful as the one you get while seated at the Donna Emma Restaurant. Situated atop one of the many hills in Amalfi, this gourmet experience takes you on a sensory tour. Your focus will shift between the calm waves crashing against the shore and the exquisite seafood-focused dishes. Snag an evening reservation to watch the sunset as lights peppered along the coast illuminate the night sky. Yes, this is heaven.
This family-owned restaurant is famous for its long list of celebrity patrons, including Jackie Kennedy, who frequented the eatery so often that there’s a spaghetti dish named after her (Spaghetti alla Jaqueline). Pasta lovers will enjoy this lengthy menu of traditional and contemporary dishes tossed with Amalfi’s aromatic fresh vegetables and seafood. PSA: You’ll need a boat to visit La Tonnarella—which is situated in a cove in the quaint village of Conca dei Marini—but it’s well worth the ride.
Pasticceria Pansa Amalfi
Dinner in Italy isn’t complete without a sweet treat. Pasticceria Pansa Amalfi’s entrance is almost always flooded with guests sipping a glass of wine or indulging in one of the shop’s tastiest pastries. Those who favor the zesty ting of lemon will surely enjoy a Delizia di Limone (translation: lemon delight) with a cup of coffee—it’s the Italian way.
Why chase sunsets when you can get the perfect view seated right at Franco’s Bar? This rooftop wonder located in Positano is strictly meant for drinks, with a menu that blends both traditional and contemporary cocktails, inspired by the founder’s worldly explorations in and outside of Italy.
Aldo’s Cocktail Bar & Seafood Grill
Aldo’s Cocktail Bar & Seafood Grill is the upscale Italian eatery one would only find in a rom-com. It’s the restaurant where the characters would nervously laugh and shyly sip a glass of wine on the first date, or where a group of women would gather with their closest girlfriends to recap the past week’s drama. With a view of the Mediterranean Sea and an even better Mediterranean menu, everyone is the main character.
Bellavista Cocktail Bar
The Bellavista Cocktail Bar is a calm, elegant rooftop that knows how to help you relax. For instance, the bar is suspended above the sea for a sweeping view of the coast, and has lounge chairs that are ideal for unwinding with loved ones and friends. Did we mention there’s a great Italian-style martini? Cheers.
It’s very easy to get so lost in the beauty of Miramalfi that you forget there’s an entire Amalfi city center to explore. Guest rooms have a spectacular balcony view of the water, shrouded in vibrant greenery. To cool off, take a dip in the large pool with a mountainous background, or the beach club with private sea access. You can spend your days lounging in the sun, at the hotel’s gym, or call the complimentary shuttle service to bring you to into town.
Among the range of gorgeous buildings and architecture nestled in the hills of the Amalfi Coast, you’ll find the beauty that is the Palazzo Avino. Let’s state the obvious: the pink exterior immediately captures your attention. Keep your cameras charged, because there’s a picturesque view at every turn of this hotel, whether you bask in the coastal views or take a tour of the luxe hallways and stairs.
Villa Fiorella Art Hotel
Villa Fiorella Art Hotel feels less like a hotel and more like home. The cozy rooms are spacious, with printed accents (pillows, hanging art, etc.) that add a burst of character to the white walls and bedding. Head up to the sky bar for an alternative panoramic view of Amalfi, perfect for gazing at the sunset or snapping photos that’ll make all your followers jealous.
Nerisha is the beauty commerce editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty (and fashion and music). She has a penchant for sneakers and nude lip glosses, and spends way too much time re-watching 90s sitcoms.