One of our favorite places we visited on our holiday to the Amalfi Coast was the town of Amalfi itself. Situated at the base of Monte Cerreto, Amalfi features some of the most dramatic scenery you can find along the coast. Much more rugged-looking than many of the other popular destinations along the coast, I took one look at Amalfi during our trip-planning and knew we had to add it to our itinerary!
Unfortunately, on the day we planned to visit, we were experiencing electricity troubles at our Airbnb and were required to stay behind and wait for technicians to arrive and fix things as our host was on holiday. With so much of our day gone, I wondered if it was worth it to make the hour and a half journey to Amalfi only to have a few short hours there before having to turn around and come back, but I’m so glad we did!
THE TOWN OF AMALFI
After a very scenic and somewhat harrowing bus journey around some pretty tight turns along the cliffs, our bus let us off in the Marina Grande of Amalfi. I knew from research beforehand that Amalfi was much larger than its neighbors along the coast, but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how busy it would be. I mean, there were people everywhere.
Crowds aren’t really my thing, so I just sort of stood in one place and tried to take it all in first. The Marina Grande, where we had been let off, is located directly beside the Spiaggia Grande, Amalfi’s main beach, and behind them both, separated by the main road, are loads of shops and restaurants and everything else you’d find in a town of this size. Rising up above all of it is the mountainous scenery I had been looking forward to seeing for months.
Adjusting to the pace of the town, we walked along the main road looking for an open spot anywhere on the beach. (Tip: Do not arrive after 1pm during high season if you want a sun lounger. You won’t find one!) After questioning what felt like a dozen vendors renting sun loungers, we accepted that we just weren’t going to be able to enjoy the beach that day and were heading to check out the town instead when we noticed signs pointing towards another beach a few minutes walk away. Looking around at the chaos around us, it was an easy decision.
And so we found ourselves on Atrani Beach, one I found even more beautiful than Amalfi’s main beach by the marina. I felt like we’d hit the jackpot here! Peace and quiet – check. Loads of open sun loungers – check. Gorgeous scenery in every direction – check. I was sold. We plopped down on a set of sun loungers with no one around us and I could feel all the irritation of the morning and the stress of arriving in Amalfi melt away.
While the vibe of Amalfi’s Spiaggia Grande was more lively, attracting the folks on holiday who were there to party, the vibe of Atrani was nothing but pure relaxation. Most of the people on Atrani Beach with us were couples and young families, all who seemed interested in having the same sort of quiet, private day on the beach that we were. It was, by far, the most peaceful beach day we spent on the Amalfi Coast, including the days we were in Positano. I loved Atrani.
The only thing we had to contend with was the weather. We had experienced such great weather in Italy so far, but while we were in Atrani, we could tell that things were changing. After an hour or two on the beach, thick, heavy clouds began moving quickly overhead and every now and then we’d feel some sprinkles. With umbrellas to protect us from the rain and the weather still plenty warm to lay out, we decided to stick around and see if it would pass. It didn’t, but the worst of the storms wouldn’t come until we were already back in Sorrento, so I was glad we didn’t cut our already very short day in Amalfi and Atrani even shorter!
THINGS TO DO IN AMALFI & ATRANI
So, what is there to do in Amalfi and Atrani? Thankfully, a little bit more than what you’ll find in some of the other tourist towns on the Amalfi Coast. Amalfi is the main city on the coast and has quite a bit of history, museums, and ancient churches to check out, not to mention plenty of shopping and restaurant choices. Atrani is actually the smallest town along the coast, but it still has a couple of churches to visit and the added bonus of being one of the few towns whose traditional character has been kept intact despite the surge in tourism. If you’re looking for a charming, Italian seaside town to walk through, this is it!
As for where to eat, I highly recommend Le Arcate on Atrani Beach. You can eat in their restaurant, but they also provide take-away if you want to enjoy your meal seaside. Their food is incredible and very reasonably priced, considering the location. My favorite part, though, was watching the chefs in action through the open window!
If you’re feeling active, there are hikes and nature trails around Amalfi that offer some spectacular views of the coast, but if exercise is the last thing you want to do on holiday, a walk out to the end of the pier at the Marina Grande will also provide some fantastic, panoramic views of this section of the coast.
If you’re looking for other ideas for how to spend your time on the Amalfi Coast, check out my guide How To Spend 5 Days On Italy’s Amalfi Coast!
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