The hidden gems of the Amalfi Coast
23 January, 2024
1 February, 2024
Overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Gulf of Salerno is one of the most beautiful and scenic parts of Europe – the exquisite Amalfi Coast. Abounding with aquamarine waters, powder-soft sandy beaches, and tumbling medieval towns and villages full of charm, it’s not hard to see why the Amalfi Coast has been a beloved holiday spot since Roman times.
But alongside the well-known hotspots are the hidden gems of the Amalfi Coast – places that are a little off the beaten track, known only to the locals and a few inquisitive adventurers who strike out beyond the usual constraints of the tourist trail.
So, sit back and let us take you on a tour of the best towns on the Amalfi Coast and give you some tips on non-touristy things to do. The Amalfi Coast is alive with possibilities, from natural wonders both on land and under the ocean waves, and its charms will appeal to everyone of all ages.
When to visit
The hidden gems of the Amalfi Coast are on offer all year round, and visiting outside the peak season allows you to enjoy a more leisurely pace. Spring is breathtaking, and while the sea may be a little chilly, you can go off the beaten path and discover inland wonders such as nature reserves, castles, and ancient Roman remains.
The autumn months of September and October are also a perfect time to visit some of the best cities on the Amalfi Coast to explore the museums and galleries, wander around piazzas, and stop for a coffee in the cafés and bistros. Whenever you come to this part of Italy, you’ll be enchanted by its charms.
The endless charm of Amalfi Coast towns
The Amalfi Coast draws in millions of visitors every year. Its pretty towns and villages enamour them, along with the rich culture and, of course, those incredible beaches. However, that means during the height of the season during July and August, the local area can get very busy. If you prefer a more secluded and tranquil pace of life, there are plenty of Amalfi coast towns to visit that are a little further off the beaten path.
One of the most charming and one that captures the true essence and romance of this beautiful part of the world is Conca dei Marini. Guarded by a 16th-century watch tower and with cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses, it’s a magical glimpse into how many of the Amalfi Coast towns and villages once were. Top of your list of things to see here should be the Grotta dello Smeraldo or Emerald Grotto, where natural and manmade works of art share the same space.
Secret spots in Sorrento: A slice of paradise
With its tumbling, cobbled streets and the scent of citrus in the air, Sorrento is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Amalfi Coast. The town is famous for its towering sea cliffs as well as being the birthplace of limoncello liqueur. However, if you look beyond the usual tourist attractions, there are plenty of hidden gems in Sorrento.
Bagni Regina Giovanna
This tiny cove sits at the base of Sorrento’s magnificent sea cliffs and is the ideal spot for a beachside escape. There's also a real sense of history here, as it was once home to a Roman villa. Try to get there early for wild swimming around the cove and through the natural archway. It can get busy during the peak summer season but is quieter and less crowded during the autumn when the sea is still warm.
I Giardini di Cataldo
The smell of lemons is intoxicating in this charming grove. It’s a delightfully peaceful and tranquil place, with winding walks through the grove and shady spots where you can take a break from the hustle and bustle of Sorrento life. You can also taste freshly made limoncello and citrus liqueurs made from the fruit of the trees you've just walked past. Meanwhile, younger guests will want to head to the town's best gelato shop for delicious handmade ice cream.
Augusto & Luca's Workshop
Down a little side street in the centre of Sorrento is this remarkable workshop and gallery, crammed to the ceiling with fabulous examples of unique wooden pieces. From pictures to trinket boxes, trays and music boxes, the workshop is an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures and one of the true hidden gems in Sorrento. The family business has been going for generations and demonstrates the region's artisanal skills and cultural diversity.
Positano's hidden gems: Unexplored beauty
Positano clings precariously to the side of a cliff and is one of the most spellbinding of the Amalfi Coast towns. Positano’s hidden gems can be discovered on foot - there’s only one main road in the town so expect to spend your time climbing steps and steep passageways to uncover those delightful little bistros and restaurants hiding away in the maze of streets and alleyways. Everything leads down to Spiaggia Grande or the Big Beach, one of the best on the coastline.
Il Sentiero degli Dei
If you want to see the natural beauty of this area, it’s time to lace up your hiking boots and trek along the Il Sentiero degli Dei, which translates to ‘the Path of the Gods’. Start in the hillside town of Bomerano or further along in Praiano (but be aware that this second option involves a steep climb up of around 1200 steps!).
It’s a five-mile hike but the effort is well worth it, as you get some of the most spectacular views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the towns of Positano and Praiano. The route ends in the hamlet of Nocelle, where you can treat yourself to a well-earned glass of limoncello or a gelato.
Where to stay in Positano
At onefinestay, we’re lucky to be able to offer our guests some of the most exclusive and beautiful villas in Positano that put you within easy reach of the town as well as the Path of the Gods and so many other natural wonders.
Non-touristy activities on the Amalfi Coast
Once you’ve ticked off all the usual ‘must-see’ spots, it’s time to look for more non-touristy things to do on the Amalfi Coast. From learning to cook like a local to discovering the natural beauty of Napoli Bay, there are plenty of things to see and do that will make you feel like an explorer rather than a tourist.
Napoli Bay – an Amalfi treasure
You probably travelled through Naples to get to your onefinestay Amalfi villa, but once you've settled in and your dedicated concierge has sorted out car hire for you, it’s time to go exploring around the bay.
You'll find walking and cycling paths around the volcanic crater of Lago d'Averno, believed by the ancient Romans to be the entrance to the underworld. If you have a drone, Parco Sommerso di Gaiola Marine Reserve is the place to go for some dramatic shots of the coastline and, if you're lucky, some dolphins playing in the waves.
Ravello – the 'spirit homeland'
This utterly enchanting town has been inspiring artists, writers and musicians for centuries. Follow in the footsteps of famous names such as E.M. Forster, Gore Vidal, D.H. Lawrence and M.C.Escher and let yourself be inspired by the spectacular landscapes and sweeping seascapes. This is the ideal spot to set up an easel, break out the sketchpad or notebook, and let your imagination run wild.
Atrani – The true essence of the Amalfi Coast
Atrani is one of the finest hidden gems of the Amalfi Coast. This unspoilt fishing village gives you a real sense of what life used to be like in the region. Here, you’ll find the last remaining example of Rococo architecture on the coast, the magnificent bell tower of the Collegiata di Santa Maria Maddalena. The restaurants serve local dishes created with local ingredients, and the pace of life is leisurely and relaxed.
Discovering hidden restaurants on the Amalfi Coast
One of the greatest of all the hidden gems on the Amalfi Coast is its cuisine, and there are plenty of restaurants providing visitors with a perfect combination of mouthwatering dishes and gorgeous views. Seafood and fresh fish are at the top of the menu, along with traditional handmade pasta flavoured with fresh herbs and drizzled with locally produced olive oil.
Positano has some of the best seafood restaurants on the Amalfi Coast, including real gems such as Fattoria La Tagliata, where you’ll be served authentic Amalfi dishes accompanied by amazing views and the warmest of welcomes.
Our top tip: speak to your dedicated concierge, who can recommend some of their favourite hidden gem restaurants on the Amalfi Coast and make reservations for you.
THE ONEFINESTAY EXPERIENCE
THE ONEFINESTAY EXPERIENCE
From trekking along towering clifftops to finding secret coves for a wild swim, grottos and caves and tumbling towns that cling to the edge of the cliffs, the Amalfi Coast is simply breathtaking. Combine the opulence of a onefinestay villa on the Amalfi Coast with the charms and attractions of this enchanting region for the trip of a lifetime. With our range of exclusive concierge services, you’ll have a host of sumptuous experiences at your very fingertips.
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