Anyone who knows me knows the special place in my heart that Italy occupies. I’ve learned so much from my time in Italy and Italy has shaped the person I am, for the better. One of my favorite places in Italy is no, “hidden gem” or “secret spot” – it’s the Amalfi Coast. And literally everyone has heard of it. However, there are heaps of hidden gems all over the coast. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last decade ALIVE AND THRIVING on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Here’s my Guide for a Laid Back Amalfi Coast Trip
People are often shocked to hear how much I love the Amalfi Coast. The general vibe of the coast is not my general vibe. I’m more boho and laid back and not so much, “Russian Escorts and New Money”. However, I love beautiful things and the beauty of the coast is unmatched. It doesn’t hurt that the food is amazing, either. A stunning view, beautiful sea water, and some delicious eats is really all it takes to make me happy.
I also am a firm believer that anything can be what you make it. I choose to make my time on the coast relaxing and laid back. Avoiding places I know I won’t enjoy (looking at you, Positano) is easy to do. While Positano is BEAUTIFUL it’s just not really my vibe. However, I do want to take a moment of appreciation for the beauty of Positano:
Navigating the Amalfi Coast
Navigating the coast isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Something about nothing in life worth having coming easily. Driving the coast isn’t for the faint of heart and parking can be a proper bitch. The ferry and bus schedules don’t allow for freedom (and they’re often packed).
There are hundreds of digital guides and articles to tell you how to get to the coast, navigate the coast, all of the transportation information, etc, etc. This is not one of those guides.
I find that convenience and comfort are two things worth splurging on when traveling. As such, I literally only suggest traveling to the Amalfi Coast if you can afford to hire a driver.
Personally, I believe that if you can’t afford to hire someone to guide you along the coast – you should skip it. We’ve all seen the girls on social media complaining about lugging their bags up the stairs or waiting for an overpacked bus/ferry in the heat. That’s not a vacation. That’s a headache.
Local chauffeurs and guides know all of the best spots along the coast and can help you create a perfect daily (or weekly!) itinerary. When my mom and I traveled to the Amalfi Coast in 2017 we spent a few days with Luigi owner of Amalfi Coast Tour. Luigi paid such attention to detail when it came to our interests (my mom being an avid gardener and organic gardening advocate). He planned a few extra stops along our trip in order to show my mom some of the local, terraced, organic gardening.
As a side-note: Autumn is a very underrated time to visit the Amalfi Coast. Sure, you won’t be swimming in the sea but you also don’t have the crowds, the heat or the peak-season costs. Plus, the coast is still stunning in autumn!
In July 2021 I attended an Amalfi Coast Retreat with Nina Passero and Chynna Dee. The trip was transformational, as is. However, on that trip I also met local tour guide and chauffeur, Gianni owner of Amalfi Coast Dream Tours. When I returned to the Amalfi Coast at the end of the summer in 2021 Gianni worked with my friend and I to arrange a half a dozen transfers or so. We had different flights coming in/going out and also wanted to work in a day trip to Pompeii. Not only did Gianni arrange everything for us – he also suggested an afternoon lunch at a winery in Naples, after our tour around Pompeii.
Jackie’s Favorite Thing to Do on the Amalfi Coast
I’m a proper water baby so when it comes to my favorite thing to do on the Amalfi Coast? It’s be with the water. And the best way to be with the water on the Amalfi Coast? On a boat, of course.
I’ve taken two day trips with Ivan owner of Diamond Cruises Amalfi. When it comes to the things to do on the Amalfi Coast – seeing the coast by boat is something you can not miss. Ivan took us to all the best viewpoints but also to hidden caves that we were able to swim into. He can also cater your trip to be whatever you want it to be.
Jackie’s Favorite Beach on the Amalfi Coast
I grew up on an island so loving the beach comes naturally to me. But, I also grew up on an island, which has private beaches for residents – so, I’m spoiled.
I’m not big on big crowds at beaches and when it comes to the Amalfi Coast – the beaches are crowded. You can visit beach clubs, if you choose, but that’s also not my vibe.
If I’m going to the beach on the Amalfi Coast: it’s the beach in Conca dei Marini.
Conca is a little town that doesn’t have the glitz of Amalfi or the glamor of Positano. But it has all the charm in the world. Most people at the beach in Conca will be speaking Italian – it’s not really a place where tourists visit super often.
There are also a few restaurants right on the beach in Conca. As well as a bar to get an aperitif or a coffee. I spent hours reading and sipping espressos with the view of the sea from the beach in Conca.
Jackie’s Favorite Places to Stay on the Amalfi Coast
When I travel to the coast I like a mix of leisurely living and a bit of luxe. Typically I split my time between Air B&B’s or a private villa and a hotel or two. Here are some of the views and hues from different apartments and villas I’ve stayed in on the Amalfi Coast:
One thing I love about renting an Air B&B or a villa? You can really treat it like home. After a long day at the beach (and walking likely hundreds of steps) what’s better than rolling up a joint with a beautiful view? If you don’t like to get highhigh you can check out my favorite ways to catch a natural high. Traveling is one of my favorite ways to get a natural high and the views and hues of the Amalfi Coast can easily have you floating on cloud nine.
When it comes to hotels, in general, I tend to lean towards luxury properties. If you’re looking for the best budget place to stay – I’m not your girl! 😆 I also only feel right suggesting hotels I’ve stayed at. I prefer to stay in Amalfi but on my first couple of trips to the coast I stayed in Positano, so I’ll note those hotels, as well!
I’ve stayed at Hotel Miramalfi three times and each time was a 10/10 experience. I will definitely be staying here again! Miramalfi, very easily, has the most beautiful views of Amalfi. This is technically a four star hotel but you’ll receive five star service. The design is gorgeous. The views are to die for. The beach club doesn’t give me skeevy vibes. Dining at Donna Emma or Sauté will not disappoint.
You can get my Ciao Amore tote here!
During my most recent stay at Hotel Miramalfi I *really* wanted a juice that I love to have in the morning. While a cucumber, mint, ginger juice wasn’t on the menu – they still catered to my desires and made it for me! Perhaps, even more deliciously than I make it at home.
Hotel Santa Caterina
One of the most beautiful properties I’ve ever stayed in. I *love* Hotel Santa Caterina! The entire place is my vibe. The florals. The food (I mean, it has a Michelin Star, so we have to talk about it). The spaces. Even the floors are pretty!
Hotel Palazzo Murat
If you’re staying in Positano and you’re looking for a luxury hotel – I highly recommend Hotel Palazzo Murat. It has so much history as it was built on the ruins of an ancient church and the remains of a Benedictine Abbey, as well as the home to the former King of Napes (and Napoleon Bonapart’s brother-in-law).
The location of Hotel Palazzo Murat is ideal, as well. It’s RIGHT in the city center. A short walk from the beach and a short walk from the main road through Positano.
Possibly one of the most insta-famous properties on the coast… you’ve likely heard of (or seen) Le Sirenuse. I stayed here about ten years ago and while I opt not to stay in Positano now, I always return for the vibes. The decor, the colors, the florals, the views are all right up my alley.
Jackie’s Favorite Places to Eat on the Amalfi Coast
My best advice when it comes to eating on the Amalfi Coast is to get out of the city center. It’s not that the food is bad in the city centers (this is still Italy, after all). It’s just that there’s much better food elsewhere. The food in the city center is typically catered to tourists and it will be mediocre and overpriced.
Il Cantuccio Restaurant Nerano
Nerano is a cute little port town a bit off the beaten path. Most people who visit the Amalfi Coast don’t even know it exists. I like to think of Il Cantuccio the exception to the “I don’t do day parties” rule. Don’t come here if you want a quiet lunch. When I take day trips on the boat with Ivan we often stop here for lunch. We get picked up off the boat by a small skipper boat who takes us right to the restaurant.
Conca dei Marini
Located right on my favorite little beach in Conca, La Tonnarella has super laid back vibes. (I mean, like, plastic chairs laid back.) Super boho and delicious food.. you won’t be disappointed.
Le Bontà del Capo
I loved the food at Le Bontà del Capo! I tried different ravioli including lemon and grapefruit ravioli (don’t judge it, it was delicious!). I also had my first ever Limoncello Spritz at Le Bontà del Capo, an Amalfi spin on the classic Aperol Spritz. They also have a cute little Limoncello Tour where they take you through the lemon terraces and teach you how to make limoncello.
Pizzeria Donna Stella
The BEST PIZZA I’ve had on the actual Coast is at Pizzeria Donna Stella. I specify, “on the actual coast” because we’re near Naples here – this is a sticky topic. Donna Stella is a bit off the beaten path in Amalfi but 110% worth the walk.
Da Gemma was a recommendation from a local who, like me, loves all things raw fish (or pesce crudo). The ambiance is a bit more upscale and if you make a reservation in advance you can snag a table on the outdoor terrace. Make sure to save room for dessert!
While this technically isn’t a restaurant – you can’t visit the coast and not have a lemon granita! I was advised by a local that this is the best place on the coast for a lemon granita. It, of course, didn’t disappoint.
Pasticceria Andrea Pansa
While Andrea Pansa is also not technically a ‘restaurant’ – it is definitely the Amalfi exception to the “get out of the city center” rule. Delicious pastries, sweet treats, and coffee. The perfect place for a cornetto in the morning or a coffee in the evening. Just be sure not to order a cappuccino after 11am.
Donna Emma Restaurant
Located in Hotel Miramalfi – Donna Emma is an experience you can’t miss. It has stunning views of Amalfi and the food is amazing. I highly recommend the tasting menu!
Glicine is a Michelin rated restaurant located in Hotel Santa Caterina. It is easily one of my favorite restaurants I’ve ever dined at. “Glicine” means wisteria in Italian and the wisteria all around the restaurant just adds to the charm. To call the food, “delicious” would be an understatement! It’s also a proper work of art. Just as beautiful to look at as it is mouthwatering to eat.
Casa e Bottega
Casa e Bottega is my favorite place for breakfast or lunch. I just wish it wasn’t in Positano.😅 Serving healthier dishes, juices, homemade cakes and natural ice creams. Casa e Bottega is also a design store selling ceramics, decor, dishes and more – all hand made in Italy!
La Sponda is a Michelin rated restaurant located in Le Sirenuse. The ambiance and views are the only thing that might give the food for a run for its money. The dishes are also artwork, it itself. Make sure to save room for dessert!
I first ate here in 2013 and have come back every time I visited the coast. The food is so good that I don’t even have any photos to show! Many of the items on the menu are crafted using ingredients from their organic garden, located right next to the property. Fresh, clean and exquisite.
La Moressa is a contemporary bistrò and lounge with dining in and take away options. The views of Conca dei Marini from the terrace are lovely and the food is so good. I also opted to do takeaway pizza from here one stormy night and take it back to my Air B&B. Both experiences with La Moressa were great.
Other Eats You Can’t Miss on the Amalfi Coast
There are certain dishes, desserts, and drinks that I feel that I have to suggest to you if you’re visiting the Amalfi Coast. You can likely find these at nearly any restaurant. You can also hire a chef to come into your villa or Air B&B to prepare some of these for you!
•Spaghetti all Vongole (spaghetti with clams)
•Gnocchi alla Sorrentina (gnocchi with mozzarella and a simple tomato sauce)
•Scialatielli ai frutti di mare (seafood in a tomato based sauce with a local Campanian pasta)
•Parmigiana di melanzane (eggplant parmigiana)
•Melanzane al cioccolato (a chocolatey dessert made with eggplant – don’t judge it, just try it)
•Delizia al limone (“lemon delight” – a light, lemon, sponge cake filled/topped with cream)
•Alici di Cetara (local marinated anchovies – don’t judge these either, just try them!)
•Mozzarella Di Bufala (the mozzarella of mozzarellas)
•Pasta al Limone (pasta in a local Amalfi lemon sauce)
•Babá (a fluffy cake soaked in rum)
•Limoncello (a, very sweet, lemon liquor – typically served as a digestive after a meal)
While I prefer to have a laid back trip on the Amalfi Coast – you can really make it anything you want. I’d love to hear about your favorite places on the Amalfi Coast! Let me know if you learned anything new here, also.✨