The Most Perfect 3 Day Amalfi Coast Itinerary
It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone – John Steinbeck
The last stop of our Italy trip was the most incredible Amalfi Coast. Amalfi Coast is an incredible stretch of land with 13 picturesque towns about 60km away from Naples along the Costiera Amalfitana. The colorful vertical villages, the turquoise blue waters and mediterranean charm of Amalfi Coast lures seasoned tourists and first time visitors alike. Designated as a UNESCO heritage site, Amalfi coast is one of those bucket list places that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Like any other place in Italy, spending a week here would be ideal but for people (like us) who cannot afford a week, I have the most perfect 3 day itinerary to visit Amalfi Coast! With my 3 day Amalfi Coast itinerary, you get to visit the most popular towns of Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, take a day trip to Capri with plenty of beach time, sip limoncello and dine at beautiful restaurants with gorgeous sunset views.
Amalfi coast has everything you’d want in a vacation – beautiful gardens atop a hill with spectacular sea views, the most clear and turquoise beaches, restaurants with lemon groves and a drive that is equally thrilling and breathtaking. The quote above from John Steinbeck resonates accurately about Positano and the Amalfi Coast – It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone! Let’s take a look at how to plan and everything you need to know for a perfect trip to Amalfi Coast in 3 days.
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Is 3 days enough to visit Amalfi Coast?
Honestly, 3 days does not even scratch the surface BUT adequate to get a feel of some of the more popular towns and pay each one a visit. Ideally, to leisurely visit all the beautiful towns of Amalfi Coast and the attractions around Amalfi Coast, you will need at least a week. However, if you plan ahead, you can visit most of the popular spots in Amalfi Coast in 3 days.
What to pack?
This list is for visiting Amalfi Coast in the summer. Choose comfortable clothing and shoes made for walking.
- Dresses, shorts, jeans, tops and beachwear.
- Light jacket for evenings (just in case)
- Sneakers, flip flops and other comfortable shoes as you can expect a lot of walking.
- First-aid kit
Download my free travel checklist and planner and don’t miss a thing in your packing list.
What is the best time to visit Amalfi Coast?
May – September is the ideal time as the weather is warm and perfect to visit Amalfi coast. In winter, it is mostly deserted with the locals leaving the coast in search of warm beaches. You can still visit in off season but expect fewer places and restaurants to be open. I personally prefer to visit in May or tail end of summer (in September) as it is not as crowded as the summer months.
How safe is Amalfi Coast?
We haven’t once felt unsafe in Amalfi Coast. People are nice and friendly and treat you like old friends or family. Use caution as you would anywhere else and you will be fine.
Getting to and around Amalfi Coast?
While planning your itinerary, consider the time it takes to get to Amalfi Coast. Getting to Amalfi Coast itself takes about half a day depending on the mode of transport and your base in Amalfi Coast. Even with private taxi to save time, it took us 3 hours from Naples to Positano due to traffic.
The closest airport to Amalfi Coast is Naples International Airport.
Most high speed trains stop at Naples or Salerno. We took Trenitalia from Florence to Naples and couldn’t have been more happier.
Naples – Amalfi Coast
Once you arrive in Naples, there are several options –
- Take a train called Circumvesuviana to Sorrento. This also stops at Pompeii if you plan to visit.
- Take a ferry directly from Naples that takes you to Sorrento and transfer to your base from there. To take the ferry however, you need to take a taxi from airport/train station to the ferry dock.
- Book private transportation to your destination to save time. We took a taxi through Transferelax and highly recommend it. We loved their service and prompt response. I looked at several private services and this was the cheapest private transfer available. It is much more expensive than the other options but saves time and multiple transfers.
- Renting a car. Unless you are an experienced driver in Italy, this option is not recommended. The Amalfi Coast highway is narrow and winding and is not for the faint of heart.
Transportation within Amalfi Coast
SITA buses (public transit) are a good option but be prepared for long queues during peak days (i.e all through the summer). If you have a week to spend, public transit is a good option. If not, I recommend a private tour to save time. We took a private tour of Amalfi Coast through Transferelax. You can customize the tour per your needs with stops in between. There are many other companies that offer private or group tours.
Ferries are another option to travel within Amalfi Coast and to/from Capri. Check this website for schedule.
Where to stay in Amalfi Coast?
There are several options on Amalfi Coast depending on your price range and access to transportation.
- If you are planning to use public transit a lot, stay in Sorrento. It is bigger, less expensive and has easy access to other parts of Amalfi Coast through ferries and buses.
- If you want picture perfect views and are fascinated by the colorful vertical village, stay in Positano. Be prepared for a gazillion stairs up and down for lunch and dinner. It is also most expensive of all the places to stay on Amalfi Coast. Make sure you read the reviews to know how far your hotel/home is from the beach because the stairs soon add up! The romance of Amalfi Coast soon wanes offs and you will face the reality of life that is stairmaster. 🙂
- If you want peaceful surroundings with terraced views of hills and sea, choose Ravello. It is more secluded and peaceful and is less crowded.
- If you want to be centrally located, choose Amalfi. It is lively with markets, marina and more things to do in general.
- Another option is staying on the island of Capri. Capri is a 45min boat ride from Amalfi coast. It may be worth it to stay in Capri for a few days if you have over a week to spend in Amalfi Coast.
Irrespective of which place you choose, plan ahead and look for alternatives to hotels like AirBnB because Amalfi Coast is EXPENSIVE. Here are some of the hotel and AirBnb options in Positano –
These are some of the hotels that would be perfect for your 3 days in Amalfi Coast. I repeat again – book early! We looked months ahead and they were already fully booked! Most of the hotels are also very expensive so I suggest looking at Airbnb or homes.
3 day Amalfi Coast Itinerary
DAY 1 (Tour the coastal towns of Amalfi, Ravello & more)
Spend you first day exploring the Costiera Amalfitana. To save time, we took a private day tour of Amalfi, Ravello and the towns in between. If you have more days, you could spend a day in each of these villages hiking, dining and sightseeing.
These are the stops we made on our way.
Fiordo di Furore
Furore is a tiny fishing village hidden in a fjord. The paths and stairs were not visible from the coastline, so it remained hidden for a long time. It is a must visit place in Amalfi Coast and you can see why! The stairs to the beach were blocked when we visited so we had to settle for views from the bridge!
Conca dei Marini
If you missed the blue grotto in Capri, visit the emerald grotto in Conca de Marini. 🙂 It is a nice stop along the way but the grotto left me wanting for more. If you plan to buy any ceramics, visit the ceramic store in Conca dei Marini. More on that in the shopping section.
The town of Amalfi was once a thriving trading port in the Mediterranean. It is a beautiful town with a lot of things to do. You could easily spend a day or two exploring Amalfi. If you are short of time,
- Walk around the Centro and the markets.
- Visit the cathedral of Amalfi and take a walking tour to see the historic relics.
- Stop by the Marina for more beautiful coastal views.
Ravello is a gem in Amalfi coast and also it’s musical capital. It is a village nestled high above the sea with beautiful infinity gardens, terraced hills with breathtaking views and would surely make your jaw drop. Pictures do not do Ravello justice.
Must visit in Ravello
- Villa Cimbrone: Infinity gardens, a beautiful villa and great sculptures overlooking the sea. This is Italian version of paradise!
- Villa Rufolo: Stop here for lunch and I assure you that you won’t be disappointed. Also visit the gardens and enjoy the picture perfect views.
DAY 2 (Day trip to Capri)
Capri is a little piece of paradise on earth. It was the summer home of many emperors in Ancient Rome. You can see why they chose this island once you go there. It is one of the most beautiful places we’ve been to.
Must see in Capri
When a sea cave is illuminated by sunlight, the result is the most spectacular turquoise waters. There is always a long queue and takes hours to visit if you don’t go early. Take the first ferry to Capri from Positano. Once you arrive in Capri, visit to the Blue Grotto should be the first thing you do (ideally by 10am). Although we had planned for it, it was Noon by the time we reached there. There was a 3 hour wait so we skipped it. You can find more information on the tour companies here and here.
We chose the 2 hour Capri tour by boat which was pretty amazing too.
ANACAPRI MONTESOLARO SUMMIT
After visiting the Blue Grotto, head over to Anacapri and take the chair lift to Montesolaro. Each lift accommodates one person only. It may not be as romantic and a bit scary if you are afraid of heights but it is a unique and thrilling experience. Once you reach the summit, you will forget all your fears and enjoy the sweeping and stunning views of Capri. It is truly beautiful and it was one of the highlights of our trip.
You could also hike up the mountain instead of taking the chairlift.
LUNCH/DINNER AT Caesar Augustus HOTEL
Peaceful surroundings, magnificent coastal views, amazing gardens and birds chirping away melodiously – I imagine this is what heaven feels like. And you will get to experience that at this hotel. Dine at their restaurant for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even better, stay in the hotel if you are staying in Capri. The food is amazing and an added bonus is that they use vegetables from their garden. Beats any farm-to-table I guess!
Chill at a beach with Mount Vesuvius as a backdrop
Is there anything better than a relaxing beach day? It was one of the rare times that I dozed off and forgot where I was. Capri does that to you!
DAY 3 (Positano)
The final day of our 3 days in Amalfi Coast itinerary was all about Positano. It was our final day, so we decided to take it all in, rest and relax.
Nestled in the beautiful stretch of Amalfi Coast, Positano is a picturesque fishing village with homes built on rock and overlooking the blue sea, stony beaches with black pebbles and most colorful and vibrant homes.
Legend says, thousands of years ago, it was Poseidon himself who created it as a present to the nymph Pasitea. But some say it was the Roman sailors who discovered the coastal area while escaping the pirates. Whoever it was, we are eternally grateful to them for discovering this colorful, vertical village that is Positano. It is places like these that sometimes make you wonder if magic exists. How else would it be humanly possible to discover a place like this and shape it into one of the most beautiful places on earth?
Things to do in Positano
The main attractions of Positano are the beautiful pebble beach and the never ending stairs. Here’s how you can spend a day in Positano –
- Start your day easy with a view of the sunrise and stroll along the beach.
- Visit Church of Santa Maria Assunta, the landmark of Positano.
- Stroll the streets of Positano and find unique things to shop like custom made leather sandals, hand made clothing and bags.
- If you are up for it, hike the path of gods for the most spectacular views of Positano.
- Have lunch/dinner at one of the restaurants recommended below.
Shopping in Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast is known for it’s ceramics, limoncello, custom made shoes, wine and many more. If you would like to do some shopping, check out these tips.
- For ceramics, visit Piccadilly Ceramiche in Conca dei Marini. It is cheaper than all the ceramic stores in Positano and has many unique customized pieces. They also ship items directly to your home so no need to worry about luggage.
- For Limoncello, Cello Factory in Ravello is a must. Limoncello is a liqueur made from lemon peel and vodka. It is a digestif and a pretty strong one. Try the various limoncello flavors and buy the crema di limone, crema di pistachio and many other cream liqueurs made from fruits. Yumm!
- Buy local wines like Greco di Tufo, Taurasi from the Vesuvius region and taste the earthiness, smokiness of the volcanic soils!
- Shop at the local stores for custom leather sandals and unique clothing in Positano.
Best restaurants in Amalfi Coast
Fresh food is in abundance in Amalfi Coast with offerings like seafood, fresh fruits, marinated veggies, pizza and pasta, limoncello and wine. If you love to try new foods, go on a culinary exploration as below.
- Visit a grocery store and try some Cedro lemons. These lemons are unique in that they can be eaten with the peel and flesh as a salad.
- If you love olives, try the Sorrento olives!
- Stop by a fresh fruit juice bar where you can buy the best pomegranate juice. There is a fruit stand just past Positano (going towards Amalfi) at a vista point. Salvatore, the owner, is the sweetest guy and his fresh fruit juices are the best!
- While in Capri, try the Caprese salad at it’s birthplace.
Here is a list of my favorite restaurants and eateries in Amalfi Coast
Le Tre Sorelle. This unassuming restaurant on Positano beach is a great place to people watch and the food is incredible. We loved the marinated anchovies so much that we dined there 3 times. The catch of the day and marinated veggies are also a must try. Keep room for a shot of limoncello.
Da Adolfo is a unique experience with a private boat tour and dining at a remote beach.
Franco bar at La Sirenuse has one of the best views of Positano. Stop for a drink and amazing sunset views.
Casa e Bottega is a great stop for healthier breakfast and lunch salads.
For best sunset views, go to La Tagliata. It is a farm-to-table restaurant with a pre-fixed menu and you just can’t beat the views! Their anti-pasti course was to die for! Note that the menu is pre-fixed and they don’t really do replacements. If you have dietary restrictions, it may not be the best place.
I had already mentioned the restaurant at Hotel Caesar Augustus called Restaurant La Terrazza di Lucullo. A must visit in Capri.
Also the restaurant in Villa Rufolo in Ravello is a great place with spectacular views.
Note: Some of these restaurants need reservations well in advance to get a spot.
I hope you enjoyed this 3 day Amalfi Coast itinerary and all my recommendations. I could go on and on but I imagine you are already bored. If you are planning a visit and have questions, contact me and I’d be glad to help you.
If you plan to visit Amalfi Coast for more than 3 days, you could add a day trip to Pompeii, a trip to Sorrento or Mt. Vesuvius to your itinerary. And if you are visiting other parts of Italy, check out my posts about Rome Part I, Rome Part II, Florence and all about wine tasting in Tuscany.
Like any other vacation, this too felt too short. However, we are glad to have experienced “La Dolce Vita” of Italians and enjoy Italy’s diverse landscape.
I feel like I left part of my soul there. We will come back again to collect it or may be leave the rest of it in Italia! 😉
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I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.