Long Weekend on the Amalfi Coast

Even in the summer, when the beaches are crowded and the piazzas teem with tourists, there’s no denying the magic of the Amalfi Coast. Easily accessible thanks to its proximity to Naples—the largest city in southern Italy—the picturesque coastline and its jewel-box towns make for the perfect weekend escape. Whether you decide to visit during the buzzy height of summer or in the breezy shoulder season, our long weekend itinerary will give you an authentic taste of the Amalfi Coast.

FRIDAY

Monastero Santa Rosa

First, check in at the blissful Monastero Santa Rosa, a 17th-century convent-turned-luxury boutique hotel perched high in the cliffs of Conca dei Marini. With its ideal location—nestled between the famous towns of Amalfi and Positano, but secluded enough from the tourist crowds—it makes the perfect home base for the weekend. Kick off the morning with a dip in their spectacular clifftop infinity pool, which overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea and the entire expanse of the Amalfi Coast. Follow up with a wine-fueled lunch on the sun-drenched outdoor terrace of Il Refettorio, the hotel’s excellent ocean-facing restaurant.

Properly refreshed, take the free hotel shuttle to the town of Amalfi, a 10-minute drive north. Spend the remaining hours of the afternoon exploring the tiny, charming town, home to many sun-filled piazzas and a tiny beach flanked by soaring cliffs. Climb the grand staircase to the Amalfi Cathedral, which towers dramatically over the town, and admire its Moorish arches, medieval murals, and Byzantine mosaics. After, drop into the Amalfi Paper Museum, located in a 13th-century paper mill, where you can peek at vintage paper mills and even assist in handmade paper production using ancient methods.

Before the sun sinks below the horizon, hop on one of the many sunset cruises that depart from the port of Amalfi and circle the private archipelago islands of Li Galli, which sit off the coast of Positano. Watch the sun set from the deck, glass of Prosecco in hand, or from the ocean (most operators will pause for an optional dip or snorkel halfway through the trip). Stop into Marina Grande for an exceptionally fresh seafood dinner before the shuttle ride back to your hotel, where strawberries and a chilled bottle of Prosecco await.

SATURDAY

Positano

Dedicate the first part of your day to Positano, the coast’s most picturesque destination. Fuel up with a quick breakfast brioche and cappuccino at Buca di Bacco, then spend the morning exploring the pretty cliffside town. There are endless boutiques to poke around in, slinging everything from hand-painted ceramics to custom-made leather sandals (the family-owned La Botteguccia on Via Regina make the best sandals in town). Alternatively, you can simply lie out on Spiaggia Grande, the town’s largest and longest beach.

For lunch, hop on a boat to Da Adolfo, an Amalfi Coast hidden gem. The casual trattoria is about a 10-minute boat ride from Positano (look for the tiny boat with the red fish). It’s shabby-chic, with barefoot waiters, paper tablecloths, and chalkboard menus, but the food sings of Amalfi flavors (grilled mozzarella on lemon leaves, anchovies tossed in green peppers, and mussels in a tangy tomato sauce). Wash it all down with a carafe of chilled white wine infused with slices of local peaches, and have a breezy, post-lunch snooze on the day beds provided by the restaurant.

Catch a boat back to Positano for some more leisurely late-afternoon exploration: the Church of Santa Maria Assunta is worth a visit for its colorful majolica-tiled dome and its 13th-century Byzantine artwork. Or take a bus up to Ravello, a clifftop town suspended 1,000 feet above the sea. Here, you’ll find the best views over the Amalfi Coast, particularly from Villa Rufolo, the 13th-century villa famed for its lush, beautiful gardens. Have a homemade pasta dinner at Cumpa Cosimo, a cantina devotedly run by “Mamma” Netta Bottone for over 60 years, before calling it a day.

SUNDAY

Amalfi

After a breakfast cornetto and cappuccino at Bar Pasticceria Leone in Amalfi, invest in a half-day boat tour along the Amalfi Coast—because let’s face it, the best way to see the coast is from the sea. L’Uomo e il Mare offers terrific half-day boat tours that cruise past colorful towns like Praiano and Conca dei Marini, and iconic Amalfi Coast attractions like the Fjord of Furore and the Emerald Grotto. Added bonus: You get to stop at Pandora's Grotto for a quick, refreshing swim halfway through.

Upon your return to Amalfi, enjoy a leisurely lunch at La Caravella, known for its simple but exceptionally flavorful regional dishes like ricotta-stuffed cuttlefish ink pasta, whitefish gratin, and mozzarella-stuffed anchovies. If you’re feeling ambitious, spend the remainder of the afternoon hiking Sentiero degli Dei, or the Path of the Gods. The four-hour walk begins in Bomerano and ends in Positano (you can catch a Sita bus to Bomerano from Amalfi, or have your hotel organize a private transfer directly to the trailhead, which is the easiest and fastest option). The walk is long, but not particularly strenuous, and it’s well worth the show-stopping views.

For your last dinner on the Amalfi Coast, head to Donna Rosa, a delightfully cozy trattoria beloved by locals and celebrities alike (including chef Jamie Oliver, who was so impressed by its chef, Erika, that he took her under his wing). The family-run eatery serves hearty homemade pastas and excellent seafood, like perfectly charred sea bass and mussels cooked in garlic and butter. Cap off the evening with their famous chocolate shuffle (rich, yet light as air) and shots of homemade limoncello. Buonissimo.