6 Best Sights in Conca dei Marini, The Amalfi Coast

Conca dei Marini Beach

With its wonderful patches of emerald set in a blue-glass lagoon, Conca dei Marini's harbor is one of the most enchanting visions on the coast. Descend (and later ascend!) the steps past the Borgo Marinaro houses (a colony for off-duty celebrities) and down to the harbor, set with cafés and a little chapel dedicated to Santa Maria della Neve that seems to bless the picture-perfect beach. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; toilets. Best for: snorkeling, swimming.

Conca dei Marini, 84010, Italy

Grotta dello Smeraldo

The tacky road sign, squadron of tour buses, Dean Martino–style boatmen, and free-form serenading (Andrea is the king of the grotto crooners) scream tourist trap, but there is, nevertheless, a compelling, eerie bellezza in the rock formations and luminous waters here. The karstic cave was originally part of the shore, but the lowest end sank into the sea. Intense greenish light filters into the water from an arch below sea level and is reflected off the cavern walls. You visit the Grotta dello Smeraldo, which is filled with huge stalactites and stalagmites, on a large rowboat. Don't let the boatman's constant spiel detract from the experience—just tune out and enjoy the sparkles, shapes, and brilliant colors. The light at the grotto is best from noon to 3 pm. You can take an elevator from the coast road down to the grotto, or in the summer you can drive to Amalfi and arrive by boat (€10, excluding the grotto's €6 admission fee). Companies in Positano, Amalfi, and elsewhere along the coast provide passage to the grotto, but consider one of the longer boat trips that explore Punta Campanella, Li Galli, and the more secluded spots along the coast.

Via Smeraldo, Conca dei Marini, 84010, Italy
Sight Details
Rate Includes: €7, Closed in adverse weather conditions

Lido Capo di Conca

Landmarked by its giant Saracen Tower, the Capo di Conca protects bathers from the western winds. Here at this privately run beach with a bar and restaurant, it is the water that compels: infinite shades of aquamarine, lapis, and emerald shimmering in sunshine, glowing silver in moonlight, and becoming transparent in the rocky coves. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; pool; showers; toilets. Best for: diving; snorkeling; swimming.

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San Pancrazio

For Conca in excelsis, head up the hill on Via Don Amodio, opposite the Hotel Belvedere, to Conca dei Marini's northern reaches. Your reward after a short climb up the hillside roads and steep scalinatelle is the stunningly sited neo-Byzantine church of San Pancrazio, set in a palm-tree garden. Opposite this church, in the direction of Positano, is a road leading to Punta Vreca, a sky-high lookout over the coast. Climbing farther up the scalinatella San Pancrazio will take you to the tiny town piazza.

Via Don Gaetano Amodio, Conca dei Marini, 84010, Italy

Sant'Antonio di Padova

Spectacularly cantilevered hundreds of feet over the coastline on a stone parapet, this elegant Neoclassical white church is also known as Chiesa Principale di San Giovanni Battista. It's only open for Sunday-morning services, but if for a quick peek at other times you might ask locals if someone (il custode: caretaker) has a key to open the church. Just ask, "Dov'è la persona che ci potrebbe far visitare la chiesa?" For those who want to see churches in coastal villages, this may be the only way to gain entry.

Via Sant'Antonio, Conca dei Marini, 84010, Italy

Santa Maria della Neve

A must-do in Conca dei Marini is the jaunt down the staircase to the left of the Hotel Belvedere that delivers you to the town's dollhouse-size harbor, Santa Maria della Neve, and darling little chapel of the same name. You'll pass by some gorgeous houses on your way to one of the most idyllic sights along the entire coast. The view of the harbor from the Amalfi Drive high atop the hill is a prime photo op.

Marina di Conca, Conca dei Marini, 84010, Italy