Three days spent on Italy's Amalfi Coast may not be enough time for an immersive visit, but it certainly is enough time to visit a few of the pretty cities along the peninsula, take a boat ride in the Tyrrhenian Sea, lounge on an idyllic beach, and enjoy several great meals al fresco—all with spellbinding sea views.
This itinerary for the Amalfi Coast assumes that you'll be arriving from Naples or Sorrento on the morning of your first day. It includes overnights in two different towns, in order to give you a broader taste of the character of this enticing coast. Most of the activities are best suited for warm weather, but there are a few alternatives should you visit in the cooler months.
Day 1: Morning
10 a.m.: Arrive in Positano, your first stop along the Amalfi Coast. If you're traveling from Naples, take the train to Sorrento, then either a SITA bus or a ferry to Positano. Buses are slow, but inexpensive, although they can get very crowded in the high season months of July and August. Ferries are costlier but faster, and must be reserved in advance, especially in the summertime.
11 a.m.: Drop your bags at your Positano hotel and set off to explore the town on foot. Visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, the focal point of the city. Then spend a few hours wandering and shopping in this pastel-colored town. Handmade leather sandals, resort wear, sun hats, and hand-painted ceramics are specialties of Positano and the rest of the coast. Wander down to Marina Grande beach and then over to the town pier for a very special lunch.
Day 1: Afternoon
1 p.m.: From Positano's main pier, look for the small boat and the sign for Da Adolfo. Take the 5-minute boat ride to this charming—and affordable, for the Amalfi Coast—seaside restaurant, where swimsuits and shorts are perfectly acceptable attire. An al fresco lunch here is a highlight of any trip to the Amalfi Coast, and a great way to spend part of your first day. Reservations are recommended but are accepted only by phone.
Note that if you're visiting between November and March, Da Adolfo will be closed. Make arrangements with your hotel to head to either Donna Rosa or La Tagliata, both located in Montepertuso, a hamlet sitting above Positano.
3 p.m.: Once you're back from Da Adolfo, spend the rest of the day at the beach closest to your hotel. Marina Grande in Positano is one of the most popular beaches on the Amalfi Coast, though nearby Fornillo Beach is a slightly less crowded alternative. After a couple of hours on the beach, head back to your hotel to rest, shower and change before dinner.
If it's off-season, it's still nice to have these beaches to yourself for a few hours, even if the water is too cold for swimming.
Day 1: Evening
7 p.m.: Start your evening with an aperitivo, or before-dinner drink, either at your hotel bar or at one of Positano's many lively options. Then head to dinner al fresco, a hallmark of life along the Amalfi Coast. Chez Black, a longstanding seafood restaurant overlooking Marina Grande beach, is a perennially popular choice for its quality food and carefree vibe—be sure to have your hotel call ahead for a table.
10 p.m.: After a leisurely dinner Amalfi-style, take a passeggiata (evening stroll) through the lovely streets of Positano, which glow in the evening light. Be sure to bring your camera, and a healthy sense of romance—settings don't get much more swoon-worthy than this.
Day 2: Morning
10 a.m.: After breakfast at your hotel, bid farewell to Positano. By bus, taxi (about 30 euros), or ferry, transfer to Amalfi town, your base for the next two days and nights.
11 a.m.: Once you've checked in to your hotel, visit some of the must-see sights in town, including the Duomo di Sant'Andrea, which contains the tomb of the Apostle Andrew. The Museo Civico and the Museo della Carta (Paper Museum) are also both worth a visit. You'll find plenty of shopping and photo opportunities along Amalfi's main street, Via Lorenzo D'Amalfi, Which run perpendicularly up from the sea. Be sure to wander under the covered arcades and narrow alleys—the town is too small to really get lost in, and it's fun to explore.
Day 2: Afternoon
12:30 p.m.: Start walking up the main drag, Via Lorenzo D'Amalfi, until you see small signs for the Valle delle Ferriere. This small footpath will take you to your lunch destination, Agricola Fore Porta. You'll pass a river and waterfall along the way, as well as abandoned stone mills, remnants of Amalfi's once-thriving paper industry. Allow 30 minutes for the walk up, and enjoy lunch at this rustic country eatery. Be sure to call ahead to make sure there's a table available.
3 p.m.: After a leisurely walk back down from lunch, spend some time at the sea, either swimming, snorkeling, or relaxing at the beach. Amalfi's Marina Grande Beach is right at the foot of the town, and has both a free beach area and stabilimenti, or paid beach areas with lounge chairs and umbrellas. In the summer months, you can rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard for a self-propelled tour of the coast.
If the weather is too chilly for the beach, consider extending your hike above Amalfi to further explore the Valle dei Mulini (Valley of the Mills) or the Valle delle Ferriere (Valley of the Ferriers) hiking paths.
Day 2: Evening
6 p.m.: After resting and refreshing at your hotel, head out for a pre-dinner stroll, or aperitivo, and some more shopping, maybe for the abundant lemon-scented soaps, candles, perfumes, and lotions for sale in town. This is also a great time to walk out on the breakwater protecting Marina Grande Beach to capture photos of the beach and Amalfi town as it starts to glow in the evening light.
7:30 p.m.: For waterfront dining, head to Marina Grande Restaurant, hanging right over the beach of the same name. The menu is mostly sourced from the sea just meters away, but there are some land-based items as well, including a few vegetarian dishes. If you're sitting at a seaside table at sunset, your life might seem just about perfect.
10 p.m.: After dinner, stroll back up Via Lorenzo D'Amalfi, or just get as far as Piazza Duomo, which functions as the living room of the town. Grab an outside table at one of the many bars lining the piazza, and enjoy a ringside seat as you watch tourists and locals mull about, with Amalfi's glorious Duomo as a backdrop.
Day 3: Morning
10 a.m.: After breakfast at your hotel, you've got a decision to make: spend the day on the water, or head off to explore other towns along the Amalfi Coast. If you choose to take a tour of the coast by boat, Amalfi Boats offers daylong sightseeing cruises departing from the Darsena Pier in Amalfi. GetYourGuide also offers a range of coastal boat tours. Some tours go as far as Capri, while others skirt the coastline and make stops for swimming, sightseeing, and lunch.
If you choose to stay on land, catch the bus or take a taxi for the 4-mile (6-kilometer) trip to Maiori. Spend some time strolling its seaside promenade, then climb up to the Collegiata di Santa Maria a Mare church and go inside if it's open.
12 p.m.: You'll need a little over 30 minutes to walk the easy 2.4-mile Sentiero di Limoni (the lemon trail) that connects the towns of Maiori and Minori. Once you arrive in Minori, head to lunch!
Day 3: Afternoon
1 p.m.: On tiny Minori's main street, have a low-key lunch at Giardiniello, a casual restaurant offering pizza and—you guessed it—seafood!
3 p.m.: After lunch, you can choose to hit the beach in Minori, or visit the Villa Marittima, the ruins of a wealthy Roman villa. Alternatively, you can catch the bus back to Amalfi, or take a bus inland (and uphill) to Ravello.
If you opt to spend a few hours in Ravello, don't miss the elegant gardens of Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone, both with splendid sea views. Ravello's Duomo dates to the 11th century, in sharp contrast to the ultra-modern Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium, a favorite place for a photo.
5 or 6 p.m.: Head back to your Amalfi hotel via bus or taxi, and rest and freshen up for your farewell dinner.
Day 3: Evening
7 p.m.: For your last dinner on the Amalfi Coast, head to tiny Atrani, a village just minutes from Amalfi. You can walk there if you wish, on a pedestrian-only path that includes a tunnel—be sure to bring your smartphone or a small flashlight. Your destination is A'Paranza, a refined restaurant built into a series of arched, cave-like rooms. The menu is heavy on seafood, but is broad enough for most tastes.
9 p.m.: After dinner, linger for a nightcap on Atrani's Piazza Umberto I, then wend your way back to Amalfi or you can call a cab if you don't feel like walking. Take one last stroll through Amalfi town, take a few more photos, and then head back to your hotel to prepare for your morning departure. That is after vowing to return to the Amalfi Coast again, and stay a little longer next time.