The Exclusive Cruises Guide to Amalfi

Amalfi is the very heart of the Amalfi Coast, both geographically because it’s located in the center of the coastline and also historically as an important sea republic in the Middle Ages. Many of our guests have asked for our tips on the best things to see and do in Amalfi during their visit, both guests arriving in Amalfi on a cruise ship and those who would like to stop to visit Amalfi during a boat cruise along the coastline. If you have limited time, this guide will make sure you don’t miss any of the highlights of Amalfi. Or perhaps it will inspire you to stay right in Amalfi, which we highly recommend as it is one of the most charming spots on the Amalfi Coast!

Picturesque Amalfi

One of the most impressive views of Amalfi is from the sea, which is perfect if you’re arriving by boat. The town sits in a mountain valley and right in the center you’ll easily spot the tall bell tower and top of the facade of the Duomo of Amalfi, the town’s remarkable cathedral. To the right is a historic watchtower that is now part of the Hotel Luna and up in the mountains above town the Torre dello Ziro watchtower. Along the waterfront are two smaller piers and one larger one to the west of town that defines the port. Only here on the Amalfi Coast can cruise ships drop anchor off shore and tender passengers into the port. Compared to the vertical setting of Positano, the center of Amalfi is largely one level, which makes it more comfortable to explore on foot without so many steps.

Brightly colored beach umbrellas on Amalfi’s beach (photo credit: Leandro Neumann Ciuffo)

One of the first stops you’ll want to see–or perhaps visit–is the Marina Grande beach. Amalfi’s largest beach, it’s covered during the summer months with multicolored umbrellas and sun beds. The beach is lined with restaurants, including the Ristorante Marina Grande, which is an excellent choice for a relaxed yet refined lunch or dinner overlooking the sea.

The stunning Duomo of Amalfi dedicated to St. Andrew (Photo credit: Giuseppe Milo)

After a stroll along the waterfront, head into Amalfi’s main square, which is called Piazza Duomo. That first time walking into the piazza and gazing up at the Duomo of Amalfi is an unforgettable experience. A grand staircase leads up to the cathedral, which features an extraordinary design with golden mosaics that shimmer in the sun, many decorative elements, and arches complete with tracery in white stone. While the bell tower dates to the 13th century, the facade of the church is a newer element. It was added in 1891 after the earlier Baroque facade was damaged during an earthquake.

Climb the steps to the top and for a small fee you can visit inside the cathedral, which is an absolute must. You’ll have the chance to stroll around the peaceful Cloister of Paradise, built between 1266-1268, before seeing the museum that holds a fine collection of religious artefacts and artwork. Then you’ll descend into the crypt, which holds the relics of St. Andrew that arrived in Amalfi in 1208. Amalfi’s patron saint is celebrated with a festival every year on June 27th and November 30th. It’s a moving experience to see in person, especially when a large statue of the saint is run up the steps of the cathedral.

Amalfi’s Piazza Duomo with fountain and colorful shops

After visiting the Duomo, spend some time in Piazza Duomo soaking up the atmosphere and exploring the town’s shops. You’ll find many options to choose from in Piazza Duomo itself or following the main street in town that starts in the piazza and leads up through the heart of Amalfi. It’s lined on both sides with shops, restaurants, and cafes. While in Amalfi, some of the most traditional local items include ceramics, the lemon infused liqueur limoncello, and handmade paper. While there are stores with bright displays of the iconic yellow limoncello, stop in the store La Valle dei Mulini for limoncello and other products made from organic lemons grown above Amalfi by the Aceto family. For a fine selection of Amalfi handmade paper, journals, and gifts, stop in one of the several La Scuderia del Duca shops.

Amalfi’s Paper Museum (Photo credit: Derbrauni)

While this guide is geared toward a shorter visit to Amalfi, it would be remiss to leave out a mention of the town’s fascinating Museo della Carta (Paper Museum). If you’re staying in Amalfi or have a longer visit, don’t miss visiting to learn more about Amalfi’s paper making history. Set in a 13th-century paper mill, you’ll see variations of mills used throughout the centuries and even have a chance to see directly how paper was traditionally made in Amalfi. The Paper Museum is located near the top of Amalfi following its main shopping street (away from the sea) up into the mountain valley. Just nearby the museum, you’ll find the start of the hike up to the Valle delle Ferriere to see the ruins of old paper mills high above Amalfi. You can read more about it in our article Most Beautiful Gardens and Nature Reserves on the Amalfi Coast & Capri.

Book a private Amalfi Coast or Capri boat tour departing from Amalfi!

If you’re staying in Amalfi or arriving by cruise ship, Exclusive Cruises can pick you up right in Amalfi for a leisurely private boat cruise along the Amalfi Coast or to the island of Capri. Or we can start from wherever you are staying on the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Sorrento, and many other locations, and include a stop in Amalfi so you can explore the town’s highlights. Just contact us to find out more and for help planning your dream day on the Amalfi Coast!

 

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