How to Get Off the Tourist Trail (and Away From Crowds) in the Amalfi Coast

As a child, Almira Armstrong, founder and creative director of Australian perfume and candle brand Lumira, spent summers exploring Europe, often the Amalfi Coast. She says what most people get wrong about the area is that it’s solely for luxury travellers.

“While it’s true the Amalfi Coast has luxurious accommodations and upscale experiences, it’s also accessible to travellers on other budgets,” she says. “There are plenty of affordable lodging options, local eateries and free or low-cost activities like hiking along the coastline or exploring charming towns.”

Another misconception Armstrong says she often hears about the Amalfi Coast is that it’s only worth visiting in summer. Though summer does offer warm weather and a busy atmosphere, the region’s beauty can be enjoyed year-round.

“In fact, visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn can offer milder temperatures, fewer crowds and stunning landscapes with blooming flowers or colourful autumn foliage,” she says.

Amalfi Coast
Image: Getty Images

Today, in Armstrong’s role at Lumira, she is regularly inspired by the Amalfi Coast, working to translate its essence into fragrances or candle scents. Ahead, Armstrong, in her own words, shares her picks for the best places to eat, drink and stay in the region — all firmly off the tourist trail.

Best Restaurants in Amalfi Coast

Il Rifugio degli Dei

“In Agerola’s hills, Il Rifugio degli Dei has wooden furnishings, warm lighting and outdoor seating, complementing its authentic Campanian cuisine. Locally sourced ingredients like homemade pasta and fresh seafood elevate the dining experience. This hidden restaurant is accessible by car or public transport from Amalfi or Positano.”

Cumpa Cosimo

“In Ravello, Cumpa Cosimo stands as a beacon of culinary excellence. Led by the talented Mamma Netta, this restaurant is revered for its homemade dishes that showcase the rich flavours of the Amalfi Coast. Cumpa Cosimo’s dining experience captures the essence of Ravello’s culinary scene.”

Il Pirata

“Further along the coast in Praiano, Il Pirata perches on a cliffside with nautical décor and panoramic windows. Its creative Mediterranean menu features fresh seafood and seasonal ingredients. Il Pirata is easily accessible by car or public transport. Locals and tourists mingle here against the backdrop of the sea, complete with live music or a DJ.”

Il Pirata best restaurants Amalfi Coast
Image: Il Pirata via The Fork

Lo Scoglio

“In Nerano, Lo Scoglio enchants visitors with its whitewashed walls, rustic wooden accents, and panoramic windows. Fresh seafood and Mediterranean flavours are on the menu. Get to Lo Scoglio by car or boat, and enjoy a leisurely meal with coastal views and sea breezes.”

Best Bars in Amalfi Coast

Franco’s Bar

“Perched on the cliffs of Positano, Franco’s Bar has views of the Mediterranean Sea. Its sophisticated decor and extensive cocktail menu make it a favourite among locals. I love savouring a classic Negroni while watching the sunset over the Amalfi Coast.”

Gavitella Bar

“In Praiano, Gavitella Bar is set on the beach at Marina di Praia. Here, I love lounging on sunbeds overlooking the crystal-clear waters while enjoying a refreshing cocktail.”

Gravitella Bar best restaurants Amalfi Coast
Image: Gravitella Bar via The Fork

Il Pinguino

“Bar Il Pinguino in Cetara gives a taste of locals’ coastal life with its harbour views and casual feel. Head here if you want to try original cocktails made with locally sourced ingredients and mingle with the locals of this fishing village.”

Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar

“Whenever I want to be in a luxurious setting, I head to Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar in Positano. Set within Le Sirenuse hotel, the bar offers Positano views and drinks like fine Champagne and elegant cocktails.”

Best Hotels in Amalfi Coast

Locanda degli Dei Hotel

Locanda degli Dei Hotel in Praiano is a bed and breakfast, sitting atop rugged cliffs with views of the Mediterranean Sea. Rooms all look out at the island of Capri and are dedicated to a particular god. Some rooms have terraces and jacuzzis.”

Hotel Palazzo Murat

Hotel Palazzo Murat in Positano is another favourite, with lush gardens and citrus groves. Set in a 19th-century former palace, the hotel features a pool, restaurant and bar. The Attansio family who own the building has carefully preserved it with regular renovations.”

Hotel Luna Convento

“In Amalfi, Hotel Luna Convento is set in former convent setting, built in the 1200s. It’s one of the oldest cloisters in the Amalfi area, an example of Moorish architecture. The hotel has rooms and suits, a restaurant and a pool.”

Hotel Luna Convento
Image: Hotel Luna Convento via Booking.com

Hotel Giordano

“If you’re on a budget, opt for Hotel Giordano in Ravello, owned by local Palumbo family and built in the 1700s. The hotel has a pool and pizzeria on its site. Some rooms across its five floors have a terrace or balcony.”

Related: Tastemaker Alyce Tran on the Best Spots to Eat, Stay and Play in London

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