Amalfi town view from the water
Italy destination guides

Visiting Amalfi town: all you need to know for a perfect day in Amalfi

All you need to know to plan one day in Amalfi town: best things to see and practical tips for visiting one of Italy’s most beautiful small towns.

Amalfi is a beautiful small town on the scenic Amalfi Coast, a stretch of high coast in the south of Italy famous for jaw-dropping views and a panoramic drive.

As the name suggests, Amalfi is the town that gives the name to the area however, it is not just a starting point to visit the coast: Amalfi town is a historical, beautiful town well worth a visit in itself.

Medieval in origin, Amalfi saw a time of splendor in the X-XI century, a time when it dominated the trade routes of the Mediterranean.

This success gave it beautiful and important architecture and wonderful landmarks we can still admire.

Because of the beauty of the landscape and the important history, Amalfi is one of the most beautiful small towns in Italy and an Italy must see.

You can see Amalfi’s highlights in one day: this is all you need to know to plan a day in Amalfi town.

Why you should visit the town of Amalfi

The two main reasons to visit Amalfi town are the beauty of it location and its important history.

Amalfi lies on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea, along the long rocky high coastline called the Amalfi Coast, stretching into the sea West of Salerno.

The town is sandwiched between the water and the mountains and has the typical appearance of the towns in the area: mostly vertical, negotiating the space defined by the geography of the land here, with pretty colorful houses and an important church tower bell visible from the water.

Amalfi main square with fountain, duomo and tower bell

For beauty alone, Amalfi is worth a visit and any visitor to the area will get here the quintessential Amalfi Coast experience they are likely to be looking for.

Amalfi is also a great place for history lovers.

Amalfi was one of the 4 Maritime Republic of Italy, cities with powerful fleets dominating the trade routes of the Mediterranean (others were Venice, Pisa and Genova) and this brought to the city wealth and power especially in the X and XI centuries, when Amalfi was at the height of its power.

The architecture of the town is very much affected by the presence of the sea and the commercial opportunities and risks that came from maritime domination and this makes the town of Amalfi a wonderful place to deep dive into the history of those times.

 Here you can see important ancient towers, the ancient arsenal, an ancient cloister and you can appreciate the meandering alleys of Amalfi, created to confuse potential attackers (see also below).

The best things to see in Amalfi town

The best things to see in Amalfi town are:

  • The port and the arsenal
  • Piazza Dante, its fountains and the Amalfi Duomo (especially the cloister)
  • Amalfi’s meandering alleys and covered passages
  • Amalfi’s Paper Museum

This is the walking itinerary to see all the best things in Amalfi in a day.

One day in Amalfi walking itinerary

Amalfi’s port and arsenal

Amalfi is a port city so it makes sense to start your day just here, at the Amalfi harbor and Marina.

Amalfi town port from the water

This is a good introduction to the town and it is also where the modern ferries and buses arrive, therefore a handy starting point if you don’t have accommodation in town.

The port is very busy and the first impression may be that of a tourist trap however, there area several things to see here: the first are above you head, in the form of the medieval watchtowers still dominating the city!

The are perched at the top of the rocky coast and they are great testimony to the history of the town

Here you also old Arsenal, now a museum, which is an interesting and beautiful space, well worth a visit.

In front of the port, you will see the ancient city gate, now home to many souvenir shops yet still impressive: passing under its archway leads you to the most famous landmark in Amalfi – the duomo square.

Amalfi’s duomo and the cloister of Paradise

The main area of Amalfi depicted in photos is the square with the duomo, the heart of Amalfi town, a lovely Italian piazza full of life and landmarks worth seeing.

Detail of facade of Amalfi Duomo, Amalfi town, Italy

The duomo dominates the piazza from the top of a high steps and has a distinctive looking facade that suggests medieval origins.

I say ‘suggest’ as the reality is different: while part of the duomo are indeed ancient (the cloister), the duomo is largely a product of XVII century architecture!

Inside of Amalfi Duomo, Amalfi town, Italy

Despite this potentially disappointing recent origin, the duomo is worth a visit and does indeed also has a truly ancient part: the cloister of paradise, which you access from right beside the main entrance.

Access to the duomo is free however, access to chiostro del paradiso required a small entrance fee, well worth paying.  

As well as the cloister, it is worth noticing the duomo’s ancient tower, whose yellow and green tiles shine in the sun catching the attentions of sailors and boaters.

Amalfi’s fountain of St Andrea

Right in front of Amalfi’s Duomo you will find the Fountain of Sant’Andrea, one of the most distinctive and famous landmarks in Amalfi town.

Fontana St Andrea, Amalfi town center, Italy

The fountain provides passers by with drinkable water and it is decorated with beautiful and elaborate sculpture -make sure your bring a reusable water bottle so you can join the locals and fill up (you can find more tips on what to pack for the Amalfi coast here)

The fountain dates back to the XVII century and includes a representation of St Andrea and marine creatures, as a homage to the vocation of the city.

Amalfi’s narrow alleys

From Amalfi main square departs a main road, from where many small hidden alley stem out, forming a maze of streets and passageways.

steps in Amalfi town with scenic plants

Amalfi grew under the constant threat of invasion from rival sea powers and the structure of the city very much reflects the desire and need to protect its citizens, getting the invaders lost in a labyrinth of roads, passages, staircases and hideaways.

The alleys are wonderful to visit: along them you will find pretty corners, balconies, hotels, shops and many hidden courtyards and small opening that make you think of life as it must have been in the past.

detail of religious image in Amalfi town, beside a restaurant sign

The town is too touristy for you to find elderly ladies looking out of windows or making gnocchi on the street however, that is very much the atmosphere of the place!

The town center is a real maze of small streets and it is pretty and atmospheric and the covered passages, now hosting restaurants and shops, very evocative.

Amalfi main street and shops

As you walk around Amalfi you will find yourself over and over again along Amalfi’s main street, the one climbing up from the duomo to the mountains.

The street is charming and busy, full of shops and restaurants, however, it is worth paying attention to some of the details on it as the architecture is here is beautiful.

If you have kids, make sure you look out for the nativity fountain , a fountain with a very elaborate nativity scene under water!

Amalfi main street

Paper Museum and Rione Vagliendola

Farther up along the main road you eventually get to another interesting part of Amalfi and a museum worth visiting, the paper museum.

Located a little farther up from the main square and the duomo, the museum is hosted in an incredible ancient mill dating back to the XIII century and showcases ancient machines and techniques for the creation of paper.

The places is unique worth the walk up this part of town, the Rione Vagliendola, one of the most characteristic in town.

Amalfi’s cafes and restaurants

Amalfi is full of cafes and restaurants and sitting down people watching is one of the most popular pastimes here!

You can choose between a vast array of places and the only recommendation I can give is to check menu and prices before you commit to a meal.

Due to the popularity of the town with tourists, the prices tend to be a little higher than in other areas of the Amalfi coast however, finding decent deals is still possible.

We had a lovely and not overly expensive meal on the promenade (the restaurant was called Sirena), which had outdoor tables with lovely sea-views and lunch options ranging from sandwiches to generous mains.

Visiting Amalfi town with kids

Amalfi town is fun to visit with older kids, from school age up.

The small alleys are car free and both the paper museum and the fountain along the main road are great fun for them to see.

Covered Amalfi town with child walking

Families with younger kids can also have fun in Amalfi however, strollers are not easy to use here so if you have a toddler, this is a good day to get them to walk or stay in the carrier.

You can find my recommendations for visiting the Amalfi coast with kids and most family friendly towns here.

If you are staying in Amalfi for the night make sure you check with your hotel that there are not difficult steps to negotiate to get there.

Some smaller, charming accommodation options are along the small alleys that can be a little tricky with a stroller.

If you are visiting Italy with a baby or toddler, you may find this post with my travel tips for that age here.

What to eat in Amalfi

Amalfi is famous for outstanding cuisine. Some of the regional specialties and local dishes to try are:

  • Scialatielli cozze, vongole e pomodorini – a local type of pasta (scialatielli) served with mussels and clams and fresh cherry tomatoes
  • Ndunderi – an ancient type of pasta originally from nearby Minori, reminiscent, in shape, of gnocchi
  • Spaghetti al Limone – lemon spaghetti, using the famous local lemons as a delicate pasta sauce)
  • Colatura di Alici – anchovies from nearby Cetara
  • Pezzogna all’acqua passa – fish with fresh tomatoes, garlic and parsley
  • Pastarelle Amalfitane – small pastries filled with lemon cream (dessert)
  • Limoncello – the most famous Italian lemon based liquor and digestif, originally from this area.

If you are interested in learning more about regional foods in the Amalfi area and the rest of Italy, you may enjoy my article about Italian regional foods here.

Where to eat in Amalfi

Amalfi has very many good restaurants. Some to check out are:

Da Gemma (restaurant):

Sirena (cafe and restaurant):

Bar Pasticceria Leone (cafe and pastry shop):

Cioccolateria Pansa (cafe and pastry shop):

One day in Amalfi: need to know

Amalfi is a small town and visiting in a day will give you plenty of time to see its main attractions.

For comfort and convenience, I highly recommend the following:

Bring good walking shoes/sandals: the town has narrow roads and several steps and shoes with good support will be very handy.

Bring a reusable water bottle. Amalfi can get very hot in summer and while bottled water is sold everywhere, you can save money and help reducing waste filling your water bottle it for free at fountain in front of the duomo.

Make sure your attire is suitable to enter the duomo.While you are unlikely to get stopped, they do require ‘decorous attire’ and some shorts and very revealing tops, for women especially, may be an issue.

The best things to wear on a hot day in Amalfi are breathable summer dresses or linen trousers: they will keep you fresh and you don’t have to worry about entering churches.

How to get to Amalfi

Amalfi is at the center of the Amalfi Coast and can be reached by road or sea.

By land, you can drive to Amalfi or, better, use the local buses, a solution that will save you from having to find parking in Amalfi, which is not an easy nor a budget friendly task!

Buses connect the city to all other localities on the coast and the main Amalfi coast getaway of Salerno. Their stop and terminal is at the port, right at the center of everything.

By sea, you can easily reach Amalfi by ferry. Regular ferries connect the city to localities on the coast big and small: tickets can be bought on the day. Salerno is about 45 minutes away, children under 10 go at a reduced price.

I hope you enjoyed this overview of the best thigns to see in Amalfi town and you will enjoy my itinerary to see Amalfi in one day. Safe trave planning!

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Marta Correale is an Italian mama of two. Born and raised in Rome, Marta has a passion for travel and especially enjoys showing off Italy to her kids, who are growing up to love it as much as she does! A classics graduate, teacher of Italian as a second language and family travel blogger, Marta launched Mama Loves Italy as a way to inspire, support and help curious visitors to make the most of a trip to Italy and learn about Italian culture on the way.