Skip the crowds in Positano and stay in one of these 5 Amalfi Coast towns instead

Laura poses at an overlook on the Amalfi Coast. There are buildings in the mountains in the background and boats in the water.
I've lived on the Amalfi Coast for 17 years and know of lots of great places to stay.Laura Thayer
  • I've lived on the Amalfi Coast for 17 years and know of lots of great places to stay.

  • Although Positano is beautiful, it can get very crowded during the peak season.

  • I recommend staying in less-crowded towns like Vietri sul Mare, Minori, Cetara, Scala, and Tramonti.

Roughly 5 million tourists flock to Italy's Amalfi Coast each year, many of whom choose to stay in popular towns like Positano.

As one of the jewels of southern Italy, Positano's captivating beauty has made it one of the country's most alluring travel destinations. However, this popularity, combined with the village's small size, makes it particularly susceptible to overtourism.

Luckily, the Amalfi Coast is made up of 13 beautiful towns and villages, many of which offer a calmer atmosphere than Positano.

As someone who's lived on the Amalfi Coast for 17 years, here are the five towns and villages I recommend for an authentic Italian experience away from the crowds.

Head to Vietri sul Mare for colorful ceramics and beautiful beaches.

A colorful ceramic shop in Vietri sul Mare.
Vietri sul Mare is known for brightly colored hand-painted ceramics.Maria_Usp/Shutterstock

While Positano's pastel-hued houses are certainly eye-catching, you'll find even more color in Vietri sul Mare.

Ceramics have been produced for centuries in this town at the eastern edge of the Amalfi Coast. Today, the streets are lined with shops selling brightly colored hand-painted ceramics. I recommend stopping in the shops and meeting the ceramic artists who are continuing this important local tradition.

When it's time for a break, head down to Marina di Vietri for a swim or catch a small boat to one of the many little beach coves nearby.

Discover ancient history and modern sweets in Minori.

Lemons hanging from a wooden pergola.
The Path of the Lemons connects Minori to the neighboring village of Maiori.Lucamato/Shutterstock

The Amalfi Coast is so much more than beach umbrellas and seaside spritzes. In fact, many travelers are surprised to learn about the coastline's ancient Roman past.

In addition to the Roman ruins hidden below ground in Positano, the Villa Romana in Minori offers a glimpse back in time to when the coastline was a favored spot for Roman summer villas.

With a lovely beach and ferry service along the Amalfi Coast, Minori is an excellent home base away from the day-tripping crowds. Enjoy exploring the surrounding area on the peaceful Path of the Lemons, which connects Minori to the neighboring village of Maiori and passes through terraced lemon groves.

Minori is also the home of popular Italian pastry chef Sal de Riso, and visiting his bakery provides enough temptations to make you want to book a longer stay.

Cetara is a small fishing village with a lot of local flavor.

Colorful buildings by the sea with greenery-covered mountains in the background.
Cetara is famous for locally caught tuna and anchovies.Laura Thayer

Cetara is a small village on the eastern side of the Amalfi Coast, where foodies will find plenty of local flavors to try. With an active fishing fleet, the town is famous for locally caught tuna and anchovies.

Even if you're wary of anchovies, I recommend giving them a try here.

Cetara is also well connected by ferry service and is a quick trip to nearby Vietri sul Mare and other villages along the coast. Make sure to stop by the beautiful beach with its historic watchtower.

Stay in Scala for incredible views and a quiet local atmosphere.

Colorful houses nestled in tree-covered mountains.
Scala is an excellent choice for those who enjoy nature and hiking.Francesca Sciarra/Shutterstock

Located in the mountains across a valley from Ravello, Scala has a relaxed vibe even during the peak of the summer. While Ravello is famous for its views along the coastline, Scala boasts its own beautiful views — including one overlooking Ravello.

Scala is an excellent choice for those who enjoy nature and hiking. I recommend spending time hiking along the pathways leading to the Torre dello Ziro watchtower and the Valle delle Ferriere nature reserve in the valley above Amalfi.

Scala is also the oldest town along the Amalfi Coast, and has many hamlets, or small villages, stretching along the mountainside. One of my favorites is the charming Pontone, nestled in a beautiful spot between Scala and Amalfi.

Spend time in the mountains of the Amalfi Coast in Tramonti.

Trees and greenery-covered mountains with the sea in the background.
Tramonti is the heart of the mountainous side of the Amalfi CoastAlessandro Tortora/Shutterstock

Take a break from the sea and immerse yourself in the Lattari Mountains for a completely different Amalfi Coast experience.

With a name that means "among the mountains," Tramonti is the heart of the mountainous side of the Amalfi Coast. You won't find one town center, as the village is made up of 13 little hamlets dotted around the mountain valley.

Tramonti has a rural charm that sets it apart from the seaside villages along the Amalfi Coast.

Wine enthusiasts could spend days visiting the various vineyards, like Tenuta San Francesco and Azienda Agricola Reale, which produce wine from centuries-old vines.

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