Travel

How To Plan A Dream Amalfi Coast Trip, According To The Insiders

Le Sirenuse, Positano

From exploring the cinematic coastline by boat, car or foot, to drifting between vibrant boutiques, savoring delicacies and sipping cocktails alongside spectacular sunsets, the Amalfi Coast remains an iconic vacation destination. KATIE BERRINGTON asks the owners of three of the area’s most celebrated hotels to share their secrets for an Amalfi Coast experience like no other

Lifestyle
Take in the sunset from Monastero Santa Rosa, looking over the hotel’s multi-terraced grounds and pool and out to the Tyrrhenian Sea

Bianca Sharma, of the 17th-century monastery turned majestic Monastero Santa Rosa, between Positano and Amalfi

For a once-in-a-lifetime experience

“Take a boat out for the day to enjoy swimming in the sea – the water here is more buoyant due to the salt content, so getting the chance to swim into a cliffside cave is exciting. Then enjoy a long lunch at one of the many delectable waterside family-owned restaurants and a leisurely sail back to the port while the sun is still low in the sky.”

Where to eat and drink

“Of course, I must first brag about Monastero Santa Rosa’s own restaurant, il Refettorio, where chef Christoph Bob and his team create delicious local delights with a special creative twist.

“For a waterfront experience, my favorite is Lido Azzurro in Amalfi. For town life, I love Da Gemma. And for a lovely family-run experience with a modern approach to traditional Italian food, I adore La Taverna del Leone on the way to Positano from Monastero Santa Rosa – this is where the local Positanese eat, especially out of peak season. A local delicacy is the pezzogna [seabream] baked in a salt crust, and pasta with zucchini – everyone has their favorite way to prepare it, and they are all amazing.”

Breakfast is served with a sea view at La Terrazza, Monastero Santa Rosa

Where to shop

“Positano offers a really lovely shopping experience, with many locally produced linen and ceramic items. Monastero Santa Rosa guests can enjoy the local ferry ride from Amalfi to Positano to spend a delightful day there.”

Best spot in Monastero Santa Rosa

“On arrival, I always head straight to the entrance terrace to get a feel for the vibe, and to smell the wonderful scents that only seem to exist on the Amalfi Coast, especially at the Monastero. I often linger at the pool-café area after lunch. The air feels very special there under the pergola during a warm afternoon.”

The Amalfi Coast boasts many idyllic spots for a sundowner, but Monastero Santa Rosa’s outside bar is one of the best

Something only the locals know…

“…are the very many hiking trails. Aside from the well-known Sentiero degli Dei [Path of the Gods], one that is well worth enjoying is the Valle delle Ferriere [Ironworks Valley]. It has an otherworldly, mythical feel; you would never know that you are so close to the sea.”

Why do we never fall out of love with the Amalfi Coast?

“The locals are so welcoming – hospitality seems to be woven into the DNA. Their friendliness sets the mood immediately and allows everyone to relax and find the contentment that may have gotten lost in busy life. Then, there is something about the sea air that makes me feel whole and energized.”

As the Sersale family’s former seaside retreat, Le Sirenuse is now one of the world’s most exceptional stays, helmed today by Antonio Sersale

Antonio Sersale, of the storied and family-owned Le Sirenuse, in the heart of Positano

For a once-in-a-lifetime experience

“Wake up in a suite at Le Sirenuse, relax and enjoy breakfast on your terrace before heading to the spa for a massage. Make your way down to the pier, where you’ll find a boat with a red fish sign, which will take you to Da Adolfo restaurant. Enjoy a spectacular lunch and relax on the beach. Just before sunset, the glamorous Riva Aquarama Special boat will pick you up from the main beach for an evening excursion around the Amalfi Coast and Capri. Back at Le Sirenuse, an aperitivo at Aldo’s bar, followed by dinner at La Sponda, will complete this fabulous experience.”

Guest rooms offer breathtaking views of the sea and the picturesque village of Positano

Best spot in Le Sirenuse

“Franco’s Bar. There is an energy here that is felt by all, bringing joy and laughter – both things that my father loved in his life.”

Where to eat and drink

“Zuppa di cozze at Da Adolfo; a club sandwich at Le Sirenuse; pasta alle zucchine at Lo Scoglio; and a Dipinto di Blu at Franco’s Bar.”

Revel in the sunshine and convivial atmosphere at Franco’s Bar, named in honor of Antonio’s father

Something only the locals know…

“There is a secret freshwater cave along the coastline with a tiny entrance. The water is totally pure, drinkable and full of natural minerals and vitamins. We often go for a dip but pretend it does not exist to avoid word getting out to too many people!”

Why do we never fall out of love with the Amalfi Coast?

“Authentic Southern Italian hospitality and charm; the geological wonder of the cliffs precipitating down into the crystal-clear Tyrrhenian Sea; the houses stacked vertically on top of one another; and the maze of staircases that criss-cross the towns.”

At Le Sirenuse, guests are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to the perfect spot for an aperitivo
The spectacular cliffside Palazzo Avino hotel dates back to the 12th century and was once the private villa of an Italian noble family

Mariella Avino, of the Palazzo Avino – known locally as the ‘Pink Palace’in Ravello

For a once-in-a-lifetime experience

“Venture on one of the special walking tours: my favorite is the Path of Gods. You get to see perspectives and corners of the coast that are unique and unforgettable.”

Where to eat and drink

“The Amalfi Coast is also about unique flavors. A Lemon Drop Martini from the Lobster and Martini Bar at Palazzo Avino is a must – we use sfusato Amalfitano lemons to make it refreshing and delicious.

“When it comes to my second love, our Palazzo Avino pizza served at the Clubhouse by the Sea is very tasty. Ingredients include fresh yellow cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, burrata, basil, anchovies from Cetara [in Campania] and sfusato lemon zest.”

Palazzo Avino’s ultra-exclusive Clubhouse by the Sea restaurant and beach is located in the small town of Marmorata, just a 15-minute drive from Ravello, and can be reached using the hotel’s complimentary shuttle service
Brushed-gold features, a pastel color palette and decorative tiled floors create a sense of art deco glamour at Palazzo Avino

Best spot in Palazzo Avino

“The rooftop solarium holds a special place in my heart. It is the highest point of the property and you have an open bird’s-eye view of the beautiful coastline. From there, you can just hear the sound of birdsong and you feel closer to the sky than the sea. It’s pure magic at sunset.”

Why do we never fall out of love with the Amalfi Coast?

“The Amalfi Coast is lost in time – it is still the way it was many years ago and offers that connection with tradition and authenticity that every curious soul is looking for.”