In October 2023, we finally made it to the Amalfi Coast after our cancelled trip in 2020. Staying in the quieter town of Maiori was a great decision with highlights including the Path of the Lemons and the Path of the Gods walks, enjoying Maiori’s restaurants and visiting neighbouring towns.
If you’re thinking about visiting the Amalfi Coast but are concerned about the crowds, consider staying in a lone of the coast’s quieter towns. Located between Amalfi Town and Salerno, Maiori is easy to reach by ferry but also offers a more relaxing stay. This post covers my 4 days on the Amalfi Coast in October 2023.
Travelling from Rome to Maiori
Leaving from Rome, we took a fast train to Salerno and then a ferry to Maiori. This was an easy and relaxing way to travel to the Amalfi Coast. Since the weather in October can be unpredictable and bad weather can impact ferry schedules, it’s best to check ahead. Fortunately we were lucky (and thrilled) to arrive in hot, sunny (and calm) weather!
Buying a ticket for the Travelmar ferry is pretty easy, though we almost missed our boat! I booked online while on the train (the fast trains have free wifi). About 10 minutes after buying tickets, the train arrived in Naples and then didn’t move for over 30 minutes. We arrived in Salerno 45 minutes late but made it on the ferry with 5 minutes to spare. Thankfully upon arrival in Salerno, the ferry terminal is an easy (and flat) 10 minute walk. Tip – if you’re booking online, wait until you’re almost in Salerno!
Even the second time around, arriving on the Amalfi Coast by ferry felt like a ‘pinch me moment’. It’s easy to feel like you’re on holiday when you’re floating past the Amalfi Coast cliffs and beautiful little towns with the wind blowing in your hair. For the best views of the coast, pick a seat on the right hand side of the board when heading from Salerno.
Upon arrival in Maiori I was very happy with my decision. Unlike cliffside Positano and Praiano, Maiori is flat, not very busy, with a long beachfront promenade and plenty of beach space. The town has plenty of restaurants and a scattering of small grocery and clothing shops.
Even though I live in Australia, I love visiting the beach when I’m on holiday. In Italy, a lot of the beach is private and can only be accessed by paying a fee. In exchange you get access to a beach lounger, umbrella and services. If that’s not your scene, there’s also public space available for free lounging. If you’d prefer to stay off the stony beach, Maiori’s waterfront promenade is perfect for a beachfront stroll.
Activities for 4 days in Maiori
Despite not wanting to be too busy, our 4 days in Maiori were fairly full! Our highlights included:
- The Path of the Lemons Walk from Maiori to neighbouring Minori (link to post)
- Sweet treats at Sal di Riso in Minori
- The Path of the Gods Walk from Bomerano to Nocelle
- The ferry ride from Positano to Maiori after the Path of the Gods Walk
- A morning visit to the very crowded but very pretty town of Amalfi
- Two evening meals at Ristorante Pineta 1903
- Strolling through the morning markets in Maiori
- Lounging on the public beach in Maiori
Path of the Lemons Walk
If you’re staying in either Maiori or Minori, I highly recommend the Path of the Lemons Walk (Sentieri dei Lemoni). It’s an easy trail as long as you don’t mind some stairs. From Maiori, the path starts from the main road (Corso Reginna), up the stairs (Via Santa Scala – off Piazza Raffaele d’Amato) to Santuario Santa Maria a Mare (the Duomo) and then up more stairs to the right of the church.
Even in October, it was a fairly warm walk in the sun. If heat bothers you at all, leave earlier than we did at 10am. Or at a minimum, wear a hat, sunscreen and bring some water. And if an hour long stroll isn’t enough, you can continue on a second path to Ravello. This was on the ‘maybe’ list until I saw how vertical the walk would be. Reviews say it’s pretty much an hour long walk up nothing but stairs. Sitting down eating desserts at Sal di Riso seemed like a much better choice! Ravello would need to wait until the next trip. If you’ve walked from Minori to Ravello, let me know what it was like in the comment box below.
To return to Maiori we had a few options. 1. Walk back the way we came (too hot) 2. Take the ~5 minute ferry (too long of a wait) or 3. Walk back along the road (the winner!). Having visited Positano and Amalfi by bus, I hesitated on the ‘walking on the road’ option. But this part of the coast is less busy and we only saw a few cars. There’s even a bench seat at the midway point if you want to relax on the short trip or enjoy the ocean views. It took us about 10 minutes to walk back to Maiori.
Desserts at Sal di Riso
Besides the ‘Path of the Lemons Walk’, trying a Delizia al Limone (Lemon Delight) from Sal di Riso Pasticceria was another reason to visit Minori. Yes it was on Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy, and yes I know it’s super touristy to follow a celebrity to a spot a couple years later, but the desserts. Oh my goodness! They looked (and tasted) as amazing as I expected.
The cafe has an outdoor, covered seating area, perfect for indulging in some sugary delights in the shade. We tried to Delizia al Limone (of course) and the Lemon Tiramisu (photo below). If you like lemons and anything lemon related, the Amalfi Coast is the place to be!
Path of the Gods Walk from Bomerano to Nocelle
On the previous visit, we’d walk the Path of the Gods starting in Praiano and ending in Positano (see post here). By starting at sea-level, the walk begins with a lot of steps to the main trail to Nocelle and then down the many, many steps to Positano. For the three days after that walk, my legs were not happy (those stairs to Positano were a killer). This time we opted for the traditional route from Bomerano to Nocelle. To get to the trailhead from Maiori, we took the ferry to Amalfi and a bus to Bomerano.
I’ll start by saying the Path of the Gods walk is very popular. We met a number of tour groups hiking the trail and plenty of smaller groups. Though we walked in ‘fashion’ sneakers (the white kind, mine are Lacoste), smarter and more prepared people walked in sturdier boots and hiking poles. On the other side of the spectrum, I saw someone walking in thongs (flip flops), but I’d highly discourage it! I still wonder if that person made it to the end in one piece. As with everywhere on the coast, it can also be quite hot on the trail so bring plenty of water and a hat.
Compared to starting at sea level in Praiano, the walk from Bomerano to Nocelle was relatively easy. With less inclines and declines to navigate, the endurance part was easier. But the path has lots of big and small rocks, places where you need to lower yourself down large steps and plenty of tree roots and other tripping hazards. Overall the walk is not tough if you’re careful and take your time. And well the views are pretty magnificent like this one!
Positano and the ferry ride back to Maiori
If I had to describe Positano in one word it would be ‘busy’. A second word would be beautiful, but on the day we visited, we were toe to toe with other tourists. We’d planned to have lunch in Positano and then catch the ferry. But it was a hot day and Positano was so busy that we decided to take the next ferry for Amalfi.
I list the ferry ride as a highlight because of the epic views and the coolish breeze once the ferry gets going (not while it’s parked at the jetty waiting to depart). I also get real holiday vibes when travelling along the coast by boat. In my view, there’s no better way to get around (I’m looking at you, buses!!).
Half day in Amalfi Town
Speaking of busy, compared to the lack of crowds in Maiori, Amalfi was a bit of a shock! Our 11am arrival time must have coincided with every tour group on the coast! People were everywhere and the main road up the centre of town was a bit claustrophobic. If possible, aim to arrive earlier in the day or later in the afternoon once the hoards have gone.
Despite the crowds, Amalfi is a beautiful town and a must-see. Amalfi has some great shops, window shopping opportunities and of course plenty of places to eat, snack and gelato (yes I made it a verb). I highly recommend the always busy Pasticceria Pansa Amalfi with desserts to die for, including the Delizia al Limone lemon cake. It’s located next to the very imposing Duomo, with its steps that seem to be a compulsory sitting spot. Across from the Duomo’s steps is another busy attraction, the Saint Andrews water fountain. Besides being a handy drinkable water fountain, the water spout coming out of a lady’s breasts provide a popular photo opportunity!
Eating in Maiori
With 4 days on the Amalfi Coast, we tried a few restaurants and cafes in town. The winner was definitely Pineta 1903, located in the centre of town and highly recommended. Here’s a run down of restaurants we visited:
- Pienta 1903: Our first dinner was rather light as my mom had just arrived in Italy that morning from Canada. The serving sizes were small but very tasty. The outdoor seating covered by lemon trees is a nice touch and the service was excellent. All in all, it was a solid introduction to dining in Maiori.
- Chiosco Bar San Francesco: Bar San Francesco is casual dining, located at the far end of the waterfront near the ferry terminal. Reviews on Tripadvisor said it was ‘dive bar-ish’’ but the food was amazing. I enjoyed the relaxed vibe and trying to understand the Italian conversations between the owner and other diners. But I have to say the meal was pretty average. I will own my mistake though as it was likely due to an ordering error. The restaurant doesn’t have a menu and instead the owner tells you what’s available. He started with a very long list of fish dishes and we went for vegetarian. Underwhelming would be a good way to put it. Next time I’d order their beer (they brew their own) and seafood based dishes.
- Hotel Ristorante Sole: This waterfront restaurant is very popular or at least it was on the night we visited. We’d arrived rather early and grabbed the last outside table. By the time we left about an hour later, the entire restaurant was packed. Service was great and the pizzas were ok.
- Ristorante Lounge Bar Lido Eldorado: Another waterfront restaurant but on the beach side of the main road. We didn’t eat but had a couple of lemon spritz cocktails overlooking the ocean in the mid-afternoon. We almost left because no one was serving us, but once we caught the waiter’s attention, we were happy we stayed. Nothing like a lemon spritz on a hot afternoon!
- Pienta 1903: Take two! Our final dinner in Maiori was a three course meal enjoyed alongside a lovely bottle of Amalfi white wine. Our server was amazing and we had a lovely evening in the lemon garden. A highlight of our time in Maiori.
A few other ideas for 4 days on the Amalfi Coast
- If you enjoy the beach, do yourself a favour and make sure you pack a bathing suit even if travelling to Maiori in October. The beach is rocky but the water is clear and warm and so very inviting. My biggest regret for the trip was leaving my bathing suit at home.
- Maiori has a fairly large (for the size of the town) market on Friday mornings in Piazza Mercato (head up the main road until you see it!). From fruit to ladies clothing and toys, there’s nothing like an Italian small town market to try to feel like a local.
- The Palazzo Mezzacapo Gardens are also along the main road and you could easily overlook them. It’s a small garden with below ground pools. While pretty during the day, it’s even better in the evening lit up with the Duomo high above looking down.
- Speaking of the Duomo, perched up above the town, it’s worth checking out for the views over town. It’s also the starting point for the Path of the Lemons walk.
Where we stayed in Maiori
We stayed four nights in a small apartment near the waterfront called La Casa di Zeffiro booked on Booking.com. The small, two bedroom apartment had two balconies and a fully equiped kitchen. A father and daughter team run a few apartments in Maiori and the surrounding area. They were absolutely lovely and the apartment could not have been cleaner, or more perfect for what we needed. Highly recommended for its beachfront location.
We spent 4 days on the Amalfi Coast in October 2023, staying in the small town of Maiori. This was part of a longer three week trip covering the Amalfi Coast, Montepulciano in Tuscany, Verona and Venice.
Previous trip to the Amalfi Coast
This 4 day trip to the Amalfi Coast in October 2023 was our second visit to the area. During the previous visit in 2018, we stayed in Praiano and visited both Amalfi Town and Positano (and then continued on for two nights in Capri). Here are links to posts from that trip if you’d like further information.