Forget Positano — this stunning town is the real gem of the Amalfi Coast


While Positano gets a lot of hype, this nearby town is the real gem of the Amalfi Coast. (Picture: Getty)

If you’re looking for a bit of la dolce vita, Italy’s Amalfi Coast makes for the perfect getaway. But, let’s face it; it’s also pretty pricey.

Positano is often said to be the jewel of the Sorrentine Peninsula. Clinging precariously onto the cliff face, the coastal village is made up of colourful buildings in hues of terracotta and pink, and boasts unspoiled views of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The picturesque location has long been a popular holiday resort, with Italians and local Neapolitans flocking to the seaside since the 18th century. It’s also a UNESCO heritage site – with good reason.

But there’s also no denying that since the birth of social media, the Insta-worthy backdrop has now become synonymous with influencers – more often than not donning wide-brimmed straw hats and Capri pants, and sipping on generously-sized Aperol spritzes.

Positano is renowned for its colourful cliff-side buildings (Picture: Emma Clarke)

So in vogue is the area that officials have made plans to reinstate an old military airfield located near the city of Amalfi to accommodate its many visitors – an estimated 5 million per year.

While flights to the area will likely miss the summer rush (it’s been outlined that the Salerno Costa d’Amalfi airport will be up and running for commercial flights in September 2024), it will no doubt entice more people to the area, as it eradicates the need to fly into Naples, which is at least an hour and a half away by car.

Arguably, this will add strain to the small commune of Positano, which is already brimming with guests. It could potentially hike prices up further.

So, if you are looking to visit the area but want to avoid crowds and selfie sticks galore, you might want to take a look at its lesser-known neighbour, Praiano.

Praiano has lots of cute coves to explore – and is just a stone’s throw from Positano (Picture: Emma Clarke)

Just as pretty, the subdued town offers a bit of calm amid the tourist storm. It’s full of locals, delicious eateries and has stunning nooks and coves to explore.

What’s more, it’s just a 20-minute car ride up the coast from Positano and is conveniently positioned for those wanting to visit other nearby towns, such as Amalfi and Maiori (where Harry Styles’ Golden music video was shot).

It also just feels more laid-back and authentic. Off-season it is equally as charming; there are cute ceramic shops, small grocers selling fresh produce and sunsets to enjoy all year round.

Things to do in Praiano

Take a walk down to the beach

This is your sign to book your Amalfi Coast getaway – literally. (Picture: Emma Clarke)

There are few better things in life than an evening stroll along the shoreline. And if you’re after some solitude and serenity, the little coves below the town of Praiano are ideal.

Soak in the sunset

Equally, thanks to the staggered height of all the buildings on the front, you can pretty much go anywhere along this stretch of the coastline and get a fantastic view of the sunset.

Eat, pray, love – or just eat, eat, eat

It’ll come as no surprise that a spot in Italy has really good food options, but what may catch you off guard is just how many options this quiet town has.

While it may be less busy than its coastal counterparts, there’s still plenty to do – and plenty of pasta to tuck into. Buon appetito!

No matter where you stay in Praiano, you will likely get impeccable views of the sunset. (Picture: Emma Clarke)

Explore the rest of the Amalfi Coast

Praiano really is in the perfect spot for those wishing to explore the whole stretch of the coast. It’s not far from Positano, and visitors can easily reach other popular destinations, such as Amalfi and Salerno.

If you don’t have a rental car or can’t get hold of a taxi, there are also regular buses running along the coast.

Where to eat and drink in Praiano

Kasai

Serving up a variety of homemade pasta dishes and unbelievably fresh seafood, Kasai is a culinary hotspot that should be on everyone’s list.

Not only is the food and atmosphere impeccable, guests can enjoy panoramic views of the coast during the warmer months or soak in the sunset of an evening on their gorgeous terrace.

Miragalli

If you’re after a light bite, this small wine and cocktail bar is a great pit stop. Try local wines, pick on some cured meats and cheeses – or simply get a cannoli (or three) to go.

Kasai serves up lots of elevated pasta dishes, as well as fresh seafood. (Picture: Emma Clarke)

Bar del Sole

While on the outside this simple cafe might not appear to be much, looks can be deceiving. And to be honest, you’re not going to go there for the furnishings or fine china.

You are, however, going to rub shoulders with the locals languishing in the summer heat, enjoying their morning espresso with their neighbours and catching up on the latest news. Even if you can’t speak Italian, you’ll definitely appreciate the buzz around you.

It’s also smack bang in the middle of the village and overlooks the crystalline waters of the region. What’s not to like?

How to get to Praiano

As mentioned, the nearest airport – currently – is Naples. Flights from the UK are usually around the £120 mark, taking just over 2 and a half hours.

Once the Salerno Costa d’Amalfi airport is open, visitors can also get direct flights from London Gatwick to the Amalfi Coast.

From Naples, the car ride takes about 1 hour 30 minutes, depending on the traffic. It is advisable that you book a private taxi in advance of your stay, as those in the city tend to be more expensive and by booking ahead of time, you can negotiate a fixed fee.

You may also wish to speak to your hotel or Airbnb host, as they can often assist with the booking.

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