When traveling to southern Italy’s iconic Amalfi Coast, remember to pack your camera. Made up of 13 towns spread across the northern part of the Salerno Gulf, the nearly 30 miles (50 kilometers) of coastline was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. And no one will dispute it. This guide shares the best of what to do in Ravello, the quaint village that rivals the popular Positano and neighboring Amalfi as one of the best towns on the Amalfi Coast.
To see for yourself, simply wander the lemon groves, terraced vineyards, steep terrain and lush vegetation. Or meander through the manicured gardens and indulge in the unsurpassable cuisine. Feel as if you’re walking among the clouds, as this authentic Italian town sits nearly 265 meters above the Tyrrhenian Sea. With a bird’s eye vantage point, Ravello offers some of the best views on the Amalfi Coast as well. Whether you spend a week in the charming town or day trip from Positano, there are plenty of fantastic things to do in Ravello to make any trip to Amalfi Coast unforgettable. Start planning your adventure.
Things to do in Ravello
Visit the two famous Ravello gardens
The gardens in Ravello – Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo – may be one of the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast. The elegance and grandeur of Villa Cimbrone evoke memories of the majestic palaces in Vienna. And the perfectly manicured gardens of Villa Rufolo remind me of the lavish gardens in Salzburg. You can easily visit both in one day.
You can spend an hour wandering through the gardens of Villa Cimbrone, or you could stay an entire afternoon! Move at your preferred pace through the peaceful and serene gardens. Skip away from the crowds to truly feel alone in nature. Be sure to walk along the Terrace of Infinity — this belvedere offers the most magnificent views of the Amalfi Coast. It is lined with ancient-looking marbled statues and vibrant flowers.
Just under the Terrace of Infinity is a small bar, Il balcone di Lucille. Order a glass of prosecco and a light snack and enjoy the view from the garden. It’s stunning!
The gardens of Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone are equally as beautiful, yet the two are very different! Villa Rufolo is bursting with color — it’s vibrant and lush! Villa Rufolo has a little more pomp than Villa Cimbrone, which is elegant and peaceful. And the view of the coastline is truly jaw-dropping. The entrance to Villa Rufolo is just off the main town square, Piazza Vescovado.
Experience a Cooking Class in Ravello
Mamma Agata’s Cooking School
If you Google cooking classes in Ravello, you’ll find Mamma Agata’s Cooking School. And it has rave reviews! Her cooking demonstration is a full-day experience. I have no doubt it’s incredible — she has cooked for many celebrities! Plus, her outdoor terrace has impeccable views of the coast. Unfortunately for a low-budget traveler, the price in May was just under $330 per person (290 Euros).
Airbnb Cooking Experience
For a budget-friendly alternative, check out a cooking class through Airbnb. For $70 per person, Adriano and his wife welcomed us into their Scala home, just under a five-minute drive from Ravello. Adriano’s father, a retired chef who worked in Capri, taught us how to make a variety of pasta. And the gnocchi was the crowd favorite! With our bellies filled with wine and pasta, we sipped limoncello with the lovely host and hostess. It felt like we were chatting with new friends — it’s a unique experience.
Shopping in Ravello
When you’re ready to do some walking, wander through the main drag. Stop in the many clothing boutiques (filled with linen dresses, leather shoes and lots of pastels). Buy a few ceramic pieces as souvenirs and taste fresh Italian olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette from a local shop just off the main square.
Concerts in Ravello
Nicknamed the City of Music, international travelers flock to the region each summer for the Ravello music festival. Many concerts are held on Villa Rufolo’s terrace, the Annunziata Historic Building and the Ravello Art Center.
Relax in Ravello’s main square
Perhaps the best thing to do in Ravello is simply hanging out in the main town square, Piazza Vescovado. The large historic center of town is the perfect place to relax over a pastry and espresso. There is plenty of outdoor seating at Duomo Caffè or even Caffè Calce. Watch the locals and travelers pass by — with many entering the Duomo di Ravello (Ravello Cathedral).
Pop into the town’s iconic church before exiting the square. The clean, white facade is such a contrast to the colorful mosaics inside. There is even a small museum you can visit afterward. Like most Italian towns (and even metropolises like the capital city of Rome) the main square is the beating heart of the village.
Hiking in the Amalfi Coast
Like its northern rival, Cinque Terre, there are a lot of hiking trails on the Amalfi Coast. Spend a day hiking to the nearby towns of Amalfi to the west and Maiori to the east. Because Ravello is located high above its neighbors, the hike down is relatively simple. Although the trail is a bit steep and rocky at times, the views are out of this world.
The trail signage is very easy to follow, but you can pick up a free updated hiking map from the local tourism office, which is located across from Hotel Bonadies and the police department. Hiking back from Amalfi and Maiori may be more difficult after a day of sightseeing — especially if you add in a pizza and aperol spritz for lunch! — so you can take the local SITA bus back to town.
Ravello to Amalfi Trail
On this walk, you’ll pass through the small town of Atrani, which is much quieter than the tourist-heavy Amalfi. Both have a beach and plenty of restaurants. Be sure to visit Amalfi’s stunning cathedral, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Amalfi-Cava de’ Tirreni. It’s rated one of the best things to do in Amalfi. Wander the bustling streets before hitting the beach.
Ravello to Maiori Trail
This hike passes through the charming town of Minori. The walk from Minori to Maiori is known as the “Sentiero dei Limoni.” It takes you through dozens of lemon groves. There are spectacular views on the entire hike. While Minori is calm, Maiori is a busy town with lots of locals! It feels as big (but grittier) as Monterosso in Cinque Terre. Both towns have beach access.
Path of the Gods
Although this hike requires a bit more logistical planning from Ravello, the Path of the Gods is the most well-known trail on the coast. The trail starting point is in Bomerano and most trekkers end their hike in Nocelle, but you can continue to Positano. From Ravello, either take a taxi to Bomerano or ride the SITA bus to Amalfi and then transfer buses to Bomerano (bus stop: Agerola).
Where to eat in Ravello
After a long day of sightseeing or hiking, you deserve to indulge in the finest Italian cuisine. And one of the best things to do in Ravello is eat. Italy’s cuisine really is unsurpassable. It’s the Ritz Carlton of food. You just can’t beat it. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and trattorias. And best of all? Nearly every meal ends with complimentary limoncello!
Most luxury hotels in Ravello, such as Hotel Villa Maria, have a restaurant with coastline views from an outdoor terrace. Pop in for a cocktail and light snack! Here are a few other fantastic restaurants in Ravello.
Mimì Bar Pizzeria
Bow down to the chefs! What a delicious restaurant. Friendly staff, heavenly pizza and complimentary limoncello! The cozy outdoor garden is also a perk. Highly recommend the Parma ham and buffalo mozzarella pizza.
Trattoria Da Cumpa’ Cosimo
A no-frills, family-owned restaurant with a great wine selection. Take your time dining here, like the Italians do. The servers keep delivering more and more food to the table.
A cozy and upscale dinner spot! Top-notch and friendly service, delicious entrees and complimentary prosecco. It’s located just off the main square near Villa Rufolo. Make a reservation, especially if traveling during the summer.
Da Nino Pizzeria
Delicious, affordable takeaway pizza. There are a few chairs inside if you want to dine in, but it’s a quick-service restaurant.
The perfect terrace for a pre-dinner cocktail. Not sure which is better — the picture-perfect view or the aperitif!
Baffone Gelateria Artigianale
Fill your afternoon sweet tooth at this walk-up gelato shop! Their gelato rivals the delicious GROM in Florence. Ah-maz-ing.
Getting around the Amalfi Coast without a car
Ravello is completely walkable, so there is no need for transportation in town. However, you’ll likely want to explore a few other towns along the Amalfi Coast. There are several options for getting around the Amalfi Coast without a car.
The SITA bus is the most affordable transportation method (apart from hiking). Just be sure to purchase your SITA bus ticket from a cafe, newsstand or tobacco shop (tabaccheria) in Ravello before boarding the bus. The driver will stamp your ticket when you board. All buses arriving to and departing from Ravello stop in Amalfi and require you to get off the bus, whether it’s to transfer buses or explore Amalfi. Here’s a quick overview of the bus ticket types.
Single-ride bus ticket
If you plan to explore Amalfi before continuing on to the next destination, purchase two single tickets — “corsa singola.” Ticket one is from Ravello to Amalfi, and ticket two is Amalfi to your destination.
If you plan to board the next bus for your destination immediately after arriving in Amalfi, you can purchase the “orario” ticket. This is cheaper than buying two “corsa singola” tickets.
24-hour bus ticket
SITA’s 24-hour bus ticket is called the “costierasita,” which allows unlimited travel for 24 hours. The 24 hours begin when validated on the first bus ride. If you plan to travel past Amalfi, I think this is the most affordable and convenient option.
Private driver or taxi
The least affordable (but most convenient) option is to hire a private driver for the day. Being the passenger allows you to take in the mesmerizing views as well as have a flexible itinerary. And many drivers double as tour guides! There are also taxis you can take for point-to-point transfer.
Ferry or private boat
Once in Amalfi, you can take the scenic ferry to other popular towns, such as Positano. The ferry runs frequently during the summer months. You can also rent a private boat driver for a few hours or an entire day.
How to get to Ravello from Rome
Most international travelers arrive at Rome’s main airport — Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino. If you can find an affordable flight into Naples, it makes the journey a bit easier. Otherwise, here are a few transport options from Rome to Ravello. I recommend the first!
Airport – Train – Private Transport
- Airport to Roma Termini: Take the airport’s Leonardo Express Train to Roma Termini (the main train station in Rome). Purchase your Leonardo Express Train ticket on site before boarding the next available train, which runs roughly every 20 minutes.
- Roma Termini to Salerno train station: Take a train from Roma Termini to Salerno. Book in advance using rail-booking sites, such as OMIO or RailEurope, or directly from the rail company.
- Private transport from Salerno to Ravello: Arrange for a private driver to pick you up at the Salerno train station and drive you directly to your hotel, Airbnb or accommodation in Ravello. There are dozens of private transfer companies to choose from. Simply Google or utilize my recommendation — Aldo Limos. The drivers are friendly and professional.
Airport – Train – Bus
Repeat steps 1 and 2 from above. Once you arrive at the Salerno train station, board the SITA bus to the town of Amalfi. The bus station is located just outside the train station. Purchase your bus ticket (the “orario” ticket type is the best option) from the newsstand in the station. Switch buses immediately in Amalfi for your final bus ride to Ravello.
The quickest way to get to Ravello is hiring a private driver to pick you up from the Rome airport and drive you to the Amalfi Coast. Aldo Limos is great!
Lastly, you can make the stunning drive by yourself! Simply rent a car and drive the coast. Think carefully about this option — the roads are extremely narrow. Plus, you miss the spectacular views if you’re the driver. Ask your hotel/Airbnb host about Ravello parking should you choose this option. While the parking in Ravello is limited, you should be able to secure a spot in the paid parking lots.
Where to stay in Ravello
You may debate between “Ravello or Positano” as a home base. While most travelers experience Ravello as a day trip from Positano or a day trip from Amalfi, the travelers who stay overnight truly get a pulse and feel for the town. Sure, you can visit the Ravello gardens in a day, but there are so many more things to do in Ravello. This Italian town stays alive well into the evenings.
Staying overnight allows you to order a second (or third) glass of wine versus rushing back to make the final bus departure. Then, you can start your day with a warm espresso in the main square, watching the shop owners set up for the day and play with the local town dogs. For that reason, I truly believe Ravello is the best town to stay in the Amalfi Coast.
Ravello’s luxury hotels
Guesthouse and bed and breakfast
There are plenty of affordable guesthouses and bed and breakfast options in Ravello with a variety of rates. Scan reviews, compare rates and learn more about each at Booking.com to find an accommodation that fits your needs. The charming A Due Passi and Mimi B&B have exceptional reviews. Other affordable options include Ravello In and Palazzo Della Marra.
Packing Essentials for Ravello
A few essential items to pack for the Amalfi Coast: hiking day pack, quick-dry towel (to use at the beach), collapsible water bottle, international travel adapter, waterproof phone carrier, and passport /document holder. And of course, don’t forget your swimsuit!
Planning a trip to other areas of Italy? You may enjoy:
- Packing essentials for a longer trip
- Travel checklist for planning a trip
- How to spend a long weekend in Galway, Ireland
- Two-day guide to Italy’s capital, Rome
- The villages of Cinque Terre
- Travel guide to Florence
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