Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre – Which is Better?

If you’re trying to decide between visiting the Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre, it can be quite difficult! Both destinations are easily in the category of most beautiful places to visit in Italy! The Amalfi Coast is home to lavish 5-star hotels and international jet-setters. Plus it’s possible to reach the beautiful island of Capri, sample pizza in its home of Naples, and visit Pompeii. Cinque Terre is more laid-back, suited to those who adore hiking and photography. You can walk coastal paths between all five villages. Additionally, Cinque Terre is on the train line to Pisa – with its famous leaning tower and basilica. Both destinations are equally worthy of any Italy Bucket List! But if you can only visit one, follow our guide to determine which one is best for you!


Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast lies in the region of Campania close to Sorrento and Naples in southwest Italy. Most areas are easily accessible via car, train, or bus. What’s more, it’s easy to take a trip to Sorrento, Naples, and Pompeii from here, and vice versa. Take advantage of our private transfer from Naples Airport to Sorrento for smooth and comfortable travel.

Additionally, our Highlights of Amalfi Coast tour departs from Naples and takes you to the region’s most beautiful spots in one day. There are also regular boat trips to the island of Capri, a popular haunt of celebrities filled with designer shops, fine restaurants, the famous Blue Grotto, and sculpted gardens. The most popular towns are Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. Each offers its own unique charm, Roman villas, galleries, and lively piazzas where you can drink and dine on Neapolitan cuisine until your heart’s content.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is located at the opposite end of Italy’s west coast – the north to Amalfi’s south. The region contains five beautiful villages, some serene, others bustling with markets, seafood restaurants, and ancient castles and churches. You can walk, sail, or catch a train between the villages. This way, you can access all five locations in one week’s stay or simply a day! It’s also possible to reach colorful Portovenere, the upscale towns of Portofino, Pisa, and Florence from here. Discover all the ways to explore the stunning region with our Liguria and Cinque Terre tours.


Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast culture

Amalfi Coast’s culture lies in every town along the coastline. Each has a unique history to explore with churches, Roman villas, and hilltop gardens. It’s a place that has been frequented by Wagner, DH Lawrence, and film stars of Hollywood’s golden age. However, one of the Amalfi Coast’s main draws is its proximity to Sorrento, Pompeii, Capri, and Naples. The old town of Sorrento is filled with lively markets and piazzas, a marina, and shops selling all things limoncello. The archaeological site of Pompeii is easily accessible too. In the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, which caused the city’s demise, you can discover highlights such as the House of the Faun, the Lupanar of Pompeii, and an Amphitheatre dating back to 80 B.C.E. Our tours of the region combine one or more of these experiences, coupled with the priceless expertise of a local guide.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre culture

Cinque Terre’s rich history is tucked away in village side streets, hilltop fortresses, monasteries, and stories told by charming locals. If you’re seeking opulent art galleries, intricate architecture, cathedrals, and museums, you’ll have to travel a little further to La Spezia, Pisa, or Florence. Just over an hour by train, Pisa offers insight into the lives of Galileo, Puccini, and the Medici family. The city is home to an ancient basilica, bustling piazzas, and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. If you make it to Florence – and you should – you can enjoy the city’s impressive Duomo Cathedral, Uffizi Gallery, and a plethora of artwork by Italian masters like Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian, and Botticelli.


Amalfi Coast

italy beach

Many Amalfi Coast resorts are seasonal. Therefore many places close between early November and mid-April. In the summertime, main beaches offer sun loungers and parasols which can be rented for the day, although there are more secluded beaches where you can take a towel and sunbathe for free. Positano Beach is popular with Italians and tourists. There are amenities available including bars, shops, restaurants, and water sports. Several beaches worth consideration are Maiori Beach, Vietri Sul Mare, and Marina Grande.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre beach

Cinque Terre isn’t world-renowned for its beaches but they are exquisite. Monterosso Al Mare, the largest village, has one of the best beaches of the five villages. It’s lined with a boardwalk and sparkling turquoise water. It’s possible to hire water sports equipment such as snorkels, kayaks, and paddle-boards. One of Cinque Terre’s best-kept secrets is Canneto Beach near Riomaggiore. It’s only accessible by sea, therefore you may have this secluded pebbled beach all to yourself! If you don’t mind a short drive or train ride, venture to Sestri Levante. The shoreline is framed with pretty Ligurian houses and you can watch local fishermen bringing in their daily catch as you swim or sunbathe.


Amalfi Coast

Path of the Gods, Amalfi Coast

One highlight of the Amalfi Coast for outdoor enthusiasts is trekking the Path of the Gods. This panoramic footpath lies above Positano and takes around 4 hours to hike with lunch stops! It offers incredible coastal views and you can discover Campania’s flora and fauna en route. Alternatively, learn how to dive inside the Marine National Park of Punta Campanella, with its diverse marine life and coral species. Or charter a boat and sail along the coastline, stopping at picturesque towns or islands of the Amalfi Coast. This Ischida and Procida island tour takes you to two of the coast’s most gorgeous islands. Foodies will enjoy taking a private cooking class to learn how to create local cuisine in Positano. Check out our full range of Amalfi Coast tours to see the activities that most appeal to you.

Cinque Terre

italy Trail

No visit to Liguria would be complete without hiking the picturesque Cinque Terre Trail. Set on the hillside above the five villages, the trail links all of them together taking between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours to hike between each one. Start early to avoid crowds and bring good walking shoes as the trail is rocky – flip-flops and sandals just won’t cut it! You can also hire a boat for the day, enjoy snorkeling and swimming offshore, or even partake in a spot of fishing or a romantic dinner cruise. A Sunset Kayak Tour & Aperitif from Monterosso is the perfect way to discover the joy of boating in the region. If you wish to learn how to cook Ligurian style, the area is famous for its pesto! Take a pesto-making class or sip wines directly from the source on a sunset vineyard tour near Riomaggiore. For the full picture of the activities available, browse our extensive collection of Cinque Terre tours.

Food & Drink

Amalfi Coast

Amalfi cuisine

Many staples of Italian cuisine derive from the Neapolitan region. Dishes served in the area will contain plump locally-grown tomatoes, handmade pasta, fresh mozzarella, and copious amounts of seafood. Seasonal goodness and freshness are key, so you can expect to feast on delicious Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, Insalata Caprese, and Scialatielli ai Fruitti di Mare topped with the catch of the day. Zesty lemons thrive in this climate! Therefore, in addition to drinking limoncello produced in Campania, you’ll also find several popular desserts made with citrus fruit. And of course, there is the Neapolitan Pizza which you can learn to craft with a professional pizzaiolo in its hometown of Naples. Or discover the unique wines grown in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius near Pompeii with this unique tour.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre produce

In days gone by, the five villages of Cinque Terre were only accessible by hilltop pathways and boats. As a result, many traditional dishes are seafood-based or rich in locally grown fruit, vegetables, and herbs. Most village menus feature freshly caught shellfish and anchovies paired with creative homemade pasta dishes. Liguria is also the birthplace of pesto. The region has its own fragrant variety of basil, giving a unique taste of citrus due to the way it is grown in the shade. Cinque Terre also has its own white wine varieties, mostly herbal in flavor and of dry consistency – the perfect accompaniment for seafood and pesto pasta dishes. Sample all these regional culinary treasures on an indulgent Food & Wine Tour, or master creating Ligurian flavors yourself with a Private Cooking Class with a Local in La Spezia.


Amalfi Coast

Nightlife at the Amalfi Coast

Nightlife on the Amalfi Coast mainly revolves around fine dining on hotel terraces or feasting on Neapolitan cuisine in lively piazzas with locals. There are outdoor music performances, colorful festivals, and chic bars where you can sip cocktails as the sunsets along the coast. You’ll find most wine bars and discos around Positano and Amalfi are open until the early hours of the morning.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre nightlife

Cinque Terre nightlife is laid-back and low-key for the most part, with locals and visitors opting for lively conversation in piazzas and feasting on seafood by the water’s edge. If you fancy livelier options, La Spezia, Portovenere, Monterosso Al Mare, and Riomaggiore offer bars and entertainment until later hours.


Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast shopping

Shopping on the Amalfi Coast is a joy. Many perfumes and limoncello products are produced in the region, therefore you’re purchasing almost straight from the source. Positano specializes in lemon-infused goods, in particular limoncello liqueur, cakes, and nougat. They make great gifts for friends and family and will always remind you of your stay in Italy. If you’re seeking something special for yourself or a loved one, head for Capri. Abundant with designer boutiques, the island is also home to the Cathusia perfume brand, invoking an uplifting scent of Mediterranean flowers and citrus fruits. The streets of Sorrento are laden with cameo jewelry, hand-made wooden carved boxes, and colorful hand-painted ceramics.

Cinque Terre

Shopping in Cinque Terre

The small shops of the five villages focus on artwork and hand-crafted items including ceramics and jewelry. In most markets, you’ll discover fresh local produce, cheeses, olive oils, wines, and pesto. In addition, there is a wide range of clothing and accessories. Take a trip to a local vineyard to purchase dry white wines or head to Levanto to learn the art of pesto-making!


Amalfi Coast

Capri Palace

The Amalfi Coast is known for attracting the glitterati. Therefore, you’ll find 4 and 5-star luxury hotels in almost every resort. There are many renowned hotels in Positano, Capri, and Sorrento, offering a scenic base for your stay. There are also chic boutique hotels, historic villas, and spa resorts where you can be pampered after days of hiking the Path of the Gods and sightseeing along the coast. For opulent luxury, you can’t go wrong with Capri Palace, Casa Angelina, or Palazzo Belmonte.

Cinque Terre

Eight Hotel Portofino

Hotels in Cinque Terre are modest for the most part, with a range of larger boutique hotels around Monterosso Al Mare. You’ll find hideaways in the hills above the villages and quaint guest houses, self-catering apartments, and B&Bs with amazing sea views inside the five villages. For hotels with more amenities, venture to Portovenere, Levanto, or La Spezia – a short drive or train ride away! These areas offer family-friendly hotels, historic villas, luxury hotels, and agro-tourism resorts to enjoy. And if you’re craving indulgence, Eight Hotel Portofino will not disappoint!

So now that Italy’s two stunning neighboring coastal regions have been mapped out for you, which one will you choose to travel to next? Whichever one suits you most, our packages in Campania and the Amalfi Coast and Liguria and Cinque Terre are the ultimate way to see the highlights of each region.

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