This is our gay guide to the Amalfi Coast including best places to stay, where to go out, best restaurants and awesome things to do.
You've also WOWed at those opening scenes of the Wonder Woman movie right? Those stunning shots where Diana grows up with the Amazon race of warrior women on the hidden island of Themyscira? That was all filmed right here along the Amalfi Coast!
The Amalfi Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage site, consisting of 30 miles (50km) of coastline along the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrento Peninsula, in the Campania region.
As well as the rugged scenery like those scenes of Themyscira island from Wonder Woman, there are also many small beaches, pastel-colored fishing villages, grand villas, terraced vineyards, and cliffside lemon groves. It's one of the top bucket list items for any traveler to Italy, especially the classy and upscale Capri Island.
Whilst this is not a gay party destination, LGBTQ travelers looking for a romantic and stunning place for their holiday should definitely head here.
Where is the Amalfi Coast?
The Amalfi Coast is located on the south-east coast of Italy on the Sorrento Peninsula, which is just below Naples and Pompeii.
The easiest way to reach it is by flying into Naples airport and then hiring a car to drive up along the coast. The drive is around 1.5-2 hours from Naples to Amalfi town. Alternatively, you could catch a bus or a ferry from Naples to Sorrento or Capri Island followed by a local ferry or bus to other spots along the coast. You can also get a train directly from Naples or Rome to Salerno or Sorrento, then a local bus.
Is the Amalfi Coast safe for gay travellers?
Due to the strong (and in our opinion, toxic) influence of the Catholic Church, Italy is somewhat lagging behind the rest of Western Europe when it comes to LGBTQ rights (still waiting for you to join the gay marriage club guys…!). However, the Amalfi Coast is so international and touristy that you are unlikely to ever have any problems here. We certainly didn't!
When it comes to getting a double bed in hotels, the staff at large chain hotels won't bat an eyelid. However, if staying at a remote local guesthouse, it may be worth calling/emailing ahead to check if they're ok to host LGBTQ travellers. Even if you didn't call ahead to check, in the worst-case scenario you're likely to just get a raised eyebrow or a polite request checking that you didn't mean two singles instead.
FYI: you will want to ask for a “camera matrimoniale” (double bed), whilst a twin is referred to as a “camera doppia”.
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Gay hotels on the Amalfi Coast
Whilst the Amalfi Coast is absolutely lush, it ain't cheap! This is the sort of place that couples come to celebrate their honeymoon or special occasion, so there's a large market that caters to that. If you're looking to save a few pennies, we recommend visiting during the low or shoulder season outside of the peak summer months of June/July/August.
These were some of the most gay friendly hotels we found, mainly based in and around Positano, as well as a couple of gorgeous options on Capri Island:
Hotel Caesar Augustus
Why we love it
- Gorgeous five-star luxury hotel
- Stunning views
- Panoramic swimming pool
- Divine Turkish bath and hammam for relaxing
One of the most beautiful luxury hotels we encountered is the absolutely stunning and romantic Hotel Caesar Augustus on Capri Island.
Perched 300 metres above the sea, the hotel features incredible views over the bay of Naples all the way to Mount Vesuvius. The best way to experience these views is from the split-level infinity pool, which has poolside bar service.
The rooms and suites are simply amazing as well, many of them have four-poster beds with curtains to make you feel like you're sleeping in a fairytale. Then there are the huge arched windows looking out over the ocean. Some of the rooms have with balconies and private hot tubs. The staff are very friendly and always on hand to organise excursions around the island.
For a truly romantic experience, make sure you have dinner on the terrace of the hotel's restaurant called La Terrazza di Lucullo. They serve up ‘zero mile cuisine' made with ingredients grown in the hotel's clifftop kitchen garden as well as the freshest local seafood. If you need even more pampering and relaxation, make sure you spend some time in the wellness centre located in the pretty landscaped garden.
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Hotel La Floridiana
Why we love it
- Beautiful villa with gorgeous views
- Lovely swimming pool
- Pet-friendly hotel
- Ideal location in the town of Capri
For a more affordable but still gorgeous stay on Capri Island, we loved the Hotel La Floridiana.
Located in the perfect location – minutes walking distance from the main shopping area on Capri. The hotel has beautiful views from the rooms and from the lovely swimming pool.
If you splurge on a deluxe junior suite you'll also get a private hot tub on your balcony.
One of the best parts of Hotel La Floridiana is the big buffet breakfast served every morning in the main hall and on a beautiful balcony overlooking the sea. It's a huge spread of fresh, seasonal, homemade dishes including cured meats, cheeses, eggs and pastries. They also have vegetarian and gluten-free options as well as completely organic dishes. You can also dine poolside under the stars for a very romantic dinner.
You can have a relaxing massage and book lots of fun excursions to explore the island. Hotel La Floridiana is also pet friendly, so you can bring your four-legged friend along with you on holiday. They even offer a pet-sitting service so you can still go to places that don't allow pets knowing your pooch will be well looked after back at the hotel.
Hotel Villa Franca
Why we love it
- Incredibly luxurious hotel in Positano
- Stunning views, especially from the rooftop pool
- Two gourmet restaurants
- Excellent wellness centre
Hotel Villa Franca is a delightful five-star hotel perfectly situated in the town of Positano on a hill between the craggy cliff tops and the glinting Mediterranean Sea.
The hotel offers stylish, modern rooms, with elegant furniture and big windows so you can really enjoy the views.
Some of the suites feature private balconies for a little extra touch of romance.
You can easily walk into the town centre of Positano or the two beautiful beaches nearby. The hotel also offers a free shuttle service. That is if you can drag yourself away from the incredible rooftop swimming pool, poolside bar and grill. There's also a glorious spa and wellness centre where you can have a variety of treatments or even a workout with a personal trainer.
As well as the poolside grill for casual dining, there's the gourmet Li Galli Restaurant offering a taste of the sublime in a dream setting with sky-meets-sea views. Here you can have a romantic dinner as well as a delicious breakfast each morning. We also loved the Gallis Bar, with its quirky decor, especially the telescope on the terrace so you can look at the stars together.
Why we love it
- Beautiful historic villa hotel
- Gorgeous pool on a terrace with sublime views
- Well equipped wellness centre
- Delicious and romantic restaurant
For a slightly more economical option in Positano, Hotel Poseidon is an enchanting spot to stay, especially with that pretty entranceway!
The rest of the hotel is just as lovely, especially the bright and airy rooms, with vine-covered balconies looking out at the dazzling sea views.
This is also a very historic hotel, as it was once a private villa and it retains its rustic charm.
Hotel Poseidon is located just a short walk away from the best beach in Positano, although it also has a lovely pool on a terrace with plenty of sunbeds to laze about on. There's also a pool-side bar serving drinks and snacks. We particularly loved the wellness centre with a scenic Turkish bath dug into the rocks as well as private massage rooms.
For a romantic meal, you can dine on traditional Neopolitan cuisine in the Il Tridente restaurant on another beautiful terrace. The staff are wonderful, always greeting you with a smile and doing their utmost to make your stay perfect. They'll help you get your luggage from the ferry, provide towels for the beach and offer lots of advice on other places to visit during your stay.
Why we love it
- Beautiful villa with heavenly views
- Breakfast served in your room or on the terrace
- Excellent location in the centre of Positano
- Suites come with private hot tubs
If you still want to have a sensational stay in the heart of Positano but without the huge price-tag, then Villa Rosa is an excellent gay friendly hotel to consider.
This 150-year old villa is in a terrific location near the centre of Positano, with heavenly views from the private terraces. These terraces are an idyllic spot for your free breakfast each morning unless you'd rather have it in your room, which is also possible.
Villa Rosa features beautiful Mediterranean architecture with domed ceilings, arches and porches. There are also plenty of fresh flowers everywhere, in keeping with the name of Rosa. There may not be a swimming pool but if you book a superior room or suite you will have your own private hot tub.
You're only a quick walk away from Positano's beautiful main beach, as well as all the restaurants and cafes in the area. There isn't an actual restaurant on-site at the villa but they do offer room service for breakfast.
Gay bars and clubs on the Amalfi Coast
Gay travellers here should be warned that the Amalfi Coast is not really a party destination and so there's not much of a gay scene in the area. Having said that, we found one gay bar in the main town of Positano. If you're looking to party, you'll want to head to the nearest big city, which is Naples (around 1.5/2 hours drive away).
- L'alternativa in Positano: located next to the main beach in Positano, L'alternativa is the only official gay bar in the Amalfi Coast area. It's technically a kiosk and snack bar but at night it becomes one of the coolest spots in Positano for a drink right by the water. It is open daily until around 1am and is located on Molo Spiaggia Grande.
- Depot Napoli in Naples: Depot is a gay fetish and cruising bar in Naples frequented by lots of young, beautiful guys. They have regular themed nights as well as private cabins, a maze and even a sling! Depot Napoli is located at Via della Veterinaria 72 and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10pm until around 3/4am.
- Macho Lato in Naples: Macho Lato is one of the best gay clubs in Naples, spread out over two different levels. On the first floor is a cruising area, a sex box and a darkroom, while the top floor has a lounge and game zone. Macho Lato is particularly popular with the bear crowd. It's only open on Saturday evenings from 11pm until around 4am and is located at Via Abate Minichini 62.
- The Basement in Naples: one of Naples' most famous gay cruising and fetish bars, popular with 30s+ men. Whilst it's not very big, it does feature a bar, private rooms and a motorbike + play area. It's only open Thursday to Monday from 8pm until 3am (4am on Saturday nights) and is located at Via Atri 36b.
- Criminal Candy in Naples: the best gay monthly party, especially if you're into house and pop music. They organise regular party nights at different locations but usually at the Rotonda Belvedere on Saturdays. Check their Facebook page for details of the next event.
Best restaurants on the Amalfi Coast
There are many highly-rated restaurants along the Amalfi coast which we think you should definitely check out. These are our favourite gay friendly restaurants where we enjoyed delicious food and stunning views.
We were particularly impressed by Eolo Restaurant, located in a stunning spot in Amalfi town. They serve beautifully presented and delicious food with an experienced sommelier on hand to help with wine selections. This is the place to come in Amalfi for a special meal of traditional Italian and very fresh seafood. It is also famous for its views of the area, especially if you manage to secure one of the sought-after tables by the front balcony, which you'll definitely need to call ahead to reserve.
Located inside the Hotel Residence in Amalfi, Sensi Restaurant is a Michelin-starred restaurant combining classic and modern Italian cuisine in a pretty impressive setting. The terrace offers beautiful views over the coastline. We recommend taking part in the Chef's Table Experience where they show you how to recreate some of the dishes back home. Some of the best dishes to look out for include the grilled octopus with broccoli, mussel sauce and nduja cream. Be sure to leave space for their signature dessert – the sponge lemon cake.
Trattoria Da Gemma
Trattoria Da Gemma is a very historic venue, which has been in operation since 1872. They still use the original recipe for their speciality zuppa di pesce (fish soup). They serve a variety of classic regional dishes using the freshest local ingredients. Gems to look out for include the risotto with prawns, the pasta with octopus and the sacher torte. While this restaurant doesn't look out over the ocean, it does have a beautiful outdoor terrace that's perfect for watching the world go by.
Da Ciccio Cielo Mare Terra
Da Ciccio Cielo Mare Terra is an ancient trattoria located on the coast between Amalfi town and Praiano. It's been run by the same family since 1931 and has panoramic views of the Amalfi coastline. They serve seasonal dishes based on what is available in their own garden, along with fresh fish selected each day personally by the owner Marco. Marco, his sons and wife, who all work in the restaurant are so welcoming. They'll even pick you up from your hotel and take you there themselves! We also loved that the dishes aren't your typical fare, like the stuffed zucchini flowers or risotto dumpling.
UPDATE MAY 2022: Shabu Amalfi has permanently closed!
For something a little different, Shabu Amalfi is a delicious Japanese fusion restaurant in Amalfi Town tucked down a little side street in the centre of the city. If you like sushi then this is where you should head for a delicious meal. They also cater to vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dietary requirements. We loved their poke bowls and the black rice with prawns. The restaurant decor is a soothing mix of white and blue, with a cute little enclosed outdoor terrace, while the staff are very friendly.
Best things to do on the Amalfi Coast
There are plenty of beautiful little towns perched on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast that are well worth exploring. This is also the ideal location for relaxing on the beaches or taking day trips to the nearby islands and grottoes. Here are the things we most loved doing during our time on the Amalfi Coast:
Visit Capri Island
Capri Island has always been known for being the playground for famous artists, writers and movie stars, with the likes of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, Jackie Kennedy and more recently Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Rihanna spotted here. As well as being celebrity rich, it's also one of the most romantic places to visit on the Amalfi coast. Whilst it can get quite crowded on Capri, particularly in the busy summer months, we recommend coming early in the day and hiring a boat to take you to one of the secluded beaches around the island. To reach Capri Island, it's a short boat ride from Amalfi town or Positano's marina.
Explore the town of Amalfi
One of the biggest and most popular cities on the Amalfi Coast is, of course, Amalfi itself. A must-visit while exploring the area. There are lots of colourful houses, shops and restaurants looking out over the turquoise waters. Amalfi is also home to a stunning 9th-century Roman Catholic Cathedral with a striped facade and really pretty interior. Just be careful not to walk up the steps of the cathedral hand-in-hand with your loved one or you will never get married according to a local legend!
Positano is one of the most picturesque and Instagrammable villages along the Amalfi coast. It is built on an enclave on the face of a hill, which winds down towards the water. The town itself is fun to explore with steep steps, cobblestone streets and ancient churches. The real highlight is the sunset view. We recommend heading somewhere like Franco's Bar for a cocktail to take in the magnificent sunset together. This is perhaps the ultimate romantic thing to do on the Amalfi coast, and where many wedding proposals have taken place!
Overlooking the Bay of Naples, Sorrento is renowned for its beauty and is very popular. According to legend, this is the spot where the infamous sirens would hang out, luring men into the sea with their charming songs. Well, these two gay guys were charmed by the gorgeous sailing ports, pretty parks and impressive architecture of the old town area. For a very romantic experience, you could even take your partner to an opera performance in the Correale di Terranova Museum.
Try some Limoncello
The Amalfi coast is famous for its lemons – the sfusato amalfitanos to be exact. The yummy sweet tasting Limoncello liquor is made using these prime lemons, which are less sour than normal lemons and rich in essential oils, which gives the Limoncello its unique aroma and flavour. You can do a lemon tour in a factory like the Amalfi Lemon Experience to learn more about them and try freshly made limoncello before it's shipped to all the many souvenir shops lining the streets of Amalfi town.
See Praiano for the views
Lying in between the towns of Amalfi and Positano is the less well-known but just as pretty Praiano. With buildings hugging the cliffside, this is a great spot to escape the crowds and enjoy the stunning views. The enclosed harbour is also perfect for a swim or just a stroll while you enjoy an ice-cream from one of the stalls. Another spot worth a visit in Praiano is the Torre a Mare, an ancient defensive tower sitting on a promontory overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is now home to a variety of artwork and sculptures.
Visit the town of Ravello
Another ‘hidden treasure' on the Amalfi Coast is the town of Ravello, perched on a hill 365 metres above the Meditteranean with incredible views. Ravello is home to many beautiful villas where famous actors, authors, composers, and artists have come for inspiration. Villa Rufolo is probably the best one to visit because of its famous cascading gardens. Built in 1853 by Scotsman Sir Francis Neville Reid, the villa has been home to many popes and even a king, but is now an interactive museum. Villa Cimbrone is another one with exquisite gardens. It is also a hotel if you want to stay somewhere absolutely uh-mazing!
Relax on the beaches of Maiori
Not far from the town of Amalfi is Maiori, one of the best places on the Amalfi Coast for relaxing on a stunning beach. Maiori is a wonderful place to rejuvenate your mind and soul, especially if you like to lounge on the sands next to turquoise waters. The seaside promenade is also ideal for strolling along next to the myriad of restaurants, cafes and stalls. The promontory of Capo d'Orso, to the east of Maiori, has a great scenic hike to the lighthouse. And if you've ever dreamed of dining in an ancient watchtower overlooking the ocean, then head to the incredible Torre Normanna Restaurant.
Explore Grotta dello Smeraldo
Another one of the most famous and beautiful spots on the Amalfi Coast is the famed Grotta dello Smeraldo – or Emerald Grotto. Named for the incredible colours that filter from an underground opening and fill the cave with intense nuances of green, the cave interior is filled with stalagmites and stalactites. There's even an underwater nativity scene, which divers come to visit at Christmas. You can only visit the Emerald Grotto via a boat trip. We recommend combining it with a tour of other pretty grottoes, caves and arches, along with many stops to swim in the lush azure waters.
Hike to the Valle delle Ferriere waterfalls
It's not all about the coast and beaches on the Amalfi Coast! Inland from the town of Amalfi is a tranquil nature reserve that makes for a delightful leisurely hike among waterfalls, lemon groves and historic buildings. The Valle delle Ferriere is home to a unique microclimate and, of course, some of the prettiest waterfalls you'll probably see in Italy! Hiking the valley is uphill but not too physically demanding and perfect for working off some of those pasta calories! You'll get to smell the lovely aromas of the lemon groves, spot pretty birds and perhaps go for a splash in the falls to cool down.
Take a day trip to Pompeii
The preserved city of Pompeii is an absolute must-see while visiting Naples and/or the Amalfi Coast. When nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, the falling ash both buried and perfectly preserved the Roman city, so today visitors can glimpse a snapshot of what life was like back then. If you're staying on the Amalfi Coast then you can join a tour to Pompeii from Ravello, Scala or Minori. There are also plenty of tour companies operating out of Naples, or you can catch a train directly from Naples to Pompeii if you'd rather visit independently.
Learn about the local cuisine
We love joining local cooking classes when travelling so we can learn some of the regional dishes to make when we're back home. We were very excited to find this unique ingredient-to-meal day tour from Praiano where you actually go foraging for flowers, wild herbs, and aromatic plants before learning to make a traditional local meal with your foraged ingredients. Not only do you enjoy a hike through the stunning landscape but after your cooking lesson, you get to sit down to a gourmet four-course meal (which you prepare yourself) paired with some delicious local wines and homemade liquors.
Gay map of the Amalfi Coast
If you're planning your own visit to the Amalfi Coast you might find this map handy. Here you can find all the places we've mentioned in this post so you can have your own fabulous holiday here.
Tips to prepare your trip
We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to the Amalfi Coast. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.
Visa requirements: Travellers from the United States, Australia and New Zealand don't need a visa for stays in Italy for up to 90 days. Members of the Schengen Zone can also travel freely in Italy but if you're coming from somewhere else (or just want to be sure) make sure you check your personal visa requirements here.
Power Plugs: Italy uses power plug type F and L which also work with C and E. If you're travelling to Italy from North America, the UK, Australia or some Asian countries then you will need to bring a travel adaptor with you.
Travel insurance: We always recommend you get travel insurance because you never know when something might go wrong on your journeys. We love to use WorldNomads as their cover is so comprehensive and it's easy to make a claim online.
Vaccinations: The CDC recommends that all travellers to Italy should be up to date with routine vaccinations like measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox etc. You may also need vaccinations for Hepatitis A, B and rabies, so check online based on where you are coming from.
Currency: Italy uses the Euro like most countries in Europe. Generally, €1 converts to around $1.10 US or about 89 pence in British Pounds.
Tipping culture: Technically, tipping isn't required when travelling in Italy, although it's starting to become more expected due to the large influx of American tourists. You won't need to tip very much, maybe just €1 or so. For a full guide to tipping in Italy, check out this article.
Internet access: Free WiFi is available in the town of Maiori, but on other parts of the Amalfi Coast you will need to find Internet Points or perhaps bring your own portable WiFi device.
Online privacy: Since Italy is slightly backwards when it comes to gay rights, you might be better off bringing a virtual private network like the ones offered by ExpressVPN.
Accommodation: There are plenty of great places to stay on the Amalfi Coast, so make sure you check out Booking.com if you want to see even more options. We love using booking.com because they have excellent online support, it's really easy to book online and a lot of places even offer free cancellation.
Sightseeing and adventure: For more fun things to do on the Amalfi Coast, check out GetYourGuide. We love using their easy online booking system to find exciting activities to do wherever we travel.
When to visit: The best time to visit the Amalfi Coast is from April to June, when the spring flowers are in bloom, the weather is just warm enough and you can avoid the tourist crowds of summer.
For more inspiration:
- Read more from our gay adventures in Italy
- As well as our even gayer adventures in Sicily
- Then check out the best gay nude beaches in Italy
- If you fancy more fun in the sun, read about these gay nude cruises you can set sail on
- Thinking of getting married? Have a look at these stunning gay wedding locations in Italy
- Check out the best gay hotels in Puglia
- For more gay accommodation we recommend our guide to the best gay hostels in Europe
- For fabulous Vitamin Sea inspiration, these are our favourite gay beaches in Europe
- You might be surprised at these top gay friendly cities in East Europe as well
- And these are the most gay friendly countries in the world
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Happy travels are safe travels