At first glance, the pastel-walled towns, scented lemon groves and dizzying cliffs of the Amalfi Coast seem meant for couples – and only couples. Yet upon closer inspection, the coast’s beaches, boat trips and simple yet virtuoso cuisine can make for a thrilling family trip.  

Who needs theme parks and kids’ clubs? On the Amalfi Coast, the joy of traveling with your family is that the kids will be with you for every part of the trip. You’re never far from a beach and warm sea, and the small town centers are free of traffic and safe to wander after dark. Italian children stay up very late in summer (they nap in the afternoon), so you’ll see a lot more of them out late in the evening than in most countries.

Here’s how to get the most out a trip to the Amalfi Coast with kids. 

A family walks along a pathway overlooking Positano, Amalfi Coast, Campania, Italy
There are plenty of kid-friendy paths through the Amalfi Coast’s famously steep towns © AS photo family / Shutterstock

Is the Amalfi Coast good for kids?

The small coastal town of Cetara is relatively off the beaten track, and makes for an ideal base for families. It’s gently sloping rather than steep, has a small beach and is small enough to easily explore. It’s also accessible by ferry – which is important, as children might find a car or bus journey along the serpentine coastal road challenging. 

A smaller, lesser known town on the coast, Minori is also among the best places to stay if traveling with kids (it, too, lies along the ferry route). It’s less packed than places such as Positano and Ravello, has traffic-free streets in the center, and sits upon a small black-sanded beach, with lemon-grove-lined walking trails above the town.

Nearby Maiori is especially good for toddlers, as it has a small playground on the waterfront, a castle, pedestrianized streets, several beach clubs and fewer hills than some of the other coastal towns. The main attraction here is all the play space the long beach affords – and, again, ferry access.

Ravello has beautiful gardens with glorious views out the sea that are fun to explore with kids – but better as a day trip than as a base. Just beyond the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento is more built up and less beautiful than nearby towns. Yet its relative flatness and range of transport and accommodation options make the town a popular choice for families. 

Tourist hot spot Amalfi – the town that started it all – is also worth visiting with kids, being less hilly and more accessible than Positano. Little ones will enjoy its piazzas, fountains and waterfront playground, as well as the family-pleasing Museum of Paper, where you can all give papermaking by hand a try. It also has a good range of accommodation, and is a ferry hub (Positano is 15–30 minutes away by boat, Capri around an hour). Bear in mind, however, that the town gets very busy, so we’d recommend basing yourself somewhere smaller.

The beach filled with umbrellas, Amalfi, Campania, Italy
Beach clubs – which abound along the Amalfi Coast – are great for families with young kids © Eugenia Struk / Shutterstock

Best things to do on the Amalfi Coast with kids 

Best things to do on the Amalfi Coast with babies and toddlers

The wonderful thing about traveling with babes in arms is that…you can carry them in your arms. This makes them supremely portable and – so long as they’re comfortable – fairly happy, wherever you go. The best beaches for young children on the coast include Maiori, which is easy to reach from the promenade, and has lots of beach clubs, restaurants and almost a kilometer of sand. There’s also the sandy beach at Positano, which has a small public area as well as beach clubs with facilities such as sun loungers, umbrellas and snack bars. Beach clubs are ideal for young families, as they’ll have everything you need (plus shade for afternoon naps). Many toddlers will also get a big kick out of boat trips and short ferry hops along the coast.

Boats in the water outside the entrance to Grotto Azzurro, Capri, Italy
The waters of the Grotta Azzurra of Capri will dazzle boat passengers of all ages © ryan7 / Shutterstock

Best things to do on the Amalfi Coast with kids

Beyond the beach, boat trips along the coast, with snacks served on board and stops for dips, are dreamy with kids. From Amalfi, you can take a trip to Grotta delle Smeraldo, a cathedral-like cave; from Capri, you can reach the brilliant-blue Grotta Azzurra. Museums aren’t the main attraction in this part of Italy – with the exception of the Museum of Paper in Amalfi. Little ones will also enjoy just scampering around towns – naturally, with frequent stops for granita and gelato. If your children like walking, a great trail is the Path of the Lemons, which has fairly gentle slopes and takes you through fragrant lemon groves: take the stretch from Maiori and toward Minori for 2.5km (1.5 miles).

Young people setting out in kayaks from a beach, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Campania, Italy
Even the most jaded teen will love getting out on the salt water in a kayak © dpVUE .images / Shutterstock

Best things to do on the Amalfi Coast with teenagers and tweenagers

This age group can be more difficult to please, yet even they cannot fail to be impressed by the scenery and opportunities for snorkeling and kayaking (from Positano and Maoiri) along the coast. Take the ferry over to Capri to window-shop at its many designer boutiques and explore its beautiful bougainvilleas-draped backdrops. Cooking classes are easily bookable – a wonderful hands-on activity for the entire famiglia. For something more active, there are even scuba centers along the coast. For the best possible trip, begin with a few days in Naples, visiting the wonders of Pompeii, eating the world’s best pizza and climbing active volcano Mt Vesuvius to start off your trip on a high. 

Mother and kids enjoying a ferry-boat ride near the famous city of Amalfi in Campania, Italy
The ferry along the Amalfi Coast offers a delightful (and carsickness-free) way to get from town to town © Imgorthand / Getty Images

Planning tips

If you have preschoolers (and thus the luxury of traveling outside of school holidays), the ideal time to come here is September or early October, when the sea retains its warmth from the summer months. Mid-May to early June is also a great period on the coast, though the sea will be colder. 

Renting a car makes travel easier with kids: rentals are generally affordable, and outside the long high season the traffic is manageable. Just be aware that parking can be a challenge, and you will have to pay for it in towns, with some lots costing up to €35 per day. 

Even though it’s hilly and there are lots of steps, bring a light stroller that you can quickly fold away and carry. You can combine this with a carrier to make travel with a small person as easy as possible. It’s also worth bringing a harness-style travel high chair, as these are not provided at many restaurants or cafes. Keep in mind that public amenities are few for families and those traveling while pregnant, and some towns are easier to navigate than others. You’ll receive plenty of welcoming goodwill, but not so many changing stations, special queues and so on.

Public transport is welcoming to children, even if buses and ferries don’t have any special facilities for them. There are public toilets in most of the towns – but you have to pay, so bring some change. It’s also wise to pack a stash of diapers, and replenish whenever you pass an open supermarket. You don’t want to find yourself without the essentials on a Sunday in this part of Italy.

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