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Amalfi Coast Destinations Only Locals Know About

“Named after the water’s translucent shade of emerald green, Grotta dello Smeraldo is the shade of your friends’ eyes back home.”

From hairpin bends and Alfa Romeos to Limoncello liquor, there’s more to the Amalfi coast than Jamie Oliver would have you believe. So before you fill your camera roll with cliches and deep fried ravioli, check out this guide to some of the more off-beat locations.

Disclaimer: there’s nothing wrong with a cheeky tourist pic. But travel snobs, people who’ve been before, and travellers in Amalfi long enough to see more than the Lonely Planet checklist should definitely take advantage of this list.

Fornillo Beach

If you’re after something more laid-back than the VIP scene at Spiaggia Grande (Positano’s main beach), put Fornillo beach on your agenda. Get up early, do the 10-minute walk along Via dei Positanesi d’America (the route that connects Fornillo and the main town), and you’ll be rewarded with your own semi private beach.

Bonus: if you get blisters on your way there there’s a free boat shuttle between Fornillo and Positano’s main pier (for the return). The restaurants and deck chair rental merchants are also cheaper here (supply , demand, etc.).

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Conca Dei Marini

Quaint is the best word to describe Conca dei Marini; a fishing village often overlooked by tourists on their way to the more famous towns of Amalfi and Positano (Conca dei Marini sits between the two). Unlike its brother and sister, Conca dei Marini scarcely feels touristy—especially if you go in the shoulder or off peak season (i.e. avoid July and August).

For us the highlight is Grotta dello Smeraldo, a jaw-slackening 100-foot-high sea cave carved into the cliffs by the shore, named after the water’s translucent shade of emerald green (i.e. the shade of your friends’ eyes back home flicking through your latest Insta-story).

The village itself is a cluster of coloured houses (so old and picturesque they are UNESCO protected) hanging tight at the base of a cliff, winding down towards a bay that flows out into the Tyrrhenian Sea. There are also mouth watering local restaurants (many recommend Risorgimento for its excellent seafood risotto), a small church, a 16th-century watchtower, and a relatively tourist-free beach.

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Don Alfonso 1890

The town of Sant’Agata is not on everyone’s itinerary, but Don Alfonso 1890 makes it worth a squiz. The hotel (and ristorante) runs deep with family-run passion, which you will inevitably experience in some kind of health-conscious, organic explosion of flavour. But, as reported by Vogue, the fun begins well before you sit down in the tranquil dining room: “Guests enjoy a tour of the subterranean wine and cheese cellar.” Then when you come to eat, “The meal itself is a mosaic of flavours, thoughtfully paired and… grounded in tradition… date(ing) back generations.” Standouts include the baked egg with burrata and black truffle, the locally raised Laticauda lamb, and the “sinful” Concert of Lemon dessert.

Did we mention there was a pool?

Cantine Marisa Cuomo

Yes: Italy is brimming (if not overflowing) with world-class wine regions. But that just means there are some gems that fly under the radar. Cantine Marisa Cuomo is one such unicorn; a winery in the cliffs of Furore—a town tucked between Praiano and Conca dei Marini—that makes wines that rival the beauty of the landscape.

Cantine Marisa Cuomo is known for its crisp, fruity white wines, made from native grapes like Fenile, Ginestra, and Ripoli. It also plays host to vibrant, sun-smacked reds made with the local Per ‘e Palummo grape. This estate also features 25 acres of lush, terraced vineyards overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. GrazieGrazie indeed.

Da Adolfo Trattoria

Da Adolfo is Italy’s equivilent of a Spanish Chiringuito, or an Aussie beachside cafe. Located on Laurito beach (a 10-minute boat ride from Positano), Da Adolfo will make up for every tourist rip off meal you’ve ever eaten. Although the 40-year-old restaurant is hardly spanking new, the authenticity of the experience makes it worth its weight in pasta. Think: barefoot waiters, sand-between-your-toes, and chalkboard menus.

Expect everything you need and nothing you don’t. The food bursts with Amalfi flavours: spaghetti with fresh octopus and zucchini, grilled mozzarella on lemon leaves, anchovies tossed in green peppers, mussels in a tangy tomato sauce—take your pick.

When you’re done, take a shot of Limoncello, and a snooze on beach beds provided. Then: explore…

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