Ravello Travel Guide | Visiting the Amalfi Coast Part I
Hello friends! It feels so great to be bringing you this piece today: my first travel post in over a year! Allow me to present to you: my Ravello Travel Guide, Visiting the Amalfi Coast Part I! Covid put a lot of my travel plans on hold over the last year, and the post I’m sharing today is all about my first foreign trip in 21 months! Can you actually believe it? Our last international trip was in December 2019 to Lyon, so when the chance came to visit the Amalfi coast in September just gone, we jumped at it! This is the first of three posts about our trip; the next will cover Amalfi & Positano, and the final one will cover all things Naples. I’m so happy to finally be able to write a travel post again!
My Ravello Travel Guide is below – it’s a comprehensive list of everything you could possibly need to know about visiting the town. I’ve included recommendations of where to stay, eat, drink, what to do, and how to get there. If you only take one recommendation from this Ravello Travel Guide, please let it be having a drink on Palazzo Avino’s terrace – I’m begging you. Enjoy!
Ravello is a small town perched high up in the mountains with dramatic, sweeping views of the Amalfi coast below. Boyfriend and I were in town with his family to attend a wedding, and we took the opportunity to explore as much as possible. We were there for four nights and ended up loving it! Ravello is a real sleepy and quiet town – perfect for relaxing and recharging. It feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger towns along the Amalfi coast, and that’s something that suited us down to a T. Because it’s located quite high up, the views from basically every angle are majestic – facing out to sea you can spot Minori and possibly Atrani below, while facing back towards the mountains you can see Scala, the oldest town on the Amalfi coast.
Bonus: the entire Amalfi Coast – including all 15 municipalities – is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site! It is considered an area of “of great physical beauty and natural diversity”!
So really the question is: why not Ravello?
getting to ravello
Due to the towns location high up in the mountains, there is no one quick and easy way to get there. Here are the steps we took getting from Dublin to Ravello.
• we flew with Aer Lingus direct from Dublin to Naples, which took around 3-hours. Because we flew during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, I was double checking the Department of Foreign Affairs website pretty regularly to check for updates/changes. All that was required when we visited was a valid Covid-19 Vaccination Cert, and a Passenger Locator Form should they need to contact us during our stay.
• there is only one road up to Ravello, and it is an extremely steep and winding one. Some people at the wedding rented cars at Naples airport & drove to Ravello, but I would say you’d need to be pretty confident behind the wheel to opt for this. If you’re looking to get public transport, I think it takes around 3-hours and you’d have to get two separate buses. For an easier life, we took a private car from the airport to Ravello, which took around 1-hour. Boyfriend’s parents booked the company so I’m not exactly sure which it was, but later in our trip we booked another private car with Simply Amalfi – who we would definitely recommend!
• the cars and bus drop you off at the edge of town as Ravello is mostly pedestrianized. This wasn’t a big deal for us as we only had backpacks, but it is something to keep in mind if you have bigger or heavier suitcases – the town is rather hilly.
Where to stay
Nonno Francesco B&B // a great little B&B! Boyfriend & I stayed in the ‘King Room with Sea View’ and it was spacious and perfect – we especially enjoyed sitting out on the little balcony watching the sunset in the distance. It has a great location, just a 5-min walk from the main square and a further 5-min walk to Villa Cimbrone. Olga, the lady who took care of us, was lovely, the room was sparkling, and the breakfast was great. The only downside of the B&B was that there are a lot of steps to get there – it’s very high up in the town and there’s a sharp descent down to the actual building – but it wouldn’t stop us from staying there again.
where to have coffee & pastries
Al San Domingo // the cafe we visited every single morning for coffee. Once we knew how great the coffee & pastries were, we didn’t bother trying anywhere else. It’s located right off the main square, and we enjoyed coffees both standing at the bar and seated outside – each time was great. The croissants were lovely – plain, crema, chocolate – and, due to an adventurous order from Boyfriend, I can even say their rum baba are nice! Would definitely recommend.
Where to drink alcohol
Lobster & Martini Bar @ Palazzo Avino // this is one of my favourite memories from Ravello! Although we weren’t staying at this beautiful 5-star hotel, I had read online that you can have a drink on their terrace. Best. Decision. Ever. We loved every second! The staff were amazing, and although the drinks were a little pricey – €20 for a margarita – is was worth every penny! They open at 6pm, and we got there early to nab one of the better tables; the view from the terrace is ultimately the same as the Belmond Caruso next door, but somehow classier. Our drinks came with a huge range of appetizers and tasty morsels, and to top everything off, a thunderstorm started just over the mountains while we were there. It felt like we had a front row seat at an amazing show. It was an absolutely perfect evening. A must visit!
Where to eat
Now we’re getting to my favourite part of this Ravello Travel Guide: where to eat! I’ve divided the below recommendations into different categories based on the meals we ourselves had at each given place. This was purely for organizational ease & isn’t to say somewhere we had lunch wouldn’t be ideal for dinner, too. You catch my drift? Great! Let’s dive in!
Enotavola Wine Bar // we stopped in here for a leisurely Sunday lunch and loved it! They have an adorable courtyard seating area, shaded with sheets of fabric and framed by grapevines growing all around. We shared a large meat + cheese platter to start, and meatballs with spaghetti for mains. We also had a few glasses of a beautiful local red wine that our waitress recommended, which we thought was really reasonably priced. Don’t miss: Nonna’s meatballs! They were the best meatballs we’ve ever had the pleasure of eating! A must visit.
Mimí Pizzeria & Cuccina // highly recommended across all platforms, and easy to see why: it’s great! We were short on time when we popped in for a quick bite before the wedding, but the service was fast and the staff were lovely. Although I’ve heard the pizza is great, we shared the ‘il tagliere’ meat and cheese board and devoured every last crumb. Excellent wine by the glass, too! A must visit.
La Vecchia Cantina // our first pit stop upon arriving in town and it really hit the spot! We kept it classic with a pizza margherita & pizza ‘diavola’ – both were great – and some ice cold Birra Moretti. It was exactly what we were looking for!
Villa Amore // located very near Villa Cimbrone, this restaurant was recommended to us for the views. Although we enjoyed our meal – bruschetta to share & lemon scented pasta – it was nothing special. Would only really recommend if you’re in the area and want a nice terrace to eat on.
Ristorante Belvedere @ Belmond Hotel Caruso // admittedly, this was the wedding location, so it was probably a bit different to a normal dining experience. But! The food was superb – easily the best wedding food either of us have had! We both had a vegetarian tomato pasta starter, and beef fillet with herb crust main. Dessert was nothing to write home about – although, perhaps I’m fussy – but both the wine and service were amazing. The setting of the meal was also quite beautiful: served on the terrace, overlooking the coastline, under the stars. Would recommend.
Giardini Caffé Calce // day two of the wedding took place here, and the food was rather good! We ate a multitude of different pizzas fresh out of the wood-fired oven, as well as snacks like arancini, and later in the evening a pasta course of ragu. The highlight for us was very much the pizzas; perfectly thin bases, searingly hot, with great crusts. Also, not something I can personally vouch for, but apparently Caffé Calce is home to some wonderful croissants in the morning!
Ristorante Raffaele @ Hotel Parsifal // Boyfriend’s parents were staying at this hotel, and we met them for dinner here on our last night. We ate on the beautiful terrace overlooking the coastline and were well looked after by the lovely staff. I had a lemon & burrata cream ravioli starter, followed by a braised pork fillet main – both were great! I can also vouch for their house wines, which I may have had a few glasses of 😉
Trattoria Pizzeria Cumpa’ Cosimo // my Ravello travel guide would be incomplete without mentioning this institution of sorts. Local, family run, authentic Italian trattoria. I had the fettuccini al bolognese to start, and the pork for mains. Honestly? The food was just okay, and the service was a bit too off the cuff for me, but it appears this is somewhere one has to eat in Ravello.
Fruit Passion // we only stopped here because it was on the way to our B&B – but can you go wrong with gelato? Both the pistachio & hazelnut were excellent.
what to do/see
Villa Cimbrone // any Ravello travel guide would be incomplete without mentioning its two beautiful gardens: Villa Cimbrone & Villa Rufolo. We visited both and unanimously agree that Villa Cimbrone is more worth of your time. It is stunning! The whole place felt like a castle that jumped right out of a fairytale, turrets and all! The Terrace of Infinity, with its breathtaking view of the Amalfi coast & marble statues, is the main attraction, but there is so much else to explore. We spent about an hour slowly wandering around and taking it all in. Pro tip: get there as early as you can! We had the Terrace all to ourselves for a meagre 5-minutes before it was overrun with other tourists. The gardens open to the public at 9am – earlier, if you’re a hotel guest – and we’d seriously recommend getting there asap rocky. A must visit!
Villa Rufolo // if you google ‘Ravello’, you will undoubtedly be shown a picture of an umbrella pine tree in front of a domed building set against the backdrop of clear blue sea; that’s Villa Rufolo! When we visited there was a lot of activity and stage-building happening for the Ravello festival, so it probably wasn’t the best time to visit, but it was still beautiful.
Explore // Ravello is super small and walkable – meaning you can explore everything it has to offer easily by foot! The town is charming, quaint, and just generally lovely to amble around. Do keep in mind that it is rather steep and there are a lot of steps everywhere, but it’s still beautiful.
Belvedere Principessa di Piedmont // a very well kept & manicured little garden with an amazing view! We stumbled across this entirely by accident but loved discovering it. Truth be told, it was the ivy covered wall of the entrance that enticed me in – I love a photogenic wall!
Hike! // Ravello looks down on loads of adorable little towns – pretty much all of these can be hiked to! There’s a lot of information online, but we visited the tourist office to get advice on routes to Amalfi. The route we chose started near Villa Cimbrone and took us to Amalfi in less than an hour. The walk was entirely downhill – a big workout for the calves/thighs! – featured lemon and fig trees aplenty, and about a million little lizard friends to keep us company. Would recommend!
And there we have it: my Ravello Travel Guide! What did you think? Have you visited this beautiful hilltop town? Let me know in the comment section below if you’ve been to any of the above recommendations, I’d love to hear your experiences! Even better, if you have any recommendations of your own, please share them with us!
I’ll be back soon with part ii!
Until then, ciao! xo
Looking for more Italian travel guides?
Italian Adventures Part I: Florence
Italian Adventures Part II: Bologna
An Ode to Florence, Italy
24 Hours in San Gimignano
A Quick Guide to Siena, Italy
Castellina in Chianti | A Guide to Tuscany’s Most Overlooked Village
Bologna, A Love Letter