One of the most stunning places on earth I have been to with kids was the Amalfi Coast. Its picturesque towns, rich food, and breathtaking sunsets make it a wonderful family vacation. I would love to walk you through where to stay, what to do, when to visit, how to get around, what to pack, things to consider before going and answer some more questions on the best experience with kids in tow.
Is Amalfi Coast Child Friendly?
The main question many people ask is if the Amalfi Coast is child-friendly. I get it, while gorgeous, the hills look really steep and you primarily see adults in all the photos. Now I am here to tell you we took our then 3-year-old and he had a wonderful time.
The main attraction for kids of course is the ocean. They don’t need theme parks or centers dedicated to kids when they have the ocean at their feet. Now also consider this when planning your trip length. We stayed for 3 nights, 4 days on the Amalfi Coast, and it did not seem like enough time.
We could have at least spent 2 more nights to be able to enjoy Capri and other nearby towns. Let me walk you through which towns we did enjoy and what you must add to your itinerary.
Where to Stay
First and foremost our accommodations. Amalfi Coast with kids was only part of our Italian trip of a lifetime as we like to call it. So we had a specific budget dedicated to each city in Italy therefore we didn’t stay at a 5-star hotel like we usually do.
We still wanted really nice accommodations of course and we were looking for a private beach that didn’t break the bank. Tall order I know but of course, I found the gem and it was perfect.
You see if you’ve researched quite a bit already you know that waterfront property is going to cost you big time. The majority of the beachfront properties are apartments and most for a public beach and let me tell you, depending on the time of the year, they can get very crowded.
If you have just begun your research well search no more, I highly recommend you stay at the most quaint yet still gorgeous town of Cetara. It is a small fishing town connected to the heart of the Amalfi Coast.
Since it’s not the town everyone hears about, it’s nowhere near crowded like the others are. You get more privacy. Yet you have all the amenities you will need, little shops, restaurants, a private and public beach, a dock that connects you to the ferry to go to other towns, and even a kids park!
We stayed at Hotel Cetus and it was perfect. It’s a four-star hotel situated at the top of the hill. All the rooms have impressive views of the ocean and many have private terraces you can admire the coast’s beauty. I highly recommend this hotel for many reasons I will share, but I will start with the number one reason: private beach.
This hotel has exclusive access to a shell-shaped private beach at their property. It is the perfect size for it to feel exclusive and not too crowded. I never had to worry about getting a lounge chair and the attendants were very helpful.
It is open for the summer months only; June to September and I highly recommend you take advantage of it during this time. We must have spent at least 4 hours daily there. Another excellent perk of the private beach is that it has a beverage and foodservice there! I was able to order many bellinis and Peroni’s in addition to chips and caprese sandwiches to not have to worry about leaving and getting dressed to go to a restaurant.
Now, to access this beach you do have to walk down a pathway with many stairs. On the way, it’s not too bad but to get back up is a little bit of a workout. I wouldn’t let this deter you but you might want to consider this if you have any accessibility needs.
Another wonderful benefit of staying in this hotel is its bar and restaurant. They both have amazing ocean views so our meals were incredible. Now, in Italy, restaurants close at certain times of the day. They are not like the US, open all day.
So on one of those days, we were looking for dinner around 6:30 pm because our son went to bed around 7:30 P.M. and the restaurants didn’t open again for dinner until later, we stopped by the bar as we were informed they have fresh sandwiches and it was perfect. It didn’t feel like a bar where we would be uncomfortable taking a toddler. It just felt like a gorgeous, large patio deck on a hill. I wish I could bottle that gorgeous views.
Cetara the Town
The town itself is very quaint. At the bottom of the hill where Hotel Cetus is, is the heart of the town. You can either take the 10-minute walk down or pay a few euros to be driven down. We chose to pay a few euros because those roads on the Amalfi Coast are a little intimidating. The roads are very narrow and there are no sidewalks.
Once in town, there are many little shops you can buy souvenirs, groceries, toys, and gelatos, a lot of gelatos. There is a restaurant called Dea Mangiona Ristorante that saved us! Again we were looking for lunch at a time most restaurants were closed and this wonderful placed was very accomodating to us and their pizza was absolutely delicious.
The town also has a really cute playground where my son was really glad to burn off some energy. It was the only one we encountered on the Amalfi Coast so we were pleasantly surprised to see it.
Getting Around; The Ferry
By the playground, there is also a booth to purchase ferry tickets! The dock is directly behind that where ferries arrive every 30-50 minutes on average. This is how we leveraged getting around all the towns in the Amalfi Coast with kids.
They were affordable around 7 euros for an adult, spacious and again you can’t beat those views. Especially returning to Cetara during sunset. They were clean and not too crowded even for a busy month. I tried to grab a seat where I could admire the coast and get the most stunning photographs and videos.
The winding roads by bus or car
As I mentioned earlier the other method around the Amalfi Coast with kids is via car or bus. I don’t really recommend this option unless you get an all-day private tour because it’s not the most affordable option and the roads can be a bit intimidating.
The cars and motorcycles seemed to drive really fast in these really narrow, winding roads on cliffs. And while the views of the ocean are still beautiful, it doesn’t compare to being on the water.
Things to Take into Account:
We flew into Naples and took a taxi cab from the airport to get to Cetara. It is approximately 40 minutes away and I recommend getting private transportation instead of a taxi. The reason for this is because taxis will charge you per luggage on top of the meter rate. So you can imagine how expensive that was.
We didn’t mean to take a taxi cab. We had a private transport arranged however for some reason the company had a mix-up and didn’t arrive on time. Things like this will always happen so it’s best to call ahead and verify arrangements before flying in.
Stroller accessibility- baby carriers
Now like most cities in Italy, accessibility isn’t the best. There aren’t many ramps or smooth surfaces. Contrary you will likely encounter cobblestone paths and no to very few sidewalks. For this reason, I recommend you chose a baby carrier over a stroller.
If your child isn’t baby carrier age then do bring a very light umbrella stroller because it’s better than not having a stroller but be prepared to fold it and carry your child on multiple occasions. We brought an umbrella stroller to the trip and while I thought the wheels were going to fly off at any moment (ha!) it was helpful to have a space my child could rest without having to hold him in my arms.
Things to do
In the Amalfi Coast with kids, I recommend you primarily come to enjoy the gorgeous beach. Relax, drink and eat delicious Italian pasta. After that just soak in the coast.
Take the ferry to all the towns. The ferry stops in all the towns, so similar to a bus, you can get off at any port! Plan a dinner in the town of Amalfi. I highly recommend skipping past the restaurant by the ferry and go up just even 5 minutes up the hills for dinner.
Take another day to explore Sorrento and Positano. Soak in the piazzas and let the kids enjoy all the gelatos there. You can also check out local shops and towers. There will be beautiful churches and architecture. More on that below but you can also plan a day trip to Pompeii and Capri.
When to visit
We went in June and it was perfect! While June is prime time for Italy and it may be a bit more expensive than other times of the year, it’s ideal because most places are fully open. If you choose to come other times of the year you may encounter a lot of business or amenities closed.
The water in Italy is cold even in the summer so summertime is ideal if you aren’t used to too cold temperatures as well. Early June is my recommendation to go so you can enjoy everything right before it gets too hot.
Most Family-Friendly Towns
In addition to Cetara, other towns you may enjoy in the Amalfi Coast with kids are Maori, Amalfi Town, Sorrento, and Positano. One thing you should know is that if you stay in these other towns there is a fee to use the lounge chairs and umbrellas for around 25 euros at the beach. That can quickly add up if you have a larger family. Again this was a big appeal for staying in the hotel in Cetara due to its direct private beach.
I mentioned that to get to the Amalfi Coast with kids you can fly into Naples. But you can also take the train from Rome. Your preference may narrow down to where you are traveling from of course. Just remember to avoid taking a taxi once you do arrive due to the expensive per luggage fee.
What to pack to the Amalfi Coast with Kids
You want to pack a lot of summer clothes and bathing suits! You want to think of shorts, sundresses, and light, thin blouses. Assuming you’re taking my recommendation of traveling during the summer, you want to pack comfortable walking shoes like your favorite sandals or sneakers.
You also want to pack water shoes! The ocean in Italy has very rocky sand. It is rare to find a sandy beach so you want to bring water shoes, especially for the kids.
You also want to bring sunblock and hats. These are often forgotten and can be expensive to purchase while you are at the coast. I suggest bring a cross shoulder bag to keep your cell phone, credit card, camera other personal items so that you don’t have to worry about carrying any of these.
Also, like any trip don’t forget a first aid kit with a thermometer, Band-Aids, Neosporin, and a fever reducer as you never know with kids when to be prepared. Pack a wrinkle release spray since you won’t find an iron in most Italian hotels. Lastly don’t forget to pack water diapers if you are traveling with babies. You can check out my comprehensive beach vacation packing list to ensure you don’t forget anything else.
Is it expensive?
From my experience, the costs in Amalfi Coast were parallel to the cost in other tourist spots in Italy. The restaurants and food cost more in piazzas and by the water. Where you will probably spend the most is in transportation from Naples since the ferry is fairly affordable.
Remember to take a credit card with no foreign transaction fees as well as cash because in many places in Italy still don’t take credit cards or expect a minimum before they do.
Other attractions; Pompeii
Pompeii is a popular attraction just outside of Naples and therefore nearby the Amalfi Coast. People go to see the intact city that was covered in ash from Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. I would probably compare this to going to the Colosseum.
There are a lot of details to see and while very interesting for you, your little ones may just not appreciate it as much. From personal experience, tours work okay with a 3-year-old but very borderline. Be prepared to leave your group after entry if necessary. Also, bring water and sunblock as you won’t find a lot of shade.
A must-see while on the Amalfi Coast is Capri. Matter of fact next time we return to the Amalfi Coast I hope to stay in a Capri hotel. There are many ways to get there. You can book a half-day tour to see the blue grotto. You can also book a full-day tour to really take in the island.
It takes approximately an hour each way to get to Capri from Amalfi so anticipate 2 hours of just travel time. We had to really consider this when traveling with a toddler. It’s not always feasible to have him sit for that long of a period of time. If you are traveling with a tiny bit older kids this is an absolute must-see on your itinerary.
Amalfi Coast is a dream vacation come true. Go expecting to relax on the beach, yes even with kids, drink incredible bellinis, and soak in breathtaking views. Your kids can eat delicious pizza and gelatos while also soaking up the beach. It is the one Italian vacation spot where you don’t need much of an itinerary.
My son to this day daydreams about the Amalfi Coast and uses it in his imaginary play which I absolutely love. He also loves looking back at our photos and videos that I know he will grow up and cherish. That is my primary driver for taking him on all of our trips. Creating memories in childhood is priceless.
Check out my guide to Venice with kids as well as Florence, Italy! Two beautiful cities to plan and complete your next family vacation. Also, follow me on Instagram where you can see my story highlights for each city and bring these cities to life for you.