Nestled in the Campanian seaside cliffs between astonishing Amalfi and sensational Salerno lies the lesser-known town of Maiori. Home to the longest stretch of beach on the Amalfi Coast, centuries’ worth of religious and cultural history and a gorgeous waterfront promenade, Maiori is the perfect place for a relaxing, romantic getaway.
Ask any traveler to describe a typical town on the Amalfi Coast, and chances are they’ll paint you a word picture of a deep yellow sandy beach, colorful buildings, luscious green mountains in the background, and maybe a church tower or two.
What they’ll likely forget to mention, however, are the crowds. The overpriced, lukewarm water bottles sold by tourist shops. The boatloads of people in cargo shorts coming in through the bay, phone cameras at the ready.
Far be it from me to suggest that the mainstays like Sorrento or Positano aren't worth visiting. But if you’re looking for a serene getaway in the area, they may not be your best bet — no matter how picture-perfect the streets look.
That's where Maiori comes in: a seaside town where the 5,000 or so permanent denizens might refreshingly outnumber the tourists.
Why staying in Maiori makes perfect sense
- It’s cheap: You’ll get more bang for your buck in Maiori than in more popular destinations in the area — in terms of accommodation, food and drinks, souvenirs and more.
- It’s central: Anyone looking to disconnect will find that Maiori is the perfect base. It's well-connected by bus from Salerno and Sorrento, and you can easily visit other cities on the coast with a rental car, public transport or a boat tour (see below).
- It’s calm: In stark contrast to the crowded streets of Amalfi and Positano are the peaceful, cobbled alleyways in Maiori. Sure, there are some tourist shops around the promenade and the main shopping street, but they’re not nearly as packed as their counterparts in the bigger cities.
What to do in Maiori beyond the beach
Maiori is a hassle-free town on the Amalfi Coast. That much should be clear. But while that may lead you to believe the town is as dull as it is peaceful, nothing could be further from the truth.
There are plenty of exciting things to do in and around Maiori if you’re not interested in spending the day getting a tan at the beach. These are some of the best.
Walk the Sentiero dei Limoni
Without a doubt, the most memorable thing to do in Maiori is to walk the Sentiero dei Limoni (Path of the Lemons). The centuries-old walking trail between terraced lemon groves and rolling hills connects Maiori to its neighboring village, Minori. If you've ever wanted to hike under lemon trees with gorgeous sea views — and who hasn’t? — this is the hike for you.
Bonus: you can reward yourself with fresh lemonade at the halfway point or at the end of the path.
The path starts at the village church, Santuario Santa Maria a Mare, and is clearly marked with decorative tiles. At a leisurely pace, the hike should take just over an hour.
Bask in Santuario Santa Maria a Mare
What's a trip to any small Italian village without a cursory visit to the local parish church that's just a little too big for the town? Jest aside, in Maiori, that church is the Santuario Santa Maria a Mare (also known as Parrocchia Santa Maria a Mare), but it's worth more than a passing glance.
The inside of the church has beautiful ornate finishes, although they don’t differ all that much from other churches in the area. This one has an underground crypt with centuries-old artwork, mosaics and other relics.
The view over the hills from the back of the church leaves nothing to be desired.
Visit Palazzo Mezzacapo
Palazzo Mezzacapo is a recently renovated municipal building — essentially Maiori's town hall — in the middle of the town’s main street. This building hosts art exhibitions, recitals and the occasional wedding.
Come for the art, stay for the incredible fountains and frescoes.
Admire Torre Normanna
A well-preserved medieval tower overlooking the clear blue Tyrrhenian sea, at a stone's throw from the village center? Surely that must be worth a visit.
The Torre Normannais no longer used as a defensive structure — it has been transformed into an enchanting high-end restaurant. If you've got something to celebrate while in Maiori, this might just be the place to go.
See the Amalfi Coast from the water
Whether you're going it solo, traveling with your significant other, friends or a family with kids, a boat tour along the Amalfi Coast is always a good idea. Knowledgeable skippers — who double as local guides — explain the significance of architectural gems and tell you the stories you didn’t know you needed to hear.
Plenty of half-day and full-day tours depart from Maiori to give you an unforgettable marine experience.
Visiting the Amalfi Coast can be romantic, relaxing and rewarding, and it doesn’t mean you have to stick strictly to the region’s over-hyped cities.