Atrani: the smallest village in Southern Italy

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  • January 27, 2016
Atrani, Amalfi coast

It took me a long time to get to the Amalfi Coast (I’d made five visits to Italy before I made it there), and what seems like an equal amount of time to decide where to stay.

Small villages have always appealed more to me than big towns – there’s just something about being able to feel at home quickly that you only get in a small place. So Positano and Amalfi were off the list – too obvious, too crowded, too expensive. But nor did I want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Atrani has a surafce area of only 0.12 km2 and a population of around 1,000 which makes it the smallest town in southern Italy, but it’s just around the corner from Amalfi so I thought it might be a good choice for us.

We stayed at Eva rooms, a B&B I chose purely because of this view from the balcony where breakfast was served every morning.
Eva rooms, Atrani, Amalfi coastTo get to Atrani we drove down the Amalfi coast road west from Salerno, stopping at Vietri sul Mare on the way to check out the ceramics.

Driving this road isn’t as bad as everyone says, although I have to hand it to Mr Travelling Pantaloni – he’s an excellent driver who fits right in on the Italian roads. I’m sure there’s some Italian driving gene lurking in there somewhere just waiting to be unleashed when we hit Italian soil. Having said all that we were nearly hit by a bus (not our fault obviously).

Parking is practically non-existent in Atrani, so once we arrived we handed our hire car over to a weathered old gent whose name I didn’t catch. He was tasked with parking it ‘somewhere safe’ for us, for €10 per day (which is very cheap for the Amalfi coast).

Scenes from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off flashed before me as I wondered if I’d ever see it again. Then again we had a Fiat 500, not a Ferrari 250 California so we were probably safe. For the next six days we were travelling by foot, bus or boat around the coast.

So Atrani is certainly picturesque …

Atrani, Amalfi coast

Atrani, Amalfi coast

So picturesque in fact that several films have been shot on location here

Atrani, Amalfi coast

But they weren’t lying when they said it was small. It’s tiny. Tiny as in one piazza. Tiny as in takes one minute to walk around. Well maybe two. But definitely less than five if you go from the beach, around the piazza and up the only street, and back to the beach again. You get the drift.

Here’s the piazza
Atrani, Amalfi coast

Atrani, Amalfi coast

So there’s not much to do here apart from go to the beach or eat. Our favourite place was Le Arcate situated right on the water and right below our room. Having lunch here on a sunny day is magic.

Le Arcate, Atrani, Amalfi coast

Le Arcate, Atrani, Amalfi coast

After a hectic day out on the Amalfi coast, Atrani is a very nice place to come back to. It’s really quiet, there’s not many tourists, and you can just observe locals going about their business.

Chatting at Atrani, Amalfi coast

washing day, Atrani, Amalfi coast

And Eva Rooms is a decent place to stay, with beautiful sunrises that light up the room

Sunrise from the bathroom window, Eva Rooms, Atrani, Amalfi coastEva Rooms, Atrani, Amalfi coast

And as I hoped, Atrani is very close to the much bigger town of Amalfi where you can catch a boat to Positano and Capri and do some nice walks up into the hills.

To get there from Atrani you go up some stairs …
sign from Atrani to Amalfi
… walk right through a restaurant (it’s OK, the restaurant has appropriated the pathway), and then take your life into your hands as you walk a few hundred metres along the Amalfi coast road and try not to get run over.
road between Atrani and Amalfi

road between Atrani and Amalfi

On the way there you can check out this fancy hotel and its cliff-side pool

And here’s your first glimpse of Amalfi as you come round the corner
Amalfi
So when you get bored of Atrani, it’s nice to walk over here and wander around at night after the cruise ship tourists have left. Just don’t even think about having a drink at one of the bars in the main piazza – unless you’re happy to pay €13 for one gin & tonic!

Amalfi

Atrani is a good choice for the Amalfi coast if you prefer somewhere a bit quieter, but four nights is definitely enough.

While there we did day trips to Capri and Ravello, and also exlored Amalfi and Positano.

Read about our wanderings on the Amalfi coast here: Capri, Ravello, Positano, Amalfi, Amalfi nature walk

Until next time, safe travels,

The Travelling Pantaloni

Passport stamp for Travelling Pantaloni

PS In case you’re wondering, we got our Fiat 500 back in one piece

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