Praiano is a small town on the Amalfi Coast, located halfway between the villages of Positano and Amalfi. It's often overlooked in favor of its larger and more flashy neighbors, but if you're keen to escape the hordes of tourists that tend to descend on the Amalfi Coast in the summer months, Praiano might just be the town for you.
Afraid that "small town" might equal insane boredom? It's an understandable concern, but Praiano actually has a lot to offer its visitors. Here are some of my top picks for things to do in Praiano...
Enjoy a Relaxing Sunset Dinner
Given Praiano's smaller size, there are of course bound to be slightly less dining options than in the more bustling villages of Positano and Amalfi, but Praiano still has some fantastic restaurants for you to choose from. Even better: you won't need to worry about making a reservation six months in advance!
Hit the Beach
Marina di Praia is Praiano's main beach. Be advised that it's a pebble beach (one woman lamented to me that she'd just had a pedicure and now it was ruined) but once you're in the water it's lovely. That is, until someone on land shouts "jellyfish!" and points to the area two feet in front of you, in which case no one is safe from my flailing limbs as I make a panicked dash back to the safety of dry land.*
*No small children were hurt in the making of this blog. My dignity, however, is another story...
At night you can pull up a chair at one of the nearby restaurants and sip wine under the stars until the early hours. I don't think I even need to say it, but it's pretty damn heavenly.
If you follow the path back up to the main road from Marina di Praia, you'll come to an old tower called the Torre a Mare, which for the past two decades has served as an artist's studio for an Italian man named Paolo Sandulli and his two pet goats (!).
When my taller half and I pop in one day to see what it's all about, Paolo welcomes us enthusiastically and happily explains his work. This is one of the things I like about the smaller towns on the Amalfi Coast: the locals seem genuinely happy to talk to visitors, whereas sometimes in the busier towns you can feel like you've got the word "Tourist" along with some dollar signs branded on your forehead in big red letters.
Hire a boat
Boats are available to rent down at the Marina di Praia beach. This is a great way to see the Amalfi Coast on your own terms and there are lots of small caves and secluded coves just waiting to be explored.
Don't forget to bring a bottle (or three) of prosecco with you in case you get thirsty!
Alternatively, if you don't feel confident driving the boat yourself, you can also sign up to a group boat tour or hire your own personal captain for the day. As an added bonus, you can spend the rest of the day referring to him as Cappy.
Praiano's location between Amalfi and Positano make it an ideal base for day trips. Both towns are only about 30 minutes away by bus, and once in Amalfi you can also catch another bus up to the picturesque town of Ravello.
If you're game for a slightly longer day trip, the pretty town of Sorrento is about an hour away by bus (30 minutes past Positano). Once in Sorrento, you an also take the Circumvesuviania train an extra 30 minutes to the ancient city of Pompeii. Click here for useful tips on planning a day trip to Pompeii.
Be Advised: If you're taking the bus around the coast, be sure to bring a bottle of water and a fan with you. The buses can get very hot and crowded, and the winding roads mean that car sickness is somewhat common.
Jump off a Bridge
Nicknamed "the village that doesn't exist," the nearby (and very hidden) village of Furore plays host every year to the International Diving Championship, where the brave souls of this world hurl themselves off an impossibly high diving platform and into the water below.
For those without a death wish, feel free to grab a drink and just observe!
Explore Praiano's Weirder Nightlife at Africana Famous Club
Housed inside a natural cave near the Marina di Praia is the strange world of Africana Famous Club (yes, that's its actual name), a nightclub where nearly every drink on the menu is 10 euros. Upon hearing that Monday nights are Jazz Night, we made our way over after dinner one evening. Strangely, thumping non-jazzy house music blasted from the speakers as the three other guests in the sprawling venue awkwardly sipped their 10 euro drinks. Needless to say, it was weird.
One assumes (er, hopes) that weekends are slightly busier. The place gets some decent reviews on TripAdvisor, so I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt. And even though the whole thing can seem a bit out of place in the somewhat sleepy town of Praiano, it's still worth checking out just for the heck of it (not least because they have an elevator which will take you back up to street level - your calves will thank you!).
Word of Warning: If you're staying in Praiano, be prepared for a lot of steps. It's a very vertical place, as are many other towns on the Amalfi Coast, and your thighs will definitely be feeling the burn. On the positive side though: it really helps to even out all the cheese and wine that you're bound to consume during your stay (that is, if there's any left after my visit!).