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Salerno Destination Guide - The Gateway To The Amalfi Coast

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Salerno - a town filled with rich history

The coastal town of Salerno, situated southeast of the city of Naples, near the mouth of the Irno River on the Gulf of Salerno, is a place of rich history and the ideal starting point for exploring the stunning Amalfi coast.  

The city dates back to the Roman colony of Salernum, founded in 197 BC on the site of an old Etruscan town called Irnthi. Throughout history, Salerno has retained its status as an important port on the Tyrrhenian Sea. 

Salerno prospered greatly during the Middle Ages, under the rule of the Lombard Dukes, and became a renowned centre of medical studies through its prestigious medical school, which remains active to the present day. 

The city of Salerno also played an important role during WWII, as it was the site of the invasion of Allied forces during Operation Avalanche. Following the capitulation of fascist Italy in 1943, the King of Italy Victor Emmanuel III moved from Rome to Salerno, making it the home of the “government of the South” and the provisional government seat for six months. Today, Salerno is one of the busiest domestic ports, acting as an industrial and commercial hub for the south of Italy. 

The winning combination of beautiful landmarks and lush walkways

Visiting Salerno, you are greeted by imposing architecture of various styles, beautiful gardens and a gorgeous promenade. Landmarks such as Salerno Cathedral and the Forte la Carnale offer an impressive amount of history, art and relics to discover, while the historic old town centre provides a perfect setting to explore the city and enjoy this coastal paradise. The proximity to the stunning and renowned Amalfi coast also make Salerno one of the top summer destinations. 

Historic centre

Salerno’s historic town centre offers a beautiful combination of gorgeous architecture, religious landmarks and narrow, charming streets.

A walk through the Rione Duomo district will enable you to best experience the local culture and vibrant nightlife. Here you will also find several important buildings like the Duomo, Villa Comunale and the Provinciale Archaeological museum.

Salerno Cathedral

The Salerno Cathedral, also known as the Duomo, has been a symbol of the city since the 11th century. This majestic building is dedicated to its patron saint, Saint Matthew, and displays a Romanesque style featuring a beautiful front facade with delicate arches.

The church is dominated by the 56 m high bell tower that sits at the rear of the cathedral displaying decorative artwork in both Arabic and Norman style.

The interior of the church displays various religious artefacts dedicated to Saint Matthew, including the crypt which is said to hold the remains of the Saint.

Villa Comunale di Salerno

Located in close proximity to the Salerno harbour, in the heart of the historic old town, you will find the stunning landscaped garden that is Villa Comunale di Salerno.

The garden was designed in the 19th century and was built on the site of the old town hall.

Here you can enjoy a relaxed walk among exotic trees and lush vegetation and visit several beautiful statues of important figures in local history like Giovanni Nicotera, Carlo Piscane and Clemente Mauro.

Trieste Lungomare

Trieste Lungomare is a beautiful, one-kilometre long promenade, stretching from Piazza della Liberta through to Porto Turistico. This tranquil walkway, covered with palm trees offering plenty of shade, is a perfect destination for a stroll any time of the day. There are also several charming piazzas (squares) along the way, complete with fountains and statues.

Forte La Carnale

Standing on top of a hill and overlooking the city of Salerno is Forte La Carnale, the 16th-century castle that protected the city against Saracene raids. Visiting the fort you will be greeted with fantastic views of the city and the Amalfi coast.

Today, the castle hosts numerous exhibitions and cultural displays portraying the history of the fortification and the city of Salerno. 

Amalfi coast

The nearby Amalfi coast is one of the most popular summer destinations in Italy, considered to be one of the most beautiful stretches of coastal landscape in the country.

The Amalfi cost is the perfect destination for a day trip as it offers plenty of beautiful beaches, picturesque towns and historical sites like the Duomo di Amalfi, the Shrine of Saint Andrew and the Chiostro del Paradiso.  

You will find the small town of Amalfi nestled on the side of the cliffs, a two-hour drive to the west of Salerno.

Beautiful stretch along the Amalfi Coast

Wake up to the stunning views of the Amalfi coast

When choosing a place to stay in Salerno, you will have two options: staying in the historic old town or the newer part of town, away from the city centre. Staying in the old town offers picturesque surroundings, closer to the main attractions but offers fewer accommodation options and is further away from the train station and ferry port. On the other hand, if you book a hotel in the newer part of town, you will be closer to transportation but further away from the main attractions in town.   

Hotels and B&Bs in the old town

  • Hotel Montestella - is a four-star hotel situated between the train station and the old town, making all the parts of the city easily reachable. The hotel is located on Salerno’s main street and offers classical rooms with views of the city streets. 
  • Villa Poseidon Boutique Hotel - is a Mediterranean-style hotel, located just a short walk away from the city centre. The hotel is beautifully situated on a hill surrounded by citrus groves, best experienced by lounging on the beautiful hotel terrace. This four-star hotel offers spacious rooms and a beautiful outside pool, ideal for sunbathing and relaxing. 
  • Salerno Mare e Luci - if you are looking for more intimate accommodations, where you can get a feel of the local life, this small B&B is the perfect place. Located in a building that dates back to the 1800s, the rooms have been updated to a more modern style, offering beautiful views of the old town. The B&B is just a 2-minute walk to the Lungomare, making it ideal for exploring the city and all its landmarks.

Hotels outside the city centre

  • Hotel Plaza - if you want to be close to the ferry port or the train station, the three-star Hotel Plaza might be the ideal choice for you. This moderately-equipped hotel is located on the edge of the city near the transport hubs, easily accessible and with ample parking options.
  • Grand Hotel Salerno - the four-star Hotel Salerno is positioned perfectly within the city of Salerno as it is situated only 200 m from the train station and 400 m from the Salerno port, facing the beautiful Amalfi coast. The hotel is also a short walk away from the Lungomare promenade, which will take you towards the old town centre and its numerous attractions and landmarks. Guests of the hotel can enjoy spacious rooms, some of them with beautiful views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Amenities include a wellness and spa area as well as a large indoor pool.
  • Villa Vittoria Mini Hotel Bed & Breakfast - this small B&B is located outside the city centre, closer to the main motorway, making it perfect for exploring the stunning Amalfi coast. Guests can enjoy staying in one of the four rooms, offering amenities like TV, free WiFi, air conditioning and more. Despite not being adjacent to the old town, it is still a short walk away, as are the train station and the ferry port.
Beach with deckchairs in Positano

Beaches of Salerno 

Despite being a big city with a large port, Salerno still offers several beaches where one can cool off and take a dip in the Tyrrhenian Sea. However, to fully experience the beauty of the Amalfi coast, you should head west out of the city towards the small town of Amalfi.

  • Santa Teresa beach - this small sandy beach is located in the heart of the city of Salerno, easily accessible directly from the Lungomare Trieste. Ideal for sunbathing and soaking, the location of this public beach makes it equally popular among locals and tourists. 
  • Torre Crestarella beach - is a spectacular place where the imposing 16th-century fort overlooks the sea alongside the sand and pebble beach below. The lush surroundings, with plenty of Mediterranean vegetation, create a unique sensory overload. Visitors will find a beach resort here, with plenty of amenities like toilets, showers, sunbeds and beach umbrellas. The nearby restaurant regularly hosts weddings and special events on the beach and offers delicious seafood year-round.  
  • Porticciolo beach - this long and sandy public beach is located southeast from the Salerno city centre, not far from the Forte La Carnale. Here you can enjoy shallow and sandy waters, with plenty of water attractions nearby. This stretch of the coast is also filled with beach bars and restaurants.   

Salerno weather - perfect for enjoying the coast

The Italian city of Salerno enjoys a moderate Mediterranean climate with mild and rainy winters and warm and dry summers. The winter months are much rainier with November being the wettest month. During the summer there is significantly less precipitation with July the driest month of the year. 

Average annual temperature in Salerno is 16.°C, with January and July being the coldest and warmest months respectively. 

Salerno sits on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, and the annual average sea temperature here is 19.5 °C. In August, the sea temperature can reach over 26 °C, making this part of the Italian coast an ideal destination for a summer vacation.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Salerno is sometime between spring and late autumn. Visiting during the summer is best suited for those looking to visit the beaches and enjoy the water activities. If you are looking to do some sightseeing and hiking, the best time for a visit is in late spring or early autumn, when the weather is not too hot, and there are fewer crowds. 

View of Salerno by night

Party the night away in Salerno

Salerno is a vibrant university town and a major harbour that has a lively nightlife and cultural scene. There is a wide selection of clubs, discos, and cafes for you to choose from, located both in the old town centre and in the newer parts of town. Here are some of the more popular places to grab a drink or dance the night away.

  • Bogart Dinner Disco Club - is ideal for those who wish to spend their entire evening in one place. Guests of the club can enjoy drinks at the bar before sitting down for a nice meal in the restaurant. After the delicious dinner, head on to the Disco section and enjoy late-night entertainment and dancing. Located in the old town of Salerno, this is the perfect all-in-one destination.
  • Roundmidnight Jazz Club - this typical jazz club offers live performances and concerts in a relaxed atmosphere and cool decor. It is the perfect place to try the delicious cocktails and some of the desserts on the menu. The club is located in the heart of Salerno’s old town, not far from the Villa Comunale di Salerno park.
  • La Cantinella - is a small nightclub and wine bar, located in the old town of Salerno, near the waterfront. This small club is full of character and is the ideal place to get in touch with the local lifestyle. Enjoy a glass of delicious Italian wine or try their cocktails before hitting the dance floor.

Enjoy the Campania cuisine

Restaurants are aplenty in the city of Salerno, offering the very best Italian cuisine has to offer. There are restaurants located all across the city, but the best and the most popular ones can be found in the old town centre.

  • Cicirinella - the restaurant is neatly tucked behind the cathedral and has a combination of a quaint and inviting atmosphere offering an extensive menu consisting of traditional Italian cuisine. This is the perfect place to try the Campanian dishes like pasta with seafood and chickpeas, or the mussel soup. Be sure to accompany the meal with some quality local wines.
  • Vicolo della Neve - is a typical trattoria, where you can enjoy numerous Italian dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. The menu consists mostly of pizzas, calzoni, stuffed peppers, and the house speciality - parmigiana di melanzane (baked eggplant). Be sure to book your table in advance as the restaurant gets extremely busy, especially during the weekend.
  • Sant’Andrea - is another classical trattoria located in the old town with an authentic Italian atmosphere. You will be presented with a menu consisting mostly of seafood and pasta, including the specialities like the squid with porcini mushrooms and cuttlefish with creamed vegetables.
  • Pasticceria Romolo - (pastry shop) first opened its doors in 1966, and the decor has changed little since. The pastries from this establishment are known throughout the city of Salerno and include local recipes such as frollini (fruit and chocolate tarts), amaretti (macaroons) and the sfogliatelle (pastry filled with ricotta cheese). Here you can also sample delicious homemade chocolate and enjoy a glass of local wine.
Salerno port from a distance

Sailing in Salerno

Salerno is one of the busiest domestic ports in Italy and the transport hub for the southern part of the country. Sailing enthusiasts use it as a base to explore the Amalfi coast and south of Italy. There are several large marinas located in and around the city of Salerno with a couple of major ones listed below.

  • Marina d’Arechi - the newly constructed Marina d’Arechi is located 5 km south of the Salerno city centre and is one of the more secure marinas in Italy due to an impressive, 1.2 km long breakwater. This large and modern marina offers 1,000 berths for vessels up to 130 m in length. Guests of the marina can enjoy extensive amenities including 24/7 mooring assistance, free WiFi, power and water connections at berths, all-day surveillance and car and bike rentals. The marina also has a good restaurant and cocktail bar. 
  • Masuccio Salernitano Marina - this marina is located near the old town of Salerno, in the Salerno port and offers 414 berths for smaller boats, up to 16 m in length and with a max draught of 5 m. The marina is very well protected with a 350 m breakwater protecting the east-facing entrance. Proximity to the major attractions and landmarks in Salerno makes it a perfect stop for an overnight stay.
  • Porto di Cetara - located in the small coastal town of Cetara, located west of the city of Salerno, this small port offers 150 berths for boats up to 13 m in length. The port consists of a 141 m long quay and a two-arm breakwater pier approximately 250 m long. Amenities are limited here, but there are power connections and berth assistance available.

Let us help you plan the perfect sailing trip

Provide your travel details, receive free offer and enjoy your holiday!