Planning your perfect trip
South from chaotic and fascinating Naples, the vertiginous and craggy Amalfi Coast – and the three island outposts of Capri, Ischia and Procida – have been a magnet for visitors since Roman times. Hemmed in by high mountains, the coastal towns of the Campania region are physically unspoilt, and they retain an evergreen appeal despite the inevitable tour groups. Avoid high summer, when visitors arrive in peak numbers, and a trip here will be a scenic, artistic and culinary delight.
- Avoid renting a car
In general, I love doing road trips in Italy. Our Tuscany road trip is one of my favorite Italy experiencs. Why, you ask? Well, it’s a little bit dangerous (Italian streets are the definition of “controlled chaos”) but the added flexibility is usually worthwhile. However, the further south you go in Italy, the conventional wisdom is that the cars are more banged up and you need to get more insurance – which obviously increases the cost of a simple car rental.In retrospect, I wish we had not rented a car. Not because it was scary to drive on the winding roads on Amalfi Drive (I mean, it definitely was), but because renting a car in Italy comes with a lot of costs.Car Rental. Insurance. Gasoline. And parking. For just 3 1⁄2 days, that car cost us over 400€!
- Move by bus or get a water taxi
You can get a private transfer from Naples to Amalfi Coast, and then from there use the local bus system to get between towns (which costs just 1.30€!). You can optimize the cost of the private transfer by buying one with a group price or an individual price, depending on how many people you’re traveling with.The reason to do that for a private transfer is because the transfer takes just 2 hours, and there are no direct trains from Naples to Positano. You have to transfer in either Sorrento or Vietri sul Mare to a bus, and honestly you just value your time otherwise, you can do the cheapest possible option and use entirely public transit, it will just take longer.Of course, not everywhere is visited by bus, but for all the towns along Amalfi Drive as well as Ravello, you will be able to reach them easily. The busses are also air-conditioned. Besides bus, you can also get a water taxi ( you can see: www.positanoboats.info ) in situations that are rather far away (which will run you about 35€ for up to 4 passengers). Even so, the cost is still less than having the car for a day, and you get to ride a boat!
- Don’t procrastinate booking your hotel
Speaking of booking accomodation – don’t be like me and wait until the week before your trip to book! These towns on the Amalfi Coast are soooo tiny, you just don’t have a ton of accommodation to choose from. And when you book late, most of the affordable accommodation is already completely full and you’re left comparing 3-5 hotels per town. And, I mean, it’s just depressing to think to yourself that you’re going to spend an extra 50€ per night beacause you procrastinated and you want a sea view, dammit!Instead: Book your accommodation in advance
Your two main options for booking accommodation on the Amalfi Coast is either to check Amalfi Coast hotels on Booking.com or Airbnb. We opted to use Airbnb, but to be honest it cost the same as a hotel and it didn’t have air conditioning.
If I were to do it again, I’d focus on finding somewhere with both a sea view and A/C by booking well in advance! It was up to 37°C or 98°F during our trip in mid-June. Whether it’s a hotel or an Airbnb doesn’t matter much, but unless you have air conditioning you’re going to need to open your window and become a feast for mosquitos. You have been warned.
- Avoid high season
To save money and avoid crowds it is best to travel in either May/June or September/October.
- Get an early start
If you have to travel in high season, you can avoid overly crowded busses and ferries by getting an early start. I always manage to get a seat on the 8:30 bus from Sorrento to Positano, although you need to show up at least 15 minutes early to grab one (otherwise you have to stand in the aisle).
- Rent a beach chair
It may seem expensive at first, but the beach chair/umbrella rentals are worth it since they typically come with access to facilities. ( visit: www.lagavitella.it)
- Rent a boat to tour from Praiano or Positano
This is an absolute must in Amalfi Coast! It is the best way to see the gorgeous grottos, famous Faraglioni rocks and, of course, the blue grotto. We recommend: www.positanoboats.info
- Don’t miss Amalfi
Despite it being the principle city of the coastline, few people make it to the city of Amalfi (it’s about half way down the coast, or 1.5 hours by bus from Sorrento). Amalfi is a gorgeous city with a stunning cathedral and was the capital of the region when it was an independent and powerful seafaring republic from the 7th to 11th centuries.
- Taste the limoncello (or anything citrus flavored)
The region is famous for its citrus. You will see lots of lemon trees and giant citrons in every city. Their famous drink is limoncello, but the region also makes incredible lemon candies and lemon chocolate!
- Eat the seafood
Obviously, it is fresh and delicious!
How To Get to the Amalfi Coast
Getting to the Amalfi coast from Rome
Here are your main ways for getting to the Amalfi coast from Rome. If you opt to go by train, you can either get directly to the Amalfi coast (by taking the train to Salerno), or to go to Naples and then take another mode of transport from there. If you go to Naples, of course, you’ll want to combine these directions with an option from section 2, “Getting to the Amalfi coast from Naples”!
Rome to Positano and Praiano by bus
In summer (the beginning of June to the end of September), a bus runs to both Positano and Praiano from the bus depot at Rome’s Tiburtina train station. The bus leaves at 7am from the depot, located a short walk from the Rome Tiburtina station. Just don’t get it confused with the local ATAC bus stops just right outside the Tiburtina train station. It gets into Positano at 11.30am and Praiano at 11.45am.
Now it seems that with Marozzi Bus Journeys you can take the bus to Positano, but it also has other stops such as Pompeii and Sorrento.
Time: 4.5 hours. One-way ticket cost: €21. Operates: June, July, August, September. More info here.
Rome to Naples by train
Another option is to take a train from Rome to Naples. Trains run frequently, operated by both Trenitalia and Italotreno, and the journey for the fastest train takes a bit over an hour. (For comprehensive train info, read our guide to how to take the train in Italy for step-by-step instructions for using the website, booking, and more!).
From Naples, you’ll want to take a mode of transport on to the Amalfi, so check out the section below for exactly how to do that!
Time to Naples: 1hr 10 mins (fastest train). One-way ticket cost to Naples: €4o (less if booked a few days in advance). Operates: year-round.
Rome to Salerno by train
Alternatively, you can get directly to the Amalfi coast from Rome by train if you head to Salerno. If you’re unsure about where to stay, read our post on Salerno, the perfect off-the-beaten-path city on the Amalfi coast.
Salerno is also a good destination if you are traveling to towns further south on the Amalfi coast, like Vietri sul Mare, Maiori, Minori or Amalfi.
Time to Salerno: 1 hr 55 minutes (fastest train). One-way ticket cost to Salerno: €44 (less if booked a few days in advance). Operates: year-round.
Read on to see how to get from Naples and Salerno to the Amalfi coast!
Getting to the Amalfi coast from Naples
Once you’re in Naples, there are several means of transportation to get to the Amalfi coast.
Naples to Salerno by train
If your final destination are towns south of Amalfi or Salerno itself, you might consider taking a direct train from Naples to Salerno. The train ride takes less than 40 minutes. From Salerno, you have the option of taking the SITA bus to other towns on the Amalfi coast, including Vietri sul Mare, Maiori, Minori and Amalfi.
Time to Salerno: 30 minutes (fastest train). One-way ticket cost to Salerno: €15 (less if booked in advance). Operates: year-round.
Naples to Sorrento by train
Alternatively, if your final destination is Sorrento or towns north of Amalfi, you’ll want to take the Circumvesuviana from the main Naples station (Napoli Centrale). When you’re there, look for the signs for the “Circumvesuviana” trains and buy the tickets from the desk—the main ticket machines you see are not for the Circumvesuviana trains.
The Circumvesuviana train ticket from Naples to Sorrento costs €4.10, and takes slightly more than an hour. There will be stops along the way. This website provides the details and schedule.
Time to Sorrento: 1 hour. One-way ticket cost to Sorrento: €4.10. Operates: year-round.
As with Salerno, once in Sorrento, you can take the SITA bus to towns along the coast (read on to our section on “Getting from Sorrento to the Amalfi coast by bus”). This route is the cheapest option for getting to the Amalfi coast.
Note: From the Capodichino airport, you can take the Alibus to the main train station. It leaves every 20 minutes from the airport, and takes about 20 to 30 minutes. The cost of the ticket is €3. If you decide to take a taxi instead, the fixed rate is €16 (read the official list of tariffs here).
The Naples airport to Sorrento by bus
From the Capodichino airport in Naples, a bus runs directly to the Circumvesuviana train station in Sorrento. The journey takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes (depending on traffic conditions). Buses leave almost hourly, starting at 9am and with the last one at 7:30pm. The ticket costs €10 and can be purchased on board.
Time to Sorrento: 1 hour 15 mins. One-way ticket cost to Sorrento: €10. Operates: year-round.
The Naples airport to Vietri sul Mare and Salerno by bus
You also can take the bus from the Capodichino airport to Salerno. Note that though the cost of the one-way ticket is affordable (€7), it only has four departure times. This bus also stops at Vietri sul Mare.
Time to Vietri sul Mare: 45 minutes. One-way ticket cost to Vietri sul Mare: €7. Operates: year-round.
Naples to Sorrento, Positano or Amalfi, by ferry
From the port in Naples (Moro Beverello), you can catch a ferry with Alilauro to Positano or Amalfi by first stopping in Sorrento
Time to Sorrento: 40 minutes. One-way ticket cost to Sorrento: about €12. Operates: to Sorrento, year-round.
Note: From Capodichino airport, you can take the Alibus to Piazza Municipio.
The most expensive, but fastest, option is a taxi or private transfer to Amalfi or Positano from Naples. This will set you back about €120 to €150, one-way. From Naples, taxis are meant charge a fixed rate, as per the tariff set by the City of Naples.
Getting to the Amalfi coast from Sorrento
While many people consider Sorrento to be on the Amalfi coast, technically it’s not! And whether you’re using Sorrento as your base or just passing through on your way to other Amalfi coast towns, you’ll find these transport options helpful.
Sorrento to Amalfi coast towns, by bus
SITA buses operate daily and almost hourly from Sorrento to the Amalfi coast, with stops in Positano, Praiano and Amalfi, among other destinations. This would be the best way of getting to Amalfi coast as it operates year-round.
The final stop for the bus from Sorrento is in Amalfi; if you are going to Ravello or towns south of Amalfi, you will need to switch to another SITA bus there.
Sorrento to Amalfi coast towns, by ferry
Alilauro has ferries operating from Sorrento to Amalfi. To find the timetables and book, click on the site’s “booking online” option.
Getting to other spots on the Amalfi coast from Salerno
SITA buses run frequently from Salerno to Amalfi, with stops in Vietri sul Mare, Maiori, Minori, and Atrani. If you plan on visiting the other towns on the Amalfi coast, you may want to look into the UNICOCostiera integrated ticket.
Salerno to other Amalfi coast towns, by ferry
NLG operates a daily ferry from Salerno to Amalfi, which departs only in the morning at 8.20am. The trip takes 20 minutes and costs €8. Please check the website for any changes in the schedule.
If you don’t have time to explore the Amalfi coast on your own, check out our day-long excursion to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, including a private transfer from Rome!
When to go to the Amalfi Coast
It’s all about good timing on the Amalfi Coast
Many hotels, restaurants and attractions are firmly chiuso (closed) from November until Easter.
High summer sees narrow coastal roads clogged, soaring temperatures and the occasional frayed temper, so it’s best to avoid July and August.
Spring and autumn, though, are wonderful in this region spring for its swathes of bright wildflowers and autumn for warm seas and bountiful seasonal produce including mushrooms, black truffles and chestnuts.ivate transfer from Rome!
What is the best month to visit the Amalfi Coast?
Where to Stay
Suggested by travellers
Is basically two villages which grew together, so if you choose to stay here, be careful on which of the two sides you choose to stay at.
Vettica Maggiore has great views of Positano, the Li Galli Islands, Capri, lovely Sunsets. A lot of Hotels on this side, and also the place the “Bar del Sole” is located at, which has always been a popular hang out place. Others have opened over the years, but there was a time when this Bar/Cafe was the only choice to go to.
Praiano (proper) is on the other side, facing the Capo di Conca, it’s also generally the quieter side. Though, it is easier to reach the beach, and the Africana Night Club is also on this side (though except perhaps at the 1 Hotel very near it, you won’t get sound disturbance). It does not offer views of Positano, but of the Bay towards the Conca Cape. No direct Sunsets, but on this side one sees the Sunrise.
Regarding the Busses, besides the crowded SITA busses (depending on time of year), there was also an inner Bus service, driving through Praiano/Vettica Maggiore (from top to bottom and to the “La Praia” beach) and from/to Positano – as it was from the same Company as the Inner-Positano Bus “Flavio Gioia”. This Bus is not part of the UnicoCampania/UnicoCostiera ticket – it was around €1 each trip.
What not to miss
- Praiano is made up of two centres, both of which are tuny – Vettica Maggiore, which is the upper town along the main corniche road and Marina di Praia, the lower town which is tucked into a cleft in the cliffs at sea level, a little further east towards Amalfi.
- Like Positano, Praiano also features pretty coloured houses, a maze of little lanes and flights of steep steps. Look out for the majolica-tiled votive shrines dotted around the town.
- The first thing you’ll want to do is go for a swim as the sea is irresistible. There are several small beaches, some sandy, some pebbly, all of which are much quieter than those at Positano.
- The next big attraction here is the Grotta dello Smeraldo, a natural feature a couple of miles from the town. Essentially it’s a flooded cavern in which sunlight turns the water an iridescent shade of green while all around are weird and wonderfully shaped stalactites and stalagmites.
- There are several lovely churches in the town, including the Church of San Luca Evangelista with a beautiful majolica floor. The Church of San Gennaro, the Church of Santa Maria a Castro and the Convent of San Domenico high above the town and with breathtaking views.
- It’s worth spending a day in Positano (four miles to the west) to explore the cute little stairways and passageways between the steeply raked buildings.
- And then it’s only a couple of miles or so in the other direction to Amalfi town – with its Duomo, paper museum and splendid piazza and seafront. Make sure you’re back in Praiano for sunset, the most spectacular along this coast.
Choosing one of the best places to stay in Praiano could make a sensible choice for enjoying the Amalfi coast while escaping the crowds.
Location scouts go weak at the knees when they round the bend in the Amalfi Coast road and spy Positano nestled in the cliffs, rising like a staircase from the bright blue sea towards the citrus and olive groves. Positano’s unbleached peach and pink buildings are stacked so neatly, that there are plenty of properties with exquisite views. But some of the best views are of the town itself. Our list of the best places to stay in Positano offers a selection of both views.
The town itself is a colourful stack of buildings, with roads so narrow you can’t fit a car through. To that add girls in floaty florals – Positano is is famous for Moda Positano fabric popular in bright fifties fashions – and colourfully painted fishing boats. Magenta fronds of bougainvillaea stir gently in the breezes.
As well as being beautiful, Positano is colourful and lively, full of kids queuing for gelati and families playing on the beach. Though of course it also has immaculate boutiques for the chic Milanese to peruse and restaurants to please even the most gourmet palates.
What not to miss
- The spectacular sea views. These open out along the coast, and if you’re in the right spot you can peer across the bay to Capri.
- Don’t fall too deeply in love with pretty Positano that you don’t explore more of the Amalfi Coast while you’re here. Take a boat trip (www.positanoboats.info)
- For some night time action head out to Music on the Rocks, a spectacular club carved into the rock.
- Pick up a pair of made-to-measure handcrafted sandals, created while you wait. There are numerous shops continuing this tradition which began at the end of the Second World War.
It’s extremely busy here during the peak summer months. So if you want to book one of the best places to stay in Positano get organised and plan well ahead.
What to do
Take a boat tour into the Grotta dello Smeraldo Cave
The Emerald Cave is a natural phenomenon that is one of the most beautiful caves in the whole of Italy.
Located in-between Amalfi and Praiano, the Smeraldo Cave is one of the few caves in the world that is bathed in a natural emerald light.
The effect is simply amazing and the colour of the water and the cave itself are gorgeous.
Visit for more info: www.positanoboats.info
Watch the fishing fleets at Cetara
Cetara is one of the most authentic and unspoiled villages on the Amalfi Coast.
This small settlement has not been effected by tourism and retains virtually all of its original charm.
If you want to see what the towns of Amalfi looked like before the area became saturated with tourist attractions then this is the place to visit.
Furthermore, Cetara has the only fishing fleet that still operates in this region and you can watch the fishermen in action in their small brightly coloured boats.Aside from the fishing activities, Cetara also has a range of high quality restaurants that serve delicious fresh seafood.
Take in the gorgeous waterfalls of the Valle delle Ferriere
The Ferriere Valley is a protected area in the province of Salerno and is a wonderful region to explore for those who enjoy hiking and the outdoors.
Throughout this region you can find some absolutely stunning natural scenery and there is a myriad of hiking and cycling trails that wind through the luscious forests.
This protected area is little travelled and you will not encounter the usual bustle of tourists found at the busy coastal towns of Amalfi.
Furthermore, the trails present some interesting view points and allow you to see some of the towns from unusual angles that are not normally seen.
Visit the Island of Capri
Capri is a truly magical place and one of the most popular destinations on the Amalfi Coast.
This island sits just off of the western edge of the Amalfi Coast and can be reached via regular ferries from several of the coastal towns.
Capri is known for its gorgeous landscapes, its array of beautiful beaches and its superb mountain views.
Consider taking a boat trip from Positano to explore this magical place and ensure you stay through until the evening.
At night, Capri has a vibrant nightlife and the main square has a handful of bustling bars and a superb atmosphere.
Also consider taking an organised trip to see the famous Blue Cave Grotto – this cave complex is absolutely stunning and a boat trip through this subterranean world will surely impress.
Visit for more info: www.positanoboats.info
Visit the charming town of Furore
Furore is a town that is often overlooked but it has a great deal of attractions and is a fantastic place to visit in the central section of the Amalfi Coast.
The roads leading up to Furore are quite spectacular and rise past dramatic limestone cliffs and row upon row of terraces packed full of gorgeous vines.
Within the confines of this town you can find a selection of beautifully painted murals decorating the walls of some of the houses and shops.
These murals have been hand painted and show some colourful depictions of life on the Amalfi Coast.
Furthermore Furore offers some brilliant views out to the sea and of the surrounding coastal towns and cliffs.
Visit the Ruins of Pompeii
The archaeological ruins of Pompeii cover around 440,000 square meters, a vast area that would take at least three full days to explore completely. Remember that Pompeii is an entire buried city with squares, temples, baths, public buildings, private villas, and shops…just a visit to the city’s forum takes about an hour.
That said, you can easily follow a shorter itinerary that includes some of the buried city’s most famous sites, giving you an idea of what daily life was like in this Roman city.
Here we suggest a few sites that you should include during your visit to the ruins, marking them with the same names as included on the free map provided at the ticket office and info point at the entrance to the ruins.
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