The Amalfi Coast is fast becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. After the big three (Rome, Florence, Venice), many travellers are heading over to the gorgeous coastline that lies to the south of Naples. After seeing countless photos, blog posts and Pinterest images of Amalfi and its surrounding towns of Ravello, Positano, and Sorrento, I finally got to see for myself last week.
Aside from booking a B&B and some train tickets from Rome, not much planning went into this trip. I love to take weekend trips easy and not plan too much ahead. This turned out to be a bit challenging for me in Amalfi, because of the logistical difficulty of getting to the towns along the coast.
In this post, I'll cover the different modes of transport around the Amalfi Coast and and the itinerary I used for my overnight trip.
Renting a car and driving from your departure city to the coast is by far the easiest way to arrive in Amalfi. It takes 3.5 hours from Rome to arrive in the town of Amalfi and the drive along the way includes some of the most stunning landscapes I have ever seen. You have the chance to make a pit stop in Naples for pizza (always necessary) and then continue on along the coast and through a national park. It also gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to planning your trip and seeing multiple cities along the coast.
What renting a car requires, however, is a driver’s licence, an 18 and over driver, paying tolls along the highways, gas, and nerves of steel for driving along the mountain coastline. If you can handle driving alongside buses, trucks, and other cars along tiny winding cliffs, you’re good to go.
Getting from a big city, like Rome, to the coast is relatively simple. You cannot take a train directly to Amalfi, Ravello, or Positano, however. The best way to use this method is to take a fast regional train (2-3 hours from Rome) to Salerno, with an optional stop in Naples along the way (depending on your ticket). I spent about €45 on a round trip ticket from Rome, which is a bit more than the amount one person would spend in gas and tolls if they took a car. From Salerno, you have to use one of the following modes of transportation to get to the smaller towns.
The SITA bus comes highly recommended from locals and is probably the most popular way to get around the coast. Unfortunately, if you get the slightest bit carsick, it will be your worst nightmare. From Salerno, you can take the bus to Amalfi, which acts as a hub for many smaller cities around. While it claims to take one hour from Salerno to Amalfi, it ended up taking us more like 2 because at multiple points we had to stop for oncoming traffic and back down a portion of the mountain. And while the views from the windows were breathtaking, I didn’t get to see much because I was so focused on staring straight ahead and not throwing up on my fellow passengers (lovely, I know). Bus tickets will set you back a whopping €1.20, even for the longer rides.
There are also many boat options from Salerno, with it being a port city, which easily connect it to the towns along the coast and also to the island of Capri. While you can rent private motor and sailboats to move around, the ferry is a more affordable option that also gets you on the water. You can take ferries between the cities of Salerno, Amalfi, Positano, and Sorrento, with Travelmar. My ticket from Positano all the way back to Salerno was only €12.50, whereas from Amalfi it was only half of that. The ferry is a nice option to skip the mountain roads with buses, and to see the entire coastline from the water. I also did not get motion sickness on the ferry (but this could also be due to the emergency Dramamine I picked up).
- Trenitalia from Rome to Salerno
- SITA bus from Salerno to Almalfi
- SITA bus from Almalfi to our B&b (near Ravello)
- Hailed down an empty tour bus with a kind driver that took us up the mountain with him
- A vintage Fiat 500 to come back down from Ravello in a thunderstorm
- Walk down 300 steps to Almalfi, picking up a SITA bus along the way
- SITA bus from Amalfi to Positano
- Travelmar ferry from Positano to Salerno
- Trenitalia fast train from Salerno back to Rome
Out of all of these, I would highly recommend the:
- Train, because it is fast and comfortable
- Ferry, because you can easily move from town to town, travel on the beautiful Tyrrhenian Sea and have unlimited photo opportunities
- Fiat 500, because Raphael our waiter is a great guy who gave us the experience of a lifetime speeding down a mountain in the pouring rain
The Amalfi Coast is a beautiful place and a great destination for couples, friends, and families. With a little bit of planning, you can avoid the stress of figuring out how to get from city to city and just enjoy the amazing scenery. Because it does take time to travel along the coast, I would reccomend staying for more than one night if possible. Next week, I'll be sharing more about our trip and the individual towns of Amalfi, Ravello, and Positano that we visited.
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