Getting To and Around the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Drive
A 34 mile highway (SS163 highway or Amalfi Drive) runs the length of the Amalfi Coast. It connects all of the towns along the coast and is considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Sorrento to Positano
The drive between Sorrento and Positano takes about 35 to 40 minutes. Just south of Sorrento the route starts out inland passing through tall hills. You'll have a dramatic first glimpse of the coastline as you start weaving your way through the hairpin turns. You'll eventually make your way to the resort town of Positano.
Positano to Amalfi
Heading off from Positano you'll pass the nearby town of Praiano and then Furore. Drive through a tunnel and then cross over a bridge that passes over one the area's most dramatic gorges - the Vallone del Furore
. Stop off at the 24 km marker near the town of Conca dei Marini and take the stairs or elevator down to the partially submerged cavern, Emerald Grotto
(Grotta dello Smeraldo).
Amalfi to Ravello
Take a detour to the inland town of Ravello. It's about six kilometers from the coast and 1,155 feet above Amalfi. The town is well worth the stop off with its beautiful gardens and public parks.
Amalfi to Salerno
This next part of the route takes you through several small towns. One of the most pleasant is Atrani, but for beaches, stop off at Maiori and Minori. Another favorite is Vietri Sul Mare, which is famous for its hand painted ceramics.
The drive ends in Salerno, which is a busy city with little of interest to tourists, but a great spot for transportation connections.
Getting to the Amalfi Coast
At first glance, you may think you need a car to access the Amalfi coast, but the reality is there are several great public transportation options both for accessing the area and for traveling around once you arrive. The easiest towns to access along the Amalfi Coast are Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano, and Salerno. Below are descriptions of how to access these areas from Naples and Rome.
Naples has the closest international airport to the Amalfi Coast (Capadichino Airport). It also has a variety of different transportation options to access the Amalfi Coast. The most common route is the train.
Train to Sorrento
(Just over an hour)
Sorrento is easily accessible on the Circumvesuviana
, which is a train that leaves from the main Naples Station (Napoli Centrale). You can buy tickets online here
or at the desk at the station, but not from the ticket machines. Trains run throughout the year.
From Sorrento you can catch a SITA bus
along the Amalfi Coast.
From the Capodichino Airport
Take the Alibus
from the airport to the main train station. The bus leaves every 20 minutes and takes about half an hour. It costs €3 euros. Taxis between the airport and train station cost €16 euros.
Alternatively you can take a direct bus from the Capodichino Airport to the Circumvesuviana train station in Sorrento. The trip takes about an hour and a half and buses usually leave every hour between 9 am and 7:30 pm. The ticket costs €10 and can be bought on the bus.
Train to Salerno
If you're headed to the southern part of the Amalfi Coast, you'll likely want to make your way to Salerno. There's a train available that takes about 40 minutes and costs anywhere from €5 to €15 depending on the time of day and week. Cheaper prices are available with advanced booking online
. Once you arrive in Salerno, the SITA bus travels to towns along the Amalfi Coast.
From the Capodichino Airport
There's a bus that travels from the Capodichino airport to Salerno, but it only leaves 4 times a day.
The Ferry to Sorrento, Positano, or Amalfi
Ferries leave from the Naples port (Moro Beverello) and head to Positano or Amalfi, stopping in Sorrento en route. From the port in Naples (Moro Beverello), you can catch a ferry with Alilauro to Positano or Amalfi by first stopping in Sorrento. The ferries are operated by Alilauro and the trip takes about 40 minutes and costs €12 euros (tickets here
). To access the port from the airport, take the Alibus to Piazza Municipio.
Most people fly into Rome's airport as it is more affordable than Naples. If you're headed to the Amalfi Coast from Rome you have several options. Direct trains are available from Rome to Salerno (tickets and prices here
), or you can go to Naples and head on to the Amalfi Coast from there (see above for connection options).
Rome to Positano and Praiano by Bus
During the summer months (between June and September) there is a bus that connects both Positano and Praiano to the bus station near Rome's Tiburtina train station. The bus departs at 7 am and arrives in Positano at 11:30 am and Praiano at 11:45 am.. The ticket costs €21 euros.
Rome to Naples by Train
A popular option is to take the train from Rome to Naples. Trains are run by both Trenitalia and Italotreno and the fastest train takes a little over an hour. Tickets cost up to €40 euros, but cheaper prices are available if you book in advance online
Rome to Salerno by Train
There is also a direct train between Rome and Salerno (prices and tickets here
). This is a good option if you plan to visit the southern towns along the Amalfi Coast. Trains are operated by both Trenitalia and Italotreno and leave Rome frequently. The trip takes almost two hours on the fastest train and costs €44 euros. Advanced purchase discounts are available.
Getting Around the Amalfi Coast
Traveling by bus is the cheapest way to explore the Amalfi Coast. The Sita bus company
operates frequent buses between all of the towns along the Amalfi Coast, but expect intense crowds and lots of traffic during the peak months. Buses are often late or not on schedule and it can be difficult to find a seat once you're on the bus. If seats are available, make sure you grab a window seat facing the water. On occasion, buses are completely full and bypass the stop entirely. For the best chance of getting a seat, arrive early for your bus. Also take note that buses don't run at night, stopping all service at 10 pm.
Buses travel along two routes and stop at every town en route. The first route travels from Sorrento to Amalfi via Positano and the second route travels from Amalfi to Salerno. There is no bus that covers the entire length of the Amalfi Coast and if you wish to go the entire distance, you must change buses in Amalfi.
You can pick up the bus in Sorrento at Piazza Giovanni Battista de Curtis near the Circumvesuviana station. The ride between Sorrento and Amalfi takes about an hour and a half and costs €6.80.
The Amalfi to Salerno route takes about 75 minutes and costs €3.40. It arrives and departs from Via Vinciprova near the railway station in Salerno.
You cannot buy tickets on the bus. Tickets are available at most bars and tobacconists and you must validate them once on the bus. Ask an attendant at a station to find out what ticket best meets your needs.
If you've had your fill of twisty roads, you can take a ferry back along the coast. If you're traveling during peak times it is really recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance. The most popular months for ferry travel are July and August with crowds common on holiday weekends as well. The ferry to Capri is one of the most popular and advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or directly at the port and it is recommended you buy round trip tickets. The ferry schedule
changes frequently and departures may be delayed or canceled due to rough seas, particular during the early spring or late fall.
Ferry routes run during the peak tourist season between April and October. (At other times, the only ferry available is between Sorrento and Naples or between Naples or Sorrento and the islands.)
The most common ferry stops are Positano and Amalfi, but there are also connections available between Minori and Maiori and Amalfi town. The main ferry routes along the Amalfi Coast are between:
- Salerno and Positano (1 hour 15 minutes)
- Positano and Capri (50 minutes)
- Amalfi and Positano (20 minutes)
The Sorrento - Positano - Amalfi route usually starts running in mid-May, and you can see times and prices here
Prices vary based on the season, company, and length of the trip. The average price is between €8 and €12, but expect to pay more for the Salerno to Positano route. Children under 3 are free and discounts are available for kids under 12 years old. Also be prepared to pay an extra €2 per bag fee for large luggage.
Salerno has two ports for ferries.
- Piazza Concordia
is across from the train station where the high speed trains arrive.
- Molo Manfredi
is a few kilometers away.
Amalfi has one port for ferries - Molo Pennello
is in the town center.
Positano has a ferry pier at Spiaggia Grande beach. This is challenging for those staying in the upper section of town as there are many flights of stairs and navigating them with luggage can be a challenge. There are luggage porters available at the pier.
The ferries offer an impressive view of the Amalfi coast. To make the most of the experience make sure you're on the best side of the boat, looking towards the land. The ferries have two levels of seating and the upper level is open on the top. It's possible to move around and take photos throughout your trip.
Driving along Amalfi Drive is truly breathtaking, but the hairpin turns and dramatic cliffs can intimidate even the most seasoned driver. The road is narrow with just one lane in each direction, making the ride that much more nerve-racking.
In general we don't recommend you drive along the coast as it's hard to enjoy the view and parking can be challenging once you reach town. Traffic can also be very congested, particularly during the popular summer months. The roads are most crowded between the months of May and October when you can expect bumper to bumper traffic.
If you do decide to rent a car, there are rental companies at the Naples airport and train stations (compare prices here
). Another option is hiring a private car with a driver. This gives you the freedom to enjoy the views and the expertise of a local who knows the area.
By Moped or Motorcycle
Another option for getting around the Amalfi Coast is to rent a moped or motorcycle. This option is only recommended for those with a lot of experience driving a moped or motorcycle. The hairpin turns and steep cliffs do not lend themselves to those still learning to operate the bikes. If you do rent a bike it'll reduce many of the inconveniences of having a car. It opens up more parking spaces and a bit more freedom when you're navigating the roadways. Mopeds are available for rent in most of the towns along the Amalfi Coast.
Exploring the Seaside Towns
Once you're in any of the towns along the Amalfi Coast, your best option is simply to walk. Parking is limited and expensive and most towns are not designed to accommodate vehicles. If you arrive with a vehicle you can discuss parking options with your hotel or find a place to pay and park (about €5 an hour and options are limited).
If you're not used to walking, wandering the towns can prove tiring as many are built on hills. Several towns have public buses available or taxis you could hire if you need to. Taxis in this area are usually quite expensive and generally not recommended.