How to Get the Most Out of the Amalfi Coast

July 16, 2011

The Amalfi coast, and its string of towns from Positano to Sorrento, has been a destination for travelers since, well, ancient Roman times. More recently, everyone from Franco Zeffirelli to John Steinbeck have counted themselves among the costiera amalfitana’s fans.

The Amalfi coast remains just as popular today. In fact, in the summer, there’s a visitor for every local. This has its downsides: Like in Venice, tons of tourists can mean high prices, mediocre restaurants, tons of souvenir shops, uncomfortably packed buses, and hearing more English than Italian in the street.

That said, the region boasts one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline you’ll ever see. The pastel, ceramic-tiled towns are gorgeous. The limoncello is not to be missed. And, with the region’s proximity to sites like Pompeii and Paestum, you just might be nearby, anyway. Along with the Cinque Terre it’s the most famous stretch of sea in Italy. If you don’t kow which to visit, read our blog on how to choose between the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre.

But whatever you do: don’t avoid the Amalfi coast; just know how to get the most out of it. If you still need convincing, look no further than our 5 must-see sights of the Amalfi Coast. This guide will show you how to see one of the most incredible stretches of coastline in the world without feeling like you spent a ton of money to eat so-so food, or bake on a tiny stretch of sand on a tiny town beach alongside dozens of other Americans and Australians. Believe it or not, it’s not hard. You just have to keep three big things in mind.

1. Where will you stay? (hint: it doesn’t have to be Sorrento, Positano, or Amalfi Town)

Ravello has some of the most beautiful views on the Amalfi Coast

This view isn’t from Sorrento, Positano or Amalfi — it’s from beautiful Ravello

One of the most important considerations when traveling to Amalfi is what town to make your homebase. For its convenience to Naples and Pompeii, many people wind up choosing Sorrento. And, while many people love Sorrento, it might just be the most touristy town in the whole region. Plus, being on the Bay of Naples, it’s not even, technically, on the Amalfi coast.

If the convenience factor is big, but you’d like something less touristy, There are 8 very good reasons to stay in Salerno. (but you’ll have to click through to the blog post to read them).

Another option, which is also super-convenient in terms of transport, is Vietri sul Mare. Other than Salerno, it’s the only Amalfi coast town with its own train station, so you can take the train right from there to Pompeii. The famed Amalfi coast bus also makes a stop at Vietri sul Mare (it’s the second-to-last stop before Salerno). The small town of 8,000 inhabitants is lovely and features a Saracenic tower and medieval churches, with beautiful views of the sea. And it’s famous for its handmade ceramics, which it has been producing since the 15th century.

Attrani, An alternative to staying in Sorrento, Positano or Amalfi

Lovely little Atrani: a bit different from Sorrento

For another small and tranquil Amalfi town, consider staying in tiny Atrani. With just 900 inhabitants, there’s not much to Atrani — except for medieval churches, a soft sand beach, charming piazza where the locals hang out each night, and a relaxed atmosphere. That’s even though Atrani is just a short walk from its bigger, brassier, more-famous neighbor, Amalfi Town. And, yes, the Amalfi coast bus goes right through Atrani, so it’s easy to get to.

Beautiful garden's in Ravello, a hidden gem of the Amalfi Coast.

Gardens in Ravello’s Villa Cimbrone

Although the town of Ravello is less convenient than the others — there’s no train station, and you have to switch the Amalfi coast bus at Amalfi to get there — it’s also worth considering. While definitely a resort town, and with its fair share of swanky hotels and restaurants for the small size, being off the beaten bus path means that Ravello is much less inundated with tourists than some of its neighbors. It’s also absolutely breathtaking. You haven’t seen anything like the gardens, and spectacular view over the sea, of the medieval Villa Rufolo. It also has the Villa Cimbrone, a place that was the favored escape of everyone from Virginia Woolf to Greta Garbo. Ravello is also where to come if you’re a music lover: Each summer, the town hosts a world-famous festival with a wide and eclectic selection of artists. Just know that Ravello is some 300 meters above sea level (the reason for those gorgeous views), so if you want to get to the beach, be prepared to take about 1,200 stone steps down to the sea (or a taxi or the bus to Amalfi).

Then there are the lovely towns of Praiano, Scala, Maiori, Minori… and many others. Think beyond the “big three,” and you just might wind up having a cheaper, and better, trip to the Amalfi coast.

2. How will you get around the Amalfi coast? And will you take the SITA bus?

Transportation is a big theme on the Amalfi Coast. If you want to go as part of a larger trip, we’ve written a blog on how to get to the Amalfi Coast that you will fine very helpful. Once you’re there, you need to get around. The famed Amalfi coast SITA bus is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things people say you have to do. And perhaps they’re right. Watching the bus drivers take on the hairpin curves, so narrow that two vehicles can’t pass each other, with nothing below but cliffs to the sea, is pretty horrifying entertaining.

The SITA bus from Amalfi to Salerno

The Amalfi coast bus in high season: just a little crowded…

That said, during the high season (which runs from April through October), this bus is packed. So packed, in fact, that people often wind up standing in the aisle, holding on for dear life, swaying with each curve. It’s a grueling way to travel and it can go on for an hour and a half, depending on the destination. Worse still, many of the buses have very poor/non-existent air-conditioning, which can be tough to handle when summer temperatures get up to 100°F.

Did we mention the motion sickness? If you’re busy concentrating on how to keep your balance, not melt in the heat, and not vomit all at the same time, you probably won’t be all that appreciate of the spectacular views from the bus that people rave about. All of this struck home for us the last time we took the Amalfi coast bus: Halfway to Amalfi from Salerno, one 60-something passenger became so ill and dehydrated, the bus had to stop for 45 minutes… and get her an ambulance.

If any of the above sounds like something you might not want to risk, at least more than once, consider your alternatives.

An alternative to the Amalfi bus

The ferry, in high season: just a little less crowded than the bus…

One other way to get around is the ferry. It’s often faster (one of the most frequent Amalfi to Salerno ferries takes about 40 minutes, opposed to nearly 1.5 hours by bus), less crowded, and gives you beautiful views of the towns from the water. One downside, though, is that the ferries are more expensive than the bus (that 40-minute Amalfi-Salerno ferry cost €7, opposed to €3.60 for the 90-minute bus card). And while most of the ferries are big and stable, if you’re prone to seasickness, consider staying away from the smaller boats or from taking a ride in the choppier fall months.

Ferry lines connect Salerno, Amalfi, Positano, Maiori, and Minori, as well as with farther-flung places, like Naples and Capri. There are a number of different ferry companies; here’s where to check the timetable for Caremar (Naples, Pozzuoli, Procida, Ischia, Capri, Casamicciola, and Sorrento), Coop Sant’Andrea (Amalfi, Capri, Cetara, Minori, Maiori, Positano, Salerno, Sorrento, and Vietri sul Mare), and Gescab (Amalfi, Capri, Positano, and Salerno). If you want to go to Capri check out the Walks of Italy Partner tour to Capri

A view of the Amalfi coast from the sea

You can’t get this view from the bus!

You can also rent a car and drive. Some people love doing this and some avoid it at all costs. Read our blog on how to drive in Italy to see if it’s the right option for you. Finally, you can hire a private driver, an appealing option that, unfortunately, comes with a much higher price tag.

3. When will you visit the Amalfi coast?

High season isn’t just July and August. On the Amalfi coast (and in many other popular tourist destinations in Italy), high season begins at the end of April and runs through October. That period, of course, has its downsides: Prices are higher, hotels are tougher to book, and the streets (and buses!) will be crowded with tourists.

The SITA bus navigates the winding roads of the Amalfi Coast

Come in the off-season, and you just might be able to sit all the way up front to get the best views from the Amalfi coast bus — like we did in late March

Traveling to the Amalfi coast in the off-season, therefore, can be an attractive alternative. But it has its own complications to consider. For one, those ferries that we just sang the praises of operate regularly only in high season, although sometimes, boats will begin as early as Easter weekend. If the weather is bad, though, as it’s more likely to be in spring or fall, be aware that the boats can be canceled altogether. Coming after November or before March can also mean contending with rain, fog, and cold — a downside for those hoping for the sun-soaked coast.

On the other hand, the bus runs year-round, and is much more comfortable and less crowded in the off-season. (It does run less frequently outside of summer, but it still stops fairly often). Read our blog on how to travel the Amalfi Coast in the off-season to decide if it’s the right time for you to go.

One of the best times to visit the Amalfi, therefore, might just be the shoulder season, either at the end of October or in March or early April. The weather’s often warm (or just warming up), the prices are good, and the crowds either haven’t quite arrived or have just departed. It’s the best of both worlds!

by Walks of Italy

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212 responses to “How to Get the Most Out of the Amalfi Coast”

  1. Joe Gantly says:

    One small factual errors in the article: Vietri sul Mare is not the only town with a train station, the Circumvesuviana (‘Around Vesuvius’) train goes from Napoli (beside the main railway station) out to Sorrento and is not to be missed unless you have loose fillings in your teeth or a nervous disposition; a bus from Sorrento can take you all the way to Salerno, stopping in every town along the way except Atrani which is a short walk around a corner and through a restaurant from Amalfi.

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi Joe,
      Thanks for your note! We actually said that Vietri sul Mare is the only town on the Amalfi coast with a train station because, technically, it is — we point out elsewhere that Sorrento’s not actually on the Amalfi coast. Tricked ya! 😉

      And you’re absolutely right, the bus goes from Sorrento to Salerno. But it does stop in Atrani as well; you don’t need to get off at Amalfi to get to Atrani. Here’s an updated schedule from the SITA site (click on Quadro 15).

      Hope that helps, and thanks for your comment!

  2. Kamakhya Mishra says:

    I am planning a day trip to Capri and the Amalfi Coast from Naples in early June. I want to take a ferry fron Naples and visit the Blue Grotto in the morning and then take a ferry to Sorrento. From Sorrento to Salerno, I want to ride the SITA bus and also the ferry. From Salerno I plan to take a train back to Naples. In terns of scenic beauty, I am not sure which parts of the Sorrento to Salerno trip should I do by bus and which ones by ferry? Also if presume that if one does the trip in reverse (Salerno to Sorrento), the crowds on the bus would be lesser. However, in this case, as the bus would be on the lane closer to the cliffs and not the one closer to the sea,would I see less of the scenic beauty of the coast?

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi Kamakhya,
      Thanks for getting in touch! We would recommend doing the SITA bus trip from Salerno to Sorrento, as it is less crowded; even though the bus isn’t on the lane closer to the sea, these are very narrow roads, so it doesn’t make much of a difference. If you can, try to be the first one on the bus in Salerno and get the seat all the way up front—then you’ll get the best view of all. As for which parts to do by bus and which by ferry, for the sake of simplicity, particularly since you’ll have a particularly packed day, we’d say perhaps plan to take the ferry the whole way from Sorrento to Salerno (you’ll probably only have time for one stop since you only have the afternoon, i.e. either Amalfi or Positano) and taking the SITA bus back.

      We hope that helps! Let us know if there’s anything else we can do.

  3. Evelyn says:

    Hi there,
    Do you have more information on how exactly to get to Vietri sul mare (vs the other towns) and accommodation options?

    Thanks very much!

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi Evelyn,
      Absolutely! Vietri sul Mare is as easy to access as many of the other Amalfi coast towns. It’s right on the main SITA bus line, a short ride from Salerno (so if you take the train into Salerno, it’s a quick bus ride to access). Also, one of the ferry lines, the Coop Sant’Andrea line, stops there.

      For accommodation, we’ve heard good things about the B&B La Soffitta sul Mare and Hotel Voce de Mare, both of which have beautiful views and are much better-value than any accommodation you’d find in Positano, Sorrento or Amalfi Town. The Relais Paradiso is good for a boutique hotel that’s a bit more higher-end. You might also want to check out renting a villa like Villa Sorvillo.

      We hope that helps! Let us know if there’s anything else we can do.

  4. Michelle says:

    Thanks for your very helpful blog! We’ll be landing in Naples with 4 nights to spend in the area starting the 30th of October. We’re looking forward to less crowds but don’t want to end up places that are too deserted (i.e. most shops & restaurants are closed). We’re thinking of spending 2 nights in Naples and 2 somewhere either in Sorrento or somewhere actually on the Amalfi coast. We want to see Pompeii but otherwise just want a relaxing time. Any suggestions on what we should do with our 2 nights outside Naples? We’ll have a suitcase with us so that might make stopping in towns along the way from one to another difficult. Also, any other suggestions to make the most of the area at that time of year?

    Thanks!

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi Michelle,
      What a wonderful trip! With 2 nights outside of Naples, you have lots of options. On the Amalfi coast, we love Salerno (which you can take the fast train directly to from Naples, rather than changing to the Circumvesuviana), as well as the towns of Ravello and Vietri sul Mare. You might consider going from Naples straight to Salerno on the train, dropping your luggage, and spending the night there; it makes a great base for exploring the rest of the Amalfi coast and Pompeii as well. Here’s more on Salerno: http://walksofitaly.com/blog/travel-tips/salerno-sorrento-italy-amalfi-coast-holidays

      We hope that helps! Let us know if you have any other questions!

  5. Catherine says:

    Useful blog indeed. I am going to the Amalfi Coast in late December. Wonder how is it like? Any boat operators or water taxis going along the coastline or going Capri? If not, anything we should (could) do out there in winter? Thanks!

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi Catherine,
      Ferries likely won’t be running, but there’s plenty to do there regardless! You can take the SITA bus between the towns and do a bit of exploring. Although it’ll be chilly in late December, it will also be tranquil and beautiful—you’ll get to experience a far different, and more “authentic”, Amalfi coast than travelers who come at the height of summer. Enjoy!

  6. Penny says:

    We are taking a tour in mid-April. We will be starting in Sorrento, arriving a day early to get acclimated before we begin. We have 2 1/2 days in Sorrento to explore on our own. What do you suggest? How do you suggest we get around? We would like to see Pompeii but have no other agenda. Thanks…your blog is very helpful.

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi Penny,
      We’re glad to help! In 2.5 days, you can definitely get some side trips in from Sorrento. We’d recommend Pompeii (give yourself at least half a day for this), which is easy to get to from Sorrento on the Circumvesuviana. We’d also recommend spending one day touring the Amalfi coast on the SITA bus or by ferry; popular stops include Amalfi and Positano, but our favorite towns include Ravello, Maiori and Salerno, as well. While most people skip over Naples, we also think the city makes a fantastic day trip (you can read more about why here). Please let us know if you have any other questions, and enjoy your trip!

  7. Gaurav says:

    Hi,
    thanks for this – really great tips!
    We are planning a trip to Naples and Amalfi coast during Easter and would like to get your opinion/ suggestions on the below:
    Start off in Naples on the 28th and spend the day in the city. Spend the entire day visiting Pompeii and (possibly) Vesuvius on 29th. How far is Pompeii from Naples and is it easily accessible/ can one leave in the morning and return back same evening?
    Leave for Amalfi coast on 30th and stay till the 2nd in either one of the villages (likely Positano or Ravello). I understand the only way to get there is take the Circumvesuviana from Naples to Sorrento and then switch to the SITA bus. Considering we will have 2 large suitcases, do you see this as an issue?
    Can you suggest what best to do for the 3 days in the Amalfi coast? Will the boats be functional (websites suggest they start during Easter weekend – so does that imply from Good Friday)? Will the good restaurants be open? What do you think the weather will be like?
    On the 2nd we are considering leaving for Capri and spending one night there before moving back for Naples on the 3rd afternoon and eventually flying back home. Do you think it’s worth spending the night in Capri or staying an extra night in Amalfi coast instead while doing a day trip to capri?
    Looking forward to your reply!

    Many Thanks!

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi there,
      We’re happy to help!
      -Pompeii is about 45 minutes on the Circumvesuviana local train from Naples. It is easily accessible, and yes, you can do it in a day trip.
      -There actually are other ways to get to the Amalfi coast, too. One other way is to take the normal, fast train from Naples to Salerno and then switch to the SITA bus. Especially if you are staying in Ravello, that will be the faster option, as Sorrento in fact isn’t even on the Amalfi coast—the bus has to cross the peninsula and then go along the coast if you are starting from there. Two large suitcases will make your transfers from train to bus a little more annoying, to be sure, but other than booking a transfer with a car which you can do with us by contacting [email protected], that’s your only option!
      -One of the days could be spent taking the SITA bus along the coast to “town-hop.” Other day trips, aside from Pompeii, include to Herculaneum and Paestum (best reached from Salerno). If the ferries are running, taking a boat out is a nice opportunity to see the towns from the sea. Other than that, we’d say just relax and enjoy the coastline!
      -Unfortunately, nothing is cut-and-dry in Italy, so some ferries might start their schedules on Easter Sunday, others on Good Friday! You’ll just have to check the ferry timetables as we get closer. Same goes for the restaurants, although most should be open by Good Friday… although some might be closed for the Easter holidays. It just depends, unfortunately! If there are places you especially want to eat at, have your hotel call on your first day there to make you reservations, so you’re both booked *and* know if the place is open.
      -The weather of course can vary, but will likely be balmy and sunny, if too cold for beach-going and swimming.
      -We’d recommend Capri as a day trip; it’s a very expensive island, so you’ll probably find cheaper accommodation on the Amalfi coast—plus, it makes for less moving-around with your two big suitcases.

      We hope that helps! Let us know what else we can do!

  8. elainegreen says:

    Great blog with valuable info. I am interested in agriculture of Amalfi. When will tomatoes and lemons be in season?

    This is our second trip to Amalfi and are very interested in private tours and off beaten towns,wineries to visit, historical areas.

    Thank you for your assistance.

  9. Katie says:

    Thanks for all the info. Is there any info on when the ferries stop running? I have looked at the metrodelmare website but couldn’t find any information. I am travelling Oct 4-8 and would like to spend two nights in Positano and two nights on Capri. Will ferries to both of these places still be running?

  10. Jessica says:

    I will be staying in Sorrento for three days in late April and want to take a day trip to Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello… how would you recommend we make this happen? Do you think there will be enough time to cover all three towns? We are just so excited to have this opportunity and want to see all the beauty the amalfi coast has to offer!
    Thanks!

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi Jessica,
      The easiest and fastest way is to take the SITA bus and get off at each of those towns. (You’ll have to switch buses in Amalfi to go up to Ravello, but it’s only about a 10-minute detour). You could also take the ferry between towns, but they run less frequently than the buses so aren’t as time-efficient if you need to do everything in one day.
      Let us know if we can do anything else!

  11. Ben says:

    Hello – I just found your website while doing some honeymoon research, likely to be in September of this year. Thanks for keeping all of this great information up to date!

    Out of curiosity… just how bad of an idea is it to rent a car? I like to think I’m a competent driver (don’t we all) and I don’t mind the twisty roads. I’ve always driven a manual transmission, and I’ve driven cliff-side roads in other countries, so I’m tempted to try it in Amalfi as well. Bad idea?

    Thanks!

    Ben

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi Ben,
      Everyone’s different, so there’s no saying if it’s a good or bad idea for everyone. If you’re well aware of the fact that the roads are VERY curvy and cliff-side, and that’s okay with you, then you’ll probably be fine. Just drive carefully!

  12. Becky says:

    Hi! I’m planning a trip also for myself and 4 other ladies. It’s a pre-cruise, 3 days in Rome; then train to Salerno and staying in Minori for 4 nights. I want to get to Sorrento for a visit to the inlay wood museum, and a mozzarella making/tasting tour. I know that there will be a bus change in Amalfi and I’m wondering if it would be better to take the ferry from Minori or Amalfi? I’m having a time understanding the websites, as my Rosetta Stone lesson 1 hasn’t gotten that in-depth! Do they (bus & ferry)run on a 1/2 hour or hourly schedule? And finding the price for the trip is a challenge also. If purchasing a three-day pass would that include any ferries? Thanks for your help!

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi Becky,
      We’re happy to help! However, the bus change could not be easier—it just involves getting off the bus and walking to another bus in the same lot (lots of people will be able to point you in the right direction). The bus’ frequency depends on what time of year you’re going, but in the high season, it usually departs every 20 minutes to half hour. Finally, the 3-day pass is only for the SITA bus, not the ferries. Let us know if we can do anything else!

  13. Vanessa says:

    Hello,

    We are staying in Ravello. What is a must see of the coast? Top 5 would be fantastic!

    Thanks and cheers!

  14. italyfan says:

    Hi, we are planning to visit Sorrento early to mid April. Hadn’t read your post so chose Sorrento for convenience. We wish to see the Amalfi coast town, Pompei/ Herculaneum and Capri. Pompei (by train), Capri/Blue Grotto (ferry day trip) and Ravello, Positano, Salerno and may be Amalfi. I have two kids with me and they can get car sick. Would you suggest a ferry from Sorrento to visit these places. Kids would like a beach as well. I have 7 days in total, so perhaps I should keep 4 days for Amalfi alone?

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi there,
      Four days for Amalfi would give you enough time to relax a little bit, so especially with a couple of kids, that might be a good idea! 🙂 You can knock off a lot of your Amalfi coast destinations by ferry (although you’ll have to switch at Amalfi Town from a ferry to bus to get to Ravello), so yes, that might be your best option if your kids get sick.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  15. Dean says:

    We are getting married in Positano this May and the wedding party is staying in Sorrento. My mother is afraid of heights and does not want to travel around the coast to get to Positano. I am trying to find the cheapest other option but it seems the ferries do not run until July. Have you any suggestions?

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi Dean,
      Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Ferries should, in fact, be running by May, so we’d go with that option. Unfortunately, the only way to get from Sorrento or Positano is by boat or by driving. The drive from Sorrento to Positano is a bit long and curvy, so we don’t blame your mother for her nerves if she’s afraid of heights 🙂 Please let us know if we can help with anything else!

  16. itchha says:

    Hi there,
    Really going crazy planning and need your desperate plan. Im going to rome in june. So from Rome i plan to take a train to Salerno and from Salerno a ferry to Amalfi. I plan to stay there for a day and then next morning go to capri, spend the day there and then go to Rome. Is it a good idea to go to Rome or naples would be a better choice?

    • Hi Itchha,
      We’re happy to help, but unsure what you’re asking! Rome and Naples are very different cities, so it just depends on what you’d like to see more. Naples, of course, is closer to the destinations that you’re mentioning, and we think it’s a fantastic destination (here’s a blog post we wrote on 9 reasons not to skip Naples). But Rome is of course the more famous destination, beautiful, and with lots of important sights, from the Colosseum to Sistine Chapel.

      Let us know what you decide, or if we can help with anything else!

  17. Haley Elegant says:

    Hello! I have a trip to Italy planned for July 2nd-15th. We are making are way down from Venice/Florence/Pisa and have a day in Naples and three days in Positano before making our way to Rome for the last three days. It has always been my dream to stay in Positano. What are the top things that I cannot miss doing? I love walking, beach, wine, shopping for clothes, eating…what are your suggestions? Thank you!

    • Hi Haley,
      Positano is beautiful! It’s a small town, though, so you’ll probably be able to discover most of it on your own. Restuarants we like include Da Vincenzo and Ristorante Saraceno. If you have time, walking the “Path of the Gods” is a beautiful hike. You’ll probably also want to see the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, in the center of town. We hope that helps! Let us know if we can do anything else!

  18. Izzy says:

    Hello, this is such a good site! thanks for the info….I’m planning to meet some friends in Solerno in late May. We are taking the afternoon ferry to Amalfi and spending a few days there so I need to meet them around 1pm. If I fly in a day before them, I can be in Naples at 3pm – would that be enough time to get out of the airport and go see Pompeii? (or does the site close?) Looks like I can take a train to Pompeii and it takes about 45 mins but would this be worth it? Where would you recommend staying (in Naples or Solerno) if I have to meet my friends the next day?
    thanks so much in advance!

    • Hi Izzy,
      We’re happy to help! We think trying to do Pompeii the same day you land in Naples would be pushing it, but it’s possible! It just depends on how long it takes you to get through customs, get your bags, etc. So that you know, last entrance in the spring is at 6pm, and the site itself takes at least 2-3 hours to do properly.

      In Naples, we like the B&B Atmosfere del Centro Storico or the hotels La Ciliegina or Hotel Piazza Bellini. In Salerno, we like Salerno Centro, Casa Minerva, and the Ava Gratia Plena.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  19. Roxy says:

    Great info! My family (2 teens) want a good tour guide to walk us through Pompeii, should I pre-arrange it (saw a great guide reference on Trip advisor, but its $250euros), or are there plenty of guides with very good English that we can find at the Pompeii entrance?
    And, from Sorrento to tour Positano, Amalfi, Ravello – should we do this by ferry, bus, or spend extra $ for a private car tour? (~250euros) We saw Cinque Terre by ferry and loved that experience. Any advise?
    And, if we want to hike 2-4 hours – where’s the best hiking spot(s) in the area?
    Thanks so much! We leave May 26 – yeah!

    • Hi Roxy,
      Thanks for stopping by! We definitely don’t recommend getting a guide at the Pompeii entrance; sure, some might be available, and some are good—but you won’t know until you’ve already started, and paid for, the tour. You might consider taking a group tour and arranging it in advance, which is much cheaper than a private tour. You can see the options we run (in groups of maximum 12 people) here. From Sorrento, it’s easy to get to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello with the SITA bus, so if you’re looking to be economical, that’s your best bet. Or by ferry is lovely, too, although remember Ravello isn’t directly on the coast, so you’ll need to take the bus from Amalfi to Ravello anyway. Finally, the best hiking path is “Sentiero degli Dei” (the path of the gods). Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  20. Lisa says:

    Hello. We will be arriving in Rome at 1.15pm Aug 10 and taking a train to Salerno then ferry to Positano. Do the train and ferry run often enough so as to be able to coordinate them and how long would that trip take? We will be taking the same trip reversing back to fly out of Rome.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for stopping by! Trains and ferries aren’t coordinated, but trains are frequent enough that you shouldn’t have much of a problem. The train from Rome to Salerno takes 2.5 hours and the ferry takes a little over an hour.
      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  21. Jamie Young says:

    Fantastic blog. My girlfriend and I are visiting Amalfi Coast for 7 days from the 22nd May this year. A few questions for you…what in your opinion is the best way to get from Naples Airport to Amalfi? Also, are there any boat trips that you really recommend? Is Pompeii a pain to get to from Amalfi? Thanks in advance.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Jamie! From the airport, the journey with the fewest legs would be to take the Alibus airport shuttle directly to the port, and grab a ferry from there to Amalfi. Otherwise, you can take a city bus or shuttle from the airport into Naples, then get to the train station, then take the Circumvesuviana to Sorrento, then the SITA bus to Amalfi… but the first option might be easier 🙂 As far as boat trips go, we recommend just taking the ferry along the coast. And Pompeii is a two-leg trip—SITA bus to Sorrento, then Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii Scavi—but very much worth it, in our opinion! Let us know if we can do anything else!

  22. Chris says:

    Hi there,

    I came across your very helpful blog whilst researching the Amalfi Coast. My wife-to-be and I are honeymooning in Sorrento for ten days in late August. Trips to the rest of the Amalfi coast are high on our agenda.

    We are feeling a little concerned we may be waiting around in huge ques for the SITA bus. Not too worried about it being packed on the bus, after all we chose August to go (it had to be in school hols due to my work commitments) so it would be somewhat hypocritical to complain about crowds, but could actually getting on it be a problem?

    If the bus proves to be tricky, are there plenty of ferries to the coast from Sorrento? I see you recommended boat over bus in the peak season, but didn’t see Sorrento mentioned on the list of places that ferry lines connect. Hoping that this would be another transport option for us.

    One final thing. Hope the weather is still hot at the latter end of August, as we like it HOT!
    Thanking you. 🙂

    • Hi Chris,
      We’re happy to help! The Amalfi coast is beautiful—you’ll love it.

      As far as the SITA goes: They do pack people on. So if there aren’t enough seats, expect to be standing in the aisle. If it’s so crowded they can’t fit everyone on (which does happen, although not a ton), the good news is the next bus will arrive quickly, as the service is frequent, especially in summer.

      Because of the crowds, though, yes, we might recommend taking the ferry instead, at least one of the ways. And Sorrento is connected via some of the ferries; just check out the different websites linked for your options.

      Don’t worry about the weather being hot. It definitely will be!

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  23. Karen says:

    Hi We are travelling to Rome on 31st May and will be spending 1 night in Sorrento on 3rd June. We plan to get the fast train from Rome to Naples and then visit Herculaneum and Pompeii on the way to Naples. The next day we would like to go to Positano and possibly Capri before getting the train back to Rome. I am having trouble finding ferry timetables in English that I can understand. We would like to depart Sorrento around 9am and travel to Positano and then take a ferry to Capri at around 12.30pm ultimately arriving back at Naples at about 5pm to get a train back to Rome. Do you know if there is a website or ferry company that can offer a round trip ticket?

    • Hi Karen,

      There’s a Sorrento to Positano ferry with Metro del Mare at 9:20am, arriving 9:55 (details here) (or you can take the SITA bus); a Positano to Capri ferry at 10:25am or at 2pm with Lucibello (details here); and Capri to Naples ferries at 4:30pm, 5:05pm, 5:10pm and 5:50pm (details here).

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  24. Andrew L. says:

    Hi there
    I am staying in Salerno 21-26th Sept 2013 and was wondering if the ferries to Capri still operate during my travel dates? Can you see most sites in Capri in one day?

    I would also like to do a day trip to Naples. Is the view better by ferry or by train? What is the quickest?

    Also, what is the weather usually like in late Sept?

    • Hi Andrew,
      Yes, the ferries will still be operating those dates (barring inclement weather, of course!). Capri is definitely doable as a day trip, although of course in a couple of days you can sightsee in a much more relaxed day :-). For Naples, you definitely get better views along the way from the ferry rather than the train, but the train is often more convenient (and faster)! Weather-wise, late September tends to still be pretty warm, even hot. So double-check the weather before you go, but it will probably be shorts-and-T-shirts weather (with some extra layers for the evening, especially on the water). Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  25. Claudia says:

    Hello,
    My husband ten yr old son and I are renting an apt. in Minori the last week in Sept. We would love to take the Ferrys instead of the buses, any suggestions for fun day trips for us?

    • Hi Claudia,
      On the ferry, from Minori you can easily get to Capri, or for options along the Amalfi coast, to Amalfi, Positano, Salerno, and Sorrento—all of which would make great day trip options. You can see your ferry options from Minori here. Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  26. Melanie says:

    Hi, great posts on the Amalfi coast! My fiance and I are headed there for our honeymoon in November, with our fingers crossed for a bit of sun. We were sort of planning to rent a car and do day trips on our own, but after reading about the roads I’m wondering if that’s the best idea. Are the roads very busy in the off-season? Would you definitely not recommend getting a car? It sounds like it might be more stressful to do so than we thought.
    Thanks for your advice!

    • Hi Melanie,
      What a lovely honeymoon idea! If you or your fiance like driving, the Amalfi coast roads can be fun—just be aware that, because they’re narrow and very curvy, they are a challenge. (Also be aware that it is much more expensive to rent an automatic car in Italy than a manual, so it’s best if one of you is very comfortable driving stick shift). If the idea of driving those kinds of roads worries you more than excites you, though, there is no reason not to rely on public transportation in the area, as between the ferries, buses and trains (from Salerno and Sorrento), you have lots of options! Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  27. Ken says:

    Hello. Great information here. I would like to take the ferry from Sorrento to Positano – I see above it leaves at 9:20 on Metro Del Mare. Are they operating. The site says something about the course terminating? If operating – I was then hoping to connect via ferry on to Salerno – which I believe is a different ferry line – is that correct? Just trying to confirm that you can take the ferry from Sorrento to Salerno and how to accomplish that route. Thank you!

    • Hi Ken,
      Yes, it is operating. “Terminating” usually refers (in a bad translation) to the last stop on the line. There is a ferry from Sorrento to Salerno with Coop Sant’Andrea; you can see their schedule here. Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  28. Caryn says:

    Hello,

    I need help! My husband and I will be traveling to Ravello to attend a wedding September 16-19. I have searched numerous ferry websites– I cannot locate one that provides service from Naples to Almalfi – where I believe we would then take a bus to Ravello??
    After reading some of the above posts, would we be better off taking train from Rome to Salerno?? I’d much prefer a FAST train from Rome– which I found from Roma Tributina Station to Napoli Centrale.
    Searching has given me quite a headache. I’m beginning to think a car with driver may be our only option– not thrilled about the drive.

    • Hi Caryn,
      If you want to make the trip as quickly as possible, then yes, we’d recommend Salerno. On the fast train (Frecciarossa), you can get there in 2 hours, no changes needed. In Salerno, you’d then want to get on the SITA bus to Amalfi, which will take about 45 minutes, and switch for Ravello, which is about 10-15 minutes. It’s still a journey, but less than if you went through Naples and Sorrento. Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  29. Ken says:

    Hello,
    I had posted a couple of days back inquiring as to the possbility of taking a ferry from Sorrento to Salerno. I see in a response above there is a ferry from Sorrento to Positano ferry with Metro del Mare at 9:20am. Does that line go all the way to Salerno or do you have to change lines from Positano to Salerno. What is possible and what do you recommend? Thank you.

    • Hi Ken,
      Yes, you have to change lines in Positano (or elsewhere); there is no direct ferry available between Sorrento and Salerno. Alicost is an operator that links Salerno and Sorrento (with a change in Amalfi), while Gescab links Salerno to Ischia and Capri. However, if you don’t want to take the SITA bus, the ferry is pretty much your only/fastest option.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  30. Jack says:

    I am going to positano in August. I arrived in rome about 9:30 AM at the airport. Will it be hard to take the train from the airport to naples or positano? I do not speak iialian. Does positano have a train station and if so is that a good way to get there? If not, from naples, should I go by ferry, or get my hotel to pick me up at the train station, a service they provide for a fee?
    I get carsick and seasick easily. Thanks for the help.

    • Hi Jack,
      We’re happy to help! Yes, it is easy to take the train from the Rome airport to Naples, although not to Positano, as Positano does not have a train station :-). If you need to get to Positano, your only option for the last leg is by bus or ferry. We’d recommend the following: Take the Leonardo da Vinci express train from FCO airport to Rome’s Termini station (30 minutes). From there, switch to the fast train to Naples (2 hours). In Naples, you’ll have to then take the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento (45 minutes), and from THERE, the SITA bus to Positano (about an hour). Or, alternately, from Naples you can get a transfer with your hotel, or with us (email us at [email protected] for more information). It obviously makes for a long day and lots of changes, so if at all possible, we’d recommend spending a night or two in Rome, especially as there’s so much to see there anyway.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  31. Ivana says:

    Hi!
    I am glad I’ve found this very interesting blog 🙂 We will be staying in Napoli next month for a week. We’ve already made some plans, but still need advice from the experts like you, to make the most of for our short trip. We are planing to make a daily trips from Naples:

    – DAY 1: Napoli – Pompeii (morning) + train from Pompeii to Sorrento? (afternoon) and back to Napoli
    – DAY 2: Napoli – Climb to Vesuvius (morning) + Herculaneum archaeological site (are both sites at the same Circumvesuviana train stop – Ercolano Scavi?)
    – DAY 3: Napoli – Paestum (morning train) + back to first Salerno (afternoon train) and to Napoli by train (in early evening).
    – DAY 4: Napoli – Amalfi + Ravello / Here I need help… Should we take train Naples – Salerno, and from Salerno some ferry to Amalfi? Is it possible and where, to buy return ticket for ferry (what are the costs?), so we can spend the whole day in Alalfi/Ravello, before we go back by ferry to Salerno, and than by train – to Naples?
    – DAY 5: Naples – Capri – Naples
    – Day 6: Naples – Procida – Ischia – Naples

    Is it possible to buy (at Napoli Centrale) some type of weekly, reduced train ticket to all the trains that cover Napoli coast (Pompeii, Herculaneum), Paestum and Salerno? Do trains run often?

    Thank you very, very much in advance 🙂

    • Hi Ivana,
      We’re happy to help. This itinerary looks good, although quite packed; we might suggest dropping either Sorrento or Salerno, especially as it sounds like you’ll spend a day visiting other Amalfi coast towns in any case.

      Yes, Mt. Vesuvius and the Scavi are at the same stop (but you’ll have to take a bus up to Mt. Vesuvius).

      As for day 4, you can go by ferry. What we’d recommend, though, is you take the train to Sorrento and then go by SITA bus along the coast, which also would mean you wouldn’t have to fit in Sorrento on the Pompeii day. We’d suggest visiting Sorrento, Amalfi, and Ravello, taking the SITA bus on to Salerno, and taking the train from Salerno to Naples at the very end of the day.

      There is a transport pass you can use for the trains and buses on the Amalfi coast; you can find out more about it here.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  32. Caryn says:

    Thank you for the Rome- Salerno train information. Rather than a bus from Salerno to Almalfi, we’d prefer to take a ferry. I am having a difficult time finding ferry schedules online in English. Can you recommend a website for ferry schedules in English.

    Thank you!

  33. marina says:

    I would like your opinion about a family vacation on amalfi coast during christmas – new years. Is it worth it? Are a lot of things going to be closed?

    • Hi Marina,
      We’re happy to help! While many restaurants and hotels will be closed over the holidays, not all will be—and we’ve found that, because of the lack of tourist crowds, it can be one of the most beautiful times to visit the area. The weather will be much more mild than winter in other parts of the world, too 😉 You might want to check out our post on the Amalfi coast in the off season for more information.
      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  34. Rhiannon says:

    Hi there,

    I left some questions a few days ago about moving between Naples and the Amalfi coast…I’ve just realised I could take a ferry from Palermo to Salerno instead of Naples and was wondering if you think that was a better idea rather than going to Naples, given we have only 4 days to see Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast. Your thoughts would be much appreciated!

    • Hi Rhiannon,
      Yes, Salerno probably would be a more convenient jumping-off point than Naples if you want to explore the Amalfi coast and Pompeii. We’d recommend perhaps spending the last night in Naples itself, so you can explore the city as well.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  35. Michelle says:

    Thanks for your blog. I’m in town for about 10 hours for one of our port destinations arriving in Naples. We have a private tour scheduled and doing a 2 hour stop in Pompeii (or 3 hours? what do you suggest?). With that in mind, which cities should we visit along the Amalfi coast? I was thinking of visiting Sorrento; but from reading your blog, maybe we should skip Sorrento and do Positano, Ravello and Salerno/Amalfi??? Is that doable with the time we have?

    Thanks again for your help!

    • Hi Michelle,
      We’re happy to help! In one day, it’s not particularly relaxing to try to do Pompeii, Positano, Ravello and Salerno 😉 We’d recommend doing Pompeii, getting on the regional train to Salerno, and taking the SITA bus from Salerno to Amalfi Town and *maybe* Ravello, if you have time.
      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  36. Linda says:

    My husband and I are visiting the Almalfi Coast in late September and are thinking of renting a car from Naples and driving so we can do what we want when we want. Is that crazy? We are from Alaska and are use to driving curvy mountainous roads.

    • Hi Linda,
      It’s not crazy, by any means—lots of people choose to drive in the area! However, we only recommend it for people who are not only comfortable with driving curvy, mountainous roads, but also with having a fast-driving Italian on their tail while they do so ;-). Having your own car does give you more freedom and flexibility, of course. But it’s also not necessary, since you have so many public transport options in the area, so if you think you’d be more relaxed not having to drive, we’d suggest using buses and ferries instead.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  37. Richard says:

    I would like to spend 10 days hiking between villages of the Amalfi Coast in October with my teenage sons. Do you think that the scenery would be too uniform for kids to spend that much time in one area? We could spend more time in cities like Florence and Rome, but I can’t relax in cities!

    • Hi Richard,
      Sounds like a lovely trip! Most people spend less than a week in the Amalfi coast, but especially if you add in day trips and hiking, you can easily fill up 10 days. And with kids, we think it’s better to move less between destinations, not more! However, to mix up the scenery, you might want to look into adding in day trips to the islands of Capri or Ischia; the archaeological sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Paestum; or to the city of Naples, which has a lot to offer (not to mention fantastic food, including pizza!). Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  38. mechelle reyes says:

    hi..can i have the schedule of SITA bus?..From Salerno to Amalfi, and where i can wait the bus if i’m in Salerno?..tanx