Last month, during my trip to Positano, I received so many questions about where to stay and the logistics of getting around the Amalfi Coast in addition to a few others. I wanted to answer all of your questions more in depth and have this post serve as the ultimate Amalfi Coast travel guide.
Where To Stay
Where should I stay along the Amalfi Coast?
This is one of those questions that can completely overwhelm people and I can completely understand why. The Amalfi Coast is such a long stretch of land but there are also islands off the coast that you’ll come across in your research, as well, which then makes the decision even more difficult.
The key is identifying where you want to spend your time and what you want to be doing while you are in the area. From there, I would recommend staying a few nights in a couple of locations along the coast and split your activities up based on where you are staying [i.e. do the things on your list that is closest to where you are staying like the Path of the Gods hike when you’re staying in Praiano versus when you’re staying in Sorrento].
It’s hard to answer this question for you. It’s important you look into what activities you want to do and do some research on the cities along the coast and make some decisions based on that research. Here are some insights to consider although this does not encompass all of the cities you could stay in along the Amalfi Coast.
Amalfi Coast Cities You Should Stay In
Stay in Sorrento if you know you want to do the Pompeii tour and you want to go to neighboring islands like Ischia, Procida, and Capri.
Stay in Positano if you are enamored by its charm, want to stay in a central location and are wanting to spend a few days on the beach or heading over to one of the neighboring beach clubs. You can also easily get to Capri and Ischia from Positano but Sorrento seems to have many more options in terms of times.
Stay in Praiano if you want to stay somewhere smaller, more affordable and a quick taxi/ride over to the bustling Positano.
Stay in Amalfi if you love to be in the cultural center of any vacation destination you set out for! This little city is full of charm as well as boatloads of tourists. It does have great restaurants and a beach, as well.
Stay in Ravello if you want a quiet escape for the craziness of the Amalfi Coast and enjoy the natural beauty of this area of Italy. This city is full of lavish gardens and was one of Jackie Kennedy’s favorite quiet escapes during her lifetime. You can stay at a villa and enjoy the views from the drop-off infinity pools but there are no beaches and you are about an hour+ away from cities like Positano and Amalfi.
Stay on Ischia [an island] if you want to stay somewhere different, less crowded and equally as beautiful as some of the cities along the coast. I’ve been to Ischia a couple of times and it’s really charming and I felt like I was only scratching the surface.
Stay on Capri if you want to enjoy a lush Italian lifestyle! Although I’ve personally never enjoyed my experiences on Capri during the two-day trips I’ve taken to the area, I’ve been told that staying on the island is a much more enjoyable experience. You are forced to flow into the touristy spots when you go for the day on the ferry so it feels crowded and unpleasant. So, I would encourage you to find a blog or a review somewhere on Pinterest to help you decide but I wouldn’t cross off the idea based on peoples’ day trip experiences, which you see a lot of when you are doing your research.
Where did you stay in Positano?
HomeAway Rental Flat
I stayed in two different rental flats during my eight days in Positano this Spring.
On the first floor, there’s a nice living area downstairs with a tiny kitchen and half-bath. On the second floor, there were two bedrooms with plenty of room and two double beds in each. One bedroom has an en-suite bathroom and the other one has a bathroom just outside the main door of the bedroom. The showers are small but the hot water and water pressure were both on point.
The price was extremely reasonable and can imagine if you book early enough, it’s even more affordable. I booked this two or three weeks out and paid €240 [$280 depending on the day] per night. This is much more reasonable than some of the surrounding hotels with the view this unit has, most especially Le Sirenuse, as I mentioned previously. However, you do not have the luxury of a lift so keep that in mind when you’re packing.
Also, keep in mind, that later in the season that you book, the more expensive your stay could be as the demand for a rental is higher but still feel like the price is reasonable at just under $300. We didn’t take photos of the inside of this one because we were rushing out each day trying to make the most of what’s around but the host of the flat shares quite a few photos on the listing page, which are all very accurate of what it looks like in real life.
Airbnb Rental Flat
The second half of my trip, I stayed in an Airbnb that was literally just up the street from the Homeaway flat. It wasn’t as affordable but boasted so much character and charm as well as an amazing view. It had two bedrooms that comfortably sleeps two people and the owner, Raffaella, greeted us with wine and snacks, which was so kind. The bathroom upstairs, where I stayed, was very small but that’s to be expected, honestly.
The home has multiple living spaces that are beautifully decorated. It’s the perfect place for couples or a small family. You have a large kitchen and dining area if you’re interested in getting groceries and shopping for yourselves. I find that to be a great way of saving a little bit of money rather than eating out each night.
The photos you see below were taken at this rental. Victoria and I enjoyed our stay here and highly recommend.
Where did you stay in Sorrento?
Last year, I spent two weeks staying just outside of the Sorrento city center in an area called Massa Lubrense. It was a very quiet suburb of Sorrento with lots of locals bustling into the main square each day and evening. HERE is the link to the place I stayed in for one of the weeks with my stepmom, best friend and her Mom. I really enjoyed it but it was a bit of a ‘to do’every day as we had to take the bus or a taxi everywhere we wanted to go. There’s nothing to do in the area, really, other than to grab a bite to eat so, if you wanted to go to Positano, or do the Path of the Gods hike, or go take a tour of Pompeii, you had to fork out a pretty penny. So, we saved money on accommodations in this area but I feel like we spent more on accommodations + taxi prices doing all the things we wanted to do than we would have if we had chosen to stay in Positano.
Getting Around the Amalfi Coast
What is the best way to travel from one town to another along the coast? Ferry? Bus? Private Car?
The most affordable way to travel from place to place along the Amalfi Coast is by the local SITA bus. It is less than €2 and there are bus stations throughout the cities. You can buy your bus ticket at any local convenience store that sells gum, snacks, water, etc. They also have the bus schedule and can tell you when you should expect the next bus.
The biggest pro to using the bus system is the price. The biggest con to using the bus system is how nauseating it can be, how crowded it typically is [especially during the high season], and how long you have to wait sometimes to get on a bus. A lot of time the line for the bus is long [because the price difference between the bus and a taxi is so large and the price of the bus is so good] so you can wait for up to 30+ minutes and then not be able to get on. So, just keep that in mind. You may need to exercise patience and sacrifice seeing and doing ‘everything’ on your list to only the ‘absolutes’ in order to do the Amalfi Coast on a budget OR dish out some dollars you didn’t really want to spend to fit everything in. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. I think it’s great that there are options but, like everything, there are pros and cons to both.
You can use THIS website to keep track of bus times to help plan your day!
The next most affordable way to travel throughout the Amalfi Coast, and the most affordable way to travel to some of the islands like Ischia, Procida, and Capri, is by ferry. You can also travel by ferry to get from cities along the Amalfi Coast, as well.
Let me tell you … it is MUCH more enjoyable than the bus, although a little bit more expensive at around €15-25 depending on where you’re going, where you’re traveling from and what month of the year you’re traveling. I would recommend using THIS website to navigate purchasing ferry tickets and figuring out logistics of your daily adventures.
Make sure you plan EACH ferry you’ll need to catch of the day. Don’t only plan the one you’re taking and then ‘figure out later’ which one you’re taking back. You could get accidentally let the time slip away from you and miss the last ferry of the day.
The most convenient way to get around the Amalfi Coast is by private car. But it’ll cost you.
From the Naples airport to Sorrento, which is an hour drive, I paid €90. From the Naples airport to Positano, which is an hour and 20 minute drive, I paid €110. From Positano to Sorrento, which is a 45-minute drive, I paid €80. From Ravello to Positano, which is an hour and 15-minute drive, we paid €100.
Also, to give you some context, €100 is currently around $115, give or take a couple of dollars. So, this is where your trip to the Amalfi Coast can get really expensive. Victoria and I found ourselves using Positano Limousine Service. They were always reliable, more often than not but used Ravello Taxi Service [di Giovanni Fortunato] on our way back to Positano and the man who drove us was so sweet and kind.
The more I spent in taxi’s, the more I wish I had just rented a scooter to get around. While I would have been a little nervous, especially with Italian scooterists scooting quickly around me, but I honestly feel like I wish I had rented a scooter. It’s – by far – the most cost effective and time efficient way to manuever you’re way through the Amalfi Coast area. If you’re confident enough in your scooter driving ability, go for it! I’d say … get yourself to your hotel and figure out where in whatever city you’re staying in you can rent one because, obviously, you need to get yourself and your luggage to your hotel first. If you’re reading this having done this before, please share [in the comments below] where you rented your scooter from, your experience, and if you’d recommend renting one to first time visitors.
Should I rent a car?
Typically, I am a huge advocate for renting cars when you are traveling but this area is one where I’d actually encourage the opposite. Do NOT rent a car here. You might save money – I’m not sure, I’ve never looked into pricing – but the roads are very narrow, windy and there are steep drop-offs at the edge of the main road that leads to Positano, Praiano, and Amalfi.
There are also massive tour buses and local buses that take up A LOT of space when they are turning. I just think it’s a little unnerving and it’s best to leave the driving to those who drive them every single day during their busy season. I also feel like parking for a car would be a nightmare compared to parking a scooter. So, I still stand behind renting a scooter … but not so much a car!
Leave it to the professionals, people! 🙂
My dad is a bit older and has trouble moving around. He can walk but has knee problems and too many stairs are an issue. Do you think he would be able to get around? Based on my research it seems like Sorrento is the best place to stay. Positano definitely seems to have too many stairs. Is Sorrento doable, or should we avoid Amalfi all together?
Personally, I would say skip Amalfi Coast all together and go back someday without your Dad. Sorrento has fewer stairs than Positano but the entire region is rocky with cobblestone streets.
There are a lot of inclines and declines to get to and from the sea and restaurants. I would hate for your Dad to be uncomfortable during his entire vacation.
I’ve also been to the area with someone who has knee problems and that person had a great time on the days we went on a boat or going to a beach club. But walking around and exploring areas like Capri and Pompeii, hiking the Path of the Gods hike and walking up and down the long pathways was challenging at the end of the day. This little area of Italy is beautiful but, with a bum knee myself, it is a very tough area for people with joint issues.
I would love it if your guides could cover the approximate budget. I find figuring out the costs of travel is the first step!
This is great to know and I totally wish I could provide more insight into this in order to offer a more all-inclusive look at these trips!
Due to the number of options available to travelers of all budget ranges in all of the places that I go, it would take quite a bit of time to compile the high and low price points of all the things to consider when traveling [accommodations, meals, transportation, etc.] in addition to sharing just my personal experience. So, unfortunately, this isn’t something I am able to offer at this time and I do apologize. I wish I had the bandwidth to do so.
I can, however, speak to how expensive the area is in MY experience and hopefully that will help.
For this location, in particular, I’d say it is extremely expensive all around. I could have saved a lot more money if I had taken the bus more but I think you really have to hit the bus times spot on but the lines to get on don’t always allow you to do that.
There aren’t any hostels in Positano that I found but I think there are in Atrani. But just know that this area is extremely ‘hot’ right now. It’s on a lot of peoples’ list of places to go and it’s very ‘American’. There aren’t really even very many Italians there. A lot of the Italians who used to live in the area have moved out as so many tourists come every year and a lot of the homes are now being used as rental spaces. So, keep that in mind if you want to travel but want to go somewhere a little more affordable. This might not be the right place.
Do Your Research
However, before making that decision, I’d encourage you to search on Pinterest for ‘doing ____ on a budget’ and fill in the location in the blank and see what comes up! Pinterest is literally my go to when it comes to planning trips. I hope those tidbits help a little bit and I wish I could give more of myself to you guys!
Travel In The Amalfi Coast
Should I fly into Rome or Naples?
I’ve never flown into Rome. I’ve always flown into Naples and arranged for a private car/taxi to be waiting for me at the airport. It’s much more seamless and easy after a long day of traveling. I know it’s probably a bit more expensive to fly into Naples because it’s smaller but I am just someone who will spend more for convenience. However, if Rome is going to be a part of your trip then, yes, it might make more sense to fly in and out of Rome. So, hard to say which makes more sense for you – to each their own with this one! Personally, I’d say fly into Naples if Amalfi Coast is your only destination. 🙂
Is it worth it to take a day trip from Rome to the Amalfi Coast?
It’s a beautiful area that I definitely think is worth visiting but I would say no, it is not worth it take a day trip from Rome.
First of all, the trek is a long one at almost three hours. It’s common to fly into Rome and then take a train to the Amalfi Coast if that’s where you’re going to be for some time but, I wouldn’t recommend spending three hours trekking down there to then spend six hours there and hustle back to Naples to catch the train back to Rome later in the day. It would also be quite expensive.
On the route that I linked above, I’d recommend getting off at Naples and taking a car or taxi from there to whichever city you’re wanting to go to but it will take an hour or more from there.
It’s also very expensive to get a car to the area, at around €90, if not more. So, in my opinion, I understand the desire to make a day trip if that’s all you have to work with but I wouldn’t say it’s worth it considering how much time you have to experience the area in conjunction with how much you’re spending.
What planning resources would you suggest for figuring out logistics like ferry times, bus times, taxi services, etc.
I’d suggest Rome2Rio for determining best route from Rome to wherever you’re heading throughout Amalfi Coast. I’d also suggest using this website to look up ferry times, this website to look up bus times, and I’d suggest using Positano Transfer & Get Ravello Taxi for transfers throughout the area.
Key Italian Phrases
Grazie – Thank you
Prego – You’re welcome! or Please, come in!
Mi scusi – Excuse me/pardon me
Non parlo molto bene italiano – I don’t speak Italian very well
Parla inglese? – Do you speak English?
Potrei vedere il menu? – May I see the menu?
Quanto costa? – How much is this?
Mi porti a questo indirizzo, por favore – Take me to this address, please
Mi chiamo Haley! – My name is Haley!
Most people in and along the Amalfi Coast DO speak English but, out of respect, try to say a few things in Italy especially greetings and expressing gratitude!
These are some things to consider when planning your trip!
DESTINATION HIGH SEASON
The busiest season for the Amalfi Coast officially begins around Easter and runs through September. I would say the busiest months are June, July, and August. It is also sweltering! The best time, in my opinion, is late May. It hasn’t quite gotten ‘too hot’ and the bougainvillea is all abloom making this already beautiful area even more stunning!
They prefer cash so try and have cash if at all possible but they do take cards sometimes.
Add 10% to your overall bill!
There are quite a few Italians in large cities, like Florence, Rome, and Positano, that know a good bit of English but, out of respect, you should always do your best to communicate in basic Italian. They’ll know you’re English-speaking but they’ll at least respect that you tried.
Google Translate is a great tool to help you with pronunciation while you’re prepping for your trip! 🙂
GOOD TO KNOW
Don’t be afraid to be a little assertive when you need something from your server at a restaurant.
In Italy, and most of Europe, they want you to enjoy your experience and the company you are with at their restaurant. They don’t want you to feel rushed or like they’re trying to get you to leave by coming to check on you every few minutes and bringing you your check after they clear your table. After they serve you your wine and main course, they will likely leave you alone for a long time.
Make sure you have everything you need or you’ll be waiting for a while to flag them down. If you’re ready to go when they take your plates, be sure to let the server know you’re ready for the check, otherwise, they’ll assume you will visit with each other while your meal is digesting.
WHO SHOULD VISIT THIS DESTINATION
Amalfi Coast is for hikers, explorers and sunbathers alike! There is truly something for everyone here but I would say if you have joint problems, this destination is not for you.
I hope this Amalfi Coast travel guide helps you plan your trip! If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below and I’ll get to them soon! xo.
P.S. Check out my packing list for the Amalfi Coast and what I pack in my carry-on to stay organized when I travel!