Think of Positano, and colorful houses snuggled into almost vertical walls of rock spring to mind. But the Southern Italian city on the fringes of the Sorrentine peninsula is also famous for hand-made sandals, 17th-century museums and marble-embellished cathedrals, plus blow-your-socks-off scooter rides along the Amalfi Coast. Given its natural beauty and dramatic topography, it’s little wonder that this coastline in the Gulf of Salerno is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Likewise, it’s no surprise that it’s a tourist draw, though most people don’t know how to travel to the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea. To save you the research, here’s everything about how to get from Rome to Positano.
How far is Rome from Positano, and what options do I have?
It’ll take you some three hours and 20 minutes to drive the 270 kilometers from Rome to Positano with your car, provided the streets aren’t wedged solid. By minivan, it’s a three-hour-fifty-minute journey. Is there a train from Rome to Positano? I hear you. Yes indeed, there is, but no direct one. The train will take you to Positano in fewer than three hours. You can also ride a bus for four-and-a-half hours, the cheapest option, or combine a bus and train journey to get the best of two worlds. However, that’s the slowest mode of transport at six hours.
Alternatively, you can ride the train to Salerno and then hop on a ferry to arrive in Positano by sea. The switch in Salerno is necessary because there aren’t any direct boat trips from Rome to Positano.
Since there is no airport on the Amalfi Coast, you’ll have to fly to Naples if sitting on a plane is your preferred type of transport. Positano, with the island of Capri nearby, lies 60 kilometers south of Naples.
Traveling to Positano by land
Train and bus
The Campania Express Train from Rome to Positano is the fastest train to the Amalfi Coast. It whisks you from Rome to Naples in just 40 minutes. It’s more expensive than the commuter train, but you’ll spare yourself tedious stops at every mediocre station. The Campania Express Train that operates from mid-March to October has air-conditioned coaches and comes with plenty of space to store your luggage. Also, ticket reservations are possible. Still, you won’t find a direct train to Positano because the city on the Amalfi Coast doesn’t have a train station.
If you’re traveling on a shoestring, you can use Trenitalia. You can also use the Frecciarossa or Italo high-speed train to get from Rome to Naples. It’ll take them one hour and ten minutes to cover this distance, and they run several times per hour. Jump on the train at Roma Termini Railway Station and head to Naples Stazione Centrale.
Arriving in Naples, you can change to the regional Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento, which will take you an hour and ten minutes. You don’t need to reserve a seat for the regional train, but the trouble is there’s no AC and barely space for bulky suitcases. Opt for the DD Express train that’ll save you twenty minutes if you’re pressed for time.
Once you’re in Sorrento, look for the Sita bus stop outside the station. The Sita is a local bus, which means you can’t reserve a seat for the 40-minute ride to Positano. If you manage to snag a seat on the right side, you’ll be in the box seat when you approach Positano, gazing down to the blue Tyrrhenian Sea.
Whether you start your journey from Rome airport to Positano (both Ciampino International Airport (CIA) and Fiumicino Airport (FCO) are possible) or a hotel in the city center, several companies travel by minibus from Rome to Positano three to four times a day.
The best way to travel from Rome to Positano is by bus. Compared with trains and ferries, they’re more affordable and comfier. They come with AC, reclining seats, and large windows so you can watch the honeypot scenery roll past. The drawback is that you’ll need to get up early as there’s only one direct bus per day from Rome’s Tiburtina railway station at 7 a.m.
Do stock up on nibbles before you board the bus, or else you’ll need to wait for the 15-minute stop near Naples, where you can get some grub, too. Bear in mind that buses operate only from June to September. Booking a ticket online is a good idea as coaches fill up quickly.
Traveling to Positano by land plus sea
Train and ferry
You can ride the Freccia Rossa TAV train from Rome to Salerno and then enjoy the ferry trip along the Amalfi Coast and Sorrentine peninsula from March to October.
You can find two piers in Salerno:
- Molo Concordia (across the street from the station)
- Molo Manfredi (a few kilometers away – hail a cab or walk)
Travelmar and NLG are the two primary ferry companies that cover Salerno to Positano with over 60 ferries a week. The ride to Positano’s port at the bottom of a hill right on the beach will take 35 to 60+ minutes.
To get to the town center and your hotel, you’ll need to climb steep stairs starting at the shore. But hey, go for it if you can. Approaching your destination on a ship, you’ll be gazing at colorful hamlets squeezed between rocky headlands and steep slopes falling into the blue sea.
Arriving in Positano
Get yourself an irresistibly scrumptious gelato once you’re in the heart of Positano. You’re in Italy after all, the country with the world’s best ice cream. And what about the handmade flip-flops and the visit to Museo della Carta with a gift shop? The Paper Museum represents seven hundred years of Amalfi’s paper tradition.
Also, don’t forget to take that Insta-worthy shot of Duomo di Amalfi sitting atop a set of stairs in the town center. The 13th-century bell tower, framed in pointed arches, plus the bronze doors nodding to the church’s Baroque and other intriguing styles, are a sight for sore eyes, as is the art Museo Diocesano di Amalfi inside Amalfi’s cathedral.
Whether it’s sightseeing or Amalfi’s beaches that suit your fancy, riding along the Amalfi coast on a Vespa before heading back to Positano, also known as the world’s most beautiful town, is second to none.