The Amalfi coast and its string of ceramic-tiled, cliff-edge towns is easily one of the most famous stretches of sea in Italy. If you seek adventure in the form of volcanic exploration, dramatic views with a glass of limoncello in hand, or scenic boat rides through clear blue waters, then the Amalfi Coast has your name written all over it.
Getting to and through the Amalfi coast can be a daunting task. While reaching and discovering this stretch of coast can seem impossible without a car, if you are not a seasoned professional at tackling the narrow and windy Amalfi roads, driving on your own could be a bit of a struggle. However, if you are up for the challenge, the reward will present itself just outside your windows every step of the way.
If you want to enjoy the views and explore the hidden gems along the way, it would be beneficial for you to stick with ferries, private transfers or buses to get in and around. It is about the journey, after all.
Lucky for you, the towns in this picturesque, pastel-colored region are close together, giving you the ability to choose one of them as your home base and simply take day trips from there. This avoids the hassle of traveling around with all of your luggage, as well as the annoyance of jumping around from one hotel to another.
But first, let’s get you there.
Enjoy the ride with a private transfer
You’ve traveled far. You are finally on your long-awaited, dream Italian getaway. You have a much-deserved break from your lengthy commute to and from work. The last thing you want to do is worry about the laws of the road of a foreign country and perhaps the worst task of all: the frustration of finding parking. When you book a transfer, you travel with drivers who are experienced with the windy, coastal roads.
Moreover, this offers you the chance to stop along the journey. The driver may even have a few points of interest to share with you that you would have never known about had you gone on your own; it’s essentially like having your own private tour guide. See the ruins of a medieval fortress in the distance? Go ahead and explore – you have no strict public transport schedule to keep to. Want to make a detour along the way to the volcanoes in the area? The driver will know exactly where to take you.
In addition to being able to see a great deal more, when traveling to smaller towns, a transfer will get you there in one straight shot; something that is impossible when taking a bus, where connections are unavoidable. Many transfers will even pick you up from your hotel or airport. Saving time + less stress? Yes please.
The added adventure you end up receiving combined with a far less stressful overall experience make the additional expense beyond worth it.
Become an Amalfi Coast “professional” driver
Although the Amalfi Coast roads are intimidating, this is one of the most scenic drives in the world, if not THE most. It is often compared to Highway 1 in California; considered to be a must-see in and of itself. The itinerary is yours to make, the beautiful sites to see (or not see) are yours to decide upon. So, why not take on the challenge? Put the roof down, cruise down the coast, and reward yourself with some spaghetti alle vongole (since limoncello is an off-limits treat if you’re driving)!
Attempt to master the local buses
The Sita buses go to all of the Amalfi towns via two routes: Sorrento – Positano – Amalfi and Amalfi – Salerno. If you want to travel along the entire coast, you will have to change buses. It’s also good to remember that departure and arrival times may not be accurate as a result of the traffic on the road. Regardless of this fact though, all buses stop running at 10 p.m.
Another fact worth noting is that Amalfi Coast buses, especially during the summer, are packed to the brim. It’s very common to stand for the entire duration of the drive. Although the buses have air conditioning, because of the amount of people on the buses it can sometimes go unnoticed.
That being said, it is the most affordable transport option here, with tickets costing anywhere between $2.45 and $7.59, depending on the length of time of the ride, what day of the week you travel, and what time of day you are traveling.
“Sea” the coast from a ferry
By far the quickest way to get around is by ferry. Avoid nasty traffic on the roads, get some of that fresh, sea air on your face, and have some quality time with your travel companion (or you know, with yourself), and relax on your trip. The scenery here is spectacular; The dramatic cliffs and the small towns that clutch their edges can be truly enjoyed and appreciated when viewed from the sea.
Besides, how many of us travel by boat on a regular basis? When was the last time you even set foot on a boat? This is still a fairly unique form of travel, so why not take advantage of it being at your fingertips, especially when it is actually the most affordable and efficient means of transportation for you here?
A ferry from Sorrento to Positano, for example, takes less than forty five minutes and will only run you somewhere between $18-$22, whereas a drive will take a bit more time and could cost you a bit more. It’s simply a matter of deciding how adventurous you want your journey to be!
Pro tip: It is worth your while to take a ferry if you tend to suffer from motion sickness. Those windy, cliff-side roads will be anything but pretty for you.
Don’t look for a train
You can take a train from Rome to the main train station in Naples, Napoli Centrale, or to Vietri sul Mare-Amalfi and from there take whatever means of transportation you desire in order to get around. However, there are no train routes within the Amalfi Coast itself.
Travel on foot
Parking spots are few and far between, and those that do exist, are pricey. Roads are narrow, taxis are expensive and buses are sweaty. Why not attempt walking the Amalfi Coast? The 50 km (31 mi) stretch is easily walkable, free, and is good exercise if you’re concerned about all of the pasta, pizza, and cannoli you have 100% have been non-stop eating since arriving in Italy.
What it ultimately boils down to is the type of experience you as a traveler are looking for. One thing is for sure; regardless of which option you go with, you are guaranteed to have jaw dropping views every step of the way.