The Amalfi Coast seems like a dreamland, which I think everyone dreams of reaching at least once in their life! A fascinating world, with incredible landscapes, charming towns up on the mountain, unreal blue water, constantly furrowed by yachts, and Italian elegance, without excesses but with a special style.
We also arrived in Amalfi in 2018, we wanted to for a long time and look we managed to organize ourselves. I would like to share with you this meticulous organization that I prepare for every trip, I'm sure it will help you.
Where is the Amalfi Coast and why is it so fascinating?
The Amalfi Coast is located towards the south of Italy, in the Campania region, 50 km from Naples and about 270 km south of Rome. More precisely, it is the stretch of coast that stretches between Sorrento and Salerno, with elegant towns such as Positano, Amalfi, or Ravello.
The fascination I'm sure started with the Hollywood stars vacationing here in the 60s. We're talking about the golden years of Hollywood, which we recently saw in Once upon a time in Hollywood, with a glamorous lifestyle with oversized sunglasses, chic swimwear, and parties every day. How could we not want at least a piece of this lavish life? Well, on the Amalfi Coast, even if you go low-cost as we did, you still feel a bit of the charm!
How do you get to Amalfi Coast?
The nearest airport is the one in Naples, and it is well worth staying a few extra days in the area to visit Naples, but also Pompeii and Vesuvius. From the airport you can take a private transfer if you prefer, you can book it from home.
But if the flights to Naples are too expensive, you can do as we did, we flew to Rome and rented the car directly from there, because we were planning to rent a car anyway. There are much cheaper flights to Rome, and all low-cost companies from several cities in Romania arrive there. The only inconvenience is an extra journey by car from Rome to Naples of about 2.5 - 3 hours and a motorway toll of about €15 for a one-way trip.
To get from Naples to the Amalfi Coast by public transport you have to take the Circumvesuviana train, which runs every half hour between Naples and Sorrento, and also stops at Pompeii or Herculaneum. From Sorrento, you have to go further with SITA buses.
Accommodation on the Amalfi Coast – the best place to set up your base
Let's get down to serious organizational stuff: where are you staying on the Amalfi Coast? Many recommend setting up your base in Sorrento, but I disagree. Sorrento is a big city, it's beautiful and worth visiting, but the Amalfi Coast means small towns, winding roads, and dreamy views.
As an idea, it takes about 40 minutes from Sorrento to Positano, even if it is only 18 km, the road is difficult to cover, and it takes an hour and 15 minutes to reach Amalfi.
I recommend you to stay right on the coast, be there among the lemon groves and wake up with the sea and the coast in front of you
The Amalfi Coast is very expensive, from accommodation to food, souvenirs, and everything. But if you go up the mountain a little, in the villages that are not so accessible, that is, they are not down on the coast, the prices drop dramatically and the beauty of the landscape increases considerably, because you are only at a height and the panorama is more spectacular!
Accommodation in Agerola at Valle Degli Dei
We discovered a wonderful accommodation in Agerola, a village high on the mountain above Praiano, which you reach after half an hour's drive from the small town of Amalfi. It's called Valle Degli Dei, it costs about €60 per night with breakfast included and it's a family business, with accommodation run by Vincenzo and his sister.
The family also has a restaurant in Agerola, which I also recommend as it has good food and more than decent prices for the Amalfi Coast. The restaurant is Pizzeria & Gastronomia Mascolo Agerola, and we had dinner here every night. They even took care of us, once we ordered a seafood platter and they prepared it for us on a pizza top, even though it wasn't on the menu, and after each meal, they offered us limoncello made by them.
You really feel like you are welcomed into the bosom of a family, everyone is extremely kind and open to helping you with any information. Especially Vincenzo, with whom we also met at the restaurant in the evening but also at breakfast in the morning, helped us organize our route on the Sentiero Degli Dei (which starts right from Agerola, that was very useful), and gave various useful tips.
However, you need a car to get here. There are buses from Amalfi to Agerola with a frequency of one per hour, but they stop in the center of town and it is 3 km to this accommodation. However, if you find accommodation closer to the station, it is possible to stay in Agerola without a car.
Other accommodation suggestions
As always, I looked for other special accommodations to recommend to you. There are a few in Agerola and Furore, both towns on the mountain, you can reach them by car through Conca dei Marini. A few are in Praiano, a small seaside town just below Furore, and I've also put options in Amalfi and Positano.
- Low budget:Gilda INN Agerola in Agerola, Valle degli Dei in Agerola, B&B Casanova in Agerola
- Mid-budget:B&B Villa Italia in Agerola, Villa Paradise Resort in Agerola, La Casa Del Melograno in Furore,Le Marelle in Furore, Roccia Fiorita in Furore, Hotel Margherita in Praiano
- Luxury/Boutique: Grand Hotel Tritone in Praiano, Villa Le Baste in Furore, Hotel Onda Verde in Praiano, Hotel Villa Cimbrone in Ravello (probably the most unique experience!), Alcione Residence in Positano, Imperati Suites by Alcione Residence in Positano,, La Bambagina in Amalfi
The Transport on the Amalfi Coast
You can travel on the Amalfi Coast with a rental car, SITA buses or sea ferry. Or with all these variants, as we did 😄. Today I'm telling you about what options you have for transport on the Amalfi Coast.
During the summer there is incredible traffic on the roads, I have heard stories and seen videos of it going at a snail's pace, bar to bar. The scenery is beautiful, but you don't want to spend your vacation like that. We were at the end of September and we didn't really have any problems with traffic. If you still go in the summer, consider taking the ferries, it's much more practical and you'll enjoy the views otherwise.
Transport on the Amalfi Coast – By rental car
It would be best to rent a car to have freedom of movement. I recommend you search on rentalcars.com, it's a deal aggregator that searches all rental sites. We went through an unpleasant situation with the rental, we took the car from Rome, I will tell you separately in another article, but it is certain that Rentalcars got us out of the mess and they were very prompt.
You definitely need insurance when driving in Italy, they are famous for how recklessly they drive, but also for chaotic parking lots. You have a high chance of finding your car hit in the parking lot, and even a small scratch will cost you a lot (they wanted to charge us €240 for a maximum 5 cm scratch, which was actually there when we got the car). So it's not worth the risk, get full insurance.
The famous roads that wind along the coast are gorgeous and not that difficult to drive. They are really narrow and on the edge of the precipice, but if you're careful you won't have any problems. Now I'm not saying I would have driven, I didn't have the guts, but the guys went carefully and slowly and it was all right. A few times we ended up behind a bus or minibus, and we were really glad, they know the roads much better, so it was easy to follow them.
There are rules on curves indeed, big buses need room to maneuver, so you have to approach some curves carefully, don't cross a bus, and if you do, stop to make room for it to pass, it's even a good idea to honk your horn before you reach the curve, you'll see them do the same. In addition, in some sections, the road is so narrow that it is one-way traffic, one at a time, and you have to wait for a green light to pass.
There is only one problem with the car though, the parking lots are incredibly expensive, even €5 per hour. When we were in Capri, we were panicked that we should have left the car in Amalfi, at €5 per hour, and taken the ferry from there. We were going to stay a whole day and we didn't want to pay 50€ for parking. So we left the car in the free parking lot in Agerola and took the bus to Amalfi, much cheaper that way. I will go into more detail about the costs, including parking, in the next article.
Private yacht tour
Of course, you can taste the Amalfi experience to the fullest and rent a private yacht tour! In many of the tours, you will also have a guide who will tell you about the places you see, so I think it is a unique experience, far from the masses of tourists.
We have selected some interesting tours with good reviews:
- Private Full-Day Boat Excursion on the Amalfi Coast – A coastal tour with a private luxury speedboat or yacht that takes you around Fiordo di Furore, Positano, and the very place where Ulysse heard the song of the sirens: €844 per group
- Day Cruise to Capri from the Amalfi Coast – Day Cruise to Capri with your own private boat: €100 per person
- Positano & Amalfi by Boat – tour from Sorrento, includes visiting the small towns of Amalfi and Positano, but also some snacks and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks: €114 per person
Transport on the Amalfi Coast – Circumvesuviana
To get from Naples to the Amalfi Coast by public transport you have to take the Circumvesuviana train, which runs every half hour between Naples and Sorrento, and also stops at Pompeii or Herculaneum. With this train you can also visit Vesuvius, you have to get off at Ercolano Scavi or Pompeii Scavi – Villa Dei Misteri.
A trip costs €3.60 and you get more details, including train timetables. From Sorrento you have to go further with SITA buses, you will find a SITA ticket booth right in the Circumvesuviana station.
Transport on the Amalfi Coast – SITA Buses
A fairly cheap option for transport on the Amalfi Coast is the SITA buses, which run all along the coast between Sorrento and Salerno. There are two main routes, Sorrento-Positano-Amalfi and Amalfi-Salerno, so if you want to go from Positano to Salerno you have to change the bus in Amalfi.
Tickets are bought from the tabaccheria, a cigarette and newspaper shop, but also from bars and cafes, in every town on the coast. In Sorrento, there is a ticket booth right in the Circumvesuviana station. Beware that you cannot buy tickets on the bus! Or at least that's the official rule, we paid on the bus at one point, and we went from Arienzo to Positano, but there was no tobacconist there, no town.
The cost of tickets varies depending on the route. We paid 1.8€ per ticket between Arienzo and Positano, the towns are very close, so I think this is the minimum price. And for the bus from Amalfi to Agerola I paid €2 per ticket.
There is also a ticket valid for 24 hours, COSTIERASITA 24 hours, which costs €10 and has unlimited journeys between all the towns on the coast between Sorrento and Salerno. You must validate the ticket on the bus on the first trip.
To find out which bus to take and from where, we always asked where we bought the tickets, or the people waiting at the station. You can find here all the routes, including the timetable of the buses, which run only until 22:00.
You can also reach Ravello by bus, there is an Amalfi - Ravello route.
Transport on the Amalfi Coast – by Ferry
Ferry transport is the cheapest way to see the Amalfi Coast from the sea without digging too deep into your pocket! A trip starts from €8 and I really recommend the experience!
There are many options, between several towns on the coast, and you can study them all. There are several ferry companies with data organized according to the route, so you can see the departure times and the price for each ferry.
For example, you can find the ferries on the Amalfi – Positano route, there are ferries every hour, a ticket costs 8-10€ and the journey takes 20 minutes.
You will also have to go to the island of Capri by ferry, and you can find the schedule and costs on this website. For example, for the Amalfi – Capri route, tickets cost 23-24€ and the journey takes 50 minutes. The prices are only for the outbound route, the return also costs around 20€. We paid €44 per person for the Amalfi-Capri return ferry.
We bought our tickets locally each time, from small stands/shops near the port, but you could buy them online, especially the ones for Capri, to make sure they don't sell out. The schedule is also displayed in the ports, for example below are the ferries departing from the small town of Amalfi.
The first time we took the ferry along the Sentiero Degli Dei route because that's what Vincenzo de la Valle Degli Dei in Agerola, where we were staying, had recommended. The trail starts right in Agerola, so we left the car there (for free) and walked the trail to Positano (we actually walked to Arienzo and took the bus from there, as we were out of power).
From Positano, Vincenzo recommended we take the ferry to Amalfi, and honestly, rather than the bus standing for an hour, better the ferry for 20 minutes, with an incredible sunset behind us and the splendid coast in front of our eyes. But I will tell you about the Sentiero Degli Dei on another occasion.
You need about four days on the Amalfi Coast to see the highlights. But of course, you can devote more time to it, especially if you also want to go to the beach, and there are many small towns on the coast that we didn't get to see.
In addition, I would recommend that you reserve a day for Vesuvius, Pompeii, but also Herculaneum (we spontaneously decided to go here and we really liked it). And another day or possibly two for Naples. In total 6-7 unforgettable days in the area! I will even recommend the itinerary we followed, it was very ok and we didn't feel rushed (apart from a couple of times when we got off the ferry and ran to get tickets and catch the bus because otherwise, we had to wait an hour).
- Day 1-2 – Naples (we only stayed one day in Naples)
- Day 3 – Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum
- Day 4 – Ravello, Amalfi, Atrani
- Day 5 – Sentiero degli Dei, Positano
- Day 6 – Capri
- Day 7 – Grotta Dello Smeraldo, Fiordo di Furore, other coastal towns, Sorrento
Other towns on the coast that I heard good things about and you could include in your itinerary if you have time are Minori, Maiori, Cetara, and Vietri Sul Mare.
For the first 3 days, I recommend accommodation in Naples, and for the coast, as I mentioned above, I would recommend accommodation in a small town high on the mountain, for unforgettable views at breakfast! In fact, on the day you visit Vesuvius and Pompeii, you can go ahead to the coast and stay there, you don't have to go back to Naples. Also, you can make the trip to Capri from Naples, not necessarily from the coast.
How much does a vacation on the Amalfi Coast cost?
How much did the whole Amalfi adventure cost us? Well, not a fortune, but not a little. €1185 for two people, 5 nights and 6 days. But I mention that we were together with our finances, so all the expenses for the car (rental, tolls, fuel, parking) were divided by two.
Accommodation – €257 for 5 nights
We stayed 2 nights in Naples and 3 in Agerola on the coast. For Naples, I found an apartment at a very good price on Airbnb, for 71€ per night, shared by two, as all four of us stayed there. And in Agerola I stayed at Valle Degli Dei for €60 per night.
Transport – €390
Transport includes the highest costs, i.e. plane tickets 78€ per person (we flew with Ryanair to Rome), car rental through RentalCars 79€ (our share, as we split between two), and the ferry to Capri 88€. I leave you a table with all the costs for buses, trains, ferries, and funiculars, with the mention that they are for two people.
I only now realize how little we spent on food, we average 36€ per day, wow! It's not something we specifically set out to do, especially since in Italy it's good to eat as much as possible, they have some excellent products. I think it turned out so well though because the food was really cheap.
In Naples we ate some panini for lunch and for dinner we went to the well-known pizzerias, Da Michele and Brandi. Dinner at Da Michele cost us 23.5€ for both of us, and at Brandi's 33€, a pizza and a juice each time.
Pizza at Da Michele, NaplesPizza at Da Michele, NaplesPizza at Brandi, NaplesPizza at Brandi in Naples
Then when we got to the Amalfi Coast it really cost us very little. Because we stayed in Agerola, a small town high on the mountain, more difficult to reach than the charming (and incredibly expensive) towns on the coast, in the sense that you have to go up a winding road for about 30 minutes either by car or by the bus, everything was very cheap there.
From the accommodation, where I paid 60€ per night, to the food, where I paid respectively 17-20-24€ for both of us in the 3 evenings I had dinner there. As I mentioned before, the family that owned the accommodation also had a restaurant in Agerola, Pizzeria & Gastronomia Mascolo Agerola, and I only ate at their place.
We had provided breakfast at the accommodation, and for lunch every day we had bread rolls and sausages from a small shop in Agerola, in their central square, which we came across by chance on the first day, and after that we only took there. Two nice old ladies served us the best Italian delicacies, prosciutto crudo, bresaola, and mortadella, all freshly cut. So with €7-8 a day for both of us we prepared some delicious sandwiches for lunch and we didn't have to spend money on food in Capri or Positano.
Besides these of course we enjoyed gelato (we even found limoncello flavored!), cannolli, sfogliatelle in Naples, and some really good lemon cakes in Amalfi.
Objectives – €171
We visited a few sights and yes, they took us around €200 in total for both of us. But it's totally worth it, there are some absolutely amazing places that you shouldn't miss! Especially Pompeii, the villas in Ravello, are absolutely splendid, Villa San Michele in Anacapri is again fabulous, and the chair lift to Anacapri is not to be missed! I will tell you more about each in dedicated articles.
Car expenses – €104
But we paid this amount because we divided the total costs by two. I will detail the full costs of the rental car a little further.
I paid 42€ tolls, most of which was for the Rome-Naples highway, as I flew to Rome and rented the car from there, about 30€ round trip in total. For the rest, we kept going on the Naples-Pompeii highway, the day we went to Pompeii - Vesuvius and returned to Naples, and then when we returned from the Amalfi Coast to Naples, on departure. On these occasions, I paid €2.10 each time I exited the motorway.
For fuel, I paid a total of €104, which I filled up three times. But if you're only going to Naples - the Amalfi Coast shouldn't cost you that much, it cost us the way to Rome too.
The first time we went full throttle, we stopped, we don't even know why, at a tiny gas station, actually a roadside station, in Naples. Only later did I realize that they were some dubious people, who knew what they would do if I didn't pay them, so I gave them what they asked for, €40, and quickly left there. I then calculated that I paid about €1.9 per liter of petrol, enormous. Otherwise, I think I fueled with 1.5 - 1.7€ if I remember correctly.
I only spent 62€ for parking. But even so, I came out well. I paid the most in Naples because we didn't have parking at the accommodation and we had to leave the car at a cheaper parking lot near the train station, but I still paid about 20€ there in two days. I also paid 12€ for parking in Pompeii, it was 3€ per hour, but apparently, we entered in the fourth hour, although I think we stayed for two or so, we arrived late around 6.
In Ravello again we paid 11€, I think it was 5€ an hour, then in Herculaneum 4€, in Amalfi 5€ (it was 5€ per hour, I only paid on the first day when I arrived, because otherwise, I left the car upstairs in Agerola) and 4€ in Sorrento.
Souvenirs – €46
I also bought some souvenirs for my loved ones for €46. And since we don't like to take objects that lie in some drawers or magnets (ie cluttering material), but rather something that can be consumed, specific to the places we visit, we found some exceptional limoncello candies in Anacapri! We got some of these for everyone, and since it was a free tasting, we kind of soaked them up! There's a shop somewhere towards Villa San Michele, and we stopped and went there and back.
We have given you enough tips to organize your holiday on the Amalfi Coast, now run and get your plane tickets! And hang around, because I'm preparing more articles about the wonders you can see there!
Wish you a nice trip to Amalfi!
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