A Quick Amalfi Coast Travel Guide
A Quick Amalfi Coast Travel Guide was originally published in July 2020
Truth be told, when two of my best friends decided to ambush me at once (funny thing, they had never even met before this trip!) and both firmly had the Amalfi Coast anchored on our upcoming Southern Italy road trip itinerary I wasn’t thrilled. I have this habit of convincing myself that these renowned locations are going to be the worst, but truth be told, the Amalfi Coast is absolutely stunning. We visited in late October/early November, so we felt like we had the entire stretch of Italian paradise to ourselves, missing out on all the summer crowds that flock to this fabled coast of the sirens- that said we had moody, rainy weather most the time. So if you don’t mind donning a rainjacket and seeing one Italy’s most loved gems through the mist, then a fall visit to the Amalfi Coast is the perfect European getaway.
Make the Amalfi Coast part of your very own Southern Italian road trip
The Best Time To Visit The Amalfi Coast
If its the sun you’re after, then a summer visit to the Amalfi Coast is in order, just know that the gorgeous little towns that dot the coast will be packed to the gills in July and August, especially. For smaller crowds, I’d recommend May, June, and September (though it will still be crowded, just a little less so than July and August). If you don’t mind a little rain with the trade-off that you nearly have the place to yourself, then the fall months of October and November can be a good time to soak in the Amalfi Coast vibes.
Winter and early spring can also be a wonderful time to visit the Amalfi Coast, just know that it isn’t exactly beach lazing weather. Accommodation costs are considerably cheaper October-April, so budget travelers should try to aim their visit for these off-season months, but do note that many hotels shut from November-March.
How To Get To & Around The Amalfi Coast
Start planning: The Naples Travel Guide
For our Amalfi Coast trip, we all met in Rome and partied it up (okay, like in your 30s partied it up with Aperol Spritz’s) in the city for Dan’s birthday before taking a (champagne-fueled) train ride down south to Naples to begin our Southern Italy road trip (don’t worry, we were very sober by the next day). We grabbed a taxi and picked up our rental car and set south to explore the Amalfi Coast and beyond with our own transport.
In all honesty, had we not visited in the off-season I think I would opt to take the ferry between towns in the Amalfi Coast. The roads along the Amalfi Coast were stress-inducing enough as it was without the crowds (okay, maybe it was just because the rental was on my credit card but I wasn’t the one driving!)- don’t get me wrong, this road is a piece of cake compared to some of the deathtrap mountain road trips I’ve taken in Afghanistan, Peru, Oman, and Tajikistan– but with how narrow and windy it is, I couldn’t imagine hope I would enjoy my trip trying to navigate the towns that dot the coast. (PS: Thank you, Tay, for driving because you’re not as daring as I- I swear my Italian genetics make me well, drive like an Italian ?).
So now that I’ve gone on about my own thoughts from our experiences on getting around the Amalfi Coast, I’ll break it down:
By car: Best for those that want to explore everywhere at their own leisure and aren’t scared by Italian drivers. Shop Rentalcars.com for the best deals in my experience.
By ferry: The best way to visit the bigger towns along the Amalfi Coast on day trips from whichever town you decide to base yourself from.
By bus: Sita buses run two routes along the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento-Positano-Amalfi and Amalfi -Salerno. In the peak season, the buses are quite crowded and it’s not uncommon for you to have to wait for a bus or two to go by before you can even get on one, so I would recommend trying to avoid the bus in the busy summer months. This is, however, a great budget option in the off-season. Note that the timetables vary by day of the week and that not all towns and villages along the Amalfi Coast are reachable by bus.
Where To Go Along The Amalfi Coast
Sorrento is the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, located on its northern fringes. Built right up to the sea, Sorrento is worthy of a stop for a day or more, despite its rather cosmopolitan feel relative to the rest of the towns along the coast you’ll visit. Grab lunch at one of the sea view restaurants, make sure to grab an espresso or aperitivo at a cafe along Piazza Tasso whilst people watching, and don’t miss out on wandering the labyrinth of Old Sorrento.
Where to stay in Sorrento
Full disclosure: Capri is the only destination in this guide I didn’t actually step foot. We had originally planned to try and make it to Capri as a part of our trip through Southern Italy, but stormy weather during our visit had ferries canceled (the downsides of the low season). From Hollywood stars to Roman rulers, Capri has charmed its visitors for centuries. The island is characterized by beautiful grottos, coves, ruins, and piazzas.
Where to stay in Capri
B&B La Melodia came highly recommended by some friends that visited recently.
Positano is the most well known of the towns along the Amalfi Coast. There’s not a square inch of the place that isn’t beautiful. With colorful homes, hotels, and restaurants stacked up the near-vertical lush, green hillside from the turquoise waters below, Positano is picture-perfect. In fact, when we settled into Positano and finally decided to base ourselves there (which was not our original plan being typical backer types) my friend Tay was brought to tears when we walked out on the balconies as the city lights glimmered on the hillside to the north of us when we stopped into the Hotel Savoia to see if they had availability, touring the rooms to decide which one we wanted to rent for our stay.
Rain or shine Positano is Italian perfection at its finest, dotted with little cafes the overlook the coastline below.
Being located in the heart of the Amalfi Coast, Positano is the most popular (and therefore, more expensive) Amalfi Coast town to stay in.
Where to stay in Positano
We opted to stay at the Hotel Savoia, which is a family-owned hotel with a long history. The property is absolutely stunning, and in the off-season, you can score rock bottom prices. Of course, Le Sirenuse is the most famous hotel in Positano, however, it’s quite a splurge and was closed when we arrived on Halloween 2018. You can shop for all Positano accommodations here.
Amalfi & Atrani
Amalfi is the town the entire coast is named for. The town now thrives off tourism, but in ancient times it was a maritime independent republic rivaling Pisa and Genoa in prosperity. Don’t miss the gorgeous Saint Andrea Cathedral and the historic Piazza del Duomo, before following the footpath around the headland to the nearby fishing village of Atrani.
Where to stay in Amalfi
In Amalfi, La Bambagina came highly recommended.
Where to stay in Atrani
If you’re looking for something a bit quieter, check out the accommodations available in Atrani here.
If your looking to escape the crowds Ravello is a great option. It has the beauty and charm that ticks all the boxes that the remainder of the Amalfi Coast does, however it’s perched high above the water.
Where to stay in Ravello
Maera B&B Ravello came recommended.
Salerno doesn’t quite have the charm that the remainder of the Amalfi Coast does as it is a big city that separates the Amalfi and lesser-known Cilento Coast. Salerno feels a little rough around the edges, less so than Naples. The Centro Storico is a must-see, and the promenade that hugs the sea is regarded as one of the best in Europe.
Where to stay in Salerno
Salerno had been our original plan for a base, but we landed in Positano instead (we were lured in by its charm, clearly). However, Salerno can be a great option for those trying to see the Amalfi Coast on a smaller budget. Shop Salerno accommodations here.
Have any questions from this Amalfi Coast Travel Guide?
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