The closest airport is the Naples airport, located about 1-2 hours from the coast depending on what town or area you decide to stay. The airport is decently sized and seems to have a fair amount of flights going in and out daily. Unfortunately, there are no closer airports and thus, it does require a bit of extra effort to get all the way to the coast. In order to get to the coast, there are a few different options:
Bus – There is a bus (Curreri) that goes directly from the airport to Sorrento bus station. This costs 10 euros/ticket.
Train – requires a taxi from the airport to the train station (about 20 euros to the central train station) OR catching the shuttle bus that goes to the train station. Then you would catch the Circumvesuviana train (about 3.50 euros / ticket) from Napoli Garibaldi Station to Sorrento main station. The trip lasts about 1 hour and the train station is near the center of town. From here, depending on where you are staying, you can take a bus to other areas on the island, stay in Sorrento, or take a taxi.
Private transfer – this is what we opted for. We were staying in Praiano, about 30 minutes past Sorrento (1.5 hours from Naples) and the transfer cost 120 euros. We saw the transfers for a lower price when going shorter distances, but it ended up working very well for us as we arrived late in the night and wanted to go straight to the coast rather than waste time staying in Naples and traveling
Ferry – can take a shuttle bus or taxi from the airport to Mole Beverello port in Naples and take the ferry to Sorrento. The ferry takes about 40 minutes and costs about 13 euros
Renting a car – would not recommend this
If in Italy, there are trains and buses from other towns as an option. I would not recommend driving as many towns have restricted zones where only permitted vehicles can drive, but these areas are not easily identified. The roads near and in the Amalfi Coast are also very windy and single lane roads.
The towns on and near the coast are a bit spread out so you will be largely dependent on different forms of transportation if you wish to see multiple different areas. The main ways to get around are by bus (SITA), ferry, taxi, or scooter. There is a train from the airport to Sorrento, but there are not trains along the coast.
SITA bus – tickets must be purchased in advance and not on the bus itself. Once you board the bus, there will be a little machine to validate your ticket. You can buy tickets from tabaccheria shops. A single ride is just over a euro, or you can buy different 24-hour day pass options between 8 and 12 euros depending on the distances you plan to travel by bus. We used the bus early in the morning as we were advised that in high season, the bus can get very packed. It worked very well to go from Praiano to Positano in the morning, but you should check the schedule and plan ahead if possible. There are two main bus routes for the SITA bus – from Sorrento to Amalfi and Amalfi to Salerno (and their reverse routes). Buses make stops in all the main towns between the end locations
Ferry – Amalfi, Capri, Sorrento, and Positano are all connected by ferries. There are different companies offering ferry services and the time and frequency changes by season so be sure to check the schedule. There are also some ferries that go all the way to Naples.
The ferry from Positano to Capri takes about 40 minutes and costs around 20 euros one direction. Some recommend booking ferries in advance in high season as they can sell out, especially on weekends
Taxi – these can get a bit expensive if you are traveling long distances, but are good for shorter distances or with a group to split it with, especially in high season. We used this a few times because we valued our time and also heard that many buses were packed full at peak times.
Car or Scooter – I would not recommend renting a car as the roads are winding and it just adds stress to your trip. Parking can also be an issue, especially in Positano as most places are just roadside parking. On the other hand, if you have experience with scooters, it can be a good option BUT it would not be somewhere I would want to learn to ride a scooter due to the winding roads, crazy drivers, single lane roads and overall cliffside turns. The benefit of scooters are that they give you more flexibility in hopping from town to town and are much easier to find parking for
There are a lot of different options on where to stay on the Amalfi Coast. It depends largely on what you are looking to do, flexibility, budget, time of year, and priorities.
Town located just off the Amalfi Coast, but is the largest town that many people use as a hub to visit different towns on the coast as there are buses and ferries that connect it to many towns. It is often the most affordable and offers the most options due to its comparative size.
First town on the Amalfi Coast and a very picturesque cliff-side town. Also likely one of the most expensive options
This is a smaller, much less touristy town about 20 minutes from Positano. This is where we stayed and I would stay here again in a heartbeat. Despite being there in busy season, the town did not feel over crowded at all and had a very local feel. Our airbnb hosts were phenomenal and we stayed up the hill a bit with a gorgeous view over the water and coast. It was a convenient location because it is between Positano and Amalfi, making it possible to take a bus, ferry or taxi around. It was also much more affordable than Positano.
We stayed in an airbnb, but got drinks at a few hotels and would have loved to have been able to stay at Hotel Tritone (out of our price range during busy season for sure though)
Island off the coast that requires a ferry to get to from one of the towns and also pricey. I personally would not have wanted to stay here just because of the amount of time it would take to travel from the airport to get to Capri. It also requires you to take a ferry anytime you want to visit any of the Amalfi Coast towns and villages
Largest town on the coast
Smaller hill side town. We considered staying here, but it is on the outskirts and would have required a fair amount of traveling to get to other areas that we wanted to see
Spiaggia Grande – Lounge at the main beach, but note that the chairs are all very close to each other and the beach gets crazy busy. Chairs cost about 13 euros for the day, but good to have if you are staying the day as it is a pebble beach
Fornillo beach – 10 minute walk from Spiaggia Grande, and often less crowded as it does not offer the picturesque famous Positano view, but more space
Shopping and wandering the streets
Beach clubs nearby
Picnic lunch on the beach with BYOB and paninis
Boat tour – this is a must! By far the highlight of our trip. We did a 3 hour boat tour with a company called Blue Sea Capri on an Apreamare Gozzo (great size and just what we needed). You can book a private tour and specify the number of people, but the price is per boat so you do not have to deal with other tourists. We paid 250 euros for a 3 hour tour. Our boat captain was great too. We were able to easily go all the way around the island, with the opportunity to jump in and swim multiple places. We saw different grottos (note: we could have gone to see the Blue Grotto as well, but opted not to as our boat captain told us it would be about an hour wait so we decided to skip the tourist attraction and did not regret it for a second). We swam in peaceful, beautiful areas. He took us to different caves and showed us different aspects of the island of Capri. We went under the famous Faraglioni Rocks and just enjoyed the entire trip. The tour departed at 2 pm for us and we got back right around 5
Capri town – take the funicular up from the base for an area to walk around with shops, restaurants and a nice view
Anacapri – highest town area in Capri. It takes a bit to get here. First you start at the base of the island and either take a bus, taxi or funicular up a level to Capri town. The funicular is very easy and rather quick so I would recommend the funicular. Then you can take another bus or taxi up to Anacapri and have to go up a ways before getting there. Once you arrive in Anacapri, its more shops and restaurants to wander through. There is also a single chair lift that can take you to the highest point on the island, offering a panoramic view over the island.
Giardini di Augosto – gardens with views of Faraglioni
Blue Grotto – cave famous for the blue water color that is reflected up in the cave when the sun hits the water. There are little boats that take you in small groups inside and you must lay down to enter. Note: caves are not always open if the water level is rougher because the hole to enter the cave gets covered when the water level is too high. There is also often a wait at the blue grotto to go inside
Hike from Agerola to Nocelle (above Positano). There are places to start in Praiano as well, which is what we did, but requires a lot of stairs just to get to the beginning of the hike. The hike is 8 kilometers and takes about 3 hours if you go from one end to the other. We opted to only do a portion of the hike and then head back to Praiano when we liked all the views we saw. The hike is a LOT of up, especially at the beginning from Praiano. It is not a flat hike by any means, and we were prepared for some uphill climbing, but did not expect nearly as many stairs as we had to do. If you can get up early and beat the heat! The trail is very easy to follow and there are not different options on what direction to take. It provides beautiful views and is a really nice way to get a different experience while on the coast and some exercise as well
Town above Amalfi (note: in order to get here by bus, one must first take the bus that ends in the Amalfi and then switch/take a different bus to Ravello). It is a high up, small town with coastal views
Largest town on the actual Amalfi Coast
Spiaggia Grande – main beach
Atrani is a town not far from here that also has a more scenic and low-key beach
Duomo di Sant’Andrea – church in the town
Only fjord in Italy providing a little beach and pictureseque cove
Ancient city with ruins from Mount Vesuvius
Group tours or private tours available
Gets really hot inside when under the sun and there is very little shaded area
They do have some luggage storage
Not far from Naples airport. Can take train to Pompeii Scavi (30 min trip from Sorrento)
Café on their terrace that has a beautiful view over the water and of Positano in the background. Great spot for lunch
Located at beach level at the Grand Hotel Tritone. It is a full restaurant but we just grabbed a drink and sat by the water with a view
Restaurant at ocean level in Praiano that is very well known and has good Italian and seafood. (There are a few other restaurants right near here as well so is definitely worth checking out one of them. The other two are Armandino and Ristorante Franchino.)
My favorite dinner on the coast that we had. We stumbled upon this place and the food was excellent. We split wine and a pasta dish as an appetizer and then got our own fish and meat dishes for our main course. The food was wonderful, ambiance was nice and service was good
Bar and restaurant at Hotel Margherita. It is on the roof of the hotel and has a great view over Praiano and the ocean. We ended up going here for drinks before and after dinner since we liked it a lot.
Nothing special, but right next to the bus stop in Praiano and an easy place to grab a coffee and breakfast pastry before catching the bus
Little spot right at beach level on the side near the ferry dock. Grabbed a quick breakfast here, but turned out to be kind of pricey for what we got (true of a lot of places in Positano though)
Italian restaurant in Capri town. If you take the funicular up from the ferry port, you arrive at a nice area with lots of shops and restaurants, but definitely busy during high season. We wandered around and noticed this off the main path. The space was large and the food was good and not as expensive as I would have guessed so would recommend to get away from crowds
Lots of restaurants right along the pier in Marina Grande. Frankly I do not like these types of spots because they are touristy, owners try to call you in and there are pictures on the menu. Nevertheless, we needed to kill some time before our ferry so we got a drink and small bite at one of the spots
High season is VERY busy meaning the main attractions, the towns, the restaurants and the transit are all busy. We went in high season and planned accordingly. We stayed in a less touristy town and did not try to hit everything. Instead, we found a few things we wanted to do and just took our time and tried to venture away from crowds wherever possible. After all, it was vacation!
Make sure to allow for enough time to get to the airport if traveling at peak times. We did not have any issues, but our transfer driver noted that the roads on the coast can get very backed up and since they are a single lane, it only takes a few slow drivers or accident to cause a large traffic jam
If you are picky about location, price or have specific preferences, I recommend booking in advance. We had limited options booking a month out in June for a July trip BUT found a gem in Praiano. We probably would not have stayed in Praiano had we booked further in advance so that was lucky.
The Amalfi Coast is famous for their lemons, and especially limoncello so be sure to have a taste of their after dinner drink