If you’ve already started researching for your upcoming trip to the Amalfi Coast, you’ll probably already have seen there is much debate over whether should you rent a car or shouldn’t you. And it’s a tough decision, on the one hand having a car gives you freedom of schedules, and you can explore more places off the usual route. On the other hand, in the heat of summer, the winding roads of the Coast can be packed with traffic or even regulates – meaning you wouldn’t be able to take your car out. Ultimately I think it depends on your personal trip – how you feel driving in Italy, where you want to go, and what time of year you’ll be there. This is a discussion I have had with all my travel clients. But today, I just want to show you how it is possible to travel the Amalfi Coast without a car. Let’s see how!
First of all – let’s talk about getting to the coast
There are many ways you can arrive at the Amalfi Coast. For this bit, I am assuming you are staying in Sorrento, Positano, or Amalfi (the most popular destinations, though I recommend looking outside of these for better hotel deals).
[Want to see my favorite stays along the Amalfi Coast? Check out my free Thatch Guide!]
If flying into Naples Airport, you can grab a transfer to Sorrento or further down along the coast for about €50-€70. There are plenty of drivers available for a private transfer to pick you up. You could take a public taxi, this might cost you closer to €85. However be aware, prices can change often due to the season. Book your driver well in advance to secure a car at the best price!
From Naples Airport, you could also opt for the train – getting from the Airport to Napoli Centrale Station, then taking the Circumvesuviana to Sorrento. However, if you are staying further into the coast, you’ll need to hire a taxi from Sorrento anyway, and ultimately won’t save too much.
Finally, you could get a bus, from the airport to Amalfi. This needs to be reserved in advance, it is a bit more budget-friendly than a private car but has a slightly longer travel time.
Learn more about transfers from Naples Airport to Amalfi Coast here.
Instead, if you fly into Rome, you are in for a longer trip.
Your first option is a combination of train and taxi – A high-speed train can take you from Rome’s Termini Station to Naples, and from there you can take the Circumvesuviana and then a taxi from Sorrento. Alternatively, you can take a high-speed train to Salerno, then take a taxi or bus up through the coast.
This option can get you down to Amalfi in about 3 hours (not including wait times, or famous delays).
Otherwise, there are a few bus routes which might be cheaper, but take you 7-8 hours to reach your final destination.
The Amalfi Coast without a car: Buses
The Amalfi Coast, from Sorrento all the way down to Salerno is actually quite well connected by bus. Tickets cost only about €2 to €5.50, per route, and frequent stops let you even reach some of the more hidden beaches.
Buses are run by the SITA company, and you cannot buy a ticket on the bus, you will need to buy one at the tabacchi store beforehand (look for the big T).
Busses run on a fairly reliable schedule, from about 6 in the morning to about 9 or 10 at night (timetables change seasonally, always check before.) Realistically if you plan your days out well the bus can get you between towns comfortably.
There are just a few things to consider:
- Given the bus schedule, it might be hard to eat dinner in towns other than your base (Italians eat closer to 7/8 PM). However, taxis might be a solution.
- In high season the bus might be packed full, and might also run into traffic, making it a slow journey.
- If you wanted to go to locations off the main road, you might find you have to walk a bit.
Here is an updated 2023 bus schedule to help you plan your trip.
Another option: Taxis & Private Drivers
Along the Amalfi Coast, there is a mix of taxis and private drivers that can help you get from point A to point B. You will mainly see them in Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi. However they can service the whole area. If you don’t see one at the taxi stand you can request your hotel or restaurant to call one.
When taking an official Taxi make sure to go by the meter, but expect it to get a bit pricey.In theory the taxis have pre determined pricing for popular routes, but to give you an example, Amalfi to Ravello would be €40. Find out more here.
Your other option is a private driver. While it’s tough to hire one for the entire week, you can determine departures and pick ups throughout the week. What I mean by that is it is unlikely you can hire one to just follow you and stay with you all day for anything you’d like (or it may be but at a high price). Rather it is more common to determine the dates and times you’ll need to go far and book a driver in advance.
This is where it could be very helpful to have a custom itinerary, and plan your trip wisely. This way you could make it work with public transport or walking, but then have the car ready to take you home from dinner for example.
The Real Dream: Amalfi Coast by Boat
Well yes, if you want to live in full luxury, you could hire a private boat for your whole trip. But actually there does exist a budget option to experience the coast from the water and get where you need to go. The towns along the coast are very well connected by ferry!
For example, just from Amalfi you could reach all these locations by ferry: Sorrento, Positano, Capri, Vietri sul Mare, Minori, Maiori, Salerno, and even Ischia (with a stopover!). Tickets are about €20 for the longer runs but each route is different, and the boats run from about 7AM to 7PM.
Given the timing, again it is a bit difficult if you wanted to plan on having dinner somewhere. However the schedule offers you plenty of time to explore new towns during the day. Plus it gives you a great view of the coast without having to pay hundreds for a boat tour!
As the ferry schedule changes often, I trust in ferryhopper to give me the latest timetables!
The Amalfi Coast without a Car: Your Best Option?
As you can see there are many solutions to explore the Amalfi Coast without a car, but each comes with a bit of a negative side: cost, time, availability.
What I propose for the best way to travel the Amalfi Coast, and avoid renting a car is careful planning and a mix of bus, ferry, and taxi.
Decide well in advance what are the towns you definitely want to see, and the restaurants you have to try. Then see how you can best map out your days. Ideally you could take a bus or a ferry in the AM, explore the town of your choosing, then either take a bus or ferry to return and eat dinner near your accommodation, or book a driver well in advance from the restaurant, to your hotel.
While of course their might be taxis, if it is high season, I say book a driver in advance to get you home from dinner, otherwise it could be a bit of a wait.
You can also hire a driver in advance to get you to destinations a bit off the bus route – say if you had a special cooking class or wine tasting planned.
Traveling the Amalfi Coast without a car is very doable – but planning is key. If you are looking for a tailored itinerary to make sure your trip goes smoothly – get in touch and I’d be happy to help!
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