We’ve traveled to a variety of places over the years, but no place has truly taken my breath away like the Amalfi Coast. The dreamy, expansive views around every turn, the charm of each town’s unique little corners, and the genuine warmth of the locals we met easily made this our favorite trip to date. I often found myself pausing just to take in the moment and the scene, wondering if it were real!
I got a lot of questions from you guys throughout this trip, and will be answering them in a series of travel guides, starting here with our itinerary and transit tips. Feel free to pin or bookmark this page, as I’ll be linking my later hotel and activity reviews back here in one central post!
The toughest part of planning was deciding which coastal towns to visit, then sifting through the myriad of hotel options! We ended up splitting our stay across 3 locations & hotels that were fairly different.
Positano: 4 nights
The perfect starting point for our trip. We easily could’ve spent more time exploring the outskirts of town!
Upcoming related posts (I’ll link each of these up, once I post!):
- Hotel Buca di Bacco review + a look at Hotel Marincanto (2 moderately-priced hotels w/ great views)
- Dining at La Sponda + scenic drinks at Franco’s (both are part of hotel Le Sirenuse)
- Visiting Bianca Bar at Villa Treville (this place is the DREAMIEST hotel but $$$$)
- Top activity & food picks from Positano locals, plus spotlight on handmade shoe & apparel shops
- Boat tour excursion with Bluestar Positano. You can choose Capri, Amalfi Coast, or sunset tours.
Anacapri: 2 nights
We first visited Capri as part of a boat day trip, then returned to stay in quieter Anacapri.
Upcoming related posts:
- Hotel Caesar Augustus review
- Anacapri town + Monte Solaro
Conca dei Marini: 3 nights
A tiny hilltop town perched between Positano and Amalfi, with an adult-only hotel perfect for R&R.
Upcoming related posts:
- Hotel Monastero Santa Rosa review (despite small rooms, this was our favorite hotel experience!)
- Lemon farm tour & cooking class in Amalfi
- Day trip to Ravello; exploring nearby tucked away beaches & grottos
“Cliff” Notes on the towns we visited
Knowing what I do now after a first visit (second for Nick), here’s our quick take on some of the towns. There are a lot of tours that cover the entire Amalfi Coast in one day, but for a town like Ravello or Positano, a cursory stop just wouldn’t do it justice!
If you don’t like changing hotels and just want to pick one place to stay in, I’d definitely choose Positano. The pastel hillside views are iconic and get even better from various spots around town. It’s located centrally between Sorrento and Amalfi / Ravello, so is a very convenient base for day trips via bus or ferry. Yes, it’s touristy and crowded in the main pedestrian part of town, but there are lots of interesting activity and dining options to explore if you just go a little further out (more on this soon). Also be forewarned, there are a lot of steps and inclines so your legs will get quite the workout!
Amalfi center felt like the transit hub of the Amalfi Coast, with buses, ferries, and cars coming and going constantly from all the other coastal towns. Apparently, it’s where gelato was born so there is no shortage of that (I might’ve had two cones for breakfast ; ) It was very crowded when I went, so if you want a more peaceful place to stay, the nearby town of Praiano is quieter while still on the main bus route. We actually stayed in an even tinier town off the beaten path, Conca dei Marini (our hotel had a free 15-minute shuttle to Amalfi). The main thing that drew us to Amalfi was the incredible lemon groves, which did not disappoint!
Ravello is a super picturesque mountaintop town known for beautifully manicured gardens and hotels with sweeping views. We only got to spend a few hours here, and it wasn’t enough! It had more of a local, less touristy vibe to it, and in hindsight I probably would’ve preferred to stay night or two there instead of in Capri. I didn’t realize how rustic and walkable Ravello was, with many gardens and scenic properties located within a short distance of each other.
Capri + Anacapri
From the messages I got on Instagram, I know many visitors have differing opinions on Capri. The best way I can describe it is an upscale island town (think streets of high-end designer shops and pricey restaurants, hotels, and clubs) thats’s packed with tourists during the day. Most of these visitors come in via ferry or boat on a day trip, so it quiets down late afternoon once they leave.
Anacapri is a quaint town on the other half of the island with stunning cliffside views, but you’ll need to take either a bus or taxi there. We stayed on the island for 2 nights to experience the calm aftermath, but honestly got a little bored toward the end (if you like to hike, though, there’s plenty to keep you busy!) and the vibe of many places felt very “posh.” We did enjoy boating around the island, which I’ll be sharing more about!
When to Visit
Peak season runs June through August, and I hear certain towns like Positano can get very crowded. Late May was perfect for us – it was busy with visitors but not too bad, and although it did rain, the weather was a comfy mid-60s / low-70s.
Ways to Save
I’m not gonna lie, this was our best but also most expensive trip. From hotels to (non-public) transportation to food and drink, we did choose to splurge, but even without splurging I thought most things ran on the pricier side. Try to book lodging as early as possible, as I started looking 2 months prior and most hotels were fully booked. Also, if you visit after peak season in September / October, hotel prices looked significantly lower (many Amalfi Coast hotels then shut down during the winter and re-open in April).
My family was also on the Amalfi Coast as part of a 3-week Italy trip, and they were able to save by renting an Airbnb, taking mostly public transit, and cooking several meals in their apartment. So with some extra travel time and effort, the trip can be done on a budget!
Getting around the amalfi coast
To get to the Amalfi Coast, most people fly into Rome or Naples depending on flight options from where you live. We chose Naples because it was the best itinerary at the time (Boston > Frankfurt > Naples via Lufthansa), also it’s closer to the coast so it was a shorter ride to our final destination!
Getting from Naples to Positano
At the urge of friends who had visited before, we hired a driver to take us directly from the Naples airport to Positano (we used Amalfi Car Service several times and would recommend them!). Private car is the most expensive option at ~120 Euros one way, but also the least stressful after a day of flying. The ride from Naples to Positano took about 90 minutes along a winding, picturesque cliff-side road. TIP: the drivers are usually happy to pull over and let you stop once or twice for a photo (wish I did this right when Positano came into view – so gorgeous!).
More economical options:
To get from Naples to Positano, you can also take a shuttle to the train station, take a train to Sorrento, and then catch either a bus or ferry to Positano. It’s a more tedious but far cheaper option, for those who are feeling adventurous and don’t have too much luggage.
The regular train from Naples to Sorrento takes over an hour and costs under 4 Euros. There’s also an express train along the same route (costs 8 Euros) which my family said was a lot emptier and had several fewer stops. From Sorrento, the public bus to Positano is 2 Euros or the high speed ferry is around 20 Euros.
Getting to Other Coastal Towns
To get to other coastal towns for day trips, your options are car, bus, or ferry / boat. I wouldn’t recommend renting a car since there’s limited parking in major towns, also the roads are narrow, winding, and require frequent yielding. The quotes we got for a taxi or private car were also very high (50 to 80 Euros one-way between towns), so your best bets are below:
Public SITA bus (2 Euros)
These blue-colored buses are the cheapest way to get around, and tickets can be bought in local tabacherrias (corner stores like 7-11s) or bars. These buses can get crowded, though, especially during peak hours on weekdays since the local kids take them as school buses.
The SITA has several stops along two main routes: 1) Sorrento – Positano – Amalfi, and 2) Amalfi – Salerno. So if you’re staying in Positano and want to visit Ravello, you’ll need to change buses in Amalfi. TIP: If you’re staying higher up on the hill in Positano, there might be a public bus stop close by to spare you from having to climb all the way down to the docks for a ferry.
City Sightseeing bus (5 Euros and up)
These red-colored buses run between popular traveler cities like Amalfi and Ravello. They cost a little more than the public bus, but friends say it’s worth it to get a seat and a slightly shorter ride.
Ferry (8 Euros and up)
Pricier than the buses, but no getting stuck in traffic plus nice views on the water. You can buy tickets easily right at the docks, with each ferry boarding 10 minutes before scheduled departure.
A fun example day trip from Positano would be to take an early ferry to Amalfi, do a lemon grove tour (~10AM), then take a bus to Ravello to explore the charming streets and gardens. Wind down by grabbing a drink or dinner at one of the plentiful hotels there with breathtaking views. Just make sure you don’t miss the last bus / ferry back!
Getting uphill / downhill to your Positano hotel
If you’ll be staying in a Positano hotel, a car might only be able to get so close to your hotel/apartment rental due to the stairs and narrow walkways. At some hotels like Le Sirenuse or Hotel Marincanto, the driver can stop right at the door. Our hotel however was at the bottom of the hill in a pedestrian-only zone, so we had to pull into a parking structure where porters are waiting to take your bags to the hotel (6 euros per bag). It’s a little unnerving handing your stuff off to strangers in a parking lot, but this porter system is prevalent throughout the area (with the ferries, too, in Capri … more on that later).
That’s it for this first post! We didn’t get to visit Sorrento or Salerno, so for those who have, I’d love to hear your thoughts on those towns (and other notable ones) + what the highlights of your trip were! We’re already dreaming of a return visit!