As one of Italy’s most stunning treasures, the Amalfi Coast is home to sparkling blue waters, colorful cliffside towns, ice-cold Limoncello and all the delicious Italian food you could eat. However, as wonderful as it is to visit Amalfi, it’s not as easy as it sounds. There are many different towns and islands to see while on the coast and traveling between them can be anything but easy. Read on to find your complete guide to spending a long weekend on the Amalfi Coast!
How to get there?
One of the most difficult parts of vacationing in the Amalfi Coast is figuring out how to get there! The easiest route is to fly into Naples Airport (NAP) directly and take a train into Sorrento. This, however, is the far more expensive option. If you’re traveling on a budget, it’s more cost effective to fly into Rome and travel from there. Keep in mind, though much cheaper, this option is a longer overall travel time and many more steps.
Follow these steps to get from Rome to Sorrento!
- Start at Roma Termini station. From Ciampino Airport (CIA), a simple 5 EUR bus shuttle will take you directly to the station. From Fiumincino Airport (FCO), an 8 EUR train will take you there with minimal stops.
- From Roma Termini, you will need to buy a train ticket to Napoli Centrale. Although you can buy them directly from the station, it is way cheaper to buy them in advance. Compare train prices on the Trenitalia and Italo websites.
- Once you arrive at Napoli Centrale, you have a couple of options to reach Sorrento. The cheapest of these options is to take the Circumvesuviana train to the last stop. The train takes around 2 hours and costs 3.60 EUR. We nicknamed it “the train from hell.” If you’re more interested in a more expensive alternative that doesn’t make you want to throw yourself off the train tracks, you can take the Metro Linea 1 (€1) to Molo Beverello and get on the Aliscafi High Speed Ferry to Sorrento for €13.
Where to stay
It’s much more affordable to stay slightly outside of the larger tourist areas, so we opted for Seven Hostel in Sant’angello. To get to Seven Hostel, get off the Circumvesuviana at S.Angello station, one stop before Sorrento, and the hostel is a 10 minute walk away.
Seven is a great value for the money. The rooms are clean and, most importantly, have A/C! There’s a fun bar downstairs that serves delicious cocktails and food, as well as stunning views from the rooftop patios. It’s a 25-30 minute walk into downtown Sorrento, but the views are beautiful along the way. The only downside is terrible WiFi…but you’ll be out exploring most of the day anyway!
So you’ve made it to the Amalfi Coast…what now?
A short walk from Sant’angello, Sorrento is an adorable sea-side town and the perfect place to spend a relaxing day in a beach chair. Pina coladas anyone…?
As wonderful as it is, the Amalfi Coast isn’t the easiest place to spend a wild night on the town. If you are itching for some delicious drinks in a young, fun atmosphere, the English Inn is the place to be! Located in downtown Sorrento, make sure to grab a cab back to Seven Hostel when you leave for the night.
Leonelli’s Beach Bar
Hoping to spend a relaxing day by the water? If you’re in Sorrento in the on-season, you’re going to have difficultly finding a spot on the beach. For €13, you can rent a beach lounger at Leonelli’s for as long as your heart desires! The water is clear and sparkling blue, perfect for those scorching Italian summers. And there’s no shortage of delicious food and beachy-drinks!
Try ice-cold Limoncello
As the birthplace of this famous lemon liquor, you absolutely cannot leave the Amalfi Coast without sampling an ice-cold shot of Limoncello. Although Limoncello is common to drink after a meal all over Italy, it becomes a different experience when you drink it overlooking the Italian coast framed by lemon trees.
Shopping in Sorrento
If you’re planning on doing any shopping in the Amalfi Coast, I would suggest doing most of it in Sorrento. Sorrento has a wide variety of charming boutique shops and sells souvenirs, linen and liquors at much cheaper prices than you’ll find in Positano or Capri.
…Where to eat…
Although Sant’Angelo itself can be quiet, there are plenty of great restaurants on the walk to Sorrento!
We stumbled upon this gem on our first night in Amalfi! Exhausted from a flight, a bus and two trains, we were lucky to find Ristorante Moonlight only a short walk from Seven Hostel. Not only were the meals delicious, but the prices were affordable and we felt instantly welcomed by the warm, family atmosphere. The family’s 10 year-old daughter brought our food to our table!
Il Leone Rosso
I visited Leone Rosso last summer during my first orientation with Bus2alps. (Looking for a job that brings you for orientation in Interlaken and the Amalfi Coast? Checkout Bus2alps!). Delicious tender pasta with sautéed eggplant and all the wine you could drink…not a bad first impression of Sorrento.
Ristorante Pizzeria Tasso
Can’t leave the Amalfi Coast without ordering seafood! Located in downtown Sorrento, Pizzeria Tasso served delicious baked whitefish after an appetizer plate consisting of fresh, Italian tomatoes with fluffy mozzarella, fried and bacon wrapped shrimp, and zucchini flowers stuffed with savory ricotta cheese.
Bar La Terrazza
The food is on the casual side, the view is anything but. Bar La Terrazza is located on a cliff overlooking the Sorrento coast and is directly on the walk from Sant’angello to Sorrento. A wide variety menu and affordable prices make it the ideal lunch break on your walk downtown!
Another great restaurant located only a quick walk from Seven Hostel, L’Antica Cantina offers a menu full of pizzas at some of the best prices on the coast. They also offer a variety of pastas that are just as yummy as the pizzas! Whatever you do, don’t order the mixed antipasti and expect to be able to eat your entree… After many appetizer trays of caprese, bruschetta, mixed meat and cheese, and a few different pâtés, no one at the table had any room left for the main course.
Bagni Sant’Anna is home to some of the best seafood I’ve ever had in the Amalfi Coast. The restaurant is perched on a dock jutting out of Marina Grande into the Gulf of Naples. Although everything we ordered was delicious, I would recommend trying the scallops and the Polipetti alla Luciana (Octopi in red sauce).
Arguably the most famous town on the Amalfi Coast, Positano was the most-anticipated stop on our long weekend. If there was ever a place built perfectly for Instagram…it would be Positano. However, it’s not the most-accessible place to visit and traveling there takes some planning.
How to get from Sorrento to Positano?
There are multiple ways to get from Sorrento to Positano. Us, being broke college students, decided to take the cheaper of the two ways. The SITA bus shuttle departing from Sorrento train station takes around an hour and costs only €8 for a round-trip ticket to Positano. The bus will drive you all the way into the center of Positano, a mere 10 min walk from the beach.
We decided to get off a stop early and take the 30 min downhill walk through the winding, flowery alleyways. The peeking views of the cliffside houses through the buildings is still one of the most stunning sights I’ve ever seen!
However, the buses aren’t for everyone. The bus drivers, familiar with the tight and windy coastline roads, take the sharp turns a little too fast for comfort. If you get carsick (or if you’re like me and don’t relish the idea of driving off the side of a cliff), you should consider taking the ferry from Sorrento to Positano. There are plenty of ferries departing for Positano every day. They cost around €20 and take around a half hour.
Enjoy the views
Taken on our walk down from the Positano bus stop, this is only one of the hundreds of pictures I couldn’t stop myself from taking of these incredible views. There’s a reason why Positano is one of the most visited cities and Italy and the face of the Amalfi Coast. Tiny, colorful houses carefully perched on the side of green, flowery Italian cliffs, what more could you want in a vacation?
One of my favorite things to do in Positano is rent paddle boats and paddle boards! They also have kayaks and speed boats available for rental. You can rent them directly on the beach and enjoy the crystal clear Amalfi waters. They charge per hour, so make sure to keep an eye on the time.
Relax on the beach
Most of the beaches along this stretch of coast are rock beaches, which can be slightly uncomfortable at times. Make sure to bring, or buy, a towel so you can soak up those Italian rays! There are also plenty of beach chairs available for rental if you’re looking for a serious beach day.
Buy handmade sandals
If you’re looking for handmade leather sandals, look no further than the Amalfi Coast. Positano, Sorrento and Capri are spotted with family-owned leather sandal shops. After a little browsing, I settled on a tiny shop in Positano called Artigianato Rallo Moda. The friendly shop owner helped me pick out a design, soles and straps for my new sandals. They fit them directly to your feet and they’re ready in 10 minutes! They’re not cheap, mine cost around €75, but they last forever and no one else has the same pair.
…Where to eat…
Positano can be pretty pricey and, since we were only there for the afternoon, we decided to keep lunch on the casual side. There are plenty of little sandwich shops near the beach serving delicious paninis filled with juicy, Italian tomatoes, homemade pesto and fluffy mozzarella.
Vini e Panini
Another Bus2alps favorite, Vini e Panini has the freshest sandwiches in all of Positano. They grow the basil for their pesto in the back of the shop!
Right down the street from Vini e Panini, and with a great view of the sea, La Brezza serves huge sandwiches stuffed with goodies and served on soft, Italian bread rolls. You can also get ice-cold lemon granita (a lemon slushy-type drink)!
The island of Capri is another must-see of the Amalfi Coast! Spend a day cruising the sparkling blue waters and gaping at the boujee celebrity yachts that frequent the island.
How to get there?
There are loads of tour companies tucked away in the winding streets of Sorrento. After spending a few glorious hours at Leonelli’s baking in the Sorrento sun, we headed out to find a Capri tour for the following day. Wandering around Piazza Tasso, we found ourselves in a tiny tour operator office called Amo Italy Travel. We booked the Capri mini cruise for €55 which includes a hotel pickup and transfer both ways, a visit to the Green Grotto, White Grotto and the Faraglioni rocks, drop off at Marina Piccola and gives you 5-6 hours to explore Capri.
Tunnel of Love
On your cruise around the island, the tour operator will take you to see the famous Faraglioni rocks and drive you directly through the tunnel of love. The legend says it’s good luck to kiss your s.o. while sailing through the tunnel! The rocks are also famous for being the site of many Gucci ads.
If you have extra time in Capri, the Blue Grotto is definitely worth a visit. Tours leave from Marina Grande for only €14. Make sure to check day-of since the tours sometimes get cancelled due to tides or weather!
Hike to the city center
When the boat drops you off at Marina Grande, you’ll see lots of little signs pointing you in the direction of the city center. It’s about a 20 minute walk and, disclaimer, it’s ALL uphill. The walk itself is beautiful, but expect to sweat buckets in that Capri-sun (excuse the pun). If you’re trying to stay cute for the Insta-pics, or just feeling a little lazy from the vacation day-drinking, there is a cable car that leaves from Marina Grande. It costs €2 for a one-way ticket, but beware, the lines can get very long.
Drink a granita at the viewpoint
When you finally reach the center, reward yourself with a lemon granita and a thousand pictures with a gorgeous view! If you’re in the mood for something a little alcoholic…grab a seat at Bar Funicolare right at the end of the trail where you can get an ice-cold Spritz to cool you down.
The Gardens of Augustus
A short walk from the city center are the Gardens of Augustus, or Giardini di Augusto. A €1 entrance ticket will get you stunning views of Capri, including the Faraglioni Rocks. The perfect place to rest your feet and take in the beauty of the island!
Take chair lift to Anacapri
The buses from Capri to Anacapri only take 15 minutes and cost around €2 for a ticket. Anacapri is an adorable little town with tons of shopping and great Italian food! Slightly higher than the center, the views are even more incredible. However, if you want the best views on the island…the Monte Solaro chairlift is the way to go. €11 for a round-trip ticket will take you to the highest point of Capri with a 360 degree view of the island!
On our last day in the Amalfi Coast, we decided to take the bus one stop past Positano, to the gorgeous town of Amalfi…
Mago del Gelato
Kicking off the day right with some delicious gelato and a little bit of exploring. The Amalfi Cathedral is beautiful and definitely worth a visit.
Path of the Gods
We decided to spend the day doing a three-hour hike along the coast from Amalfi to Positano dubbed Il Sentiero degli Dei, or The Path of the Gods. Although slightly difficult to get to, this hike has the most incredible views of the coast and is worth every minute. To get to the trailhead, first take the bus or ferry from Sorrento to Amalfi. Next, hop on a SITA bus from Amalfi and ask the driver to drop you off at the Bomerano stop. From there, the signs around town will lead you to the trailhead!
Make sure to bring lots of water, a charged cell phone in case of emergencies and hiking shoes with a good grip (the trail can get slippery).
A bit tired out from all the traveling, we ended up leaving Sorrento late and not beginning the hike until 5:00PM. This gorgeous pink and orange sunset lit up over Positano is the result of reaching the end of the trail at sunset. All in all, the perfect way to end a perfect trip to the Amalfi Coast and a free way to spend the day!
Pompeii is about a 45 min drive or quick train ride from Seven Hostel. This incredibly interested archaeological site is worth a visit while you’re in the area. If you make it over to Pompeii, I would recommend taking a guided tour of the ruins. The site is much more interesting when you know what it is you’re looking at!
While you’re in Pompeii, make sure to stop and grab a bite at Pompeii Pizzeria. The Diavola with spicy salami is my personal favorite.
Although Amalfi can be tricky to plan, the trip is worth every minute. Tourists from all over the globe flock here for a reason and it’s definitely one of the most unique places I’ve visited! Hopefully this guide to the Amalfi Coast helps you to plan the trip of a lifetime.