The Amalfi Coast, the crown jewel of Italian luxury and romance, is one of the most popular and stunning places in Italy. Located just south of Naples, which is worth a visit in and of itself as it’s the birthplace of pizza, is a 100km stretch of road that hugs the coastline from Sorrento to Salerno.
The coastline is as rugged as it is beautiful. Towering mountains, Azure colored seas, and the most picturesque Italian villages are all on offer. I spent two weeks traveling from Naples to Capri and then the entire Amalfi coast. In addition, right off the the Amalfi coast is the famous island of Capri, known for its magnificent villas, dramatic mountains, and refined Italian cuisines. I visited all these places on my trip.
Of course not everyone has this type of time to dedicate to this area of the country but you also don’t need two weeks in my opinion. I took it nice and slow because I just love everything about Southern Italy. Northern Italy of course is absolutely stunning with places like Lake Como and the Dolomites, but I think after visiting much of Italy, the south is more my style.
Where I went in the Amalfi Coast Area
I had two full weeks to explore this area of the country. However, it was not two weeks of freedom, I had to work most of the days so in fact, I was only able to see the sights maybe half of that time.
Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and Capri are not big places and there really isn’t that much to see in terms of sights and monuments. In fact, a lot of people do the Amalfi coast on a day trip from either Sorrento, Salerno, or even Naples. If you don’t have that much time to dedicate, don’t worry, I will give you all the options in this post.
When did I visit the Amalfi?
I visited the Amalfi coast in October after the typical summer high season. I was told, in non-COVID times of course, that summers are simply overwhelming with the sheer amount of tourists. Like the rest of Europe’s big tourist attractions, this comes as no surprise. In normal times, I’d recommend visiting here in the shoulder months of Oct/Nov and April/May. It is still warm enough in these months to do fun things, and enough restaurants will be open to make sure you be well fed.
Absolutely avoid visiting the Amalfi in July/Aug at all cost. Not only will prices be 2x higher, but the sheer amounts of tourists will ensure that you see nothing without huge crowds. Not my style.
In total, this itinerary is anyone that has about a week to two weeks of time. Of course this itinerary can be shortened or lengthened depending on your schedule. I visited the following areas on this itinerary
- Vietri Sul Mare
If these places ring a bell and sound like the places you want to visit, this is the perfect itinerary for you! Note that I visited almost every town on the Amalfi coast so the list of towns is actually much bigger than the above. This is because there is only one main road and it goes through every town. It’s simple to just stop off at a village, walk around for an hour or two, and leave.
How to get around the Amalfi Coast?
One of the main things I struggled with in planning this trip was whether to rent a car or not. While visiting the rest of Italy, I always opted for a car to road trip through the countryside. Puglia and Sicily were prime examples where this was an amazing experience.
The Amalfi coast however, is not so straight forward when it comes to planning this. The Amalfi coast itself is actually quite small. From Salerno to Sorrento is only 100km or so which isn’t really road trip material.
Do you need a car on the Amalfi Coast?
To put it simply, having a car would make your life easier when it comes to being spontaneous. However, the caveat is that the iconic Amalfi coast road with its spectacular views is a one lane, slow, traffic ridden affair. If there’s any accident at all, you could be backed up for hours. Couple that with the fact you’re visiting small villages along the way, and actually finding parking is a challenge in itself.
Do you need to have a car? The answer is no. The public transportation system is sufficient enough to get from town to town.
Take the buses in the Amalfi Coast
The buses are the best way to get around the area. From Salerno or Sorrento, you can take a bus to visit all the highlights of the Amalfi coast. From Positano or Sorrento, you can also take ferries to Capri.
The buses are somewhat frequent during the high seasons but expect to have longer waits during low seasons. Even so, if you’re staying in a smaller town like Praiano, these buses don’t run as often. Buses can get quite packed during the summers and it’s not uncommon to have to wait for the next bus.
Rent a scooter in the Amalfi
My favorite way to get around the Amalfi (and really anywhere in Europe) is via scooter. Vespas are as Italian as Parmesan and is the way of life here. However, expect to pay insane prices for scooters in the Amalfi coats since it is so tourist centric. A rental for a standard scooter (not a Vespa) averages somewhere between €50-60 a day which is just insanity. Absolute insanity.
This is a complete rip off by any stretch of the imagination but you need to prepare for extreme prices in the Amalfi Coast. If you rented a scooter for two weeks or more, you could just outright buy the damn thing. Having just been in the Greek islands for two months prior to coming to Italy, I was so used to (and spoiled) by the scooter prices there which are even still outrageously expensive compared to somewhere like Indonesia. Nevertheless, even by Amalfi standards, I think the €50-60 a day is just a pure rip off considering you could rent a car for cheaper.
Nevertheless, I don’t think you need a scooter the entire time you’re here. For the most part, if you rent it for a day or two, it will be enough to see most of the area. I rented it for two days and it was more than enough to cruise through most of the Amalfi Coast.
This itinerary starts in Naples, the birth place of pizza. Of course Naples is not a part of the Amalfi coast but it is the nearest airport. In addition, Naples is the pizza capital of the world so why not start off your trip gorging on the best pizzas Italy can offer?
From Naples, I took a ferry to the beautiful and luxurious island of Capri. To be honest, I hadn’t really planned to visit Capri and only changed my plans after realizing how close it was to Naples. Capri seemed like an elitist and flashy island that I wasn’t sure I would like. Well it is that if you are looking for it but it is so much more. I was pleasantly surprised after visiting!
From Capri, I took a ferry to Positano. I skipped Sorrento as people told us that I wasn’t missing much especially compared to the rest of the Amalfi. From Positano, this is a good base to explore the nearby towns and go on epic hikes (more on that later). After staying a few nights around Positano, the next area to explore was the area around the town of Amalfi and specifically Ravello.
Ravello came highly recommended to me and it did not disappoint. Finally, From Ravello, the last stay was in Vietri Sul Mare at the eastern end of the Amalfi coast. From here, it is close to Salerno, a bigger town with trains back to Naples for the flight home.
Day 1-4: Naples
The itinerary starts in Naples! Upon landing, it was straight to explore the old town and eat at the countless pizzerias the city has to offer.
Naples was a very central part of the Italian empire, home to traders from all over the world. There is a lot of history and sights to see in Naples so I would recommend taking one of the free walking tours on offer.
While the city is not as picturesque and iconic as other Italian cities, it has that old school charm in its own way. Nevertheless, you’re not here to revel at beautiful alleyways and views (that’s what the rest of the itinerary is for). You are here because you have to fly into this city, and of course to eat pizza.
Neapolitan pizza was the original pizza. It’s also the best type of pizza in my opinion. The pizza is light, fluffy, and served with the highest quality ingredients. Make sure to visit some of the famous pizzerias like Sorbillo, Antica Michele, and more. In addition, no trip to Naples is complete without trying the famous Sfogliatelle dessert which ranks near my top of best desserts in the world.
I wrote a post that goes in depth of all the things to see and eat in Naples.
Day trip to Pompeii
From Naples, a popular day trip is a visit to Mount Vesuvius and the town of Pompeii. If you remember your history lessons, Pompeii was the village at the base of the huge volcanic eruption during ancient times.
Nowadays, the ruins of Ancient Rome are preserved incredibly well. I had no idea how grand the restorations of Ancient Pompeii were. It reminded me of visiting the Roman ruins in Tunisia but on a much larger scale.
From Naples central station, you can take a local train to Pompeii. This train is roughly 1 hour and will take you to Pompeii central station where you can walk to the ruins in 10 minutes. Definitely one of the highlights!
Day 4-6: Capri Island
After a wonderful three days in Naples, it’s time to go to the next place, Capri Island! Capri island is a 1 hour ferry ride away from Naples. It can easily be visited on a day trip but if you have enough time, then I would highly recommend staying a few nights.
Note that Capri is probably one of the most expensive islands in Italy. It’s always been known as an upper class hangout, even from centuries ago. Nevertheless, prices here won’t be much different than if you were coming from London or a big city in the US. Just be prepared to start doling out the cash after spending very little in Naples.
Capri (pronounced kah-pri and not like the Capri from Caprisun juices) is an island that offers a landscape of wild beauty sculpted by wind, jagged mountains, and huge boulders. The natural landscape of this island is nothing short of stunning and you will notice it from the ferry ride.
The island is famous for its historic villas, perfectly manicured gardens, quaint buildings, and the Blue Grotto.
Capri vs Anacapri
Capri Island is relatively small. It’s only a half hour or so from one end to the other by car. For most tourists, you will most likely stay in the main Capri town or Anacapri on the hill. Both towns are lovely with their own charms. I stayed in Anacapri in a beautiful bed and breakfast with stunning views of the island. From Anacapri, it is closer to the Blue Grotto by bus.
I only had two nights in Capri however, and I found myself spending most of my time in Capri as a lot of the famous sights are near to that town. While it is only a 20 minute bus ride between the two towns, the buses are not super frequent.
If you have a lot of time, you won’t be disappointed in staying in either town. During the high seasons, the town of Capri can become extremely busy so if you want to have more peace and quiet, then stay in Anacapri.
Taking the buses in Capri
Capri is an extremely expensive island to get around by car. The taxis are pretty crazy expensive. I paid €25 for a ride from the ferry terminal to Anacapri. Taxis are also not readily available as you’ll need to call them beforehand.
The buses are the most common way to get around the island. They run somewhat frequently during the high season months and connect the island pretty well. The Anacapri to Capri bus is the most common but there are also buses from Anacapri to the Blue Grotto and more. The bus fare is €2 per ride and €2.50 if you purchase on the bus. There is also an additional charge if you bring luggage.
Nevertheless, make sure to get familiar with the bus routes as this will be your only way around unless you want to spend hundreds of euros on taxis, scooters, or car rentals.
Visit the numerous sights of Capri
Capri is just stunning. The views from Anacapri are ridiculous. There are a ton of things to see in Capri and do I would recommend staying at least 3 nights. Two nights was simply not enough.
For starters, just walk around the main town of Capri and soak in all the beautiful buildings and views. From Capri town, you can walk to the famous Gardens of Augusto where you can soak in even more beautiful views of the ocean and surrounding rocks. There are also numerous bars and restaurants here with stunning views where you can have a delicious aperitivo (prepare to spend a lot of money though).
From Capri town, take the 30 minute walk to Villa Lysis which is one of the most picturesque and iconic villas in the island. I think the views and picture opportunities here are unmatched. Also visit the Arco Naturele nearby which is a huge rock arch with views of the turquoise waters below.
Day 6-9: Praiano and Positano
After a wonderful few nights in Capri, it was time to finally start the Amalfi coast itinerary. Most itineraries I’ve seen online skip out on Capri focusing primarily on Naples and the Amalfi coast, but I’m not sure why Capri isn’t included in this.
Ferry from Capri to the Amalfi Coast
From Capri, there are regular daily ferries from the island to the different towns on the coast. The main harbors on the coast are Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi Town. As I chose to skip Sorrento due to time constraints, I took the ferry straight to Positano.
The ferry ride is pleasant and you can see the outline of Capri Island in the middle of the ocean the entire way. As you approach Positano, it is absolutely stunning.
Positano is perhaps the most well known, photographed, Instagrammed, and popular place on the coast. The iconic photos of the beautiful little houses on the mountain overlooking the Mediterranean is all here on display.
It’s likely that you’ll be visiting Positano no matter where you stay in the Amalfi Coast.
There aren’t a whole lot of must see tourist attractions in Positano. The entire town is one. Just walk through the streets and alleyways, reveling in how stunning the mountain and ocean landscape is. When you’re done, relax on the beach which is okay but it’s not going to wow you or have an Aperitivo. There are some amazing places to have drinks and also take that iconic photo of the town. My favorite of these are probably the restaurants on Via Cristiforo Columbo.
The town is not big and will take you maybe 30 minutes to 1 hour to see most of it. The town is literally built in a mountain side so if you want to see it all by foot, be prepared to climb many stairs. The prices in Positano are very expensive as you’d expect so budget accordingly. If you want a cheaper meal, stop in at one of the delis where you can get fresh and delicious paninis made.
Path of the Gods Hike
One of the most popular activities along the Amalfi Coast is the absolutely stunning Path of the Gods hike. This also happens to be one of the most famous hiking routes in the whole of Italy and it’s easy to understand why, given the fantastic panoramas that await.
From Positano, you can take a bus to Nocelle to begin your hike, or just hike from the main road outside of Positano. The Path of the Gods hike will take you to the top of the mountain which gives you the best views of the region. The whole route lasts around two hours and passes through a lush, green hillside with scattered vineyards along the way.
If you feel like really killing yourself and are staying in Praiano, do what I did which is to start my hike in Praiano, climbing over 1,000 meters to the top of the mountain where the Path of the Gods hike began. This hike took me three hours to finish and was some serious elevation.
If you want to start on the other side, you will need to take Sita buses leaving from Amalfi, ask the driver for the stop Bomerano. From there follow the road signs that will take you at the entrance of the path. The Path of the Gods can also be reached from Praiano but you have to face a long flight of steps to go from sea level to 580 meters high to the pass of Colle Serra.
Day 9-12: Ravello and Amalfi
From Positano and Praiano, I took the SITA bus with my luggage to my next destination in Ravello. Located high up on the mountains, Ravello was one of my favorite stops along the Amalfi coast.
The town has a very peculiar history: it was founded slightly behind the coast, on a hill, as a safe harbour against the barbarians. After the barbarian invasions, Ravello has become a very important town in the Republic of Amalfi.
Ravello has also been a famous destination for artists, writers and musicians, like M.C Escher, Richard Wagner, Greta Garbo, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Leonard Bernstein and Virginia Woolf.
Getting to Ravello from Positano
From Positano or Praiano, you will need to catch the SITA bus to the town of Amalfi. Here you will transfer to another bus that goes to Ravello. This bus will take roughly 40 minutes or so traverse the winding landscapes up the mountain.
Just remember that in order to purchase the SITA bus tickets, you’ll need to purchase them at the Tobacco shops (so Italian). Of course, you also need to time it correctly because these places always shut down for nap time in the afternoon. You cannot buy tickets on the bus.
The town of Amalfi which is right in the middle of the Amalfi coast is the a popular middle destination for people. There isn’t much to see in this town that I found. The town square is where all the tourist attractions are and it is filled with mostly overpriced and mediocre tourist trap restaurants.
What to do in Ravello
one of the most beautiful and famous architectural complexes in Ravello. It was built by the Rufolo family, one of the most powerful families in the Medieval period, consists in different structures: the building (XIII century), the tree-lined entrance, two towers, gardens, chapel and the Moorish courtyard.
Down the street is the equally as picturesque and famous Villa Cimbrone. Clinging to the rocky ridge with the same name, was bought in the first years of the 20th century by Lord Grimthorpe who started extensive restoration works, entrusting them to Mr Nicola Mansi. From the Belvedere of Villa Cimbrone you can enjoy one of the stunning view of the Amalfi coast. The terrace with the seven marble statues overlooking the ocean is absolutely spectacular.
Staying in an amazing Airbnb in Ravello
I stayed in an amazing property in Ravello just outside the main town gates. It had an incredibly breathtaking view of the ocean and a huge deck that was perfect to enjoy that view with. It was also quite affordable and very well located.
There are also many extremely luxurious villa style accommodations in Ravello for those that want to splurge. The Caruso hotel is famous
Day 12-15: Vietri Sul Mare
From Ravello, it was time to push east and the last stop on the trip would be the town of Vietri Sul Mare. Located near to Salerno, this is the the eastern boundary of the Amalfi Coast.
The town of Vietri sul Mare, considered since the Medieval times the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, is situated just 3 km far from Salerno and is one of the 13 Amalfi Coast villages. Vietri is considered to be the capital of artistic and traditional ceramics, that is why, for generations, the inhabitants of this lovely seaside town have been producing precious porcelain.
Between Amalfi and Vietri Sul Mare are a few towns worth exploring. Minori, Maori, Cetara, and Erchie are all much less touristy but equally as charming towns. The best way to do this is to rent a scooter in Vietri Sul Mare which is cheaper than the more popular towns like Positano, Praiano, or Amalfi.
Day by Day breakdown of my Amalfi Itinerary
Here is a day by day breakdown of the Sicily itinerary. It’s pretty involved each day so absolutely feel free to spread it out over more days if you have the time!
Day 1: Land in Naples, explore Naples
Day 2: Full day in Naples
Day 3: Full day in Naples
Day 4: Naples to Capri in the morning
Day 5: Full day Capri
Day 6: Capri to Positano in the afternoon
Day 7: Positano/Praiano area
Day 8: Positano/Praiano area
Day 9: Positano/Praiano area to Ravello
Day 10: Ravello
Day 11: Ravello
Day 12: Ravello to Vietri Sul Mare
Day 13: Explore surrounding towns
Day 14: Explore surrounding towns
Day 15: Vietri Sul Mare to Salerno to Naples
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