The Amalfi coast is the most picturesque coastline we have seen so far in our travels. There is an incredible view around every corner. It is one of the most photographed destinations in the world and that is for very good reason. Although it is a beautiful destination, it was not the easiest of places to travel. That is why we have written down a few recommendations to help you make the best of traveling the Amalfi Coast.
The Amalfi coast is the coastline between the gulf of Naples and the gulf of Salerno. In between that distance, there are many coastal towns and beaches that deserve to be seen at least once in a lifetime. Amongst the most popular ones are Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, Praiano, Maiori, Minori and Sorrento. Between Positano and Salerno, there is one main coastal road that is just over 40 km long. Picking where you will be staying will have a large impact on which areas of the Amalfi coast you will be able to easily visit. Although 40 km might not sound like a very long distance, it will take you over 2 hours to go from Positano to Salerno. The road is narrow and winding, making it a very slow drive.
Accomodations on the Amafi coast in the summer are very expensive. It is the destination in Europe where we spent the most on accommodation. With that being said, the accommodation we chose was still one of the most budget-friendly ones we came across. We decided to save as much money as we could on our room in order to have more left over in our daily budget to enjoy the area. While we really liked the small family-run bed and breakfast where we stayed in the town of Agerola, it was quite an inconvenient location to travel the Amalfi coast from. From the town of Agerola, we had to take a 1 hour bus to get to Amalfi and then from there it would be another hour on the bus to get either to Positano on one end, or an hour and a half to get to Salerno on the other end. Needless to say, spending 4 hours on a bus every day was not ideal. It also meant that it was difficult to visit more than one town per day.
Our recommendation is that if you really want to get the best out of your time on the Amalfi Coast, splurge a bit more on accommodation and stay in one of the main towns along the main road to make transportation easier. From what we learned while we were there, the top towns we would recommend would be Amalfi or Praiano since they are two good bases from where to move around and you can find accommodation that will be more affordable than in Positano, which is the most expensive of the towns.
Our main advice would be DO NOT rent a car on the Amalfi coast. The traffic on the main road with the amount of tourist buses that run every day was very bad. It seems like it would an incredibly stressful place to drive and it would take almost just as long as taking the buses. We even saw a family’s trip get ruined when a tourist bus accidently hit her car in the jam-packed parking lot in Amalfi. On top of the stress of driving on the Amalfi Coast, renting a car is very expensive there and there are no parking spots anywhere, you would have to leave your car far away from the towns and walk a pretty long distance each time.
If you are comfortable with driving a scooter or a Vespa, it seemed to be the best option if you have an extra 60 Euros to spend per day. It is easier to pass next to cars and buses on small roads and you can park it much more easily. It would also allow you to enjoy the incredibly scenic drive along the coast even more! We did not get to do it while we were there but it is absolutely on our to do list the next time we visit the Amalfi Coast!
If you are prone to motion sickness, make sure you take some tablets before you get on one of the tourist buses. As I mentioned previously, the road is winding and there are many stop-and-go moments as the bus has to stop at almost every turn to make sure there are no other cars or buses coming the other way that need space to pass. You are also right on the edge of cliffs the entire drive and, while it is beautiful, it can definitely create some vertigo making motion sickness worse. We loved the bus rides and felt completely fine (except on one hungover morning), but we thought we would give a fair warning to those who don’t do so well with bumpy and windy rides.
The Amalfi coast as a whole is the most expensive destination we visited in all of Italy. With that being said, it is still possible to find affordable places to eat, drink and shop. The main advice here is just to steer clear from the main street in every town, which usually happens to be right by the water. While it is beautiful to sit and have a pizza with an ocean view, be prepared to pay 3 times the price that your pizza is worth for that view. The best tip is to go a few streets deeper into the towns and you will find great restaurants that are much more affordable. Or, better yet, find a restaurant that does takeaway food and have yourself a picnic on the beach!
The Amalfi Coast has some very nice beaches. While they are not white sand beaches with light blue water, they definitely have a lot of charm. The water is very clear and is a deeper blue, and the towns and surrounding cliffs make for an amazing backdrop.
The first beach we visited was in Positano. We thought the town was beautiful and all the colorful homes were lovely, but we were a little disappointed with the public beach. Unless you are willing to pay around 25 Euros per chair to spend the day on the private sector of the beach, you are left with a very small area of the black pebble beach where you can lie down on your towel. With the pebbles being so dark, they get incredibly hot making it very unpleasant on a warm sunny day. It also gets very crowded and you don’t feel like you have much space to yourself to enjoy the beach. We luckily went exploring a little and found a second, more isolated, beach right around the corner from the main town! The chairs were almost half-price and it was much less busy. We ended up really enjoying our time there and absolutely recommend spending the day there instead if you are trying to enjoy Positano on a budget.
Our second beach day was spent in the smaller town of Vietri Sul Mare. This is where our accommodation was for the second half of stay and we really enjoyed it. It does take over 2 hours from here to get to Positano, so we do not recommend it as the main location for your accommodation if you want to visit that part of the coastline. However, it is great to visit the area closer to Salerno. This beach is super quiet and there were probably only 2-3 other people there the entire day. The water was beautiful and so was the surrounding scenery.
Our third and last beach day was spent in Maiori, which is more similar to Positano than to Vietri Sul Mare. It is busy and full of beach bars and private chairs but it is slightly more affordable. We were charged only 15 Euros per chair here instead of 25 Euros so we splurged and enjoyed our day tanning and relaxing by the beach.
We hope this helps you plan your trip along the beautiful Amalfi Coast and thanks for reading!
Lots of Love,
Ben and Bianca