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If you’re planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast, you’re likely researching things you need to know before you visit. IMO, one of the biggest things someone visiting the Amalfi Coast needs to know is how to get around.

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with millions of people visiting each year. As you can imagine with large crowds, transportation options aren’t always ideal. In this post, I will give you my personal experiences and recommendations for navigating transportation in the Amalfi Coast.

The Amalfi Coast is comprised of a bunch of smaller towns on the southern coast of Italy. Many people go with the intention of traveling to multiple cities such as Positano, Capri, and Ravello. In other words, you will likely be traveling every single day, so you need to be prepared!

The view from the ferry leaving Positano

Website Disclaimer: I most recently visited the Amalfi Coast in May 2024. Although everything is accurate as of the publication of this post, it is important to keep in mind that prices, attractions, and other things may change with time.

The #1 Thing I Would Tell People Before They Visit the Amalfi Coast

The biggest thing I would want to make someone aware of before they went to the Amalfi Coast is you will likely have to spend a lot of your time waiting on public transportation. This is especially true if you visit during peak tourist season (June – August).

Like I mentioned, the Amalfi Coast is a hugely popular vacation destination, and we all know popularity can come at a price. No, I’m not talking about how expensive it is to stay there, although that’s another rabbit hole I could go down. I’m talking about the price of your time.

I visited the Amalfi Coast in May, and spent HOURS either taking public transportation or waiting on public transportation. Keep in mind, May is not even peak tourist season. I had an itinerary planned for each day, but had to cut some things out due to time constraints. This was disheartening because I wasn’t able to stay in certain places as long as I wanted before I had to rush back to catch the bus or ferry to my hotel.

How Do You Get Around on the Amalfi Coast?

There are 3 main forms of public transportation on the Amalfi Coast:

  1. The ferry (your best option, IMO)
  2. The SITA bus
  3. Taxis

Of course, there’s also the option to hire a personal driver or rent a car.

If you have enough money to rent a personal driver, your problems are likely solved and you don’t need to read the majority of this post. I actually love that for you because it means you will have a fabulous time not standing in line for an hour or more to catch the bus. But if you, like me, cannot afford your own personal driver, keep reading.

I would also advise against renting a car, unless you have driven around southern Italy before and are familiar with the roads and how people drive. I consider myself a pretty decent driver in America, but you would not catch me behind the wheel in the Amalfi Coast. People on Vespas and motorbikes weave in and out of the paths of other vehicles. Buses back up on the middle of the cliffside road to let cars through. In short, the roads are incredibly narrow and windy, and the people driving on them are aggressive (talented…but aggressive). I would low-key love nothing more than to drive an Italian Vespa up and down the coast, but I’m also confident I would die doing it.

ANYWAY – For the purpose of this post, I am going to assume that you are going to be taking the ferry, the SITA bus, or a taxi.

  • Pro Tip: The Amalfi Coast does NOT have Uber or Lyft
The Internet vs. Reality

LIVE! From inside the SITA bus

I took this photo when I finally made it onto the bus going from Positano to Sorrento. Like many people, I wanted to take the last bus out because I wanted to stay in the place I was visiting as long as possible.

Since the last bus came at 7:30, that meant I had to be in line at 6:30, which meant I didn’t have time to eat dinner before I left. Many nights, I was stuck eating dinner at 9-9:30pm because that’s when I would finally make it back to Sorrento.

Taking the Ferry on the Amalfi Coast

IMO, the ferry is the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast, and I would advise taking it whenever it’s an option. There are multiple different ferry companies to choose from, and you can book your ferry in advance or book the day of.

The line for the ferry; Amalfi Coast, Italy
Side view of the ferry port in Capri

Booking a Ferry in Advance

I would recommend booking in advance if you can. The lines to buy ferry tickets are usually long, and there’s a high likelihood the next departing ferry is sold out for your destination. That means you will have to wait a couple hours or more until the next ferry leaves in order to get where you want to go. Booking in advance or online also helps you to not waste time because you aren’t standing in line for an hour just to find that “we’re sold out.”

  • Pro Tip: When you get to the Amalfi Coast, take a walk by the nearest ferry port where you’re staying and jot down the names of the companies departing from that location. This will help you to narrow your search when you book online about which companies to choose from.
The line for the ferry; Amalfi Coast, Italy
A line of people waiting to board the ferry

Booking a Ferry the Day Of Travel

Although I just said in the last section that I recommend booking in advance, I actually booked every ferry I took in the Amalfi Coast on the day I was traveling. The main reason I did this is because I wanted to have the option of changing my plans last minute if I needed to, since there is so much to do and see.

When booking the day of travel, you can either go online and book or you can stand in line at the ferry station near the port. Some of the ferry companies will have the time slots of the departing ferries outside of their stands. Others do not, and you have to either go online to look it up or wait in line and ask. If you find that a ferry is leaving later than you would prefer, you can try another company!

  • Pro Tip: Ferry prices can change from season to season. Some companies are more expensive than others. The price of the ferry can also depend on how far you are traveling.

What It’s Like to Travel on the Ferry

I loved getting to see the Amalfi Coast from the water. The ferry rides were relaxing and pretty, and you could sit up top on the deck if you wanted a great view. All of the ferries had drinks and snacks, and there was a small bathroom. Carrying your luggage on board is usually not ideal, but I saw a lot of people do this and they seemed to have a decent amount of space.

Amalfi Coast, Italy
View of the Amalfi Coast from the ferry

The line at the ferry ports waiting to board looks more like a cluster. There are a TON of people, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where you’re supposed to go. I remember sitting there thinking “this is a hot mess!” However, I felt like they were able to hustle us on and off in a decent amount of time for the number of people that were trying to board.

I usually did not get too seasick on the ferries because the boats were big enough that they didn’t rock much. However, I would recommend bringing Dramamine, just in case!

Most of the time, I was on the ferry for at least an hour. This does not include the time I spent walking to the ferry port, waiting to board, and walking back to my hotel. The companies advise being at the ferry port 15 minutes before your scheduled departure. You also need to pay attention to which docking port your ferry will be at (and if you don’t know, there are plenty of people to ask).

Taking the SITA Bus on the Amalfi Coast

The SITA bus is the local bus that drives around the Amalfi Coast, taking people to the different towns they want to go to. While the ferry may look like a hot mess, the SITA bus actually IS a hot mess.

What It’s Like to Ride on the SITA Bus

As I type this, I’m actually laughing out loud at the memory of standing (yes, standing, not sitting) on the SITA bus for hours as it took me from town to town across the Amalfi Coast. Many times, there’s no room to sit. People are literally crammed AF on this bus. I spent hours holding on to the railing of the steps in between the doorway and the isle as I went from Positano to Sorrento.

Now…imagine having luggage with you….🥵

The buses will travel through 180 degree turns all along the coastline. You want to puke from the motion sickness (and the heat…and everybody’s B.O…etc.). I still say it’s a small miracle I never threw up on the bus, and sometimes, I was so nauseated from the ride that I couldn’t eat for awhile afterwards. Here’s where you REALLY don’t want to forget the Dramamine!

View of the roads; Amalfi Coast, Italy
Imagine going around these turns for an hour…

Waiting in Line for the SITA Bus

I say “line,” but I use that term loosely. In some places, such as Positano, the line is actually a LINE. People are lined up along the side of the road, waiting for the bus to come.

Waiting on the bus; Amalfi Coast, Italy
The bus line in Positano

Other times, however, the line is a cluster (similar to the ferries). This is when it gets bad – and honestly, kinda dangerous – to take the bus.

FOR EXAMPLE:

The bus stop in Amalfi is at the same spot as the ferry port. I took a ferry to Amalfi with the intention of taking a bus from there to Ravello. When the bus finally came, people were literally shoving their way on. A couple people started getting nasty with each other, and I was worried a fight was going to break out.

I thankfully made it onto that bus and was able to see Ravello, but for the people who didn’t, they were stuck waiting on the next bus to arrive. Sometimes, the next bus won’t arrive for at least an hour (although they say every 15-30 minutes during peak tourist season). I have also read on other people’s travel blogs that they waited in line for the bus for so long and eventually gave up because they had wasted so much of their time.

IMO, this is the biggest downside of the Amalfi Coast: Having all these activities planned and either not getting to do them, or doing them way later than you wanted due to the public transportation nightmare.

The line of people waiting to board the SITA bus that just arrived

How to Take the SITA Bus

After reading all that, you probably have no desire to take the SITA bus, so why am I even writing this section? Unfortunately, sometimes the SITA bus is a necessity, depending on where you’re trying to go. For example, if you plan on visiting Ravello, you have to take the SITA bus, as it is up in the mountains and not accessible by ferry.

To take the SITA bus, you have to purchase a ticket and wait in line at the bus stop. BTW, where even is the bus stop? Great question. It’s usually not obvious.

The SITA bus stop. Amalfi Coast, Italy
One of the SITA bus stops

There’s usually more than 1 place the bus stops in the city, and I found myself asking a lot of questions about where I needed to go.

  • Pro Tip: I had someone tell me that it’s best to wait at the first bus stop in the city to have the best chance at getting on. The buses will usually stop at 2 or 3 places in each city they visit, and by time they get to the 2nd or 3rd stop they just keep going because they’re too full to let anyone else board.
  • (Another) Pro Tip: Verify with the drivers about what time the last bus runs. Online, it said the last bus ran at 10:30pm, but when I asked one of the drivers, it was actually 7:30pm!
  • (Another) Pro Tip: I heard someone on the bus say that the driver made his friend pay for another ticket to bring his suitcase on the bus because it took up so much space. Not sure if this is the norm, but damn…👀

The bus schedule changes throughout the year, so it’s possible that if you’re traveling during peak tourist season, the buses will run later. But keep in mind, they’ll also be even more crowded!

Where Do You Get SITA Bus Tickets?

One of the main places to buy bus tickets throughout the Amalfi Coast is at the Tabaccherie (tobacco) shops. Random, right?

According to the internet, you can also find bus tickets at some local cafes, newspaper stands, and shops that are near the bus stops. However, every time I asked someone where I needed to buy tickets from, the answer was always “the tobacco shop.”

There are different types of tickets you can buy: single ride tickets, 24 hour tickets, etc.

This website does a great job at displaying the bus schedules for the Amalfi Coast, along with what type of ticket you need. IMO, it also highlights how complicated taking the bus can be.

Taking a Taxi on the Amalfi Coast

The taxi is going to be your best option in terms of convenience and your worst option in terms of price. When I was waiting on the bus in Positano, I had overheard a taxi driver charging a girl and her father 120 euros to go from Positano to Sorrento! For reference, my one-way bus ticket cost €2.40 and my round-trip ferry ticket cost €22.50.

Taxi drivers know they can charge this much because people get tired of waiting for the bus. If you have to take a taxi in a pinch, fine – but 120 euros equates to 2 nice dinners, and I know you’d rather spend that money on food and experiences!

Where Can You Catch a Taxi on the Amalfi Coast?

Taxis are near the ferry ports and bus stops, and you can also hail one from the road. There are also taxis from the airport, but I can’t imagine how expensive this would probably be!

Traveling Through the Amalfi Coast with Your Luggage

If all this transportation doesn’t sound stressful enough, now imagine doing it with a 50 lb suitcase.

Figuring out how to get from the airport or train station to your hotel is going to be vital. I stayed in Sorrento, and was lucky enough to catch a bus from the Naples airport straight there. However, I know some people caught the train…others took the train and then a ferry to where they were staying…others took the train and then the SITA bus, etc.

Traveling to Your Hotel

The transportation fun doesn’t stop after you get to your destination! Depending on which town you are staying in, you may have to drag your suitcase up hundreds of steps or steep hills after you get off the bus or ferry. This is because many of the hotels and houses are built very close to each other on the hills, and there aren’t many roads that you can drive a car through.

Positano, Italy, Amalfi Coast
A good example of how narrow some of the roads through town are.
Positano, Italy

Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast

When I went to the Amalfi Coast, I stayed at the Imperial Hotel Tramontano in Sorrento and recommend it to people because of it’s proximity to the bus stop and ferry port. Plus, it’s high up on the coast, giving you amazing views of the water!

  • Pro Tip: Many people choose to stay in Sorrento and commute because it is more affordable than staying on the Amalfi Coast. I liked that the area I stayed in was relatively flat and a good distance to restaurants, bars, and Piazza Tasso, the main town square.

Summary of Traveling Through the Amalfi Coast

Overall, I am so glad I went to the Amalfi Coast and got to have that experience. However, I don’t know that I would go back just because of how much time I spent waiting on public transportation.

Make no mistake – I would still encourage you to go! I know this is a dream destination for many people, and I think if you want something, you should go after it. Besides, if you don’t go, you’ll spend your whole life wondering “what if!” My goal with this post was to give you realistic expectations about transportation and how it will affect your time there. The more you know, the better your experience!

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