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If you are planning a visit to the Amalfi Coast, one of the biggest questions you may have is “what is the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast?”

The answer to this question depends on what time of the year you will be here, what do you plan to do on the Amalfi Coast, and how much money you have to spend.

We have visited the Amalfi Coast twice: July 2014 and October 2022. Between both of these visits, we have used the ferry, ridden the public buses, hired drivers, hired a private boat, and driven the entire length of the Amalfi Coast, from Salerno to Sorrento.

We learned A LOT and have lots of valuable tips, which we share in this guide. And if you have any questions or if you have information to share that would help future readers, let us know in the comment section at the end of this article.

Overview of the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline that runs along the Sorrentine peninsula. There are 13 towns along this coastline plus Salerno and Sorrento, which sit at either end. Some of these towns are located right on the water, like Amalfi and Positano, and others are located higher up on the hills, like Ravello and Praiano.

Amalfi Drive is the main road that travels along the Amalfi Coast. It is 50 km long and runs through most of these towns. There are a few Amalfi Coast towns that are located higher in the mountains, on side roads off of Amalfi Drive, such as Ravello and Tramonti.

At first glance, it may seem that renting a car and driving from town to town is the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast. But unfortunately, that’s not the case. From June through September, the Amalfi Coast is filled with visitors from around the world. These small towns have very limited parking, and the increase in summer traffic creates long traffic jams along Amalfi Drive. You may have better luck winning the lottery than getting a parking space in Amalfi or Positano.

New for 2022, there is now an alternating license plate system for the summer months. If the number on your license plate corresponds with the odd or even number for that day, you are in luck and you can drive Amalfi Drive. If not, you’ll have to look into hiring a driver or using the ferry to get around. We’ll go more into detail about this later in this guide.

To get around the Amalfi Coast, you have a lot of options…car, bus, ferry, small boat tour, private boat, taxi, private driver, and tour. We dive deeper into each of these next.

Amalfi Italy | Best way to get around the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi, Italy 

How to Get Around the Amalfi Coast

By Rental Car: Driving the Amalfi Coast

If you will be road tripping through Italy, it would only make sense to use your car and drive to the towns you want to visit along the Amalfi Coast. And for those who love scenic drives, you could rent a car just for your time on the Amalfi Coast and use that to get around.

But is it a good idea?

We drove the entire length of Amalfi Drive in October 2022. In our article Driving the Amalfi Coast, we write about our experience and important things to know, before committing yourself to this mode of transportation.

Amalfi Coast Drive | Best way to get around the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast Drive

 

Amalfi Coast Driving Photo

Long sections of the roads are lined with parked cars and scooters, which makes this narrow road even narrower. 

May through September

If you have plans to visit the Amalfi Coast from May through September, getting around by rental car could be a nightmare. In 2022, on weekends and the entire month of August, those with rental cars can only drive Amalfi Drive on odd or even days, corresponding to their license plate number (more on that below).

In the summer, it’s also not unusual to have backups stretching several kilometers. Parking is almost nonexistent, so once you get to where you want to be, you could spend a huge amount of time circling for a parking space. Or, you could end up parking several kilometers outside of town, and have a long walk along Amalfi Drive to get into town.

October through April

This is the low season, so if driving the Amalfi Coast is on your bucket list, this is the best time to do it. Even in mid to late October, there was still a fair amount of traffic and we had trouble finding parking. For the best experience (taking weather into account), plan your trip for late October into November or sometime in April.

Towns You Can Get to By Car

All of the towns on the Amalfi Coast are accessible by car. The trick is finding a parking space once here, even in the off season.

Alternating License Plate System

In 2022, an alternating license plate system was instituted on Amalfi Drive. These details are for 2022 and I imagine this will continue for 2023 but it is yet to be seen if the restrictions will change.

Here are the rules:

  • These rules apply to rental cars. Cars belonging to locals, taxis, and buses are exempt.
  • Rental cars with a license plate ending in an odd number can drive Amalfi Drive on odd numbered days. Rental cars with a license plate ending in an even number can drive Amalfi Drive on even numbered days.
  • The rule is in effect from 10 am to 6 pm for the entire month of August and for weekends from June 15 to September 30. Some holidays, such as Easter, are also included.
  • The alternating license plate system is in effect for the 22 km stretch of road between Positano and Vietri sul Mare.
  • In addition to the license plate system, any vehicle that is longer than 10.36 meters (34 feet), including vehicles pulling trailers, are banned from 6:30 am to midnight all year.

From what I have read online, if you will be staying in a hotel on the Amalfi Coast, you can arrive to your hotel on your planned date, even if your license plate does not align with the dates. Let’s face it, you won’t know the number of your license plate until you pick up your rental car, so it’s impossible to plan in advance which days to drive the Amalfi Coast. I recommend confirming this rule with your hotel before your visit.

Advantages of Traveling by Rental Car:

  • Freedom to travel on your schedule
  • To drive one of the most iconic roads in the world
  • To get to towns that are not accessible by boat (Ravello, Praiano, and Tramonti)

Disadvantages of Traveling by Rental Car:

  • Traffic jams on Amalfi Drive
  • Parking
  • Alternating License Plate system
  • The possibility of getting into an accident

By Private Driver

If you hire a private driver, you can still travel on your own schedule, but eliminate some of the hassles of a rental car, such as parking. Plus, if you plan to tour Italy by train, a private driver allows you to explore the Amalfi Coast by road, rather than renting a car for a few days.

Hiring a private driver can be expensive. Prices range from €100 to €400, depending on how long you plan to use the driver that day.

We hired our private drivers through our hotel, with the company Positano Limo Service.

Advantages of a Private Driver:

  • Freedom to travel on your schedule
  • To get to towns that are not accessible by boat (Ravello, Praiano, and Tramonti)
  • No need to search for a parking space (let your driver deal with that hassle)

Disadvantages of a Private Driver:

  • Expensive
  • Traffic jams on Amalfi Drive

How to Drive the Amalfi Coast | Best way to get around the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Drive

By Bus

Traveling by bus is the most economical way to get around the Amalfi Coast. For just €10 per day, you can travel up and down Amalfi Drive.

To travel by bus, you will need some patience. In the summer, lines at the bus stops can be long. And once on the bus, you will be sitting in the same backups as everyone else.

We traveled by bus in 2014 and had a terrible experience. Hopefully things have improved since then, and based on the number of buses we saw on Amalfi Drive, it looks like it has.

In 2014, we started in Sorrento and road the SITA bus to Positano. Once finished in Positano, we waited and waited at the bus stop, and scheduled bus after bus failed to arrive. Eventually, a hop-on hop-off bus arrived, and we bought a ticket, just to get to the next town on our list, Amalfi.

Once finished in Amalfi, the same scenario repeated itself. Several scheduled buses failed to show up. By the time the next bus arrived, there were so many people in line that only a small fraction made it onto the bus.

So, if you plan to travel by bus, have some patience and be prepared for delays. And if you have done this and would like to share your experience to help out future readers, you can do so in the comment section below.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: For the best views, sit on the right side of the bus when traveling from Sorrento towards Positano, Amalfi, and Salerno. Sit on the left side of the bus when traveling from Salerno towards Amalfi, Positano, and Sorrento.

For more information on how to use the bus, click here.

For the SITA bus timetable, click here.

Advantages of Traveling by Bus

  • Cheap
  • On a bus, you will sit higher than in a car, so your views along the drive are better, since it is easier to look out over the stone wall. I took the header photo for this guide from the bus while riding along Amalfi Drive.
  • To get to towns that are not accessible by boat (Ravello, Praiano, and Tramonti)
  • No need to search for a parking space

Disadvantages of Traveling by Bus

  • Traffic jams on Amalfi Drive
  • Buses do not usually arrive on time
  • Can be hot and crowded

By Ferry

To avoid the traffic jams on Amalfi Drive and for stunning views of the Amalfi Coast, consider taking the ferry. During the summer months, we highly recommend getting around by ferry, or some sort of boat, to avoid the traffic delays on Amalfi Drive.

It is important to know that not all of the towns on the Amalfi Coast are accessible by boat. If you take the ferry, you will only be able to visit the coastal towns, which includes Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Salerno, Minori, Maiori, Cetara, and Vietri sul Mare.

There are several companies that operate ferries on the Amalfi Coast. They each have different schedules and ports. Here are the links to the companies:

You can also search for ferry routes on FerryHopper.com or TraghettiUp.com, which gives the schedules for the three companies listed above. We are big fans of FerryHopper.com, and use it frequently, not only to book ferries on the Amalfi Coast, but also in Greece and Croatia. This website is very user friendly and will list all of the available ferries for the dates you are looking at, so you don’t have to check multiple websites.

Ferries typically operate from April through October. If you will be traveling outside of this period, look into taking the bus, hiring a driver, or renting a car.

Positano Ferry Booths

Ticket booths for the ferries in Positano.

 Amalfi Coast Ferries | Best way to get around the Amalfi Coast

Ferries in Positano | Best way to get around the Amalfi Coast

 

Positano Ferry | Best way to get around the Amalfi Coast

NLG is one of the most popular ferry companies on the Amalfi Coast. 

Advantages of Traveling by Ferry

  • Avoid the traffic on Amalfi Drive (and get around the Amalfi Coast faster than by bus or car)
  • Beautiful views of the Amalfi Coast
  • Cheapest way to get around by boat

Disadvantages of Traveling by Ferry

  • Cannot get to Ravello, Tramonti, or Praiano
  • Not a good option for those prone to seasickness
  • Does not operate from mid-November through March

By Private Boat

Traveling by private boat is one of the best ways to get around the Amalfi Coast. Having done everything listed above, I have to say that this is our favorite mode of transportation on the Amalfi Coast. It can be expensive, but it comes with some huge advantages that make it worth it, especially if you are traveling as a small group.

If you are going to splurge on one thing during your trip to Italy, this gets our vote. Relax on a private boat, sip on prosecco, visit small coves and caves that are inaccessible by ferry and difficult or impossible to get to by car or bus, and zip up and down the coastline faster than any car or ferry out there.

Plus, the views are simply amazing.

Atrani | Best way to get around the Amalfi Coast

Atrani

 

Fiordi di Furore | Best way to get around the Amalfi Coast

By boat, you can visit places like Fiordo di Furore (the photo above) and sea caves along the coast.

 Private Boat Tour Amalfi Coast | Best way to get around the Amalfi Coast

Earth Trekkers Positano

We took a private 8-hour boat cruise from Positano, visiting the Smeraldo Grotto, Fiordo di Furore, Amalfi, Maiori, Minori, Atrani, and Nerano. This 8-hour boat tour with Luxury Boats Positano was one of our most memorable experiences in Italy.

Prices for a full day cruise range from €800 to as high as €3000, depending on the boat and company you choose. If you are traveling as a group of four to six people, splitting the cost of a €800 or €1300 boat is not as crazy as it first seems, especially given the advantages that come with having a private boat.

And if you want the private boat experience, without spending a crazy amount of money, Luxury Boats Positano and other companies have shorter tours. How about a 2-hour sunset cruise along the Amalfi Coast?

Other companies to consider are Lucibello Positano, Sorrento Dream Charter, and Mar Amar.

Advantages of Traveling by Private Boat

  • Freedom to travel on your own schedule
  • Can easily visit exclusive beaches, restaurants, and coves that are harder to get to by bus, car, or ferry
  • For gorgeous views of the Amalfi Coast
  • To avoid the traffic on Amalfi Drive (and get around the Amalfi Coast faster than by bus or car)
  • To sip on prosecco or a cocktail as you travel along the coast
  • For a luxury experience on the Amalfi Coast

Disadvantages of Traveling by Private Boat

  • Expensive
  • Cannot get to Ravello or Tramonti
  • Not a good option for those prone to seasickness

By Small Group Boat Tour

By joining a small boat tour, you get to cruise along the coast without the big price tag that you get with a private boat. There is a long list of boat tours to choose from, some starting in Sorrento, some starting in Positano, and some starting in Amalfi.

When choosing your tour, pay attention to the number of people in the group, the starting point of the tour, and the price. Some group tours can cost several hundred dollars per person, and if you are a group of 4 to 6 people, it might not cost much more to hire a private boat.

Advantages of a Small Group Boat Tour

  • Some boat tours include visits to swimming spots or off the beaten path beaches
  • For gorgeous views of the Amalfi Coast
  • To avoid the traffic on Amalfi Drive

Disadvantages of a Small Group Boat Tour

  • Some small group tours can be expensive
  • Cannot get to Ravello or Tramonti
  • Not a good option for those prone to seasickness

Positano | Best way to get around the Amalfi Coast

Positano

By Small Group Tour (On Land)

There are also many small group tours of the Amalfi Coast, where you travel by van, car, or bus, visiting the highlights of the coast. These group tours range from just a few people to larger groups, so pay attention to group size while booking your tour.

A group tour is a good option for those who only have one day on the Amalfi Coast and don’t want the hassle of working out transportation, what to see, and where to go. Many of these tours start and end in Sorrento.

This highly rated group tour starts in either Naples or Sorrento and includes both a land tour and short boat cruise on the Amalfi Coast, where you will visit Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. It’s a great option for those with one day on the Amalfi Coast since it covers the main highlights.

It’s also possible to day trip to the Amalfi Coast from Rome, but this is a long day and we don’t recommend it (we think Pompeii and Vesuvius is a better option from Rome). But this tour gets rave reviews and is worth considering, if you really want to see the Amalfi Coast and have limited time.

Advantages of a Small Group Tour

  • All transportation is arranged by your tour guide
  • Can be an economical way to spend one day on the Amalfi Coast

Disadvantages of a Small Group Tour

  • Traffic jams on Amalfi Drive
  • Some small group tours include time at places you may not be interested in visiting
  • Can be a long day with a lot of time spent in the van/bus/car

Ravello

Ravello

By Scooter

Scooters, with their small size, can zip around the traffic jams and it’s a lot easier to find a parking space than it would be if you are traveling by car. However, we only recommend getting around by scooter for those with lots of prior experience. Amalfi Drive is crowded and chaotic, even in the off season, and this is not a good road for newbie drivers.

Advantages of Getting Around by Scooter

  • Can pass slower traffic and traffic jams
  • Easier to find a parking space
  • Can travel on your own schedule
  • Cheaper than rental cars and private drivers
  • To get to towns that are not accessible by boat (Ravello, Praiano, and Tramonti)

Disadvantages of Getting Around by Scooter

  • Can be dangerous
  • Will still have to deal with traffic jams

Amalfi Coast Photo

Amalfi Coast

Best Way to Get Around the Amalfi Coast: Our Recommendations

To summarize all of the information above, here are our recommendations for the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast.

For the best overall experience, hire a private boat. It is the most expensive option, but the views are unbeatable, you can explore nooks and crannies that are difficult to get to by other modes of transportation, and this is the fastest way to travel from town to town, so if you want to see and do a lot, a private boat is the way to go.

If you are traveling on a budget, the ferry is our first choice (great views and to avoid the traffic on Amalfi Drive) followed by the public bus.

During the summer months, from June through September, avoid traveling on Amalfi Drive if possible. If you want to visit Ravello or Tramonti, you will have to take the bus, drive, or hire a private driver, but to get everywhere else, take a boat of some sort (ferry, small group boat tour, or private boat).

If you really want to drive the Amalfi Coast, the best time to do it is from mid-October through April.

Tours of the Amalfi Coast

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast?

During the summer months, the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast is by boat (ferry, small boat tour, or private boat). The views are beautiful and you can avoid the traffic jams on Amalfi Drive. If you are traveling on a budget, travel by ferry or by bus. From June through September, avoid driving the Amalfi Coast if possible, since traffic jams are frequent, parking is a nightmare, and rental car traffic is limited by the new alternating license plate system.

Is it worth driving the Amalfi Coast?

If you plan to visit Italy between May and September, Amalfi Drive can be a crowded, chaotic road with long backups and major challenges finding a parking space. During this time, it is not worth driving the Amalfi Coast and it is best to get around by ferry or boat. However, if you have long dreamed of making this drive, the best time to do it is from mid-October through the end of April, which is low season on the Amalfi Coast.

How difficult is it to drive the Amalfi Coast?

It doesn’t take any special skills to drive Amalfi Drive. You need a good deal of patience and you need to stay alert, since it is a chaotic drive. If this is something you plan to do, rent a smaller vehicle, which makes it a lot easier to navigate the turns and the tight spaces as you squeeze past buses and other vehicles.


If you have any questions about the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast, or if you want to share your experience, you can do so in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Italy

AMALFI COAST: Learn how to travel from Rome to the Amalfi Coast and you have the option to visit Pompeii on the way. We also have a guide to the best towns on the Amalfi Coast, how to hike the Path of the Gods, things to do in Positano, and things to do in Ravello.

ITALY ITINERARIES: If you are just beginning to plan your Italy itinerary, take a look at our 10 Days in Italy Itinerary for three different ways to spend 10 days in Italy.

VENICE ITINERARY: If you need suggestions on how to plan your time, take a look at our One Day in Venice Itinerary and Two Days in Venice Itinerary.

TUSCANY: Learn how to spend one wonderful day in Siena and check out our guides to Montepulciano, Pienza, and San Gimigano.

PUGLIA: Alberobello is one of the most popular towns to visit in Puglia. Here’s a list of the best things to do in Alberobello.

 

We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Venice, the Dolomites, Lake Como, Assisi, and Puglia.

 

How to Get Around the Amalfi Coast Italy

 

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