Julie Italy 123 Comments

How to travel from Rome to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast can be a little confusing. You can’t simply hop on a train in Rome and ride it all of the way to Sorrento or Positano. In this post, we explain your different options for getting around this region.

Rome to Naples

By Train

Whether your final destination is Sorrento, Capri, Positano, or Amalfi, you will first have to travel to Naples. The best way to do this is by train.

This journey takes between 60 minutes to three hours, depending on the train you choose.

Trenitalia

Trenitalia, Italy’s national rail service, has three classes of trains. The frecce trains (frecciarossa, frecciargento, and freccebianca) are the fastest, with travel times of around one hour or slightly longer. These are the most expensive Trenitalia trains. These trains need to be booked in advance.

Intercity trains take about 2 hours and reservations are recommended.

Regionale trains take about 3 hours and do not have seat reservations.

How to book your Trenitalia tickets online:

Trenitalia.com is the main website. The website is offered in English but you will have to input city names with their Italian spelling (Roma for Rome and Napoli for Naples).

Italiarail.com is easier to use than Trenitalia (no Italian names necessary) but there is small booking fee ($5 USD) for using this website.

Italo

Italo is a private company that operates high-speed trains in Italy. Travel times and prices are similar to Trenitalia’s frecciarossa trains.

Book your tickets on the Italo here.

About the Train Stations in Rome

Roma Termini is the main train station in Rome. Most trains will leave from this station. However, there are two more stations in Rome, Roma Ostiense and Roma Tiburtina. These are located farther from the city center.

When booking your train, it is very important that you note the departure station in Rome. Both Trenitalia and Italiarail list the names of the stations when you are choosing your tickets. Roma Termini is the ideal station to leave from because it is centrally located in Rome and easy to get to with public transportation.

Most, but not all, trains from Rome will arrive in the Napoli Centrale station in Naples.

Positano

Positano

By Car

It takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours to drive from Rome to Naples.

By Plane

Yes, you can fly from Rome to Naples. Don’t expect it to save you time over the train. You have to factor in transport to and from two airports and airport security time. It can take between 3 to 4 hours to travel between these two cities by plane.

It only makes sense to fly to Naples if you are already at the Rome airport (for example, you just landed in Rome and are traveling to Naples).


Naples to Sorrento

By Train

From Naples, take the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento.

Upon arrival in Napoli Centrale, follow signs for “Circumvesuviana.” The train platform is downstairs. You can purchase tickets at the ticket office located next to the platform or at the newspaper/tobacco shops in the train station.

Purchase a ticket to Sorrento (€3.60). Trains leave approximately every 30 minutes. There is no need to purchase this ticket in advance. (Click here for the Circumvesuviana timetable).

Make sure you validate your ticket before getting on the train.

It takes between 45 minutes and 75 minutes to travel between Naples and Sorrento. The direttissimo trains are the fastest because they make the fewest stops.

The Circumvesuviana is a commuter train, a local train that is more like the subway in New York City than the Italian high speed trains. There is no air conditioning and during the summer months it can get quite hot and crowded on this train. Sometimes it can be standing room only. And beware of pickpockets, not only on the trains but also in the train stations.

On the Circumvesuviana

TRAVEL TIP #1: If you are traveling with luggage, it’s best to put it in the overhead luggage racks or stand with your luggage in the standing areas near the doors. If you put your luggage between you and the wall, this will help deter pickpockets.

TRAVEL TIP #2: Napoli Garibaldi station is the name of the Circumvesuviana platform located inside of Napoli Centrale, the main train station in Naples. This is stop #2 on the Circumvesuviana route. Most people board the train at this stop so it can be very difficult to get a seat. If you don’t mind walking, you can exit Napoli Centrale and walk 8 minutes to the Porta Nolana station, which is the first station on the Circumvesuviana line. Doing this will almost guarantee you a seat and an overhead luggage spot.

Walking Map Naples Station


While traveling between Naples and Sorrento, you have the option to visit Pompeii. Get all of the details here:

How to Visit Pompeii when Traveling between Rome and Sorrento


Rome to Sorrento

Sorrento

By Car

If you have your own car, it takes one hour to drive between Naples and Sorrento. On the way you will pass Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii. Consider spending several hours here.

If you don’t like the idea of taking the Circumvesuviana and don’t have a rental car, consider hiring a private driver. This costs much more than the train, but it is a more comfortable way to travel and you do not have to worry about standing over your luggage during the one hour journey on the Circumvesuviana.

Sorrento Silver Star is a reputable company that provides private drivers, not only for transportation to and from Naples but also for day trips along the Amalfi Coast.

Here is a private driver through GetYourGuide that gets excellent reviews.

By Ferry

You can take a direct ferry from Naples to Sorrento. This takes 35 to 45 minutes but daily departures are limited. Click here to learn more.


Naples to the Amalfi Coast

There is no train to take you directly from Naples to the Amalfi Coast towns of Positano and Amalfi. To get here, you need to rent a car, hire a driver, take the bus, or travel by ferry. You also have the option to take a train to Salerno and then use public transportation to get to the Amalfi Coast towns.

Rome to Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast

Hire a Private Driver

This is the easiest way to travel around the Amalfi Coast. The road can be difficult to drive, with hairpin turns and distracting but gorgeous views along the coast. Add in the traffic of tour buses and many other cars, especially during the summer months, and this drive begins to feel more like work than a fun road trip. And you haven’t even tried to park your car yet (the closest spots you may find are a mile or farther from town).

A private driver is the most expensive option but it’s also the one we recommend the most. If you plan on enjoying your experience here at the Amalfi Coast, hire a private driver.

Again, we recommend Sorrento Silver Star.

By Ferry

There are no direct ferries from Naples to the Amalfi Coast. From Naples, you will first have to take the ferry to Sorrento and then travel to Positano and Amalfi. Ferries operate this route from mid-May to September.

Visit the Alilauro website for more information.

By Bus

You can take a SITA bus from Sorrento to the Amalfi Coast, including the towns of Positano, Praiano, and Amalfi. This is the most economical way to get around the region.

We did this in July 2014. It was a nightmare. Catching the first bus from Sorrento to Positano was great, no problems. After touring Positano, our plan was to catch a SITA bus to take us to the next town of Praiano. We waited and waited at the bus stop. After 45 minutes, no bus had arrived, and now a huge number of people were also waiting along with us. A private company offering a hop-on-hop-off bus tour arrived. We paid a hefty fee to take this to Amalfi, but it was better than waiting in the hot sun.

Later, the exact scenario repeated itself in Amalfi. Buses failed to show up and once one finally did, it was almost a pushing match to get a spot on the bus because so many of us were in the same situation. This is not a pleasant way to spend your vacation and this tainted our experience of visiting the Amalfi Coast.

Maybe things are better now. But I know that if we ever return to the Amalfi Coast again, we will hire a driver and skip the dreaded SITA buses.

By Tour

If you plan to stay in Naples, there are several day trips to the Amalfi Coast that get great reviews. On this full day tour, travel by bus, van or car, depending on the group size you choose, and visit Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. 


Naples to Capri

The most economical way to get from Naples to Capri is by ferry (you can travel by helicopter if you have money to burn and want to arrive in style).

Ferries take between 40 to 80 minutes, depending upon the speed of the ferry and whether or not it stops at Sorrento en route to Capri.

Ferry routes and prices change frequently. Check out this post on Capri.net that explains all of your options.

If you plan to stay in Naples, you can visit Capri on a day trip. On this full day tour from Naples, cruise across the Gulf of Naples and take in the view of Mount Vesuvius. Once at Capri, you can make an optional swimming stop at the Faraglioni Rocks. Spend 4 hours on Capri before traveling back to Naples.

Capri

Capri


Putting it All Together

I’ve explained all of your options, but what really is the best way to travel in this region? Here’s how I would do it, if I returned to this part of Italy again.

Rome to Sorrento: High speed train to Naples, private driver to Sorrento (comfortable and convenient) or Circumvesuviana (for budget travelers)

Rome to Capri: High speed train to Naples, ferry to Capri (but that helicopter sure sounds nice, doesn’t it?)

Rome to Amalfi Coast: High speed train to Naples, private driver to the Amalfi Coast

Getting to Sorrento, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast can be a hassle. However, it’s worth it. With picturesque towns perched on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the chance to visit the historical site of Pompeii, and one of the most beautiful drives in the world, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular destinations in Italy.

If you have any questions about planning a trip to Italy, comment below!


More Information about Italy:

Planning a trip to Italy? Read all of our articles in our Italy Travel Guide.

You Might Also Like:

 

Rome to Naples Sorrento Positano Amalfi Capri

 

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Comments 123

  1. Avatar for CJ
    CJ

    Hi. Thanks for these helpful tips.
    From Naples, I am going to Sant’Agnello, is that a stop on the train to Sorrento?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
  2. Avatar for Nita Solanki
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      We stayed in Casa Elena, which was a nice budget place, but it was located in the hills above Sorrento, and transportation into Sorrento and to the Amalfi Coast was a bit of a hassle. I don’t have any specific recommendations for Sorrento but we use Booking.com to make our hotel reservations when we travel, so this is a good place to start. We typically only look at properties with a rating of 8.5 or higher, and ideally over 9.0. Here is a link to the Sorrento properties on Booking.com to help get you started. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Candace Blair
    Candace Blair

    I used this guide in 2019 for a successful trip to Positano from Rome and referenced it again for my 2022 trip as well as recommend it to others! Thank you for keeping it updated and not letting it turn into a dead link lol!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
  4. Avatar for Rick
    Rick

    Julie,

    You are a lifesaver! This article is a Godsend. I have been researching an upcoming trip to Italy and you would think it would be easy to find good, clear, concise information about how to get from Rome to Sorrento. NOT TRUE! The internet is full of useless information regarding this and are very confusing. Most sites gloss over the critical details…But you have included it all! Names of stations, names of train companies (since trains are not very commonly used in US, many of us do not understand the concept of multiple train choices!) and I love your tip about how to be ‘first in line’ by walking 8 minutes around the corner in Naples!

    I plan to go to Italy in May and will DEFINITELY be pinning this webpage to refer to, time and time again. Thank you so much!
    This New Yorker appreciates it-
    Rick

  5. Avatar for Troy
    Troy

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks for your recommendations, they saved us a real headache this morning. My partner and I arrived in Naples from Rome, going to Sorrento and what would you know, there was a local strike with the trains. Instead of leaving in 15 minutes it was 1.5 hours, we were just glad they were running at all.

    They wouldn’t let anyone down to the platform, so we waited outside. When we came back in the crowds were insane, we had a lot of luggage so knew it would be a nightmare. I then remembered your recommendation and had the tab open on my phone for this page, so we popped around the corner to Porta Nolana station. The train was already waiting, we got on board nice and relaxed and it was probably only 30% full.

    Once the station got to Garibaldi it was a nightmare for everyone there, very uncomfortable. People were cramming into the train all on top of each other, painfully so. Probably some of the worst overcrowding I have ever seen.

    Thanks for the tips, saved us so much stress and probably few grey hairs 😂

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Wow, that sounds rough! I’m glad we could help save you some time. I hope the rest of your visit to Italy goes more smoothly. Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Jian
    Jian

    Hi Julie and Tim:

    Thanks a lot for the very practical information as you always do in your blogs! I have a question about train tickets. In general, is it necessary to book tickets in advance (e.g. Rome to Naples)? If so, how much time in advance would you recommend?

    My second question is about car rental. What do you think about the idea of renting a car and drive by myself in places like Naples (to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast) and Tuscany (to Hill Towns)? Thanks.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      As for train travel, if you plan to visit Italy soon, I know that their public transportation is currently operating at 50% because of COVID-19. So, with less capacity, if it were me, I would book my train tickets in advance. But during “normal” years, you do not have to book your tickets in advance if you don’t want to. There is usually enough availability that you can get your ticket just before boarding. But Tim and I like to have things planned out, so we usually book our tickets in advance.

      Renting a car for Tuscany is a great idea. It gives you lots of freedom and flexibility to go where you want to go, and when. It’s easy driving around Tuscany. As for Naples/Sorrento/Amalfi, it depends. If you are going soon or during the off season, yes, rent a car, because it is easier to get around. If you are planning a trip for next summer, then use the trains and ferries and hire a private driver. From what we saw, trying to park at the towns along the Amalfi Coast is a nightmare during the summer.

      Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Jian
        Jian

        Hi Julie:

        Thank you so much for your quick and detailed response! I am thinking of next year or after. The pandemic situation is so volatile and it’s difficult to plan an overseas trip.

        1. Avatar for Julie Post
          Author
          Julie

          I agree. Tim and I were hoping to go next month…now we just don’t know. Let us know if you have any other questions as you plan your trip!

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