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
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, 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 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.
It takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours to drive from Rome to Naples.
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
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 (€4.50). 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.
While traveling between Naples and Sorrento, you have the option to visit Pompeii. Get all of the details here:
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 Get Your Guide that gets excellent reviews.
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 Palermo and then use public transportation to get to the Amalfi Coast towns.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 for your trip to Italy:
- How to Visit Pompeii when Traveling between Rome and Sorrento
- Three Days in Sorrento: Pompeii, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast
- 10 Gorgeous Views of Italy and Where to Photograph Them
- Day Trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa
- 15 of the Best Places to Visit in Italy
- How to Plan the Perfect Day Trip to Lake Como
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