Amalfi Coast Travel

How to Travel from Rome to Sorrento, Capri & the Amalfi Coast

Julie Italy 83 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 (€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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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!


Comments 83

  1. Hi Julie. I’m so glad I found your website. We have a trip to Venice, Florence and Rome that starts next week. My question is, we have one free day at Rome and I’m thinking to book a tour to Positano and Amalfi Coast. I found one tour that is taking the high speed train to Naples, then a coach ride, then ferry to Positano and ferry to Amalfi. I know that August is a peak season and the tour is a bit pricey ($240/pax and family of four). Would you recommend taking this? Rather than all the way bus ride to Naples and ferry to Positano/Amalfi. Thank you for your insight.

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      Author

      It is exciting to hear that you will be exploring Italy! Since this is such last minute you might consider comparing the tour cost to purchasing train tickets between Rome and Naples (https://www.italiarail.com/) on your own and hiring a private driver for the day (transportation between Naples and Positano/Amalfi). Have a great time exploring Italy! Tim

  2. I’m so glad I found your site. This is very helpful Julie…thank you!

    My girlfriends and I are going to be in Rome mid-September. We have two & half days in Rome before our paid tour package begins. We can’t decide between Sorrento, Capri or Amalfi. What would you suggest if we had to pick one or at the most two places to go? And we cannot do an overnight stay at either place because we already have an airbnb booked in Rome. Also, we would most likely travel by train as it’s the most economical way. We all love to eat, sightsee and of course shopping so which two places would be your choices? Thanks so much for any guidance you can offer.

    Row

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      Author

      My honest opinion is that of the 3, Sorrento is the least exciting. It’s a great home base but Capri and the Amalfi Coast are more exciting. With just the one day, you will have to pick one place.

      Capri is relatively easy to visit (train to Naples, ferry to Capri). Go here if you want to tour the island by boat and explore the little towns.

      If you like the idea of a very scenic road trip where you get to visit beautiful Positano and Amalfi, then go to the Amalfi Coast. If I did the Amalfi Coast again, I would hire a driver. It’s more expensive but takes the hassle of getting around. If you take the train to Naples, you can hire a driver to take you to and around the Amalfi Coast.

      We all loved Positano (it was our favorite spot in the entire region) but the boat trip around Capri is also very nice.

      Good luck deciding where to go! Cheers, Julie

      1. Hi Julie,
        I was wondering if we should hire a private driver from Rome airport to Amalfi Coast area? That will be our first stop (about 4 nights).
        Thank you!
        Claudia

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          Author

          Yes, you can do that. That would be one of the most convenient ways to travel. You could also compare prices with taking a train to Naples and hiring a driver from there (that might save you some money). Cheers, Julie

  3. This is so helpful. Your entire Italy guide is EXTREMELY helpful for a first time visitor to Italy. Thank you for thoroughly and clearly explaining the ins and outs!

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      Author
  4. Perfect! . I will look into it. No ac in the summertime ouch, but cheap so that may be an option. Thanks Julie for the tips and the link and for my favorite travel blog!!😊

  5. Hi Juli, I will be traveling to Europe next week-Paris then to Rome, then to Amalfi Coast. My worries is getting from Rome to the coast. I’ve read your blog on getting there, but still have a few questions. I will be staying in Piano di Sorrento.

    1-From the Rome termini station what train would be the least expensive to take and easiest as far as language barrier?

    2-Also, you did mention when you arrive to Naples to take the Circumvesuviana train. From the looks of it and reviews that train scares me. Once arriving to Naples can’t I just take the ferry instead?

    -3 Once I arrive in Sorrento is getting to Piano di Sorrento all done by pun life transportation?

    Thanks.

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      Author

      Hello Kiki. The regionale train is the best budget choice. We rode this from Rome to Naples. It was hot and slow but it was cheap. Any train choice should be similar when it comes to the language barrier. Yes, you can take the ferry from Naples to Sorrento, but there are only several a day so you will need to check the timetable to see if this works with your schedule. Here is a link to help you. From Sorrento, you can take the Circumvesuviana back to Piano (it’s only a 5 minute ride), use a taxi, or maybe take a bus (but you will need to look into this). You can also ask your hotel for advice. Cheers, Julie

  6. Hi! Very helpful post.
    We’re travelling to Italy next month and have planned a 4 day stay at the Amalfi Coast to explore the towns there as well as Capri. We will be driving a rental to get there from Sicily. Once there, would you recommend keeping the car with us to explore the region or give up the car and explore by local buses/ferries. I’m reading conflicting views on both. Basically which is the harder inconvenience- lack of parking or crowded SITA buses.

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      Author

      We tried the Sita buses and it was a nightmare…they just don’t show up, and when they finally do, there are so many people waiting that not everyone can get on. We didn’t have a car but from what I have read, and seen, is that it can be very difficult to find parking. Consider hiring a driver to take you around. They can drop you off, pick you up, you can travel on your own schedule without the hassle of the bus and parking. Cheers, Julie

  7. This is so helpful, thank you for sharing!!!!!

    Our family (2 adults, 11 year old and 16 year old) are planning on traveling from Rome by car and making a few stops along the way to Amalfi coast. We will leave Rome and head to Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii and onto Sorrento. Should we stay in Pompeii or do the full drive to Sorrento that day? Also from Sorrento we would like to visit Positano (which I added because of your liking of that area!), Amalfi coast then last few days will be in Capri. I’d love to have your input…should we stay in Sorrento or Positano or Amalfi coast? Also are there any hotels that are on the water and have a pool? any recommendations in general?

    Thank you, this is great!

    Kim

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      Author

      Hello Kim. I recommend doing the full day drive on the first day, ending in Sorrento. It’s not that far to drive from Pompeii to Sorrento (less than one hour). We stayed in Sorrento for the 3 days that we visited the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Pompeii. There are lots of hotels here and restaurants as well. Plus, it’s very easy to take the ferry to Capri. But mainly, since we were dependent on public transportation (and did not have a car) Sorrento was our best option. Since you have a car, you have more freedom. If you will be in this area between June and early September, parking will be a big issue, especially in the towns along the Amalfi Coast. I don’t have any specific hotel recommendations. Check booking.com (that’s where we make 99% of our hotel reservations) for Sorrento, Amalfi, and Positano and see if you can find any great hotels. You might be able to get a hotel with a pool that is close to the water. But as far as choosing the town to stay in, that’s a personal preference. Sorrento is the largest and best in terms of public transportation, Positano is awesome but getting around from here will be a little more challenging (but it might be worth it), and Amalfi is OK and farther away from everything else. Sometimes, when I can’t decide, I let hotel prices or amenities guide my final decision. Have a nice trip! Cheers, Julie

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