Amalfi Coast Ferry

I will be traveling to Italy for the fist time this month and am wondering about the Amalfi Coast. I am wondering about the ferry and how far off shore the ferry goes. I'm trying to avoid the white-knuckle bus ride along the coast but would love to see the hillside villages. Therefore, I thought the ferry might be the answer.

Also, which part of the coast is the best (Salerno to Naples)?

Thank you for any advice you can give.

Posted by Ellen
Centennial, CO, USA
1500 posts

If you take the fast ferry any where along the Amalfi coast, it travels farther from shore. It is a bit more "bumpy" because it does travel faster. The slow ferry travels closer to shore, but the trip from Sorrento to Amalfi seems to take forever.

We stayed in Sorrento and traveled to Amalfi via ferry. Didn't want to bother with the bus...sounds not great.

Sorrento is pretty "American" everyone speaks English. The entire coast seems to be Americanized.

If you want great photos, take the slow ferry one way, and the fast ferry the other. buy your tickets right before you travel, just make sure you understand which boat you are getting....i.e. fast or slow!

Posted by Jared
Tacoma, WA
26 posts

We went to the Amalfi Coast last september, and it was one of our best Italy experiences. I serously recomend taking the bus ride from Sorrento to Amalfi, along the coast. It was a highlight of our trip. The scenery from the bus cannot be matched on any drive of my life. If you do this, try to get a seat in the very front for the best view. when it was our turn to get on the bus, we simply stepped to the side and let others go around us, so we would be first in line for the next bus, to get the front seats. It is not as scary, or white-knuckled as Rick makes it out to sound. Remember that this bus and driver makes this same trip multiple times daily, so it really is pretty safe. You could either get off in Positano or go all the way to Amalfi town, which I would recomend. From there you can take a boat back to Sorrento. The views were nice, but nowhere near as nice as the bus. It actually got to be boring after awhile, and I wished we were on a faster boat.

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
3692 posts

I agree that the bus ride is not scary at all. We also took a "Hop-on, Hop-off" Bus from Sorrento (it's new) that makes a tour along the coast about 1/2 way to Positano on a circuitous route back to Sorrento and you see a few more towns that way. We also took the little speed-boat-like boat from Positano to Sorrento and loved it. I do not agree that Sorrento is "American" like at all. We've been all over Italy many times, and while we love most of Italy, Sorrento is our absolute favorite. It's beautiful, clean, friendly, has a "old" section that we love and there are so many great day trips you can easily make from Sorrento as a base. We can't wait to go back again next summer!

Posted by Cary
Kenmore, WA, United States
2 posts

We just got back from a few weeks in Europe, including a week on the Amalfi coast. It was my second trip there and I love it. I must emphatically agree that riding the bus, particularly in the west to east (Sorrento to Amalfi) direction is a must for a visit to this region. It's even required if you ask me. The drivers are very skilled and have done this drive many times. They are true professionals who take pride in their work and skills. You will get the best views from the bus and every corner will reveal something new, beautiful, amazing or breathtaking. We also took ferries several times and they are fine, but less interesting. They also cost more and run a lot less often, with fewer easy destination options. You simply won't get a true feel for the Amalfi coast unless you travel the road at least once. It's an engineering marvel and more safe than you might think or be led to believe. We also drove it on the way in with our rental car and I had a blast. Either way, enjoy!

Posted by Arn
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
215 posts

Since this is Holly's first time down the Amalfi
coast, I would take the ferry one way and the bus
the other. I've been on both and prefer the ferry,
but this is simply my preference. Experience both
with differing but magnificent views.

Posted by marie
berkeley, ca, usa
1 posts

Does the ferry between Amalfi and Sorrento run through October or only through September? I'll be there Oct. 4.

Posted by Debby
Lawton, OK, USA
60 posts

You could consider hiring a driver to do the coast. We did and thought it money well spent. He was a very careful driver. We were able to stop at places we were interested in and bypass those we didn't care so much about. I think you must see the coast from up above to truly appreciate its magnificence.


Posted by Ava
San Diego, CA, USA
31 posts

Debby, If you don't mind my asking - how much was it for a driver? And how did you go about finding one?

Posted by Debby
Lawton, OK, USA
60 posts


We hired our driver through our hotel. The rate was based on length of time. We were out 7 1/2 hours at 35E/per hour. It may sound a bit expensive, but we were delighted with our tour. The driver spoke English. He stopped at many beautiful places along the way and even pointed out interesting sights like the coastal hotel where the Clintons stayed back in the 90's. He was a very courteous and careful driver. We have many pictures of us (my husband and me), that he took for us at our stops. I have read other posts and seen some cheaper fares. You just have to check.

We talked to many locals and they say that tourism is down as much as 50% this year, so bargains can probably be found.

We were never rushed. As a matter of fact, we didn't decide on a driver until the day before. No problem.

Posted by Ava
San Diego, CA, USA
31 posts

Debby - Thanks for the info. The ferry sounds interesting too - wonder if we could have a driver one way, and then catch a ferry for a return. Has anyone else done that? Thanks!