Amalfi Coast...Salerno as home base?

Hello, I plan to be booking a trip to Italy for September. I will be flying into Rome and possibly spending one night there (I have already been two times so I don't need much time here). This time I want to explore the Amalfi Coast. I have already done Naples and Pompeii in the past. Therefore, I want to explore the towns such as Salerno, Amalfi, Sorrento etc. Because I will be traveling solo and want to minimize my transportation expenses (i.e. no rental car or private driver), I plan on taking the train from Rome to Salerno and use Salerno as my base. I'm not sure whether to spend two nights here or three (I can take that night away from Rome if need be). My question, basically, is can I see most of these towns on the Amalfi Coast with two days there? Is there a bus that takes you from one town to another? I'd also like to incorporate a quick trip to Capri if possible. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated. (FYI I do plan on picking up a RS guide at some point) Thanks!

Posted by Katherine
Atlanta, GA, USA
52 posts

I lived in Salerno for 2 years....and you can definitely do that! Salerno is a city of about 200,000 people and great nightlife and a corso to people watch after you get done touring for the day. Depending on when you go, the best way to get to the places you want to see would be the ferry. From Salerno you can take ferries to Amalfi, Positano, and Capri. Also you can take a train to Paestum, which is so fascinating! Your first day, I would take the first ferry to Amalfi, see Amalfi, relax on the beach, take a bus up to Ravello above Amalfi, wander around, get back to Amalfi and take the ferry back, with dinner/nightlife in Salerno. Second day, you could take the ferry to Positano and enjoy that area (which is similar to Amalfi) or just rent your own boat from the harbor in Salerno and go exploring by yourself for the day along the coast (you even can park it in Amalfi or Positano if you want to go back). There is a bus that goes from Salerno through the coastal towns, ending at Amalfi, from there you would change to the Positano bus if you wanted.... But the ferry is the way to go! Paestum is about 45ish minutes south of Salerno by train....just an fyi

Posted by Katherine
Atlanta, GA, USA
52 posts

but a word of warning, though the bus gives you beautiful views, it has been known to make many a folk very queasy... And you say you're going in September, its a great time, the ferries should still be running, not sure if the boat rentals would be available, the water might be too cold for that to be the best...

Posted by Gabriel
Pico Rivera, CA
206 posts

Katherine, thank you for the info. Yes, I plan on being there the first week of September. I usually like to travel to Europe in the winter when it's less crowded, but I guess I'll take a chance with the crowds this time around. Renting a boat seems like an awesome idea, but how much would that cost? I don't get car sick so the bus would be fine too. But I should ask (knowing how steep those cliffs are), are accidents on those highways frequent? What about mopeds? Good/bad idea? Also, how long does it take to get to Sorrento? I definitely want to go there as well. I think if I want to see all these places I should probably stay three nights.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2499 posts

If you have three days, I second the suggestion to see Paestum - amazing Greek ruins, a good museum, and a beach. Re your question about mopeds, are you interested in renting one or avoiding them? If you're okay on the bus take the bus south from Sorrento or Positano and the ferry in the opposite dire tion (best views on the bus are from the right-hand side, going south). You can buy individual tickets for the bus between towns at most bars or newsstands as well as ticket booths or offices there will be prominent signage.

Posted by Katherine
Atlanta, GA, USA
52 posts

I have never tried to drive on that road, but being that there are many tight corners causing backups, I wouldn't want to be on a moped breathing exhaust in intermittent stop and go traffic... But as I said in the DM... If you want to me immersed in the picturesque touristy cities, I would split your base in Amalfi and Sorrento.....taking the early train from Rome to Salerno, taking a morning ferry to Amalfi and starting from there....when you get your fill of that side of the peninsula, I would go to Sorrento to experience that side as well. The amount of travel it involves to get to Sorrento and back would deter me from going in a day when I could just go there and STOP... But if you are enticed by Paestum, or want to get the feel for a real city and nightlife (GREAT restaurants), I would base out of Salerno to have access to easy transportation (be it a ferry, bus, or train-only one mode per destination, instead of multiples of any of them).... I would also suggest maybe a short bus ride up the hill from Salerno to Vietri, wonderful pottery and views of the beginning of the coast, shouldn't take you more than 15 min by bus from the center.... But I know that is a lot of stuff to put into 3 days....find what you like, and make it happen! I do think if anybody has "done" the Amalfi coast, renting a boat on your own is a great idea...

Posted by Gabriel
Pico Rivera, CA
206 posts

Thank you all for the input. I'll be planning my trip shortly. I've already reserved my room in Salerno for 3 nights (arriving by noon on day of arrival). So I guess, explore Salerno on day of arrival; second day, take ferry to Capri and any other stops in between; third day, open to explore anything else.