Driving Amalfi Coast

We've rented a car for our time in Italy in late April and were planning to drive along the Amalfi coast. I've heard mixed stories about how bad the road is.
Can we drive this ourselves or catch a bus/other? Do you think there will be alot of traffic the week after easter?

Posted by John
Lake Worth, Florida, USA
101 posts

I strongly say DON'T drive the Amalfi coast. First the driver will see nothing but the curves ahead and cars and buses coming at him with little room. The Italians who drive this coastal road have signals they give each other that we know nothing about. For example, if a bus is coming around a curve it will not have enough room and will take up part of the other lane. The bus will honk as it goes into the turn. You better not be near it or your in trouble. There are no guardrails so you go off the cliff. Everyone else in the car will be to scared to enjoy the view. Take a bus or cab and enjoy every minute of this great drive. let the Italians do the driving here.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

I've driven it a couple of times. Not much to it. Parking stinks.

Posted by Monique
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
583 posts

LOL @ John when he said that the people in your car will be too scared to enjoy the view. SO TRUE!! We rode the bus down the Amalfi Coast, and even with an Italian driver who makes that trip daily for a living, I was still "timid" at first. It wasn't until a good 15 minutes into the trip that I really settled down and enjoyed it. It's a fun kind of scared, like being on a roller coaster, but it's fun because you are with someone who knows the roads, the curves, the random lemon stands, where the fishermen stand, etc... Im not sure how fun it would be with someone driving it for the first time. And if you plan to return after sunset, the darkness is a factor. But if given the chance though, I'd actually give a shot at driving it myself, now that I've actually experienced it as a passenger first. Bottom line, unless you have your heart set on driving, catch the bus the first time. It's less complicated, and that way you all can enjoy it. And when you return you know what to expect so maybe then you could drive.

Posted by David
Bellevue, WA, USA
754 posts

you don't want to drive the coast on your own - it's too stressful you won't enjoy it. the bus is pretty good but can get crowded at times, you can in any villages along the way. another native is to bus in and take a boat ride back to sorento assuming it's your home base. more expensive than bus rides more comfy and great view.

Posted by james
5 posts

thanks everyone for your help - I'm going to think about it further. the day we are doing the amalfi coast we are meant to be driving from sorrento back to rome.
not sure how to do all this without doing a one way drive to see amalfi

Posted by Gretchen
Oxnard, CA, USA
41 posts

We might me crazy but we have driven it twice and other than getting a bit car sick it was a great experience. Either way will be great but you your driver is not afraid then "go for it"!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21480 posts

James, These are some of the usual "caveats" regarding driving in Italy.... One important point to note is that for driving in Italy, each driver must have the compulsory International Driver's Permit, which is used in conjunction with your home D.L. These are valid for one year, and easily obtained at any AAA office (two Passport-sized photos required, which in some cases are provided by the issuing office). Failure to produce an IDP if requested can result in fines on the spot! Have a look at This Website for more detailed information. You may also want to search other Posts here regarding the Zona Traffico Limitato areas that are becoming increasingly prevalent in many towns in Italy (especially Florence!). EACH PASS through one of the automated Cameras will result in a €100+ ticket! A GPS along with a good Map would also be a good idea. Be sure to also give some thought to the question of CDW. If you accept the CDW offered by the rental firm, it will be expensive but will provide "peace of mind". Some "premium" credit cards provide rental vehicle insurance, however I've found this to be somewhat complicated so I just accept that offered by the rental firm. Check the Car Rental section in Europe Through The Back Door for further information. I agree with the others that driving the Amalfi Coast will probably not be a "nice experience". My preference is to use a Bus so that I can enjoy the views, and let the experts do the driving. Happy travels!

Posted by Margaret
Hollywood, Fl, USA
219 posts

I can't wait to drive the Amalfi Coast or should I say my husband. We have drove all over Italy and even in Rome. Rome was stressful but boy did we have a good laugh when we finally found our way.

Posted by Janet
Maple Grove, MN
754 posts

We parked our car at our hotel in Sorrento and took the bus along the Amalfi Coast and the boat back to Sorrento but my husband would have had no problem driving it. We were here in July too (when Italy won the World Cup in 2006) but we thought this road was nothing compared to the narrow hairpin road we took to Vernazza coming from France. That road had me hugging the door!

Posted by Janet
Maple Grove, MN
754 posts

I should also have added to above posting that my husband has driven alot in Italy and other places in Europe and has a comfort level doing this.

Posted by RB
Coraopolis, Pa, USA
676 posts

We drove it twice in 2009 and it was an adventure in driving. My lady friend saw the sights and I saw the road with a white knuckle death grip on the steering wheel. When researching the area I had a mental image of the buses thinking big as in any city. The Amalfi buses are smaller due to the windy nature of the road. We are returning this summer to drive it again. It is a gorgeous area, but go and drive it then you will have good stories to tell your friends. Buon viaggio,

Posted by Ron
Ron-in-Rome................................ Now, RPT in Atlanta!
1754 posts

james, we've driven the Amalfi often. Yes, the driver MUST be paying attention. I really can't add much more to the discussion, but would say look this article. It has photos of the road you'd be driving on. So you'll get an idea. It's a fun ride and we enjoy it (most of the time). In high season, you can sit and sit and sit in traffic...but in April it should be no problem!

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
6472 posts

I think the important thing to note here is that the driver will not be able to enjoy the views, which are the main reason to go on this road in the first place. My own preference would be to leave it to the experts - either the buses or a private driver. Happy travels.

Posted by james
5 posts

Thanks for all the posts - some very helpful perspectives. I took a look at Ron's photos - the road doesn't look too bad - I assume it gets alot worse than this - down to single lane? Are there any other photos of the road - prize for the worst section of road! James

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11663 posts

alot worse than this - down to single lane? A single lane? You'll be lucky to have a single lane. Seriously, very seriously, be prepared to stop with no notice and you and everybody behind you will have to reverse, often around a corner, and pull right to the side. You will need to pull in both wing mirrors so you can get right up against the wall (mind the paintwork) and allow a bus or coach or dumptruck creep past (mind the paintwork). I have the voice of experience. I love the Amalfi Coast.

Posted by Monique
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
583 posts

I think the photos on Ron's site are great but they can't give you the full experience unless someone holds the picture while you run towards them at 45 mph I guess a lot would depend on what you want the experience to be. If you want the challenge and adventure, then go for it! If you want to enjoy the scenery then it would probably be best to ride the bus.