Is the Amalfi Coast Overrated? Episode 2: Commuting Options, Accommodations, and Shops

Views for days. Touristic attractions. Incredible restaurants spread all over the Costiera Amalfitana. The South of Italy has it all, and it’s exactly what I talked about most in my previous article on this topic. However, in order to travel across all of it and enjoy everything that it has to offer, you also need to pay attention to the more operational side of traveling. By this, I mean:

  • You need not only to consider how it is you’ll be making it on the coast, but also how you’ll be commuting from Amalfi to Positano, from Positano to Sorrento, from Sorrento to Capri, and so on.
  • You need to be careful enough to book your stay in that area months in advance – that’s the only way you’ll be finding accommodation that’s pretty without being too expensive.
  • And, of course, you’ll also need to consider where you’ll be buying your food and souvenirs from in advance.

The good part is – the towns in this picturesque, pastel-colored region are close together. So, it’s possible (and highly encouraged) for you to choose one of them as your home base and simply take day trips from there. By choosing to do so, you are lucky enough to avoid the hassle of traveling around with all of your luggage, as well as the annoyance of jumping around from one hotel to another.



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Are the commuting options on the Amalfi Coast overrated?

When you get to the point where you need to decide what it is that you will travel with in order to make it to the Amalfi Coast, make sure you don’t think twice before you decide on buying your plane tickets to Napoli and, then, taking the train from thereon. I learned this lesson the hard way, in spite of a nice traveling podcast episode I listened to before taking off to Amalfi – Untold Italy travel podcast’s episode called “Exploring the Amalfi Coast – by road and by sea”. This podcast’s main point is simple: the streets in this area of Italy are extremely busy and incredibly narrow. Thus, you’d be better off not traveling by car to the Amalfi Coast.

If you do, however, choose to drive all the way to Amalfi, you’d better rent a Fiat 500 – as everyone on the coast seems to be driving one. I chose to ignore this piece of advice and decided to take off by car. It was only when we found ourselves stuck in our car, among a crowd of enthusiastic tourists, in the middle of Piazza Duomo di Amalfi, that I understood why this piece of advice should’ve been at least considered in the first place. But that was also part of the adventure. And of the story about how we ended up traveling to Amalfi by car, and not using it – not even once – during our 5 days stay there.

Instead, what we used to commute around the coast was:

    • We mastered the local buses to Positano, Sorrento, and Ravello. That’s how we came to find out that Amalfi Coast buses, especially during the summer, are packed to the brim. It’s very common to stand for the entire duration of the drive. Although the buses have air conditioning, because of the number of people on the buses it can sometimes go unnoticed. However, it is the most affordable transport option here, with tickets costing anywhere between $2.45 and $7.59, depending on the length of time of the ride, what day of the week you travel, and what time of day you are traveling. It is also worth noting that all buses stop running at 10 PM.
    • We took the ferry – first, to Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Cave) that is located near the Conca Dei Marini village, afterward to Positano, and then all the way to Capri. As we’ve been on three different boats during our stay on the coast, the experiences varied a whole lot with every single ferry trip we took. For example, during our ferry trip to Conca Dei Marini I found out I tend to suffer from motion sickness – and it was scary enough that not even the breathtaking views managed to make it better. On the other hand, when we took the boat to Capri, it was as if the motion sickness didn’t even exist – that’s how beautiful it all was.



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Are the accommodations on the Amalfi Coast overrated? 

I wouldn’t call them overrated, just overpriced. At a first Google search, you’ll also understand why: “The average price of a 7-day trip to Amalfi Coast is $1,701 for a solo traveler, $3,055 for a couple, and $5,727 for a family of 4. Amalfi Coast hotels range from $80 to $501 per night with an average of $152, while most vacation rentals will cost $150 to $380 per night for the entire home.” If you’re to think that booking your stay on the coast a few months in advance might mean you’ll get it for a smaller price, then I’m assuring you that’s not the case.

However, if you’re to book your stay on the coast, here are a few things you should be aware of:

    • Re-read the description of your chosen accommodation in Amalfi. At first, I didn’t read it carefully enough, so I ended up booking a villa that was located up on a mountain. It wasn’t just that it would’ve been to make it there by car, but that in order to get there, you needed to ride a mule all the way up.
    • There’s a varying tourist tax (1.50€ – 5€/person/day) that you need to pay when you check-in at your chosen accommodation. The same tourist tax will require paying also when you’re out, eating at restaurants. Or doing shopping around the coast.
    • If you travel by car to the Amalfi Coast and you’re staying in anything other than a hotel, it’s highly likely you’ll need to find a private parking spot for your car. In Amalfi, the cheapest parking spot to be found costs us 35€/day. And you won’t even be able to make use of it, as it’s generally not recommended to travel across this coast by car.



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Are the shops on the Amalfi Coast overrated?

Colorful. Attention-grabbing. Imprinted with lots of Italian motifs, such as their so famous lemons. That’s how the shops that are to be found on the Amalfi Coast are. But the playground for those who are passionate about all things fashion, luxury, and lifestyle is Capri. It’s the go-to place for the rich and the famous – or, as I like to say, it’s the Monaco of the South of Italy. Designer shops line the main avenues of Capri Town, especially the Via Camerelle. If you want things that are not as expensive, head over to the narrow Via le Botteghe.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to stop by at the following few shops either:

  • Capri Watch;
  • Bottega Capri;
  • Marta Ray;
  • O Bag;
  • Carthusia.



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All in all, it’s safe to say the Amalfi Coast is a jewel. But it’s a jewel that’s branded way better than the actual experience of it. It’s not as posh as it’s trying to seem to be, yet it’s expensive. It’s become the kind of place where it’s cool to go – because it makes you seem “rich”. That’s why you’re seeing it pop up on your Instagram feed and Explore page so much: you want to be there and post about it. It is, indeed, a jewel that is a must-see, at least once in a lifetime. But it might not be necessarily the kind of jewel that you’d likely return to more than once. So, is it overrated? Yes. Is it still worth visiting? Yes. Why? Because of its breathtaking golden views. And you’re going to want to see them.


Check also: Is the Amalfi Coast Overrated? Thoughts & Recommendations after spending 5 Days on the Coast: Views, Touristic Attractions, and Food




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