Amalfi Coast Travel Guide: Sorrento & Positano
The Amalfi Coast is a 50km coastline along the southern region of Italy and is made up of 7 beautiful and individually unique towns. Amalfi Coast is known to be the vacation spot to travellers all over the world and is even a hot spot for Italians. Having said this, many of the towns rely on travellers like ourselves to make their living, which may be why the prices might seem a little inflated. Although, there are ways to do it cheap and still experience the beauty of the Amalfi Coast.
We spent 3 days in the Amalfi Coast region in the towns named, Sorrento and Positano. We choose these two towns because they are the most popular towns to hit when in the Amalfi and because of their infamous beaches.
So how did we spend these 3 days and how did we get from one town to the other?... Let me explain.
Where to Stay
We set base in Sorrento and stayed in an Airbnb. We chose to keep Sorrento as our home base because it is a little cheaper with accommodation compared to Positano and because we were coming from Naples the port was located in Sorrento making the commute a lot easier. We choose to stay in an Airbnb because the hotels were out of our budget and we enjoy living as though we are locals.
Click HERE for out Airbnb
How to Get There
The Amalfi coast is just south from the Bay of Naples making it very accessible. There are many options you can take when travelling to the Amalfi Coast.
Most of the time travellers who are going to the Amalfi Coast are coming from Naples. The nearest airport too Amalfi is in Naples. I recommend spending a few days in Naples then head over to the Amalfi Coast by ferry, train, or drive.
There is no direct access to the Amalfi Coast. Although the closest train is Vietri Sul Mare west of Salerno, or if you are coming from Naples there is the Circumvesuviana train which stops in Sorrento.
We found the bus to be the cheapest option when travelling between Sorrento and Positano. The bus ride between Sorrento and Positano is about 45 minutes and takes you on the most scenic route, oh and some risky roads. This option is quick, comfortable and price efficient.
We were lucky to have a travel agency located near our Airbnb which is where we bought our bus tickets to Positano from Sorrento. When you take a bus from Sorrento to Positano you can sign up for a pick up time. For example, we took the 8am bus from Sorrento and signed up for an 8pm pick up in Positano to bring us back to Sorrento.
Of course like anywhere in Italy driving can be an adventurous option, but the roads of the Amalfi Coast are very narrow and risky. I don’t recommend this option, but you are able to hire a private shuttle if that is within your budget.
Ferries can be another great option when travelling between the towns of the Amalfi Coast. If you are coming from Naples the ferry first stops in Sorrento then continues its way to Positano. You can also take the ferry to a little island called Capri. If you come from Salerno the ferry takes you on a longer route just over an hour but will give you the most scenic route.
Naples to Sorrento- approx 45 minutes
Sorrento to Positano- approx 50 minutes
TIP: The ferry services usually only operate in high season. Make sure to check the schedules. Also, when you book your tickets some of them require you to print the ticket, digital copies might not be accepted.
This is what we did… We came from Naples and took the ferry to the Port of Sorrento, then from Sorrento we took a bus to Positano (the bus ticket can be a round trip).
You can buy train, bus and ferry tickets on OMIO
Besides the colourful streets and most delicious lemons the Amalfi Coast is known for its most remarkable beaches. Positano is home to the most beautiful beaches, these beaches are not the same compared to the white sand beaches you find elsewhere. Instead the beaches of Positano consists of tiny pebbles, having said that, on very hot days these pebbles can burn up your feet if you don't have any shoes, so just bring flip flops or water shoes if you have very sensitive feet.
The beaches of Positano are equipped with all your beach needs like, bathrooms, change rooms, showers, bars, patio restaurants/cafes, umbrellas and lounge chairs.
TIP: You do have to pay for a lounge chair/umbrella. Each beach has different prices and depends on if you want the lounge chairs closer to the water or not. The prices usually range from 10-15 euros. No matter the cost if you plan on spending the day or even a couple of hours at the beach it is very worth it.
Spiaggia Grande Beach
Spiaggia Grande Beach is the most famous and popular beach in Positano and has the best view of the entire cliffside. The beach is free but like I said before if you want a lounge chair you will have to pay. This beach is pretty popular and can get crowded so I recommend you go early to get a spot.
Some smaller beaches (less crowded)
Sorrento doesn’t have a main beach but instead it has man-made docks that act as their beach. There are a few tiny areas where you can find a beach, but a popular beach in Sorrento is Leonelli's Beach (photographed below).
Things to do
Visit Sorrento’s Lemon grove
Amalfi Coast is known for its remarkable scenic beaches but it is also known for its never ending season of lemons. Lemons is one of Amalfi Coast's delicacies and used in many recipes like lemon gelato, limoncello and much more.
There is a small lemon grove called I Giardini di Caraldo. This is where you can find a romantic and enchanting lemon grove. Here you will be able to walk under an abundance of hanging lemons. I Giardini di Caraldo is not only known for their FREE lemon grove walk, but it is also a local shop that makes fresh lemon products. There is everything from limoncello to lemon jam.
Limoncello is a traditional digestivo of the Amalfi Coast and is usually served after a meal and must be chilled. In Amalfi they usually serve limoncello in a chilled glass or ceramic. For those who don’t know what limoncello is, it is made from the skin of lemons and is steeped in grain alcohol for up to six weeks. Once the alcohol becomes heavily infused with lemons, sugar is then added. In the end you have a delicious digestivo.
When walking the streets of Sorrento you will notice that at every turn there is a limoncello shop. These limoncello shops are usually decorated with an assortment of yellow. If this doesn’t draw you into the shop then the FREE samples will. We found ourselves walking the streets of Sorrento and getting a little tipsy along the way.
Tour the city markets
When walking the narrow streets of Sorrento you will come across some outdoor markets. These outdoor markets will have a variety of sizes of lemons. Take witness to large and I mean large lemons. There is also this aesthetically pleasing shop located in Sorrento called Fattoria Terranova Shop. It’s really hard not to miss it because of the hanging bright red hot peppers.
There are many shops all over Sorrento and Positano. You can find unique finds like, authentically made leather sandals or hand painted ceramics and so much more.
Lemon sorbet at Covo Dei Saraceni
Now we know just how popular lemons are to the Amalfi Coast, there is a must try which is called a lemon sorbet (Sorbetto di limone). The lemon sorbet is naturally dairy free and is the most refreshing snack to have after a day at the beach. What is also pretty unique about these lemon sorbets is that it is served in a chilled hollow lemon...Talk about extra lemony:)
Right near the main beach of Positano (Spiaggia Grande Beach) there is a restaurant/hotel named Covo Dei Saraceni where you are able to purchase a lemon sorbet to go if you are not looking to sit down, but just the same you can choose to sit and enjoy a meal to follow a lemon sorbet for dessert.
Visit the church of Santa Maria Assunta
The most iconic architectural buildings in Positano is the church of Santa Maria Assunta. It is designed with a mosaic tiled dome and is now the city's landmark. Not only is very photogenic it also has an interesting legend.
It is said that pirate ships once ruled the area and travelled to nearby waters. A Saracen ship was carrying the stolen panel depicting the Black Madonna (Mary) and one night they were caught in a terrible storm. While managing the storm, sailors on the ship heard a voice calling out from the stolen painting of Mary saying “Posa, Posa” which translates, “lay me down”. Shaken by this the sailors decided to glide to the nearest harbor. To this day the treasure of the Madonna along with other treasures that date back to the XIII century. The locals decided to call their home “Positano”, after the words “posa, posa” that was said to be the words uttered from the artwork.
Path to the gods hike
This typically is not on a person to do list when visiting Positano, but if you have time you should make time to add it to your list. We unfortunately didn’t have time because we were only in Positano for one day. Although, if you decide to conquer “Path of the Gods” (Sentiero Degli Dei ) you will embark on incredible scenery. To get to this hiking trail you will have to catch a SITA bus from Positano to Amalfi then from there you will catch the bus to the Bomerano stop in Agerola. The total travel time is about 1.5-2 hours from Positano.
TIP: Ask the driver to let you know when you reach the Bomerano stop in Agerola so you don’t miss it.
You are able to purchase bus tickets almost anywhere in town. You can buy tickets at newsstands, some bars and at tobacco shops.
TIP: While in Agerola make sure to try its famous fior di latte (like a mozzarella but more delicious).
The trail is about 7km long and is not a trail fit for flip flops. Make sure to bring proper shoes and stock up with water and snacks...oh and make sure you have your camera.