Last updated on March 9th, 2022
Italy’s third largest city and the alluring Amalfi Coast to its south are the basis for one of the most enjoyable European summer holidays. Throw into the mix ingredients such as delicious food, layer upon layer of history, glamorous villages and one active volcano – and you have the makings of a memorable vacation. However, be warned that visiting the region does have its drawbacks. In this article, I’ll share with you essential Naples and Amalfi Coast travel tips to help you plan your own adventure.
I personally visited the region at the very beginning of June and these Naples and Amalfi Coast travel tips are based on my own experience and extensive research. In the companion articles mentioned below, you’ll find travel tips for specific areas and sections of my own Naples and Amalfi Coast itinerary such as Amalfi, Capri, and the likes.
Planning or thinking about a trip to the Amalfi Coast? Have a look at these companion articles.
Some Amalfi Coast beaches are rocky, making walking to the waterline and standing in the water a bit uncomfortable. It is best to pack reef shoes or sandals, especially if traveling with children.
I’ll start from the end: avoid traveling to the Amalfi Coast in July and August! During the height of summer, not only do international tourists invade the coast, but some Italian families join the party as well. The coastal road, slow-going in “normal months” as it is, becomes heavily congested with cars and tour buses, adding not only extra time to the drive and the hunt for a parking spot but also extra stress. Moreover, the tiny villages, tourist attractions, and beaches are all super cramped – taking away so much of the charm of the Amalfi Coast.
During the winter months, the days are short, ferries run at a minimum schedule and many of the accommodations are simply shut. The best time to visit the Amalfi Coast is in May, early June, and early September. We visited during the second week of June and already started to feel the congestion in the major tourist towns of Amalfi and Positano, while the countryside remained fairly calm.
Suffering from hayfever? Do not forget your allergy pills if traveling in the spring and summer months.
We personally rented a car from the Naples airport for the entire duration of our visit, but I will list a few other options which also come to mind.
By Car: this is by far the preferred way of exploring the Amalfi Coast, a trip which is essentially a series of short road trips to beautiful villages with many breathtaking sites along the way. Having your own car means you have the freedom to not only stop wherever you want (and there are plenty of scenic stops) but also to base yourself outside the tourist-infested main villages in favor of quieter and more scenic rural options (where free parking is usually offered).
By Bus: technically speaking, it is possible to visit all of the Amalfi Coast’s major highlights with the bus. The public bus – Sita – conveniently serves all villages in the area so if you’re not comfortable driving on your own, this could be an alternative option. Keep in mind though that you’ll sometimes need to switch lines in order to get from point A to point B. Moreover, during the peak tourist season, buses are often congested, and waiting in the heat of the day can be quite uncomfortable.
By Ferry: best combined with traveling by bus, there are many ferry lines connecting all the coastal cities, major villages, and islands in this part of Italy. We even used the ferry on one occasion where we chose to leave the car behind and avoid having to find parking. Ferries operate a low and high season schedule, with some lines also suitable for transporting your car. We did not find the need to book ferry tickets in advance. However, this does take away the need to wait in line, which can sometimes make the difference between making the departure time or missing the ferry.
The various sections of the 7 Days in Naples and the Amalfi Coast travel guide will include specific recommendations but basically – it is highly recommended to book your Amalfi Coast accommodations well in advance.
On the budget side, you can find affordable accommodations in monasteries, agrotourismos (converted farmhouses), and campsites. We opted to stay in small hotels or rural bed and breakfasts. With the exception of Capri, we found that staying outside the major villages and towns was a very smart move, offering the best value for money. Not only were we treated to a more friendly stay, but also to breathtaking views, free parking, and a quiet surrounding. In the major centers, only the luxury hotels will offer free parking.
We also found that prices and conditions on Airbnb (mainly cancellation and extra fees) did not offer any kind of bargain. In “regular hotels” the only extra fees were about 1.5€ per night in city council taxes which had to be paid in cash at check out, even if you paid in advance for the stay.
Thinking about getting an early start to your sightseeing day? Think again! For some strange reason, the earliest hotel breakfast service we experienced started at 7:30 am…
Your restaurant bill will always include a cover charge – coperto. This usually ranges between 1-3€ per person. If you had an exceptional experience, you may choose to leave a few more coins, but this isn’t a requirement. More upscale restaurants will add to the cover charge a service charge, ranging between 10-15%. This will be mentioned somewhere on the menu.
Definitely be sure to leave extra space in your luggage because there’s plenty of shopping to be done. Naples is the cheapest for shopping, while a “tourist premium” is inevitably paid elsewhere along the coast. Listed here are the top items to bring back home with you.
Specialty shops and places where you’ll find excellent deals will be listed in the specific sections further in this Naples and Amalfi Coast guide. That said, we found the Naples airport duty-free to be a complete rip-off (especially for chocolates and other food items) so do not leave your shopping for the last minute!
Leave the calorie counting behind as food will be an important part of your holiday in Naples and the Amalfi Coast.
I hope these Naples and Amalfi Coast travel tips have helped you make the first steps towards your own vacation. Be sure to check the following companion articles for additional resources!
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