Amalfi Coast Road Trip, Italy – Full route itinerary

By Natalie Woods - April 29, 2018

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After a lot of research into where to go and what to do, my friend and I finally booked a road trip to Italy’s beautiful Amalfi Coast.
I’ve distilled all of that research and our own experience below; covering everything from our route, itinerary and hotels through to our budget and where we ate.

When to go
We travelled from April 15th through to April 23rd. We took advice that this is the best time of year to go – the weather is good, it’s cheaper because it’s a few days out of season, the roads are quieter, there’s less tourists and absolutely everything is open.

Better still, Spring is in full bloom – Wisteria, wild flowers and fruit blossom is thriving. It’s an incredibly pretty time to go.
Our Route
We hired a car at Naples' airport and planned our route to ensure that we only drove a max of 1 hour per day (most days we drove less than 45 minutes). This meant that we had plenty of time to explore.

The coastal roads can be challenging to first time drivers abroad, therefore less time in the car was preferred. That said, we didn’t find the roads terrifying or dangerous.

Tip: we drove the coastal roads clockwise by starting the route at Salerno. This meant that we drove on the inside lane and never on the outer roads overhanging the cliff edge.

Tip: Take something to hold your phone, as you will need it in the car for use as a Sat Nav. We used my Joby GripTight Gorillapod Tripod.

I will go into detail on each leg of the tour below but this is the overall route:

Day 1 – Airport ­– Naples City Centre
Day 2 – Naples City Centre – Salerno – Vietri Sul Mare – Minori (1 hour drive)
Day 3 – Minori – Maiori – Back to Minori (20 minute walk)
Day 4 – Minori – Ravello – Amalfi – Furore (1 hour drive)
Day 5 – Furore –  Praiano – Positano
Day 6 – Positano
Day 7 – Positano – Sorrento – Capri – Back to Sorrento
Day 8 – SorrentoCastellammare di Stabia

Before we left, we heard horror stories about the dangers of driving the Amalfi Coast. It really wasn’t terrifying. There is lots of horn beeping from locals but we realised that it’s not to hurry you along, it’s just to let you know when they are going to overtake and often to say thank you for letting a bus pass. You can use your horn too and wave your arms around – all part of the fun. 

Tip: If hiring a car; pay the extra for ‘zero excess’ insurance. It’s €120 and worth every penny. We took our car back with a few ‘dings’ in it and we didn’t have to pay the full excess charges of €350. Unfortunately, getting your car bashed is highly likely on the Amalfi coast.
Day 1  Airport - Naples
You don’t have to visit Naples as part of the Amalfi Coast route. You can drive straight from the airport to Salerno. Naples isn’t to everyone’s taste - we were advised to avoid it because it’s busy, dirty and chaotic. It is, but it’s so much more than that. It’s full of faded grandeur. Every street has a new wonder. It doesn’t have the tourist attractions of Rome but it is quietly beautiful - the winding cobbled streets, the architecture and the time worn shutters.

If you’re a salvage hunter; Naples will break your heart. We saw antique window shutters, shop signs and a full length antique carved oak mirror discarded on the streets.

Tip: Driving in: The drive in to Naples was very difficult. We had never driven abroad before and the roads are total chaos. The Amalfi Coast is much easier to drive. If timeworn, rustic architecture is your thing and you can stomach the drive in; it’s well worth it.

Tip: We were advised that night time is unsafe for tourists (especially women) and to remove all jewellery, especially gold and watches. We did venture out jewellery free and felt generally safe but we did get harassed for basically being female. Be careful.
Where we stayed: Palazzo Caracciolo, Napoli. Price: £129. In the heart of Naples’ Historical Centre; this was a calm haven and the area surrounding the hotel is beautiful. We didn’t venture much further than this.

Day 2 Naples – Naples City Centre – Vietri Sul Mare – Minori (1 hour drive)
Salerno is considered the gateway to the Amalfi coast route, so we headed in that direction. As you drive out of Naples, you’re rewarded with views of Vesuvius and within minutes are taking in stunning views of Amalfi’s coast.

The first breath taking sea view is Vietri-Sul-Mare. We stopped here for four hours. It’s a gem at the gateway to the Amalfi Coast renowned for ceramics production. This little town is full of white washed buildings, decorative shopfronts and colourful ceramics.

Where we ate: DaNando. This is an authentic, family-run restaurant and the food is delicious and reasonably priced. We were passing and Nonna Nando (dressed in her apron) opened her arms to us to come in. We just couldn’t resist her.
From Vietri-Sul-Mare, we made our way over to Minori where we stayed for two nights.
The drive from Vietri-Sul-Mare to Minori is breathtakingly beautiful. Expect an abundance of Lemon groves, deep blossom-filled ravines, tall viaduct bridges and iconic, colourful cliff side homes.

Minori is a quiet town. It’s incredibly pretty with old wooden boats resting on the shore and a pier out to sea. We didn’t see many other tourists and our hotel view was stunning.
Where we stayed: Palazzo Vingius Minori. Price: £71.50 per night. This was one of my favourite hotels – the balcony views over Minori were incredible and they grew Wisteria in abundance (the smell wafted up to our balcony). *If you have any accessibility issues – avoid this hotel. It’s over 100 steps to reception at the top.

Day 3 – Minori – Maiori – Back to Minori (20 minute walk)

What we did: On day three we headed to Maiori to explore. Maiori is next door to Minori – a 5 minute drive.

Whilst it’s not the prettiest town on the coastline; it does have the Hotel Botanical San Lazarro that boasts cascading terraces full of fruit and flora. The hotel is accessed via a glass funicular that transports guests high up the rugged cliff edge to the terraces. We spent the morning exploring there (for just €5 you have access to the gardens and are provided a drink – a very cheap price to pay for the views alone).
Where we ate:
Day 1: Bar Antares. Price €20 per person
Day 2: RistorantePizzeria Giardiniello. Price €20 per person

Day 4 – Minori – Ravello – Amalfi – Furore (1 hour drive)

What we did: As you explore higher up Almalfi’s cliffs, you’ll arrive at Ravello. An absolute must-see, we spent the entire morning exploring Villa Rufolo.

From Ravello we continued our route to Amalfi. I wish we had spent more time there but we weren’t able to do much more than walk the pier. It was incredibly busy and parking was impossible, so we jumped back in the car and ventured deeper into Amalfi’s cliffs to Furore where we stayed the night.

At the bottom of Furore’s cliffs is the Fiordo Di Furore - a secluded beach that appreantly gets busy in the summer. In April, we were the only one’s there. Park at the top of the hill and walk the ancient steps to the bottom. You won’t be disappointed.
Furore is a more rural town, less touristy and feels more authentically Italian. The local dog walked us to dinner (unrequested – apparently he just escorts tourists) where we sat in plastic garden chairs, looked out over the spectacular sea view and enjoyed the best pasta we had ever eaten at Relish Lounge Bar.

Where we stayed: La Casa Del Melograno. Price: £85 per night. A brand new hotel nestled in Furore’s rural hills offers stunning sea views as well as an authentic rural experience.

Where we ate:
Breakfast: Trattoria Pizzeria La Piazza da Nino. Most delicious breakfast/brunch ever; fresh buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes, omelette, meats and cheeses and almond cake, €15 per person. Highly recommended.

Lunch: Ristorante La Locanda Del Fiordo. Price €20 per person. Their Mussels were delicious.

Dinner: Relish Lounge bar. Family-run, authentic Italian restaurant. The food was incredible. Price: €15 per person

Day 5 & 6 – Furore –  Praiano – Positano (2 nights in Positano), (45 minute drive)

We headed out of Furores’ steep cliffs over to Praino where we stopped for a while before heading into Positano.

Praiano is a quiet, picturesque fishing village and less busy than Amalfi and Positano. We stayed a while before continuing to Positano.
Positano is the jewel of the Amalfi coast and we loved every minute of being there. It’s incredibly picturesque and quiet because we were a few days out of season. After exploring the pretty streets and shops and cocktails on the beach, we hired a Pedillo for €15 per hour and sunbathed at sea with the iconic bay in the background. I don’t think Ive ever felt more relaxed.

Where we stayed: The Hotel Royal Prisco. Price: £150 per night. We enjoyed the most beautiful room balcony view over Positano. We could lay in bed and look out across the Positano seascape.

Where we ate:
Lunch: Le Siraneuse. I can’t recommend a visit here enough. The restaurant, food, service and views over Positano were fabulous. Price €55 per person. Book in advance.

Dinner: Bruno, Positano. Delicious seafood. Price: €20 per person.

Day 7: Positano – Sorrento – Capri – Back to Sorrento (1 hour drive)
We drove to Sorrento from Positano on wider, easier but less picturesque roads (although still very scenic). Sorrento is flatter and not high up in the cliffs like the other towns on the Amalfi Coast that we had explored. We found driving became more difficult when we reached Sorrento city centre. The roads are narrow (one small car barely fits through) and our hotel could not be accessed by car.
In hindsight, I would recommend staying in a hotel a few metres outside of the old town. It will still be easy to access everything but driving and parking won’t be a nightmare!

What we did: we walked down to the Marina Grande and enjoyed cool drinks in the sun at Trattoria Da Emilia before venturing across to the Marina Piccola to catch a ferry to Capri. Marina Picolla can be accessed via a lift for €1 each way.

Tip: be careful with the Capri ferry times – look at all of the providers and ask when the last ferry is. We had to buy another ticket coming back at 6.30pm as our original ferry line returned at 5pm.

At Capri, you can take a boat over to the Blue Grotto for €75 per person.

Tip: Don’t arrive to Capri too late because the last boats out in the ‘off’ season are at 3.30pm. be mindful that the ferries back to Sorrento leave early too.

Back to Sorrento
Once back in Sorrento, we shopped in the old city streets and enjoyed a late dinner.

Where we ate: La Vineria Bollicine – delicious, authentic Italian food and the best wine we’ve ever tasted. Price: €30 per person.

Where we stayed: The Hotel Astoria. £96 per night. I’m afraid that despite being one of the more expensive hotels we stayed in; I cannot give the Astoria a good review and would recommend staying elsewhere.  

Day 8 – Sorrento CoastCastellammare di Stabia (45 minute drive)
Castellammare di Stabia
Castellammare di Stabia sits in the Bay of Sorrento on the coast, directly opposite Mount Vesuvius. Shuttle buses from hotels escort visitors to the town centre higher up in the cliffs.

We chose to treat ourselves to a ‘pool day’ against the backdrop of Mount Vesuvius on our final day. After nomadic travelling, we just wanted to stay still somewhere.

Where we stayed and ate: Towers Hotel

Originally, this was going to be our base to explore Vesuvius and Pompeii, just a short car drive away. We’ve vowed to return to visit these sites on a weekend city break.

Let me know in the comments below if you would like any more information on driving the Amalfi Coast.

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