I’ve just returned from a fantastic 10 day trip to Italy. We started in Rome, made a few stops along the Amalfi Coast, and ended the trip in Umbria. September is the perfect time to visit Italy because there aren’t as many tourists and you’ll get to enjoy the sunny weather.
- Rome: 2 nights
- Sorrento: 3 nights
- Ischia: 1 night (2 nights would have been better)
- Amalfi: 2 nights
- Orvieto: 1 night (again I wish we had stayed 2 nights here)
- Rome: 1 night
Best transportation options for visiting the Amalfi Coast
I’d be lying if I said we didn’t plan to enjoy a glass or two of vino at lunch and dinner…so that meant driving was not an option. We relied on public transport to get from city to city as we traveled through Italy.
- The SITA bus is a good option for traveling between cities along the Amalfi Coast. Bus tickets are sold at “tabaccherie” (cigarette shops), newspaper stands, bars and caffés. We also purchased bus tickets at our hotel in Amalfi. Keep in mind tickets cannot be purchased on board the bus. Click here for SITA bus schedule in English.
- My favorite way to travel along the Amalfi Coast is by ferry. Tickets are cheap and ferries are both frequent and fast. There are several different ferry operators at each port and you can find connections between Amalfi, Salerno, Sorrento, Positano, Minori, Maiori and Cetara. Ticket prices usually range from €3 to €12 and ferries run every 1 – 2 hours starting at 8am and ending around 7pm. You may be charged an extra €2 if you have large luggage. Journey durations range from 5 minutes to 70 minutes. We went to the port directly to see the ferry schedule and get our tickets. There’s no need to purchase online—just show up 30 mins beforehand.
- We took trains from Rome to Sorrento and Salerno to Orvieto. The high-speed Italo trains run between the larger cities. I would recommend getting tickets in advance because they can sell out and you’ll be stuck paying for first class seats—buy tickets online or at the machines at the train station. It’s likely you’ll take the smaller, regional trains too (Trenitalia). You’ll have no issue getting tickets the same day for the Circumvesuviana train for example, which runs from Naples to Sorrento. This video is helpful if you’re new to using trains in Italy.
Rome to Pompeii to Sorrento
As I mentioned, we started the trip in Rome. I would suggest taking the Leonardo Express to the city center from the airport. Unfortunately I arrived at midnight so my only option was to get a taxi. Taxis from the airport normally cost €45 but at night they charge €60 (I ended up finding another traveler to split the cost with). While in Rome we did an awesome bike tour around the city—if you do the tour definitely get an electric-assist bike. 😉
The next day we went to Sorrento and stopped in Pompeii along the way. To get to Pompeii take the train from Rome to Naples. From Naples you can take the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii. The entrance to Pompeii is located right across from the Circumvesuviana “Pompei – Villa dei Misteri” station and the entrance to Herculaneum is about a 10 minute walk from the “Ercolano Scavi” station.
Keep in mind there are two train stations in Pompeii—we took the high speed train straight from Rome and ended up at the station that is farther from the entrance. There’s a shuttle from this train station and luggage storage at the entrance of the park. You can get park tickets once you arrive. Also, I wouldn’t waste your money on an audio guide in Pompeii…hire a local guide for €120 at the entrance. You can split the cost with other people.
After Pompeii we grabbed our luggage and took the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento and checked-in to our Airbnb (get $30 credit) in the center of the city. We took a fantastic Italian cooking class and spent our time shopping, eating, exploring, and lounging around the *tiny* beach. My favorite meal was at Ristorante Pizzeria Tasso and we enjoyed having beers at Peter’s Beach by the water.
Sorrento to Ischia
We took a ferry from Sorrento to the island of Ischia. Why Ischia? Well…I read that Capri was ridiculously crowded with tourists and all the accommodation seemed to be way more expensive. I found an AMAZING hotel located within the Aragon Castle on the island. Not only was it affordable, but it was beautiful and offered the best views of Ischia. Our time at Albergo Il Monastero was one of the highlights of the trip—if you have the chance to go to Ischia try to stay there too! We also had the best spaghetti frutti di mare at a place called Ristorante da Bellezza. Mama was cooking in the kitchen and the food was on point!
Ischia to Amalfi
After Ischia we headed to Amalfi by ferry. Personally, I would have preferred staying in Positano or another place nearby—Amalfi is horribly touristy and everything is overpriced. Don’t get me wrong, the city is beautiful, but you could easily stay somewhere else and manage to get in a day trip here. Most of the hotels are a 10 – 15 minute walk from the center. That doesn’t sound bad but keep in mind you’re going straight up or down…if it’s hot the walk can be brutal! If you take a taxi you’re looking at around €20 (even if it’s only a 3 minute drive). You can also take the SITA bus back and forth from the center (there are lots of stops in Amalfi). Our hotel Villa Maria Luigia, was located right next to Spiaggia Duoglio, a beautiful little beach perfect for a morning swim.
My favorite memory from Amalfi was attending a Limoncello Experience offered by a local family who has been producing limoncello for three generations.
Amalfi to Orvieto
Getting to Orvieto from Amalfi was interesting to say the least. We started off by taking a ferry from Amalfi to Salerno. From Salerno we took the high-speed train to Rome and from Rome we caught the regional train to Orvieto. Once you get to Orvieto you take a funicular (just across from the train station) up the cliff to the city. It sounds complicated but I promise it’s worth the hassle.
Orvieto is a gorgeous little city located in Italy’s Umbria region near Tuscany. We were able to see most of the Orvieto’s attractions in one day, but I wish we could have stayed at least two nights. When visiting Orvieto you should go to the tourist information center (next to the funicular station at the top of the cliff) and get “the key to the city” ticket for €20. This ticket gives you entrance to 11 attractions and includes free bus rides and a tour of the city’s underground tunnels.