Seeing the Amalfi Coast on a budget might seem a hard thing to achieve. After all, this is the most exclusive Italian destination, a place anyone in love with the country would have on their bucket list. However, even though this is the most expensive part of Italy, you can still manage to see it on a budget.
Why I’m so confident about it? Because I’ve done it myself. I’ve been on a road trip on Amalfi Coast without breaking the bank. I stayed in a place with a stunning view, spent the day in Positano, wandered the winding roads up the cliffs, and ate some of the best seafood I could find.
And I will tell you all my secrets, and all the things you must know when planning to see the Amalfi Coast on a budget. From where to stay, to how to get there and around, and what is the best time to go if you want to pay less.
I won’t tell you anything about what to see and visit while there, so if you want to plan your itinerary, make sure to read my 7 days in Amalfi Coast itinerary. There you will find ideas for how to spend your days and what not to miss in the region.
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Your complete guide for Amalfi Coast on a budget
Why go to the Amalfi Coast
Simply put, because of its incredible beauty.
I might be biased because I absolutely adore Italy, but I don’t think I’ve seen such a charming place. Pink, yellow, and blue houses perched on dizzying cliffs, luxurious villas dating from centuries ago, the immense blue that reveals under your eyes, and the fresh and salty seafood cooked like only Italians know to do it.
The perfect destination for couples on a honeymoon, or for anyone, here is where you can find both extremely popular restaurants, bars, and streets, but also hidden gems where you can really feel in Italy.
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How long to spend on the Amalfi Coast
That’s a tough question to answer because I think that you can spend also 2 weeks here without getting bored.
However, you can also spend 3 days, especially when you are traveling on a budget, and get a pretty good impression of the area. In 3 days, you can still explore most of the coastal towns, without planning any trips to any islands.
I would say the optimal time would be one week, but you can get away with less as well.
Where to fly for the Amalfi Coast
The closest airport to the Amalfi Coast is Naples International Airport, only 61 km away.
If you are traveling on a budget and want to make sure you will find the best prices for plane tickets, it would be worth checking various destinations as well. Look for one-way flights into Rome or Naples, try to fly into Rome and out of Naples (or the other way around).
Getting from Rome to the Amalfi Coast is not very difficult, and you might get to save on fast train tickets when you book in advance.
Go to the Wikipedia page for each of the 2 airports (Rome and Naples) and look for the “Airlines and Destinations” sections. There you will find all the direct passenger flights to that airport so that you can change the flight in your home country, if necessary.
It is also a great way to find the shortest and often, cheapest flight.
How to reach Amalfi Coast – the cheapest way to get to the Amalfi Coast
There are various options to get from Naples to the Amalfi Coast, depending on how much time you want to spend on the road, and of course, your budget.
Since we are talking about a budget itinerary, you can:
- Travel by bus and train – from the airport, take the bus to Naples train station. From there, take the Circumvesuviana train all the way to Sorrento. You can choose to stay in Sorrento or move to one of the smaller villages on the coast, which can be easily reached by SITA bus.
Useful links: see the schedule for the Circumvesuviana train; for any other train and bus information and tickets check out Rail Europe – The one-stop-shop for train travel. For SITA timetables and prices check their official site here. It is worth knowing that the tickets can only be bought from any tabaccheria or newspaper stand in town, or from the airport.
- Rent a car – by using an aggregator and booking way in advance, you can secure low prices and won’t have to worry about timetables and different lines. My go-to car rental company is always Discover Cars which can help you save up to 70% on your car rental. They have a pretty good Cancellation policy that would give you options in case your flight or travel plans change. Just choose an accommodation that offers free parking and you won’t have to worry much about paying crazy amounts only to park your car. Get your best offers here!
Where to stay on the Amalfi Coast on a budget – What is the cheapest alternative to Positano
Home to some of the most luxurious hotels in the world and in Italy, you can still find where to stay on the Amalfi Coast on a budget. We traveled at the end of August, one of the most popular periods, and we still managed to pay only 205 EUR for 2 nights.
That means you can find great options when you travel in better periods if you also know where to stay.
Don’t aim for Positano because that’s where prices are high no matter the time of the year. There are plenty of other smaller and more charming villages, with authentic accommodation options that would also offer stunning views and easy access to the bus.
Sorrento is a great choice and I’ve gathered here some apartment-style accommodation options for Sorrento.
There are plenty of buses or boats linking Sorrento to Positano, Amalfi, and the other popular villages, and you can get there in less than 30 minutes.
Agerola has accommodation options with incredible views, however, it is not so easily accessible and you might need to rent a car. The village is tucked on the mountain top and the distance between Agerola to Positano is only 28 kilometers, you should expect to spend around one hour on the road.
In my opinion, other good options to choose when you want to stay on the Amalfi Coast on a budget are the cities along the Circumvesuviana, just before Sorrento. Castellammare di Stabia or Vico Equense are both 5 minutes by train away from Sorrento and have great accommodation options close to the beach, at affordable prices.
Here are a few budget accommodation options that are also pretty stunning:
- Tenuta Novecento Bioagriturismo – everything about this place is amazing, from its location less than 3 km away from the famous Fiordo del Furore to the breathtaking garden views, and the peacefulness of the area. See more here!
- Villa Fanella – set between Sorrento and Positano, with a terrace with sunset views, this is a whole apartment where you will have privacy. See more here!
- Una Volta – rooms with a bathtub by the window with an authentic design, they provide also delicious breakfast. See more here!
- Casa Clotide – set in Maiori, above the main area of the city, you can see the sea from the balcony and from both bedrooms. See more here!
Of course, you can always choose to stay in Naples and take the Circumvesuviana train from there. Accommodation will be cheaper, but you will waste plenty of time on the road. The train ride is around 1 hour to Sorrento, and from there you must take a bus or a boat, the length of the trip depending on your final destination.
Extra tip: Even when you choose to stay in a less popular town, by choosing to stay off the main street you will save more. Additionally, book your accommodation in advance!
Where to stay on the Amalfi Coast without a car
In my opinion, the best place you can choose to stay when you don’t have a car might be Sorrento.
That’s because from there you will have access to the buses, tours, or ferries that can take you to Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, and all the other villages on the Amalfi Coast.
On top of that, from Sorrento, you can take the boat to Capri or Ischia, and you can visit other iconic places like the Herculaneum, Pompeii, or Mount Vesuvius.
We chose to stay in Vietri sul Mare and we did have a car but chose to travel along the coast by bus or boat. That was also easy because the bus stop was right in front of our apartment, so if you look for a place within walking distance from the bus, you should be okay.
Case Sparse 7 is such an option from where you can walk to the bus stop. They are set up the hill, with a charming view, in a tranquil place perfect for relaxation. All rooms have a private hot tub. See more here!
L’incanto Amalfi Coast is another top choice in Vietri, set up the hill above the colorful buildings of the center, with a terrace and sea view. There is a bus stop close by, and they offer parking where you can leave the car. See more here!
Getting around the Amalfi Coast without a car
As mentioned previously, you can easily get around the Amalfi Coast without a car. And it might be cheaper to do so.
SITA buses link most of the villages between Sorrento and Salerno, and the ferries are another option when you prefer to travel by sea and admire the coastline.
A bus ticket valid for 24 hours with unlimited rides will cost 10 EUR and you can buy it from any tabaccheria in town.
What you might want to know if you choose to travel during the peak season is that usually buses get very crowded and you might have to ride standing. Also, you can check out the timetables here but don’t expect them to be respected at the point. We once waited for around one hour to manage to get on a bus.
The other option is to take the ferry one way and come back by bus. The ferry might be a bit more expensive, but it’s more comfortable and you get a nicer view.
What is the best time of year to visit the Amalfi Coast on a budget – What is the cheapest month to visit the Amalfi Coast
If you want to skip the crowds and find more affordable prices for food and accommodation, plan your trip on the Amalfi Coast for spring or fall.
Don’t go too early or too late because ferries are on a reduced schedule or get canceled, and most of the places such as restaurants or hotels are closed. March might also be too early and the weather can be unpredictable and even cold and windy.
That’s why, the perfect period to visit the Amalfi Coast on a budget would be between April and May, or September to October.
If you don’t mind the weather even March and November could be great options for really affordable prices. You won’t have snow or cold weather, but it won’t be as sunny and green as in other periods of the year.
Also, public transportation and ferries will have different timetables, and some hotels might not be open.
Is Amalfi Cheaper than Positano?
It depends on what you are looking for. Generally speaking, Amalfi is more affordable than Positano, with a variety of activities and accommodations available at lower prices.
However, Positano does offer some exclusive and luxurious experiences that may be out of the budget for many travelers.
In the end, it really just depends on what type of experience you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend.
How much should you budget for the Amalfi Coast?
The amount you should budget for a trip to the Amalfi Coast will depend on the type of travel experience you are looking for.
Generally speaking, you can expect to pay from $100-$300 per day for accommodation, food, and transportation.
If you’re looking for more luxurious amenities such as luxury car rentals or private tours, your overall budget could increase significantly.
Be sure to research local accommodations and attractions before booking in order to find the best rates that suit your needs.
Other useful tips for seeing the Amalfi Coast on a budget
Food and eating
Don’t eat out for every meal. Book an accommodation option with a kitchen – it will be easier to have breakfast at home, and sometimes even dinner, especially when you choose to stay for a longer vacation.
Shopping from the local market, small supermarkets in villages, or larger hypermarkets (Conad, Coop, Despar etc) will offer you the chance to choose from fresh and delicious produce. I don’t know how and why, but the food in Italy is delicious and everything tastes so much better!
Look for restaurants close to the traditional markets – that’s where you will find the best local food, at the right price. Don’t expect anything too fancy, just unforgettable food!
Also, try to avoid restaurants next to the main tourist attractions, or go to the smaller towns. We had delicious seafood in the center of Atrani, a city 15 minutes away from Positano, for a very decent price. Look for the locals, that’s how you can tell it is a good restaurant!
During our trip, we would get local pastries from one of the nearby pasticcerias (pastry shops). Italian breakfasts are usually sweet, accompanied by good coffee, so while you are there, “do as the Romans”. Get a delicious cannolo or a chocolate brioche (croissant), have some coffee, and enjoy your breakfast.
Additionally, you can pack a few snacks, fresh fruit, or even delicious sandwiches, to bring with you during the day. This way, you can skip one of the meals entirely, and save money on that.
The cheapest meal you can choose will always be pizza! And that doesn’t mean it is not delicious.
Save on water by bringing a reusable bottle and filling it up at the public fountains you will find along the way. The water in Italy is drinkable and clean.
Saving on tours
No matter how much time you spend on the coastline, choose to create your itinerary and book the activities ahead of time. Both GetYourGuide and Viator offer great prices and have plenty of activities to choose from.
You can visit Pompeii for free on the first Sunday of the month, so schedule the visit accordingly if you want to save around 20 EUR.
Don’t go on boat trips, but get a ferry ride instead. Especially during summer, there are plenty of ferry rides throughout the day taking you from Naples or Sorrento, to some of the most important destinations on the Amalfi Coast (Capri, Procida, Positano, Amalfi etc). Book your ticket in advance and you can save on that as well!
Just be mindful of the ferry schedule, and plan ahead of time your return as well. Ferries leave from Spiaggia Piccola in Sorrento.
Even though the ferry is packed with people and won’t offer the same conditions as a private tour, you will save lots of money and we really enjoyed seeing the coastline from the sea. We traveled from Amalfi to Positano, but there are plenty of other options available.
Bring all the right things
Packing the right things will help you save on any unpredictable expenses. Check out our Italy packing list here!
But for the Amalfi Coast, you will want to bring the right type of comfortable shoes – never wear new shoes. I always love sneakers of Converse shoes on vacations. Don’t worry about what Italians wear or think that you will stand out as a tourist – you won’t!
Especially when traveling during the shoulder season, prepare to wear layers. Temperatures change from morning to lunchtime and then drop again during the evenings. Having a scarf with you will help you keep warm.
Never forget your sunglasses, even if you are visiting during spring or fall.
If you want to sit at the beach, you could bring a towel and sit on the sand. However, beaches on the Amalfi Coast are really small and have pebbles.
They won’t allow you with your towel in the areas where you will find beach chairs, and most of the time the “free” area is also small and crowded. It might be better to look for less popular beaches along the coast, especially public beaches where locals go – ask your hotel or guest, and they will know where to guide you.
What to do on the Amalfi Coast
Visit the Piazza Tasso
Take a boat tour of Capri and Amalfi from Sorrento
Hike Mount Vesuvius
Stroll through Corso Italia shopping street
Explore Villa Comunale Park & Gardens
Check out the Marine Protected Area of Punta Campanella
Visit Sant’Antonino Abbey (Abbazia di San Francesco)
Relax at Marina Piccola Beach or Ieranto Bay
Enjoy a pizza dinner in Sorrento’s old town
Go to the Beach
Visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Watch the Sunset from Bar Franco
Explore Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods)
Tour Villa Cimbrone Gardens
Take a Boat Ride on Amalfi Coast
Enjoy a heart-shaped pizza at Chez Black
Check Out Chiesa di San Pietro Apostolo
Relax with a Massage at Positano Spa by Morgana
Go for a sunset cruise
Other Italy travel resources
- The ultimate list of photo spots in Positano
- Southern Italy Itinerary – best places to visit + 3 itinerary options
- Puglia road trip – 4 days in Puglia and the best places to visit
- 7 Days in Italy – a comprehensive Northern Italy itinerary
- Where to go wine tasting on the Amalfi Coast
- Naples and Amalfi Coast 7 day itinerary
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