You’ve heard us talk about the Amalfi Coast ad nauseam because it is one of our favorite destinations in the world and it is becoming an increasingly popular destination for travelers. But we haven’t addressed how you visit the Amalfi Coast if you’re on a strict budget. It is, after all, a luxurious destination with expensive hotels, yachts, and pricey dinners. Most destinations in Italy are expensive and the Amalfi Coast is no exception. But have no fear, we helped you visit the south of France on a budget, so we can certainly help you see the best of the Amalfi Coast on a budget!
Hotels like Le Sirenuse and Hotel Marincanto are alluring, gorgeous, and perfectly picturesque. They will also bankrupt you if you’re attempting to visit the Amalfi Coast on a budget. Rather, stay in towns like Atrani, Minori, Maiori, or simply somewhere along the Amalfi Coast in between towns. The first time we visited Positano, we stayed in a hotel called Al Barilotto dal Nonno. It was €100/night with a seat view and a balcony and we were about a 1.5 mile (2k) walk into Positano center.
Walking along the coast is easy and it is actually super nice to be outside of the towns if you want to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet.
Rather than looking at hotels, check Airbnb and B&Bs on Booking.com. These are invariably more affordable accommodation options than the luxurious hotels (even in towns like Atrani, Minor, and Maiori). We stayed in an Airbnb in Atrani for €50/night once and it was right in the center of town. We stepped outside and were in the center of Atrani, walked to the Atrani beach in 2 minutes, and could walk through the tunnel to Amalfi in about 10 minutes. From there, we could take a bus to Positano, Ravello, etc.
We have a number of suggestions for how to get to Positano and each suggestion come with a different price tag. How to get to Positano will depend on just exactly how strict you need to be with your budget. Our preferred route is to rent a car in Napoli (Naples) and drive the 90 minutes to Positano. This gives us a chance to grab a pizza or 3 in Napoli, cruise the gorgeous Amalfi Coast, and have the flexibility to drive around to the surrounding towns at our leisure. Our 2nd preferred option is to hire a car from Positano Shuttle and just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Again, this is not a cheap option, but it isn’t too bad either. It’s about €30 per person per direction. So, about €120 round trip from Napoli Centrale (Naples Central Railway Station) for couples.
The problem, however, is that rental cars are about €30 per day on the cheap end and parking in Positano is €20 – 30 per day. Space is extremely limited, so private parking garages charge a steep price.
The best way to get to the Amalfi Coast on a budget is probably to take a train to Vietri Sul Mare, and then use the bus from there to wherever you’re staying on the Amalfi Coast. They have regular stops along the entire coast, so you can take it to almost any point. The drivers are typically super chill too, so you can ask them to stop at your hotel or B&B. This route takes significantly longer than hiring a car or using a private driver, but it is certainly cheaper,
Any beach that charges entry fees or has menus where you’ll end up spending €100 on lunch is a no-no. Go to Vini e Panini in Positano, grab a couple of panini and a bottle of wine, and go make yourself a picnic on one of the beaches along the Amalfi Coast. There are plenty of coves that provide privacy and don’t charge entrance fees.
You can literally use the Sita bus to travel all the way along the Amalfi Coast for €3 or €4. It is often late, always crowded, and you might just get into a fender bender. One the way from Amalfi to Positano we hit a Vespa head-on and pulled over for 10-15 minutes while the sun was setting. Alex didn’t know, but I had a photographer waiting at the beach in Positano and was about to propose I was stressing pretty hard. Obviously, we made it. Sita bus is certainly the most affordable way to see the Amalfi Coast; unless of course you plan to walk or ride a bike 50 km.
You don’t need to hire a yacht, sip €200 prosecco and dine at our favorite restaurant Da Vincenzo to enjoy the Amalfi Coast. You can hire a kayak, enjoy a €10 bottle of prosecco, eat some delicious panini from Vini e Panini and still have an incredibly romantic time with your partner. We have done a ton of romantic things on the Amalfi Coast, most of which are cheap or free:
Invariably, the best time to visit any expensive destination is outside of high season. For Italy, high seasons is June – August, and it bleeds into May and September a bit. We prefer to visit the Amalfi Coast in either May or September because it is a bit less crowded than summer (kids are still in school so families have less flexibility to travel), the weather is still great, and of course, May is the month we started dating back in 2013 and September is the month we got engaged in Positano and also the month we got married in Bora Bora. So, they’re special months for us to travel. If you don’t mind it being a few degrees cooler, you’ll save money and avoid crowds to travel in May or September.