Anne and I travelled through Europe for 4.5 weeks with another couple, Brian and Amanda. We flew into Rome and out of Paris. During these 9 days in Rome and Paris we did not require a vehicle so we leased a Peugot for 22 days.
This proved to be a cost effective move because we only paid approx AUS$1200 per couple for the car which included all of the insurance, taxes and stamp duties and the car came "fully insured with no excess!" When you think of the money you spend on trains/busabout tickets etc without the freedom of choice, this is an excellent way to see what you want to see!
If you are going to hire a car to drive around the Amalfi Coast, Positano, or any of the other cities in the area, make sure you hire a SMALL one. We hired a family sedan and although most of the coast road was ok, driving in the towns with their tiny streets was a problem. There are large tourist buses that scream up and down the coast road and often you will have to stop to give way. So it's just easier to have a smaller car.
I rented a car and drove my family along the Almafi coast. It is do-able but a difficult drive. Only for the adventerous.... The road is VERY small and twists along the mountainside. Frequently you are driving thru mirrors that are, thankfully, placed on many of the tight corners so you can see on-comming traffic. It is certainly a test in concentration and focus and not for those predisposed to car sickness. For me, a slow patient driver, I found it quite enjoyable.
The most difficult part of this drive are the tour buses. The roads are too small for the Italian compact car much less the HUGE tour buses that seem to flock here. Frequently there is heavy traffic as the buses require the entire road.... and well it is a 2 way road...... to get through. I hate to say it would be easier in a tour bus, as the buses are incredibly dangerous on this road, but at least you would not have to drive.....
Take the boat along the Amalfi coast! It gives you a completely new perspective on this beautiful piece of earth.
I took it twice, once from Positano via Amalfi to Salerno and another time just from Amalfi to Salerno. Both times I really enjoyed the view.
Check the webpage below for the connections and the timetable.
We took the bus from Sorrento to Positano, thus enduring a nerve-wracking forty minute journey along the coast roads. Getting from Sorrento to San Pietro was fine, but once we reached the long and very winding road to Positano, things became a little scary. At moments it really felt as if we were close to going over the side, as there is little between the roads and a straight drop down the cliffs, so I was more than a little relieved to reach Positano safely. For those willing to brave the bus, I think it cost 1.80 for a single, and the bus company is called SITA. We did take the bus later on from Amalfi back to Sorrento, but being on the other side of the road this journey was a lot nicer.
Driving along the Amalfi Coast , except for the A3 to and from Salerno, means driving on winding two-lane narrow roads. Although (and perhaps because) driving there requires high levels of concentration, accidents are not frequent.
Even so, WATCH OUT !! Scooters and buses are everywere and it's amazing to see these people driving along these serpentine roads... If you don't have a bit of sense of adventure, do not drive there...
The roads are realy narrow and driving conditions are extreme but, on the other hand..... the views will make you forget all about it.
From Naples take motorway A3 and exit in Castellamare di Stabia then follow signs for Sorrento (SS145) and Costiera Amalfitana.
From Salerno take motorway A3 and exit in Vietri sul Mare then follow directions for Costiera Amalfitana.
By train / Bus:
From Naples Central train station take Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento, from here continue by SITA bus to Positano.
From Naples international airport you can reach Naples Centre by public bus or by private car, from here continue to Sorrento or Salerno by train leaving at hourly intervals.
From Naples, Salerno and Sorrento during the summer there are many ferries leaving for the Amalfi Coast.
Metro del Mare
You have to do some walking in Positano. When you're going into town, it might not seem bad because you're walking downhill, but when you're leaving, you're going to be doing a lot of stairs up. It might not sound so bad, but if you go down to the water and have yourself a nice rich dinner and some wine, walking straight up might suck. So, don't wear heels -- definately strap on something comfy for your time in Positano.
Positano is small enough that you can probably walk wherever you need to go. However, the stairs are challenging even for fit visitors, and if you're staying higher on the mountain, you will probably want to take the bus from time to time.
The local Positano bus is fairly reliable. It makes a loop through the city, arriving at each stop every half hour. It leaves the downtown stop (nearest the beach) on the hour and the half-hour. There are signs at all the other stops to indicate when the bus should arrive at that point.
A one-way ride is 1 euro.
There is a bus stop right outside Villa Gabrisa and Hotel Pasitea (Best Western), so this is convenient for anyone staying there.
The bus to Positano stops outside Bar Internazionale, on the main road above Positano. From here it is quite a climb down to the Positano (steps, steps and more steps), and while the views along the way are spectacular, it was still a fair old hike. As we got the boat to Amalfi, we did not have to climb all the way back.
Althought the most panoramic way to go to Positano is rented or own car, the best way is to go with the bus. If you are going with car, check out in advance that your accommodation has parking slot or garage.
Getting a parking place for car in Positano is maybe not impossible, but can be quite difficult.
Also the *only* serpentine road through Positano village is oneway; so if you want to go to upper parts of Positano, you have to first go to the bottom of the slope and then head back.
It is much easier to walk upward and downward steep stairs around.
On the other hand, it is very difficult to get lost with car in Positano. :-)
Cost for a week's rental of an auto was very good. I rented through AutoEurope and had no problems. I highly recommend travelling this way outside of the big cities, unless you're normally a very cautious driver....if that's the case, take the bus!
This is a photo of one of those tour buses maneuvering around a bend on the coast road. On the left is a trench-digging machine that actually had to stop what it was doing, back up and move as close to the outside wall as it could, so that the bus could get around the corner! This was quite a production and stopped traffic for quite a while.
In the photo also you can see someone on a scooter, trying to sneak through the mess to continue on up the road. This kind of thing goes on all of the time here and you have to watch out for the scooter drivers as a rule.
Positano is a coastal town, and there's no better way to check out the coast than by boat.
Boats were our second home and we enjoyed the great hourly rates and the variety of choices. This rubber 40-horsepower baby took us high speed up the smooth bay waters on a warm September day.
It cost us only 30EU/hr to rent........and we would have surely paid wayyyy more if the cutie boathand in thebackground came with it! ;->
It is best to hire a driver for a day to take you to some of the more distant towns- i.e. Ravello or Pompei.
We used a driver for day trips and to get to the Naples train station and from the Sorrento hydrofoil.
One driver is Salvatore Esposito. Via degli Aranci, 187, Sorrento
Positano is a VERTICAL town and there is only one main (very windy) road that goes up and down and circles the town. My advice to anyone visiting Positano would be to not rent a car. We came across several folks who had rented cars while in town, and they ended up keeping the car in the handful of parking lots located there.
The little orange bus is the best method of getting around town, in my opinion. It costs only 77 cents and they run every 15 to 20 minutes. They can bring you all the way to the top of Montepertuso and way down to the bottom at Piazza dei Mulini. From there, you are on your own to walk the many steps and ramps to get to the beachfront.
The Positano bus drivers are well respected and the most skillful drivers I have seen. It can't be an easy task trying to maneuver the big honkers around the windy, narrow streets. Oh, and when the giant tourist buses come to town? Fuhgedaboutit! Traffic can be backed up for many blocks, but the city buses still manage to make their way through!
Taxis can be quite pricey in this town and you should only resort to one if you need a ride after the buses stop running past midnight. (keep in mind that the taxis stop running at 3am).
I had the luxury of hopping on the back of a scooter on several occasions with one of the locals.....but even that can be a bit disheartening when "Il Carabinieri" (police) are around. They tend to frequently check bikers for their insurance papers and fine you if you don't have them.