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Is Positano Best Reached via Naples or via Salerno?

One of the most common questions on this and other travel sites is whether it's better to travel to Positano (from Rome or north of Rome) via Naples or via Salerno, if seeking a public transportation solution not involving an expensive private transfer.

This thread will attempt to give a concise and definitive answer to this question.

A. Travel from April through October:

If travelling during this time period, it's usually better to travel via Salerno, as follows:

1. Trenitalia (or competitor ITALO) train from Rome (or north of Rome) to Salerno;

2. Walk 800 meters to the Concordia Dock (allow 10-15 minutes);

3. Cooperativa Sant'Andrea ferry boat to Positano (UNRESERVED and non-bookable seats; 70 minutes; 12 Euros). This boat also stops in Amalfi (35 minutes; 8 Euros).

BEWARE: the LAST boat of the day departs Salerno at either 15:30 or 17:10. Be sure that your train arrives in Salerno in time to make the connection, OR you'll be stuck with a very long ride on two SITA buses (changing buses in Amalfi). Allow a reasonable cushion of time for possible train delays. Also beware that the boat is subject to cancellation due to bad weather. It's always a good idea to phone the boat operator before boarding your train in Rome (in case services have been or are likely to be cancelled later that day). This is especially the case if travelling in early April or late October, when some departures could be compressed.

You COULD travel via Naples (as illustrated below), but it may take longer and be less convenient.


B. Travel from November through March (when there is no ferry service between Salerno and Amalfi/Positano):

1. Trenitalia (or competitor ITALO) train from Rome (or north of Rome) to Napoli Centrale;

2. Walk to the underground platforms of the Circumvesuviana commuter train;

3. Circumvesuviana commuter train to Sorrento (UNRESERVED and non-bookable seats; approx. 65 minutes; 4 Euros).

BEWARE: This commuter train gets crowded during commute hours, and many passengers can be standing. There is very limited room for suitcases, and no dedicated luggage racks. The train makes many stops before reaching Sorrento. There are also limited hydrofoils from Naples-Beverello Dock to Sorrento (year-round), which cost 3X the commuter train fare, but which don't shorten the trip, considering the time required to connect from Napoli Centrale to the dock. Moreover, once at the Sorrento dock, you need to take a taxi or a local bus to get up the steep incline to the Sorrento train station (to catch the SITA bus to Positano).

4. SITA bus from outside the Circumvesuviana train station in Sorrento to Positano (UNRESERVED and non-bookable seats; 50-60 minutes; 3.60 Euros). Try to queue up in advance; place heavy luggage in the underfloor compartment.

BEWARE: The SITA bus also can get crowded, with standing room only, particularly from March through October. Upon arrival in Positano, you will likely need to negotiate steps to your hotel. Obtain this information in advance, so that you will be prepared.


OTHER DESTINATIONS:

1. AMALFI or ATRANI: go via Salerno, year-round. For Atrani, take the SITA bus direct, or the ferry boat to Amalfi, then a taxi or the SITA bus for the very short hop onwards;

2. Vietri sul Mare, Cetara, Maiori, Minori: go via Salerno, year-round, and connect to the hourly SITA bus directly outside the station (which terminates in Amalfi);

NOTE: On the return trip to Salerno, the SITA bus drops you at Piazza della Concordia, on the main seafront road, 350 meters from the station.

3. PRAIANO: this is nearly a toss-up, except from November through March, when it's better to go via Naples. From April through October, you could go via Naples/Sorrento, then connect to the hourly SITA bus to Praiano (25 minutes east of Positano); OR you could go via Salerno/Amalfi, then connect to the hourly SITA bus to Praiano (25 minutes west of Amalfi). You need to actually "work" the schedules to see which option is preferable.

CAVEAT: The foregoing discussion, being necessarily "general" in orientation, cannot and does not take into account particular travel exigencies or timeframes. Each traveller should study the schedules with care to determine which travel solution is optimal.

www.trenitalia.it
www.italotreno.it
www.vesuviana.it
www.sitasudtrasporti.it
www.coopsantandrea.it

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