This is an update to a thread originally posted on September 24, 2010:
I thought it might be helpful to give a short recap of the most plausible public transportation options from Rome to Positano and other Amalfi Coast towns, a question which comes up with great regularity on this and other travel websites:
OPTION 1 (most popular, fastest, and greatest frequency):
1. Trenitalia AV, ES or IC train from Roma Termini to Napoli Centrale (70/105/120 minutes; 45/36/22 Euros in second class).
2. Walk downstairs to the underground Circumvesuviana station
3. Circumvesuviana commuter train to Sorrento (65 minutes; 4 Euros, frequency every 30 minutes; unreserved train)
4. SITA bus to Positano (50 minutes; 3.60 Euros; hourly frequency)
OPTION 2 (very limited schedules, but particularly useful for the physically challenged, plus (nearly) cheapest option):
1. Curreri or Marozzi bus from Roma Tiburtina (not Termini) to Sorrento (3.5 hours and 16 Euros on Curreri; 4 hours and 17.50 Euros on Marozzi). Marozzi operates year-round; Curreri only from April through October, but not on Sundays. Check website for precise departure times. From June through September, the 7:00 a.m. Marozzi bus from Rome goes to Sorrento and beyond to Positano, Praiano and Amalfi (20.50 Euros).
2. SITA bus to Positano as above (or Marozzi direct to Positano/Praiano/Amalfi from June through September only).
1. There are frequent Trenitalia connections to/from both Roma Termini (32 minutes; 14 Euros) and Roma Tiburtina (45 minutes; 8 Euros) and Fiumicino (FCO) Airport. If taking either the Curreri or Marozzi bus, connect at Roma Tiburtina. If taking Trenitalia, connect at Roma Termini. There is also a cheaper airport bus (8 Euros) from Fiumicino Airport to the square in front of Roma Termini Station, which is not quite as fast, nor as frequent, as the train to Termini.
2. The Metro del Mare hydrofoils between Naples and the Amalfi Coast stop will reportedly not be running in 2011.
3. The Cooperativa Sant'Andrea ferry boats between Salerno-Concordia Dock and Amalfi/Positano operate from April through October. Concordia Dock is approx. 400 meters from the Salerno train station. Depending on the season, weather conditions, schedules and connections, sometimes routing through Salerno (instead of Naples) and proceeding to Amalfi or Positano by ferry boat is the optimal solution when coming from Rome.
4. From April through October, there are additional ferry boats and hydrofoils operated by Alicost from Salerno-Manfredi Dock (two kilometers west of the train station, near the old Jolly Hotel) to Amalfi and Positano, but these are less convenient than the Cooperativa Sant'Andrea boats from the Concordia Dock.
5. DISCOUNT BUS TICKETS FOR TRAVEL ALONG AMALFI COAST (Salerno to Sorrento including Ravello):
UNICO COSTIERA 24-hr. ticket: 7.20 Euros
UNICO COSTIERA 3-day ticket: 18 Euros
6. DISCOUNT TICKET FOR BUS/TRAIN TRAVEL THROUGHOUT CAMPANIA REGION (including Amalfi Coast): UNICO CAMPANIA 3-day tourist ticket: 20 Euros (also covers everything covered by the UNICO COSTIERA tickets described above). Covers a multitude of routes, including all Naples/Sorrento/Salerno city buses, Naples subway and funiculars, Trenitalia unreserved REGIONALE trains (not the faster reserved trains) throughout Campania, Circumvesuviana trains, Mt. Vesuvius buses, SITA buses throughout Campania (including along the Amalfi Coast), CSTP buses between Salerno and Paestum, buses on Ischia and Procida, SEPSA buses and trains, ALIBUS between central Naples and NAP Airport. Does NOT cover any ferries or hydrofoils, or buses/funicular on Capri. Usually a better value than the 3-day UNICO COSTIERA ticket described above.
7. ARTECARD: If planning to visit museums or archeological sites within the Campania Region, consider purchasing one of the Campania Arte Cards, some of which include free transportation by bus/train. In particular, consider the 3-day "tutta la regione" artecard (27 Euros) which includes all the transportation benefits of the UNICO CAMPANIA 3-day ticket described above, plus free entrance to TWO museums or archeological sites in the circuit, plus a 50% reduction in the entrance fees to additional museums or archeological sites.
8. Going to Praiano? Stay on the SITA bus from Sorrento for another 25 minutes to reach Praiano. If you prefer to avoid the connection in Naples to the Circumvesuviana rail, you could also connect through Salerno, as described below. The difference in travel time depends largely on the train taken to Naples or Salerno, plus connection times and travel conditions. Taking the AV train and connecting in Naples will be fastest (and most expensive).
9. Going to Amalfi or Ravello? Take a Trenitalia train to Salerno (not Naples), then the hourly SITA bus to Amalfi (75 minutes; 3.60 Euros), then the connecting hourly SITA bus up the hill to Ravello (25 minutes; 2.40 Euros). The SITA bus departs directly in front of the Salerno train station. Buy the bus ticket at the newsstand inside the station. There are AV, ES and IC trains from Rome to Salerno, but the morning trains are either the ES (150 minutes; 39 Euros) or the IC (180 minutes; 25 Euros). The AV trains (120 minutes; 48 Euros) are in the afternoon/early evening.
10. Going to Cetara, Maiori, Minori or Atrani? Follow the routing to Amalfi via Salerno, per note 9 above. The bus fare to Cetara is 2.40 Euros; to the other towns, 3.60 Euros.
11. There is also a direct bus from Fiumicino Airport (departs 15:20) to Salerno-SITA bus terminal (ar. 19:10) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, for 15 Euros. First piece of luggage is free; additional pieces are 5 Euros each. The service increases to daily except Sundays from June 15 through September 15. While this is a late afternoon departure, it represents the easiest and cheapest way to travel between Fiumicino Airport and Salerno (with connections to Amalfi and surrounding towns).
12. Not discussed here is the option of hiring a private car/driver from either Naples or Salerno. This option is clearly the quickest and most comfortable, but will cost upwards of 80-110 Euros (or even more). Hiring a private car from Fiumicino Airport could cost nearly 400 Euros.
13. Travellers electing to use public transportation should note: (i) the fact that the Circumvesuviana trains and the SITA buses along the Amalfi Coast can get very crowded at times; (ii) the absence of elevators in the Salerno station (unless this has changed recently?) and the need to haul luggage up steps to reach the main vestibule of the station and exit doors; (iii) the lack of dedicated space on the Circumvesuviana train (a commuter train) for stowing large luggage; (iv) the lift doors to the underfloor luggage compartment of the SITA buses, which a few travellers may find burdensome to lift (ask for assistance); and (v) the number of steps needed to reach your hotel from the bus stop or ferry landing (particularly the case in Positano and Ravello). Some tourists have reported that the easiest mode of transportation is to arrange for a private transfer from the Naples train station to your hotel.
14. Fares and schedules quoted above are believed to be accurate as of the date of this posting, but are not guaranteed to be correct, since they are taken from internet sources which are not always current. Travel times are accurate but not guaranteed to be exact, and are always subject to travel conditions and delays. Also, fares, schedules and routings are subject to change and should always be verified prior to start of travel. The foregoing is general information, and should not be relied upon in the absence of individualized travel planning.
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Rome to Sorrento/Positano/Praiano/Amalfi/Ravello/Salerno Travel Options
This is an update to a thread originally posted on September 24, 2010: