Traveling the Amalfi Coast on a Budget is absolutely doable, even if that budget is a bit higher than visiting other parts of the world. Below you can find all the best budgeting tips for your trip, but feel free to take or leave any of them! You want to make your trip as cheap as possible while also being able to enjoy the luxury of the Amalfi Coast.
I’m a bit of an extreme budget traveler so not every tip below may be for you, but even if you apply just a few of them, your trip will be considerably cheaper! This means there will be much more trips in your future!
14 Tips to Travel the Amalfi Coast on a Budget
1. Visit the Amalfi Coast in May, September, or October
The number 1 way that can save you the most amount of money while traveling the Amalfi Coast is to go during the off-season or the “shoulder season.”
The best time to go is May, September, or October since the weather is still nice and the buses and ferries will still be running. There will be fewer people and accommodation and food will be cheaper as well.
Although it may be tempting to go in the complete off-season, you will have to rent a car in order to get around since some of the public transportation will be less frequent or not available. Plus, the water might be too cold to swim in!
2. Don’t Rent a Car
Europe is one of the best places to skip out on renting a car and just use public transportation. Although your dream may be zipping down the highway with the coast below you, the rental cost and the parking fees will probably suck the fun out of it in the end!
If you really want to zip around the coast, a cheaper option could be renting a scooter instead. However, the most budget-friendly option is definitely to take the bus.
3. Don’t Stay on the Amalfi Coast
The second best way to save a ton of money on your trip is to avoid staying on the Amalfi Coast itself. If you’re up for a bit of traveling each day, staying in Naples or Sorrento is a much more budget-friendly option.
For us, we decided to base ourselves in Naples for the entirety of our trip. We combined a few days in Naples with a trip to Pompeii and two days on the Amalfi Coast.
4. Stay in Naples & Take the Circumvesuvius
Naples not only has the cheapest accommodation, but also the best food (Margherita pizza was invented here!) Plus, it’s an incredible destination on its own!
Accommodation in Naples is around $300-$350 for a week or about $50 per day. Compared with staying in Positano or Amalfi where week stays START at around $1000 per week.
Although you could stay in a random town along the Amalfi Coast, I wouldn’t recommend that if you are trying to use public transport to get around. It might end up costing more in the end anyway just to get where you want to be!
However, the day trips we took to the Amalfi Coast were quite long and tiring, even though they were cheap.
You take a 1.5-hour long train from the center of Naples to Sorrento, then you switch to a public bus that takes you another 45 minutes to Positano or 1.5 hours to Amalfi (and anywhere in between).
The main problem with this was that the travel drained a lot of our energy and the bus ride made us both a little car sick.
If you wanted to get to Sorrento faster, there is also an express train called the Campania Express that costs a bit more and will get you there in around an hour (you’d save 20-30 minutes). You get a reserved seat, space for your luggage, and air conditioning, unlike the Circumvesuvius.
We never chose this option, so I can’t speak to whether it’s actually better or not.
So basically, if you stay in Naples, here are your two options to get to the Amalfi Coast:
- Take the Circumvesuvius train to Sorrento for 3.90 euros per person each way then take the SITA bus for 2-3 euros per person each way. Roundtrip Cost for 2 people: around 24 euros.
- Take the Express train to Sorrento for 8 euro per person each way then take the SITA bus for 2-3 euros per person each way. Roundtrip Cost for 2 people: around 40 euros
Staying in Naples and taking the Circumvesuvius was definitely the cheapest option, but if I were to go to the Amalfi Coast again I would choose to stay in Sorrento instead.
5. Stay in Sorrento & Take the SITA Bus
If you want to stay a bit closer to the Amalfi Coast but for a bit cheaper than on the coast, you can stay in Sorrento or in the surrounding little towns by Sorrento like Sant’Agnello.
This is going to be more expensive than Napoli, which you can get for around $300-$350 for one week. In Sorrento or Sant’Agnello, you can find a place for around $400-$500 per week.
Of course, to find a good price you will need to be booking far in advance and it will also take a bit of searching and comparing between Airbnb and directly with hotels in Sorrento.
However, by staying in Sorrento you save yourself 1.5 hours by not taking the train from Napoli.
From Sorrento, you can hop on the SITA bus and be in Positano in 45 minutes or Amalfi in 1.5 hours for just 2-3 euros per person each way.
6. Take the SITA Bus to Get Around the Amalfi Coast
Luckily for us frugal travelers, there is a super cheap way to get around the Amalfi Coast without renting anything! From Sorrento, you can take a SITA public bus to anywhere along the Amalfi Coast for just 2 to 3 euros per person.
You can buy a ticket for the bus right outside of the Sorrento train station or at any tabaccheria. However, you CANNOT buy the ticket on the bus itself.
The ticket stand isn’t marked on Google Maps, but it is right next to the pay-to-use bathrooms after you exit the train station, immediately on the righthand side right when you walk out of the train station.
The line forms along the sidewalk you see right as you walk out of the train station. Try to be the first ones off the train and get in line as fast as you can so you can hopefully get a seat on the bus instead of having to stand.
If you are traveling in a group, send some people to wait in line and the others to go buy a ticket.
TIP: Buy roundtrip tickets so that you don’t need to worry about finding another place to buy bus tickets on the way home.
Although the SITA Bus only asks if you are going to Positano or Amalfi, there are tons of stops along the way. In fact, there are actually over 70 stops!
Since Google Maps can be a bit behind, SITA bus partnered with the free Moovit app to provide the best and most accurate schedule.
If you plan to get off at one of the less-popular stops, you will have to press the “next stop” button on the bus to let the driver know, or else the bus won’t stop there.
Some of the bus stops to be aware of are Positano (Chiesa Nuova) which stops at the beginning of Positano instead of the end (Positano Sponda), Fiordo di Furore which is the Instagram-famous bridge and beach, and the town of Conca dei Marini which is stop “Via Smeraldo 17, Conca dei Marini.
Just in case you don’t have wifi or service, you should also make sure to take a picture of the bus schedule that is posted on the window of the bus station ticket stand.
That schedule is the most up-to-date since the times may change each year. You can also ask the man at the ticket stand what time the last bus back to Sorrento is from where you are going to be.
Even if the last bus time states 9:30, make sure you are there 15-20 minutes before then as the bus sometimes arrives early and doesn’t wait until the official time on the schedule.
Also, some of the SITA buses only go to Positano and some go to both Positano and Amalfi, so make sure with the bus driver before you get on the bus that it goes to your stop.
Be careful when reading the bus schedules that you are looking at the right schedule.
For example, if you are going the direction Sorrento to Amalfi, then Sorrento will be the first stop listed (at the top). If you are going in the direction Amalfi to Sorrento, then Amalfi will be listed at the top.
If you plan to hop around towns using the bus you may want to buy a day pass. For 10 euros, you can get unlimited rides along the SITA route for 24 hours. For 15 euros, you can get 1 Travelmar ferry trip plus unlimited rides on the SITA route until midnight the day the ticket is validated (not 24 hours).
7. Never Buy Water Bottles, Bring a Refillable One
Italy is the land of free water fountains, so be nice to the Earth AND your wallet by bringing a refillable water bottle instead of buying plastic ones.
The water fountains are sometimes hard to spot on your own (they blend super well!) so I recommend downloading the Maps.me app.
This app works without wifi or data, all you need to do is load the maps you plan on needing while you have wifi/data.
For example, if you were headed to Positano you would zoom up to Positano in the Maps.me app and a little notification will show up saying to download that map.
Make sure to download the maps for all of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, just to be safe!
To find water fountains (anywhere in the world) just type “drinking water” into the search bar and it will show you little blue dots for every water fountain in the area!
I’ve used this all over the world and it has saved us many times (I’m always thirsty!)
8. Eat Breakfast at Your Accommodation/ Nearest Pasticceria
The best way to save money on any trip is to try to only eat out for 1 meal a day. For breakfast, Italy has tons of little cafes or Pasticcerias (pastry shops) where you can get an espresso for less than a euro and a croissant for a euro.
If you’re really on a tight budget, ask your accommodation for some bowls and spoons and you can buy cereal and milk at the grocery store. If you have a kitchen, oatmeal is super cheap and easy to make!
9. Bring Lunch & Snacks from Naples or Sorrento
Before heading to the Amalfi Coast, grab something for lunch that you can bring with you. There are little foldable pizzas for a dollar or sandwiches from the nearest store.
You can also just buy ingredients to make sandwiches on the beach and have a picnic with some of the most beautiful views in the world!
10. Eat Pizza for Dinner
Although there are tons of fancy restaurants on the Amalfi Coast, you don’t HAVE to eat there if you don’t want to.
In fact, if you want to eat with an amazing view, grab a takeout pizza and take it wherever you want! You can sit right on the beach or on a bench with a view of the whole city below you.
You can get an even better view than the expensive restaurants!
And the really good news is that even on the Amalfi Coast, you can find a pizza for around 6 euros, so this is always the cheapest option.
Plus, being so close to Napoli, the pizza is some of the best in the world!
We chose to grab a takeout pizza from Buca di Bacco restaurant since they were open when we wanted to eat (crazy Americans eating dinner at 6 pm!)
Tip: Most pizza places don’t open until 7 pm so make sure to eat a good lunch and have some snacks on hand to make it until then!
11. Book a Ferry Instead of a Boat Trip
If your dream is to see Positano or Amalfi from the sea but you don’t want to drop a couple hundred on a private boat tour, taking the ferry is the perfect alternative!
You have to be careful of the ferry schedule since it doesn’t go until very late. However, if you plan it right then you can see most of the Amalfi Coast from the sea!
The best way to do this is to take the bus all the way to Maiori, then take the ferry to Positano. On the way, the ferry will stop at Minori, Amalfi, and Positano, giving you a chance to see each city up close from the ocean!
You probably will have to switch ferries at Amalfi.
I recommend taking Travelmar since they have an open top and you’ll be able to see the cities without looking through a window.
You can use Sorrento Insider or the Travelmar site to find the ferry times. The ferries only run for part of the year, which the website currently states is April 1st through September 30th and it costs 12 euros per person one-way.
However, always check twice before planning around the ferry! You don’t need to book these tickets in advance unless it is the high season.
We chose to do the one closest to sunset at 5:20 pm.
However, if I were to do it again, I would want to do one in the morning hours when the lighting is a bit better and hitting the coast.
12. If You Want to Take a Boat Trip, Book it Way in Advance
If you do want to take a real boat trip instead of the ferry, then you will need to book this a few months in advance in order to get it for a good price. Booking last minute will cost you triple the amount most of the time.
This tour is only 79 euros per person and includes 4 hours of snorkeling along the Amalfi Coast and taking in some of the best views in the world. It is limited to 8 people, so the group is still small, which makes this tour more affordable.
For an affordable all-day tour from Sorrento, check out this one and for one from Naples, this tour would be best! All of these tours have lots of great reviews and I’m definitely going to be going on one next time.
13. Walk Between Towns Instead of Driving/Taking the Bus
A great way to save money on the Amalfi Coast is to take the bus only twice during the day and walk to whichever other places you want to visit.
You can take the bus to Amalfi and then it’s just a quick 15-minute walk to Atrani around the corner.
From there, if you like hiking, you can hike up to Ravello and then down to Minori and Maiori. In total, from Amalfi to Maiori, it’s about 7 km or 4.5 miles.
This is what we decided to do, but it was quite a hike with a lot of incline so I’d only recommend this if you like adding a good hike to your trip (which we love to do!)
14. Skip Renting Out Expensive Beach Chairs & Bring Your Own Towels
Instead of renting out expensive beach chairs for the day, you can plan ahead and pack your own towels (I recommend these ones), making it free to visit the beach!
The beach chairs and umbrellas can cost up to $70+ for a full day so this is a quick and easy way to save on your trip.
To protect yourself from the sun without an umbrella, make sure to pack sunscreen and bring a good sun hat that can cover your face while you dry out on the beach.
Also, pack clothes that cover your shoulders to avoid sunburns while walking through the towns on the Amalfi Coast.
15. Make Sure You Pack Well So You Don’t Need to Buy Expensive Items
There’s nothing worse than showing up to your destination without your sunglasses or good walking shoes and needing to buy them on the spot for a ridiculously higher price.
For cheap sunglasses (I really don’t get why people ever bother to buy expensive sunglasses, since they’re like pens and they just come and go as they please lol) try these ones from Amazon.