Make your trip to Positano stress-free (as it should be!) by knowing your transportation options and the pros and cons of each. That way you can make a decision that is the best for you and your party.
I think part of what makes Positano special is that it feels exclusive. Not only is the town ritzy and resort-like, it’s also secluded. All you can see are cliffs and the sea, and the island of Capri in the distance from some vantage points.
I did quite a bit of research about the best way to get to Positano from Rome or Naples, and most directions go like this: hire a private driver OR take the train to Sorrento, and then hop on a bus to Positano. Sounds easy, right? But to experience it is something entirely different, so I would like to share what I learned about how to get to Positano.
Option #1: Private transfer
Fly into Naples, or take the train from Rome to Naples. Then, hire a private driver to take you to Positano. You could have your hotel arrange this for you (what we did), or book a private transfer online in advance. (You could hire a driver from Rome, but it would be a lot more expensive).
- Cost: 399-570 Euros from Rome; 125-150 Euros from Naples
- Time: 3-4 hours from Rome; 1.5 hours from Naples
*Could be more expensive than taking the train + bus if you have a small party and can’t divide the cost.
*The stress-free way to travel, especially if you don’t speak Italian, it’s your first time in Italy, or are traveling with children or a lot of luggage.
*You’ll have air conditioning (if traveling during the summer heat), privacy, and a guaranteed seat (sometimes the Circumvesuviana train is standing room only).
*Plus, your driver might even stop on the side of the road along the way so that you can snap a stunning pic of Sorrento.
Option #2: Train + bus
My favorite way to get around Italy is by train, but unfortunately there is no train service into Positano. The closest you can get to Positano by train is Sorrento.
However, it can be a little confusing to get to Sorrento by train. There are two main train services in Italy (Trenitalia or Italo), but Campania, the region where the Amalfi Coast is located, is serviced by a different line called Circumvesuviana.
This is how we had originally planned to get to Positano, but once we had a taste of the Circumvesuviana on our way to Pompeii, we ditched that idea fast and had our hotel arrange for a private transfer instead.
To get from Rome to Positano by train + bus:
#1: Rome to Naples by train: From Roma Termini, take the train to Napoli Centrale on Trenitalia or Italo.
- Trenitalia reservations & schedule
- Italo reservations & schedule
- Cost: Approx. 27-44 Euros per person.
- Time: 1-2 hours, depending on if you take the Frecciarossa, the high speed train, or the Intercity, which is slower because it makes more stops.
#2: Change trains in Naples:
- When you arrive at Napoli Centrale, take the escalator downstairs to Stazione Garibaldi to catch the Circumvesuviana to Sorrento.
- You’ll need to purchase a new train ticket to Sorrento here.
#3: Naples to Sorrento by train:
- Circumvesuviana schedule (in Italian only)
- Cost: Approx. 5 Euros per person.
- Time: Approx. 1hr 6min.
#4: Sorrento to Positano by bus:
- SITA SUD Bus Schedule
- Cost: Approx. 2-3 Euros per person.
- Time: Approx. 40-50 min.
Time/Cost Summary by bus + train
Rome to Positano
- Total time: Approx. 3-4 hours travel time (more likely to take 5-6+ hours in total, considering trains/busses may run late plus waiting time between trains/bus)
- Total cost: 35-52 per person
Naples to Positano
- Total time: Approx. 2+ hours
- Total cost: 7-8 Euros per person
*May be more cost effective if you are starting from Naples or even Pompeii and traveling light with a small party.
*The Circumvesuviana is NOT like Trenitalia or Italo where tickets are sold according to available seats. It has more of a subway/metro feel, where people are packed in and there is often standing room only.
*We happened to meet an American couple with two HUGE suitcases on the Circumvesuviana. It was a nightmare trying to fit onto the crowded train, let alone two huge suitcases (unlike Trenitalia, there isn’t really space for luggage). They vowed, “If the bullet train doesn’t go there, we won’t go there.” The moral of the story? Pack light and do your research.
Option #3: Take the ferry from Sorrento to Positano.
- Sorrento to Positano ferry schedule & reservations
- Total time: Approx. 1 hour
- Total cost: 17-19 Euros per person
*This would be a great option if you are staying in Sorrento as your base to explore the Amalfi Coast.
*If you are staying in Positano, I don’t think that arriving by ferry is the most convenient option. Keep in mind you would need to get to Sorrento by train first to catch the ferry (see how above)! Then, once you arrive in Positano, you would most likely have to carry all of your luggage UP many steep steps to your hotel…and that’s the best case scenario if you are staying close to the main beach. (Positano is practically vertical; the town is built up the side of a cliff).
*The ferry runs more frequently from April to October, but there could be delays due to rough seas.
But…do not drive to Positano.
Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to drive into Positano. Unless you feel confident driving in this type of traffic:
#1: The roads are very windy, narrow, and congested. It’s much better to have an experienced driver (in my opinion).
#2: There is absolutely nowhere to park! There’s hardly any room for the locals’ cars and scooters that line the strada statale (main road above Positano).
#3: You don’t need a car to get around Positano. Downtown Positano is a pedestrian only zone, and you can take the bus or ferry to other towns on the Amalfi coast.
Well, there you have it! These are all of the things that I wish I about how to get to Positano before my trip. I hope you find some of this information useful!
Our original plan was to take the bus to Positano, but we were at the end of our trip and exhausted from the heat and our overambitious itinerary (so many Italian cities packed into 3 weeks)! We couldn’t bear the stress of getting on the crowded Circumvesuviana again to get back to Naples and then onto Rome, so we decided we deserved a little luxury and hired a driver (it was supposed to be a relaxing vacation after all)!
However you end up arriving in Positano, whether by bus, ferry or privater transfer, one thing is for sure: it will be one of the most scenic and thrilling rides of your life! (See a video of the Amalfi Coast drive)
Have you ever been to Positano? Share your experience & advice in the comments to help others!
Planning a trip to Positano? I’d love to help. Leave your questions in the comments!
P.S. Stay tuned for more stories from my Positano trip, including where we stayed & what we did!0
La Dolce Vita through from California to Italy. I’m Kelly, an American girl with Italian taste in food & wine. I blog about learning Italian, food & wine pairings, how to find authentic Italian ingredients in the US, and seasonal recipes from scratch.