Pastel-colored towns perched on the sides of cliffs. Terraced groves where lemons are grown to be turned into limoncello. And the ever-present glimpse of deep blue sea.
This is the Amalfi Coast.
But when you're planning your first trip to Italy, you'll quickly realize that you can't possibly fit it all in. There's too much to see, and the country is really just too large to cover every part of it (or even just the famous parts!) in a short trip.
So this is where day trips can come in handy.
Plan your trip around visiting your top must-see spots like the Colosseum and the canals of Venice, and then set aside a couple day trips to get small tastes of regions you might want to come back and visit next time.
(Want to skip to the good part? This is the tour I'm talking about in this post, and I think it's 100% worth it if you're short on time but still want to visit the Amalfi Coast!)
Why take an Amalfi Coast day trip?
In a perfect world, you'd have enough time to really savor the Amalfi Coast. In a perfect world, you'd have days to divide up between seaside towns like Sorrento and Positano and Amalfi.
But travel isn't perfect, and sometimes a small taste of something is better than nothing at all.
On my recent trip to Italy, I didn't have those extra days to dedicate to the Amalfi Coast. In fact, I only had one extra day to fill in Rome before heading off on my next adventure.
I'd already toured the Colosseum, been to the Vatican Museums, thrown my coins into the Trevi Fountain, and eaten basically all the food in Rome – in fact, it was my third visit to Rome, and I was looking for something new to try.
So I decided to book a boat-hopping Amalfi Coast day trip with Walks of Italy.
I've taken several tours with Walks in different cities all around the world, and have always been extremely impressed by them. They focus on small groups, hire local guides, and get you access to places and experiences you won't find featured on any other tours.
This Amalfi Coast day trip was no exception; in fact, it was one of my favorite Walks tours I've ever taken! (Check it out for yourself here.)
Note: I was a guest of Walks of Italy on this tour, but as always all opinions are 100% my own.
Boat-Hopping on the Amalfi Coast
The morning started early at 7:00 a.m. I met my guide and the rest of my group at Rome's Termini train station, where we grabbed some coffees and leisurely boarded a fast train to Naples.
Even though Naples looks pretty far away on the map, the train ride from Rome took just over an hour.
In Naples, we met up with a driver and boarded the small bus that would transport us from Naples to the town of Positano at the heart of the Amalfi Coast. The drive to Positano took a little over 1.5 hours, but the time passed quickly as our guide shared some history and other background info with us along the way.
The Amalfi Coast is an extremely popular part of Italy – both with tourists and Italians. It also only stretches a little over 30 miles (50 kilometers). Add to this narrow and twisting 2-lane roads, and you can imagine how busy and traffic-filled this part of Italy can get in the high season.
I personally would never want to drive these roads myself (let alone have to deal with finding parking – eek!), and was extremely glad to have someone else doing the navigating.
Late morning in Positano
We arrived in Positano by about 10:30 a.m., and were dropped off at the top of the town. (Positano is basically built into cliffs, so there's essentially a top and bottom.) Our guide led us down to the waterfront and showed us where we'd be meeting up later to catch a ferry to our next stop. Then we had some free time in Positano.
Since it was too early for lunch, I walked along the beach for some photos, stopping to dip my toes in the sea. The public beach was still busy in October, but the town itself didn't feel too crowded at this time of year.
Then I headed back up into town in search of a shop where I could get some custom sandals made. Positano is known for its leather sandals, and several shops can make you custom ones on the spot!
I ended up going to Artigianato Rallo, which was all the way back at the top of the road, but had excellent reviews. The shop has been passed down through several generations of shoemakers, and the custom sandal experience there was top-notch. I picked out my style and leather colors, and then the shoe wizard (my choice of noun) measured the straps to fit my feet and made them right in front of me.
Because I can be pretty indecisive when shopping (and because there were a few people in front of me), I spent about an hour getting sandals made. This meant I didn't have time to grab a proper lunch in Positano before meeting my group back down by the beach at 1 p.m. – but I didn't mind. It had already been a great day!
Ferry to Amalfi
We moved on to the boat-hopping portion of the trip next. We met up early enough to be the first group in line for the 1:30 p.m. ferry that stops at several spots along the Amalfi Coast. I appreciated this forethought by Walks of Italy, along with the tip our guide gave us about sitting on the left side of the boat for the best views.
The 25-minute ride to Amalfi town was extremely beautiful, first seeing Positano from the water, and then the towering coastal cliffs that this part of Italy is so well-known for.
Amalfi in the afternoon
When we arrived in Amalfi, there was an optional visit to a lemon farm included in the tour. We all opted to do this, even though it meant climbing 250 steep steps up into a local lemon grove.
Once at the top, though, we all agreed it was worth it. The farm had a shady terrace for us to sit at and enjoy the views along with tastes of lemons, lemon cake, and of course limoncello.
After the tastings, we had maybe an hour of free time in Amalfi.
The town is small and was pretty crowded even on an October afternoon, but I still had time to do a little souvenir shopping, visit the Amalfi Cathedral, and grab a lemon sorbet before meeting my group back at the ferry terminal.
Ferry to Salerno and back to Rome
We caught the 4:30 p.m. ferry to Salerno, seeing the rest of the Amalfi Coast in the late afternoon.
Once in Salerno, we headed straight for the train station to catch a high-speed train back to Rome. This ride took about 2 hours, but our guide provided us with some snacks and wine to help pass the time.
We ended up back in Rome just before 8 p.m. It was a long day, but I'm still so impressed by how smoothly everything ran, and how much we were able to see!
I would love to return to this part of Italy on a future trip, but seeing what I did in a day was at least a great start.
Is it worth taking an Amalfi Coast day tour?
In a case like mine where you have limited time but still want to see this iconic part of Italy, then I do think it's worth it to take a day trip to the Amalfi Coast.
You can see a surprising amount in just one day, including both Positano and Amalfi.
This particular tour with Walks of Italy is an excellent option because it includes enough organization to keep you on track, but also builds in a nice amount of free time. Plus, there are SO many photo opportunities! I would definitely recommend this option to anyone looking for an Amalfi Coast day trip from Rome.
Book the same tour I did here: Boat-Hopping On The Amalfi Coast: Day Trip from Rome
This was how I spent my last day in Italy, and I can't think of a better way to have ended the trip.
Did you know you could take a day trip to the Amalfi Coast? Would you?
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