From Rome to Positano: 5 Best Ways to Get There
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Set on a dramatic cliff on the Amalfi Coast, the colorful houses of Positano are a sight to behold.
Getting to Positano from Rome can be tricky, as the city sits against rocky mountains and only has single-lane roads that provide access. To reach the popular holiday resort city on your own, you might need to combine several forms of transportation.
And although Positano is only 75 minutes away from Rome if you're driving, it might take up to four hours to reach the city if you're using public transportation.
Despite the inconvenience of getting there, Positano is more than worth the effort. Whether you're traveling to the Amalfi Coast by train, bus, ferry, or organized tour, we have a great list of the best ways to get from Rome to Positano.
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1. From Rome to Positano by Tour
For a convenient, worry-free, and very comfortable trip, the Semi-Private Pompeii, Positano, and Amalfi Coast Tour from Rome is the perfect option for travelers who want to combine a few stops with a visit to Positano. It's also a great way to discover the coast in one day and then head back to Rome.
This 12-hour tour is limited to a maximum of eight participants. It starts when you're picked up right at your hotel by an English-speaking driver. From here, you'll start your journey, beginning with a two-hour guided tour of Pompeii Archaeological Park, one of Italy's most famous sites, and then a stop for lunch in Sorrento and to admire the views over the Bay of Naples.
On your way to Positano from Sorrento, you'll make a stop to enjoy the views. When you finally arrive in Positano, you'll have free time to walk around, shop, and explore the narrow cobblestone streets to discover boutiques and historical buildings. If you're visiting in summer, you can head to the beach and enjoy a swim.
This tour also stops at sights around Positano and offers opportunities to see Positano from a distance and to fully appreciate the beauty of this town.
At the end of the day, your driver will bring you back to your hotel in Rome.
2. From Rome to Positano by Bus
For speed and convenience, buses are your best public transportation option - plus they are cheaper than taking a combination of trains or ferries to get to your destination.
Direct buses to Positano leave from the Rome Tiburtina train station once per day at 7am. The Autolinee Marozzi buses are comfortable, offering cozy seats, air-conditioning, and huge windows for panoramic views of the coast. Pick a seat on the right side of the bus for the best views, but be aware the roads are very narrow, and the bus drives close to the edge of the cliffs – if you're afraid of heights, this might turn out to be a beautiful but very scary ride.
The buses stop for 15 minutes near Naples, so people can grab a quick cold drink or stretch their legs before the final section of the trip. Though the ride is supposed to take four hours, it often takes at least one more in summer because of bumper-to-bumper traffic. Make sure you book a ticket in advance to guarantee a seat, as the buses fill up fast.
As with other transportation options, these buses only run between June and September. After September, your best option might be to take a bus or train to Salerno instead and then catch a local bus from there. But keep in mind this will make your trip longer and often inconvenient, as the transfer times might not match.
3. From Rome to Positano by Train and Bus
Getting to the Amalfi Coast by train is a little tricky, but you'll be rewarded with great views along the way, so it's worth a try. Please keep in mind that there are no direct trains, so you'll have to change transport a few times to make your way from Rome to Positano.
Start your trip at the Roma Termini railway station, where you'll need to catch a train to the Naples Stazione Centrale railway station. The Frecciarossa and Italo high-speed trains cover this route in just one hour and 10 minutes – and since they depart from Rome several times per hour, it's almost impossible not to find a seat.
Once you arrive in Naples, you'll have to switch to the regional Circumvesuviana train to continue towards Sorrento. This route takes an additional one hour and 10 minutes, except for the DD Express trains, which stop fewer times along the way and arrive in Sorrento after 50 minutes. Reservations are not needed on this train, and while tickets are very affordable (prices in the single digits), the train has no air-conditioning and very little space for luggage.
A better option is the Campania Express Train, which only runs from mid-March to the end of October. Trains take just 40 minutes between the two cities, have air-conditioned cars, allow for seat reservations, and offer plenty of luggage storage. Tickets are about double the price of regular trains but more than worth it if you're traveling during the peak of summer heat.
Once you get to Sorrento, find the SITA bus stop just outside the train station. This is a local bus, so no seats are guaranteed for the 40-minute ride to Positano. If you have a choice of seats, sit on the right side of the bus for great views over the blue waters of the Mediterranean.
4. From Rome to Positano by Train and Ferry
If you're visiting Positano between March and October, you will have the option to arrive at your destination via ferry. This not only offers a fun ride on the deep-blue waters of the Amalfi Coast, but also a stunning view of the cliff town from down below, as you approach the port in Politano. Ferries don't run during the colder months because the sea is too rough.
To cover this route, you'll have to catch a Freccia Rossa TAV train in Rome and continue on to Salerno, where you'll switch to a ferry.
There are two ports in Salerno: the Molo Concordia pier, right across the street from the train station, and the Molo Manfredi, a few kilometers away (you will need a taxi, or be ready to walk there).
There are two major ferry companies operating from these ports: the NLG service and the Travelmar service. Between the two, there are over 60 ferries covering the route every week. If you're buying tickets online in advance, make sure you check the departure port for your ferry, so you're prepared and don't run late.
Ferries take anywhere from 35 minutes to just over an hour to cover the route. The port in Positano is at the bottom of the hill, right on the beach. To reach your hotel and the center of town, you'll have to climb up the long stairs that start right at the shoreline - if you have restrictions or any kind of issue that makes climbing difficult, this might not be the best transportation option for you.
5. From Rome to Positano by Car
Just over 273 kilometers separate Rome from Positano. In normal traffic conditions, that's about 3.5 hours of driving, first on the A1 Autostrada, then the A3 Autostrada. Italian highways operate on a toll basis, so be ready to stop and pay along the way.
Driving the Amalfi coast road is not for the faint of heart. Once you leave the Autostrada and get into smaller mountain roads, the road becomes narrow and sharp, with curves that can unsettle even the best of drivers. This is especially noticeable in summer, when the roads are filled with not only cars, but also large buses, and you will have to negotiate the corkscrew bends by sometimes driving backward and against the cliffs to let buses turn. As the roads only have two lanes, accidents or even rock falls on the road can also lead to traffic jams that last for hours.
If you're ready to brave the roads, make sure you rent a small car (easier to maneuver the turns on narrow areas).
On your way to Positano, stop by the Abbey of Monte Cassino, a 6th-century monastery (one of the two largest in Italy) that sits on top of a hill surrounded by magnificent gardens.