The Amalfi coast was always super high on my Italy bucket list. Already smitten with Italy from previous trips, I had lusted after the picture-perfect views of terracotta houses stacked on high cliffs rising from the azure oceans overlooking perfect beaches. So when the opportunity arose to spend 3 days on the Amalfi Coast, I set to putting together the perfect 3 day Amalfi coast itinerary to make the most of my precious short time there.
The result was the most perfect 3 days driving along the Amalfi Coast with stunning views in every direction, spending my time exploring the beaches, towns and islands along this beautiful coastline.
So if you only have a long weekend on the Amalfi coast or you are visiting as part of a longer Italian road trip, this 3 day Amalfi coast itinerary will help you get the most out of your time and show you the bets of The Amalfi coast in 3 days…
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What you can expect from this article...
- 1 An Overview of this 3 day Amalfi Coast Itinerary
- 2 Things to know before you visit The Amalfi Coast
- 3 Your 3 Day Amalfi Coast Itinerary
- 4 What to do if you have more than 3 days on the Amalfi Coast
- 5 Tours in the Amalfi Coast
An Overview of this 3 day Amalfi Coast Itinerary
To see all the best bits of The Amalfi Coast in 3 days, you’re going to be busy! If you want to see it at a slower pace then you may want to stretch this itinerary out over 4 to 5 days, especially if you want a beach day or two.
But if you’re short of time, this is how I suggest you structure your 3 days Amalfi Coast itinerary…
Day 1 Explore Amalfi Town, Amalfi beach and Ravello
Day 2 Day trip to the island of Capri
Day 3 Spend your last day exploring Positano
Things to know before you visit The Amalfi Coast
Firstly, where is the Amalfi Coast?
The Amalfi coast is on the South-west coast of Italy a 3.5 hours drive south of Rome. Naples is the closest big city and has the closest airport. It takes just over an hour to drive to The Amalfi coast from Naples.
When is the best time to visit the Amalfi Coast?
The Amalfi Coast gets busy, like seriously busy! So I would suggest avoiding visiting in the height of summer. Instead, choose the shoulder seasons in Spring and Autumn. The weather will still be warm but it’ll be cheaper, less crowded and the heat will be tolerable.
I would suggest the best months to visit are April-May and September-October.
How to get to The Amalfi Coast
Getting to The Amalfi Coast is not particularly easy. The narrow twisty roads mean that public transport is infrequent and taxis expensive.
You have a few different options for how to get to the Amalfi Coast…
- Hire a Car. This gives you the ultimate flexibility but parking your car can be difficult and expensive in most towns along the Amalfi Coast
- Take a bus or train to Sorrento and then get a local SITA bus to Positano or Amalfi. (Sit on the right side for the best views.)
- Take a bus or train to Salerno then catch a ferry to Positano or Amalfi (great views of the coastline guaranteed.)
- Take a multi-day guided tour of the Amalfi Coast. Often the pick up will be in Naples or Rome so you won’t have to worry about your own transport at all. See the section below about group tours…
How to get around the Amalfi Coast in 3 days
If you have a hire car then you will have plenty of flexibility to visit where you please when you please. It’s also great for stopping in laybys whenever you see a beautiful view you want to photograph. I’ve hired many cars in Italy and have had VERY mixed experiences. By far, my best experience has been with Europcar.
However, car parking can be expensive, sometimes as much as €5/hour. There are car parks in all the main towns along the coast and I didn’t have any problem finding spaces in late May. However, if you are visiting in July/August, you may struggle to get parked at all.
You may also need to stay on the outskirts of town in order to find a hotel with parking.
For those who decide to use public transport, the main methods are by SITA bus or ferries. Try to avoid travelling at peak times as the queues can be incredibly long. At one point, I experienced a full-out war to get a seat on the bus, everyone crushing each other. Not a pleasant experience! I didn’t take any ferries except to Capri Island but I imagine it may be a more orderly experience than the SITA buses where everyone queues in the streets.
The other option is to take organised day trips so you don’t have to worry about parking a car or joining long queues for public transport.
Where to stay for this Amalfi Coast itinerary
I decided to stay near Sorrento since the ferries are more frequent to Capri from Sorrento than any other town. This might suit anyone with longer than 3 days on the Amalfi Coast as it’s quieter and more relaxed. It’s also perfectly positioned to visit Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius if you so wish.
However, the drive to the main towns of the Amalfi coast – Positano, Ravello and Amalfi – always took much longer than I expected. In retrospect, I would recommend anyone spending just 3 days on the Amalfi Coast, to stay somewhere more central even though it might be harder to get to initially! If I did the trip again, I would base myself in Positano. If I had 4 days or more, I would split my time staying in both Positano and Sorrento.
Accommodation near Sorrento
I stayed at Hotel Torre Barbara and I can’t recommend it enough. With a car park for your hire car, bright and airy rooms, friendly staff and a beautiful verandah overlooking the ocean. It also had a brilliant restaurant on site where I had some of the best food I had throughout my whole trip to Italy. I only wished I had more time to actually enjoy my time there and perhaps read a book on that verandah or take a dip in the pool!
Accommodation in Positano
All the following hotels have car parking facilities which is a rare find in Positano!
Budget |Villa Palumbo B&B Whilst there’s no such thing as true budget accommodation in Positano (all that beauty comes with a hefty price tag) Villa Palumbo B&B is still pretty affordable. It was the most affordable hotel I could find which is still central and has a car park for your hire car.
Mid-budget | Hotel Villa Gabrisa A small step up in price gives you this lovely light and airy rooms and a verandah with a pretty view.
Luxury | Casa Nina Located only 900 yards from the main beach, this boutique hotel with its gorgeous rooms and pretty garden balcony, is in the perfect location.
Your 3 Day Amalfi Coast Itinerary
Day 1 in the Amalfi Coast: Ravello & Amalfi
On Day 1, you will visit the far west section of the Amalfi Coast with stops at Ravello, Amalfi and Atrani Beach.
Start with Ravello as it can get very busy here so it’s better to visit in the early mornings. The main highlight in this pretty coastal town is Villa Rufolo and you have no doubt seen photos of this already whilst planning your Amalfi coast trip.
The ideally positioned Villa and its impeccable gardens are one of the most popular places to visit in the Amalfi Coast. The view overlooking the coast is also one of the prettiest viewpoints in this beautiful region of Italy so plan to spend at least an hour or two here soaking up the views.
After visiting Villa Rufolo, I suggest you spend some time exploring the quaint narrow streets and their many pottery shops before enjoying lunch with an incredible view at Il Glicine.
After lunch, head along the coast to Atrani Beach. You can park in the car park which serves both Amalfi and Atrani Beach since they are right next to each other.
Atrani Beach is a pretty pebbled cove which bright blue sunbeds and parasols tucked into the cliffs. There are a few shops and restaurants surrounding it but be aware many of these close in the afternoon for siestas. Have your own siesta and chill out on the beach for a couple of hours soaking up some Italian sunshine.
From Atrani Beach, head through the little tunnel and follow the road down to Amalfi Beach and Pier. This is a busy beach and a great place for people watching and seems to be full of locals catching some rays of sunshine. and playing games of beach volleyball whilst the boats ferry tourists in and out of Amalfi.
Then as the sun is going down, it’s time to explore Amalfi town, the main feature being Piazza del Duomo with its striking cathedral. I’d recommend getting dinner in Amalfi before heading back to your hotel.
Top Tip | Try Pasticceria Andrea Pansa for the best hot chocolate.
Day 2 in the Amalfi Coast: Capri
You can’t visit the Amalfi Coast without at least spending one day in Capri, the infamous island popular with the rich and famous. Capri is expensive so I wouldn’t recommend staying there if you are travelling on a budget!
Luckily it’s easy to take a day trip to Capri which you can organise from Sorrento or Positano. The ferries are more frequent from Sorrento so I’d suggest you prebook from Positano. I would also recommend booking the earliest boat out and the 2nd to last boat back. I have heard many stories of people being stood on the wrong jetty and missing the ferry that it would be a risk to choose the last ferry back.
Top Tip | Even if the later ferries are sold out, some companies will let you get back on any ferry going back to the mainland with a ticket even if you’ve missed your time slot. Check with your boat operator first!
Take a boat tour
When you first arrive in Capri, hop straight on a small boat tour of the island. You’ll get up close to the Faraglioni rock formations and get to visit several grottos including the Blue Grotto. You’ll have the opportunity to pay extra for a little rowing boat to take you inside the cave (you have to enter lying down as the entrance is so tiny) and inside you’ll witness the most incredible bright blue clear water.
You have 3 options for boat tours. The cheapest option (around €18) gives you a quick overview but won’t allow you to swim. There are some more pricey smaller boat trips where you can get inside the other smaller grottos and lagoons and have a swim. Or if you can afford it, you can even hire a private boat and dictate your own route and swimming spots.
Visit Capri Town
After your boat trip, explore the colourful marina, perhaps stopping to enjoy an Aperol Spritz. The take the cable car up to the main town of Capri. The little town has a buzzing atmosphere and you could spend plenty of time here enjoying the views and the designer shops.
After a little window shopping, head for lunch at Ristorante Il Geranio. This is not the cheapest of restaurants BUT it has wonderful food, delicious wine, excellent service and most importantly, an absolutely stunning view of the Faraglioni. If you are going to splash the cash anywhere during your 3 days on the Amalfi coast, let this be the place!
Spend your last hour or two exploring the beautiful Gardens of Augustus which look out onto Faraglioni and Via Krupp – the zigzagging path which leads to Marina Piccola. This pathway was closed when I was there but it was beautiful looking down onto it.
After your fill of stunning viewpoints, it’s time to hop on the cable car and head back to the main marina where you should enjoy some gelato whilst you await your ferry back to the mainland.
Day 3 in the Amalfi Coast: Positano
Spend a fairly relaxed last day exploring the pretty town of Positano.
Check out the iconic beach (you must have seen many photos of this beach splashed all over Instagram,) before exploring the pretty town centre and it’s many galleries, restaurants and gift shops. Now is the perfect time to pick up your Italian souvenirs.
Follow the coastal road to find some pretty viewpoints looking back onto the town where you can see the pastel-hued houses stacked on steep cliffs overlooking the pebbled beach with the bright blue parasols.
For lunch, head to Hotel Poseidon. Here you’ll find yet another Instagram-worthy photo location and the restaurant within this hotel also has a swimming pool where you could choose to spend a few hours. In the peak season, you will need to book a table in advance, especially if you want one with the best view.
After lunch, you have two options. You could head to Fornillo beach which is the beach where all the locals hang out. It’s a 10-15 minute walk along the coast to reach it from the main beach. It’s gt a much more relaxed feel to it and you can also hire kayaks here to take out for a few hours if you don’t fancy sunbathing.
Your other option would be to head out of town to Fiordo di Furore, a pretty little fjord with a beach which gets very busy in the summertime. It’s one of the most photographed locations in this region and I was disappointed that I ran out of time to visit during my own 3 days on the Amalfi Coast!
Finally, your 3 day Amalfi Coast Itinerary is over so head back to Positano and enjoy seeing the pretty beach and town lit up at night.
What to do if you have more than 3 days on the Amalfi Coast
If you are lucky enough to have more than 3 days on the Amalfi Coast then there are several things you can do with your extra time. Here are a few options.
- Visit Praiano a less crowded but very pretty town located between Amalfi and Positano
- Spend more time exploring the beautiful city of Sorrento
- Take a private boat trip along the coastline of the Amalfi Coast. Spead the cost between you and your friends and take the boat out for a full day!
- Enjoy a beach day. Choose from the many beautiful beaches including Fiordo di Furore
- Visit the remains of the ancient city Pompeii and get a glimpse into the history of this region.
- Climb Mt Vesuvius, the active volcano which buried Pompeii in AD 79
- Hike the Path of the Gods – a challenging hike with beautiful coastal views starting in Agerola and ends in Positano.
Tours in the Amalfi Coast
If you would prefer to take an organised trip in the Amalfi Coast rather than follow a DIY Amalfi Cast itinerary like this one, then here are a few options.
- 3 Day trip from Rome with ‘Get Your Guide.’ Includes visits to Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Positano and Ravello. I haven’t taken any multi-day trips with ‘Get Your Guide’ but I have taken day tours which have been well organised and good value for money.
- 8 day trip from Naples with G Adventures. Includes visits to Naples, Pompeii, Furore, Ravello, Positano and the Path of the Gods. This trip includes lots of hiking and cooking classes, Perfect for the outdoorsy foodie types. They also have a 7-day trip which focusses more on Sorrento, Capri, Naples and Positano and also includes the Path of the Gods hike. I’ve travelled with G Adventures many times and highly recommend them.
- See The Amalfi Coast from a boat on a 7-day sailing trip with Intrepid Travel. They also offer a land-based trip hike, kayak and sail trip visiting all the places mentioned on this 3-day Amalfi coast itinerary. I have travelled with Intrepid on both their land-based and sailing trips and have always been impressed.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Amalfi Coast itinerary and feel more confident about planning your own 3 day trip to The Amalfi Coast. If you have any questions, feel free to pop them in the comments box below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
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