Amalfi seems to be getting more attention of late as an alternative to Sorrento, Positano and Praiano. While the town certainly has its pluses and minuses, there is no question that it affords good public transportation connections to the surrounding areas, which is one reason that people select it as a "base" for travels in the area.
A common question asked here and on other travel sites is "how do I get from the Rome Airport (FCO) to Amalfi". This posting attempts to answer that question.
Let's start by mentioning the most expensive but most convenient option: hiring a private car/driver directly from FCO airport: this will cost around 400 Euros, which is quite a large sum for many travellers. If selecting this option, shop around. Also, consider public transportation.
Now, let's break down the travel options using public transportation:
FIRST, we need to get from FCO Airport to Roma Termini train station. Here, there are several possibilities:
1. Taxi: 40-45 Euros, plus a small supplement for luggage;
2. Car service: prices vary, but figure around the same as a taxi;
3. Trenitalia nonstop airport train: 14 Euros; takes 32 mins.;
4. SIT Airport shuttle bus: 8 Euros; takes 40-80 mins.;
5. Terravision Airport shuttle bus: 4 Euros (internet fare);
6. COTRAL night bus: 7 Euros (ticket from driver).
(I won't mention some of the other "roundabout" options)
NOTE: The airport BUSES take you to a stop outside of Roma Termini station, but within easy walking distance, simply by crossing the busy street or the large square in front of the station. The airport TRAIN pulls into dedicated tracks which are in a remote part of the station. You then need to walk 5-10 minutes to connect to mainline trains. The nonstop airport train is guaranteed in case of a rail strike. BE SURE to allow ample time to connect from the airport bus/train to the next stage of the trip.
NOTE: SIT Bus Shuttle and Terravision also connect Roma Ciampino (CIA) Airport with Termini Station.
SECOND, we need to get from Roma Termini station to SALERNO (not Naples) by direct train (preferably one NOT requiring a connection in Naples). There are three categories of direct trains between Roma Termini and Salerno:
1. Intercity train: 25 Euros and 3 hours;
2. Eurostar train: 39 Euros and 2.5 hours;
3. Frecciarossa AV high-speed train: 48 Euros and 2 hours.
OBSERVATIONS: The first train of the day (an Intercity) leaves at 6:27 a.m. and the last (a Frecciarossa) at 21:00. The Intercity train is the cheapest and most frequent. It makes three quick stops before Naples, then proceeds on to Salerno. The Eurostar (older model train, going to Reggio Calabria) travels nonstop from Rome to Naples (but only saves about 15 minutes), yet costs 56% more. The very fast Frecciarossa goes nonstop to Naples via the less scenic high-speed rail line, and saves a full hour of time compared to the Intercity (at twice the fare).
Lower, advance-purchase "MINI" fares are also available for each of these trains (sold on a capacity-controlled basis), but these fares are discouraged for travellers connecting directly from an arriving flight, because "MINI" fare tickets cannot be changed on the day of travel, and become totally worthless if one MISSES the reserved train. However, if one were staying overnight in Rome, choosing one of the "MINI" fares could save the travellers quite a bit of money, as discounts range from 10% to 60% of the regular "base" fare. Read the rules and restrictions of the "MINI" fares before buying!
THIRD, we need to get from the Salerno train station to Amalfi:
OPTION 1 (April through October only): walk 800 meters (10 minutes on foot) in the direction of the waterfront and take the Cooperativa Sant'Andrea ferry boat direct to Amalfi (7 Euros; 35 mins.).
NOTE: Ferry schedules are somewhat limited and may not always be convenient to arriving trains. If travelling in April or October, it's a very good idea to call the operator on a cell phone before arriving in Salerno to verify schedules and operation of the ferry, since some runs may start up or wind down early in the season. In bad weather, the boats are subject to being cancelled (or delayed), which is another reason to call ahead. Buy the ferry ticket from the kiosk opposite the landing dock.
OPTION 2 (year-round): take the hourly SITA bus which departs from directly outside the front doors of the train station.
NOTE: Purchase the UNICO COSTIERA bus ticket (3.60 Euros, maximum 90 mins. of travel) from the travel agency in the foyer of the station. If arriving in Salerno on a Sunday (travel agency is closed), you'll need to find another ticket vendor in the vicinity of the station. Ask the newsstand vendor inside the station (which sells UNICO CAMPANIA tickets for local residents but not necessarily the UNICO COSTIERA tickets for non-residents), or look up the location of vendors open on Sundays in the Unicocampania website. Stow heavy luggage in the underfloor luggage compartment of the bus. This bus stops in Vietri sul Mare, Cetara, Maiori, Minori, and Atrani before terminating its run in Amalfi. Travel time to Amalfi is approx. 75 mins. Bus schedules are published several times per year on the SITA website, and buses generally run hourly from 6:00 a.m. to 21:30, with somewhat fewer buses on Sundays.
sitabus.it/sitabus/…QUADROXV.pdf (this is the schedule valid from 14/09 through 31/10, 2011)
1. DISCOUNT BUS TICKETS FOR TRAVEL ALONG AMALFI COAST (Salerno to Sorrento including Ravello):
UNICO COSTIERA 24-hr. ticket: 7.20 Euros
UNICO COSTIERA 3-day ticket: 18 Euros
These tickets are often a better value than buying single-ride tickets for 2.40 Euros (45 mins.) or 3.60 Euros (90 mins.). Note that the first ticket above is a 24-hr. ticket and not a one-day ticket (whereas the second ticket is a 3-day ticket and not a 72-hr. ticket). Tickets start their validity from the moment "validated" (punched) in the stamping machine on board the bus. If you fail to stamp the ticket on the bus, you risk being fined.
2. DISCOUNT TICKET FOR BUS/TRAIN TRAVEL THROUGHOUT CAMPANIA REGION (including Amalfi Coast): UNICO CAMPANIA 3-day tourist ticket: 20 Euros (also covers everything covered by the UNICO COSTIERA tickets described above). Covers a multitude of routes, including all Naples/Sorrento/Salerno city buses, Naples subway and funiculars, Trenitalia unreserved REGIONALE trains (but not the faster reserved trains) throughout Campania, Circumvesuviana trains, Mt. Vesuvius buses, SITA buses throughout Campania (including along the Amalfi Coast), CSTP buses between Salerno and Paestum, buses on Ischia and Procida, Circumflegrea and Cumana rail, EAVBUS buses, ALIBUS between central Naples and NAP Airport. Does NOT cover any ferries or hydrofoils, or buses/funicular on Capri. Usually a better value than the 3-day UNICO COSTIERA ticket described above (unless one is NOT travelling outside of the Salerno/Sorrento quadrant).
3. CAMPANIA ARTECARD: If planning to visit museums or archeological sites within the Campania Region, consider purchasing one of the Campania Arte Cards, some of which include free transportation by bus/train. In particular, consider the 3-day "tutta la regione" artecard (27 Euros) which includes all the transportation benefits of the UNICO CAMPANIA 3-day ticket described above, plus free entrance to TWO museums or archeological sites in the circuit, plus a 50% reduction in the entrance fees to additional museums or archeological sites. Note that there are several varieties of artecards (some of which do NOT include transportation). Don't get them confused! These tickets also being their validity period from the moment first USED on a conveyance or at a musuem/archeological site.
4. There are elevators at the Salerno train station which service tracks one, two and three (but not tracks four or five). They are accessed from a passageway to the right of the main station entrance (past the Chef Express cafe). They are NOT accessed from the foyer of the station. When alighting from the train, you'll find them roughly at eye level with the toilets/Chef Express cafe across from track one.
5. Fares and schedules quoted above are believed to be accurate as of the date of this posting, but are not guaranteed to be correct, since they are taken from internet sources which are not always current. Travel times are accurate but not guaranteed to be exact, and are always subject to travel conditions and delays. Also, fares, schedules and routings are subject to change and should always be verified prior to start of travel. The foregoing is general information, and should not be relied upon in the absence of individualized travel planning.