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We actually got a driver from Naples train station right to Positano. We stayed there for 6 nights and used it as a home base to see the other sites and cities. You can take a 30 minute boat or bus ride to Amalfi from there. You can take a bus or boat to Sorrento (boat was about 30-40 minutes if I remember correctly). You can easily get a boat to Capri (30 minute boat ride) from Positano. You can get a bus from Amalfi to Ravello easily. I personally decided not so spend time in Naples based on things I read. I am sure some people enjoyed this city, but I decided it wasn't for us so we did not see any sites there or spend time there.
As far as the best way to get there, I recommend a car. The roads are so windy I can't imagine doing that on a huge bus without getting sick. I suppose you can take the boat from Naples to any of the major Amalfi cities (Positano, Sorrento, Amalfi or Capri), but you have to get a taxi from the train station to the dock, then hope the boats are offered within a reasonable time after arriving to the dock. It just seemed like to much hassle for us so we got a car and driver. It costs about 90 euros from Naples train station to Positano.
My parents want to travel to Amalfi (from London area) but cannot fly. What's the best way to get there via boat or rail or combination of both Thanks
We stayed in Sorrento for 7 nights (which we got to from the Naples Airport by taking a taxi the the Naples port and then a scenic forty-minute-or-so boat ride from the port to Sorrento).
From Sorrento, we did the Amalfi Drive via public bus (DO NOT DRIVE THIS TREACHEROUS, CRAZY, WINDING, NARROW ROAD UNLESS YOU HAVE A DEATH WISH!) to Positanto. The next day we took a boat from Sorrento to Amalfi. (Two women on another public bus threw up because of the turns-every-ten-seconds and swift speeds of the bus.) You take a boat from Sorrento to Capri. When you're on Capri, do yourself a favor and hire one of the many private taxis and drivers at the port to take you around the island. It'll cost a pretty penny--about 90 euros ($112.00 when we were there in mid-Oct.) but it was well worth it....Otherwise you'll just see tourist trap shopping in Capri, tourist trap shopping in Anacapri and the Blue Grotto (which you'll have to pay probably thirty or forty dollars round trip to get to anyway!). Re Ravello: it's supposed to be beautiful, but we skipped it because of all the time and inconvenience involved in getting there...and apart from a beautiful vista we heard it didn't have all that much to offer to warrant the expenditure of time and energy.
You can do it fairly easily without a car. Be warned, though, that the buses along the Amalfi Coast are very crowded and don't always stop to pick up more passengers if they are full. We were able to avoid problems by taking an early morning bus.
There is ferry service on all your destinations listed (except Ravello) but it doesn't run all year, or in inclement weather.
We took a train from Rome to Naples, local transportation (the Circumvesuvia) to Sorrento, from Sorrento a hydrofoil to Capri, then a ferry from Capri to Positano. We visited Amalfi by bus from Positano, and returned to Sorrento from Psitano by bus. This was over the course of 8 days.
Ravello is served by bus from Amalfi town.