GETTING FROM ROME TO AMALFI (and environs)
A very common question on this and other travel sites is how to most efficiently travel from Rome to the town of Amalfi (or nearby hamlets) without spending around 400 Euros for a private transfer.
Here I will lay out the alternatives, some of which are seasonal, others year-round. But I will start out from Rome FCO Airport, for the benefit of those travelers going directly from plane arrival in Rome to Amalfi.
FROM ROME FCO AIRPORT TO CENTRAL ROME (for onward connection to Amalfi Coast)
1. By airport train: Trenitalia runs an unreserved airport train nonstop from Rome FCO to Roma Termini Station every 30 minutes, travel time 32 minutes, 14 Euros, where travelers can connect to frequent high-speed Trenitalia trains to southern Italy. This train is guaranteed even during rail strikes. Alternatively, Trenitalia also runs an unreserved airport train to Roma Tiburtina Station every 15 minutes (every 30 minutes on Sundays), travel time 48 minutes, 8 Euros, useful for those travelers intending to connect to the ITALO TRENO high-speed service from Tiburtina to southern Italy (this airport train service is not guaranteed during rail strikes). You must validate the paper ticket for the airport train before boarding (you do not need to validate the ticket for the onward reserved train). You can purchase both tickets (for travel on Trenitalia, not ITALO TRENO) at the airport train station, where you will find both electronic ticket machines and manned agent windows. If you choose to use one of the travel agencies at the airport, you will pay a small surcharge. The ticket for ITALO TRENO (if not purchased electronically) must be purchased at Tiburtina Station.
2. By airport bus: There are currently three airport bus operators from Rome FCO to Roma Termini Station, with roughly hourly departures taking around 60 minutes and at fares ranging from 4 to 6 Euros, useful for connections to the Trenitalia high-speed trains to southern Italy departing from Roma Termini. These buses depart from the bus bays at the far end of Terminal 3 arrivals level, within sight of the airport train station. The bus drops passengers outside of Termini Station (in the case of TAMBUS and Terravision directly on the sidewalk adjacent to the station itself, and within steps of the station building). The airport bus is handy only to save money; otherwise, the nonstop airport train to Termini Station is faster and usually more punctual.
3. You need to allow at least 20 minutes connection time between the actual arrival time of the inbound airport train and the scheduled departure time of the outbound train to southern Italy. The incoming airport train may not be punctual. Also be aware that the arrival times of the airport buses are very approximate (they can get caught in heavy street traffic), so you really need to allow greater connection time to the onward train. Obviously, you’ll need more connection time if you want to purchase food or beverages to take on the train with you to southern Italy!
FROM CENTRAL ROME TO SALERNO BY FAST TRAIN
Now that you have arrived at either Termini or Tiburtina station, you need to connect to the high-speed train to Salerno (not Naples). Take Trenitalia from Termini Station (or competitor ITALO TRENO from Tiburtina Station).
Trenitalia operates three types of fast, reserved trains from Termini Station to Salerno: the most frequent is the older, less appealing Intercity (IC) train, which takes three hours and has a “BASE” fare of 28 Euros. There are two daily more modern Frecciabianca trains which take 2.5 hours and have a “BASE” fare of 40.50 Euros. The fastest and nicest trains (Frecciarossa and Frecciargento) take two hours (they alone take the high-speed rail line) and have a “BASE” fare of 46 Euros. All of the Freccia trains travel nonstop to Naples, while the Intercity trains make three stops en-route. (No daylight train travels nonstop from Rome to Salerno). Capacity-controlled, discounted fares as low as 19 Euros on the Frecciarossa/Frecciargento trains, and 9 Euros on the Intercity and Frecciabianca trains, are also offered with an advance purchase of up to FOUR MONTHS, but it is VERY RISKY to book these promotional fares for travel immediately after arrival by plane. If you were to MISS your reserved train while holding a promotional ticket, you would FORFEIT the ticket and be required to purchase a new, “BASE” fare ticket to Salerno! So, if you want to “take your chances”, you could book the lowest fare of 9 Euros on the Intercity train, and keep your fingers crossed. Otherwise, be prepared to pay “full freight” with a “BASE” fare ticket. Also, be careful to take a DIRECT train to Salerno rather than one which requires a connection at Napoli Centrale (which will only lengthen the journey). Purchase food and beverage at Roma Termini Station before boarding your train to Salerno, because on-board catering (when available) is extremely limited and of lesser quality. However, the made-to-order ILLY Espresso coffee on the Freccia trains is fairly good.
Competitor ITALO TRENO currently runs eight trains per day from Tiburtina Station to Salerno at a “BASE” fare of 41.50 Euros, taking about two hours. Capacity-controlled, discounted fares as low as 19 Euros are also offered, but it is VERY RISKY to book these promotional fares for travel immediately after arrival by plane, as noted above.
The quality of service of ITALO TRENO compared to Trenitalia’s Frecciarossa/Frecciargento trains is very similar, with only minor differences. The quality of service on the Trenitalia Intercity train is noticeably inferior. The Trenitalia Frecciabianca train is better than the Intercity, but not as nice as the Frecciarossa/Frecciabianca (or ITALO TRENO). Nevertheless, all of these trains are air conditioned, although sometimes the system does not seem to work particularly well on the older Intercity trains.
BEWARE: If you’re considering purchasing an ELECTRONIC ticket at the “BASE” fare for travel from Rome to Salerno (or Naples) in advance, in order to avoid needing to purchase a traditional paper ticket at FCO airport or at the Termini/Tiburtina train station, be aware that you will FORFEIT the ticket if you MISS your reserved train by MORE THAN ONE HOUR. The discounted promotional tickets referenced above have no grace period, while the “BASE” fare ticket has a grace period of only one hour (in case you MISS your train). Also, do not purchase an ELECTRONIC ticket for the airport train to Termini or Tiburtina, because it has a validity of only 90 minutes from the departure time of the train shown on the receipt (insufficient if your plane arrives late). Instead, purchase a traditional PAPER ticket for the airport train once you arrive at the airport train station. Don’t forget to validate the paper ticket for the airport train before boarding!
CHILDREN’S TRAIN FARES
Children up to the age of 4 years, 0 days travel FREE on all trains, without a ticket and without a guaranteed seat.
ONE child up to the age of 12 years, 0 days travel FREE on the Trenitalia airport trains to/from FCO Airport, with ONE paying adult. Excess children up to the age of 12 years, 0 days travel at a 50% reduction.
Children up to the age of 15 years, 0 days travel at a 50% reduction on the Trenitalia RESERVED trains (Freccia and Intercity).
When offered, the “BIMBI GRATIS” promotion allows children up to the age of 15 years, 0 days to travel FREE with at least one adult paying the “BASE” fare.
ITALO TRENO children’s discounts vary according to type of fare category. Consult their website for details.
TRENITALIA TWO FOR ONE FARE
If you’re starting out from Rome after having overnighted, and are taking a RESERVED Trenitalia train on a SATURDAY, you can purchase the Trenitalia 2X1 promotional ticket in advance, and save 50%:
As with most other promotional fares, 2X1 tickets are non-refundable and also non-changeable, and you forfeit the ticket if you MISS your reserved train for any reason other than a missed connection from another Trenitalia train where you have an official connection time of at least 15 minutes. Note that the Trenitalia SUPER ECONOMY fare can sometimes give a discount better than 50%, and it is not limited to Saturday travel.
FROM THE SALERNO TRAIN STATION TO AMALFI (OR ENVIRONS)
The last leg of the journey is also the most scenic. There are essentially two options, but the first is seasonal (April through October only):
1. Walk 800 meters from the Salerno train station to the landing dock of the Cooperativa Sant’Andrea ferry boat off of Piazza della Concordia (straight out the station front doors in the direction of the waterfront). Allow a full 10 minutes to complete this very easy, flat walk along asphalted sidewalks. Take the ferry boat to Amalfi (35 minutes, 8 Euros). Be certain that your train gets into Salerno in time for the last boat to Amalfi (boat departure time may vary from shoulder seasons to peak summer months). You can’t reserve the boat trip, just purchase the ticket from the kiosk at the dock. You can bring heavy luggage on board with you. Before accessing the dock area, you can purchase ice cream or pastries at “La Madrega Gelateria e Frullateria”, along the Lungomare, at the corner of Via Mauro Clemente leading from the Station, just before crossing the busy road (Lungomare Marconi) to get to the boat dock. A few steps west from here is “La Madrega Gastronomia-Primi Piatti” where you can get a cafeteria-style hot meal, and further still (at the next street corner going west, Via Giacinto Vicinanza) is a pizzeria (“Pizzicorio Pizzeria-Rosticceria-Trattoria”). Across the busy road, notice the covered bus stop. This is the spot where you get off the SITA bus RETURNING to Salerno from Amalfi. It’s also the spot where buses to PAESTUM stop. Beyond the bus stop is a monument (tall column surmounted by a statute). Beyond the monument is the path leading to the ferry dock.
BEWARE: The ferry boats are subject to cancellation during inclement weather, and some boat departures may be curtailed at the tail ends of the service season (early April or late October). It’s always best to telephone the boat operator before arriving in Salerno, to verify departure times. Use your cell phone, if available.
2. From November through March (when the ferry boats don’t operate), and indeed at other times as well, you can choose to take the hourly SITA bus (unreserved seats) from the Salerno train station to Amalfi (75 minutes; 3.80 Euros). Purchase the ticket at the travel agency inside the station foyer. Board the bus directly across the lane from the train station (where there is a passenger island). Note that the same bus drops passengers at Vietri sul Mare, Cetara, Maiori, Minori and Atrani before terminating the run at Amalfi (the fare is only 2.50 Euros to Vietri or Cetara). If you plan to use the SITA bus again along the Amalfi Coast within 24 hours, you may save money by purchasing the 24-hour bus ticket for 7.60 Euros, or even a 3-day ticket for 18 Euros. You must validate the ticket on board the bus on its first use. Heavy luggage should be placed in the under floor luggage compartment. The bus makes a couple of stops in Salerno before heading up the hill to Vietri. Sit on the left side (facing the driver) for the best views. If you need a coffee break before taking the bus, there is a Chef Express café/bar next to the travel agency, walking to your LEFT as you exit the station.
3. Want to spend a night in Salerno before proceeding along the Amalfi Coast? The Hotel Plaza, smack in front of the Station and steps away from the Lungomare, is the handiest place (although lacking in charm). There are also many bed and breakfast locations going in the direct of the Centro Storico (1 kilometer west of the Station), although you would want to reserve these in advance during the travel season.
GOING TO VIETRI SUL MARE, CETARA, MAIORI, MINORI OR ATRANI?
Get off the SITA bus from Salerno at your destination (there are three stops in Maiori along the waterfront). Don’t forget your luggage in the hold!
GOING TO RAVELLO?
Take the hourly SITA bus from Amalfi up the hill to Ravello (25 minutes; 2.50 Euros or 7.60 Euros for the 24-hour ticket). A taxi will cost 30 Euros. If arriving in Amalfi by ferry boat, it’s a short walk along the waterfront to the bus stop to Ravello. If arriving in Amalfi by SITA bus, it’s an extremely short walk (within visual sight) across the large parking lot to the bus stop to Ravello. The bus to Ravello often has standing room only (if that).
GOING TO PRAIANO?
At Amalfi, you can connect to the hourly SITA bus bound for Sorrento, which stops in Praiano (25 minutes; 2.50 Euros). A taxi will cost around 30 Euros. Note that another solution would be to travel from Rome to Napoli Centrale by fast train, then take the half-hourly Circumvesuviana commuter rail (unreserved seats) to Sorrento (65 minutes; 4.10 Euros), then take the hourly SITA bus from Sorrento (train station) to Praiano (75 minutes; 3.80 Euros). This same routing is useful if your final destination is Positano (although a faster solution to Positano would be via ferry boat from Salerno).
GOING TO POSITANO?
The fastest solution is to connect to the seasonal Cooperativa Sant’Andrea ferry boat to Positano from Salerno-Concordia Dock (70 minutes; 12 Euros). Outside of this timeframe, the most direct solution is to travel via Naples and Sorrento (as per above).
WHAT ABOUT A PRIVATE TRANSFER TO AMALFI FROM SALERNO OR NAPLES?
This will cost around 100 Euros from Salerno or 120 Euros from Naples. Naples to Positano by private transfer will cost around 120 Euros (which is a vast improvement over 400 Euros from Rome to Positano or Amalfi).
ROME TO AMALFI WITH NO CONNECTIONS
Travelers (and especially those with mobility issues) should be delighted to know that there is a daily direct bus between the Roma Tiburtina BUS depot and Amalfi (stopping also in Positano and Praiano) from June through September, with absolutely no connections or transfers. You get on the bus in Rome and get off at your final destination of Amalfi, Praiano or Positano. You place your heavy luggage in the baggage hold. There are also year-round direct buses to Sorrento. Marozzi is the bus operator. A rest-room stop is make en-route to Sorrento. The direct bus to Amalfi departs at 7:00 a.m. and arrives at 12 noon, and a one-way ticket costs 21.50 Euros. You board the bus at the Roma Tiburtina BUS depot, which is located 300 meters from the Roma Tiburtina train/metro station. You can get there from central Rome either by taxi or by underground metro. However, the 7:00 a.m. departure makes this an option only for those people overnighting in Rome (and not connecting from the airport).
ROME FCO AIRPORT TO SALERNO BY DIRECT AIRPORT BUS
Few people know that there is a direct airport bus between Rome FCO Airport Terminal 3 and the Salerno bus depot (where you can connect to the SITA buses to Amalfi), operated by Buonocore Group MONDAY-WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY throughout the year, and daily except Sundays and holidays from June 15 through September 15. The fare is 20 Euros for adults and 10 Euros for children up to the age of 10 years, 0 days. There is a 5-Euro charge for a second or subsequent piece of heavy luggage (the first piece is free). The 15:20 departure time from FCO airport makes this a viable option for plane arrivals between 12 noon and around 14:00. It takes four hours to reach Salerno. Once again, this bus solution works very well for people with mobility issues.
SITA BUS TICKETS ALONG THE AMALFI COAST (UNICO COSTIERA)
45 minutes: 2.50 Euros
90 minutes 3.80 Euros
24 hours: 7.60 Euros
3 days: 18 Euros
REMEMBER to validate your ticket as you board the bus. Tickets are sold at many tobacconists, newsstands, cafes and some shops near the bus stops. They are also sold at the travel agency inside the foyer of the Salerno train station.
UNICO CAMPANIA TICKETS
If you plan to use public transportation along the Amalfi Coast AS WELL AS to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples, Paestum, Caserta or elsewhere within the Campania Region, the UNICO CAMPANIA 3-day tourist ticket (20 Euros) will probably be a better value than the UNICO COSTIERA bus tickets (which are valid only along the Amalfi Coast from Sorrento to Salerno). The UNICO CAMPANIA 3-day ticket is valid on many operators (see website for complete list), not just the SITA buses, Trenitalia unreserved trains and Circumvesuviana trains. However, it is NOT valid on ANY ferry boat or hydrofoil, nor on the buses or funiculars on Capri. Do not confuse the UNICO COSTIERA tickets with the UNICO CAMPANIA tickets.
If you also plan to visit museums or archeological sites in the Campania Region, consider the CAMPANIA ARTECARD:
TUTTA LA REGIONE 3 days (32 Euros): includes public transportation, 2 free entrances, and 50% reduction on third and subsequent entrances
TUTTA LA REGIONE 7 days (34 Euros): NO public transportation, 5 free entrances, and 50% reduction on sixth and subsequent entrances
ARTECARD NAPOLI 3 days (21 Euros): includes public transportation WITHIN NAPLES, 3 free entrances and 50% reduction on fourth and subsequent entrances (Naples ONLY)
ARTECARD 365 days (43 Euros): NO public transportation, 2 free entrances within 365 days to ALL sites within the ARTECARD circuit in the Campania Region
You can also purchase the various ARTECARDS for back-to-back use, and/or in combination with the UNICO CAMPANIA 3-day tourist pass and/or the UNICO COSTIERA tickets. Be aware that the 7-day Tutta la Regione ARTECARD does NOT include public transportation, whereas the 3-day version does. Purchase the ARTECARD at any participating museum or archeological site, or at the Infopoint inside the Napoli Centrale train station. Consult the website for full details.
DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been taken to report current information as of the date published, all schedules, fares and prices must always be re-confirmed prior to departure, as they change from time to time. Discounted promotional fares described above are subject to cancellation, seasonal curtailment, modification, replacement with new fares, or subjection to further limitations. Train categories are not guaranteed, as different equipment is sometimes substituted. Travel times and schedules are subject to delay due to inclement weather, mechanical problems, track maintenance, and labor unrest. Ferry boats and hydrofoils are subject to cancellation due to poor weather. Features of discounted tickets are also subject to change. The foregoing discussion represents generalized travel information, and does not replace individualized travel planning.