Shoestring Traveller: A Budget Travel Guide to the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is one of those destinations that really, really lives up to the hype. From the breath-taking scenery, to the crazy winding coastal roads and the authentic Italian way of life, the Amalfi Coast is a destination that cannot even be described. Words just don’t do it justice! It’s safe to assume that the Amalfi Coast is on everyone’s bucket list. More often than not people believe it has to be done in luxury – damn Instagram influencers! Well, I’m here to prove this theory wrong! Here’s my travel guide to the extraordinary Amalfi Coast, all on a shoestring budget!
A Budget Travel Guide to the Amalfi Coast: Getting thereIt’s safe to assume that the Amalfi Coast is on everyone’s bucket list. More often than not people believe it has to be done in luxury – damn Instagram influencers! Well, I’m here to prove this theory wrong! Click To Tweet
Budget travellers know there isn’t a lot of freedom when it comes to making choices around transport. As I’ve mentioned before, slow travel (buses, trains, boats…) is your best option on a tight budget, and getting to and around the Amalfi was no different! We had just come off the back end of five weeks of travel, so hiring anything that cost more than €10 a day (slightly impossible in the Amalfi) was pretty unrealistic for our budget. So instead, we braved the crowds, said “Grazi!” a few too many times to shmooze our way into seats and hoped that we were on the right bus route to our Airbnb.
The easiest way to get to the Amalfi Coast, from my research, is via Napoli. Depending on where you are staying, you should be able to catch a SITA bus for only €3.40. These buses typically run from outside both Napoli port and the main bus/train station. To catch this bus you will need to buy a ticket prior to getting on board! These tickets can be found from partners that display the SITA SUD logo including newspaper stands and cafes! Catching the SITA bus is a really great option when transporting to the Amalfi, as it takes you to villages that are in the mountainsides- areas trains don’t reach! If you’re staying in Sorrento or Positano however, catching the train may be the better option!
Top Tip: Word of warning when catching these SITA buses, regardless of where from, you must push your way on. It’s in my nature to be patient and let others on first but I quickly learnt you can’t do this here. Especially during the summer season! Make sure you have your ticket ready; you are eyeing up the bus ‘stop’ lights (the buses are highly unorganised at the Amalfi stop so you need to be paying attention) and push your way through the masses to get that bus seat. A little word of warning if you have a problem with motion sickness; you are not going to want to be standing up for this journey.
Whilst you’re staying in the Amalfi, if you haven’t already hired a car or scooter (probably a greater idea for flexibility but a little more pricey) you can catch either the SITA bus or ferry to move from town to town. Our Airbnb host recommended that we avoid the bus at 9am as it’s often ridiculously packed, so we opted for the 12pm bus, however these bus routes/times can always be found on Google Maps and at the local bus stops.
The same pre-purchase ticket system applies for these buses, however they are cheaper- €1.20-€2! The ferries are a little more expensive to catch, however they are a really epic way to view the coast from a sea perspective. For €8-€10 you can catch a half-hour jet boat to any Amalfi destination. I would recommend going from Positano to Amalfi or vice-versa for the best views!
Top Tip: Please, and I cannot stress this enough, do not attempt to walk to and from destinations unless the path is moderately flat. My legs still haven’t recovered from walking up and down the steep cliffs of Furore!
Staying in the Amalfi
It goes without saying that there are plenty of places you can stay, with Positano and the Amalfi town being top contenders. However, during the peak season it’s pretty bloody unrealistic to stay in these places as a budget traveller without saying goodbye to majority of your savings account- and maybe your left-arm. Instead, we spent some time scanning Airbnb (go into map mode and search the area instead of the list for best deals!) and we found the most incredible bed and breakfast located in the hilltops of Bomerano!
Bomerano was an amazing, picturesque and authentic village. For €25 PP/PN we scored a private room at a beautiful Italian couples bed and breakfast, two minutes from the village! Sometimes you get lucky with your accommodation, and this was one of those times. I couldn’t be more grateful for the hospitality and experience our hosts gave us!
€25 not only provided us with accommodation, but also with a beautiful home-made breakfast every morning, half understood but fully embraced conversations and the understanding that during our stay we were more than just guests, we were friends of theirs. I know that people love the epic scenery of coastline views, boasted from numerous Instagram pictures, but if I could give one piece of advice as a tourism and travel enthusiast- it would be to make an effort to stay and immerse yourself in the culture and environments of places like Bomerano. The experience here truly added value to our time exploring the Amalfi!
Depending on where you decide to eat and what (if you get anything other than pizza or pasta do not speak to me) food in the Amalfi can be done pretty cheap! During our stay we mainly spent money on food during dinnertime, as our included breakfast was pretty filling- cake and croissants for breakfast? It’s a yes from me! However, when we did eat out we never spent more than €4-€8 for an impressive Italian meal (our local pizza shop even cut our pizza into a heart, what a wingman!). Supermarkets are pretty scare here, so I would recommend eating locally instead!
A Budget Travel Guide to the Amalfi Coast: Exploring
It’s pretty obvious that when you go to stay in the Amalfi, your main priority is to explore the incredible string of coastal villages that dot along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Sorrento, Positano, Ravello, Furore, Amalfi and Maiori are some of the major towns that have turned from sleepy fishing villages into popular tourist attractions. Depending how long you have in the Amalfi and how you’re travelling, you can get to majority of these spots. However, I would recommend doing a little research and picking a top few day trips to fully experience everything! Here are a few of my top spots to add to your list!
Visiting the actual Amalfi town whilst in the Amalfi Coast is a bit of a no brainer. We spent two full days here, swimming, having a few drinks and watching the tourists roll in and out. There is a public beach available here, with chairs and umbrellas available to rent (but always choose the free option!). After you’ve taken in the insane cliff face views, you can wander through the small township, grab some lunch if you want to get the full Amalfi experience and check out the beautiful cathedral smack bang in between the local shops. To finish your day off, buy a bottle of the famous Limoncello for €6+, or try a shot. It’s renowned here as the best in Italy because of the local growth of lemons!
Fiordo di Furore:
Visiting Fiordo di Furore was at the top of my must-do list whilst in the Amalfi. The once vibrant and popular beach haven has recently been closed off to the public for safety reasons. Visiting is a bit of a ‘risk it for a biscuit’ situation. But, when you see it from above (and have hiked for one and a half hours) you know you have to get down there to explore.
To reach this amazing spot we trekked down (and back up) 144 floors *vivid flashbacks of me slowly dying*. Despite being road blocked by wild dogs (something out of a bloody movie, honestly), the walk itself had some pretty insane views and added extra value when we finally reached the bottom. But if you do hire a scooter, I would definitely definitely drive there.
The main entrance (by the bridge) is closed off by a massive brick wall- please don’t try to climb this for the love of god, I saw someone doing it and nearly passed out from fear. There is a back entrance (follow main path), with a wall that is easier and safer to climb over (moulded and semi-fitted by other travellers).
We spent majority of the day here, and only 6 other travellers came through over 3 hours! It was as if we had a slice of heaven all to ourselves. This place was absolutely dreamy but I would only recommend doing it if you feel safe hiking/climbing!
Path of Gods- Positano
Wanting to visiting Positano but don’t want to get in a crowded bus? Let me introduce to you the breathtaking Path of Gods walk! The trek can begin in either Bomerano or Positano, but I’ll let you in on a little secret… if you begin in Bomerano the path is really easy and mostly downhill/flat! If you go from Positano however, then you are about to start off with 1,500 steep stairs before having to hike for another hour and a half.
The trek takes you along the soaring mountain coastline, giving you indescribable views of numerous villages and the neverending ocean. This was the most incredible way to spend one of our last mornings! The track is free, extremely easy to navigate and leads you to the beautiful Positano to rest for the afternoon. Once you’ve explored the coastline and grabbed as many photos as your storage can handle, head to one of the free public beach areas and spend an afternoon swimming and sunbathing. To end your day take a ferry back to the Amalfi or the appropriate port for your accommodation! Thats €10 for an amazing day out- Amalfi done right!
Exploring the Amalfi was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had! Six days here gave ample opportunity to see a few towns and really enjoy our time, rather than rushing around. I hope that through this travel guide you can see that visiting the Amalfi Coast on a budget is more than possible! For anyone needing that extra nudge to visit this magnificent tourist hot spot, take this as your calling!
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