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Capri and Amalfi on a budget

May 2022

Day 1 | Arrival in Sorrento, coach trip to Amalfi, Ravello and Positano

Rome Termini. With the 8.00 a.m. high speed Frecciarossa train, at 9.15 a.m. we are at Naples’ Central Station.

At the station’s newsstand we buy tickets for the Circumvesuviana train (single ride € 3.90) and go down to the -1 floor, in Piazza Garibaldi.

The Circumvesuviana train is full of tourists heading to Pompeii and Herculaneum, we arrive in Sorrento in just over an hour.

Since the 19th century, Sorrento has been a tourist destination with a strong link with the Anglo-Saxon world dating back to the era of the “Grand Tour”. The result is a very different atmosphere compared to other tourist resorts in Campania, less folkloric and more orderly. Bars, restaurants and shops are always crowded with foreign tourists at any time of the year.

For the night I have booked Palazzo Starace, a B&B in the center that I recommend for its excellent location near the train station (5 minutes on foot) and the harbour (10 minutes on foot) although it is rather noisy at night time given that it overlooks Corso Italia, the main street of Sorrento, very lively during the evening.

Vista dal b&b Palazzo Starace Sorrento
B&B Palazzo Starace, Sorrento

After a stop to taste arancini and crocchè from Bar Rita, we  go to take the bus to Amalfi, in front of the train station.

With the COSTIERASITA ticket € 10.00, valid for 24 hours, you can do an unlimited number of trips on buses between the towns of the Sorrento Coast and the Amalfi Coast.

The journey time between Sorrento and Amalfi is around two hours with no traffic. The road is considered one of the world’s most scenic roads but it is single lane, rather narrow in each direction, with many twists and turns. Traffic is very intense on weekends and in high season, so we have planned this trip on a midweek day in May, otherwise it would be unfeasable to see so many places in one day.

Fiordo di Furore
Fiordo di Furore, Wikimedia Commons

The road is overlooking the sea. I feel relieved that I’m not the one driving, at least I can enjoy the beautiful scenery.

We cross Praiano and the Fiordo di Furore. We get off in Amalfi and take the bus to Ravello.

Ravello is 365 meters high and is known for its extraordinary clifftop gardens. Villa Rufolo, in Moorish style, offers a breathtaking view and hosts, every year, in summer, concerts that attract internationally renowned musicians and Villa Cimbrone, a medieval-style estate perched on a hill surrounded by a beautiful garden.

Several couples of foreginers are celebrating their wedding in a setting that couldn’t be more suitable.


On the way back from Ravello we stop in Amalfi. The Cathedral reflects the history of the city. From the Romanesque style of the bell tower, to the Baroque and Rococo with Arab-Byzantine influences that represent the commercial and political autonomy achieved by Amalfi at the time of the Maritime Republics and the sign of the dominations suffered later. The facade and the entire Cathedral are an architectural marvel.

Amalfi, Wikimedia Commons

Around 18 we arrive in Positano.

Positano is one of the most evocative and popular destinations in Italy. Since the early 1900s, intellectuals, artists and celebrities have chosen it as an exclusive holiday destination. John Steinbeck, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Franco Zeffirelli, Liz Taylor and many other people from the international jet set were conquered by the mild climate and the beauty of the landscape. The village with its colorful houses is built vertically and crossed by steep stairways and paths.

At sunset the colors are even more fascinating and there is much less crowd. It is pleasant to stroll through the alleys and the artisan shops where you can buy the typical leather sandals without being harassed by the heat and crowds.

gatto a Positano
Positano scorci

At 9 p.m. we are back in Sorrento. On the driver’s advice we stop at the Leone Rosso restaurant, a worthy place, the food is good and prices are right.

Day 2 | Boat trip to Capri

After breakfast and check out, in about 10 minutes we are at the harbour where we get the hydrofoil tickets to Capri (return cost €38.20). The rides are very frequent (every 15 minutes) and the journey takes just 20 minutes.

Positano scorci
The night before, we bought online a boat tour of the island  (cost €20 per person) lasting a couple of hours. The boat goes by the Faraglioni, the Coral Grotto, the White Grotto, the Natural Arch, Villa Malaparte, the Green Grotto and Punta Carena Lighthouse. It’s a trip I recommend because the price is low and it allows you to see places that are inaccessible walking.

Capri giro in barca
Capri, the coral grotto
Capri faraglioni
Capri, Faraglioni

When you get near the Blue Grotto, you can buy an entrance ticket (€14) and get on the small rowing boats on which you have to lie down to go through the small one meter high natural enttrance to the Blue Grotto.

Biglietteria Grotta Azzurra Capri
Floating ticketing for the Blue Grotto, Capri

The Blue Grotto is one of Italy’s and probably the whole world’s most iconic attractions.

Known since the ancient Rome time it is said that the emperor Tiberius made it his personal nymphaeum. For many years it was forgotten and, since it was rediscovered in 1826 by German painter Kopisch, it has become a pilgrimage destination for thousands of tourists from all over the world.

I believe that the Blue Grotto is one of those things you should see at least once in a lifetime. It just is a breathtaking experience. As soon as your eyes adjust to the dark everything is colored with reflections of an unforgettable blue while the boatmen sing Neapolitan songs.

The photos below are unedited. The water is exactly like this, transparent blue with silver reflections. You feel as if you were flying in the sky.

Grotta Azzurra Capri
Capri, the Blue Grotto
Capri Grotta Azzurra
Capri, the Blue Grotto

Capri is full of places to visit but the most evocative place is the famous “Piazzetta” the square that can be reached from the harbour with the funicular (€2 single ride). Symbol of worldly life and Capri elegance, the “Piazzetta” is the heart of the island. With its bars and panoramic terrace, it is the most exclusive (and expensive) area, which welcomes celebrities and tourists from all over the world.

From this point the main streets of the island wind their way, first of all Via Camerelle, the luxury shopping street with high fashion boutiques. The atmosphere of exclusivity that reigns in the streets of Capri makes it a highly sought-after destination for VIPs and international celebrities.

We walk towards the Faraglioni to the historic Punta Tragara hotel, designed in 1920 by Le Corbusier. The plaque by the entrance reminds us that during the Second World War it hosted U.S. General Eisenhower and  English premier Winston Churchill.

Faraglioni Capri
Capri, landscape from hotel Punta Tragara

For a midweek day in May, there are many tourists, mostly Americans and this beautiful day has a mild taste of summer.

We walk back to Marina Grande (the harbour) and ask for advice for where to eat. We head to Peppino Buonocore’s restaurant where, somewhat surprisingly, we have  avery good fresh fish lunch at a rather reasonable price.

At 15.30 we take the hydrofoil back to Sorrento.


Once in Sorrento we walk towards the train station and take the Circumvesuviana back to Naples. Unlike the previous morning, the journey takes 1h 30, from Sorrento to Naples. Apparently in the afternoon and at peak times the journey is much longer than in the morning. Luckily we left well in advance!

We’re in Rome by 7.40 p.m., the thirty-six hours trip was quite intense.