The Amalfitana, officially known as Strada Statale 163 Amalfitana (SS 163), runs along the Amalfi Coast. A road trip on one of Italy’s most exciting roads is probably on many a bucket list. The Amalfitana leads from Sorrento past such famous places as Positano, Minori, Amalfi and Maiori. Always along the cliffs, always with a view of the sparkling blue Mediterranean. The Amalfitana is only 50 kilometers long, but this short stretch has it all! With a few tips, however, a trip along the Amalfi Coast by car or rental car will be an unforgettable experience!
Tip: The Amalfi Coast is a super popular travel destination and small rental cars that are easy to get through narrow streets are quickly gone! It’s best to book in advance!
➜ Find a rental car for your road trip on the Amalfi Coast here*
- How long does a road trip along the Amalfi Coast take?
- Amalfitana: the most beautiful road in Italy?
- Driving along the Amalfi Coast: is it difficult?
- Tips for a road trip along the Amalfitana (by car or rental car)
- With a rental car or your own car?
- Important tips when choosing a rental car
- Alternative road trips without a rental car
- From Naples to Salerno: even more tips for the Amalfi Coast
How long does a road trip along the Amalfi Coast take?
You should take your time for the Amalfi Coast and plan at least one overnight stay! You can also spend several days or an entire vacation here. The route may be short, but there is simply so much to see. But beware: booking in advance is super important, otherwise it will be really, really expensive during the season!
Welcome to my travel blog!
Hey, I’m Tatiana, a German-Brazilian living in Berlin & the author behind The Happy Jetlagger. I’ve been writing about my travels since 2014. In addition to my job as a flight attendant, this blog is my passion project!
➜ Here you will find tips for the most beautiful places on the Amalfi Coast
Amalfitana: the most beautiful road in Italy?
When talking about beautiful car routes in Italy, the Amalfitana is always included. No wonder, as it is an absolute work of art in modern road construction. The fact that it was constructed at all is a masterstroke: here on the Amalfi Coast, the massive cliffs fall almost vertically into the sea, curving as they do, and in some places tunnels had to be cut into the rock for the Amalfitana.
For fifty kilometers, there is hardly a single straight stretch of road; the car winds back and forth along the bends, rocky outcrops on one side and the sea below. Demanding in terms of driving. Or who has experience with serpentines in our latitudes?
Driving along the Amalfi Coast: is it difficult?
I haven’t had my own car for at least ten years, and you don’t need one in Berlin. I was never an enthusiastic driver either. Nevertheless, I still drive from time to time, and I have no problem finding my way around quickly in rental cars or other people’s cars. I’m not afraid of driving either, but I was still a little queasy before the road trip along the Amalfitana. The many bends, the steep cliffs into the sea, the wild Italian traffic – will I be okay?
It went. With a short familiarization phase. Unexpectedly, I felt quite sick after the first day and numerous bends, even though I was driving myself! On the other hand, the driving itself wasn’t as horrible as I expected, and I’ve brought along a few tips that will help you if you’re planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast by car or rental car.
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Tips for a road trip along the Amalfitana (by car or rental car)
- Avoid the high season! The Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular vacation regions in Italy. It gets really crowded in summer! This only causes additional stress and less driving pleasure.
- Choose the right direction: A trip along the Amalfi Coast is only really fun from Sorrento in the direction of Salento. This means you always have the sea on your right and can enjoy the phenomenal view. I also personally find it much more pleasant to ride close to the steep coast instead of close to the rugged cliffs.
- Use the parking bays: Along the Amalfitana, there are always small parking bays where you can take a short break for photos. Stop as soon as you see a gap. There is not always something free, you might run out at the next opportunity and waiting is not an option due to the narrow road and the traffic behind.
- Drink a lot and suck on lemon drops: At the end of the first day, after a few kilometers on the Amalfitana, I actually felt nauseous and woozy, even though I’m not that sensitive. The many bends are really tough! Perhaps the change in height was added to this.
How fortunate, however, that the Amalfi Coast is known for its particularly aromatic lemons and the Amalfitana is dotted with small stalls. You can buy lemons and all kinds of products such as lemon sweets on the roadside. Just scratch the peel of a lemon and smell it, or suck on a lemon candy, and your queasy stomach is soothed: an old household remedy for travel sickness! Really helps! Drinking a lot helps against the change in altitude.
- It’s best to ride behind a SITA bus! These are the public buses that run along the Amalfitana, and I found it very practical to ride right behind them. On the one hand, the bus drivers know the Amalfitana like the back of their hand and know how tight the next bend will be, and on the other hand, I was able to keep up with their speed: If the bus can do it, so can we with our borrowed Cinquecento.
- Get out of the way of tailgaters: The parking bays are also a great way to let tailgaters pass you! Don’t let your nerves get the better of you, you need more concentration to drive on the Amalfitana.
- Keep your distance: Especially behind a bus! If another bus suddenly comes towards you on a bend or in a tunnel, things can get tight. Such problems are easily solved on the Amalfitana by simply setting the bus back a few or even quite a few meters – it’s practical if you haven’t stopped directly behind it.
With a rental car or your own car?
Driving my own car was not an option for me because I didn’t have one. From Germany, it is also quite a way down to Campania and the Amalfi Coast. This is more suitable if you have more time available. By the way, it’s difficult to get around the Amalfi Coast in a motorhome, caravan or larger vehicle. Motorhomes, for example, are only allowed to drive along the Amalfitana from midnight to 6.30 in the morning, and even that is not easy.
Important tips when choosing a rental car
When hiring a rental car, make sure you have fully comprehensive insurance with no excess! Not that accidents happen all the time (we haven’t had any). But the narrow streets in places like Positano and the usually difficult parking situation can quickly lead to scratches.
So it’s better to spend a little more before you end up with bigger bills later on! We picked up the car in the city after our stay in Naples and set off straight away.
Tip: Don’t rent a car for Naples! Driving there can be very exhausting and public transport, cabs or Uber are much better ways to get around the city. In addition, many car rental companies require the car to be parked only in guarded parking lots due to the risk of theft, which makes parking in the city center more complicated.
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Alternative road trips without a rental car
If it’s too tricky for you to cycle along the Amalfitana yourself: Why not join a tour? Especially if you don’t have much time – e.g. during a short stay in Naples – you can still see some of the beautiful Amalfi Coast.
From Naples to Salerno: even more tips for the Amalfi Coast
On the Amalfi Coast, but also in the surrounding area, you will find many great places for a stopover or a short break. Here you will find inspiration for a trip to the Amalfi Coast with tips from Naples to Salerno:
Travel Guide Naples: The best tips and sights
The best pizza in Naples: where to find the real Pizza Margherita
Pompeii: What you absolutely must see
Excursion from Sorrento (or Naples): A day on Capri
Positano: tips for one day