How to get to the Amalfi coast
To save yourself the long haul back up to the main road, take a ferry instead. The boat passes the fishing village of Praiano and the cleft in the rocks that marks the fjord of Furore. It continues past the Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Grotto), named after the emerald green waters that lap the cave. It's famous all over Italy for the underwater ceramic nativity scene that attracts divers around Christmas time.
The Amalfi Bay
After around half an hour, the boat pulls up alongside the jetty in Amalfi's pretty bay. You could be forgiven for thinking that the plethora of cafes and souvenir shops along the waterfront are reason enough for a visit, but duck under the alleyway and the most incredible church is revealed in the square behind. Adorned with gilded mosaics and decorated inside with frescoes, it occupies pride of place up a flight of steps directly off the piazza. One thing you might notice is the lack of old buildings; a large earthquake back in the fourteenth century holds the key to the mystery, as the former maritime superpower collapsed and was claimed by the sea. While the church was rebuilt, most other historic buildings were not.
One last village you shouldn't miss is Ravello. Reached from Amalfi by a switchback mountain road that takes you inland through the Valle del Dragone, the village is centred around a pretty square. In the corner sits the Villa Rufolo, its distinctive ageing towers the backdrop for a beautiful garden designed by a Scot by the name of Francis Neville Reid, in the nineteenth century. Opposite, surrounded by pavement cafes is the cathedral, whose interior is worth more than a cursory glance. If you're a music lover, then you'll be delighted to know that all through spring and summer, a series of concerts are staged as part of the Ravello Festival.
Getting there by train
The nearest train to the Amalfi coast takes you to Sorrento, a bustling resort fifty minutes from Naples via the new tourist service, the Campania Express. Running throughout the summer months, this train has three departures in each direction and also stops at Ercolano Scavi and Pompeii S. Villa Misteri, sites buried in ash and pyroclastic flows after the AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Alternatively, take the crowded and slower local stopping service, at about half the price. From Sorrento, SITA buses from outside the station connect to the coast. Single fares from Sorrento are Positano for 1.80 Euros* and Amalfi at 2.70 Euros*. A one day hop on hop off ticket costs 8 Euros. Ravello (from Amalfi) costs 1.20 Euros* each way. The boat is slower and more expensive, so take a short hop such as between Positano and Amalfi for 8 Euros for the best of the scenery at the cheapest price.
*Prices accurate on 2nd April 2019
Need to know
Bus tickets can be bought at tabacchi, cafes and tourist information desks and the day pass can be purchased in front of, but not on board, the bus at Sorrento station. Allow plenty of time to catch your Amalfi coast bus at peak periods as there will be long queues. You may well have to stand. From Sorrento to Amalfi, sit on the right-hand side for the sea and stunning views, especially as the road twists and turns into Positano. On arrival into Positano, make sure you get off at the Sponda stop rather than up at the church to save your knees a long schlepp down to the waterfront. When taking the boat from Positano to Amalfi, go upstairs for the best views and grab a seat on the left-hand side.