How to Visit the Amalfi Coast on a Budget

How to see Positano and the Amalfi coast on a budget

Few places can rival the breathtaking beauty of the landscapes of the Amalfi coast. It’s not hard to see why this place has attracted visitors since the days of ancient Rome. However, this preferred playground of the rich and the famous isn’t known for its wallet-friendly prices. In fact, many have abandoned their Amalfi dream after seeing what a night at some of the most popular hotels costs. Nonetheless, a visit to the Amalfi coast doesn’t have to bankrupt you. Here are a few travel tips to help you visit this spectacular destination on a smaller budget.

Where the rich and the famous go on holiday

The Amalfi coast is beautiful

Photo: The small town of Amalfi has just around 5000 permanent inhabitants. During the summer months both Amalfi and its neighbouring towns fill up with visitors from near and far.

With some of the most popular luxury hotels charging up to a staggering 4000 euros a night it’s easy to understand why many budget-travellers shy away from the Amalfi coast. Favoured by influencers, movie stars and wealthy jetsetters the most popular spots on the Amalfi coast are definitely not cheap. Prepare to pay a hefty sum for accommodation and food as well as certain activities.

A quick look at the prices for July 2019 in the most desired locations, like Positano and Capri, shows that even the cheapest hotels usually charge closer to 200 euros a night. The majority are something between 200 and 400 euros a night. In case you’re staying several nights you’re looking at quite a grand total just for accommodation! For most people, these kinds of sums are enough to break the budget.

Adding to the growing list of expenses is dinners and lunches at the glamorous seaside restaurants, costs of beach clubs, transportation and activities.

Can I see Positano and the Amalfi coast on a budget?

Fiordo di Furore is beautiful

Photo: Beautiful Fiordo di Furore lies halfway between Amalfi and Positano. Admiring it is free of charge!

After that introduction you might be wondering if it’s even possible to visit the Amalfi coast unless you’re a millionaire. Absolutely! As it so happens, by far the best things about the Amalfi coast can actually be appreciated completely free of charge. Admiring the breathtakingly beautiful scenery, watching the azure sea at the foot of steep cliffs to which pastel coloured houses cling. Breathing in the spellbinding scent of rosemary and lemon tree blossom. Enjoying the warm embrace of the Italian sun.

Save significantly by choosing your accommodation wisely

As stated earlier, accommodation can be insanely pricey in the most popular spots, like Positano, Amalfi and Capri. But these are certainly not the only nice places to stay on the Amalfi coast. There’s a wide range of other lovely towns all along the coast that offer accommodation for a fraction of what you’d pay in the most favoured places. You can try Furore or Praiano for more budget-friendly hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Another option is to set up base camp in the nearby metropolis Naples and make day trips to the Amalfi coast. Naples offers significantly cheaper accommodation for every travel budget possible, from backpacker hostels to luxurious hotels.

Avoid high season when prices soar

How to see the Amalfi coast on a budget

Photo: Not only will visiting the Amalfi coast in April save you some money, you’ll also be able to appreciate the gorgeous coast when spring is in full bloom. 

There’s a huge difference in prices depending on when you choose to visit the Amalfi coast. July and August are by far the most popular months to visit the Amalfi coast and thus the prices climb to their peak at this time.

You can save quite a bit by travelling to the Amalfi coast before or after high season. Try April or October for example. The added bonus is avoiding the worst crowds and heat waves!

Personally I love April in Amalfi! I get really uncomfortable and anxious in huge crowds and the small towns on the Amalfi coast with their narrow alleys aren’t great at absorbing hordes of tourists. In April the amount of people is still moderate. Spring is slowly turning into summer and beautiful flowers blossom everywhere. The temperatures are warm enough to be enjoyable, but you avoid the scorching summer heat this region experiences in July and August.

The Amalfi coast is beautiful

Photo: Even in April weather can get so warm that people flock to the beach. This is what the Amalfi beach looks like in April, just imagine the crowds in July and August!

Prefer picnics and skip the fancy restaurants

The Amalfi coast is beautiful

Photo: There are plenty of beautiful locations for a picnic. Swap at least a few of your lunches at fancy restaurants for picnics in the sun and your travel budget will last you longer.

One of the main reasons for many of us to visit Italy is the amazing food. So it might feel wrong to cut back on costs when it comes to food. Nevertheless, by being smart about your meals you can save a lot of money.

If you eat every single one of your meals at the fancy upscale beachfront restaurants of Positano, Capri and Amalfi, the total cost of food for your trip is going to be enormous. I would definitely not recommend leaving out restaurants altogether, after all, the delicious food is what makes Italy so special. But eating at least one of your daily meals, as a picnic will help you cut back on costs a lot.

Supermarket prices are generally pretty affordable (at least compared to Finland), so shopping for food there is a good way to save money. There are gorgeous places all around the coast where you can enjoy a nice picnic with the same sea view that the fancy restaurants offer (or even better).

In general the rule is that the further away from the jet set spots you venture, the lower the prices.

Gelato in Amalfi

Photo: Do NOT even consider saving money by leaving out gelato. The Italian ice cream is like a little piece of heaven in your mouth and is definitely worth every euro. Have as many as you possibly can!

Avoid the costliest activities and enjoy the beautiful nature

Hiking the Path of Gods on the Amalfi coast

Photo: The views from the Path of Gods are so incredible they’re almost surreal. There are tours that offer to take you here for as much as 200 euros. My advice is to steer clear from the tours and do the hike independently. Walking this trail is totally free so you’ll save a hefty sum and you’ll get to enjoy the trail by yourself.

For me personally, my absolutely favourite activity to do on the Amalfi coast is hiking. And how much does it cost? Yes, you guessed it – it’s free!

The Amalfi coast offers an amazing range of beautiful hiking trails and narrow paths with breathtaking views over the azure sea. For example, try the famous Il Sentiero Degli Dei, the Path of Gods. This trail goes from Bomerano (above Furore) to Nocelle (near Positano) and offers amazing views all along the way. Make sure to walk it in the direction of Positano for the best views.

If like me, you love history, why not head to the famous ancient city of Pompeii? The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD buried a whole ancient Roman city, preserving it to our days. The entrance fee at 15 euros for the whole day is practically a bargain.

Ancient Pompeii is a must-see

Photo: Did you know that the amphitheatre in Pompeii is the oldest surviving amphitheatre (at least that we know of)? It was built around 80 BC and buried when Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.

Forget private yachts – hop on a ferry

See Positano on a budget

Photo: This is what Positano looks like admired from aboard one of the ferries that frequently transport passengers from one coastal town to another.

Many people say that the best views of Positano are from the sea, watching the pastel coloured houses rise almost vertically from the sea. To see this view lots of people who visit the Amalfi coast will splurge on a private bout tour.

Without a doubt this has to be an amazing and unforgettable experience for those who can afford it. But with prices ranging from around 100 euros up to 800 euros for a day, this is an activity that most certainly won’t sit well with everybody’s travel budget.

If you’re travelling on a shoestring, don’t worry! You can admire the beautiful view of Positano and the Amalfi coast from the sea for a more wallet-friendly price.

There are ferries that traffic most of the main routes, for example from Positano to Amalfi or from Positano to Capri. A one-way ticket is around 8-10 euros. For instance, try the ferry from Amalfi to Positano for gorgeous views!

Don’t forget that there’s also excellent bus service throughout the Amalfi coast. For just a few euros you’ll be able to get from one town to another and explore the area for just a fraction of the price of a taxi or chauffeur.

How can I see the Amalfi coast on a budget?

Photo: The SITA buses traffic the popular routes along the Amalfi coast. For a couple euros you can get from one town to another. Just be prepared – these buses can get pretty crowded from time to time!

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