Sorrento or Positano or Amalfi: Which One to Stay In?


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If you’re planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast, it’s likely going to be quite overwhelming to decide which town or towns you will be staying in during trip. With many towns lining the picturesque cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, you may want to stay at more than one to get a deeper feel of this famous region of Italy. Wondering whether you should stay in Sorrento or Positano or Amalfi will depend on a few different things; your interests, budget, and ability to manoeuvre to, from, and around where you stay. 

Sorrento tends to be the best choice for budget-conscious travelers, Positano for those that want the quintessential Amalfi experience and Amalfi for those who want a quieter stay. However, there are a lot more factors to consider when choosing where to stay on the Amalfi Coast.

Read on to better acquaint yourself with these three famous Amalfi Coast towns and get a better idea of where you’d best be suited on your trip. 

Sorrento

Sorrento; the entrance to the Amalfi Coast. While Sorrento isn’t technically part of the Amalfi Coast, it’s important that it is included when planning your trip to the Amalfi Coast and deciding where you will stay. 

Being known for its abundance of citrus and mouth-watering Sorrentine Limoncello, Sorrento is a town with a lot to offer. Including wonderful accessibility to Naples and the Amalfi Coast, lower accommodation and food prices, and stunning sunset views to capture during your trip on the Amalfi Coast.

Sorrento Harbour
Sorrento Harbour

Accessibility

Getting to Sorrento

In comparison to Positano or Amalfi, Sorrento is easily the most accessible town to reach during your stay in the Amalfi Coast. With the local “Circumvesuviana” train station in the center of the town, you can reach Sorrento directly from Naples by a short 50-minute train ride. 

This also makes it quite accessible if you are flying into the Naples airport or arriving by train at the Naples central train station.

If you are flying into the Naples “Capodichino” airport and will be staying in Sorrento, the most cost-effective option is the Curreri bus, it takes about an hour and a half and costs around 10 euros each way. 

It is a very scenic route, so it is recommended to sit on the right side of the bus to get the best views during your ride!

If you prefer to have your own transport in Sorrento, you can find options for hiring a car on Rentalcars.com which aggregates prices across a number of providers.

Getting Around Sorrento

Like most of the other towns in and around the Amalfi Coast, it’s pretty easy to get around town by foot, but there are also busses within the town to help you get around if you’d like to give your feet a break! 

With that being said, with the crazy traffic within these small coastal towns, it’s likely going to be easier to not hire a car if you’re just staying in one destination rather than braving the traffic and hiring your own car.

There are also busses and ferries departing regularly that connects Sorrento to the other towns in the Amalfi coast. 

Driving to Amalfi
Driving along the Amalfi Coat

Affordability

Sorrento is still quite a touristy destination but thanks to it not being directly within the Amalfi Coast, accommodation prices are quite a bit lower if you’re comparing Sorrento vs Positano or Sorrento vs Amalfi. 

The average cost of a hotel room for one night is around 145 euros for a decent room. There are also quite affordable Airbnb rentals available in Sorrento that come out to around 80 euros on average for a private room. 

You can also expect to pay a little lower for a meal in comparison to neighboring Positano or the smaller namesake town of Amalfi. For example, the average cost of a meal in Sorrento is around 15 euros, and the average cost of a meal in Positano is typically around 30-40 euros. 

If you’re hoping to head to Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, tickets for Pompeii are 16 euros and 10 euros for Mount Vesuvius. There are also various tour companies that transport you to both and include both tickets in one.

With that being said, if you’re looking to decide between Sorrento, Positano, or Amalfi solely based on affordability, Sorrento is likely going to be the best option for your Amalfi Coast itinerary. 

Fresh fruits and vegetables in Sorrento
Fresh fruits and vegetables in Sorrento

Things to do in Sorrento

We know it as “Sorrento” and the locals refer to it as “Surriento”.

Sorrento may not be directly in the heart of the Amalfi Coast, but staying in Sorrento doesn’t leave you without options of things to do. From enjoying a delicious seafood meal alongside the Marina Grande, at Porta Marina Seafood to wandering through the streets of the old town that had long been conquered by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, French, and Spanish. 

There are also lovely little shops and cafes throughout the center of the city starting at the grand Piazza Tasso.

Although there are many things to do to occupy your time, one of the downsides to Sorrento is the lack of beaches to spend the day lounging in and catching the hot Italian sun. 

If this is one of the main purposes and interests of your trip and you’re wondering whether to stay in Sorrento, Positano, or Amalfi; Positano or Amalfi are definitely the spots for you.

You can also use Sorrento to your advantage as it’s a great base for the Amalfi Coast as well as visiting other places nearby. Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius are closer to Sorrento vs Amalfi or Positano and are terrific day trips, also with a lot of great hikes nearby if you’re looking for more physical activity. 

If visiting these sites is at the top of your must-do list during your trip and you’re wondering whether Sorrento or Positano or Amalfi is best for you, I’d definitely go with Sorrento.

Pompeii
Nearby Pompeii

Where to Stay in Sorrento

If you’ve determined that Sorrento is the right base for you, then you’re going to need to find a great place to stay. There are countless options to choose from but if you’re struggling, have a look at these suggestions:

Hotel Leone – This mid-range hotel is a great option for those looking for comfort and convenience in Sorrento. They have a number of rooms available and there is even a delightful swimming pool and bar on site. Click here to see their availability

Magi House Relais – If it’s luxury you’re after while visiting Sorrento, then you cannot go wrong with this grand hotel. Situated in an 18th-Century building within easy distance of the beach, they have a number of plush rooms available to choose from. There are also plenty of other great amenities to ensure you want for nothing while in Sorrento. Click here to see their availability

Corso Italia Suites – For those looking for a comfortable self-catering option in Sorrento, then these apartments are a great option. They have studios, one and two-bedroom options available and they even allow pets for those traveling with a dog. Click here to see their availability

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Sorrento hotels!

Town of Sorrento
Town of Sorrento

Positano

If you have any prior knowledge of the Amalfi Coast, the images that your mind evokes are likely those of the famous town of Positano. With the beautiful colored homes clinging to the edges of the mountains, Positano is the epitome of a classic Italian summer destination. 

It’s the perfect location to explore many more of the other towns on the Amalfi Coast and you won’t be without opportunities to spend time on glistening blue beaches and eating Italian classics that can’t be rivaled. 

Accessibility

Getting to Positano

If you’re coming to the Amalfi Coast from Naples, Positano is technically going to be the first town in the Amalfi Coast that you will reach. This makes it pretty convenient if you don’t want to travel too far into Amalfi but you also want to stay directly in the Amalfi Coast during your trip.

If you’re comparing Positano vs Sorrento and want to stay in one of the Amalfi towns without traveling too far, Positano is going to be where you’ll be best suited. 

To reach Positano from Naples you can first take the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento (the last stop) and then either take a SITA bus or ferry to Positano. The bus takes around an hour, is the cheaper option and gives amazing views but it isn’t recommended for those who experience car sickness or feel uneasy on such narrow winding roads. 

The ferry is also another option but only runs in the summer and during the daytime. This will take around 45 minutes and will cost about 15 euros. 

Getting Around Positano

As far as getting around Positano, it is likely going to be the most asking of physical activity compared to Sorrento or Amalfi. Positano is a lot more demanding physically to get around due to the many many steep steps throughout the town. 

You won’t need to hire a car seeing as the town is so small but how steep it makes it more challenging to get around by foot. If you’re someone looking for more of a physical challenge and don’t mind, it’s an incredibly cute town to explore by foot. With its winding pathways and not knowing what’s around the corner, you’re surely in for a treat.

There is also a small bus that goes from the main road up and down the other side of the town. It runs every half hour and will definitely help if your feet become tired!

Sign to Positano & Sorrento
Sign to Positano & Sorrento

Affordability

One of the few downsides to staying in Positano is without a doubt the cost. The popularity of Positano comes with a hefty price tag, with the average nightly cost at a decent hotel being around 200 euros and the average cost of a meal setting you back around 30 to 40 euros.

If you begin booking and planning your trip early in the year for summertime, you may be able to snag a private room in an Airbnb for a little less.

Most sights are free to enter as most of them are historical churches, but what you’ll need to be mindful of is the cost of beaches. It’s difficult in the summer to find a spot on a public beach, and expect to pay between 10-20 euros for a chair and umbrella at a private beach.

While Italy, in general, isn’t a very expensive destination, this region is going to be harder to find affordable options. If you’re set on staying in the area but the cost is an issue, another option is staying in the town next door, Praiano. You can reach Positano from Praiano by a 25-minute bus ride, and costs are going to be lower as well as the volume of tourists.

Praiano
Praiano

Things to do in Positano

When you’re planning your trip to the Amalfi Coast and need to decide whether you will stay in Sorrento or Positano or Amalfi, how you are most interested in spending your time will largely come into consideration. 

If you’re looking to spend most of your time outdoors, whether at the beach, on a boat, or hiking, Positano is probably your best bet. The most popular hike (for good reason) is the “Sentiero degli Dei” or the Path of the Gods.

It’s known for its spectacular scenery and panoramic views from every angle. It’s pretty feasible for even the less experienced hiker and is about 5 miles (8 km) and will take between 1 ½ to two hours.

The beautiful domed Church Of Santa Maria Assunta of the 13th century sits in the center of Positano and is worth the visit. It is also a great middle point for the town to figure out where you are and where you’d like to go.

When most people visit Positano, the day typically goes back and forth from eating, spending time at or in the sea, browsing the town, and then doing it all over again! 

If you’re looking for something more unique to do during your time in Positano, there are a lot of various cooking classes throughout the town. Maybe try your hand at making a classic pizza or a local Amalfi Coast pasta dish!

Path of the Gods Hike
Path of the Gods Hike

Where to Stay in Positano

If you’ve determined that it’s Positano that is the place for you over Amalfi or Sorrento, then you’re likely looking for a solid accommodation option. If you’re wondering where to stay, check out these top suggestions:

Villa Celentano – For those looking for a mid-range hotel in Positano, then this place is an excellent choice. Located only a stone’s throw from the beach, they have a number of lovely rooms available and some rooms are even equipped with a full kitchen. Click here to see their availability

Albergo Miramare – If you’re looking to splash the cash in Amalfi and want a luxury accommodation option, then look no further than this plush Positano hotel. They have extraordinary sea views, an excellent location, and plenty of luxe rooms to choose from (among many other amenities), this hotel is a fantastic choice. Click here to see their availability

Le Nereidi B&B – This B&B is another fantastic choice for those looking for a comfortable and convenient self-catering option. They have a couple of furnished apartments available and an excellent location for exploring Positano and the Amalfi Coast. Click here to see their availability

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Positano hotels!

Sunset in Positano
Sunset in Positano

Amalfi

Centrally located within the Amalfi Coast is Amalfi, the town that gave the beautiful stretch of Mediterranean coastline its name. Full of art and history, Amalfi is the perfect town in the Amalfi Coast to stay in if you’re looking for something more culturally rich as well as a slower pace if you’re comparing Amalfi vs. Positano. 

It has much more of a local-small town vibe than Sorrento or Positano and is also easily accessible from many other towns on the Amalfi Coast.

Accessibility

Getting to Amalfi

Like Positano, Amalfi can be reached easily by the SITA bus routes from Sorrento and the other Amalfi towns. Sorrento to Amalfi by bus is about 1 hour and 40 minutes, making it the furthest town of the three. You also have the option to take the ferry to Amalfi from Sorrento. This will take around the same amount of time as the bus route.

Another option to reach Amalfi is directly from Naples by ferry, these routes are only active during the summer months, take around an hour and a half. 

Amalfi is a wonderful central hub of the Amalfi Coast which also lends the benefit of having opportunities to take short day trips to other towns on the coast if you just stay in Amalfi. 

Getting Around Amalfi

Throughout history, Amalfi has long held the eye of invaders hoping to come and invade the town. Because of this, the streets, alleys, and stairways were built in the town to keep invaders lost and as far away as possible.

Fortunately, unlike Positano, Amalfi is quite flat so you don’t need to expect endless steps and stairs to reach the town or your accommodation. 

It’s a joy to wander among history throughout the beautifully tiled streets and alleys without ending with achy feet. It’s nearly impossible to find parking in the town, so again, unless you are interested in traveling between towns, it’s not necessary to hire a car for your trip. 

The town of Amalfi
The town of Amalfi

Affordability

If you’re hoping to stay directly within the Amalfi Coast and are looking into Positano vs. Amalfi, Amalfi is the better option. The average rate for one night in a hotel in Amalfi is about 50 euros cheaper than Positano, being around 150 euros a night for a decent hotel room. 

Considering Amalfi is also within the Amalfi Coast, costs for food clocks in just a little less than Positano and still aren’t as cheap as Sorrento if you’re comparing costs of Sorrento vs. Amalfi. 

Things to do in Amalfi

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay on the Amalfi Coast that offers beach options as well as history and art spots to visit, Amalfi is a great location. The Duomo is a sight that you can’t miss, along with the St Andrew Fountain, the Chiostro del Paradiso, and the Maritime Museum in the old armory. 

When you’re thinking about staying either in Amalfi or Positano, your interests in your trip are important. Positano is known more for the picturesque views and name to fame, but without much to visit and see culturally. Amalfi on the other hand is rich in sites with a lot more to offer if you’re looking to explore art and history.

There are also beaches in Amalfi which are quite nice and are likely going to be less busy than those in Positano. The main beach is Marina Grande where you can expect to pay around 10 euros for an umbrella and chair. You can also head to the opposite end of the beach where there is a small public section where you can just lay your towel down.

Amalfi is closer to the beaches as well as quite flat in comparison to Sorrento or Positano, and that makes it a great location to visit with kids. It’s much easier to navigate around and without the crowds of Positano or Sorrento, you’re likely going to have a much more relaxing trip with little ones.

Duomo di Amalfi
Duomo di Amalfi

Where to Stay in Amalfi

If you’ve chosen Amalfi over Sorrento or Positano, then you’re going to need a great place to rest your head. Check out these suggestions to find out where to stay in Amalfi:

O’Lattariello – If you’re looking for an excellent mid-range choice in Amalfi, this B&B is a perfect choice. They have a fantastic location for exploring the town and they offer a hearty breakfast each morning. Click here to see their availability

Hotel Residence – For those after the high life and luxury in Amalfi, then you cannot go wrong with this plush hotel. They have countless luxe rooms on offer and a number of wonderful amenities to ensure you have a wonderful stay. They are also well-located for exploring all of the highlights of Amalfi and beyond. Click here to see their availability

Amalfitano Apartments – For those looking for their own place while in Amalfi, these apartments are a fantastic option. There are a number of different apartments to choose from (including some with a sea view!) that can suit however large a party you’re traveling with. Click here to see their availability

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Amalfi hotels!

Sorrento or Positano or Amalfi: The Verdict

All three towns are great points on your Amalfi Coast trip but ultimately where you decide to stay during your trip will depend on what suits you best. 

If you are looking for somewhere to stay with more affordable accommodation and restaurant options, Sorrento is likely going to be the best place for you to stay as Positano or Amalfi are going to be more expensive. 

If the quintessential Amalfi experience with lots of beach opportunities and nightlife is what you’re looking for and money isn’t as much of an issue on your itinerary, choose to head to Positano. Although if you’re comparing Amalfi vs. Positano, Amalfi may be better for you if you’re looking for more of a quiet stay, maybe as a family with kids. 

The town of Amalfi will also be ideal for you if you’re looking to stay in the heart of the Amalfi coast but also don’t want the crowds and steep steps of Positano. If you’re looking for the perfect base for your trip, Sorrento or Positano as a base are going to be your best options due to the vicinity and accessibility to other destinations. 

Beautiful Positano
Beautiful Positano

No matter which town or towns you decide to stay in, you’re still going to have a memorable trip on the Amalfi Coast. You’re guaranteed to see the most breathtaking sunsets and eat your way to the end of your trip that you won’t want to end. 

Are you trying to decide where to stay on the Amalfi Coast? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

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Olivia is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Michigan, USA, she is currently living in Athens, Greece exploring Europe and filmmaking. When she’s not travelling or writing, Olivia can be found cooking delicious new recipes from around the world, reading, and spending time outdoors.

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