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

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by Olivia Ellis

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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 towns to stay in. Choosing 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’re based. 

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; 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 Harbor


Getting to Sorrento

In comparison to Positano and 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 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 browse options here which aggregates prices across several 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 connect Sorrento to the other towns on the Amalfi coast. 

Driving to Amalfi
Driving along the Amalfi Coat


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 it to Positano or Amalfi. 

Expect a mid-range hotel room in Sorrento to start at around €145 per night for a decent room, depending on the season. There are also quite affordable Airbnb rentals available in Sorrento that can even be more affordable if you opt for a private room. 

You can also expect to pay a little less 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 €15-20 at a locally-focused, and the average cost of a meal in Positano is typically around €30-40. 

If you’re hoping to head to Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, there are entry fees for both sites, however, it won’t break the bank. 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 any of these three towns solely based on affordability, Sorrento is likely going to be the best option for your trip. 

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, then maybe consider one of the other towns instead.

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 than to Amalfi and Positano and are terrific day trips. 

If visiting these sites is at the top of your must-do list during your trip, I’d definitely go with Sorrento as a base.

Pompeii is easy to visit from Sorrento

Where to Stay in Sorrento

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.

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.

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.

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

Town of Sorrento
Town of Sorrento


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. 


Getting to Positano

If you’re coming to the Amalfi Coast from Naples, Positano is technically going to be the first town on 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 on the Amalfi Coast during your trip.

So if 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. 

Getting Around Positano

As far as getting around Positano, it is likely going to be the most physically taxing when compared to Amalfi or Sorrento. 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 in the town itself seeing as it is so small. However, how steep it is makes it more challenging to get around on foot. If you’re someone looking for more of a physical challenge and don’t mind, it’s an incredibly cute town to explore on 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


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 starting at at least €200 in the off-season and the average cost of a meal setting you back around €30-40.

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 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.


Things to do in Positano

How you are most interested in spending your time will largely come into consideration when choosing which stay to stay in on the Amalfi Coast. 

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

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. 

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. 

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.

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

Sunset in Positano
Sunset in Positano


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 on 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 to Positano and Sorrento. 

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


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, and 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


If you’re hoping to stay directly within the Amalfi Coast, Amalfi can be a more affordable option than Positano. The average rate for one night in a hotel in Amalfi can be cheaper than in Positano, starting at around €150 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, generally speaking. Of course, there are also going to be pricey restaurants and less expensive food options, to if often depends on where you want to eat. 

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. 

Positano is known more for its 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 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 vs Sorrento or Positano is closer to the beaches as well as quite flat in comparison, and that makes it a great location to visit with kids. It’s much easier to navigate around and without the crowds of the other two towns, 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

O’Lattariello – An excellent mid-range hotel with lovely rooms suitable for couples. It’s a short walk to the nearest beach and there is a great breakfast available daily. There is also a bar at the hotel.

Hotel Residence – If you’re travelling to Amalfi and want to stay in the height of luxury, this is a great choice! Rooms are modern and you can splurge for a sea view with the main town being only a short stroll away.

Amalfitano Apartments – If you prefer self-catering accommodation these large apartments are a perfect choice and can accommodate families or larger groups. It’s a few hundred metres away from the nearest beach.

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

Sorrento vs Positano vs 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 and 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 and 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, both Sorrento and Positano as bases 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.


  1. I am wondering if Sorrento is too long of a drive to see the rest of Amalfi Coast how many day trips would I have to make from there to see Ravello and Priano and Positano as well as Capri? Is Sorento a low crime rate area and is it more of a city than the Amalfi Coast towns? If we stay in Sorrento, do we still get the Amalfi Coast charm and feeling of being in that region? where is it the easiest to get the ferry from to go to Capri?

  2. I would definitely recommend doing two days trips out of it, if it’s possible! It’s definitely possible but it would be quite rushed trying to pack both in one day. Enjoy your trip!

  3. Thank you for the information.
    A question I have.
    If Im base in Sorrento do I have enough time to travel and see both Positano and Almafi town on a day trip or its better to make two separate trips.
    Travelling end of October are the public transportation still as frequent

  4. Excellent article thank-you, we are just deciding on next year’s holidays and we’re asking ourselves all the questions that you have answered.


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