I will admit it can be a very tempting thought to visit the stunning Amalfi Coast as a day trip from Rome. Infact, there are some tours who will sell you a Rome to Amalfi Coast day trip itinerary. As you plan this trip be aware that the Amalfi Coast located considerably to the south of Rome, even beyond Naples.
Do not visit Amalfi Coast as a day trip from Rome
While Amalfi Coast is not a good day trip idea from Rome, I suggest that you must include Amalfi Coast in your Italy itinerary with at least two days to spare. The location and the spread out nature of the cliffside coastal towns make Amalfi Coast an ideal place to visit over at least 2 days, allowing you to visit Positano, Sorrento & Amalfi. You will also have ample time to explore the attractions and relax.
If you still want a Rome to Amalfi coast day trip
I do understand that some tour operators offer an expensive day trip package to Amalfi coast. The road trip drive from Rome to Amalfi coast is three hours each way. Thus, you have limited time at Amalfi coast and the day trip ends up being one long drive. Of course, the drive along coastal roads of Amalfi Coast is breathtaking but still you will end up with a very superficial day trip.
Train from Rome to Sorrento
Trains from Roma Termini can reach Sorrento station in 2.5 hours via Naples. The trip involves an easy changeover in Naples to the local Circumvesuviana train at Garibaldi station. But be prepared to ignore ‘helpful’ strangers and travel light if you can. There is very little luggage storage space on the local train.
The entire trip can be booked on Trenitalia and costs 40 - 60 euros depending on the time of day and the train you book. Again, I would recommend booking in advance is better (more flexibility of train), and often cheaper.
Best way to travel from Rome to Amalfi Coast
The truth is that the local train journey from Naples to Sorrento is not very comfortable. If I were you I would travel from Rome to Naples by the fast train. Then I would arrange for a 1 hour private car transfer from Naples to Sorrento, or take a shuttle service. Hotels will arrange a car pickup at Naples station and bring you to Sorrento. You can stop along the way; the drive is beautiful and the drivers are knowledgeable.
A comfortable private car transfer to your doorstep in Sorrento costs about 130 euros. This is a great option especially if there are 4 or more travelling. There are also shared shuttle services that charge at 25 euros per head from Naples to Sorrento. You can also pre-book round trips back to Naples.
Do not take the Ferry from Naples to Sorrento
Starting in the spring till the end of summer, there are ferries that take 45 minutes from Naples to Sorrento. Other Amalfi Coast towns are also connected, though there is no direct ferry from Naples to Amalfi town. My suggestion is to ignore this option as it involves way too many transfers for it to be practical unless you have a lot of free time and a very high sense of adventure that comes with multiple transport changes.
Train from Rome to Salerno
If you want to enter the region at Salerno instead of Sorrento, a direct morning train from Rome to Salerno is the most reliable and relaxed way to reach Amalfi Coast from Rome. The 2.5 hour ride from Roma Termini to Salerno station costs about 40 euros per person but the duration and price of the ride changes during the day. Trenitalia fast trains are your best best.
From Salerno train station you can take a bus or taxi into Amalfi town. Well, another option depending on your schedule is to take the train into Naples and then switch to a SITAsud bus that goes directly to Amalfi town.
Drive from Rome to Amalfi Coast?
Some people ask about driving. If you are only going from Rome to Amalfi Coast for a day trip I do not recommend an option to drive from Rome to Amalfi Coast because it is tiring and you will just not enjoy it. Although the drive time is 3 hours from Rome to Sorrento, the roads within Amalfi coast itself, especially the SS163, are winding and packed with traffic during the summer. On a day trip you will end up driving at least for 6 hours and that will not be any fun.
Traveling within Amalfi Coast
The most ideal thing to do is to hire a car from Naples that can be with you for your entire Amalfi coast holiday. If you are using public transport, Buy the 24-hr. UNICO COSTIERA ticket at the Salerno train station for multiple use of the SITA buses along the Amalfi Coast . That will help you save money as you travel within Amalfi coast.
What to see in a day on Amalfi Coast?
For a quick day trip from Rome to Amalfi coast, it’s best to pick one city and explore fully. The first option for picking one town is always Sorento in my view. It is easiest and quickest to access for a one day trip. Many visitors also pick Amalfi as it is closer to Salerno, where you will get off the train.
What if you have 2 days?
In 2 days you can cover the stunning coastal towns of Amalfi, Positano, and Sorrento. In Amalfi, you can visit the Amalfi Cathedral and its medieval cloister, along with the museum of sacred objects. Spend your time in Positano strolling along the town's narrow lanes. Do not miss the panoramas from the upper street approaches on both ends of Positano town. Sorrento is located at the tip of the peninsula that creates the Amalfi coast. You can take in views of the Bay of Naples from the walkways of Sorrento, hugging the clifftop in the center of town.