Practical guide to plan a perfect trip to the Amalfi coast with kids. Find out the most family friendly towns on the Amalfi Coast, the best way to get around, and what to expect when visiting la Costiera Amalfitana with kids.
The Amalfi coast is one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Italy and if you are looking into the suitability of this area to a young family, chances are you already know a few things about this gorgeous corner of Italian coastline
You probably know that the area has stunning high sea cliffs and a winding coastal route.
You have probably heard it is more suited aperitivo sipping than long hours splashing about with armbands.
You may also know that transport can be tricky here, especially if you suffer from fear of heights.
However, you probably also know that the the Amalfi coast is a place of unparalleled beauty and may be wondering how hard it actually is to explore it with kids.
This is where this guide comes in. Visiting the Amalfi coast with kids in tow is possible and, with the right tips, very enjoyable!
All you need are some practical, sensible tips for visiting and some awareness of what to expect.
I have visited the Amalfi coast a several times, thanks to a friend with a family home in nearby Agropoli and I recommend anyone to go, with some preparatory planning!
In this guide, I share all my best tips for visiting the Amalfi coast with kids.
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What is the Amalfi coast?
The Amalfi Coast or Costiera Amalfitana, as it is called in Italian, is a 50 km stretch of coast along a rocky promontory in Campania, in the South of Italy.
It takes its name from the city of Amalfi, an important historical town on the promontory with significant naval and trade history, and it is famous for a scenic coastal drive that connects the many small towns and villages of the area.
The route is deemed one of the most scenic in Italy if not in the whole of Europe and indeed packs a punch in terms of natural beauty and charming villages.
Here, the coast plunges almost vertically into the Mediterranean and the road that meanders along the rocky coastline is framed by the rocks on one side and a drop into the sea on the other.
The coast is dotted by many villages and small towns, all developed adapting to the challenges of this peculiar landscape and is a majour tourist attraction for both Italian and foreign visitors.
Where is the Amalfi Coast?
The Amalfi Coast is in the region of Campania on a rocky promontory stretching into the Gulf of Salerno, on the Thyrrenian sea.
The main getaways towns to visit the area are Salerno and Sorrento, more or less at the two ends of this route, and the closest big city and international airport is Naples.
To give you an idea of distances by car:
- Salerno – Positano: 1h 40 mins (start of the road to the farthest point)
- Naples – Sorrento 1h 30 mins
- Naples – Positano: 1h 40 mins
The towns are connected to each other by the famous coastal route and the transport options include car, bus and ferry (in the good season only).
The distance between each city to the next can be as short as a handful of minutes, but traffic can cause significant delays.
Visiting the Amalfi coast with kids: challenges for families
The main challenges families face in the Amalfi coast have to do with transport, accessibility and child friendly entertainment.
Family friendly transport on the Amalfi coast
Unlike the rest of Italy, the Amalfi coast is not served by the excellent Italian train system.
You can get to Sorrento or Salerno by train no problem, but it is not like Cinque Terre where you can train hop from one place to the other.
This means that for visiting you are limited to road or sea transport (see below pros and cons for each)
Strollers on the Amalfi coast: a terrible match
The vertical nature of the cliffs makes this area stunning but also very difficult for families with young kids.
Many beautiful towns are vertical (Positano is called the vertical city for a reason), have steep steps and are a nightmare with a stroller and let’s be honest, even with a carrier!
Lugging yourself up and down those stairs and alleyways can be exceptionally tiring: if visiting with kids, picking a reasonably flat home base is paramount
Kids activities on the Amalfi coast
The third challenge and this can be a problem or not depending on what type of entertainment you are looking for, is that this is not an area with much ‘for kids’.
The costiera is a gorgeous area for running around in piazzas, catch a boat and a view but this is not an area with lots of playgrounds and entertainment for kids as such.
This is why for this post I have forfeited a paragraph called ‘things to do in the Amalfi coast with kids’ – this is not really a place with ‘things to do’, but an area of natural beauty to soak up in cafes and belvederes.
So, should you visit the costiera amalfitana with kids?
Despite all of the above, yes, absolutely yes!
But only if you are happy with days here be more about long lunches and running in piazzas than full on kid friendly sightseeing or beach days.
While here you do have some beaches here, much better ones for kids are in nearby Agropoli, Gaeta or Sperlonga, which has lovely shallow waters and gorgeous sand
When planning a visit, I also highly recommend you are very conservative with your itinerary: only plan limited stops and favor the cities and mode of transport detailed below
How to get to the Amalfi coast from Rome or Naples
Reaching the Amalfi coast from Rome or Naples is reasonably straight forward.
From Rome, you can take the high speed train to Naples and then change to the local Circumvesuviana commuter train to Sorrento, then local buses/ferry from here.
Also from Rome, you can take the train to Salerno and then then local buses to your town of choice or the regional train to Vietri sul mare, then local buses from there.
From Naples airport, you need to make your way to the local train station and catch the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento and then the bus to your town of choice
Getting around Costiera Amalfitana as a family
If getting to the area is easy enough, the same cannot be said about getting around once in the area, especially with children.
As I mentioned, unlike rest of Italy, the Costiera Amalfitana is not served by trains and this means for this area you rely exclusive on car, bus and ferry.
Each of this options have pros and cons, let’s look at them in details.
Visiting the Amalfi coast by car: pros and cons
The Costiera is a coastal route and as such visiting by car will give you maximum flexibility and the option of adapting your stops and distances covered to the needs of your children.
However, it is a narrow winding road and this means it is unsuiatable for anyone prone to motion sickness – not only you are likely to feel queasy but there are not easy places to stop and get fresh air so that’s something to consider very carefully.
Also, Costiera Amalfitana gets crazy traffic in the good season (spring and summer) and parking places are limited at have a high price tag.
Personally, I find these two things enough to say that the car is not a good idea to visit the Costiera Amalfitana, unless you are going in the very low season and motion sickness is not an issue.
Costiera Amalfitana by bus: pros and cons
The other way to get onto the coastal road is the bus.
Buses operated by SITA serve the road and they are a good option if you want to see the road without the stress of driving yourself.
Some centers also have smaller buses operating as shuttle between towns at certain times.
However, buses have the same issues as cars and while they solve the problem of parking, they do not solve the problem of traffic or curves.
Costiera Amalfitana by boat
My favorite way to visit the Amalfi coast is by boat.
In the good season (late April to end of October) ferries connect many of the coastal towns in the area.
This is a convenient and fun way to get around and one that can work really well with kids.
The boat ride can be fun itself and the views are beautiful: this is my favourite way to visit the Amalfi coast with kids and without!
Best base for families on the Amalfi Coast
After all this I am sure you agree finding a good base for a family trip to the Costiera is paramount.
The most suitable towns for families on the Amalfi coast are Sorrento and Amalfi itself.
Sorrento: the best base for families in the Amalfi coast
Ok, to be fully upfront about it, Sorrento is not on the Amalfi coast as such (it is on the other side of the promontory).
However, it is so close to the towns of the costiera and so well connected it is usually considered part of it and it so nice with kids that gets my vote as the best place for families in the Amalfi coast area.
The advantage of Sorrento as a base are:
- It is beautiful
- You can reach it by train
- It can be significantly cheaper than Positano or Amalfi
- The town is reasonably flat and easy to navigate even with your kids
- The city is well connected to the rest of the costiera by bus and boat
- You have the Gourmet Girls food tours, tours managed by the nicest lady which will make you taste of the local delicacies and get you in touch with an authentic side of Italy that more crowded areas in the area make so hard to find!
A great family hotel in Sorrento is the Hilton Sorrento Palace but you can also check for deals in the area using the search box below
Amalfi is my other choice for a family friendly base in Costiera.
The city is beautiful, reasonably flat and has an incredible history (it was one of the Italian Maritime Republics) which can be very interesting for adults and school aged kids.
It also has a nice paper museum that can be good for kids.
It has a nice duomo and the only disadvantage is the cost: it very much on the tourist path so prices here are at a premium!
Maiori and Minori
The town of Maiori and the nearby one of Minori are not as known as glamorous Positano but they can be a nice base for families who want to visit the area.
The advantage here is that Maiori has a nice beach and there is a nice walk to Minori which can be nice for kids too.
Maiori and Minori are on the ferry line and they can be nice stops for a family excursion as well.
Other towns to visit on the Amalfi coast
If you are spending several days on the Amalfi coast or have slightly older kids, there are several other towns worth seeing.
Ravello is a gorgeous town with amazing views over the sea and some amazing villas that can be fun to discover with kids.
The town center is reasonably flat and while I recommend other towns as a more suitable base, I do recommend to come here as the view and the villas’ landscapes gardens overlooking the Mediterranean are stunning.
Praniano is a lovely small village of little more than 2000 souls with gorgeous views over the Mediterranean and no less than 13 churches!
While not unknown to tourism (you have hotels and restaurants here like everywhere else) it has a very different atmosphere from Positano and is a good place for slowing down and enjoying small alleys, hidden stairways and beautiful views
Furore is a tiny village mostly known to international tourism thanks to its Instagram friendly fjord.
The nature is Furore is incredible: here the water is crystal clear and the cliffs plunge into the sea creating a vertigo inducing frame for this stretch of sea that is hard to forget
Vietri sul Mare
Vietri sul Mare is a lovely village famous for the production of its incredible pottery, famous for a distinctive and colorful style.
This is a great destination if you want easy access to the Amalfi coast (it is one of the closets towns to Salerno) and if you want to go souvenir shopping.
I close this list with Positano because while quintessentially children unfriendly, it is one of the most famous towns in the area and you are likely to want to see it!
I cannot blame you: Positano is lovely but if you are visiting Positano with kids, just be ready.
This town is vertical (forget the stroller, bring a carrier and please take it easy) and is much more Instagram friendly than family friendly.
Do include it in your itinerary if you have enough time and energy but don’t make it your main base if visiting the Amalfi coast with kids
So, in summary: how to see the Amalfi coast with kids?
So, in brief, you you want to visit the Amalfi coast with kids I recommend to:
- Base yourself in Sorrento
- Visit in spring/summer so you can get around by boat
- Favor carrier over stroller
- Be conservative with your sightseeing, only planning one or two stops per day
- If you have a week or more, pick a base with easy access to the beach so you don’t have to move every day (Maiori is a good option)
I hope you found my tips for visiting the Amalfi coast as a family handy. Safe travels in Italy!