With its spectacular coast line and gravity-defying vertical towns it is not surprising that the Amalfi coast is one of the most visited destinations in Europe and has a price tag to match. I gasped out loud when I first saw a photo of Positano a few years back – I googled where it was and then filed it away on a wish list as it was not cheap – a night in a 10 bed dormitory in a hostel in low season is €38, so ‘not cheap’ is a bit of an understatement.
Filed but not forgotten – I eventually made it happen this year on a modest budget but still managed to fit in a couple of nights in the town that inspired the whole trip, so I thought I’d pass on any tips in case they are of use.
The latest figure I could find is for 2016 when the average per capita spending for lodging in Italy was around €52 a night – I was just over that this year with my most expensive night being nearly €90 in Positano and cheapest just over €30 in Pompei.
I visited in April this year, just after Easter and the tail end of UK school holidays. It was plenty warm enough for me, and busy enough – the idea of being there during the heat and the throngs of the summer months filled me with dread. I may as well just get this rather obvious tip out of the way first – go out of season – April/May and September/October are the best as the weather is still lovely but the prices drop considerably. Just be aware of school holidays and religious/local festivals during these months when prices will spike again.
Most British people I met were staying in Sorrento and then taking day trips as it is well connected by a local train line, buses and ferries (during season). It certainly is one of the cheaper options and if all the people leaving Naples airport on coaches heading directly to this once quiet town were to go by then there are a lot of package deals to be had. It wasn’t appealing to me and I am a bit rubbish at day trips as I am a late riser and I also like to experience a town during the evening.
I believe you can tell more about a place as the sun dips and dusk slips into night – the air gets cooler but the heartbeat of a town gets hotter.
I chose to stay a few days in each town I wanted to visit – Capri was expensive (and only affordable for me as I was sharing with a friend for this time) as was Positano but in Amalfi, Ravello, Pompeii and Salerno there were deals to be had, it just takes a bit of time and patience. Excluding hostels, staying in B&Bs was by far the cheapest option – many of them were on the various hotel booking sites or AirBnB it just takes time to compare the prices.
It is always worth trying to find the B&B’s own website as booking direct means that they are not paying extra fees so it can be the cheapest option.
I feel lucky to have been hosted by some of the nicest people you can hope to meet – so friendly and welcoming and eager to share their knowledge about the area, sometimes it was like having a concierge but without the expensive hotel costs. Staying out of the center, even if it is just one or two streets is always cheaper and I found it just as safe.
Don’t forget the visitor tax – it differs for each town, the most I paid is €3.50 a night, you pay it in cash to your host no matter what type of accommodation you are staying in so if you’re counting your euros and cents then don’t forget to budget for this too.