Pros and cons of driving in Amalfi Coast.
Driving a car in Amalfi Coast is not for the faint-hearted - I read on the internet before we had arrived to Italy. These roads are famously winding, extremely narrow and challenging to drive but providing breathtaking views and offering one of the most exciting driving experiences.
With steep slopes on one side and dramatic drops to the sea on the other. During the high season the roads are packed with tour buses, passenger cars and scooters, all competing for the same space on a hairpin turns.
Buses are the cheapest option of travel but are extremely crowded, often late, stop only on bus stops and take up hours of your time. Car definitely gives you freedom but you have to be confident of your driving skills and focused on what happens on the road because those bold scooter drivers are all over the place. Be prepared for abrupt maneuvering or reversing every time the big bus passes from the opposite direction. Be aware, it is very easy to scratch or break a side mirror of your rented car. On top of that parking spaces are limited and really expensive.
If all of the above did not put you off renting and driving a car I can promise you, the drive is definitely worth the effort and you will experience one of the most beautiful and thrilling scenery in the world.
Few tips on how to drive a car:
- Smaller size cars are easier to maneuver on curvy roads and when parking along streets.
- Keep an eye on scooters because it doesn’t matter how limited space is, they still try to squeeze themselves between your car and bus or rocks.
- Buses have priority over other vehicles. When you encounter a tour bus on one of the many narrow and acute bends, you both won’t fit, stop and engage reverse gear. Car drivers behind you know the drill and all slowly and carefully move backwards until bus can get through.
- If you hear a horn honk from opposite direction, it means that bus is approaching, slower down and drive closely to your side of the road so you both can fit.
- Park your car closely to the side of the road, fold side mirrors to avoid scratches and dents.
- On some sections max speed is limited to only 20 km/h. Traffic along the coastline won’t allow you to drive too fast anyway, but try to not irritate locals and don’t drive to slow neither.
Italians have a reputation for being crazy and reckless drivers. We drove 1400 km last year and around 1000 km this year without a single incidence. In our opinion they are really good drivers but you must comply with one commonsense rule - stick to the slower lane if you don’t drive car fast enough to overtake without blocking drivers behind you. By applying this simple rule and driving with confidence, you will never experience flashing lights from annoyed Italian driver behind you.