Amalfi Coast vs Santorini – a comprehensive comparison

If you’re planning a romantic vacation in one of the most beautiful places in Europe, you‘ll eventually have to decide the winner of the Amalfi Coast vs. Santorini confrontation.

Since we spent considerable time in both destinations, I think I can help you make an informed choice. 

Let’s go!

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Table of Contents

  1. Amalfi Coast vs Santorini – which one to choose?
    1. Where to stay
      1. The Amalfi Coast
      2. Santorini
    2. Getting there
      1. The Amalfi Coast
      2. Santorini
    3. Getting around
      1. The Amalfi Coast
      2. Santorini
    4. Budget
      1. The Amalfi Coast
      2. Santorini
    5. Activities
      1. The Amalfi Coast
      2. Santorini
    6. Perfect honeymoon destination
      1. The Amalfi Coast
      2. Santorini
    7. Beaches and water sports
      1. The Amalfi Coast
      2. Santorini
    8. Food and restaurants
      1. The Amalfi Coast
      2. Santorini
    9. The Winner of Amalfi Coast vs Santorini is…
  2. Useful tools for planning your trip

Amalfi Coast vs Santorini – which one to choose?

Where to stay

The Amalfi Coast

Ravello, Villa Cimbrone
Ravello, Villa Cimbrone

When it comes to where to stay on the Amalfi Coast, there is something for everyone. 

Positano is the most popular destination (particularly for Americans), boasting luxury boutique hotels and breathtaking views. However, there are plenty of other places to choose from.

In my where to stay in Positano guide, you’ll find plenty of accommodation options for any request. 

If you are traveling on a budget, I suggest you check out my comprehensive guide for where to stay on the Amalfi Coast on a budget.  There are destinations for families, couples, and even larger groups of friends. Check out towns like Cetara, Vietri, Maiori, or even Sorrento


Santorini hotel with cave pool
A hotel in Santorini

Santorini has a diverse offering, too, when it comes to accommodation.

While many people believe Oia is the best place in Santorini, there are plenty of other villages with great accommodation options for any occasion and budget. 

For a unique experience, consider staying in a traditional cave hotel with a caldera view, at least for a night or two. It is much better than it sounds :).

Alternatively, here are a few options for hotels with private infinity pools. They are perfect for couples looking for a romantic holiday.

Of course, there are also plenty of budget-friendly hotels and apartments on the island, both on the Western and Eastern sides. They are good, value-for-money offerings with access to the beach and sea. 

To make the best choice and understand a little bit more about how the island is organized, which village to choose to stay in, and much more, make sure to read my comprehensive guide on where to stay in Santorini

Consequently, both Amalfi Coast and Santorini provide a wide range of accommodation choices.

Amalfi Coast vs Santorini 1 – 1

Getting there

The Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast map_location
Amalfi Coast on the map

Located 40 kilometers southeast of Naples, getting to the Amalfi Coast is not difficult, no matter if you land at Naples International Airport or Fiumicino Airport in Rome.

You can always rent a car, pick it up from the airport, and drive to the coast. Alternatively, you can easily get there by public transportation – trains, buses, or boats. 

Driving in a foreign country might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If that’s your case, book a private transfer and enjoy a worry-free journey. 

From Naples Airport is a 1-hour drive, depending on where you choose to stay on the coast.

Similarly, you can get from Rome to Naples in around 1 hour by fast train. Then, take the bus or boat to your final destination (e.g., Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi town).

Check out ferry schedules and prices here!

Amalfi Coast vs Santorini
Amalfi Coast vs Santorini


Santorini location
Santorini on the map

Part of Greece’s Cycladic island chain, not far from Crete or Mykonos, Santorini Island is served by its own airport, located near the capital city of Thira. However, finding convenient flights isn’t always easy.

During peak season, many European capitals have seasonal direct flights to the island. Thus, coming from the US would mean flying into Athens or some other European hub and then embarking on a flight to Santorini. 

In conclusion, traveling to Santorini is more complicated than reaching the Amalfi Coast. 

Amalfi Coast vs Santorini 2 – 1

Getting around

The Amalfi Coast

As mentioned above, there are plenty of options to get around on the Amalfi Coast. 

Driving along the Amalfi Coast is quite a unique experience. Still, renting a car is advisable only for experienced drivers due to the narrow winding roads carved into the cliff face. However, you have plenty of other transportation options to choose from.

The Amalfi Coast is serviced by SITA bus. You can find the bus timetable here. It is worth knowing that you shouldn’t plan your trip to the minute when you choose to travel around by bus, especially during peak season. 

The timetable is more of an aspiration than a schedule carved in stone. Also, some routes are crowded, so you might not be able to board the first one that comes your way.

Buy your ticket in advance from any tabaccheria and don’t forget to validate it once you board.

SITA Bus ticket_Amalfi Coast
SITA Bus ticket / Ingrid

Another option is to travel by boat and admire the coastline from the sea. It is not as crowded, and the ferries connect Sorrento to Salerno, Positano, and Amalfi town, as well as the islands of Capri or Ischia.

Check out ferry schedules and prices here!


Santorini, on the other hand, is a small island with a good public transportation service – KTEL. Their buses connect all of the larger villages of the island, and the prices are affordable.

Even so, it is easier to book private tours that will pick you up directly from your hotel. If you are more adventurous, you can book an ATV tour to explore Santorini or a boat tour to some of the neighboring islands. 

You can do all that here!

Consequently, Santorini is smaller and easier to explore, but the Amalfi Coast compensates for this through good public transportation options. It’s a draw!

Amalfi Coast vs Santorini 3 – 2


The Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is a high-end destination, but that doesn’t mean you cannot see it on a budget. If you know when to visit, where to stay, and how to plan ahead of time, your vacation can be anywhere between budget, mid-range, or luxury. 

As a point in case, the first time I visited, I was a (very) junior corporate employee, so my vacation budget was painfully tight. Still, I managed to spend a few memorable days on the Amalfi Coast.

Consequently, visiting the Amalfi Coast is not cheap compared to other destinations, but you don’t need to break the bank if you plan your holiday accordingly.


Santorini is one of the premium Greek islands, second only to the outrageously overpriced Mykonos.

However, Santorini can be quite affordable if you visit outside of peak season, stay in the southern or eastern parts of the island, or rent an apartment with a kitchen and save on the restaurants.

Also, please note that while there are plenty of luxury restaurants and hotels to choose from, there are also several good-quality, budget-friendly places available.

To sum up, you can organize a vacation for any budget in both Santorini and the Amalfi Coast. However, the Greek island has a wider variety of value-for-money accommodations and restaurants than Amalfi.

Amalfi Coast vs Santorini 3 – 3


The Amalfi Coast

Coasta Amalfitana
Positano / Ingrid

With countless colorful villages, breathless panoramic views, historic sites (such as Herculaneum or Pompeii), and lovely islands, it is impossible to get bored on the Amalfi Coast. 

Plan your vacation with my 7 day Amalfi Coast itinerary, and you will have a step-by-step guide filled with activities, places to see, hikes to go on, and restaurants to try.

You can easily spend up to 2 weeks on the Amalfi Coast without running out of stuff to do. 


where to see the sunset in Santorini
Oia / Ingrid

Although Oia gets most of the attention, Santorini has many other things worth doing and seeing.

Staying in a cave hotel, hiking the volcano, walking on the cliffs along the sea from Thira to Oia, sailing along the caldera for sunset, learning about the local wine production and tasting all the different unique types of wine, or skipping the crowds to see the most famous sunsets – these are all things that will easily fill your time no matter if you are visiting for 3 days or even one week

Thus, while the Amalfi Coast has more attractions to offer due to its larger size, Santorini is no bore either.

Amalfi Coast vs Santorini 4 – 4

Perfect honeymoon destination

The Amalfi Coast

In my opinion, the Amalfi Coast might be the most romantic destination in the world! Positano, with its yellow, pink, red, and blue houses perched on the hill, all the beautiful flowers, boats docked close to the beach, fancy restaurants, and luxury boutique hotels, is the no 1 honeymoon destination for good reason. 

On top of that, only minutes away, you can find places like Atrani or San Lazzaro, where you will feel immersed in Italian life and culture. 

With plenty of romantic activities and trips to choose from, you can plan a honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast. 

I’ve gathered some of the most romantic hotels offering honeymoon suites that will blow your mind, stunning restaurants with breathtaking views but also heavenly food, and everything else one would do on their honeymoon. 


Santorini is another honeymoon destination of choice. Newlyweds from as far as China are flocking to the island every year.

Rooms with private infinity pools facing the caldera, sunset cruises, and wine tasting – Santorini can be quite romantic.

You should also plan a photo session for some unique pictures to immortalize the most important vacation of your life.

Although I am a bit biased toward Italy due to the time I spent studying and working there, the fact is that we spent part of our romantic honeymoon on a Greek island (the other being a Spanish one), so it wouldn’t be fair for me to allocate more points to Amalfi.

Amalfi Coast vs Santorini 5 – 5

Beaches and water sports

The Amalfi Coast

Sure, you will be on the coastline, by the sea, but the beaches aren’t the best features of the area. Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t get the chance to swim in the sea or spend a day or two under the sun. Just don’t expect wide sandy beaches.

There are plenty of small beaches along the coast, and almost every village has its own. There are larger strips in Maiori or Vietri sul Mare, but Positano and Amalfi host small beaches too. 


Being a volcanic island, Santorini is dry and rocky, with hills and cliffs. It is why you won’t find sandy beaches on the island either. 

The most popular villages, Oia and Thira, are built on the top of cliffs, without access to the sea – but almost all hotels and villas have swimming pools.

On the other hand, there are places like Perissa or Kamari, on the eastern part of the island, that offer access to wide beaches and good swimming spots.

However, these are pebble and black sand beaches, so you will want to bring slippers. 

To sum up, neither Santorini nor the Amalfi Coast are particularly good for beach lovers. So, they’ll get 0 points in this section.

Amalfi Coast vs Santorini 5 – 5

Food and restaurants

The Amalfi Coast

When it comes to food, everything boils down to taste.

Additionally, authentic Italian food might be different from what you find in Italian restaurants outside of the country.

This being said, on the Amalfi Coast, you can find plenty of Michelin-star restaurants, but also more authentic ones. All serve fresh food made using local products.

Don’t be afraid to try the most basic-looking places, because that’s where locals go and that’s where food is the best. 


Greek food is absolutely delicious, and in Santorini, you can taste fresh fish and seafood, along with other typical dishes such as the fava beans, tzatziki, or saganaki. 

You can eat at fancy restaurants in Oia and Thira or the corner tavernas in the small villages – food rarely disappoints in Santorini.

Amalfi Coast vs Santorini 6 – 6

The Winner of Amalfi Coast vs Santorini is…

Well, it is a draw!

Both have great food, a wide range of accommodations, plenty of attractions and romantic venues, historical sites, wonderful sea, and not-so-great beaches.

Moreover, none of them are cheap but can be made affordable with the right planning.

If you have difficulties choosing between Amalfi Coast vs Santorini, as we had, you should visit both! It is what we did, eventually, although not during the same vacation. Do the Amalfi Coast one year, and then plan a trip to Santorini the next.

Still undecided? Read also: Amalfi Coast or Puglia? Which one to visit?

Useful tools for planning your trip

No matter which you choose between the Amalfi Coast vs Santorini, here are a few useful things you might need for your trip, no matter where you end up going after all:

  • Omio is your getaway to trains, buses, and flights. All in one place. I suggest using it, especially when booking train tickets for Italy or Germany. Calculate your train fare here!
  • Discover Cars is a great aggregator that will help you save up to 70% on your car rental. They have a pretty good Cancellation policy that would give you options in case your flight or travel plans change. Choose the best price here!
  • Day trips and experiences can be easily booked through GetYourGuide. They have a wide selection of tours and a great cancellation policy that will offer you a full refund if you cancel up to 24 hours before the tour. Explore perfect tours here!
  • Don’t forget about insurance. Our go-to travel insurance is EKTA – they offer great deals for people who travel. Everyone between the ages of 3 and 85 can buy it online on their website and save lots of time (and money).

    Your policy will be sent to your inbox within 2-3 minutes, and you will receive 24/7 multilingual client support. Get the best deal for your travel insurance here!


Santorini or Amalfi Coast

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