Renting a Vespa on the Amalfi Coast – Is it Safe?

moped-amalfi-drive

Renting a vespa to explore Italy’s famous Amalfi Coast was one of the most rewarding and beautiful experiences we’ve had on our trip so far, but we couldn’t help but notice the surplus of safety concerns in online forums.

Well, we lived to tell the tale and found a moped to be a great way to get from Sorrento to Pompeii to Amalfi and back. (Remember to check out our route, pictures, videos and day-trip planning advice here.)

We know that everyone has varying levels of experience on a moped and we really can’t make the judgement call for whether or not it’s safe for each and every one of you, but our goal is to provide you with the information you need to know before making the decision to see the Amalfi coast on a moped. Here’s the advice and tips we can give to those considering whether or not to rent a vespa for their trip to the Amalfi Coast:

Things to Consider 

  • How comfortable are you on two wheels and do you have any prior experience on a moped, motorcycle, dirtbike etc.? 
    • The answer to this question should be very comfortable and experienced. If you’re hesitant on a moped, this will be a very tough ride.
    • If this is your first time on two wheels or if you feel uneasy about your skill level, this is probably the wrong ride for you.
  • Season and time of day. 
    • Of course high season will be much more crowded than the shoulder and off seasons. If traffic influences your comfort on the vespa, consider finding alternative transportation. Our ride took place in November and the roads were pretty clear, which was nice.

The Roads

Riding a scooter in this section of Italy would definitely fall in the intermediate to advanced difficulty level if we had to rate it. The roads are very narrow and winding and you never know what might be coming around the corner, whether it’s someone driving like a jerk or a gigantic bus full of tourists. In some places, it may be necessary to stop on a dime to let a larger vehicle go through the narrow roads. To top it all off, most of these roads are on the side of the cliff with only a small guard rail protecting you.

amalfi-coast-road

When driving through the narrow roads of Amalfi Drive along the coast or through the mountains along SP1 or SP2, there are many blind corners and hairpin turns. Keep in mind that large busses and vans drive these roads and you never know when you might run into them, so be prepared. Remember, you don’t have to drive like the Italians or crazy tourists. Just mind your distance, hug the outside of your lane, and if you need to, just go slow. People will pass you if they feel the need.

Driving a Moped in Italy

The rules of the road for scooters in Italy seem to be nonexistent at times. Riders pass cars on either side and very frequently overtake cars and other mopeds despite oncoming traffic. In a traffic jam, mopeds will just ride down the middle lane, passing the long lines of traffic. Always keep an eye out for scooters in the other lane if you do decide to pass another vehicle. We found most drivers to be more on the aggressive side, so you’re better off making the assumption that the moped in the opposite lane will go around a stopped or slow car. Watch out for this.

Moped Tour vs. Renting One Yourself

A guided moped tour can cost upwards of $200, but renting a moped yourself can cost anywhere between $35 and $50 depending on the size of the bike, where you’re renting from and the amount of time you rent the moped for. The benefit of going with a tour group is that you’ll have someone experienced with the area guiding you through a route he or she is familiar with. If you’re like us; however, and traveling on a budget, it’s easier on the wallet to go by yourself, but remember you’ll need to have your route planned and a general idea of where you’re going. To see our route, see our post that breaks down our day-trip. We enjoy doing our own thing sometimes because it gives us the liberty to spend more or less time in the areas that we enjoy and we don’t mind getting lost :).

Tips from our Experience: 

  • Keep a copy of the moped agreement and your driver’s license on you at all times. Police on the side of the road stopped us not even 10 minutes into our drive to check our paperwork, probably because we looked like tourists.
  • Stay to the outside of your lane when driving and always err on the side of caution when going around blind or tight corners.
  • If all else fails, just go slow and let those that need to pass you, pass you.
  • Plan out your route on an offline map app like Pocket Earth. The app allows you to track your route as well as mark down restaurants and attractions in your destinations.

 

Exploring the Amalfi Coast and surrounding towns on a moped is an extremely rewarding experience. Just remember to drive safely and only choose this option if it’s something you’re comfortable with!

 

What advice to you have for tourists looking to ride a moped on the Amalfi Coast? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Until Next Time,

 

 

MM

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