My gateway to Amalfi was Salerno. I debated long and hard within as to whether I'd go by bus or boat. The risk was if the water was rough, all boats and ferries would be cancelled and everyone would be fighting to get to the bus station and on the buses.
The buses that go along the coastal road are smaller in size (good shape) and if you don't get a seat or am petite like me, you may not see much of anything. It was a tough call as the Amalfi coastal drive is renowned and would be a for sure you'd get there thing. Plus it is cheaper.
In my heart of hearts, I wanted to go by boat. I've ridden and driven on enough hairpin roads that I wasn't yearning to go on another yet. Plus your view would be down towards the water or of what is ahead or behind. Whereas I wanted to see what the towns looked like from below. And pictures taken from a bus aren't always satisfactory.
I took a gamble with going via a smaller charter boat and it paid off. It was a beautiful day and as soon as I got on the boat, I knew I would have a great time. If I lived there I would do everything I could to own a boat. That ride along the coast was breathtaking and exhilarating as Italians tend to drive their cars and boats as if they were Ferraris.
There are a number of little towns along the way and if the buildings and colours weren't enough eye candy, there's always the almost naked Italian men zooming by on their boats. At least the fit ones were.
Amalfi itself was busy but wasn't overrun when you consider the number of buses, tour groups and people coming off ferries. I was able to find a place for a drink and a bite to eat no problem. Things moved slower there, very relaxed. People did not speak English much at all, if at all. For some reason I expected to see a town that was a bit spoiled by tourism. I'm happy to be wrong.
This isn't the easiest place to get to and summer prices can be high with not great value. You can't fly here. The closest you get is Naples airport and even then, most people would fly into Rome. From FCO to Rome Termini. Then it is a train to Naples and switch to another train system to get you here. Naples is known for petty theft. You can feel it in the air. It actually makes whatever hair I have on my arm (I'm not hairy) stand up.
One piece of advice. If you decide to order a lemon granita, be prepared for extreme tartness and bitterness! Once you swallow it, it is surprisingly refreshing and soothing on your throat.