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3/29- 4/3 Italy trip (mostly Amalfi Coast) 1st time to Italy ❤️

3/29- 4/3 Italy trip (mostly Amalfi Coast) 1st time to Italy ❤️

Old Feb 17th, 2020, 04:02 PM
  #1  
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3/29- 4/3 Italy trip (mostly Amalfi Coast) 1st time to Italy ❤️

Hi there - we found a flight for $329 from 3/27-4/3. So excited!! We fly out of Atlanta to London. We are staying in Covent Garden on 3/28 when we arrive. (This date is our wedding anniversary!) We have both been to London before. While we love London, we want to head straight to the Amalfi coast. Neither of us have ever been to Italy. We have to fly out of Rome on 4/3 at 11:00am.

Going to Amalfi Coast. We know we want to visit the Amalfi church, and maybe do the Blue Grotto tour. We thought of staying in Sorrento for a couple of days, and then maybe moving to another location for a couple of days that has beautiful scenery. We love to walk and see outdoor scenery/city/local people, cities, festivals, and cultural things. Iím not much into museums (only because I typically can only stay in a certain location for a short amount of time, and I would rather hear history from a real person, and maybe their perspective over dinner, than walking through a museum by myself for several hours). I love food markets (or markets in journal) where we can see local people operating in their natural surroundings. Last summer, when I was in London with my daughter, we walked 7 miles a day in the city, and had the best time ever. Our favorite times were meeting people who lived in the area who told us stories of what it is like living there, or experiencing cultural events.

My husband and I are a bit concerned about transportation during this time of year in Amalfi Coast. What will be open in general? Transportation/ferries? Luna Convento hotel looks amazing, but we donít want to be too isolated. What is the area like during this time of year?

Is there a scenic drive or train ride around the Amalfi coast? Should we hire a driver? Is there a scenic train ride back to Rome? Iím thinking we should stay one day in Rome, but not sure. Iím thinking we will be back again another day.
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Old Feb 17th, 2020, 07:42 PM
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You will need to be in Rome the night before your flight home, so that leaves only four nights on the Amalfi Coast, so you will need to be choosy. With getting there from London, that gives you three and a half days. Seems like a long way to go for such a short time. Plus, the Blue Grotto is on Capri, so you would have to do a day trip there or do an overnight there, and the weather will affect whether or not you can do it.

I can't help with what is open this time of year.
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Old Feb 17th, 2020, 08:51 PM
  #3  
kja
 
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Like SusanP, I think you are being a bit optimistic about what you can fit into your time. I'm sure you can see some wonderful things, particularly if you give a bit more thought to your priorities. For example:
  • What proportion of your time are you willing to allocate to transportation in comparison to being on the ground? As SusanP has noted, you'll have to put a huge chunk of your time into getting to the Amalfi Coast and also getting to Capri, all for relatively little time in either of those locations. They are beautiful -- but there are a LOT of beautiful places between London and Rome!
  • And as SusanP noted, you really need to be in Rome the night before your flight -- are you not interested in spending any time there?
To help you plan: Remember that when you change locations, you need not only the time it takes to get from city to city (which you can estimate using rome2rio.com), but also time to get to / from your lodging once in that city, time to check in / out, time to unpack / pack, and time to get lost / oriented. While it differs from traveler to traveler, with the cities you are considering, you would do well to estimate that each change of location will take about a half day. So you have a jet-lagged day in London on the 28th and an absolute need to be in Rome by the 2nd and precious few days in between. If you are certain you'll be back, consider waiting until you can give the Amalfi Coast a week. And if you really, really, really want to make the Amalfi Coast part of THIS trip, be sure to identify your priorities and your back up plans so you can make the most of the precious days!

Driving the Amalfi Coast is not for the feint of heart, nor for anyone who actually wants to see the scenery.

Do you have good guidebooks? if not, please go to your local bookstore or library to consult some. And consult trip planning threads and trip reports on this forum -- I think you will find a lot of information that will prove useful.

And Happy Anniversary!


Last edited by kja; Feb 17th, 2020 at 08:54 PM.
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 07:37 AM
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Just FYI, while the Blue Grotto is on Capri, the Green/Emerald Grotto is in Conca dei Marini near Amalfi. The best time of day for the light is early afternoon, but if skies are cloudy or seas are choppy don't bother as there will be nothing to see.

IMO, the only way this itinerary makes sense is if you fly from London to Naples (not Rome) and hire a driver to take you to your hotel. (Skipping the overnight in London would improve it considerably, but that's your call.) You could spend a couple of nights at the Luna Convento and then a couple of nights in Sorrento, but I would only change hotels if you want to go to Pompeii and/or Herculaneum and spend some time in Naples. If these other places aren't on your radar, stay in Amalfi. The easiest way to Rome from Amalfi is bus or taxi to Salerno and train to Rome. There are fast trains from Salerno to Rome departing at 10:15 a.m., 12:50 p.m., 2:45 p.m., and later. From Sorrento, you would take the commuter train (or taxi) to Naples and then the fast train to Rome.

The buses along the coast will be operating but not at the frequency you'd have a few weeks later. You'd have to peruse the timetables to plan your excursions and perhaps be willing to take a taxi on occasion. Ferries will also be running less frequently and won't run at all in some weather/sea conditions. I wouldn't plan an excursion to Capri until after you arrive and see what the weather forecast is.

Last edited by Jean; Feb 18th, 2020 at 07:40 AM.
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 08:06 AM
  #5  
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Thank you so much for your suggestions! I plan on getting a guide book, but I literally just booked the flights, and havenít had time to get the guide book yet. We will be flying out of London early Sunday morning to Naples. I havenít booked that flight yet. We arrive in Heathrow on 3/28 around 10am. We would have booked a flight straight to Naples while we were still at Heathrow, but I couldnít find any reasonably priced flights at the time we need (we want to fly direct). So right now I am looking at the Easy Jet flights flying out of random airports at around 6:30 am on 3/29. I know itís a lot of flying, getting up early, etc.. Figure we will wake up on 3/29 at around 3am, and leave at 3:30am to start our journey.

Which of the 2 grottos is the best?
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 12:26 PM
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"Which of the 2 grottos is the best?"

I think at that time of year, it isn't a question of which grotto is "best." If the weather conditions aren't right, there's nothing to see. And, if you can't even get to Capri because the seas are too rough for the ferries, the boats to the Blue Grotto won't be running either and the boats to the Emerald Grotto may also not be running. Any plans for this type of excursion would have to wait until you get there and you see what the weather is like.

"Figure we will wake up on 3/29 at around 3am, and leave at 3:30am to start our journey."

Ugh. Another argument for having a driver meet your flight at Naples Airport and drive you to your hotel. I would also inquire about early check-in.
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 02:51 PM
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OK, I am going to be an absolute downer here because I think your plans are way, way, way too optimistic!!!

You are going to be wasting so much time (and money) getting to the place you wanted to go in the first place. That is going to negate whatever you saved on tickets and use a whole lot of your costly sightseeing time, both getting to the AC and returning to London to depart. I have done this myself and regretted it. It is usually less costly, with more sightseeing time, to just cut the trip by a day than to spend the time and money going back and forth.

Getting to the airport, flight to Naples, getting to the Amalfi Coast is going to be the better part of a day. No matter how cheap the tickets, don’t throw away sightseeing time to save a few bucks on airfare from London to Naples. You will spend what you save getting back and forth to a hotel and getting to another airport the next day. The 28th will be jet lagged and it will be noon by time you are checked in and free to do anything. Then you plan to get up at 3:00 am to get to the airport and fly to Naples. Another night with practically no sleep. Can you see how you are spending money and time and staying in a place you do not even want to see, or have time to see, in order to save some airfare to Naples?
On return, you have to return to London the night before for an 11:00 am flight or risk missing the flight home, another afternoon with no sightseeing, yet money spent for a flight.

I am truly not trying to be unkind, but hoping to be realistic and offer what I hope are possible and helpful ideas to make your trip better. I have done exactly some of the things you are doing, learned the hard way and wished I had been given more critical advice. If your heart is set on the AC, here are some suggestions.

1. See if you can change your flights to Naples. Spend the extra money and have more time. Cost may not be more in the end.

2. If you can’t change flights, go straight away to Naples. Unfortunately, with separate tickets, you must allow time for the layover and have insurance. Spend the night in Naples. No matter how late you arrive, at least you won’t be having to get up in the middle of the night to catch another flight and endure another day exhausted. You can wake up late and do some sightseeing in Naples or tour Herculaneum or even Pompeii (if you are not too tired and it is not raining) on your way to Sorrento.

3. Weather is very iffy in March. It may be wonderful or miserable, days are short, so wait until you are there and decide day by day what to do. In this case, at this time of year, stay in a place like Sorrento with easy transportation to different places, and where there will be restaurants and shops open at night.

4. If there are any flights from Naples home anytime at all on March 3, or even late the evening of March 2, I would not hesitate to throw away the return ticket you already have from London, because by flying home from Naples, You would save the cost and time returning to London, giving yourself another entire day to enjoy Naples and the AC. If you found a very late flight on the 2nd, you would even save the cost of a hotel that night, while still having the day for sightseeing in Naples, rather than travel. Details. . . after you see what you can do flight wise.

5. Only advice right now for returning to London, if you have to do that, is probably depart Naples on a very late flight and stay at an airport hotel in London. At least, the airport in Naples is not big, is easy to navigate and is a short taxi or shuttle from the city center.

Does this make sense to you?


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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 03:39 PM
  #8  
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I am so, so appreciative of your thoughtfulness and time spent helping me. Thank you! I’m still reading through your post

We arrive in London Heathrow on 3/28 at 10ish am, and we fly out of Rome on 4/3 at 11ish am.
I’ve already purchased a nonrefundable room in Covent Garden in London on 3/28. Since we have stayed here before, I could potentially ask to see if they would refund it, but highly unlikely. I just bought a Rick Steve’s Italy guide today.
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 04:09 PM
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I think sassafrass misread the end-of-trip details. The OP needs to be in Rome (not London) for an 11:00 a.m. flight on April 3rd.

If they fly to Naples on March 29th at 6:30 a.m. and hire a driver to meet their flight in Naples, they should be at their Atrani/Ravello hotel by about 11:00 a.m. They would have that afternoon and 3 full days to explore the area and would have all of April 2nd to make their way to Rome, perhaps seeing Pompeii on the way.

I can't fly directly to Naples and for me to get to the AC would involve a connection somewhere or a long trek from Rome, so I don't see London as that much of an obstacle to this trip. What I wouldn't do, though, is spend the night after arrival in central London. I would travel onward to Naples. If the OP did that, they would have 4 full days to spend on the AC.
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 04:17 PM
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Oh, I am sorry, don’t know how I missed that you are flying out of Rome. It would be easier to depart from Naples, but a last night for dinner in Rome will be lovely. While I prefer last night in the city of departure, and I have not done it so someone else can give better advice, you could probably stay in Naples the night before
Since you are familiar with your hotel and London, and it is non-refundable, then I would go ahead and stay, but have a nice dinner and do not stress by getting up for such an early flight. Get a decent night’s sleep and nice breakfast. I say this because without some sleep, the 29th would just be a haze by time you would land in Italy. With some rest, you might enjoy arriving in Italy. Enjoy planning for a great trip.
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 04:33 PM
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Thank you so much!
❤️
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
Oh, I am sorry, donít know how I missed that you are flying out of Rome. It would be easier to depart from Naples, but a last night for dinner in Rome will be lovely. While I prefer last night in the city of departure, and I have not done it so someone else can give better advice, you could probably stay in Naples the night before.
I definitely disagree with the idea of staying in Naples the night before your flight home. With an 11:00 am flight out of Rome, you need to be at the airport by 8:00 am. The train from Naples is only 1-1/4 hour to Rome, but that's not to the airport. You would have to get the train extremely early from Naples. What if the train is late or cancelled for some reason? Be in Rome the day before!
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 08:39 PM
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SusanP, so glad you came back with that. As I wrote, I have not done it, but thought someone else would know if there was a possibility. I know there are some busses, but having once been in a traffic jam north of of Naples, that lasted for hours, sure would not do that. So, looks as if the OP will enjoy dinner in Rome her last night.
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 08:55 PM
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kja
 
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What will work -- or not -- obviously depends on personal opinion, but did I not make most of these points in post # 3, above? No problem, but I don't understand why Fodorites are replying to each other, rather than clearly noting, to the OP, that there are problems with her rosy plan (as sassafrass began to do, but then backed away).

I sincerely wish the OP well. I just can NOT, in good faith, suggest that I think her plan a good one. JMO, and one offered with regret -- but with complete faith that a better plan is an option.

To be clear -- I think we are all trying to help the OP come up with a reasonable and enjoyable plan, even if we have very different ideas about what that might mean. It really does depend, I think, on priorities.

Last edited by kja; Feb 18th, 2020 at 09:38 PM.
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 02:38 AM
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I was able to cancel my hotel. But I canít find a direct flight from London Heathrow to Naples on 3/28 at a reasonable time or price.

We really wanted to go to Amalfi Coast. (We had our hearts set on Anniversary trip on ocean). We might have to cancel these plans. So frustrating.

Now looking at maybe getting a one way ticket to Milan on 3/28, and we could work our way to Rome. This would still be nice. Weíve never been to Italy.
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 03:31 AM
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Truly, I would not consider starting in Milan and working your way to Rome - you have a total of 6 nights, and, at best, I would stay in 2 places. I would even consider staying all 6 nights in Rome and maybe doing a day trip. I think Rome is the perfect place for a week - very romantic, lots of great walks, easy to spend 6 nights there. Consider it. But that’s me - it’s your anniversary,

I checked Google flights and found one way flights from London to Naples on March 28. I don’t know how much you want to spend but I thought the easyjet at 11:35 was a safe bet and at €79, not break the bank expensive.



if you have your heart set in the AC, while maybe not the ideal time of year, it would be reasonably easy from Naples to get to Sorrento, which is beautifully sited. But honestly, you’re going to be exhausted - arriving on 3/28 from the US, taking a second flight to Naples, then going on to a town on the coast (Sorrento is not really the Amalfi Coast, but a good base to see it). Is this what you want to do?

Or, it might be doable if you have a private driver pick you up from the Naples airport, then it might be worthwhile, though it will start adding up. Just to be aware if you’re keeping your costs down. Of course, if you do get a private driver, you can really go to any town that appeals.

Again, I would stay 6 nights in Rome. But, if that isn’t your style, I would do the above and get the flight from London to Naples, and third a private driver to take you to the town of your choice on the Amalfi Coast.
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 03:31 AM
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When we went to Capri last September it was by taking the ferry from Minori. Our small group spent 10 days on the Amalfi coast and while I enjoyed the ferry ride to Capri, Capri was my least favorite place. Maybe because of the crowds. Minori was beautiful and we also visited Maiori. The lunch in Mount Pertuso overlooking Positano was spectacular both in terms of food and view. We had to walk down the cliff stairs to the restaurant which also had a small vegetable garden on a lower level. YES, hire a driver. I couldn't understand why the side view mirror on the driver's side didn't get knocked off from some of the tight squeezes but then I saw that he was hitting the button to make it get closer to the side of the van every time we had a tight squeeze. Once while we waited for two buses to figure out which had right of way, a flock of scooters went driving thru. A friend visited the Amalfi coast earlier and said they had to give up on the idea of renting a car. I have no idea where our drivers parked while we were at restaurants because usually we didn't see any parking area. IF there was a turnout area the space was usually used by a fruit vendor. It's such a beautiful area I think you would enjoy your time even if you did not get to a grotto.

I took the train from Naples to Rome for another 4 days of travel on my own. My hotel was close to the termini and the drive to the airport was at least an hour. Should you decide to spend time in Rome, the markets are a lot of fun to explore. If you google an article about eating your way thru Rome in 24 hours, it mentions an indoor market with a popular sandwich vendor.

It just happened that our trip leader hired drivers one of whom was also a licensed tour guide. If you hire a driver, try to get one who is also a tour guide. The driver I usually rode with was not a licensed tour guide but very friendly and told us a lot about living in Italy. We left shortly before his wife's family gathered to harvest olives from their trees.
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 06:30 AM
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I suggested way back at the beginning of this thread that I thought the Amalfi Coast was a long way to go for such a short time, especially needing to be in Rome to fly back. You didn't indicate that you would consider skipping the AC for this trip. In that case, I agree that Milan and Rome would be better, and just Rome would be a great idea! Six nights is not too long for Rome.
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 06:53 AM
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"I checked Google flights and found one way flights from London to Naples on March 28. I donít know how much you want to spend but I thought the easyjet at 11:35 was a safe bet and at Ä79, not break the bank expensive."

It's hard to know what the priorities are now, but the OP lands on 3/28 at 11:00 a.m. at Heathrow. I assume that Easyjet flight departs at 11:35 in the morning, and it's from Gatwick. I don't think any of the low-cost airlines fly out of Heathrow.

At this point, and with the clock ticking, I would fly to London and have a great time in one of the world's greatest cities. Start planning now for the anniversary next year, and resist jumping on cheap air fares until working out the rest of the logistics.

Last edited by Jean; Feb 19th, 2020 at 06:56 AM.
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Jean View Post
"I checked Google flights and found one way flights from London to Naples on March 28. I donít know how much you want to spend but I thought the easyjet at 11:35 was a safe bet and at Ä79, not break the bank expensive."

It's hard to know what the priorities are now, but the OP lands on 3/28 at 11:00 a.m. at Heathrow. I assume that Easyjet flight departs at 11:35 in the morning, and it's from Gatwick. I don't think any of the low-cost airlines fly out of Heathrow.

At this point, and with the clock ticking, I would fly to London and have a great time in one of the world's greatest cities. Start planning now for the anniversary next year, and resist jumping on cheap air fares until working out the rest of the logistics.
Jean, good catch! I wouldíve hate to see the OP running from one airport to another trying to catch a flight. And I did miss that she was arriving at 11am. With all the back and forth, I had thought it was earlier.


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