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A few questions about the Amalfi Coast (in May)

A few questions about the Amalfi Coast (in May)

Old Mar 9th, 2013, 07:05 PM
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9 nights are more than enough to explore Amalfi Coast, Positani, Ravello, Capri & Ana Capri. I suggest spend 3 nights in cinque terre, 2 nights in Sorrento, and 4 nights in Amalfi Coast or Positano(steps to go up and down). Ravello and Positano are only half hour by bus & boat respectively from amalfi coast. you can vist your historic site from sorrento. even capri and ana capri can be done in a day by boat. If you plan to sit and watch people from Positano Cafes, than its a different story. enjoy
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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 07:46 PM
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So glad you asked these questions, flygirl. I'm bookmarking because of all the wonderful information in here. And, I'll look forward to your trip report (and pictures, since you are an amazing photographer).
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 04:44 AM
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For a visit to Paestum's Greek temples, do think twice before relying on a ferry along the coast to Salerno...

Unless things change from last year, the first to head that way wouldn't leave until 10 - to arrive too late for the 09:21 train, with the next not until almost 2PM.

The alternative from Salerno are the CSTP buses on route 34, which leave hourly on the half hour - but, instead of 40 minutes by rail, those take 65... so at best you'd be at site around 12:30.

(All those are weekday timings, but AFAIK no better at weekends!)

It's similarly awkward from Sorrento, but easy from Naples if OK with catching a train at or before 08:30.... although perhaps you'd intended to get a car and driver anyway?

That it, it was a lovely but 12 hour round trip from here on Ischia...

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/paestum

Peter
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 05:32 AM
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Wow! Look what happens when I walk away! This is amazing and so helpful! I can see that the Amalfi Coast is a favored destination here. What is funny is that before I started planning this trip I didn't notice how often this region comes up on Fodors. Maybe it is a spring "out of hibernation" planning kind of thing, too.

I have a few hotels on Capri which I have heard back from, too, which I will list at the end of this post.

traveller1959: Thank you for the tips on both grottos. From what I've seen from my readings, between the hikes and a grotto, I am wondering if two full days is enough now. Plus hanging out time, Roman villas, etc.

yestravel: thanks for the restaurant tip! I will also look up Rosetravels thread on hiking. And good to know that the airport experience may be different from what I am used to elsewhere in Italy (damning with faint praise, I am).

ajpeabody, thank you. I will look into that boat tour around Capri.

DTB: thanks for the input. I will check into the cooking classes. No, so far, no car planned. It sounds like more trouble than its worth.

Mimar: thanks for the Naples vote and the hiking link. I'm re-convincing myself Naples is the last night.

nytraveler: thank you again for the tips!

isabel, thank you so much! I will peruse your trip report and photos. The Ravello/Amalfi hike is another one I'd like to do. Actually, if I am going to just do two hikes on the mainland (which might be all I have time for, given the day trips to the historical sites) I might already have the two hikes planned, now: Pathway of the Gods and that Ravello/Amalfi hike. I'm clearly running out of time and I haven't even gotten there yet.

ekc: How long would you estimate is actually spent at Paestum? I may well hire a driver for both longer trips and avoid the 2-ish hours of public transport on both ends. We'll see. I know that a ferry ride would be part of the charm. Thank you for the tip on Buca di Bacco - and the guide. Good stuff.

For Ravello, it sounds like a full day could be had when you consider the ferry ride to Amalfi, bus to Ravello, wandering, lunch, then hike back to Amalfi (and the water mills) and then ferry back to Positano again. Sounds like a good day!

kja: thanks! I have heard from some hotels on Capri and I will list them shortly. Also, I am becoming more convinced of the need for a driver for the off-coast sites. Ravello - thank you for that input, I will visit the villas. It really is sounding like Ravello will be the better part of one day when you figure the ferry rides and hiking involved.

Q: If the coastal traffic is so bad, it sounds like I should not wait until my last day to do Pompeii etc. Right? Or get a driver/guide for the last full day to take me to both places with the final dropoff at my hotel in the late afternoon? It is starting to sound like whichever day I plan to visit Pompeii, Herculaneum, I should just have a driver take me around and avoid the excess time spent with public transport. Should Paestum become its own day, either with or without a driver?


weadles: thank you! I will seek out Naples hotels along with the rest. Thank you for the boat tour tip and the restaurant too. Hotels on Capri I will list at the end...

yenisumi: Thank you, but I think I'm running out of time based on all the cool things to do on the AC, now! Cinque Terre will have to be another time.

Mel, thanks! This thread is fantastic. Thank you so much everyone.

Now, the hotels:

On Capri, I have heard from the below so far. Most of them have few rooms left, which means I might end up with only a single room or no view. I tend to prefer double rooms but can make do with a single:

La Tosca looks very simple but it gets uniformly fantastic reviews. The owner has emailed me a few times, it's family run and he seems so nice. It looks like it would be convenient to a lot of things. I don't believe there is a pool and there are no services.

Villa Sarah It looks charming and it has a pool. Not sure how convenient it is.

Hotel Luna Capri Any recos?

La Minerva This one looks very charming. The only room left is a single no view, but the property looks great and if there are plenty of public terraces with views, I have no problems plunking down with a book and a glass of wine.

I emailed the Hotel Weber Ambassador but have not heard back yet. I am torn about this one, it certainly looks like a fantastic location but some of the TA reviews turned me off. Any experience with this one?

Positano: Residence Alcione.

I am considering this one because a resident expert on Trip Advisor, who has been to Positano many times, raves about it and says she won't ever look for another hotel there again. No real services (it's a B&B) but the size of the rooms/the private terrace and views more than make up for it. I corresponded with the owner and they currently have a top floor suite open which I am fairly certain I will reserve. Any other Positano ideas? The suite runs 220E a night which is about what I usually pay in general for hotels.

Thank you again everyone, what a nice treat to see this Sunday morning! Planning is half the fun, isn't it?
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 05:34 AM
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Peter, we cross posted! Thank you for the information. It sounds like I have a choice: leave Paestum for another visit, or definitely get a driver. I don't have time on a short trip to muck around with public transport for far-flung trips.

I started watching "The Talented Mr. Ripley" again, last night...
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 10:56 AM
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flygirl, I think an hour or 2 at Paestum would be adequate - maybe another 30 minutes to an hour for the museum. Let me know if you would like a guide for Paestum. A friend of mine who lives in the area gave me a recommendation.

I think Alcione is a great pic and I would trust MomCat's recommendation. I have walked past it and it looks fine and was actually going to book that suite for my June trip, but found a cheaper apartment instead.

Yes, seeing Amalfi and Ravello with the hike will be a full day. I would recommend a stop at Andrea Panza - a little cafe in the center of Amalfi.

Peter - thanks for the clarification about the ferry/train combo to Paestum. You always are a wealth of knowledge!
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 11:50 AM
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Well done re Ripley - it grows and grows, I find! More movies with an Ischia connection?

http://www.hoteleuropaischia.it/uk/i...n_13.php?lg=uk

To go with Paestum, historic Salerno is interesting, and Vietri sul Mare rather pleasant:
http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/salerno33

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/vietri

Peter
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 01:43 PM
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The Hotel Luna has a very central location and beautiful rooms. It also has a huge pool and gorgeous garden full of lemon trees. We stayed there several years ago in two rooms overlooking the water and the famous rocks of Capri.

However, I have heard great things about Hotel Minerva, and it is very close to Hotel Luna. I don't think you can go wrong either way. I believe Minerva is cheaper?

Now about The Alcione: From what I remember, it is a good 15-20 walk from town and beach up along the main road that leads out of town. If you have a suite, yes, you'll have a terrific view, but if it's ground floor, pass on it because you will be almost on the road w/ lots of traffic noise.

Lastly, you asked about hotels in Naples. I'm not sure what your budget is, but we stayed at Hotel Excelsior along the waterfront and loved it. It was a quiet and beautiful escape after a day of touring. And they have a lovely rooftop bar with great views of the water where you can relax and try to speak bad Italian with the bartender.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 02:08 PM
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Great idea Peter. If you have a driver for your trip to Paestum, I highly recommend a stop in Vietri and a visit to the ceramics museum.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 02:40 PM
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For someone who loves trekking, the Path of the Gods is a must. Also there is an amazing walk from Ravello to Amalfi through the "hills" called the Valley of the Mills where you can discover the ruins of roman aqueducts and ancient paper mills.

Allow one day for each of these, although actual trekking time is only about 4-5 hours.
The only thing is that I wouldn't like to do either of these without a guide because there are a couple of "wrong turns" that you could take. I did a group trek with a local guide.

On Capri, there is a nice little trek up to an ancient Roman villa (southern end) , and then another trek to the rocks on the west coast of the island.

Transport in this area is not a problem. Buses run all day from Amalfi to Naples, and the bus ride itself is one of the highlights of the trip. After seeing the road, I wouldn't even consider driving myself !

Pompei is also easier to navigate with a guide, I have done one full day without a guide and 4 hours with a guide, we saw so much more in the 4 hours with the guide than we did that first time without.

Don't stay too far away from the airport at Naples, and don't plan to do any sight seeing on the day you leave. Get to the airport ... the Italians have a very different way of doing things and its best to plan for every possible complication.

We did a small group tour with this company .... http://www.mtatravel.com.au/latest-n...italy-brochure.
We stayed 1 night Naples, 3 nights Amalfi, 3 nights Positano, with a day trip to Capri.
It was truly amazing, whatever you decide to do and wherever you decide to stay, you'll love it.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 05:08 PM
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ekc, thank you again. I am thinking "driver & guide" for that day. Do you think I can visit all three historical sites in one day or am I really pushing it and need two days? I imagine they close around 5 PM or so...

Peter, thank you for that link.

weadles, just booked the Excelsior. Thanks! That was easy.

Bridget, thank you!
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 05:20 PM
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I would do Capri as it seemed much easier to get around...You will LOVE Positano!!!! We stayed at Covo Dei Saraceni and Loved it!!!Must eat at Max's and the restaurant at Covo is fabulous! There is a store in Positano to buy the sandals, don't buy in Capri too $$$. If you are on the beach in Positano, staring up..go to your left up the side streets and the sandal shop is on your left. Read about it in Vogue, bought 3 pairs, great price, still have um...have fun!
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 06:01 PM
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> Do you think I can visit all three historical sites in one day or am I really pushing it and need two days?

If you mean Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Paestum, then yes, I think you need at least 2 days. Pompeii alone can take a full day!
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 12:57 AM
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Try here for a set of timed itineraries for seeing Pompei (2 hours, half-day and whole day)...

http://www.pompeiisites.org/Sezione....F&idSezione=58

In Italian, however the names for the "houses" etc tie up with the map available using the link further down that page - near where it says 'Piantina'...

With a bit of prodding, Adobe Reader can be persuaded to make a 3 page print from it, or you can wait till getting one with your ticket.

Less of an issue at Herculaneum, where we've usually taken perhaps 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

We were at Paestum for just over 3 hours - spent mostly in the museum and around the temples, then a quick lunch - but, having seen many such before, didn't bother with more than the briefest of looks at the city ruins!

......................

At the two Vesuvian sites, individual buildings and areas may be closed - both by rotation so as to relieve the "pressure" on them, but also for restoration.... and there's a big scheme starting at Pompei now.

Not sure of the current situation (and they could well still be shut completely), but at Herculaneum it's often / usually possible to visit the lovely suburban baths ONLY in the mornings.....

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/image/105332100

(On flickr.com I can't see any photos from there since the summer of 2010)

Perhaps best to check again just before you travel, as stuff like that may influence the order in which you arrange those visits?

Peter
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 04:18 AM
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Thank you for the shopping tips, Moogalah!

kja, noted!

Peter, *very* good information to know about Pompeii.

My research:

OK then! I emailed Renato Cuomo, based on a review of ekscrunchy's fantastic detailed report.

He is offering a 9 AM to 4 PM visit to Pompeii and Herculanum for 220E. That is about what I expected to pay, although I was hoping for a longer day than that - hoping to arrive at 9 AM, for instance, and I have a feeling those times are hotel pickup and dropoff times which doesn't leave a lot of time at the actual sites. I'm guessing it's at least an hour, if not more, to get to the sites from Positano.

However: his Paestum day is shorter (ends at 3 PM) and is 330 euros! eep! I can see why people do public transport. Why so much - is it really that far away from Positano? Public transport will mean literally an entire day for me, which means I either suck up the driver cost or just leave this for another trip. I only have four full days on the mainland, since the day I arrive in Positano I will be coming from Capri and I'm guessing the ferry times aren't early in the day. Maybe I should just use one day as a day trip (Pompeii/Herc) and use the other three days to explore locally. We will see....

I also emailed Dino, on eks's report, and his email doesn't work now.
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 06:55 AM
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Just coincidence, or also you?

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTop..._Campania.html

If it is, I've donated already!

Peter
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 07:44 AM
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Thanks Peter!
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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I'll be visiting the area after you, in late May, so I hope you will report on your hikes. BTW, do you prefer the Cicerone or the Sunflower guide? I have the Cicerone, but would consider picking up the Sunflower if if would be better for independent hikers or has more then the Cicerone.
I have come across this cooking class:
http://www.mammaagata.com/
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 09:25 AM
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Not sure if the other does it but, for the Sunflower guide, be sure to check their website for updates...

Look for the grey box "Current Updates" here...

http://www.sunflowerbooks.co.uk/prod...ast-and-capri/

Although Amazon UK seem to think there's a new edition due in mid-April....

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sorrento-Ama...3018911&sr=1-4

Peter
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 09:31 AM
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Thanks Peter, I signed up to be notified when the new edition comes out. I've read that the hikes can be confusing, but I've also read they are well-signed (which I have found to be the case on previous trips to Italy). I think my biggest concern should be preparing my knees for the steps!
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