AC base - Sorrento, Amalfi or Positano?

Old Sep 26th, 2014, 02:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 479
AC base - Sorrento, Amalfi or Positano?

I have been researching the past few weeks and found Positano to be a popular base in the AC for most on this forum.

However, a friend just came back from the AC recently and advised his preference to be Sorrento, due to its central location, proximity to most sights (Capri, Pompeii etc) and facilities.

Your comment and feedback welcomed.

swagman is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 03:53 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
When are you going?

And what do yuo want to see/do?

Positano is a charming small village but it's location means it takes longer - often by bus or ferry that doesn't run that often to get to other places. But it;s great for relaxing there.

If you are looking for a center to reach other places from - or a larger town with a greater choice of hotels, restaurants and shops, then Sorrento fits the bill having a local train service as well as buses down the coast and a lot more hotels, restaurants and shops. Do be sure that you get a hotel overlooking the Bay of Naples.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 04:55 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 19,737
It does depend on your plans and what you're looking for.

That said, there is nothing wrong with Sorrento as a base, especially since it has a train station and bus service. (Positano has only local bus service.) BTW, there is transportation from Positano to Capri, as well as from Sorrento. Both Pstno and Srnto will be quite busy during the high season.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 05:12 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,582
How much time do you have? Could you split between two bases- Sorrento and Positano? Here's why: Sorrento is a great transportation base. It's easier to get to Capri and Pompeii from Sorrento.

BUT... it's not on the Amalfi Coast. It feels and is a medium sized town with tons of traffic, tour buses, fish n chip shops, pizzerias catering to the masses, etc.

Even with heavy summertime crowds, I think Positano feels more Italian. The views and some of the restaurants blow Sorrento out of the water. It's charming, it's beautiful, it's one of the most romantic places on the planet. And yes, it's full of tourists!

However, if you plan your day wisely you can avoid some of the crowds by getting an early start and choosing a hotel that's either at ground level or midway between beach and town.

Good luck with your choice!
WWK is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 05:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,884
No doubt about it, Positano is the most drop-dead gorgeous of all the towns, at least when viewed from the water. I can't imagine a trip to that area without seeing Positano. That said, I don't think it makes the best base.

First, it's either harder or more expensive to get to initially. If money is not an object than you can hire a driver from Naples. But if it is a concern then to get there you must add a hour long bus ride in addition to the train to Sorrento.

While it is convenient to Amalfi and the other towns in the area, and you can get to Capri directly from Positano, Sorrento is much more convenient for other day trips (Pompeii, Naples, Capri, Ischia, etc.) as well.

While both Sorrento and Positano are highly touristed, Positano has a higher percentage of tourists and tourist based businesses. Positano feels like you are definitely in a tourist resort whereas Sorrento feels more like a 'real' town, albeit one that gets its share of tourists. Since it is a bit larger, there is also more choices in restaurants and shops.

I also think Sorrento has great views from within the town.

If you click on my name I've done two trip reports to the AC area. My photos are here:
isabel is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 06:10 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,582
A last thought before work.... While I agree with most of the above, I think if you're going all the way to Italy and looking for the quintessential Amalfi Coast town, Positano is it.

It's a completely different experience to visit as a day tripper rather than a hotel guest. You miss that end of day/early evening calm when both places empty out.

Lastly, there used to be a boat between Sorrento and Positano, which is a much better experience than the SITA bus. Just check the schedules online.
WWK is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 06:14 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6,372
TPAYT is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 65
Pick based on what you want to do. I found the SITA bus kinda painful - it was crowded, long, and made me a little carsick - and would not want to do it more than once roundtrip. I'm sure the boat ride is better, but boats weren't running on our Amalfi day because the water was too choppy.

So if you want to spend multiple days exploring Amalfi coast towns, pick one of the Amalfi towns as a base. If you want to use the base to explore nearby areas too - Pompeii, Naples, etc - then go with Sorrento. We stayed in Sorrento and loved it!
k_traveler is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,555
Agree with above comments, Sorrento much more convenient from which to explore, thinking 3 nts in Sorrento and then 3 nights in Positano. The SITA bus arrives when it feels like it and is frustrating when you are trying to schedule a day. However, if you want a get-away-from-it-all vacation and wish to remain in a small resort town, then Positano will fill the bill. Can always hire car service to take you out to further towns (Amalfi, Ravello, etc) or back over to Sorrento. We were there in April and weather was perfect (not 2014).
aliced is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 10:12 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
Positano, hands down. Roundtrip boat to Amalfi and local bus to Ravello and its smashing hilltop vistas. There is also a smaller boat out to Capri which visits the green and the blue grottoes..plenty of time for hiking, strolling and lunch before boat departs back to Positano. Beach front hotel Buca de Baco is superb, large private terraces.
tower is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 10:38 AM
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 16
We made our base in Praiano, which is the next town up from Positano. Much smaller and less touristy, it has a little town with a grocery store. Catching the bus here was no problem. It depends on if you are looking for peace and quiet vs. wanting to be in the center of everything.
chococat is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 4,009
Another vote for Positano here - for all of the reasons stated above.
Continental_Drifter is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 02:08 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 479
Thx for all your feedback and advice.

We are a family of 3 with a 10-year old child so a combination of sight-seeing and relaxation would be the goal. It will be our first time to that part of Italy so taking in the sights and sounds will be a priority, we will also enjoy exploring our base town when the day trippers left. Unfortunately time of travel will be during the peak tourists season.

At this stage my plan is to spend 5 days in Rome, train to Naples but head straight to Capri for 3 nights. Then back to the AC for 5 nights during which we will also do Pompeii from there rather than visiting/staying in Naples which again I have been told to avoid. We will be flying out of Naples at the end of the trip.

Some of you have suggested dividing the time in the AC over 2 bases, Sorrento and Amalfi, this could be an option.

swagman is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 06:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
A day trip from Positano to Pompeii would be difficult. Assuming yuo are talking summer Pompeii is VERY hot with little shade and I would reco getting there when it opens, touring for about 3 hours (you could easily spend the whole day) and then go back to the hotel pool.

This is easily done from Sorrento - but would be a huge PIA from Positano.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2014, 08:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 16
We went to Pompeii from Praiano and it was easy to do in one (long) day, but we were there in late September. I would divide your time between the two locations, we also stayed in Ravello.
chococat is offline  
Old Sep 27th, 2014, 12:36 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,582
Just so you know, Positano is a vertical town, so there are tons of stairs back and forth to town. I don't know if this poses a problem for your 10-year-old or not.

About hotels: Buca di Bacco is wonderful, but we also really love Hotel Poseidon, which is half-way between town and beach. The views are panoramic of town and beach from the restaurant terrace, whereas Buca di Bacco has straight on water views.

There is no reason to avoid Naples. In fact, we enjoyed Naples so much the first time, we went back for another stay a year ago. It would make much more sense to save Pompeii for a visit from Naples, which is only about 20 minutes or less by taxi. This can be easily arranged through your hotel's front desk.

Although I haven't done it this way, I also think there is a local train from Naples to Pompeii.
WWK is offline  
Old Sep 27th, 2014, 03:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 5,352
Sorrento is a base, not a destination, although it is a very pleasant base with many restaurants, hotels, and shops. It is within than an hour and a half to Capri, Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Vesuvius. We used it for a base on our trip to Rome and Sorrento and liked it a lot. My trip long report is available by clicking my screen name. So, if you want to go to that area and do things, Sorrento is the choice. If you want to check in and relax, then the other places are for you.
AJPeabody is online now  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Sep 8th, 2018 07:50 AM
Aug 28th, 2015 06:50 AM
Mar 5th, 2007 07:31 PM
Jun 14th, 2006 04:44 AM
Feb 2nd, 2005 04:31 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information