Amalfi coast

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Sep 29th, 2015, 08:14 AM
  #1
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Amalfi coast

We are 3 women in mid 60s wanting to travel Amalfi coast , positano and Capri. We are debating between an 8 day tauck tour( including Rome) or doing on our own ( not driving) with guides etc( not including Rome). The tauck tour has 2 days each in Capri and positano....is that enough? Is this a trip where a tour is recommended ?
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Sep 29th, 2015, 08:33 AM
  #2
 
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I visited the Amalfi area this past May, in part because I could easily travel there independently. I got around using a combination of a car service, ferries, and buses (details in my trip report).
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Sep 29th, 2015, 09:44 AM
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I would only take the tour if you really want one. Not sure what time of year you will be there - but if it's in the summer the Tauck bus will be caught on in exactly the same traffic as the public bus or a taxi - since the coast roa is THE road and when it's mobbed it will be mobbed.

Do you have 2 nights each in Capri and Positano (one full day each) or two days in each place? Do you have visits to Pompeii and the Naples Archeo museum included? I would not want to do only one day in each place unless you are really in love with the rest of the tour.

And while Tauck is an upscale tour and usually stays in nice hotels I would check on that carefully to determine exactly where you will be and what will be easily accessible in your "free time".
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Sep 29th, 2015, 06:57 PM
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kja
 
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These areas are that can be visited on your own very easily, so as others have said, only consider a tour if it is your preference to do so.
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Sep 29th, 2015, 10:57 PM
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agree with above. the area is so very easy.... IF you are up to the planning, i would do it without the formal tour. a friend of mine has done several tauck tours and just returned from one in italy (not sure if it was the same) and was really unhappy this time. (a newer guide whom she did not care for.) these things can happen.

if you have the energy to plan yourself-- and if you can afford a tauck tour-- then you can certainly plan a spectacular trip that includes some private guides in key places. There are restaurants in the area where you simply can't have the same experience with a large group.

planning your own trip is huge work (some of us are addicted)... but it's also nice not having to deal with the random annoying person. maybe save tauck for times when you don't have anyone to travel with.
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Sep 29th, 2015, 11:22 PM
  #6
kja
 
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I have to admit that I wouldn't say that planning one's own trip MUST be "huge" work. Of course, it can be -- depending on your preferences and planning style. And whatever the level of effort, it can be a lot of fun! I enjoy planning my trips almost as much as taking them! (Well, OK, I like TAKING them a LOT more -- but I do enjoy planning, except for the part that involves paring my wish-list down to a manageable one.)

There are SO many good guidebooks for the Amalfi Coast that I would think you could come up with a delightful plan without going to great lengths. Working with a few good guidebooks would, I think, go a long way. Maybe each of you can start with one and then compare notes? You might want one guidebook that is geared to comprehensive coverage (I have a preference for the Rough Guide, but the Lonely Planet provides a great alternative), one that focuses on high-quality photographs that intrigue and inspire (perhaps and Insight Guide or Eyewitness or National Geographics Traveler), and one that rates the sites it covers to indicate possible priorities (IME, the Michelin Green Guide is the most comprehensive of these; Fodor's and Frommer's are other options). You can buy them -- always a good investment, IME -- or consult them at your local library. Once you've touched base on initial reactions, you can swap books, this time focusing on those places that captured anyone's interest, etc.

What a wonderful opportunity the three of you have to learn about your options, discover the ways in which your interests converge and diverge, and craft a plan that is tailor-made to YOUR interests!

And FWIW, remember that you don't have to be together EVERY minute, so if one of you really wants to do X, while the others want to do Y, no reason not to do! This is also a part of the world that is very easily visited solo.

Have fun!
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Sep 30th, 2015, 05:10 AM
  #7
 
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I don't know a thing about Tauck tours vs other tours or the costs, but my mother-in-law used to like to take tours for several reasons, all of which I think make sense for the Amalfi coast (and possibly Rome) where they might not make sense for other destinations:

1) She had a difficult time carrying her own luggage (and she would have found it impossible in the steep hills and staircases of the Amalfi and Capri).

2) If traveling on a bus, she needed to have a seat. She couldn't stand for long distances, and also had a hard time hanging on if the bus took curves or made lots of stops -- something likely to happen in the Amalfi.

3) She really enjoyed having a guide explain the history of the sights or art she was seeing (not needed for Amalfi and Capri, but a help in Rome).

4) Although she and her husband took the tours together, she liked meeting other people on tours.

As for this last point, if you've never traveled as a group with these other people, you might want to hedge your bets by traveling withing a larger group where a good majority of the choices are upfront and pre-made, rather than spending a lot of time in advance or on the spot trying to negotiate and figure out what you all want to do or go or eat etc.

It is simpler to take a tour -- but there can be a lot of downsides if the tour isn't a quality one, or all of you would much prefer not to put up with other people all the time. Then it is worth the extra effort to plan it for yourselves, independently.
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Sep 30th, 2015, 05:13 AM
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PS: Two days in Positano and Capri would be plenty for me.
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Sep 30th, 2015, 10:03 AM
  #9
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Someone re om ended to use positano as our base ( 4 days) and do day trips from there thoughts?
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Sep 30th, 2015, 10:14 AM
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That would be OK, IMHO. Some people feel that you need to stay overnight in Capri to get the true experience. Where would you be day tripping to?

sandra, above, has a pretty good fix on why you would or wouldn't take a tour. Most people here, including me, like the idea of doing things on their own, but there's a lot of logistics to that, and it's not for everyone.

What you might consider, as a tour alternative, is splitting up the logistics among the three of you. One books the hotel, one books, the transportation, one books the day trips, and so on.
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Sep 30th, 2015, 10:32 AM
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I would be okay staying in Positano and taking a day trip to Capri or going hiking. I would NOT be okay using buses to get from Positano to Ravello or the Amalfi and back to Positano again. Too much time on twisting roads, stop-and-go buses. I'd be nauseous half the time. Also would hate needng to get up early to be first in line to get on the buses -- or having to battle my way onto buses to get back later in the day.

So I would only consider 4 nights in Positano doing day trips if the group was going to be payng for taxis, not opting for buses.

Also, a great many people say that they daytripping to Capri is so much less rewarding than spending nights there, when it is so much less crowded and you might have the moon on the water. Never done it myself, but I can see why people would say that having daytripped to Capri.
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Sep 30th, 2015, 10:44 AM
  #12
 
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I was with my sister and a friend and just returned from two weeks in Italy, where we stayed in Rome, Positano, and Capri. Personally, I would never consider taking a group tour because for me this was such an easy trip to plan but your wants and needs might be entirely different.

We used local guides, Walks of Italy specifically in Rome for the VIP Colosseum tour and the Pristine Sistine tour and they were great. I also booked a market tour with Katie Parla for our first day because I knew I would be jet lagged and too lazy to navigate and she was wonderful and the tour included so much more than just food. It was my sister's first trip and my friend is a bit challenged with navigation.

Positano was good in terms of a base and we took a day trip to Amalfi and Ravello, well worth doing. We also hiked the Path of the Gods, which can take a few hours and was the highlight for us in Positano. We spent four nights here and three in Capri, which we enjoyed, especially once the day trippers left although it was still crowded. One day was easily spent going to Anacapri via chair lift to Mount Solaro, absolutely not to be missed, and Villa San Michelle.

When are you planning to go? I've posted this so many times in the past few days and fear that I'm starting to sound like a broken record but I will never go back in September because it was unbearably crowded, especially Positano.
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Sep 30th, 2015, 08:33 PM
  #13
kja
 
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"Someone re om ended to use positano as our base ( 4 days) and do day trips from there thoughts?"

That could be great! The one thing I would urge you to consider is the comfort the three of you have with what could be a lot of steep hills, as the buildings in Positano cascade down a set of fairly steep hills, so you might need to be comfortable walking up and down a lot. In contrast, Amalfi is also a good base along that stretch of coast, but has a larger flat area in its core.

Also, as vincenzo noted, some of us found Capri much more magical after day trippers have left. You can, I think, have a very pleasant experience there as a day trip -- I'm just affirming that there are reasons for considering staying on Capri overnight if that serves your interests and fits with your other plans.

One other thing: there is almost nothing in the area, IMO, for which you NEED to book a day trip or a guide -- it is truly an area that is readily accessible to those who prefer independence. Of course, if you WANT to join day trips or work with guides, you have lots of options.

Enjoy!
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