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orangetravelcat Jun 5th, 2007 02:20 PM

Amalfi Coast, April 2008 to celebrate husband's "wellness"
My husband has had a lot of medical issues over the years, but has just had abdominal surgery that we hope will correct the problems he's had. We're hoping to be able to travel to Europe again (would get trip evacuation insurance, just in case) and we'd both like to go to the Amalfi Coast. This would basically be a relaxation trip, with a few day trips thrown in. Anysuggestions for a town to base ourselves in? We will rely on public transportation or taxis, and mostly want to relax, enjoy the scenery, sit at a cafe and people watch....thanks.

ira Jun 6th, 2007 03:33 AM

Hi O,

I can highly recommend in Praiano - abt 6 km E of Positano.


caroline_edinburgh Jun 6th, 2007 03:49 AM

Sorry Ira, but - as I remember, you've been to the Amalfi Coast *once* and you now tell everyone else to stay exactly where you stayed.

I've been to the Amalfi Coast 5 times and have stayed in Ravello, Positano and Amalfi. IMO Positano is the most beautiful, although they are all beautiful. But if you want to do day trips by public transport, I'd recommend Amalfi as the transport links are much better. There are many fewer hydrofoils from Positano and to get a bus anywhere else involves either climbing up through the town to the main road or getting the unpleasantly crowsded & hot minibus which runs from the main square.

I also like Amalfi more than Positano because although it is of course touristy, it is also a real town with great local feast days and holidays. Positano is completely aimed at tourists and the centre of town is just wall to wall tourist boutiques. The only reason I'd stay in Positano again would be because I like one of the hotels we've stayed in, so would stay there if I just wanted a week by the pool without leaving the hotel.

Ravello I found chilly in June and IMO it doesn't need more than a day trip.

Have you also considered Capri or Ischia ? Both are very beautiful with a few sights & nice walks, and from Capri you could also do day trips by hydrofoil to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. The centre of Capri Town is unpleasantly crowded during the day time, when the daytrips are there, but beautiful peaceful lanes are only a couple of minutes away.

For what you want, I'd go for Capri.

orangetravelcat Jun 6th, 2007 05:49 PM

Thanks for your answers. I'm going to research both your suggestions. One thing I'd like to add - I also want to go to Bologna for two days and take a day trip to Marinella to see the Ferrari and Lamborghinia museums/factories. How hard is it to get from Bologna to one of the Amalfi coast towns by train?

tripgirl Jun 6th, 2007 06:31 PM

orangetravel cat,

Sooo glad to see you are planning a trip... I saw your post on the Africa board( as I am planning our 2008 trip there) and I know how much you missed Africa!!

Not sure about your last question, as i have never gone from Bolgna to Amalfi Coast. Perhaps someone else can give advice, sounds like you have very specific goals there and although it would make for a more hectic trip, maybe you can work it out.

But your choice of the AC to relax in is a good one!

Is your husband mobile for stairs. If not, do not choose Positano, as it is mostly stairs to get from place to place. Fantastic town, but it might be hard for mobility.

I think the easiest town for mobility would be Sorrento, which I loved, I know not everyone on Fodors adores it as it is a larger town, busier and perhaps not as romantic as typical towns along the AC are. But we loved it and had a wonderful seaside hotel and found it very relaxing.

Just sooo glad to see you planning a trip!!!

mowmow Jun 6th, 2007 09:08 PM

Bologna to the Amalfi coast will be easy, especially if you fly into Rome and do it at the beginning or end of your trip.

Rome to/from Bologna is along the main train line Rome-Venice. You'll have to change trains in Rome on the way to the AC; take it to Naples or Salerno.

From Naples you can take the Circumvesuviana to Sorrento, or from Salerno you can take a bus up the coast to Ravello, Positano, Amalfi, etc. Buses also go around the coast and over the hill from Sorrento and Naples.

There are several web sites with good and current info about buses, trains, and ferries around the AC.

We made Sorrento our home base in the AC; chose it for its access to the Circumvesuviana and the ferry to Capri. We enjoyed it, but I wouldn't call it a relaxing place to hang out. When I go again, I will probably stay on the other side of the peninsula, maybe in Positano.

Positano and Ravello are very hilly and lots of stairs. Amalfi has a flatter area and more frequent ferries. All are gorgeous and a great place to spend some time.

I don't recommend Capri if you want to go on day trips. It takes a couple hours each way to get from your hotel to the main coast (bus and funicular to marina, ferry to mainland) and you have to be back by dark. In April, the ferry schedule will still be limited since it won't be high season. Capri is nicest if you just stay put there for a few days. It's especially great after all the day trippers leave on the last ferry.

I recommend a visit to Paestum. The Greek temples there are awesome, and there are hardly any tourists there. It's so weird--these 3 amazing Greek temples in the middle of a field of wildflowers and hardly anybody there looking at them. We had a fantastic breakfast picnic and were utterly alone.

You probably know all of this already but for the benefit of everyone: Take a list of his medications with the generic, not brand names. Brand names tend to be different in various countries but the generic name will always be the same. If his surgery was a big or unusual one, get a copy of his discharge summary and operative report from his doctor and take those with you as well. That way any doctor taking care of him will know what's going on. Be sure to have medical insurance coverage for overseas--not all private insurances will cover you, and Medicare definitely doesn't.

Don't worry--Italy has excellent and modern medical care if you should need it. I hope you and your dh have a lovely vacation.

SeaUrchin Jun 6th, 2007 10:30 PM

That hotel Ira recommends is many steps down from the main road (and back up) so your husband may not like that at this time.

I think Sorrento or Amalfi as they are flat and easily accessible.

ira Jun 7th, 2007 05:11 AM

Dear CE,

You are getting a bit tiresome.

The OP asked for a recommendation; I gave one that I thought suitable.

Your Italian experience is not germane except as it might pertain to your declaring that my suggestion was not, in some way, suitable.


ira Jun 7th, 2007 05:16 AM

Hi O,

SU has pointed out that there are steps to Le Sirene.

From my trip report:

"Six steps down from the main street, a ramp to the piazza, another ramp to Via San Nicola and 43 steps down to the hotel".

If walking up steps will be a problem for your husband, you will want to be careful in your choice of hotel.


orangetravelcat Jun 8th, 2007 08:49 PM

Thanks for your suggestions. We're also going to consider Lake Como or Maggiore.

leighmaida Jul 14th, 2007 06:58 PM

I recently spent a few weeks on the Amalfi coast & used public transportation to get everywhere. I spent many months compiling the information below, it seems a shame to let it sit, rotting in a drawer. Maybe it can help in your trip planning?

Metro del Mare :: These ferries (traghetti) connect most of the towns along the coast to each other

Ferries :: Information site

Alilauro :: One of the many ferry companies along the coast

Ferry to Capri

Circumvesuviana :: Train from Naples to Sorrento, stops at Pompeii Scavi

Trenitalia :: The official Italian train site

Italia Rail :: A North American site

SITA Bus :: This bus links Sorrento to Amalfi, and Amalfi to Salerno, covering the entire coast

Curreriviaggi :: Bus that links the Naples Airport to the Sorrento Coast

Gruppo di Maio :: Bus line, linking Avellino and other towns

Unico Campania :: This system provides tickets for all of the various means of transportation along the coast (not the ferry companies). The tickets are sold by length of journey (in minutes), and by zone. They become 'active' when you get on the train/bus and get them timed stamped.

Italy08 Jul 14th, 2007 07:19 PM

Can anyone suggest a nice hotel in Amalfi?

annw Jul 14th, 2007 08:01 PM

We liked Luna Convento--worth checking out at least.

caroline_edinburgh Jul 16th, 2007 01:23 AM

The Santa Caterina is fantastic, if it's within your budget.

i_am_kane Jul 23rd, 2007 11:35 AM

OTC, You casually mentioned the Lago Maggiore and Lago di Como.

Are you interested in this area or are you focusing on the Amalfi Coast for your relaxing vacation? I have visited this area twice and steps can be an issue.

I just returned from Stresa on Lago Maggiore and the town center is almost completely flat and very walkable. We stayed there for six nights, and it was wonderful.

There are the three Borromeo islands (Madre, Isola Bella and Pescatori) that you can visit within 10-minutes from the Stresa dock.

Back in the year 2000 my husband also had a medical issue and walking a lot tired him out. Now, in 2007 he's fully recovered and healthy, but he's also seven years older and doesn't want to a lot of steps to climb on vacation (he feels like a billy goat).

nytraveler Jul 23rd, 2007 05:33 PM

If you think he might not be up to a lot of climbing Sorrento would be a better choice. Also, a larger town with more hotel and restaurant choices. And easier to get to Naples or Pompeii by train - or anywhere down the coast in any easy trip (not so much traffic - so buses are an easy option).

orangetravelcat Aug 19th, 2007 11:38 AM

I've got our FF tickets, flying into and out of Frankfurt May 6-18. I thought I purchased some cheap Lufthansa tickets from Frankfurt to Bologna, but for some reason the transaction didnt go thru, which is fine because now I';m rethinking our itinerary. I want to end up in Bologna. And from Frankfurt we are going to Stuttgart for two days, to see the Mercedes Museum. So now I am wondering if we should fly from Stuttgart to Naples, spend 4 days in Sorrento or Amalfi, and then go to Bologna. Or if we should take train from Stuttgart to Lugano, spend four days there, and then go to Bologna. We will fly from Bologna to somewhere in Germany to catch our return flight out of FRA.

Keeping in mind my husband's medical issues (so I don't want to be too far from a hospital, just in case), which itinerary do you feel would be best. We are mostly looking to relax, sightsee, enjoy beautiful scenery, and enjoy some good food. Thanks for everyone's replies so far.

kybourbon Aug 19th, 2007 03:55 PM

If you fly into Naples, there is a shuttle bus from the airport to Sorrento.

You can also fly to Bologna from Naples on AlpiEagles. I think that would be the easiest option, once again taking the shuttle bus from Sorrento to the Naples airport.

orangetravelcat Aug 20th, 2007 08:17 AM

So many decisions. I have always wanted to see the Amalfi coast; on the other hand, Lugano looks beautiful and taking a train ride thru the alsp (from Stuttgart to Lugano) sounds great. What to do, what to do...

caroline_edinburgh Aug 21st, 2007 03:47 AM

I think someone said this before, but remember - Sorrento is not on the Amalfi Coast.

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