Amalfi Coast base?

Jan 12th, 2009, 10:51 AM
Original Poster
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Amalfi Coast base?


We're hoping to travel around the Amalfi Coast for about 10-14 days beginning the last week of August.

Is there any way to use one town as a base and travel to the different locations in the area or are the distances too far?

The following places are what we'd be interested in seeing:

Minori (not sure if spelled correctly)
and perhaps Pompeii

We'd like to see a few sights but planning for this to be a relaxing trip.

Would it be better to stay at different hotels in two different locations?

Thank you so much for all your help.

rb24 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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If you stay in Salerno, you can do it all without a car or changing hotels. You can use the ferries and some buses. Otherwise, you might consider staying in the town of Amalfi to do the same, and seeing Pompeii on your way in or your way out by doing an overnight or 2 in Sorrento or Salerno (or Pompeii itself).

If once you get to the Amalfi coast you feel like the August crowds and heat are really causing you to prefer just lazing amid the beauty instead of touristing, don't push yourself to keep day tripping. In feel, there is really not a lot of difference between the Amalfi towns, unless you are mad for Italian garden design and want to see Ravello. When Italians to the Amalfi, they relax.
zeppole is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 12:24 PM
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I cannot imagine staying in Salerno to see the AC. The city of Amalfi is the transport hub with easy access to Ravello and most of the coast. However, Positano is the definitive AC experience for a first timer--I would stay there.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 12:37 PM
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Hi rb,

We very much liked our stay in Praiano at

>... are the distances too far?<

From Sorrento to Salerno is only 60 km.

Are you sure that you want to spend more than week on the AC?

ira is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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With that much time, I would spend 3 nights on Capri (or at least 2) and the rest in Positano or Amalfi, where you can get connections by hydrofoil or bus to the other places.
SusanP is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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>> Positano is the definitive AC experience for a first timer--<<

Statements like this just flabbergast me. I might buy it if bob had said it's the definitive experience for Americans going to the Amalfi -- but that's because they're so often told to go there, they feel almost lost if they don't do it -- like, am I having the right experience?

Anyway, for what it's worth, I stayed in Ravello the first time I went to the Amalfi coast, and since I was in Italy, it felt nice to be around Italians more than foreign tourists, and since historically people have definately gone to the Amalfi for an escape, being in remoter Ravello was a very relaxing ambience, because people had come there to do nothing but relax (it's too hard to day trip). Whereas in the other Amalfi towns, tourists itch to sightsee constantly -- even though there's not much in the way of "sights" to "see."

The town of Amalfi, which many people treasure for its beauty and for their base to experience the Costeria Amalfi, is better connected than Positano to many of your target sights.

Salerno would be my choice to optimize ease for sightseeing to Pompeii (and Paestum) during the days and to be away from all those first timers having definitive experiences. Not if I wanted to hang around a beach all day.

It's not bad advice to spend some nights in Capri if you don't mind changing hotels, because in the last week of August, Capri will be a zoo during the day, and only calm down and reveal all its beauty at night. And if you don't mind changing hotels, a relaxing vacation might be a week in a beauty spot with no fixed plans for day tripping, plus a few nights on Capri, plus a night or two in a place with very easy access to Pompeii.

zeppole is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 02:38 PM
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With fourteen days, I might suggest:

Two or three nights in Sorrento. Although it's not on the AC, it is an easy 30 minute train ride away from the front gates of Pompeii.

Also, it's only about 30 minutes by hydrofoil from Capri.

Sorrento is a flat, walkable city, with a lovely old town, gorgeous views of the Bay of Naples, and a harbor area where artists set up along a stone pier for the day. It can be tourist central in the summer months, but so can the entire Amalfi Coast.

Another advantage to a few days in Sorrento is that you can take a boat to most of the towns along the Amalfi Coast, avoiding the nauseating( but beautiful!) Amalfi Coast drive with its typical backed up summer traffic.

After a few days in Sorrento,hydrofoil or take the regular boat service over to Capri. Stay a few days in Capri so that you can experience the island after the day trippers have gone home in the evenings.

Then spend the rest of your time in Positano, which is one of the prettiest towns (much more so than Amalfi) and most touristed towns on the Amalfi Coast.

From Positano, you can take a boat to Amalfi, then a cab to Ravello,which is inland. There are also SITA buses which connect the towns, but watch out for heavy, pushing crowds in the summer months. YUCK.

For hotel and restaurant suggestions, just post again...

Weadles is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 03:53 PM
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I would definitely recommend staying at least part of the time in Ravello. The views from there are absolutely beautiful...I travel a lot and it remains one of my favorite places. While Positano is pretty, it felt much more touristy with a lot of shops, etc. With a 10-14 day stay I would split it up and stay in two different locations, possibly Capri for the second. I personally feel 10-14 days is a long time to stay at the coast, but I'm someone who likes to move around a lot and see a lot of different places.
travel3773 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 04:59 PM
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We stayed nearly two weeks on the AC and loved it, but on vacation we are notorious slugs who enjoy talking to the locals, leisurely lunches/dinners, and long walks or swims.

Of course in August you'll be enjoying that alongside hundreds of other tourists, but after plenty of gelato and wine, you may not care!
Weadles is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 05:14 PM
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Hmmm ! Ironically, our first trip we also stayed in Ravello first and then Sorrento. However, dozens of my clients have mostly agreed that Positano was their top choice, and I agree. Only a total contrarian would think to suggest Salerno.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 05:18 PM
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With 14 days I would spend 3 nights in Sorrento - to see Pompeii and the museums/sights of Naples. then move to Capri and spend 3 night there - to really see the island you need to be there at night - but boats stop running in early evening.

Then spend the rest of the time at one of the small towns on the coast. (Traffic by road will be hell, but by ferry should be fine - with great views.)

Ordinarily I wouldn't reco moving around so much - but in that area, with the traffic in August - I think this plan makes the most sense.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 10:50 AM
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bob, I wasn't trying to be a contrarian. I was looking at rb24's wish list of sightseeing destinations, which include Minori and Pompeii -- and Positano as a base in August is not what leaps to mind. Traffic will be hell at that in the middle of the Amalfi coast road. You can almost get trapped in Positano.

Believe it or not, many people actually prefer the areas closer to Salerno and nearer Cilento for beauty and food and relaxation and sightseeing, even though it is not the most famous, or uniformly best preserved part of the coast.

I have no doubt that people who seek out a travel planner for Italy end up preferring Positano. But they can't be taken as the norm.

Above all, I simply can't abide this business of "first timers" having to plop down in the most touristy spots. It can make sense to tell someone visiting Paris for the first time that they really will want to be close the major famous attractions.

But in the Amalfi, the point is to enjoy the sun, the sea, the beauty, the lemons, the relaxation! That's the whole point! And that can get spoiled if you're always being pushed by other people on buses, staircases, in and out of tight doorways.

rb24 either wants to see the famous postcard shots for himself/herself and thinks putting up with crowds and traffic jams is worth it. On the other hand, maybe -- just maybe -- rb24 will appreciate knowing Salerno is a less tourist-jammed option for his/her particular agenda.

zeppole is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 12:52 AM
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Hi RB - Some prefer Amalfi, but personally I'd always choose Positano as my base for the Amalfi Coast.

With 10-14 days late Aug/early Sept I'd possibly split my time between Positano and Capri.

I wouldn't even consider Salerno. JMHO ...


Steve_James is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 01:25 AM
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You wouldn't even consider Salerno if you and rb24's target list of sightseeing and didn't want to change hotels?

I'd be tempted to bed down where there were fewer foreign tourists, more authentic restaurants, and the easiest transport options for all my target sights. One thing to remember about a base is that you aren't most of the day if you are day tripping. You're there at night. I'd rather be with the locals.

Downtown Salerno is not the scenic experience of Ravello, Positano or Capri. And if somebody is looking to spend the bulk of their time gazing at a vertiginous view, or doesn't mind changing hotels, Salerno wouldn't be my pick. But I really wouldn't want to be trying to daytrip along that Amalfi road in August, trying to get to Minori or Pompeii, or waiting in line for public transport in Positano rather than Salerno.

I think you can rent a lovely spot around Salerno for less money, in a place thick with great restaurants, and enjoy the nights, and day trip to sights with ease and fewer crowds.

But rb24, as I said, may really not want to risk missing out what most people thinks is the ultimate experience of being perched in the affluent digs of Positano. So I want to lay that out. It's not like that in Salerno, which suffered WW2 bomb damage, and isn't high up on a hill.

zeppole is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 03:18 AM
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you might be interested in reading this thread:

zeppole is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 10:54 AM
Original Poster
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Posts: 27
Thank you all so very much for your replies.

We're still trying to decide on which town to use as the main base, but will probably stay at least one night in Capri.

We plan to have a relaxing vacation (hence the 10 days or so). We'd like to see a few places but don't want to be constantly on the move.

We are hoping to take one or two cooking courses. Saw a few in Ravello and Amalfi.

Thank you again for all the help.
rb24 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 07:14 PM
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rb24....since you have looked into cooking classes...I would highly recommend Mama Agata in Ravello....superb experience.
I would spend 2 nights in Capri at minimum to be able to experience the ambiance of the entire island without the daytrippers hanging round. enjoy la dolce vita.
russwuf is offline  

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