Amalfi Coast by Car??

Old Mar 18th, 1999, 02:22 PM
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Amalfi Coast by Car??

Treacherous or terrific...who's done it and just how negotiable is it really? Going in late May and still may opt for the train...
Old Mar 18th, 1999, 04:06 PM
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A little of both really! The road is narrow, but there is a wall on the cliff-side in most places. We always have a car - there's just more freedom and flexibility. For instance, the ride up the mountain to Ravello is awesome, and frankly, I feel safer in a little Fiat on those narrow roads than in a huge, cumbersome bus. You just hold your breath when two of them are trying to pass each other on a bend. I imagine traffic gets heavy by the end of May - we've only been there in April or October. If you want some recommendations, e-mail me. We've spent a good bit of time there and are always glad to share information. Buon Viaggio!
Old Mar 18th, 1999, 06:20 PM
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Alex, I drove the Amalfi coast this past October entering from the South through Salerno. The road is very curvy, one S-turn after another and I had to drive slow. Much slower than I am accustomed to. The road from Salerno to Positano is worse than the road from Positano to Sorrento in the north. From Salerno to Positano the road is more curvy and the lanes narrower. From Positano to Sorrento it is much milder and essentially no concern. There wasn't that muuch traffic in October and I was able to drive at my own slow pace. A few times there were "locals" behind me who obviously wanted to pass, but were surprisingly patient enough to wait until it was safe to do so. No one beeped their horn or made any gestures to me which was also something of a surprise. There were quite a few tourist buses who take up all of their lane and sometimes 1 /2 of your lane forcing you to the extreme right, right up against the mountain. There were some nervous moments, but as long as you take your time, you will be ok. My fiance was a little more nervous than I was, but she is a nervous type to start with and it was her first trip to Europe. I have been to Europe many times and lived there for two years as well so I am an experienced driver in Europe.

Experience aside, I was a little nervous myself and had some reservations of driving on that road at night. We stayed in Priano which is between Amalfi and Positano. We did drive at night to Positano and it wasn't that bad, but I wasn't thrilled about it. I still wish we had stayed right in Positano so we didn't have to drive anywhere, especially at night. Next trip, we will definitely stay in Positano.

Again, from Positano to Sorrento was much easier and of no concern.

I would recommend that you not drive the coast between Sorrento and Naples. There were a few towns just south of Naples that were just incredible. I had never seen or experienced driving like that anyplace else. I think describing the drivers there as crazed is best. They don't always stop for stop signs or red lights. They are extremely impatient. Horns blowing. Weaving in and out of traffic. Often in your lane coming head-on. Cars coming from the sidestreets will just pull right out in front of you and if you don't stop and let them go, you will get the proverbial arm or finger wave plus a barrage of verbal insults. I did bang mirrors with one car. No damage and we just looked at each other and drove away. By far, the worse I had ever seen.

After Sorrento, it is best to get on to the autostrada as soon as you can. Barbara is right. A smaller car is better than a bigger car.

I wouldn't call the ride terrific. The view is just beautiful, but you do have to pay attention to your driving. I wouldn't call it treacherous unless you are a fool and drive too fast. I've driven the French and Italian Riverias and there are places there just as bad.

Prior to this trip, I always thought the driving in Rome was the worse. However, after the Amalfi coast, driving in Rome was a cake walk. Even my fiance was calm in Rome which is saying something.

My experience was for October. I would imagine it would be different, much worse with the hordes of tourists during July and August and I don't think I would enjoy driving around there at that time of the year. I can't say how it will be at the end of May. Maybe some other visitors to the area at that time of the year could enlighten both of us. We loved Positano and do plan on going back. Good Luck!
Old Mar 23rd, 1999, 10:49 AM
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I would highly recommend driving the Amalfi Coast. I was initially very afraid & tempted to dissuade my new husband (it was on our honeymoon in Italy!) not to drive at all!! Boy was I wrong!!! Driving along the Amalfi Coast, visiting towns like Amalfi, Positano and Sorrento were the most memorable, romantic parts of our honeymoon. Also, driving gives you the flexibility you would not get if you depended on cabs, tour buses, etc. Just drive carefully & slowly. Don't worry about the locals - they can wait!!!!

If you need any further info about Italy let me know. We are planning a trip back there (to visit family) in August.

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Old Mar 23rd, 1999, 12:15 PM
Tony Hughes
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It's all very well to say 'drive the Amalfi Coast' BUT remember only one of you can look at the view. You miss so much with a car.

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