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Jojonana Mar 19th, 2011 02:22 PM

Amalfi Coast: choose 2 spots or stay put for the week?
 
Hi!

My husband and I (late 30s) are doing Naples-Amalfi Coast-Capri-Rome this September.

For our 7 to 8 days on the Amalfi Coast, should we split our stay in 2? We were thinking of staying 4 days around Amalfi/Praiano, and then 4 days near Sorrento/Vico Aquense, before leaving to Capri for 2 night, and maybe Ischia before going to Naples.

Should we do that or stay put for a week and do day trips in the area? For example, if we stay in Praiano, how easy is it to go to Sorrento or Amalfi for the day? Also, if we choose a weekly rental, we will have 2 nights before the Saturday. I'm reticent about staying in Naples on our arrival (we usually prefer calmer places when we are super jet-lagged). Maybe we could do 2 nights in another spot on the Amalfi Coast?

Our priorities are good authentic restaurants and food markets nearby (since we usually visit during the day and come back to our rental for supper/evening), hiking trails in the vicinity, easy transportation (we will not have a car). We prefer calm, off-the-beaten track spots to bustling touristy places. Specially since we will be spending 2-3 night in Naples and 1 week in Rome afterwards...

Any tips?

Here are the rentals we short-listed:
Vico Aquense: http://www.laloggetella.it/francese/index.html
Praiano: http://www.italy-rental-Near Amalfi: villa.net/english/162.phphttp://www.homelidays.com/amalfi/appartement60450fr1.htm
Sorrento: http://www.mamicamilla.com/half_pens...y_sorrento.php

Merci! :)

Jojonana Mar 19th, 2011 02:26 PM

Oops, two links got mixed up:

Praiano:
http://www.italy-rental-villa.net/english/162.php
Near Amalfi: http://www.homelidays.com/amalfi/app...nt60450fr1.htm

Dayle Mar 19th, 2011 03:30 PM

Jojonana,

I've visited the Amalfi Coast twice (not as often as some of our Fodorites). Once in mid-March and once in mid-Sept. Both times I stayed in Praiano, two different *** star hotels.

Praiano is really rather guiet and not touristy. No big market to speak of, not a lot of shopping or nightlife, but a bit of each. There are several restaurants to choose from. My favorite is Il Brace right on the Amalfi road across from hotel Tramanto d'Oro. Mostly a locals, working town. I love it!

However, I found the SITA buses to be crowded and unreliable in mid-Sept - still peak season on the Amalfi Coast. The only public trans in/out of Praiano is the bus. They will be jam packed and very often late, which can throw your day off.

Amalfi and Positano do have the option of boat transportation which is a very good option to have! Much more pleasant than the buses in Sept. for sure.

If I were you, I would fly in to Naples and head straight for Capri. Spend your 2 nts then go on to your Amalfi Coast base.

I spent a few hours in Positano one afternoon and that was enough for me. It's very "resorty" and just not my type of place. Lots of shops mainly catering to tourists - expensive clothing, jewelery, art. It is, however, very beautiful!

Having been to the area twice and visited most of the sights, Capri, Paestum, Ravello, etc. If I ever went again, I would just park my behind in a lovely villa with a view and a pool and enjoy the sun and the views for the entire time!

Hope this helps. Buon viaggio!

Jojonana Mar 19th, 2011 03:51 PM

It does help! Starting with Capri is not a bad idea at all! :)

I am thinking of sticking to Sorrento after reading an inspiring trip report. From what I understand, this is also a good option for boats/buses/trains. N'est-ce pas?

Merci!

mike1728 Mar 20th, 2011 07:57 AM

We travel the Amalfi Coast/Sorrento area every other year and always base our week in the town of Sant Agata sui due Golfi (the town overlooks both the Amalfi Coast and the Gulf of Naples). The town is lovely, with very few tourists, some great restaurants/pizzeria's, a good size supermarket with all kinds of fresh produce, a shop which specializes in fresh pasta, homemade lasagna, meatballs, ect. and some nice cafes and gelato bars. Public transportation (SITA Bus) is right in town with frequent routes to the Amalfi Coast (Positano is approx 30min by bus) and Sorrento (20 minutes). You can also walk into Sorrento by a great trail thru lemon and orange groves which takes approximately 40 minutes (60 min on the return). Capri is a 25 min ferry ride from Sorrento. As for hiking, there is an incredible hike down from Sant Agata down to the Fiord of Crapolla which is a beautiful inlet, with a little beach on the Amalfi Coast. A true gem in this area.

Mike

Mimar Mar 20th, 2011 08:12 AM

Mike17..., Sant'Agata sounds great. Where do you stay there?

mike1728 Mar 20th, 2011 08:52 AM

Mimar, I hate to give up my secret, but try Magnolia House, a beautiful apartment, with a 3-5 minute walk into town. The apartment is ideal for two persons, very spacious, a great kitchen, beautiful flower filled private yard with outdoor dining furniture and owned by a delightful Italian family, who have become our friends (we have rented the apartment 6 times). Expect a bottle of chilled white wine, a homemade italian dish and pastries upon your greetings from Lucia. Not sure of the web site but if you Google Magnolia House and Sant Agata you will find it, we found it thru VRBO. The prices for a weekly rental are very reasonable.

Mike

ekscrunchy Mar 20th, 2011 10:28 AM

If you are looking for authentic, non-touristy restaurants, I think that Vico Equense is a good bet for part of the time. Unlike the other towns you mention, it is not predominantly dependent on tourism and I would expect that the food scene to reflect that, although the town is also home to a very famous upscale restaurant.

I did ask a lot of questions about the place a couple of years ago, but have not visited. Yet.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nt-agnello.cfm

ira Mar 21st, 2011 11:46 AM

Hi J,

The whole region, from Sorrento to Salerno is only 60 km long.

((I))

ekscrunchy Mar 21st, 2011 12:45 PM

I should have added that I think it makes perfect sense to split up the stay.

In fact, I plan to do the same on a visit later this year.

The distance may well be 60 km long (I do not know the actual length) but this is one instance where distances are quite deceiving. The bus from Amalfi to Cetara takes an hour or so , although the distance is but 14 km. And you must also factor in the waiting time for the buses, if you plan on taking them. It is possible to spend most of a morning getting from place to place.

ggreen Mar 21st, 2011 01:08 PM

<i>We prefer calm, off-the-beaten track spots to bustling touristy places.

I am thinking of sticking to Sorrento after reading an inspiring trip report. From what I understand, this is also a good option for boats/buses/trains.</i>

IMO, "off-the-beaten-track" and Sorrento are mutually exclusive. Even being in the town during "shoulder" season, it was filled with English-speaking (as opposed to continental-European) tourists and has regular dockings by cruise ships. However, it is very convenient for transportation, especially around the Bay of Naples to Pompeii and Naples.

We split up our stay between Amalfi and Sorrento over 5 days and I'm very glad we did: we enjoyed the relatively laid-back atmosphere of the former and appreciated the transportation hub aspect of the latter. (For us too it was prior to (almost) a week in Rome.)

You mention hiking: going from Nocelle to Positano along the Sentieri degli Dei (Walk of the Gods) was one of the highlights of our trip! I somehow never manage to write trip reports, but recently described our hiking day as a comment on this post: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...o-positano.cfm

mike1728 Mar 21st, 2011 04:09 PM

Ira, you realize the 60 km from Sorrento to Salerno, with traffic can be a 3-5 hour drive?

Mike

ira Mar 21st, 2011 04:20 PM

Hi Mike,

It can also be a twelve hour walk.

ira Mar 21st, 2011 04:22 PM

PS,

There is another route from S to S that doesn't require the coast road.

ekscrunchy Mar 22nd, 2011 04:08 AM

Don't think the issue here is how quickly one can travel from Sorrento to Salerno, on the autostrada!


Given your priorities, I will throw out one more option in the Amalfi area; this B&B is in the hills just above the coast. There is good bus transport. I have mentioned it to a few people and have received great feedback. I have not stayed here myself.

http://www.amalfiholidays.eu/en/index.html

Let me know if you want to include Ischia; I wrote a report about my week there a couple of years back, and there are also reports by CarolineE.

Jojonana Mar 22nd, 2011 06:04 AM

THanks for all the precious input!

Here is what our trip looks like now! What do you think?

Day 1-5 Sorrento OR Amalfi/Conca dei Marini (waiting on availability confirmation
Day 6-10 Amalfi/COnca dei Marini OR Sorrento
Day 11 Capri
Day 12-14 Ischia
Day 15-16 Napoli
Day 17-23 Rome

My husband is really interested by the Phlegraean Fields. Is this doable as a day trip from Naples? If so, we might spend only 2 days in Ischia and add 1 day in Naples.

What do you think?

:)

A_Brit_In_Ischia Mar 22nd, 2011 07:20 AM

Glad to read that you'll be visiting us - have you already found these photos of the island?
http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/allaboutischia

Depends when you'd be coming over but, later that month, Sorrento would be the easiest departure point - as all month there's a direct hydrofoil over to Ischia Porto each morning - for which the 2010 details are here..
http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/image/131364851

There's also a fast boat crossing that starts from Salerno and calls in along the AC, although - not untypically - last year its season finished on the 15th...
http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/image/130578291

No 2011 news for either as yet - but the second, the Alicost line, most probably won't announce that important date of theirs until earlier the same month!

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Over the years we've explored most of the Campei Flegrei area, and it's got some fascinating sights and sites to offer..
http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/flegrei

Don't know how much you'd manage in one day, but Pozzuoli would be the ideal starting place - to where there are fairly frequent ferries from here, operated by Caremar (from Porto and Casamicciola) and Medmar (from Casamicciola only).

Caremar.. http://www.caremar.it
Medmar.. http://www.medmargroup.it

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

September's a lovely time in this part of the world...
http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/pics_sept

....and we've a number of festas and events that month...
http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/ischfest

Not of course that there aren't plenty of other interesting places nearby...
http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/tele

... including our neighbours, whom you've not mentioned, the beautiful island of Procida?
http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/procida1

Tough choice, isn't it!

Peter

ggreen Mar 22nd, 2011 08:48 AM

Jojonana, it looks great IMO.

Peter, you're too funny. :) Would that I could go back to that part of the world this year!!

kellyee21 Mar 22nd, 2011 09:13 AM

I will second Mike's recommendation for Magnolia House. We spent 2 weeks there in Jul 2007 and it was my all-time favorite vacation. Everything Mike said is absolutely true. It was great to use this as a home base and we were able to travel all over very easily even with a car in July. I have some photos of the house here :

http://kellyee21.smugmug.com/Italy-2007/Magnolia-House

and a few of Sant'Agata here :

http://kellyee21.smugmug.com/Italy-2...e-Golfi-July-8

Jojonana Mar 22nd, 2011 09:27 AM

It does look absolutely lovely, that Magnolia House, but we are planning our first car free holiday, so it seems a bit too removed for us...

Peter, thanks for the extensive information! :) We would be coming to Ischia from Capri. I guess that's easily done?

So you would recomment staying 1 night in Pozzuoli to explore the surroundings? I guess we would need to reserve a car for the day?

So many questions! ;-)


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