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Amalfi Coast home base

Old Jan 24th, 2018, 12:20 PM
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Amalfi Coast home base

My wife and I are planning to visit the Amalfi Coast in September for 4 or 5 nights. We will not have an automobile but would like to see several towns. Positano appears to be the most centrally located but is it the best place to stay. I have heard good things about Sorrento and Amalfi but .both seem to be on either end of the Amalfi Coast. Aside from location, does one or another town I have not mentioned offer the best overall vacation experience.
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Old Jan 24th, 2018, 12:39 PM
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We see this question here very often. The Amalfi Coast is a resort coast, and not particularly well adapted for touring, although people do.

Sorrento is not on the Amalfi Coast. It is a largish resort town with good access to Naples, Pompeii and some island ferries. There are buses along the coast road. They are slow and crowded and IMO, the road is sickening. I would rather not ride on it at all, and especially not for a distance.

Positano is a lovely steep and lively town. You can get boats from there to Amalfi, and from Amalfi you can get a bus or taxi up to Ravello.

Amalfi, to me is less exciting as a town, but you can get a bus or boat to Salerno to take a ferry to Capri. Actually if you pay attention to schedules a daytrip to Capri is possible from a few places.

I would rather visit a coastal town, and maybe see another, than go touring on a crowded and winding road in stop and go traffic. I would tell someone to park in Positano and boat to Amalfi, but that's just me. There are lots of people here who have visited the AC once and will tell you to take their trip. There are a few people here who are experts on the area and will give you a better rundown. Only you can choose.
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Old Jan 24th, 2018, 08:03 PM
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In addition to the towns mentioned above, you could consider Salerno, which I think vastly underrated.

I think it really depends on what, exactly, you want to do while in the area. if you want to visit Pompeii, Herculaneum, and/or Naples, then Sorrento and Salerno get the edge for ease of transportation. If you want to visit Paestum, Salerno is easiest. If you just want to relax, Ravello can't be beat -- but it can be a pain to reach, and so doesn't make a good base for exploring. I'm a bit unusual (I think) in that I prefer Amalfi to Positano....

No bad choices here, just difficult ones!
kja is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2018, 09:16 PM
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I based in Sorrento, but I wanted to visit Herculaneum, Pompeii and Paestum as well as the AC. I absolutely loved the drive along the AC. I also spent three nights on Capri which was much better than a day trip.
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Old Jan 25th, 2018, 03:03 AM
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Without a car, you're dependent on the SITA buses (apart from taxis) that cover the villages along the coast. Sorrento is not on the AC and it will take you thirty to forty five minutes to get to Positano depending on traffic. The taxis don't move any quicker than the buses as the road is a single lane in each direction, very twisty with "interesting" corners. If I was wanting to see the AC, I wouldn't stay in Sorrento.

My own preference is Positano as I'm not that keen on Amalfi. It doesn't have the choice of hotels and restaurants that Positano does and it's nowhere near as spectacularly scenic. Positano is very steep, with steps right down to the sea and if steps are no problem, then Positano every time.
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Old Jan 25th, 2018, 06:02 PM
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There are ferries, in addition to buses.
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Old Jan 26th, 2018, 08:49 AM
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It really does depend on what you plan to do. While Sorrento is not technically on the Amalfi Coast it has a gorgeous setting on the Bay of Naples with easy access to the towns on the Amalfi side of the peninsula. It is a little larger than either Positano or Amalfi so there is more to choose from in terms of hotels and restaurants, etc. It has the best transportation connections to Naples and Pompei (via train), Capri and Ischia (via boat) and Amalfi and Positano (via bus and boat). Both the bus and the boat trips to/from Amalfi/Positano and Sorrento are great and part of the 'adventure' (as opposed to merely travel). It's quite easy to take the boat one way and the bus back and to visit both towns in one day (and even Ravello as well, depending on your style of travel and how long you want to spend). For all of those reasons, plus ease of getting to the area in the first place (assuming you are coming from Rome and don't want to hire a car/driver) I prefer to base in Sorrento (have done three trips to the area, and chose to base each time in Sorrento).

On the other hand, both Positano and Amalfi towns are more 'quaint' and if you main goal is to relax, maybe hike, possibly take a day trip to Capri - then either of those town makes a good base. I prefer Amalfi of the two. The town of Atrani is walking distance from Amalfi and is very worth visiting (much less crowded/touristy). There is also a great walk (down) from Ravello through Atrani to Amalfi. I have done all those things while based in Sorrento (so they are definitely possible on day trips) but if you weren't interested in Sorrento itself, or Naples or Pompeii then it might be better (or at least as good as ) to base in Amalfi.
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Old Jan 26th, 2018, 08:40 PM
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When you say which is the best place to stay I think that depends on what you mean by best. What is important to you? How are you with multiple steps? Sea view? Swimming pool or not? Beach? Transportation connections? There are positive things about each location and all of them offer the possibility of gorgeous views and transportation to at least a few nearby towns. We have enjoyed Sorrento Positano and Amalfi. To me the beautiful sea views are the highlight of the Amalfi Coast. Just relax and take advantage of whatever is nearby your chosen destination. You canít go wrong.
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Old Jan 26th, 2018, 09:08 PM
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We took the coastal route by bus from near Pompeii to Sorrento once. That was enough bus on a coastal route for me.
We took a ferry down to Positano. You can also take the ferry farther South. We took a ferry from Sorrento to Capri and from Capri to Naples. The views of the coast from the water are spectacular. It is great to be on the deck of a boat enjoying the breeze rather than looking through the window of a bus. Views from the top of the cliffs are also spectacular. We hiked all the steps in Positano to the top and took the lift to Anacapri. From Sorrento or Salerno, easy train to Pompeii. To relax, I might stay in Pompeii or Amalfi. To tour, Sorrento is a great base, and get the right hotel up on the cliffs, and the views of the Bay of Naples are gorgeous.
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Old Jan 27th, 2018, 02:31 PM
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The Amalfi Coast is still very very busy in Sept. The SITA buses are a nightmare. Depending on what you want to do, choose a town with boat service for getting between towns on the coast. If you stay in Positano and want to visit Capri, make sure you have reservations 1 day in advance as that is a very popular route and the early boats will be full. Personally, from what I have seen of Sorrento, I would not want to stay there. I have passed through several times in various way. If you want to visit the Amalfi Coast, stay ON the Amalfi Coast. Some people love Sorrento when they get a hotel with views of the Bay of Naples and are also visiting Pompeii. I visited Pompeii enroute between Praiano and Naples which worked very well.

Buon viaggio!
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Old Jan 28th, 2018, 12:13 PM
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Amalfi Coast home base

Thank everyone for of the suggestions and advice.Positano seems to offer what you are interested in and it will be where we book our stay.
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