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bluesphee Sep 16th, 2013 04:03 PM

Amalfi Coast Itinerary Help and Feedback Needed
 
Hello all,
My wife and I are headed to the Amalfi Coast in about 3 weeks (beginning of October) and I need a hand with some of the finer details - particularly traveling around. We are in our early 30’s. I’ve been googling answers to my questions but getting a bit overwhelmed trying to validate that it is current info and then pull it all together. I’m hoping I can do it through this one big thread and hopefully help out others in the process so the info isn’t scattered. I tried to put three stars (***) at the spots where I need some advice since this is such a ginormous post. Any help or feedback on the itinerary you can provide is appreciated! Here's what I have so far:
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Day 1 – Sorrento - Overnight @ Maison Tofani
Fly into Naples @ 12:35pm
*** Advice needed on how to travel from Naples airport to Sorrento - Our hotel gave us this option:
Private Transfer Napoli Airport / Rail Station - Sorrento Maison Tofani with English speaking driver euro 85.00
(Mercedes Minivan or similar)
I’m thinking it might be worth the extra cost since we are coming from the states after a very long trip (two layovers before we even get to Naples). Thoughts on this? Usually we prefer to do public transit, but sometimes will go private out of convenience. If the public transit options are easy from the airport then I’d go with that.
Wander Sorrento and grab dinner somewhere. Maybe try and check out Il Vallone dei Mulini (Deep Valley of the Mills) or Punta del Capo if we’re up for it.
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Day 2 – Sorrento - Overnight @ Maison Tofani
Day trip to Pompeii
*** Need advice on how to get to Pompeii from Sorrento and how to get a tour guide at Pompeii. Should we book one in advance or at the site or through our hotel? I am thinking of just organizing it through the hotel Maison Tofani.
*** Here is some info I found on getting there…can someone validate it is current?
“At the main train station in Sorrento (Circumvesuviana) buy a round trip train ticket at the ticket area (€2.10). (Bus tickets are at the Tobacco Shop on the right side). Get off at the Villa dei Misteri and follow signs to the Marina Porta; entrance fee is €11
Hello, I've done this a number of times, and it really is very easy. Walk along Corso Italia, Sorrento's main street and you come to the station. Ask for POMPEII SCAVI-that's the station close to the entrance to the Pompeii site, and the staff will sell you a return ticket for only a few euros, about 5 I think. It is about 30-40 minutes on the train, which has its terminus at Sorrento and runs around the bay to Napoli. Get out at Pompeii Scavi ,and you will find the entrance is a few yards away up the road, past a row of souvenir sellers and a cafe. Follow the others, there are bound to be a lot of people doing the same trip. Its 11 euros to go in ,spend as much time as you like.”

*** And here is some info I found on a guide…maybe someone can just validate it?
“If you have no knowledge of Pompeii, then a guide is a must. They cost about 10 euros and take groups of about 10-12. Guides are available at the Porta Marina ticket office. They are licensed, so don't worry about being scammed. Most guided tours take about two hours. They are very worthwhile.”

*** Do we have time to do anything else? I’ve heard Oplontis is cool to check out, but not really familiar with where it is. Is it by Pompeii? Any specific sites to see in Sorrento? Are we really missing out not going to Vesuvias and/or Herculaneum? I feel like Pompeii should be plenty to appease our historical interests.
-----------------------
Day 3 – Capri – Overnight at La Minerva
*** Need opinions on how to get from Sorrento to Capri in early October. Seems like hydrofoil is the best option.
*** And here is info I found can someone validate or add to it?
“This link shows the timetable for boats to and from Capri. You can choose "Sorrento-Capri" in the pull-down menu. http://www.capri.net/en/getting-here
From Sorrento ferries/boats/hydrofoils leave from Sorrento Marina Piccola and you can take a B or C public bus to get down from Piazza Tasso (buy a ticket beforehand from a tobacconist and stamp your ticket when you're on the bus if you hadn't already done so)”

Check out the island. Not exactly sure what we’ll all want to do there except for eat, drink and walk around, but just looking forward to relaxing!
I found this guide that tells you how to get to La Minerva in case anyone is trying to find it: http://www.laminervacapri.com/images...ri-Getting.pdf
-----------------------
Day 4 – Capri – Overnight at La Minerva
*** Need advice on doing a boat tour around the island. I’ve looked at a few options. Do I book this in advance? Once we get to the hotel? I have been looking at using Gianni’s boat tour - http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction..._Campania.html
I’ve also looked at Whales di Wendy
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio..._Campania.html
*** Any votes in favor of Gianni or Wendy?
*** I’m also wondering if the beginning of October we’ll be able to go swimming in the water or if the water will be too cold or rough.
-----------------------
Day 5 – Positano – Overnight at Villa Rosa (5 nights)
*** Need advice on getting from Capri to Positano and specifically to Villa Rosa. I understand it’s a very small town but sine I don’t even know how I’ll be arriving in Positano I’m looking for some guidance.
Explore Positano and just relax and enjoy the town, shops and views.
We are going to try and do the Buca di Bacco cooking class – probably on the first day because it will probably key us having the best food experience for the remainder of our trip –http://www.bucadibacco.it/cooking_school_en.html
Definitely want to do the Footpath of the Gods as well. I’m considering hiring a guide to do this to make it even better (Zia Lucy) - http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio..._Campania.html
-----------------------
Day 6 – Positano – Overnight at Villa Rosa
Take a side trip to Amalfi and explore the town and possibly also go to a beach.
*** Need advice on best way to get to Amalfi from Positano
*** Any advice on what to do in Amalfi other than roam around? Do we have to worry about getting back to Positano on a timetable?
*** We may try and go to Arienzo beach / and the bar - http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran..._Campania.html
-----------------------
Day 7 – Positano – Overnight at Villa Rosa
Take a side trip to Paestrum
*** Need advice on best way to get to Paestrum from Positano. What time will we have to take off to do the full trip and enjoy it without stress? (It sounds like Positano isn’t the easiest place to go to Paestrum from)
-----------------------
Day 8 – Positano – Overnight at Villa Rosa
Take a side trip to Ravello and explore the town
*** Need advice on best way to get to Ravello from Positano
*** I love photography and want to make sure I see this view - http://files3.caprionline.it/article...1209221925.jpg Does anyone know where I need to go specifically to see that view?
-----------------------
Day 9 – Positano – Overnight at Villa Rosa
Just have a lazy last day and enjoy the views.
-----------------------
Day 10 – Home
*** Need advice on the best way to get from Positano back to Naples. Our flight leaves at 2:15pm. What time should we start leaving to Naples?
-----------------------

kja Sep 16th, 2013 04:19 PM

> how to get a tour guide at Pompeii

Although many people have appreciated the services of a tour guide at Pompeii, I did not find one necessary. I thought the audio guide and docents (who were happy to provide information free-of-charge) provided sufficient information.

For all of your transportation options, note that The Rough Guide generally has excellent info on transportation options. Or try the Lonely Planet guide book.

raincitygirl Sep 16th, 2013 05:25 PM

Hi blueshpee, my husband and I were in Naples and the Amalfi coast last October. It was fabulous.

Personally after a long flight I would take the transfer option offered by your hotel for 85.00 euro. We took a taxi from Naples to Sorrento and it cost 100.00 euro. (and we weren't jet-lagged, but we had stayed in Naples a few days and I wanted to avoid taking the Circumvesuviana train with luggage)

If you don't mind taking the bus and want to save money, there is a bus from the Naples airport to Sorrento; we took this bus in reverse, from Sorrento back to Naples airport to fly home. It was a big comfortable coach style bus and I believe it was 10 euro each. Bargain!
The website is www.curreriviaggi.it
The bus left from the train station in Sorrento so I'm assuming that is where it would drop you off, and then you could get a cab to your hotel.

To get back to the airport for your flight home you could get a cab from Positano to Sorrento and take this bus to the airport. I would ask the hotel's advice as to the best way and time needed to get from Positano to Sorrento.

Getting to Pompeii is easy, just as you describe, go to the train station and get return tickets to Pompeii Scavi. The train can be very crowded and is a very well used commuter train, it is perfectly fine, but keep a sharp eye on your belongings.
We didn't have a guide but kind of wished we did. I think it depends on your level of interest.

Pompeii is huge so wear very comfortable shoes and bring water. I would advise eating before you go and waiting til you get back to Sorrento to eat again. Against my better judgement we ate in a restaurant near one of the exits because we were tired and really hungry and it was the worst food of the trip.

We went to Paestum one day but we had a car so drove there from Minori. It was one of our favourite things, we liked it even better than Pompeii.

A friend of mine took a day tour from Sorrento to Paestum by bus in May and she said it was reasonable and a great day. I'm sure your hotel could advise you as to whether there is a tour leaving from Positano. Or there may be some leaving from Amalfi and then you could take the ferry over to Amalfi.

If I can think of anything else I will post again.

mama_mia Sep 16th, 2013 05:49 PM

Day 8 Ravello - the view is from the Villa Rufolo. The gardens there were lovely in the Spring; I am not sure what would be in bloom in October. Similarly, the Villa Cimbone offers wonderful views and shots for photographers.

Both Ravello and Amalfi have beautiful duomos (cathedrals). Both have notable bronze doors and mosaic work. You can see Arabic influence on exterior and courtyard of Amalfi duomo. Inside Ravello, there are pulpits/ambos with beautiful cosmati work/mosaics. The story of Jonah and the whale is particularly charming.

In Amalfi, you could also consider the hike up the Valle dei Mulini (Valley of the mills -- Old paper mills, that is. I think some of the old structures would make great photos, too.

kja Sep 16th, 2013 08:54 PM

Ditto what mama_mia said.

bobthenavigator Sep 17th, 2013 05:37 AM

You get that shot at Villa Rufolo. Here is that and more :

http://www.slowphotos.com/photo/show...y.php?cat=4481

vincenzo32951 Sep 17th, 2013 06:52 AM

>>Need advice on getting from Capri to Positano and specifically to Villa Rosa. I understand it’s a very small town but sine I don’t even know how I’ll be arriving in Positano I’m looking for some guidance.<<

There's a ferry that goes to Positano. I'm not an expert on distances in Positano, but I think the VR is about 100 yards from the marina, but it's all uphill -- many steps. That could be a problem if you have lots of baggage. Suggest you contact the hotel and ask about porter services from the marina. Maybe they can arrange something.

ekc Sep 17th, 2013 07:34 AM

Definitely hire the private driver to get you from NAP to Sorrento - worth every penny after the transatlantic flight.

Ferry from Capri to Positano if the sea is not too rough. Otherwise ferry from Capri to Sorrento, then bus or driver to Positano. Assuming you will come via ferry, you can hire a porter at the dock to take your bags up to your hotel and you walk up from there to the main road at Piazza Mulini, where you take a right and walk up the road to the hotel. The hotel can also give you directions.

A bus tour to Paestum (no "r") would be best, as it is difficult to plan yourself using public transportation. Again, your hotel should be able to help you with this. I love Paestum (have been 2x) and high recommend fitting this into your schedule.

To get to both Amalfi and Ravello, you could take the ferry from Positano. The first one leaves Pos at 10 am and gets you to Amalfi in just over 30 minutes. www.coopsantandrea.com for the schedule. Once in Amalfi, you take a bus or taxi up the hill to Ravello.

Lots to see and do in Amalfi - a good guidebook will help. Ditto with Ravello. I recommend lunch at Cumpa Cosima in Ravello.

I would also highly recommend a tour with Christine of www.discoverpositano.com early in your stay. You will learn lots about the history of the town and the area, along with sampling some local delicacies.

The Buca di Bacco cooking class is fun - and makes for a very filling meal! Just be sure to call and confirm the day before - there was a mix up with our reservation earlier this year.

We used Sergio Rianna to drive us back to NAP from Positano and it was totally worth it. His email is [email protected]

bluesphee Sep 24th, 2013 06:05 PM

Thanks very much for all of the great tips everyone. I'm compiling your inputs into a final itinerary that I will eventually share here.

I got a quote on the Buca di Bacco and got a little sticker shock. It's 120 Euro per person which comes to a total USD cost of $323! That's one expensive class/dinner. I'm not really sure that it's worth it. Is anyone aware of some cheaper alternative cooking classes in Positano?

Also, can someone give me an idea if $150 USD for 2 people is a realistic daily food budget on the Amalfi coast? I'm thinking some days we'll go over that when we splurge but other days we will scale back. We love to try new foods, but we don't have the massive appetites that many seem to have these days :) (no offense intended!).

kybourbon Sep 24th, 2013 06:55 PM

I don't think it's necessary to get a private driver from Naples airport to Sorrento if the Curreri bus schedule is convenient. It's 10€, doesn't go into Naples as it's just a shuttle service between the airport and Sorrento. It will make a very short stop or two in a couple of small towns on the way (Pompeii).

The directions you found for Sorrento/Pompeii sound overly complicated. Buy a ticket for the Circumvesuviana train and get off at the Pompeii Scavi stop (about 30 minutes from Sorrento - stop map above doors on older trains, electronic info on newer trains). The entrance to the ruins is across the street from the Pompeii Scavi station (no services at that station).

Guides must be licensed to tour people around Pompeii and you can find a group out front. Another option is rent the audio guide and do your own tour. You can also download Rick Steve's tour free on Itunes.

If you had asked questions before booking hotels, I think many of us would have advised putting either Positano or Capri first and Sorrento at the end. It's easier to get back to the airport from Sorrento.

>>Ferry from Capri to Positano if the sea is not too rough. Otherwise ferry from Capri to Sorrento, then bus or driver to Positano.<<<

The ferries might go to Amalfi even if they aren't going to Positano. Amalfi is closer than Sorrento and you can catch a bus there to Positano (ask your hotel which bus stop to get off for Positano - you don't want the wrong one as it would be a trek).

lhoward0921 Sep 24th, 2013 09:30 PM

Hi: My husband and I were in Amalfi last October. We flew from Dulles to Naples with a layover in Frankfurt. We hired a private car to Sorrento and (for an additional 10 euro) had the driver stop at Pompeii on the way for a two hours. We rented the audio guide (and had read the Rick Steves guide) and saw all the main sights. The two hours was sufficient. My husband and I are 50 and even though it was at the end of a long flight, working Pompeii in at the beginning of our trip with a private driver worked for us. I think we would have spent that time and energy shlepping our luggage from Naples to Sorrento on public transport, so it was money (and time) well spent. Our favorite place was Ravello. We took the ferry from Positano to Amalfi, then caught the bus up to Ravello. The bus ride is a thrill in itself and part of the fun. It was very easy to navigate the public transportation, both ferries and buses. The ferries have a slightly reduced schedule in October, but the buses are still on a full schedule. Your hotel should be able to give you a schedule for both buses and ferries. They are very simple to understand. We only took a cab when we were leaving from our Sorrento hotel to the Ferry dock with all of our luggage. You can catch a bus from Amalfi and Positano to the Sorrento Dock area and then catch a Ferry back to Naples. It is faster than the train (and less hassle with luggage) but a little more expensive. There are plenty of cabs lined up to take you from the ferry in Naples to the airport. Just MAKE SURE to secure the cab price BEFORE you get in the cab. We paid 15 euro plus a tip last October, which I think is reasonable. We found the weather in October to be perfect and there were less crowds. I would definitely recommend that time of year. Have fun.

Janetd5 Sep 25th, 2013 09:02 AM

lhoward0921 - I'm planning an AC trip for April 2014 ... could you share the name/email and cost for your private car from Naples to Sorrento with a stop in Pompeii? I'm hoping to arrange a similar arrival to the AC, though from the Naples train station to Praiano with a stop at Herculaneum.

bluesphee - Sorry to add-on to your initial query, but hopefully this will help in your planning? Then again, with an October departure, you may have all details locked down!

lhoward0921 Sep 25th, 2013 09:57 AM

I think the name of the agency is Leonardo Travels, but if you put in Sorrento cars it comes up. The owner is Ugo and we were very pleased. I looked back at my emails and saw it was 15 extra euro for the two hour stop, not 10. Anyway, total it was 100 euro with the stop last year. http://www.sorrentocars.com/ The driver also gave us a little insight to the area, pointed out things of interest along the drive, gave a little history and even pulled over a couple of times for photographs along the way.
We liked doing it this way as we did not have to "back track" to Pompeii and use up a whole day getting there and back. The extra day is better spent exploring the coastline and seeing Paestum which will take the better part of a day no matter what transportation you use.

Janetd5 Sep 25th, 2013 11:20 AM

lhoward0921 - thanks for the info!

WWK Sep 25th, 2013 02:43 PM

After a long transatlantic flight, definitely go with the private transfer from Naples to Sorrento. From our recent trip this July, I can highly recommmend Guemartravel.com, based in Sorrento.

As discussed above, we didn't feel the need for a private guide at Pompeii, either. We used the audio guide and it was fine.

Have Villa Rosa send a porter down to the dock in Positano. It will be tough otherwise to get your bags from the dock to the hotel.

I would skip the Bucca di Bacco class, and just have dinner there instead! I looked into the class this past July, but found it pricey and thought it might be way too much food for us at lunch.

RE: $150/day food budget. Yes, I think that's very doable. You can have wonderful pizza at LO GUARACINO, on the seaside path to FORNILLO BEACH, or any number of places in town (SARCENO D'ORO) etc.

Splurge for one dinner at LA TAGIATELLA in Montepertuso, which is about 15 min or so up the mountain from Positano. The restaurant may provide free roundtrip transfers. Ask at your hotel. We took a private car.

About getting back to Naples for a 2:15 PM flight. It's going to take you about 1.5 hours with a private transfer from Positano to Naples IF there's no traffic, then you have to add on three hours before the flight. My honest opinion? If you can, overnight in Naples. Much easier!

tuscanlifeedit Sep 25th, 2013 06:29 PM

I'm coming to this late, but I want to add that I don't like taking the hydrofoil to Capri, and much prefer the boat/ferry. I find the hydrofoil to be very noisy and smelly and altogether a less than pleasant experience.

Paquintravel Sep 25th, 2013 07:02 PM

We took a private car from the Naples station to Positano...the driver was great and made stops along the way for photos. We also had a guide at Pompeii [email protected]. Nello was great and it was only the four of us. The tour was great and we learned a lot. We did a cooking class in Positano at dinner time. It was expensive but totally woth it. We had a great meal and had a lot of fun making it. We used cooking vacations. Beautiful area. Have a great time.

bluesphee Oct 1st, 2013 09:33 AM

Once again, thanks for all of the helpful suggestions. I've incorporated them into my nearly final itinerary. One comment I wanted to respond to was starting in Sorrento upon arrival in Naples versus starting in Positano. I figured after the transatlantic flight that I would go to the closest location. In retrospect, I can see why just having a private driver take us to Positano first might have been nicer, but I don't think it will make a huge difference.

I contacted Villa Rosa in Positano about suggestions on how to get to Paestum and I did not get many options. They said they could arrange for a private driver at 50 euros / hour and that it would take at least 4 hours. Does anyone have any better suggestions on how to get to Paestum from Positano? If we do it on our own with public transit it sounds pretty difficult, but maybe someone has a step-by-step guide on doing this? Alternatively, has anyone used any tour companies out of Positano? I'm surprised that such a significant site is somewhat difficult to get to from Positano!

bluesphee Oct 1st, 2013 09:35 AM

I would also take suggestions on tours out of Amalfi since we could travel there to catch a tour.

tuscanlifeedit Oct 1st, 2013 10:00 AM

A quick search on tripadvisor.com found this thread on the forums:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic..._Campania.html

I googled Amalfi to Paestum.

Also found this tour on google:

http://www.siteseeings.com/tour_288.html


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