Amalfi Coast Questions

Sep 2nd, 2012, 10:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2012
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Amalfi Coast Questions

Was in Italy over ten years ago--did the Big 3. Now attempting to plan a trip to Amalfi Coast but realizing after just a bit of research that some rather serious advance booking may be in order if one wishes to stay at particular Hotels. Looking to spend 4-5 nights (or more if needed?) on the coast using Positano as a base. Would love to see Pompei, Capri, Ravello, Amalfi, Paestrum--maybe even Naples. As a school teacher July and August of 2013 offer the most flexibility however, xmas break (2012) and possibly spring break (Mar/13) are possible but more limited. My questions are: 1) How far in advance would one have to book a hotel like Buca di Bacco? Miramare?, Poseidon etc. 2) Is Positano a good Base? 3) Is the Amalfi coast a place where Italians vaca during the summer months? and 4) is July or August better. Any suggestions, tips or experiences that would assist in facilitating this trip would be most appreciated!
MsGladysCravitts is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2012, 05:42 PM
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I wouldn't go to the Amalfi Coast in December or January and probably not in March. Besides poor weather, the towns will be awfully quiet with many restaurants and hotels still closed. (Investigate the hotels you listed to see if they close for the winter and, if so, when they open.) Ferry service will be almost non-existent, and bus service will be less frequent.

I would choose July over August, and the earlier in July the better. Yes, Italians go on vacation just like us, and they also do weekend getaways to seaside destinations in good weather months.

You need to get specific about what you want to see/do. Four nights is only 3 full days which would probably not be enough time to do everything you mentioned. Four full days is obviously better, but still not much time to cover a large area (90 miles from Naples to Paestum via Positano). If Pompeii, Naples and Capri stay on your list, consider splitting your nights between Sorrento and either Positano or Amalfi.

Where will you arrive/depart Italy? Obviously, Naples is closer to the Amalfi Coast area, but is this part of a longer itinerary?
Jean is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2012, 06:28 PM
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With your limited choices, even with heat and crowds, I would opt for July as early as possible. If your school ends in June, and you can leave as soon as the last test is graded, I would go for that.

Reasons: The AC, IMHO, is all about being on the water and the great views, evening walks and late dinners/sunsets, sitting outside enjoying views of cliff-hanging towns, sailboats or Mt Vesuvious. Winter days are too short and cold for you to experience that. Mid-March, for me, is still too cold and days too short. I also don't like riding a bus, so being there when ferries are running is a must. Some people like the bus though, and others rent a car, so you might prefer that.

Positano is stunning and good base for Southern AC.

Sorrento is a great base for visiting Pompeii and Naples.

I am not a big Capri fan, but have been there only on day trips. People who stay overnight love it.

For what you wish to do, five days seems about right.
Sassafrass is online now  
Sep 2nd, 2012, 08:55 PM
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I've been to Pompei and Naples in December and loved it for its generally mild sunny days, but 2 of the days I was there were stormy enough (including hail) to make the idea of taking a boat to Capri literally nauseating. I also wouldn't want to be in a place like Positano on a day when it was icy or socked in with low hanging clouds.

Positano is an impossible "base" for daytripping to Paestum, especially in summertime. It is also an extremely problematic base for visiting Pompei in the summer, due to very heavy traffic jams on the coastal road. Also, in summer, it is best to get to Pompei as early in the morning as you can.

July will be very hot for the steep steps of Positano and all the coast will be jammed to the gills with international and American tourists. August will be more crowded as Italians and other Europeans join the fray, but since you are putting up with crowds anyway, you might be more charmed by seeing how Italians enjoy their own country and their own holidays, not just being surrounded by other tourists.
aguamineral is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 04:33 AM
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As another teacher I sympathize with your choice of vacation times. But definitely summer, and as the others said, as early as possible. I often leave the day after the students.

We had eight days and based in Sorrento and didn't even get to everything you list, although we did go to Amalfi two different days. Here's a link to my trip report. I highly recommend staying in Sorrento, especially is you also want to see Pompeii and Naples.
isabel is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 05:08 AM
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Your hotel choices are excellent, but as you recognise, they are popular choices. I'd certainly book them asap and even this far out, you may not get the dates you want. I love Positano for it's atmosphere once the day trippers have gone.

You seem to want to see places both East and West of Positano and I do think it's the right choice for a base on the AC. However, 4/5 nights isn't enough. A week will be better and you won't see all you want.
Rubicund is online now  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 05:13 AM
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We stayed in Amalfi and Sorrento between in early January, and we lucked out with the weather but that is entirely by chance, of course. The best part is very few crowds at Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Oplontis. And Capri & Ravello. Amalfi was quite magical in early January with a street festival every night. We were in Sorrento for some religious holiday (Ascension?) in early January, after which 50% of the town shut down.
artsbabe is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 05:32 AM
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I've been there in late March (last week) and the weather was warm enough for short sleeves during the day and jacket at night (lemons were already on the trees).

I've also been in June, August, September (early and late). It was very hot in June and August (90's).

Positano doesn't really make a good base if you are doing a lot of day trips.
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 09:16 AM
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In 2010 we were at Amalfi Coast between Christmas and New Year, staying in Vico Equense on New Year's Eve to view the fireworks display on the Gulf of Naples - spectacular and breath-takingly beautiful. The best view, as I found out, would be best viewed from right down on the Sorrento harbour, or better still, from a hotel overlooking the harbour of Sorrento.

We were so lucky as the weather was sunny and comparatively warm to Tuscany, where we spent some days prior to driving to the AC.

On the Amalfi Coast, like in many regions of Italy, in some villages and towns, the locals of some towns and villiages, at Christmastime organise live cribs (in Italian called presepe vivente), . To find out which and on what days, google presepe vivente in Campagna.

A play was also organised in the square in Amalfi town, really nice with the stairs of the church behind in the background.

The roads and towns and villages are really lit up in Christmastime, (Positano, from afar looked spectacular since the houses are built terraced, and make a nice atmosphere, and static cribs are exhibited in many villages - I even saw, whilst driving along the AC, like on a bend, cribs in the rocks of this road.

There would not be many tourists at all during this time, more Italians having their holiday break there or locals enjoying the Christmas holidays. No queues whatsoever at Pompeii Ruins or at the Grotta della Smeralda etc.

There were many restaurants open, and we had no problem at all to find accommodations, although some hotels do close down for the Wintertime.

I am not sure about the ferry service - we did not check it out as we drove around with hired car, it might not run in the Wintertime, check this out. However, the ferry service to Capri was working, and no queues either to buy tickets. Again, I do not know, probably they do not run as late as in the Summertime we did not go to Capri, but if you are interested check out the Winter schedule..

The Italians also celebrate in a big way the feast of the Immaculate Conception - on the 8th of December. Many Italians also take breaks during these days.

During Christmastime it is feast for fish lovers as on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve it is the tradition that they serve endless courses, always including fish. You have to experience these dinners so you would understand what I am talking about!!

All I can say is that we did enjoy our break on the AC in December - few tourists and with a real Italian feel. We were so lucky as well with the weather, as the sun shone in the five days we spent there.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 11:55 AM
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Sunset in December: about 4:30-4:45.
Average high/low/precip.: 55F/46F/3.4 inches

Sunset in January: about 4:45-5:00.
Average high/low/precip.: 55F/44F/2.9 inches

Sunset in March: about 6:10-6:25 until March 25th, then 7:30.
Average high/low/precip.: 57F/46F/2.1 inches

Sunset in July: about 8:45-8:30.
Average high/low/precip.: 82F/66F/0.7 inches

Sunset in August: about 8:00-7:45.
Average high/low/precip.: 84F/68F/1.2 inches
Jean is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 02:29 PM
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Those weather "averages" don't mean a thing.
220volt is offline  
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