Amalfi Coast questions

Jan 12th, 2013, 09:45 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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Amalfi Coast questions


I have already found so much fantastic information on this forum for planning our first trip to Italy, thank you! But I have a few questions about one section of our trip:

May 15 we are traveling from Orvieto (Tuscany) to the Amalfi Coast. We will have a rental car for the Tuscany portion of our trip and do not want to keep it for the Amalfi Coast.

So, our original plan was to drive from Orvieto, stop in Pompeii and then drop the car in Sorrento. We would stay 3 nights in Sorrento and use it as our base for the Amalfi Coast.

I have now decided that I would like to spend 2 of those nights in Positano which means one night in Sorrento and then taking the bus to Positano the next day. I would like to avoid a one night stay if possible and was wondering if it's too much to go to Pompeii, drop the car in Sorrento and then get to Positano all in one day. I thought I should ask the experts before I end up with a completely exhausting, impossible day.

Thank you!
italybound567 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2013, 10:15 AM
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It's over 4 hours just to drive Orvieto-Pompeii-Sorrento-Positano (not counting any stops or possible traffic delays). Add time to see Pompeii (how interested are you?), turn in the car, transfer to and catch the bus... FWIW, on our first visit to Pompeii, we spent a full day there and didn't see everything. Also, I wouldn't try to see Pompeii if it's raining.

I guess, if you started from Orvieto at the crack of dawn and watched the clock while you toured Pompeii, this plan is possible. You need to know the open hours of the Sorrento car rental office which is probably closed for a few hours in the middle of the day and not open late.

Where are you going after Positano? Could you reverse the plan and see Pompeii after Positano?
Jean is online now  
Jan 12th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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Check the open times at Sorrento for the drop. I suspect it may be closed from 1300 to 1700 anyway. I would get to Sorrento before 1300 and save Pompeii for later.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 12th, 2013, 02:31 PM
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Hi Italybound,

You could drive from Orvieto to Pompei, see Pompei, and drive the car to Salerno before the rental office closes at 7pm, which should be easy to do.

Then I would get private car transfer to Positano. I would just stay in Positano the whole time, since you can day trip from there to Capri, but when you feel like it, you can go from Positano to Sorrento by taxi, ferry or bus (and maybe you can to Naples by ferry, I don't know).

In May, Pompei could already be quite hot by the time you arrive, so make sure you bring loads of water and hats, sunblock, etc.
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 12th, 2013, 02:42 PM
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By the way, something else you could do is dump the car in Orvieto the night before and take a train to Pompei, stow your luggage at the entrance to Pompei, tour the excavations, and then take the train onward to Salerno and get a taxi or bus to Positano


after Pompei, take the Circumvesuviana commuter train to Sorrento, and then bus to Positano if for some reason you prefer that.

You would probably need to be on a train by about 8am in the morning in Orvieto for that plan to make sense if you want to spend more than 2 hours in Pompei.

If you ultimately opt for this train plan, put up a separate thread asking for specific info about the location of the luggage storage at Pompei in relation to the regular train station. Most people arrive at Pompei on the commuter line, which lets you off quite close to the entrance to Pompei, where I believe the luggage storage still is. But if you take the train from Orvieto, you will be arriving at the main station, not the commuter one, so you might want to take a short taxi ride rather than drag your luggage a mile in the heat.

Or maybe somebody reading this thread knows the right answers, and can tack it on here.
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 12th, 2013, 03:02 PM
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PS: I just double checked drive times, and since the train is almost the same time as driving -- which means you need to leave pretty much at 8am whether you train or drive -- and since taking the train spares you dealing with car rental offices and their opening hours, I would drop off the car a day early, take the train (book in advance for steep discounts), and apply the savings on gas, tolls. parking to getting a taxi to Positano from either Salerno or Sorrento.

If you are worried about an exhausting day, trying to combine driving to Pompei with touring Pompei might be more tiring than taking a train to Pompei, and not needing to worry about the car at all anymore and how to get to a rental office in time with a car full of gas. Just a thought.
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 12th, 2013, 03:36 PM
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Thank you so, so much. You have given me so many more options to think about.

We are going to Rome after Positano and we have 4 nights there before flying out. I would rather not lose one of my days in Rome by going to Pompei after Positano.

I think we might drop the car in Orvieto after all. I was nervous about leaving a car full of luggage in Pompei anyway so that might be the best option.

I'll definitely look into all of your suggestions. Thank you!
italybound567 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2013, 05:54 PM
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>>>By the way, something else you could do is dump the car in Orvieto the night before and take a train to Pompei, stow your luggage at the entrance to Pompei, tour the excavations, and then take the train onward to Salerno and get a taxi or bus to Positano<<<<

Not practical. The Pompei station on the Trenitalia line between Orvieto and Salerno is a long trek to the ruins. The closest entrance to this train station does not have luggage storage nor does the Pompei station. Luggage storage is at the entrance of the ruins near the Pompeii Scavi stop on the Circumvesuviana line. It would also require taking a slow R train from Rome as the faster trains don't stop there. Salerno does have a lot of departures from this station, but again, it's a long trek from the ruins.
kybourbon is offline  
Jan 12th, 2013, 07:48 PM
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Hello ItalyBound567 -
My husband and I travelled to the Amalfi Coast with another 4 people (my adjult children and friends) in Sept 2009. We stayed in Sorrento for 4 nights and I would love to have stayed even longer. I personally think Sorrento was a great base with more to do than Positano. Positano is beautiful as is Amalfi. You can ferry to Positano, Amalfi, etc or bus it. We went to Positano by bus and returned by ferry at the end of the day. We also took a day trip by train from Sorrento to Pompeii.
You will love it.
TraceyJSutton is offline  
Jan 12th, 2013, 08:37 PM
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While Positano is lovely, it is, IMHO, even more beautiful from the sea than it is actually being there. Therefore, I would stick with your original plan and stay in Sorrento, especially if you stay in one of the hotels up on the cliffs overlooking the Bay. It is stunning!

I would ditch the car, take the train to Naples and the Circumvesuviana on to Sorrento. Enjoy a lovely evening in Sorrento. Visit Positano by taking a ferry down and bus back or visa-versa. Take the short train ride to Pompeii from Sorrento.

Kybourbon is correct about the trains. TraceyJS is right about Sorrento. Sorrento gets a bad rap for being touristy, but it is no more touristy than Capri or Positano, it is very convenient and the views from some of the hotels are beautiful.

To enjoy great views of the Bay of Naples in Sorrento in the evening, have a drink on the terrace of The Foreigner's Club. You can also have dinner, but I think other restaurants in Sorrento are better. Views from the terrace of Hotel Minerva are also fabulous - nice place to sit, relax and have a drink or snack at the end of a day of touring. It is also a nice place to stay.
Sassafrass is online now  
Jan 12th, 2013, 08:43 PM
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Thank you for that information kybourbon, it really affects my decision.

Now I'm back to staying in Sorrento for one night. I agree Tracey, not a terrible situation to be in, I was just trying to avoid a one night stay. We definitely prefer the smaller towns so Positano might be better for us overall.

Thank you all!
italybound567 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2013, 09:24 PM
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All the cities you picked are wonderful. Be sure to walk the streets and wall in Orvieto at night. It was one of our favorite stops. Pompeii takes at least a half day. It is a LOT of walking. Actually, I'd prefer light rain to overwhelming heat to visit since very little is under cover of shade. (We had a car full of belongings the whole trip. Most of the tourist areas are pretty well policed.) Sorrento was our base for the Amalfi Coast. Leave a little extra time for the last part of the trip into town after you get off the highway. Local traffic into Sorrento is slow but it is a beautiful drive along the coast. Also, parking is easier than in many cities. We took the Amalfi bus (crowded, hot, curvy, and long) but I definitely would NOT drive it (and we drive everywhere!) The ferry is a great option. We didn't have much time in Salerno's old city but it was worthwhile, too. Each town along the coast has its own personality. They are all lush and leisurely. You really can't go wrong. We did a book. The pages in the middle may give you some ideas:
gingergrilli is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 04:35 AM
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Would you be willing to take a taxi from the train station in Pompei to the entrance of the ruins?

I would expect to find taxis at the train station. That is norm for Italy. When I suggested that someone might come by and explain about the trains and luggage storage, I didn't think they would fail to tell you that you could get a taxi when you got off the train. You can.

Or, if you prefer, you can get off the train in Naples with your luggage and switch to the Circumvesuviana line to get to Pompei. That way, you have a very short walk to the entrance of Pompei and you can store your luggage there.

In May, Pompei is open until 7.30pm. If you arrive by 2pm, you can stay four hours until 6pm, leave, go to Sorrento and have a taxi drive you to your hotel in Positano, along the most beautiful part of the Amalfi drive at sunset (it sets about 8.15 in May).

Are you going back to Rome? If you felt after spending 4 hours in Pompei that you wanted more time there, you could re-visit Pompei on your way back to Rome from Positano.

I really don't think you need to spend one night in Sorrento if you don't want to.
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 05:01 AM
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I just pulled this from a June 2012 trip report of someone who took a cruise that docked in Salerno, and therefore took the regular train from there to Pompei train station with her child. She wrote:

"When we exited the train station in Pompei, there were taxis readily available for €3 per person to the entrance of the Pompeii site. I knew it wouldn’t be far to walk on our own, and I was right."

Google puts the walk at 25 minutes, so with luggage I think that is too far to walk on your own. But even if you get charged a euro or two for your luggage by the taxi driver, I don't think that is too much.

I thought of one more option for you: Drive your car from Orvieto to the Naples airport, drop it off and take a taxi to Pompei (it's a 30 minute taxi ride).

But since it is a 3 hour drive to Naples, and a 4 hour train trip to Pompei whether you take the regular train all the way to Pompei or get off in Naples and switch to the Circumvesuviana commuter line, I opt for turning the car in early,saving the money and heading to Pompei by train.

I think you could get even more detailed information about your options on the Slow Travel website. The posters on that message board tend to do all they can to help somebody how to find the easiest way to avoid a "one-nighter". The biggest issue is how much time you want to spend in Pompei. But then you simply need to go on your way back anyway. If you don't know how much time you want to spend there, you can go for a half day on your way down and if you want more -- well, then you always had the option of going on your way back anyway.

Check over on Slow Travel unless you've decided you really do want that night in Sorrento or to stay there the whole time.
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 07:01 AM
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(guess it must be time to change my screen name again. hard to resist the thought that people are advising against suggestions to the traveler based on not liking who posted the suggestions, not what the traveler wants for their trip)
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 12:08 PM
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Wow, you are all amazing! I've taken all these suggestions and looked into things further. (gingergrilli, your photos are gorgeous, I can't wait to see Orvieto now!)

We've decided that keeping the car and driving gives us the added flexibility of leaving earlier and driving straight to the ruins. It will likely cost more than the train, but avoids train transfers and taxis. If we rent with Auto Europe the car rental office in Sorrento is open until 7:30. I think that will give us enough time in Pompei.

The SITA bus runs from Sorrento to Positano approx hourly until 10pm (provided this is the correct schedule and the bus that I want to be taking)

It will be a long day, but I think I would prefer to be settled in Positano for 3 nights.

Please let me know if you see any problems with this plan. Thank you so much!
italybound567 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 12:43 PM
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Great plan! It will be a long but enjoyable day. And you will be very happy that you are spending all of your 3 nights in Positano - one of my favorite places in Italy!
ekc is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 12:54 PM
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Plan looks like a plan.

If you aren't carrying a GPS (and even if you are carrying a GPS) best to map out carefully your route from Pompei to the Sorrento office. And heed the above warning about traffic into Sorrento.

The motion-sickness prone will warn you (correctly) that an after-dark nighttime bus trip from Sorrento to Positano is more likely to upset your stomach than a trip in daylight because you can't see enough distance out the window to orient yourself to the constant motion. (Sort of like reading on a bus.) If you think you might have a real problem with this, make adjustments to the plan (earlier departure from Orvieto, or earlier departure from Pompei, or a taxi for the last leg which, while pricey, gives you more control over the driver if you need to stop for a minute).

If you haven't already booked your Positano hotel, you might evaluate ease of reaching it if you are arriving after dark.
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 02:44 PM
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get rid of the car..take the train to Naples, central...switch to the local train...get off at Pompeii...allow four hours.... continue on the train to Sorrento...overnight 3 nights there...take the earliest bus to Positano...spend 3 hours...take the ferry to a boat from Banana boat rentals...return to Sorrento on the late ferry...

look for deals on

you need to get to the bus stop very it is first come first served....
sam94123 is offline  

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