Amalfi drive will be your death?!?!?

Jun 5th, 2002, 07:12 AM
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Amalfi drive will be your death?!?!?

We have been warned that driving on the Amalfi Coast is very dangerous- narrow roads on the side of mountains ith no rails overlooking drops straight down. Is it true?

We have planned to rent a car in Naples and drive to our hotel in Praiano, then around the coast for a few days, pompeii, positano, sorrento etc. We decided to rent a car for independance and mostly to save money. Are we crazy? Are there 'major' (unscary) roads we can take to get to these places? Thanks for your tips.
Jun 5th, 2002, 07:34 AM
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I will jump in for what it is worth.
My husband drives quite a distance everyday in all kinds of traffic and all kinds of weather. I never gave it a thought that he would take exception to driving on the Amalfi coast.
He hated it. He hated the cars on your bumper and he hated stopping for the buses and he hated the parking.
You will rent a car for independence, but the gasoline is almost 5 Euros a gallon, so forget about saving money.
It costs 2 Euros an hour to park your car while visiting Positano. Amalfi is a little more reasonable.
You can park a very good distance from these towns IF you can find a spot.
You will probably be provided with parking at your hotel, so no problem there.
There are narrow roads on the side of mountains, but they have rails. And the drops are straight down.
Praiano is one of those towns in which a car comes in handy, but driving there is not a picnic.
Just be prepared for the traffic. Going places where you can access the A3 (like Pompeii) is less of a hassle.
Basically the S163 is a very narrow sometimes not even two lane(depending on how people park their cars on the side of it) road that is lots of turns. And most of the towns on the Amalfi coast are on this road.
The area is drop dead beautiful though.
Jun 5th, 2002, 07:44 AM
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j: The drive is very high and very winding, but I cannot recall any stretch that didn't have a road-edge barrier. If you drive from Solerno, you will be on the inside of the road rather than at the edge. The views are awesome and you will want to stop at several places. If you can't handle it, there are ferry/bus combinations that get you around the Amalfi coast pretty well.
Do not drive in Naples. Pick up your car as you leave, but by all means see some of Naples.
Jun 5th, 2002, 09:23 AM
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Thanks for the tips!

We are staying on the coast for three days then going to Rome. Thought we would drive to Rome and save on the train tickets AND save on all the cabs to pompeii, positano, etc. I wonder if gas money will make it a toss up for expense. If we don't get a car, how would we get to praiano from naples then back to naples? I haven't seen any trains.
Jun 5th, 2002, 09:29 AM
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i expressed similar apprehension before my trip about driving the amalfi coast amidst of all the talk here but i found the drive to be relatively easy; first, for your psychological comfort there are rails throughout the drive from sorrento to amalfi...sure the drop is straight down but typical driver s won't be high enough to notice it (plus you will be eyeing the road & sita buses than looking @ anything else)..second, the roads are not any more winding than the ones we saw along the chianti drive so if the tourist buses can navigate here so could you..
now the drive btw capri and anacapri is something i wouldn't recommend..if you want to talk plunge, this is it..oh yeah you wouldn't be seeing sita size buses here...

a couple of tips: be on a lookout for buses (you can usually hear a small toot at tight turns when they're coming; also use the mirrors placed @ these turns) can also give a small honk when you are entering a tight turn as well...just drive @ speed you're comfortable and don't worry about anybody behind you...if they want to pass, you wouldn't see them in your rear mirror..

cost is a minimal factor since sorrento, positano, amalfi are quite close together; the only true factors for not driving are parking and heavy traffic though as of may public parking was readily available (even in positano!) and traffic btw naples to sorrento and along amalfi coast was i don't know how it's like in the summer but i doubt you would enjoy the luck i had in july/august...

another thing going for a car rental is the added convenience of stopping at the shoulders to appreciate the view and not wasting quality time waiting for buses along the coast as you go..

there is a good recent post by dean on driving in italy (esp amalfi) that is particularly a search on dean and driving and you should be able to find it..
Jun 5th, 2002, 09:44 AM
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The SITA busses are dependable and cheap.
Jun 5th, 2002, 09:46 AM
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It is one of the world'd great drives. Steady, easy, and be very alert. You will do fine. We drove it in 1999. Wow!
The scenery is breathtaking. You will have the time of your life. Where in Praiano are you staying? We stayed at the Neptuno. Praiano is by itself with Positano right down the road.
I wish you a fun and wonderful trip.

Jun 5th, 2002, 09:55 AM
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j, if you're renting a car only to, presumably, save money over other transportation in the area, I'm not all that sure you will.

If you don't rent a car, you can get to Praiano, either via train to Salerno and then, I believe, a bus (SITA?) to Praiano, or else the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento and then the SITA bus to Praiano.

I don't know how current this info is, but here's a website I found that may be of some assistance:

Jun 5th, 2002, 10:09 AM
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My husband and I just got back yesterday from our 12-day trip to Italy. We rented a car when we left Venice and drove to Florence, Siena, Gaeta, Sorrento, Amalfi and back to Rome. The Amalfi drive was not as bad as most people claim. My husband had no problems manuevering the drive. The worst part of it was the cars parked on either side of the road and the motorcycles passing on the left. There were a couple of tight spots but it was actually easier to drive behind a line of cars because you could easily tell what was ahead. I would just drive cautiously and make lots of stops at the lookouts. The views are breathtaking!! There is a wall/rail along the whole drive and it was not as long of a drive as we were expecting from Sorrento to Amalfi. We passed through Praiano (very nice) on our way. We stayed on the edge of town in Amalfi where we parked our car. We walked into town from our hotel to look around and go to dinner and I think that walking the "Amalfi Drive" is actually more dangerous than driving it. Just take it slow and be confident about it and you will be just fine. I also agree with one of the previous posters that it is very similar to driving through the Chianti region (once we did that and the drive to Gaeta my husband became a pro at handling the Amalfi coast) It was one of the highlights of our trip! Enjoy!!
Jun 5th, 2002, 02:47 PM
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j--pros/cons of driving the A. Coast pretty much depend on whether or not you enjoy driving in general. if you do, it will be an exhilirating experience; if you don't, it will be a hassle. we thought it was exhilirating, and the flexibiltiy of having your own car--and therefore your own timetable--is a definite plus for exploring the A.C.
for MANY more opinions/observations on driving the A.C., do text search on "rules for driving the amalfi coast".
Jun 5th, 2002, 05:18 PM
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Been there twice and tried the SITA bus both times. I've had it with that!!!

The drive is beautiful. The towns aren't that much, it's the ride to them that's great.

The bus driver has two foot positions and one hand position. The hand is on the horn and the foot alternates between flooring the gas and flooring the brakes.

Unless you're used to being pushed from behind by the bus and jumped over by another car or scooter, my choice would be to spring for a driver for the day and have him stop several times en route.

I took the bus up to Ravello and then walked back (1:20) down to Amalfi.

Taking the boat to or from Sorrento is an option but you do not see what you do on the road.
Jun 5th, 2002, 05:34 PM
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We just returned from Sorrento on Friday and it was lovely. We rented a car an drove from Rome to Siena and Florence with ease. However, I would not suggest driving the coast unless you wan to be stressed ou tht entire time. We took the bus and it was nice to be able to relax and enjoy the view. If we were driving we would have been looking at the edge and at the other drivers. Constantly worrying about someone coming around the corner, being on the edge of the cliff, and the locals honking at your inexeperience. There were several traffic jams caused by visiting drivers not knowing what they were doing or just taking forever to manuever the road which is extremely narrow, curvy, and did I mention on the edge of a cliff?
There is the train that you can take that drops you off right at the entrance to Pompeii, you can take the boat to Naples, Amalfi, Ischia, Positano, and the I would suggest the bus to the to of Vesuvius. We were told that there are many abandoned houses up lots of crimnal activity. People who will try anything for you to stop you on your way up the mountain so they can rob you. (laying in the road acting hurt or lost). We did not have a car and were fine. Good luck.
feel free to e-mail me if you have any other questions.
Jun 5th, 2002, 06:15 PM
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I drove the Amalfi coast in 1998 and just recently got out of therapy for Post Traumatic Driving Syndrome ( PTDS ).

Good luck...if you live in the NYC area and need a pyschiatrist when you get back, e-mail me and I'll send you the name of mine.
Jun 5th, 2002, 06:47 PM
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Piece of cake! Just remember to pull the side mirrors in. You can usually tell the tourists by the dangling mirrors LOL
Jun 5th, 2002, 07:30 PM
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it's always interesting to read people's perceptions of the amalfi drive and i think az's comment sums it well and that is, if you believe you're a good driver (ahem, be honest here!) and you enjoy driving, the amalfi drive (or anywhere in italy for that matter) will not pose a special challenge..otoh, if you commonly have road rage driving at home or get rattled or intimidated easily or if you're not a good navigator, then you shouldn't drive...this doesn't mean that there wouldn't be any stressful situations (rome and naples comes to mind) but chances are you wouldn't be overwhelmed by the italian way of driving...

if you decide not to drive in amalfi that's's well served by the buses on a scheduled basis...

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