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bakerstreet Feb 7th, 2019 12:43 PM

Amalfi itinerary -- just too crazy? Any tips to make it better?
So - this is NOT the way I usually travel but I'm considering acceding to the request of my adult son and his girlfriend and now that I've started thinking about it, I'm starting to think I could actually enjoy it.

We are going to Rome in late April, spending 4 nights there and since I've always wanted to see the Amalfi Coast and don't know if I'll be back, I've added on 4 nights in that area. Plan A has been to base for those 4 nights in Sorrento, taking day trips to Capri and the Amalfi Coast, then leaving for Naples to overnight before the morning flight back to the US. That plan is set, with cancellable hotels.

Plan B is developing.... and I am actually thinking about would be TWO nights in Sorrento, then boat to Capri with luggage for one night.....then boat to Positano with luggage for one night...THEN hire a car/driver to take us to Naples for the overnight before plane leaves.

Normally I would shudder at the thought of three successive hotels for one night each, BUT .... I do absolutely love being in wonderful locations at night and in the early mornings when the daytrippers and cruise people have left or haven't yet arrived, AND I have no ambitions in any of those places other than to stroll, eat and drink, take in the ambience and simply enjoy being there. So I'm thinking the things I want to achieve can be achieved better by overnighting in those two additional locations (Capri and Positano), and I don't care if we have to "lose" stretches of time by waiting around for checkin times or packing and repacking, because I'm not trying to meet a tour or visit a museum or whatever, I just want to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere and views.

The one thing I can think of that would ease this Plan B is if I could hire a boat to take us from Sorrento to Capri, and then from Capri to Positano, at the times that are convenient for us instead of waiting for ferries, buying tickets, etc. Does anyone know of a good service for that?

Is there anything else I have overlooked in the way of making Plan B more enjoyable and doable?

PalenQ Feb 7th, 2019 12:51 PM

Sorrento is near Pompeii is that is in your plans.

AJPeabody Feb 7th, 2019 01:26 PM

Both are feasible as in could be done. Realize that the nicest things to do (especially Capri) are weather dependant so having one and only one day for a particular activity is a risk. Hence I would favor plan A, as you could rearrange day to day plans most easily.

ibobi Feb 7th, 2019 02:43 PM

Stay in Amalfi. Sorrento to Positano, for instance, is not a quick trip; you don't want to do that 4 times in 4 days! We stayed 4 nights in Amalfi and went West to Posi/Capri, or East to Ravello, at our leisure. Also, we flew into Naples and hired a car, straight to Pompeii, then first night in Amalfi, it was great.

PalenQ Feb 7th, 2019 02:56 PM

Amalfi was a neat old small town with a neat port - unlike Positano, no prodigiously steep hills to navigate. Great walk from Amalfi up to Ravello - paved path from Amalfi thru garden plots and orchards to a steep partly stepped path that comes out in Ravello - about 3 km I'd say - strenuous at end - but after after admiring the raved about views I took a different path down - zigzagging thru vineyards with workers tending the vines the whole way down to the sea and about a 1 km walk back to Amalfi.

ellenem Feb 7th, 2019 03:04 PM

You might stay in Capri last and take a ferry directly from there to Naples for the final night.

ToujoursVoyager Feb 7th, 2019 03:05 PM

I have done 1 night in a place that like you mention I wanted to explore early in the morning and in the evening. But I only had a carry on, so I was very light on my feet. Also I had planned and planned my transitions to the point of having a plan B and C. Google earth is amazing for looking around figuring where that ferry boat dock is/bus/train station/hotel.*

I would break up your string of one nights: 1 night in Sorrento, 2 in Capri, 1 in Positano.*

kja Feb 7th, 2019 04:57 PM

I’m someone who actually prefers relocating when it gives me the chance to see places I want to see after daytrippers leave, so I don’t think your plan B is crazy and would even note that it has some advantages! (Of course, many people think I’m crazy to travel the way I do. ;) ) That said, I’d reorder things a bit:

From Rome, go through Naples (by train) and then ASAP take a ferry to Capri (weather permitting). Night or 2 in Capri, then ferry to Positano. Night or 2 in Positano, then ferry or bus to Salerno (gorgeous scenery either way) then train to Naples for a night or 2. Or vice versa – but because the weather (and so availability of ferries) can be precarious, particularly in April, I’d try to get to Capri on the first day I could, allowing me a back-up plan of going later if necessary. And BTW, you could replace Positano with Amalfi or Ravello, and you could visit either Pompeii or Herculaneum on the way to Naples if you want to do that.

whitehall Feb 7th, 2019 07:08 PM

We always base ourselves in Sorrento when in that area, but we use that city mostly to explore places like Capri and Positano (and all the other places mentioned). But, your idea, and willingness to move about, makes a lot of sense for you. I agree with Toujours. Break things up the way he suggests. More time in Capri and less in Sorrento. Don't forget to visit Anacapri, take the chair lift up to Monte Solaro for the best views on the Amalfi coast, and it's a little less crowded there in the middle of the day. If there is any way that you can keep your luggage to carry-ons, IMO it will make your trip a lot easier. It's always special to travel with our kids.

Masterphil Feb 8th, 2019 07:21 AM

We stayed at Villa Magia in Positano and rented their private 40something foot boat for a wonderful 4 hour tour complete with snorkeling to transfer to Capri. From Capri, the ferry to Sorrento is easy.

ToujoursVoyager Feb 8th, 2019 12:57 PM

Actually I really like kja plan...
i would still give 2 nights in Capri ...

bakerstreet Feb 8th, 2019 01:33 PM

Wow, thanks everyone for the great advice! I'm taking a lot of the advice here. After I take the train from Rome to Naples, I'll get a private driver/guide to take us to Pompeii, Herculaneum and maybe Mt. Vesuvius, then to the hotel in Sorrento where we will spend NOT 4 nights, but 2 nights. The next day we will have an all-day daytrip to the Amalfi Coast. The following day after we check out of our Sorrento hotel we will take the ferry to Capri and spend two nights on Capri, and on the final day we will take the ferry from Capri to Naples and then catch a cab to a hotel in Naples for the overnight before our flight departs the next morning to take us back home.

I am excited about this plan! Many thanks.

AJPeabody Feb 8th, 2019 02:15 PM

I fear you will not be able to do Pompeii and Herculaneum in the time you have allotted, let alone adding another site. Pompeii is directly on the local Circumvesuviana train from Naples to Sorrento, as is Herculaneum if you include a 1/2 mile walk from the train to the entrance. Pompeii can take at least 1/2 a day, Herculaneum about 2 hours, so doing them on a travel day means a lot of rushing for abbreviated visits without time to eat. Both can be done on a single regular day from Sorrento. Hired driver not necessary. Relax. It's a vacation, not a checklist, after all.

kja Feb 8th, 2019 05:43 PM

I agree with AJPeabody. Even if you are not looking for a relaxing vacation, trying to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum on the same day would make for a full and tiring day, even if accomplished from nearby Naples or Sorrento. Starting from Rome, it would be an experience that I would find decidedly unpleasant. And I can't imagine fitting a visit to Mt. Vesuvius on that same day. I'm sure you can find a private driver who will charge you to include all 3 sites in a day's fee, but you certainly wouldn't be seeing any of those places in the way that makes them such high priorities for so many people. Sure, you could trot inside Pompeii's gates and say you were there; if you want to see just the highlights of what was an entire city, you'll need at least 1/2 day. I felt rushed with between 6 and 7 hours on site. Etc.

And again, the timing of your visit to Capri leaves you no option if ferries are cancelled -- as they might be if weather doesn't cooperate. Be sure to have a back-up plan. (That shouldn't be hard, as you are planning to skip many highlights of the area. But if Capri is a priority, plan accordingly.)

AJPeabody Feb 8th, 2019 08:09 PM

Six years ago Mrs. P and I did a trip to Rome and Sorrento, with visits to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri, and Naples. If you persevere through my rather long trip report, you will get an idea of how we fared.

bakerstreet Feb 13th, 2019 12:13 PM

Thanks, everyone! OK, I'm eliminating Herculaneum and Mt. Vesuvius, but the travel day from Rome is our chance to see Pompeii, and it's on the way to Sorrento, so I'll see as much as we can in the time we have. And to me, renting a car and driver/guide actually HELPS me relax because we can be met at the train from Rome in Naples when we arrive, and be driven with our luggage right to Pompeii, while learning about it from our guide, and then be driven right to our hotel, so no worries about luggage or train timetables.

I'm not sure how to retain flexibility in when to go to Capri for those two nights, because I am booking our hotels in advance. And even though I am booking cancellable hotels, the one on Capri becomes noncancellable several weeks before our travel dates. If I were to decide on the day we should depart for Capri that the weather was not ideal, I would still have to pay for those nights at the Capri hotel. If on the day someone has booked a night in Capri but the ferries and boats aren't running so that no one can GET to Capri at all that day, what do people generally do? Try to stay a night longer in their current hotel, and also owe the Capri hotel for that night? I do have trip insurance so perhaps that will help. Hopefully we can find some way to get on the island. If not, we'll try to find some hotel in Sorrento to take us for that night and try again the next day.


AJPeabody Feb 13th, 2019 12:24 PM

The Capri weather gamble is unavoidable. You might ask your hotel there how things are handled. Also see if there is a trip insurance that would give you some protection if Capri is unreachable due to ferry cancellations.

ekscrunchy Feb 14th, 2019 07:20 AM

Great question..I'd love to know the answer to that one! They can't possibly charge you if you have no way to get there, or can they?

ToujoursVoyager Feb 14th, 2019 05:24 PM

Bakerstreet, don't stress to much about the hotel in Capri being non refundable. It is out of your hands. Odds are in your favors. When I think about how many non refundable hotels I have for my upcoming trip, it makes my head spins... and yet after 20 years of traveling, I have yet to miss making it to my hotel on time. Enjoy your trip, and if you feel like it, write to us about it.

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