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Cinque Terre or Amalfi Coast in early April?

Cinque Terre or Amalfi Coast in early April?

Old Nov 17th, 2023, 11:05 PM
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Cinque Terre or Amalfi Coast in early April?

Since hearing about a group of friends post college trip to Cinque Terre (decades ago), I have wanted to to visit Cinque Terre and walk between the villages. To be honest, until the past couple of years I thought CT and the Amalfi Coast were one in the same.

My husband and I have a week scheduled in Rome at the beginning of April and are trying to decide whether to visit CT or the Amalfi Coast for four nights afterwards.

We are mainly interested in hiking and staying in accommodations with a view which both areas offer. If we choose CT, Vernazzo sounds most appealing to me for a home base. On the Amalfi Coast, Positano, Nocelle or Sorrento.

Here are the pros and cons I am aware of so far. I would appreciate any comments or corrections to my thoughts.

Cinque Terre
Pros - Ease of hiking between villages
Transportation by train from Rome and between villages

Cons - Possibility of rainy weather affecting hiking trails, likely cooler weather than Amalfi Coast. Are the villages interesting to explore if the weather is poor?

Amalfi Coast
Pros - Warmer than in than CT (but neither will be beach weather in April so I'm not sure how much that matters)
Side trip to Pompeii
Side trip to Naples (not sure how interesting that actually is)

Cons - Transportation seems more complicated - combo of train, bus and ferry options (of which ferries my not be available due to weather and spring schedules)

If we choose the Amalfi Coast, I have found some lovely places to stay in Positano and Nocelle, but I wonder if Sorrento would be a better home base for exploring the greater coast area. Local buses in Positano and Nocelle sound overcrowded and uncomfortable, but maybe shoulder season is better for that.

My husband and I are both fit and interested in walking/hiking, but then again it wouldn't be appealing after a long day of a planned hike, to then find out we couldn't catch the bus or easily get a taxi to or from dinner/accommodations as expected.

Most advice for either destination is to not drive due to the harrowing roads, congestion and parking issues. We are comfortable on crazy cliff edge roads, but congestion and parking issues are not appealing. Are those still a concern in early April?

Thank you for any thoughts!
kanne is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2023, 01:22 AM
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Are you returning from Rome, so RT Rome? If so, you could put Rome at the end of the trip since you would likely need to spend the night before your flight home there unless your return flight is very late in the day. OTOH, you could go ahead with Rome and decide on the CT or AC depending on the weather and how you feel at the time. Have general plans and travel info for both places with several hotels picked out in both places.

If you are staying in Sorrento, I don’t think getting to the CT from Rome is any easier than getting to the AC.

We have been to Italy several times in late March through April. It is impossible to predict, but we had mild weather every time on the AC with only a bit of rain and mostly sun. We cancelled the CT twice because of torrential rains, so have never made it there and cannot compare, but we love the AC enough that we have gone four times, for as long as ten days once.

There is actually a lot more to do on the AC (and the Naples area) than only Pompeii. Herculaneum is amazing. Capri is beautiful. We have not made it to Paestum, but it is on our want to see list.. There is Ravello and the Path of the Gods. We hiked up Vesuvius once. Just a big, black hole in the ground to me, but our friends liked doing it. Of course Positano and Amalfi are gorgeous. Sorrento also has charm (pretty lemon groves you can walk through, fisherman bringing in their early morning catch of giant fish in the marina. We really like Naples. It is gritty, but the people are warm and the food is excellent, plus some great art and museums. However, we like cities, and you are going to Rome, so imagine you would rather have magical views.
I don’t like buses, but ferries have been running when we were there.
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Old Nov 18th, 2023, 02:02 AM
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This is my personal preference, based on having been to both areas at different times of the year; I much prefer the AC and find CT overrated and it cannot compare to trips to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri etc. Positano is the most beautiful place and none of the CT villages come close. In April it's a no brainer, the further south the better.
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Old Nov 18th, 2023, 02:10 AM
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The Cinque Terre is a much smaller area than the Amalfi Coast. More to see and do on the Amalfi. We were in both areas in March one year and had cool, sunny days with a bit of light rain one day. The CT paths between the villages can be closed sometimes, e.g. for landslides. The local trains go between the villages but a lot of it is in tunnels. The CT villages are pretty small, you can wander around but it wouldn't take long. If you had poor weather, there would be much more to do on the Amalfi Coast.

Travel is not that complicated. Trains, with some changes, to Vernazza, if that's your pick. Then hike between villages or train. Or trains to Sorrento, then bus around the area. We had a week in Sorrento one year and visited a lot of gorgeous places, all by bus. The buses did get very busy. Parking will likely be an issue in either area but more difficult in the Cinque Terre. I would not want a car, more of a hassle than anything. So we had a week in Sorrento and could have stayed longer, did day trips nearly every day. In the CT we stayed in Manarola for 4 nights and liked the area but 3 nights would have been enough.
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Old Nov 18th, 2023, 03:41 AM
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April can - but must not - get very rainy in both areas.
The day trips you can do in this case from the Amalfi Coasst have already been mentioned.
From 5Terre, you can visit
Genoa (you can easily spend there a full day if youo visit the museum, the acauarium and som of the old palaces and churches),
Carrara Caves,
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Old Nov 18th, 2023, 04:09 AM
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We were in Cinq Terre mid May 2016 and it was raining with rough seas, hence ferries werenít operating. But predicting the weather is iffy.

We spent four days in Atrani end April 2022, with gorgeous weather. Amalfi is a short walk away and a transport hub, we used the ferry and bus for day trips. Positano, Ravello, Maiori/Minori, etc. We did spend a morning at the beach in Amalfi, but the water was too cold to get in!

Didnít trust my knees with the Path of the Gods, but greatly enjoyed the Path of Lemons from Minori, much easier too.

We had been to Sorrento on a previous trip, so didnít go there. Went in to Naples after the AC and visited Pompeii and Vesuvius from there.
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Old Nov 18th, 2023, 04:51 AM
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"Cinque Terre
Pros - Ease of hiking between villages"

up to a certain value of "easy"
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Old Nov 18th, 2023, 05:45 AM
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We have been to Cinque Terre several times and hiked most of the Sentiero Azzuro as well as some of the upper trails. One of the trips was for 5 days. We enjoyed it but had good weather, so we were able to fill our days with hiking. The towns are charming, but there is not much in the way of historic monuments and art. As mentioned above, Pisa and Genoa would be options in bad weather. The trains between the towns were the most packed of any I have ridden on (hikers with trekking poles!) but I think we were there in May.

Different trails have been closed over the years, so you have to check on the latest reports.

We also have done Amalfi Coast in late April, staying in Atrani. The buses were full, but not over crowded. We walked to Amalfi, got the bus to Bomerano, walked the Path of the Gods, took a small bus to Positano and then ferry back to Amalfi. We walked from Atrani to Amalfi and on to Ravello, coming across a goatherder and his charges on a path. We also did Valle dei Mulini (Valley of the Mills) from Amalfi, a pleasant tree shaded walk with atmospheric ruins. Both Amalfi and Ravello have duomos worth visiting for their artwork. Ravello has some lovely gardens worth visiting.

If you are really serious hikers/walkers, I suggest one of the hiking guide books for either region. There are more trails than I have mentioned for the Amalfi Coast. If you choose Sorrento as a base, there are closer hikes for that area and also some hikes on Capri.

I lean towards Amalfi Coast or Sorrento for the choices for things to do, in addition to hiking. I did not find the transportation difficult; if you stay in a hotel they can probably assist. We stayed at La Scogilera rooms in Atrani.


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Old Nov 18th, 2023, 06:35 AM
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ďEasyĒ hiking in the CT is subjective. I recall almost hanging off the edge of a cliff at times. We did half of the trail one day and the other half the next day. We started in Monterosso the first day : started from Riomaggiore the second day. We stayed in Monterosso and both days ended in Vernazza. I was glad that we had accomplished hiking the whole trail but would never do it again! I have a severe fear of heights but did it all!
We donít care for the AC, so overtouristed.
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Old Nov 18th, 2023, 08:50 AM
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We hiked the Cinque Terre high trail (6d) from Volastra to Corniglia in 2012. We took a bus from Manarola to Volastra to save us from a long uphill hike to get to Volastra. In 2014 we hiked the Path of the Gods from Bomerano to Nocelle. We took a taxi from our hotel in Positano to Bomerano then a bus from Nocelle back to our hotel. Both hikes were fantastic. We absolutely love the AC so my opinion is biased towards the AC but we think the AC and CT are quite different and are hard to compare. Here is a link to a post that shows some pics from our hikes.

Walks/Easy Hikes We Have Enjoyed
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Old Nov 18th, 2023, 09:19 AM
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I'd pick the Naples area. There are more things to do/see if the weather's iffy, and it's easier to reach from Rome... 4:50 hours with 3 changes Rome to Vernazza v. about 3 hours with 1 change Rome to Sorrento. (Don't forget you have to make the return trip a few days later.) I'd stay in Sorrento rather than on the AC. IMO, Naples is definitely worth some time, if only for the archeology museum where most of the artifacts from Pompeii are exhibited, but a day trip to Naples from Positano would be a slog too far for me. If you need to return to Rome the day/night before your departing flight, you could visit the archeo museum on the way. There is luggage storage at the Napoli Centrale station.
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Old Nov 18th, 2023, 11:04 AM
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I reread the original post and agree with the recommendations for Sorrento, since you will really only have 3 full days. You might consider Herculaneum over Pompeii.
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Old Nov 18th, 2023, 06:19 PM
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Thank you for your thoughts and suggestions! We will be returning to Rome after our stay in CT or the AC. We will have a 6:40pm flight from Rome to Frankfurt that evening.
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Old Nov 18th, 2023, 09:02 PM
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I haven't been to CT so can't compare the two and can't speak to the weather in April, but Sorrento, although not actually on the Amalfi Coast, is good for connections to everything. I spent five nights there and enjoyed it and road the bus down to Positano for the wonderful views and also the ferry, for equally great views. The duomo in Amalfi is great, and you can take the bus up to Ravello, gorgeous views up there.

I love Naples and there is a lot to see there in addition to the Archeological Museum, but not sure I'd want to do it as a day trip from Positano.
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Old Nov 19th, 2023, 03:30 AM
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One if the contributors above mentions hat they find the AC "overtouristed".I do have to say that the CT gets more like the USA in season and is jam packed with tourists in the spring and summer.
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Old Nov 19th, 2023, 09:37 PM
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We were in the AC this past March, followed by a week in Rome first days of April. We based for Minori for 2 weeks, then on Ischia for another 14 days. The objective was to try to experience the shoulder season sweet spot.
The Minori apartment was that rare thing along the coast: a mid-range property with a lift! The Ischia equivalent was an all-time splurge, worth every penny. Added value guaranteed in both cases.

We've already been contacted by a number of folks from this forum plus RS and would be happy to continue sharing contact info for both properties.
Btw, our CT visit 20 years ago was during high season (a severe heat wave actually) and apparently there's no such thing as shoulder season there anymore.

Two CT items:
a) among the very best of the professionally-shot 'international travel' drone footage on YouTube, there exists a superb segment shot across the CT. We watched it numerous times, in order to vicariously 'travel' during covid.
b) we were once at our bank, arranging to send the deposit for our Umbrian rental; the young male teller kept referring to his dream of one day visiting 'Sinky-Teer'. It took us some time to realize that he meant the CT.

Good luck Kanne.
I am done. the coasts
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 03:37 PM
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A CT tip: Levanto. The “6th” town of the CT. Less crowds, easy 10 minute milk train rides to to the CT and the best Trofie Al pesto in the region, with a nice small beach as well. Parking a plenty, incredible mom and dad shops selling homemade trofie pasta, great gelato, mmmmm
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Old Nov 23rd, 2023, 12:25 AM
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They are 2 very characteristic and beautiful seaside resorts. For me, both are worth visiting, but if I were to advise you, it would be better for me to see the Amalfi Coast with Positano and Sorrento. Also worth seeing is Ravello with its fantastic terraces where you can admire an incredible panorama and if you have time from Amalfi take a hydrofoil and also go to Capri. You can eat very well on the Amalfi coast... _)
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Old Nov 24th, 2023, 08:53 PM
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Do not overlook walks on the Sorrentine Peninsula.

And Ischia is a dream with great hiking possibilities.
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Old Nov 25th, 2023, 12:07 AM
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Thank you all again for the many detailed replies with fantastic suggestions!
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