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Help with a short post-cruise stay in (potentially) Sorrento

Help with a short post-cruise stay in (potentially) Sorrento

Old Nov 14th, 2014, 11:20 AM
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We went in October a couple of years ago. The Circumvesuviana was very crowded. We had to stand in the aisle a few times. We went to Pompeii one day and Herculaneum another day. They both have cafeterias making a nice place to rest and get a sandwich. The day we visited the Amalfi Coast, the line to get on the bus was so long we didn't get on the first one and had to stand in the aisle on the second. If we had that to do over again, we would have hired a driver for the day or taken a taxi. It would have been worth every penny as we ended up only having time to see Amalfi. If you are taking the bus from Sorrento to the Naples airport, be sure to get your ticket the day before and make sure you know exactly where it will pick you up. We had a wonderful time there, but if we were to do it over, a few changes like hiring a driver for the day, would have made it better.
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 07:30 AM
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Once you decide how to get to Sorrento you will find there is lots to see there as it is a lovely city. Sorrento is also ideal for day trips to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Amalfi Coast and with a little more effort Paestum. If you are a fan of Greek temples Paestum is a must see. Imagine three temples that rival the Parthenon just sitting there in a field.

For sure you will find Pompeii a strenuous day so you will probably have to do Herculaneum on a second day. Herculaneum is a much smaller site and more intact and is well worth it
.
For Paestum you can contact Golden Tours which runs day tours in a bus. They even pick you up and drop you off at your hotel. They also give you an hour or so to visit Salerno on the way.

We stayed at hotel Residence Miramare. It is up the hill leading out of Sorrento but certainly within walking distance. The views of Sorrento on the way down the hill are outstanding. It also has free parking. It is on the bus route so it is inexpensive to get back up the hill.

We also took the local bus to Amalfi. While it was crowded we simply purchased our ticket and waited at the back of the line and arranged it so that when that bus was full we were at the front of the line for the next bus, which was a half hour later. We got seats on the right hand side for ocean views and that cost around 6 euros each if memory is correct.

There are also tour buses which stop at a few locations on the way. That option didn't seem to be overly expensive.
One thing for sure leave the driving to the professionals.

If you can perhaps you should look at extending your stay for say 5 or 6 days. All of these activities are well worth the extra time.

Here are images of our trip to Sorrento and all the side trips.
Sorrento http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7634654031558/

Have a great time
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 07:34 AM
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china cat,

Important note - Pompeii and Herculaneum are Roman, Paestum is Greek. I really enjoyed Paestum, but I visited it on a trip to the Amalfi Coast that was 7 days and could have been longer.

During June, I would recommend getting around the coast by boat. Best views and much more enjoyable!
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 09:01 AM
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Note that Pompeii takes a LONG time to see much and involves a lot of walking on uneven surfaces (the major roads have large stepping stones - with space in between for the chariot wheels). Also there is no shade and it does tend to be very hot.

If you can get a Sorrento hotel with parking that is not in the heights above the town (or really has a frequent shuttle then you can use the car). We drove everywhere - but in May - and out hotel had free parking as well as being right in the center of sorrento - but nowhere near your budget.
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 09:37 AM
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The Amalfi coast area has so much to see, especially for people interested in Greek and Roman ruins. Nobody's mentioned Capri, an easy boat trip from Sorrento. It has Tiberius's villa, with a glorious outlook high above the sea. And several other odds and ends. And the Archeological Museum in Naples, where most of the goodies from Pompeii are displayed: mosaics, jewelry, pots, etc.

Maybe you ought to save this area for another trip when you have more time. And it really requires a fair amount of mobility, especially the Amalfi coast itself, and most especially Positano.

There's still Ostia Antica. (However, I understand it covers a fairly large area.) And boat trips along the Amalfi coast.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 06:53 AM
  #26  
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I wanted to come back and say thanks again for all the helpful suggestions. I still haven't really figured out the transport, but you've all given me a lot to chew on. I have to say, I'm still leaning towards rental car, but will have to discuss with my "driver" (husband) to see how he feels about it. I do take into consideration all your comments about traffic and narrow roads.

I'm a big fan of both Greek and Roman ruins (I've been to Greece about a dozen times since that's where my grandparents lived . So I do know there is a ton to see and do in the area. If we can expand the trip a bit, I will do so, but we have to see how the budget will stretch. We're already doing 3-4 days in Barcelona and a 1-week cruise, so its adding up fast. And I'm not willing to put it off...my health is a bit tenuous, and my mobility is going to get worse over the next few years, so I'm gonna do it now while I can. I'll just have to fit in whatever I can, and leave the rest.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 08:41 AM
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In your case I would actually rent a car. I think you said you were from Boston. The road around Rome is no worse than the roads around Boston. You aren't planning to drive INTO either Rome or Naples so you should be able to handle congested multi-lane highways.

The road heading down TO Sorrento last summer was slow and crowded - but none of the trauma you'd get on the Amalfi Coast road (which I've only done in the bus). We rented a car in Sorrento and drove to Salerno (and then Puglia) and while it took longer than we anticipated, it was not difficult.

In Sorrento I can recommend Ulisse Delux Hostel. It's not a hostel, it's a regular, quite nice, hotel. And it has a parking garage (extra charge of course) but is also easy to walk to the center of Sorrento (5 minutes). It's a 15 minute walk from the train station. I've stayed there twice. The only time we had the car was this summer when we picked the car up as we were leaving Sorrento, but it was pretty easy to drive to/from (we had to go back to the hotel to pick up the traveling companions and luggage). www.ulissedeluxe.com/

The Circumvesuivana train was slower and more crowded this past summer than it was the last time we were there (2010). Not sure I'd want to do it with an 80 year old. We definitely had to stand some of the time.

If I had to choose I'd pick Herculaneum. We were able to do that in a couple of hours (easy walk from train station but if you drive there was a large parking lot). So we could have also spent a few hours in Pompeii (we did that on previous trip). I think Pompeii is worth doing along with Herculaneum if you accept that you can have a very worthwhile visit in a few hours but you won't see ALL of it. If I hadn't been to either and had only one day I'd go to Herculaneum in the morning and spend as long as I want (which would only be a couple hours), then go to Pompeii till I got tired. If you do Pompeii first you won't get to Herculaneum because there will be more and more to see and you'll feel you HAVE to see it. I think Herculaneum was even more interesting than Pompeii in a lot of ways.

If you love ancient Greek temples though you really should go to Paestum.

Here's my photos: http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/ital...aples__pompeii
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 09:12 AM
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Thanks Isabel, yes you have summarized my thinking. Not only are we Boston drivers, but my husband has driven in all kinds of crazy places...he's driven in downtown Athens and London. We picked up a rental car in Florence and drove to Siena and Orvieto and to the Rome airport. We picked up a car in downtown London to drive in the Cotswolds, and Wales. We drove from Dublin all around Ireland. He's driven a car up the Mount Washington auto road in New Hampshire. And across central Manhattan. There is really very little in the way of driving that can disturb my husband. It seems to me that sitting in traffic in an air conditioned vehicle is preferable to standing in line for a bus, or standing onthe Circumvesuviana. At least that's my thinking at the moment.

The Ulisse looks quite nice and very reasonably priced. That's a strong contender.

Perhaps if we rent a car, we will still use the boat to get to Amalfi and Positano. I do worry about climbing around Positano...that will be hard for all of us unfit people But if we take the boat we can avoid the traffic for that particular excursion.

Interesting that you say Herculaneum is preferred to Pompeii. I don't think I can pass up Pompeii, but you've given me food for thought. My mom has been to Pompeii before, so she won't mind not seeing all of it. Neither will, for that matter.

I think I need 4 full days.
1 for Pompeii, one for Herculanum, one for Amalfi coast and one for Paestum. And I'll still miss Capri, well you can't fit in everything.

Hmm, if we skipped Ostia, I wonder if we could do Herculanum on the day we debark from the cruise ship, on our way to Sorrento. I suppose we shouldn't leave our baggage in the car...that would be a problem.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 10:49 AM
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Herculaneum and Pompeii both have luggage storage for transient visitors. How convenient it would be to the parking lot I don't know. And, having taken a cruise, will you have a lot of luggage?
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 11:02 AM
  #30  
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I have yet to go to Pompeii, as I visit the Amalfi Coast each June and it is too hot for me to walk around on the hot stones in the blazing sun with no shade.

Having been to Herculaneum, I can tell you it will not take a full day. Also, there is quite a bit of shade in Herculaneum, due to its layout and how well preserved many of the structures are.

Even if you do have a car, I would definitely see Positano and Amalfi via ferry. Positano has alot of steps, but the steps up the pedestrian-only portion of the village from the beach are quite shallow (with a few exceptions).

If you decide to rent a car, please report back, as you would be the exception to the rule if you find it a pleasant experience in June.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 02:12 PM
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I didn't pay attention to whether or not there was luggage storage at Herculaneum since it wasn't an issue for us. But the parking lot was right next to the main ticket building. There were rest rooms there but it was pretty small so can't imagine there was too much storage if that's where it was.

I agree that even with the car I'd take the boat to Positano/Amalfi. The bus had even better views if you can stomach the windy road. A lot of people get pretty motion sick on the bus (I didn't but my husband did). We've done combinations of bus and boat.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 02:36 PM
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There is luggage storage at Herculaneum, but it was tiny (right near the bathroom).
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 11:17 PM
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if you choose to go to Herculaneum [or anywhere else in Italy for that matter] in a car en route to somewhere else [ie with your luggage in the car] make sure that absolutely everything is out of sight in the boot, and then park the car so that the rear bumper is hard up against a wall or tree so that the rear tailgate can't be opened.

That won't necessarily stop the thieves [someone here did that in Sicily and they just levered open the rear passenger doors and nicked their things that way] but it does make it more difficult for them.

That said, i once went on a trip with an italian friend, who forgot to close her car window when we parked in a city somewhere in Tuscany. When we came back, everything was exactly where we'd left it, including the car.
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