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GiacintaG Jul 10th, 2012 05:18 PM

Help with Amalfi Coast/Rome itinerary for May 2013
My husband and I are planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast and Rome next May, leaving around the 10th. I could really use some advice on our itinerary. This will be my husband's first trip to Italy. I have visited Rome before many years ago but have never been to the Amalfi Coast. This is what I have planned:

Day 1: Arrive Naples, hydrofoil to Capri (is this the easiest way?)
Day 2: Capri
Day 3: Ferry to Positano
Day 4 - 6: Positano - tour of Amalfi coast, visit Pompei, not sure about Paestum and Herculaneum
Day 7: Ferry to Sorrento (or Salerno?), Train to Rome
Day 8 - 12: Rome
Day 13: fly home from Rome

As it is, we have 2 nights in Capri, 4 nights Positano, 6 nights Rome. We are totally flexible on this distribution. I'm wondering:

1) Should we leave it as is with Capri at the beginning, Rome on the end or vice versa?
2) Will there be any issues with the ferries in early May?
3) I'm wondering about taking a day from Rome and adding it to Capri or Positano.

We enjoy going to art galleries and museums, visiting churches and ancient sites, walking and taking in the scenery, people watching, going to cafes and restaurants.

Thank you so much for any advice you can give me!

tanya_girl_1976 Jul 10th, 2012 05:30 PM

I have never actually been to Italy and am just planning a month long trip myself. My husband and I will be there Sept 15 - Oct 17. Can't wait!!

What I CAN tell you is what EVERYONE told me. Your itinerary may have too many hotels and you may want to consider staying in one place longer to save having to drag your luggage around. For example, stay in Sorrento and do day trips to Capri and Positano.

Weadles Jul 10th, 2012 06:37 PM

We came back from the AC last month ( fourth trip there). See if you can find an online schedule for the ferries to see what's running in early May. I think some ferries/hydrofoils have been cut for budgetary reasons, so make sure you check carefully.

It may not be practical to start your vacation in Capri. I assume you're arriving into Naples from the U.S? You have to hope that your plane won't encounter delays. But even if it doesn't, you still have to get to the port after leaving the airport, then wait for the hydrofoil/ferry.

When you arrive in Capri, you'll have to get your luggage up to the main part of town where the hotels are, unless a porter has been sent down to Marina Grande ( where the boats come in) to meet you. Sounds like a very LONG day for the first day of a vacation!!

So although I don't typically recommend two-nights stays, you might consider taking a day away from Rome, and basing in Sorrento after you arrive. Sorrento is only 30 min or so from Naples airport. And from Sorrento, you can easily day trip to Capri, unless you're going to stay there for a few nights. It's also much easier to get to Pompeii from Sorrento or Naples than it is from Positano. It takes about 30 minutes on the local train, or you can hire a driver to do a half/day trip.

Lastly, a FYI: There is no train from Sorrento to Rome. You have to go to Naples. We just found out that there's a train from Naples to Rome that only takes a little over an hour. I think it's a different line than the Eurostar, but again, check online for that info.

Good luck!

GiacintaG Jul 11th, 2012 11:03 AM

Thank you both for your advice. Yes Weadles, we will be arriving from Canada and I see what you're saying about it being a long day. I just thought it would be a good idea to go directly to Capri as we could just relax and get adjusted to the time while we were there. We could possibly push back our dates another week if this would make a difference. I have not been able to find any ferry/hydrofoil schedules for next year as I guess it is just too early but perhaps I could contact the hotel we are thinking of staying at (the Minerva) and ask them. Otherwise, I guess you are suggesting that we go directly to Sorrento for a couple of nights, possibly do Capri for a couple of nights and then go to Positano? We don't mind moving around a lot as we have done this on another trip although, it seems like we would make more of our time if we were to day trip to Capri. I have read however that to fully experience the island, it is best to be there at night. I'm not sure when/if we will get back to this area, so I really want to make the most of our trip. Do you think it is worth it to overnight in Capri?

ekc Jul 11th, 2012 11:31 AM

Having just returned from 9 days in Positano and Rome, I think your itinerary looks good. I like the idea of getting to Capri on your arrival day - relaxing and walking around on the island will definitely help you get over your jetlag.

On Day 3, I would get the ferry from Capri to Sorrento, then take the train the Pompeii, leave your luggage at the "luggage hold" at Pompeii and visit the site, then either (1) driver from Pompeii to Positano, or (2) train back to Sorrento, then bus or driver to Positano. IMHO, Paestum is too far unless you rent a car.

To get to Rome, I would ferry to Salerno, then train from Salerno to Rome. The ferry to Salerno doesn't take that long and only makes one stop (in Amalfi).

I would also take one day from Rome and add it to Positano, as you will lose day 3 to Pompeii and only have 3 days in Positano. I ended up falling in love with the area and would want to spend as much time as possible there, allowing yourself time to really get a feel for the town and also allowing time for daytrips.

suec1 Jul 11th, 2012 11:52 AM

Ok if I were doing this (and I have done a similar trip) I would stay longer on Capri then move to Sorrento and then onto Rome. IMO Capri and Positano are somewhat similar in that they are a place to just BE and relax - not so good for touring the area from. Be aware that Positano is super hilly! Capri is also hilly but there is more coverage by the little local buses, every outing does not involve hundred(s) of steps up or down like in Positano.

Ferry service from Capri to Positano in May will be limited - fairly frequent Naples / Capri / Sorrento service. It is easy to get to Pompei on a daytrip from Sorrento - from Positano, not so much. Most hotels offer the service of getting your bags up to the hotel from the Capri port for maybe about 10E service - you will check them in at the dock when you arrive on Capri. On one trip we flew from Atlanta to Rome (direct) then trained to Naples and ferried to Capri for a long, long night / day but it is doable. A great splurge is to get a private driver for the Amalfi coast - exploring Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. The bus can be a bit of a scrum.

Anyways, those are my tips / suggestions - however you end up allocating your time, it will be very enjoyable. Hope you have a chance to take the chairlift in Anacapri - delightful experience.

ggreen Jul 11th, 2012 01:41 PM

I believe whether or not you are there at the beginning of May or the end makes a big difference, as the former is considered "shoulder" season ahead of the main summer season that begins at the end of the month. Ferries will be more limited, like suec1 said - but hotel prices will be lower and the crowds will be less! (And yes, it's my understanding that the ferry schedules are only published a few months before the season begins.)

We were in Italy at the very beginning of May two years ago, splitting 5 nights between Amalfi and Sorrento before taking the train Naples-Rome and staying there for 5 nights. We loved Amalfi for relaxing and kicking back. Sorrento was a much busier - and more touristy - town but nonetheless an excellent hub for seeing the ancient ruins and even for visiting Naples.

I think your idea of getting to Capri straight off is a good one. Sure you'll be dragging after your flight, but it's straightforward to take the bus from Naples airport to the port - and once you're on the island, you can relax!

I'd also agree that in a broad sense, Capri and Positano will be similar, so swapping one of them for Sorrento could work well. (And I too have heard it frequently said that Capri is best after the day-visitors leave.) If you decide to keep in a stay in Positano, I also recommend Salerno-Rome for your train.

Since you express an interest in museums, galleries and churches, I'm surprised you haven't mentioned taking any time in Naples itself. The national archeological museum is a must, especially in conjunction with Pompeii/Herculaneum/etc. And some world-class churches and food!

One line of the local commuter train, the Circumvesuviana, terminates in Sorrento. It's about an hour from one end to the other, with stops at Pompeii-Scavi (the archeological site) and Erculano (where the Herculaneum site is), among others. The only down-side of making Naples a day trip (and relying on the train instead of hiring a taxi) was that we had to eat dinner much earlier than the area's typical 8 or 9pm start!

On our last day in the area, we checked out of our Sorrento hotel, took the Circumvesuviana into Naples, and put our bags in the left luggage counter there. We then purchased our tickets to Rome before venturing up to the archeological museum. We had time for that and a quick bite before our 3pm train.

If your trip is in early May, IMO it's the best of both worlds. Enough things have opened up that you're not limited in what you do, but the Sita buses, restaurants, etc. aren't overcrowded.

ggreen Jul 11th, 2012 01:58 PM

There's a lot of info on these boards about travel around and things to do in the area - maybe too much! It gets overwhelming! Here are some favorites of mine.

For lots on Naples, read the relevant sections of this trip report:

And all of this one:

Also look for train travel advice from the member called GAC, and specifics on the area from A_Brit_in_Ischia. :)

MARISAL3 Jul 11th, 2012 02:17 PM

Heading out on a cruise Western Med on HAL. looking to do tour of Amalfi Coast-arrive in port @ 8-6 pm. We have been to Pompeii, etc. Anyone recommend a reasonable good tour?
Also Palermo, Sciliy 7-5 pm suggestions to do
Heard Tunisia was not great. Do we get off ship or take a tour?


suec1 Jul 11th, 2012 03:08 PM

Marisal - have you checked in on your roll call over on the Cruise Critic's boards? Probably others are planning small group tours that you could join. For the Amalfi coast I would suggest either going to Capri on a tour or on your own OR get a driver to visit Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. But again I would head over to Cruise Critic for better info on options for short visits to these places.

Jojonana Jul 11th, 2012 04:33 PM

We did a similar trip last year and I have another suggestion: ISCHIA!
The boat ride is shorter from Naples, and getting around is easier than in Capri.
The huge bonus, if you like spas, is that this volcanic island is full of spas of curative waters. We spent 4 days there and wished we had more time. Fantastic friendly people, gorgeous scenery, great food, loved it. In comparison, we found Capri beautiful of course, but also overcrowded, a bit stuffy and less friendly.
We took a ferry from Amalfi to Ischia, and from Ischia to Naples.
Happy travels!

Jojonana Jul 11th, 2012 04:39 PM

Here is my trip report. Hope it's useful! :)

Weadles Jul 11th, 2012 04:58 PM


Yes, it would be easier to day trip from Sorrento to Capri rather than moving around so much, but I do think the island is worth a visit. It is a completely different place at night after the day trippers leave. That's when you feel the magic. During the day, it's shopping/tourist /put on your glitzy sunglasses central, and IMHO, not that much fun unless you're out on the water and can somehow escape the crowds. Since you are going in May, however, there should be less crowds to deal with.

Positano, despite the summer crowds, is still one of my favorite places on earth. It has some of the most beautiful views on the Amalfi Coast, and some of the best restaurants, too. You do have to be in decent physical shape to cope with the steps to and from town, but it's worth the effort. WHen you're there, check out FORNILLO BEACH, which is about 15 minutes away on the seaside walk that starts at the COVO DEI SARCENI hotel. That beach tends to be less busy and more relaxing than the one in Positano itself.

I don't know if you've booked hotels yet, but unless you have mobility issues, I'd strongly suggest picking something midway up from town, so that you can take in the best views of the surrounding area. For me, those views, that beauty (!!) is what Positano is all about!

MARISAL3 Jul 11th, 2012 07:30 PM

Been on Cruise Critic- No Roll Call yet.
Trying to gsther info and book tours for Sept 25th. We have some time.
Thanks for help

A_Brit_In_Ischia Jul 12th, 2012 02:46 AM

This is now our tenth year on nearby Ischia, so perhaps I can offer a few suggestions for the Campania part of your vacation?

Next May's schedules for boats and ferries should be much like those for autumn - maybe have a look in late September for a feel of what would be available... This year though the "opening" of several seasonal routes was delayed until later than usual, with the Metro del Mare network of hydrofoils not operating at all.

Do likewise for schedules for the SITA line buses that ply the AC routes... after about the 15th!

Hotels etc - many are likely to close by mid-November, so ask you questions and make bookings before then... or you could find there's no English-speaking staff to reply until they reopen (briefly, perhaps over Xmas and New Year) or then in Spring 2013. With the current economic uncertainties, some may be more amenable to advance bookings - others less, for fear of underpricing themselves...

Awful to be thinking of such things, but leaving can be an issue - especially from some AC resorts! Even now, on the earliest boat out from Positano to Salerno at 10AM, the first train you could then catch there doesn't get you to Rome until around 2.30.

So as to lose less of a day, it might work better to swap, and end on Capri - from where crossings to Naples begin soon after dawn? This site will do for a rough idea:

Personally, I'd find Capri and Positano together a chi-chi overload - and would consider Amalfi or elsewhere on the AC. Try this 'Travel Directory' to the various towns and villages along both sides of the peninsula.... produced in 2008 and now well overdue for an update, all 170 pages of it!

If such things matter to either of you, for "how many of whom goes where", see:

And, as a pick-me-up after all that tedious stuff, here's how our Ischian Mays have looked...

... and some photos of the places you might visit...


Weadles Jul 12th, 2012 03:06 AM

If you decide to choose one over the other, my vote is for Positano, not Capri, which I have to admit has a strong "chi-chi" factor, to quote the poster above. Positano also has much better transportation options to other towns/cities along the coast.

Unlike others, however, I am not an Amalfi fan. Yes, it seems like a more authentic Italian town, but Positano has those views which is quintessential Amalfi Coast, if you ask me. And in May the Disneyesque crowds of which I've sometimes been a part, are much less overwhelming.

GiacintaG Jul 12th, 2012 05:45 PM

Thank you so much to everyone for all of your advice, suggestions, trip reports and other links. All this information is invaluable as it can be overwhelming surfing these boards as ggreen mentioned. After discussing everything with the dh, I think we have decided on a few things. Thanks to the heads up from A_Brit_In_Ischia, we will push back our trip a week so that we are leaving mid-May and staying for two weeks (including travel days) so to hopefully avoid any issues with delayed ferry route openings. Thanks to ggreen, we are going to plan a day trip to Naples. I hadn't really considered it before but I do think we would enjoy a visit there and it does seem doable. We are going to nix staying on both Capri and Positano, opting only for Positano. I did consider staying in Amalfi after reading what some posters had to stay on other topics but for this our first visit to the area, I think I would like to stick to what for me, is my dream destination. Our new revised itinerary is as follows:

Day 1: Arrive Naples, hydrofoil to Sorrento
Day 2: Sorrento - day trip Capri
Day 3: Sorrento - day trip Pompei
Day 4: Sorrento - day trip Naples
Day 5: Ferry to Positano
Day 6 - 8: Relax, soak in the scenery and hire a driver for a tour of the coast
Day 9: Ferry to Salerno, train to Rome
Day 10 - 13: Rome
Day 14: Fly home

I'm just wondering if I should take an extra day from Rome to spend in Positano. I have a feeling I am going to fall in love with this area and might enjoy the extra day there. Or take the extra day from Sorrento and omit one of our day trips from there? Weadles, we are planning on staying at the Antiche Mura in Sorrento and either the Marincanto or Miramare in Positano. Both of these hotels do not offer internet rates as yet for next year, so I will need to contact them directly to get rates. Would anyone happen to know if these are about midway up from town? I have read wonderful reviews for both of these hotels on Trip Advisor and they are similarly priced (at least for 2012). Thank you again everyone!!

A_Brit_In_Ischia Jul 13th, 2012 03:12 AM

Difficult as cutting that Rome visit feels, a day more or less there may not make a whole lot of difference... whereas, since you already seem intent on returning, that will probably be where you'd either arrive at or leave from next time?

We've been gradually exploring that wonderful city since 1996, and after two dozen visits still have lots to see - so there should be plenty if you combine a revisit with heading off to Puglia, Tuscany, the Veneto or wherever for the bulk of that stay?

After all, no point in rushing these things!


With it being almost as easy to reach Capri from Positano as Sorrento, the choice for that outing may come down more to which of the two places you'd prefer to be based in - for the morning before and evening afterwards?


PS: Probably a good idea to delay by that week - the timing of Easter next year is hardly likely to have the seasonal sea routes opening any earlier! For the record, I've noted a few of the 2012 starts:

Salerno, Amalfi, Positano, Capri - from April 1st:

Sorrento / Ischia / Sorrento and Capri / Ischia / Capri - 1st April:

Sorrento to Positano and Amalfi and vice versa - 26th April:

Weadles Jul 13th, 2012 03:56 AM

Yes, take a day from Rome and add it to Positano, especially since as Peter says, you're more likely to return there than the AC.

I am not sure about the location of the two hotels you mentioned, but I think that they are halfway up through town.

Sounds like a wonderful trip!

mamcalice Jul 13th, 2012 04:37 AM

I thought your original plan was lovely. We much preferred Capri to Positano (mostly designer stores and high end hotels) although the views from both are astounding. Capri would be a great place to get over jet lag. Once you are there, it is easy to relax. Have you considered staying in Sorrento which gives you a better base for the area. I know you are getting all this advice from those of us who have visited the area and have our preferences.

A day trip to Capri is an entirely different experience than spending a couple of nights there. It is crowded during midday, much like the Amalfi Coast, but lovely in the evening and morning.

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