Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Help with Itinerary for Amalfi Coast, Ischia and Capri, Italy

Help with Itinerary for Amalfi Coast, Ischia and Capri, Italy

Aug 11th, 2012, 01:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 258
Help with Itinerary for Amalfi Coast, Ischia and Capri, Italy

Ok my eyes are blurring over from reading all the posts. Sometimes I think I get more confused! But we are narrowing down our wish list and it now is time to post and ask for help.

Travelers will be me and hubby in our 60's, love hiking (waiting on my Sunflower Hiking book) and some sightseeing. Usually rent an apartment when we travel and do self-guided hikes BUT this time we will be hiking on our own and probably not renting because we will not be staying long enough in one place. So here goes:

WE will not have a CAR

Tentative Itinerary

Sorrento: 3 nights

Day 1: Arrive in the afternoon. Explore town SLEEP.
Day 2: Early start to Pompeii ??? Can we Hike Vesuvius in the same day???
Day 3: Do a hike and more town exploring the area.

Ischi: 3 nights

Day 4: Take furry or boat to Ischia get situated go to Poseidon Gardens or Negombo.
Day 5: Hike Monte Epomeo. Explore Island
Day 6: Wine country

Capri: 1 night
Day 7: Take boat to Capri from Ischia. Explore Capri.

Amalfi: 3 nights
(decided on Amalfi because many of the hikes start from here)
Day 8,9,10 hike around Amalfi

Rome: 2 nights
Day 11: arrive Rome
Day 12: see some sights

Day 13: fly home

NONE of this is written in stone. It is just a rough outline.

Arriving from Philadelphia in ROME at 8:45am on Oct 1 and leaving from Rome on OCT 13

Best way to get down to the the area from Rome. I priced a driver and it was 400 euros...too much. Which train is best? Where do we get it from airport. Any tips will help.Don't really want to do a bus because of luggage

First dilemma:
Do we go right to Ischia or got to Sorrento from airport. I know it will be a long day for both but I think getting to Ischia after flying all night might be a little too much.

Major Questions:
Best way to get to Sorrento from Rome?
Best way to get back to Rome from Amalfi:

Suggestions on places to stay in Ischia --should we stay around Forio or Ischia Ponte??

How about Sorrento, Capri and Amalfi any good suggestions on lodging?

I feel like we are moving around a lot but everyone keeps saying you have to stay overnight in Capri. Or else I would have done this as a day trip from Sorrento or Ischia. Any input??

Hey, thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions.
6abc is offline  
Aug 11th, 2012, 02:34 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,635
We went from Rome to Sorrento by train during our vacation this May, taking the fast train to Naples and the Circumvesuviana onward to Sorrento. We had already been in Rome for a week, so the leg from the airport to the train station was not part of that trip. The Naples airport is only an hour or so from there to Sorrento. I suspect that flying to Naples via Rome would be a better route for you. Also, I think Naples to Ischia would also be practical, bypassing Sorrento. For my take on the Rome/Sorrento vacation, see my (long) trip report.

We did a daytrip from Sorrento to Capri. We aren't hikers, but the island looked like it would be a great place for hiking, in which case an overnight would be essential.

We had no trouble doing Sorrento to Naples airport, connecting in Rome for the flight to JFK. You may wish to spend a few nights in Rome at the beginning of your trip rather than the end, greatly lessening the chance of a missed connection on your first day. I bet you could make a more realistic itinerary that way.
AJPeabody is offline  
Aug 11th, 2012, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,008
For me, this would be too much moving around, too many hotel changes, too much reliance on all the transport going exactly as planned.

With only 11 full days, I would pick either Ischia or Capri but not both. I would head to Amalfi from Rome (train from airport to Salerno, bus or ferry to Amalfi) and work back. Ferry Amalfi to Capri, ferry Capri to Sorrento, ride the Circumvesuviana commuter train to Pompeii one day, and ride it again to Naples to catch a train to Rome.

Mon., Oct. 1. Arrive Rome. Train/bus (or ferry) to Amalfi.
Tues., Oct. 2. Amalfi
Wed., Oct 3. Amalfi
Thurs., Oct. 4. Amalfi
Fri., Oct. 5. Ferry to Capri.
Sat., Oct. 6. Capri
Sun., Oct. 7. Ferry to Sorrento.
Mon., Oct. 8. Vesuvius* or Naples.
Tues., Oct. 9. Pompeii.
Wed., Oct. 10. Train to Naples. Train to Rome. (There is also direct bus service Sorrento-Rome.)
Thurs., Oct. 11. Rome.
Fri., Oct. 12. Rome.
Sat., Oct. 13. Depart Rome.

* It used to be you could catch a bus to Vesuvius near Pompeii. I have no idea if that's still the case, so you need to look into this. Whether you could see Vesuvius and Pompeii in the same day depends entirely on how interesting you'll find Pompeii. On our first visit to the excavations, we spent an entire day from opening to closing, and we didn't see everything. We also very much enjoyed the Naples Archeology Museum (closed Tuesdays) which is where all of the artifacts unearthed at Pompeii are on display. Both Pompeii and Naples are easy and cheap to reach from Sorrento using the Circumvesuviana commuter train.

"Don't really want to use a bus because of the luggage." Actually, it's easier to travel on the Sorrento-Rome bus with luggage than on trains with a connection. Load the luggage once v. hauling it on/off two trains, up/down stairs, etc.

For helpful lodging recommendations, you need to tell us your budget.
Jean is offline  
Aug 11th, 2012, 05:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 258
AJ I somewhat agree with you on the moving around. Not sure about heading all the way down to Amalfi the first day. I thought I was pushing it by going to Sorrento on the first day. We are not including Naples in this trip. Although I would love to go to the Museum. Will take into consideration the lugging of the luggage on a train.

Our budget is mid range. I am not sure what mid range is in Italy these days. Would love to keep rooms below $150 a night. We are use to rentals when we travel so the $150 is even high for us.

I really don't want to spend $200 a night on a room.

Thanks for the reply.
6abc is offline  
Aug 11th, 2012, 05:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 258
Sorry I meant the above response for Jean....

But AJ I had looked into flying from Philadelphia to Naples and it took 14 hours because of the connection. So we decide to just book to FCO and then do public transport to the coast. It just seemed a little more efficient.

As far as the rome first I really want to head down to the coast first. But thanks for the input.
6abc is offline  
Aug 11th, 2012, 06:29 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,553
We did 2 nights Amalfi and 3 nights Sorrento (in the middle of a trip that started with flying NYC-Rome-Sicily; 4 nights Sicily; and ended with 4 nights in Rome). Of course, spending more time in any one of these places would have been great! But the moving around wasn't too bad.

You can take a train to get from Rome airport to the Bay of Naples/Amalfi Coast. Do a search on this forum; there's a lot written about the train from FCO into Rome and also about the one from Rome to Naples. (You could alternately go to Salerno as Jean suggests.)

It would make for a fair amount of schlepping on your arrival day, but nothing so complicated as to be unfathomable with jet lag...
- If you decide to stay in Sorrento first, you would take the train to Naples, then as AJP said transfer to the local Circumvesuviana train downstairs in the same station. (Do a search here for A_Brit_in_Ischia's good post about Naples termini and loads of other great details from him.)
- To go to Amalfi first, as Jean said take the train to Salerno, then transfer to the Sita bus. I believe it's a little walk from one to the other in Salerno, but not bad.

We went first to Amalfi followed by Sorrento for its access to the Vesuvian towns and Naples. We only had one day to hike, but absolutely loved the Sentieri degli Dei! Our hotel gave us box lunches and we took the Sita bus from Amalfi to Positano, then a local bus there up to Nocelle, where we started our hike back to Praiano. At one point we were lapped by a grandmother in sandals carrying a toddler in a hiking backpack!

On our last day in the area, we checked out of our Sorrento hotel, took the Circumvesuviana to Naples, put our bags in the left luggage there and spent some time in town before returning for our afternoon train to Rome. You should try to get to the archeological museum!

Look for a trip report by Marija on her time in Naples. (Naples was only one of the cities mentioned in the title...) In it she talks about going to Vesuvius and a slight logistical mishap that they had...

Oh, and we enjoyed our stay at the Hotel Miramalfi on the edge of Amalfi. Every room has a sea view/small balcony, lovely breakfast on the terrace, and the staff was very helpful. A ten-minute walk down into town, down a set of stairs to a park and then to the harbor.
ggreen is offline  
Aug 11th, 2012, 07:47 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 258
Thanks ggreen, don't you just hate those grandmothers that pass you on the trail with kids on their backs ...we have seen and been passed by many. Thanks for the info will look into the trip reports you mentioned and check out the hotel. How did you like staying in Amalfi. I don't see many posts on the town. Most people seem to be staying in Positano.
6abc is offline  
Aug 11th, 2012, 07:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,008
We preferred Amalfi over Positano. The entire area is touristy, but Amalfi felt less so than Positano.
Jean is offline  
Aug 11th, 2012, 11:11 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,254
Excuse me for not reading all the replies above, nor those offered to you over on TripAdvisor... but yes, it probably does makes sense to go to Sorrento first - an ideal place for sleeping!

When coming to Ischia, and for going on to Capri afterwards, this pair of hydrofoil services should be handy?


A_Brit_In_Ischia is offline  
Aug 12th, 2012, 05:25 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 258
Thanks Peter for the reply. I am tending to agree with on on starting in Sorrento.

I woke up this morning and began to think of maybe leaving Ischia for last for a few days on the way back to Rome. Just to relax after hiking and sightseeing on the coast it might be more appreciated to do some nice soaking after some travels.

I am wondering if the Hydrofoil schedule is the same in October as it is posted in your pbase photo?

and yes I do post on other forums. There are so many wonderful people out there that have helped with many of my travel plans for the last several year I couldn't have gotten all the help otherwise. Books are great but nothing like a live person helping with your plans. I have met so many wonderful people. Thank goodness for the internet. It just makes it so much more accessible to get information. Thanks again.
6abc is offline  
Aug 12th, 2012, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,404

If you are concerned about hauling your luggage on trains, then you are taking TOO MUCH!

Travel light - just a 21" roller for each of you, plus some sort of tote or overnight bag with essentials in case of lost/delayed bags.

The less you take, the happier you will be. Guaranteed!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Aug 12th, 2012, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,553
6abc, I am definitely in the Amalfi camp. We actually chose it because at the time the hotel price seemed more reasonable than what I was seeing for Positano; I even expected to be a little disappointed! Positano is of course really pretty and picturesque, but my impression on the ground was that it was filled with English-speaking tourists whereas Amalfi was where Italians vacationed.

We were there in early May (the other "shoulder" season) and Amalfi was pleasantly busy whereas Positano seemed much more crowded. I'll add that Sorrento was even more touristy, what with cruise ships docking there and its proximity to the major sites like Pompeii - IME it was difficult to find a corner where we felt like we were surrounded by locals rather than tourists. However, it was a terrific base for our needs, even making a day trip into Naples rather than move hotels again.

Since returning, others here on Fodors have said similar. I don't remember offhand if she has a trip report of her own, but ekscrunchy has posted a bunch about Amalfi, the hotel she stayed in and others she looked into (including the converted convent).

Another advantage in both Amalfi and Sorrento is they are at each end of the Sita route, improving seat availability. Sorrento is also at the end of a Circumvesuviana line, again facilitating transit. There is a Sita bus stop right at Hotel Miramalfi.

As for the grandmothers on the trail: jealous for sure!
ggreen is offline  
Aug 12th, 2012, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,429
I would cut back on the number of hotel changes/locations also. If you keep Ischia, I would put it first or last.

I would also check whether there are services from Sorrento to Ischia in Oct. Many services cut back mid-Sept. I only see a schedule through 9/15.
kybourbon is online now  
Aug 12th, 2012, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,336
I agree with other posters ( Jean) who suggest cutting back on this schedule. I think you should look into a connecting flight right into Naples, and leave Rome for the end.

When are you planning to go? Unfortunately, I think your budget of less than $200/night for a hotel is extremely low for Italy,especially that part of Italy and Rome. And I don't think most apartments will rent for only three nights, although I could be wrong.

Anyway, some other points: I would skip the overnight in Capri. Get a very early start from Sorrento and day trip there. Ischia sounds great. We were in Naples this June, and hoped to get there, but ran out of time.

About Amalfi and Positano: You said you're a hiker, so that sounds like a great base for you, but definitely plan on a visit to Positano, which IMHO, has the best views on the entire Amalfi Coast. I can't defend the town which I actually don't like, but if you walk away from it along the seaside path that leads to Fornillo Beach, it's much quieter and stunningly beautiful.

There is also a small mountain village called Montepertuso, which is about a 15 minute drive from Positano. Friends of ours have hiked from the church in the middle of town down to Positano after having lunch there. If you go, you will usually see lots of hikers in town. And in the day until about dusk, it has gorgeous views over the mountain all the way down to Positano.

Lastly, on the way back, check to find out if the boats are running between Amalfi and Sorrento. It's a much more pleasant way to get to Sorrento than taking the hot and packed SITA buses. And you'll see lots of the coast along the way.

From Naples to Rome, there is a fast train that takes just over an hour between the two cities. It costs more than the slower trains, but if that's of interest, check it out.

Have fun!
Weadles is offline  
Aug 12th, 2012, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,553
Montepertuso is as far uphill and just west of Nocelle, the village I mentioned where we started our hike on the Sentieri degli Dei. This "Walk of the Gods" is actually a network of paths that even go over the spine of the peninsula and back towards Sorrento, so I'm sure it connects to Montepertuso as well...

Weadles mentioned having lunch in Montepertuso. I meant to add that there is a lovely restaurant in Nocelle, right where the bus drops you off and before you walk through the village. Had we had more than one day there, we would've loved to enjoy a leisurely meal in its garden. For our purposes, those box lunches - eaten perched on a rock outcropping overlooking the sea way below - were one of the best meals ever! (There are also picnic tables scattered about a little higher up, but we didn't know about them at the time.)

FWIW, from Amalfi to Sorrento the bus with our luggage wasn't bad at all. Like I said, we were able to board right at the hotel, and there was plenty of room since it was the first or second stop on the route. It made sense for us because both our Amalfi and Sorrento hotels were "uphill", along the roadway. If for either one we'd stayed down closer to the shore level, taking the ferry would have been logistically preferable... Both the bus and the ferry have terrific views! Of course the latter doesn't have to deal with traffic.

Some people on these boards advise against taking a connecting flight after arrival in Rome. We did it - nonstop on Continental, then low-cost Italian carrier to Sicily - and had no trouble even with the logistics of switching airlines. I have read about people who weren't so lucky due to delayed arrival from the US.
ggreen is offline  
Aug 12th, 2012, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,635
You mentioned that a connecting flight Philadelphia-Rome-Naples would take 14 hours due to connection time, and that would still leave a connection to Sorrento (about 80 minutes by bus or a similar time going from Naples airport to the Circumvesuviana to Sorrento). That's about right, since you will need at least 2 hours to do a safe connection in Rome. That's why I suggested doing Rome at the beginning and flying home from Sorrento, bus to Naples airport, and fly home with a change in Rome.

Doing both Capri and Ischia may be overlap, if island hiking is your goal. As for the tourists to locals ratio, Capri is probably the most tourist dominated, as that has been its economy for more than a century. Sorrento is similarly mainly a tourism center, and it also has been doing it for more than a hundred years but it is not constrained by being an island, keeping prices a little more sane. It has excellent transport connections for tourism.
AJPeabody is offline  
Aug 12th, 2012, 07:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,336
It is a long day connecting Phil-Rome-Naples, then Sorrento, but I still think it's important to spend the last night in Rome before a transatlantic flight. We've had too many instances of delays due to weather, mechanical, etc. when we've tried to connect on the way home. If stuff like that IS going to happen, I'd rather deal with it on the first day of the trip then on the last. But of course that's up to you.

Also, have you considered staying in Naples for three nights instead of Sorrento? For what you say you'd like to do ( Pompeii, Vesuvius, Ischia) it's just as easy- if not easier- to base in Naples. That would immediately cut a few hours off your travel time that first day.

Don't be scared off by what people may say about Naples. We stayed there for three days this June and had a great time. It's easy enough to book a hotel away from some of the dicier neighborhoods. We really enjoyed our stay- even more than we thought we would-and actually preferred it to Sorrento.
Weadles is offline  
Aug 12th, 2012, 11:28 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,254
Not sure where you're at now, but if possibly coming to Ischia directly from Rome, note that the last hydrofoil leaves Naples shortly after 8PM, with ferries until about 10 - and a midnight service due to be reinstated soon!

Depending on exact route and vessel used, crossings take roughly an hour with the former, some 80/90 minutes with the latter. The bits and pieces here may be of interest:

There's no great reduction in services to or from the island on Sept 15th - more a reshuffle, to fit changing needs with schools and colleges reopening.

For most establishments here the season runs through the All Saints / All Souls holiday, when October becomes November - and the main cuts (including the withdrawal of those Sorrento/Ischia/Capri and v.v. routes) normally only happen then - as I had noted under that schedule on PBASE!

One exception is the daily Alicost connection - which in recent years has been dropping Ischia from the end of its run from the AC ports, via Capri, on September 14th or 15th.


Otherwise, several local firms can arrange for you to be brought from the station in Naples all the way to your hotel - with various degrees of convenience and luxury, reflected of course in their cost! There are others, however this site is perhaps the easiest to follow:


As an aside... wherever you're heading first, if arriving at FCO before 9AM you'd be in plenty of time to skip the fastest trains and come down from Termini to Naples instead on one of the hourly IC services.

Although somewhat slower, they take a much more pleasant and scenic route - and cost only half the price of the FrecciaRossa.... €22 rather than €43, and perhaps enough of a saving to allow you a transfer the rest of the way?

This is what's on offer that morning:

In over a decade of using the route we've always been able to buy tickets for the next train and leave immediately, so I'd advise not bothering to buy in advance..

Certainly better not to pre-purchase any of the Economy fares - with only very limited validity, they're risky if there's any chance of flight delays!


For your where-to-stay decision here, bear in mind that Ischia is only some 7 miles across! Although, as on the AC, the geography does make travel rather slow...

When vacationing, we always chose Ischia Ponte - and have lived here since 2003 - so you'll no doubt guess where I'd suggest looking first?

But for more of an idea of what the various places are like, try the photos here:


... and perhaps also the island's visitor magazine - there's currently a link to the August edition at the top of this list...

Maybe also check the one for October 2011 as well, to see what's likely to happening that month - get it using:


There's something similar for Naples and the surrounding areas, bimonthly - and, likewise, about 75% bilingual. Well worth a look, with more up-to-date opening times etc than any guidebook can offer...



Somewhere you might try to squeeze onto your plans is our neighbour, Procida - a cute little island of just 2 square miles...


... but, with almost all of these places doable as daytrips, the choice isn't easy?


A_Brit_In_Ischia is offline  
Aug 13th, 2012, 06:30 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,429
>>>There's no great reduction in services to or from the island on Sept 15th - more a reshuffle, to fit changing needs with schools and colleges reopening<<<

The OP was talking about service between Sorrento/Ischia and Capri/Ischia. Are you saying this stays the same summer and winter? She's not traveling until Oct.
kybourbon is online now  
Aug 13th, 2012, 06:56 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,254
Exactly which part of this are you unable to understand?

"For most establishments here the season runs through the All Saints / All Souls holiday, when October becomes November - and the main cuts (including the withdrawal of those Sorrento/Ischia/Capri and v.v. routes) normally only happen then - as I had noted under that schedule on PBASE!"

A_Brit_In_Ischia is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:00 PM.