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-   -   Is Positano a good Amalfi Coast home base ? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/is-positano-a-good-amalfi-coast-home-base-196720/)

Bill Fleites Apr 10th, 2002 12:36 AM

Is Positano a good Amalfi Coast home base ?
 
Hi All,<BR>I am in the planning stages for a 6 day stay in the Naples-Amalfi coast area during late May. Initially, I had planned to use Sorrento as a home base during my stay in order to visit Naples, Herculaneum, Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento itself and the smaller towns up and down the Amalfi coast. I will not have a car and so I’ll be depending on the trains, ferries, and buses that run between these towns.<BR><BR>After having all kinds of problems finding acceptable accommodations in Sorrento, and having heard that it’s a very touristy place. I have recently decided to split my stay into two 3 day stays using Naples and potentially Positano as a home base. I know that Naples has gotten a bit of a negative reputation for travelers, and has been described as an intense place to visit. But it appears to be a better jumping off spot for Herculaneum and Pompeii, there’s plenty to see in Naples itself, and although I don’t live in a big city I always enjoy staying in them because they’re so different from my suburban lifestyle in the US.<BR><BR>My concern is that since I’ll be relying on public transportation, Positano may not be a good home base. Any opinions on this ? Would another town on the coast make a better home base, say Amalfi ? Should I go back to Sorrento ? <BR><BR>Thanks for the help,<BR>Bill Fleites<BR>

Homer Apr 10th, 2002 01:46 AM

Just returned. I would say Sorrento is the best base by far. I too got caught up in the idea of staying in Positano and reason took over so I opted for Sorrento.<BR><BR>Sorrento is EASY to EVERYTHING - Capri, Pompeii, the "coast". Pompeii is a short 1/2 train away, the station is centrally located in Sorrento. The ferry system is right there for easy access in Sorrento as well. <BR><BR>We day tripped to Positano on a bus and the buses were packed - 1/2 drive going to Positano and it took two hours to return, well I should say until we got off the bus and walked the rest of the way into Sorrento. Traffic jams going into Sorrento on a Good Friday were hell and MOST on the bus jumped off and walked the reminder of the way back to town - I kid you not the scheduled 1/2 ride was at TWO hours (not a minute shy) when we jumped off!<BR><BR>Not saying it is always that way but getting on the public transport in Positano is like a STAMPEDE! Pray you make it on and if you do you will most assuredly be standing for a nauseating and winding ride. Most people go to Positano for the day so the buses are packed in and out. <BR><BR>From Sorrento if you show up about 20-30 minutes prior to the ride you should have no problem with a seat.

Steve James Apr 10th, 2002 01:56 AM

Hello Bill,<BR><BR>Your plan sounds fine. Positano is a fine base for the Amalfi Coast, with easy access (45 mins) by bus to both Amalfi and Sorrento. <BR><BR>Amalfi is even quicker by sea. Ferries from Positano along the Amalfi Coast and to Capri will be running in May, but not hydrofoils. From Amalfi it's a 25-min. bus ride up to Ravello.<BR><BR>Let me know if I can be of more help ...<BR><BR>Steve<BR>

Steve James Apr 10th, 2002 02:06 AM

I don't think you'd have the problems Homer describes in May. <BR>Easter? - guaranteed<BR>July/August? - ditto<BR><BR>But May is early season and you should have no problem, - though it might be busy at weekends.

Homer Apr 10th, 2002 03:41 AM

Bill I neglected to look at the time frame you were going. Although my experience is limited to an Easter weekend, Steve is probably right that May should not be a problem. <BR><BR>With that being said, I would still say that with NO question Sorrento is the "best" base. Maybe not the most quaint town in the world but as far as access to other places it wins hands down.

Homer Apr 10th, 2002 03:42 AM

ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT PUBLIC TRANSPORT!

Sue Apr 10th, 2002 04:40 AM

Stayed in Positano end of May last year and no problem getting around w/o a car. We took ferry to and from Amalfi, then bus to Ravello, etc. Have fun!

Vi Apr 10th, 2002 05:32 AM

Bill,<BR>as you're without car and as your wishes are to visit Naples, Herculaneum, Pompei and Capri, I must suggest you Sorrento, even if Positano is more charming.<BR>Positano rather than Sorrento, without car, means that evey daily trip has a duration time larger of two hours. <BR>The only day trip that it's better to have from Positano is Amalfi.<BR>Anyhow, why have you to choose only between Positano and Sorrento ? Penisola Sorrentina has other pretty towns very good to stay: Massa Lubrense, Sant'Agnello, Piano di Sorrento, Vico Equense.<BR>Have a nice trip.

Bill Fleites Apr 10th, 2002 07:25 AM

Thanks for the help folks, it sounds like a Positano home base may not be a bad idea.<BR><BR>Yes I understand that Sorrento is a very convenient home base, but the day trips I had planned to make from there (Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Capri) are now taken care off by springing off of Naples which as I understand it make these visits even easier to do. While I'm based in Positano I only plan to visit the towns up and down the coast, Sorrento, Amalfi, Ravello, etc.<BR><BR>I've heard about the other beautiful smaller towns along the coast like Massa Lubrense, but had heard that they're not good home bases if you are relying on public transport. Is this not so ?<BR><BR>Thanks,<BR>BillF<BR>

Judy Apr 10th, 2002 08:06 AM

Hi Bill,<BR>You sound like you are going through exactly was I am going through right now. <BR>My decision right now is three nights in Sorrento to do Naples,Pompeii,Capri. Six nights in Positano to do Amalfi,Ravello,Praiano, and Paestum. I have left two days open maybe to go back to Naples or anything else we might think we need more time for.(Massa Lubrense is mentioned alot)<BR>This trip is planned for early July by the way.<BR>Regard Judy

Kelly Apr 10th, 2002 09:33 AM

Hello. It sounds like we all have the same problem. I am now trying to decide on whether to stay in Sorrento for 4 days or divide the stay to 2 in Sorrento and 2 in Amalfi. I am not really sure what to do! Have you already booked in to a hotel in Positano?

Bill Fleites Apr 10th, 2002 09:56 AM

Hello Judy,<BR>Yes I think your Sorrento plan will work out well for you, I still haven't totally given up on Sorrento as a home base for the Amalfi coast towns. But I was wondering why you're spending six days in Positano to explore the Amalfi coast ? I think you might be able to reduce your stay there and spend that valuable time in another area, Masa Lubrense, Rome or even Sicily ?<BR><BR>Hi Kelly,<BR>I can see your temptation to split your stay. But I try to keep my stays to a minimum of three days in one place as long as I can easily get to the sights I want to see from that home base. The more you move, the less you really get to see. So you might want to reconsider and stay in Sorrento for the entire four days.<BR><BR><BR><BR>

hamlet Apr 10th, 2002 10:17 AM

For all the sites you want to see, I would say that Sorrento is a better, more convenient base than Positano. But now since you're working your itinerary so you use Naples as a base for those places then I would say that is comparable to Sorrento.<BR><BR>I wanted to comment on Sorrento being touristy. It is touristy, but I find Positano very touristy too! I think it's just different because the "touristy-ness" of Positano gets lost or clouded by its unique, confined layout, geographical setting and beauty. There are lots of reasons why someone chooses staying in Positano over Sorrento, but I wouldn't think the reason would be because Positano is less touristy.<BR><BR>Relying on mass transit, Massa Lubrense wouldn't be the ideal base, but it is a good compromise for someone who wants an area less touristy than Sorrento or Positano, that is in close proximity to the sights of Naples and the Amalfi coast. It's midway between Sorrento and Positano and being only minutes away from Sorrento it brings you closer to all the mass transit options available there. It's only been in recent months that Massa Lubrense got any mention here and not a lot of people have commented on their stay there - hopefully we'll hear more opinions in the near future.

Bill Fleites Apr 10th, 2002 10:25 AM

Hamlet, <BR>Thanks for your input, I've not totally given up on Sorrento and may still decide to use it as the home base to explore the Amalfi coast.<BR><BR>Kelly,<BR>No I haven't booked a hotel in Positano and have just started looking. I've only tried the Hotel Villa la Tartana (www.villalatartana.it), and it unfortunately was not available during my stay. Too bad, because it looks like a very nice hotel.

Judy Apr 10th, 2002 10:51 AM

Hi Bill,<BR>It's hard to give the big picture and not be too wordy. You asked why six days in Positano? and not other places. Firstly, I don't like to move around alot, I believe in a good home base and day trips( we have a car) I also don't like to rush from place to place,especially in this area. These wonderful sights deserve time . Also I haven't mentioned that we will be in Rome for six days as well.<BR>I will be staying at a small inn/b&b called La Fenice in Positano, it was recommended by a friend who was there last year. Check it out on Karen Brown's site, price is extremely reasonable.<BR>Regards Judy

Bill Fleites Apr 10th, 2002 11:21 AM

Hello Judy,<BR>Wow, that's nice vacation you're going on! I wish I had that much time, I can only really afford 3 days for Rome, and 6 days total in the Naples/Amalfi coast area. Given the amount of time you have I'd say you have a good plan going, and can really soak in the local flavor.<BR><BR>Have a great trip,<BR>BillF

Robbie Apr 10th, 2002 11:32 AM

Hi Billl,<BR><BR>I went on a similar trip--same itinerary--last fall and faced the same quandry about what to use as a base. I ended up choosing Sorrento and used public transpotation--bus, train and ferry--from there and in retrospect am very glad I did. It was extremely easy to get around--much simpler than Naples, and nicer. I agree with the writer and was glad we stayed in one place. We never actually spent an entire day in Sorrento, but had dinner there nearly every night at some great restaurants. I'd do it again in an instant--have fun!

Bill Fleites Apr 10th, 2002 04:30 PM

Thanks Robbie, <BR>How many days did you spend in Sorrento ?<BR>I assume you did the Naples, Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Amalfi coast town visits (Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi).<BR>Did you make it to Pasteum, Caserta ?<BR>Any other interesting sites ?

Kay Apr 10th, 2002 09:02 PM

My first trip to Positano I spent 6 days and it was perfect. The second trip I spent 4 days and in a few weeks I will spend another 4 days. 6 days is not too much! You can use the SITA buses in Positano and if you can spend a lot more, you can hire a driver to take you whereever you want to go. However, if you are going to use the train, Sorrento will be more convenient. I was in Positano in May of 2000 and did not find it crowded, but I only used the bus once. I am going to be there in a few weeks because I think May is the best month to visit. Be sure to go to Ravello and see Villa Cimbrone. I believe Positano is the most magical place I have ever been and simply can't go to Europe without going back. If you decide to stay in Sorrento, my friends have highly recommended the Concumella (sp?) I believe they have a boat that will take you to Capri. They have a web site. I highly recommend Le Sirenuse, but I had a hard time getting a room months ago. Have a great trip. Kay


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