Naple, Amalfi Coast and Sicily itinerary

Old Jul 12th, 2012, 04:45 PM
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Naple, Amalfi Coast and Sicily itinerary

This will be my husband and my third trip to Italy, but our first to the south. We're flying into Naples on October 4, and out of Naples on October 17. We would like to explore the area around Naples, Capri, the Amalfi Coast (including Mt. Vesuvius and Pompei and other sights) from October 4 - October 9, when we leave for Sicily. We will need to return to Naples on October 16 so we can make our return flight the next day, leaving us with 6 days to explore Sicily. Right now I need to figure out the logistics for the first half of the trip. Should we stay in one hotel while on the mainland and just take day trips? If so, where would you suggest (Sorrento, Ravello, etc.) Or would it be better to stay near Naples for a couple of days to explore that area, and then head south, staying somewhere near Positano for a few days? Also, I need to figure out the best way to get from the mainland to Sicily, and then returning to Naples for our flight home. I appreciate any advice you might have! Thanks.
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 06:21 PM
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I think with the time you have just stay in one place. Sorrento would be a good central base to see Naples and the Amalfi coast.

My husband and I are going to be in that area at the same time for 13 nights. 3 in Naples, 5 in Sorrento and 5 in Minori.

I think there is plenty to see right there without going to Sicily, but if you have your heart set on it I would fly from Naples. Six days is not a lot of time to see Sicily so pick one part of the island and stay in one spot and explore.

Buon viaggio!
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 08:12 PM
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I agree that staying in one place is the best idea. My preference is Amalfi which has boats, busses, cars to move around. Ravello is lovely, but it is up the mountain from Amalfi and takes an extra twenty minutes plus waiting for transportation (unless you rent a car). We have visited that area about six times in the last ten years and really love it. Sorrento is a larger town with more shopping, Amalfi has more charm to me.
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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 02:37 AM
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You may be surprised at just how big Sicily is, and also by how much there is to see!

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/image/131459149

Personally, I'd avoid a week in Sorrento like the plague - but even if "doing" only half of Sicily you'd make several moves (quite lengthy ones at that!), so having a single base whilst in this area could well improve your overall vacation?

By October the daytime hydrofoils will have ended, so your transport choices are probably limited to the overnight ferry (no thanks!), the train (which we've done once from Naples... almost a day, thought deadly tedious by 2 of the party of 3 - and enlivened only when the train boarded the ferry for the short sea crossing) or flying... which was how we gratefully returned, from Palermo!

With 13 nights, how about... Fly in, go to somewhere on the AC for 4 nights. Then trfr to Naples airport, fly to either Palermo or Catania - for a week's tour of their respective side of that island. Fly back to Naples again for last 2 nights, including the National Archaeological Museum (for treasures from all of the Vesuvian sites) and also Pompei (Etna's likely to be more impressive than our volcano) - which latter is rather awkward to reach from the AC, but very easy from there... as Capri would also be!

Should you have nothing better to do, try these - old photos from places in Sicily, and some of its encircling islands...

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/sicilygen

... and these, from Campania - our home for the last decade:

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/tele

Peter
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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 04:59 AM
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Hi ky,

I suggest flying into Naples - 3 nights. Visit Vesuvius, Pompeii Scavi, the Archaeological Museum, the Veiled Christ at the Capella Sansevero. You can even take the train to Paestum for the Greek ruins, if you have the time.

Then move on to Amalfi or Positano for 3 nights before flying to Sicily.

You do realize that you are covering a lot of ground, and you will be in the off season?

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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 11:39 AM
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Thanks so much for your comments and suggestions. I like the idea of seeing Naples after Sicily. Where would you suggest staying for the 4 days of exploring the Amalfi Coast (I get the idea that Sorrento wouldn't be Peter's first choice - or would it be a good base if it were only for 4 nights rather than a week)? We're planning on flying into Catania and staying outside of Siracusa in Sicily and just exploring that side of the island on this trip - next year, maybe the rest!

Also, do you have any suggestions on where to stay for the two nights we explore Naples and the surrounding area? I've been told by several people, including my Neapolitan Italian teacher, to avoid staying in Naples itself.
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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 12:00 PM
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Don't be afraid of staying in Naples. We loved it and survived to tell the tale:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-and-paris.cfm
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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 02:03 PM
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Your best bet for getting to Catania from Naples is to fly; since you express interest in seeing Naples after Sicily, you might as well go straight to Sicily while you're already at the airport-!

Two years ago, we spent a few days exploring the east side of Sicily, then took the overnight ferry to Naples. It's not too bad if you have a private room... but arriving at the crack of dawn to the port was a bit of a drag. However, it wouldn't be a bad choice if you were thinking of then taking a hydrofoil or ferry to, say, Sorrento. (We took the train, so we had to get from port to train station with our luggage. And I'm not a morning person. No fun!)

Sorrento is a great hub to see things on that side of the peninsula, but is rather more busy and touristy-feeling (IMO) than towns on the Amalfi Coast.

On my particular trip, we had two nights in Amalfi followed by three in Sorrento, from where we made day trips to Herculaneum and Naples. For us, there really wasn't anything *in* Sorrento to occupy our time - and every restaurant seemed to be filled with English-speaking tourists!

Amalfi, on the other hand, had primarily Italian tourists. And we liked the low-key vibe. By October, it might be more interesting to stay in Positano, because the crowds will have left...

I'm firmly in the love-Naples camp. But I'm a city-dweller by nature! I'm curious what reservations your Neapolitan teacher has - maybe it's residual from some time in the past?

Oh and I'd add that IMO, five or six days is a good amount of time to see eastern Sicily. It's only a few hours drive from Taormina to Siracusa, so you can see a lot in that time!
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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 10:57 PM
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Perhaps this is worthy of a separate note?

For your arrival day and/or the pre-Sicily trip back to the airport - or whenever else - a few bus services that could come in handy:

- to and from Sorrento, with 'Curreri Viaggi' - €10 - 8 times a day daily during that month last year....

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTop..._Campania.html

- more useful for places towards the eastern end of the AC, running from Salerno, this SITA line route offers a more limited service that runs weekdays only, either Mon to Sat ("Sabato") or Mon to Fri ("Venerdi"), with tickets about €7 - again from the driver:

http://www.sitasudtrasporti.it/publi...pania/5002.pdf

(Don't ask me happens to the odd one of those, with 5 arriving at Capodichino and only 4 leaving?)

- for going into and out from the centre of Naples, the city's tourist workhorse, the Alibus:

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/alibus

With the first two, the vehicles are actually 'coaches' with luggage going in an separate compartment "underneath" - on the Alibus you drag it onboard with you, but the journey's much much shorter!

Peter
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Old Jul 14th, 2012, 12:00 AM
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You'll perhaps get at least a flavour of Naples from this report of a "mother and daughter" visit....

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTop..._Campania.html

The author also has made a 'blog' version - with pictures, but lacking the various follow-up comments - on:

http://btgmbtgm.wordpress.com/2012/0...es-april-2012/
.................................................. ...

There's a good exchange of opinions in this one, from a single lady traveller the previous year:

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTop..._Campania.html

Fortunately, last year's rubbish crisis - mentioned in latter posts there - came and went....

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-in-naples.cfm

........................................

But reactions to the city certainly do vary - as you'll see in this tale of woe from one of my countrymen...

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTop..._Campania.html

Maybe also read his follow-up, in which there's perhaps a little mellowing?

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTop..._Campania.html

Direct link to where his photos are now:

http://s1131.photobucket.com/albums/...ctober%202010/

(as with the recent collection from Rome, he has a great way of capturing everything - warts and all?

----------------------------

Take this as only the most sweeping of generalisations - but if you preferred Venice to Florence, and both over Rome, then Naples may well come as a step too far...

Should that be your feeling, for a single night before catching the plane, maybe stay somewhere a distance away, such as:

http://www.hotelparadisonapoli.it/en/home-page.aspx

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_R..._Campania.html

.... or hole up in this one overnight:

http://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/tra...-mediterraneo/

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_R..._Campania.html

.... although it does also make a good base, if tempted to do a little exploring!

As well as that latter one, friends on their way home from visiting us on Ischia have also found this very convenient for seeing the sights:

http://www.hotelchiaia.it/en/

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUse..._Campania.html

Those are both within the area covered by these suggestions:

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTop..._Campania.html

And if you are - hopefully - still interested in seeing our Regione's capital, for some more "what to do with 2 days" ideas, try also:

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTop..._Campania.html

Peter
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Old Aug 9th, 2012, 04:57 PM
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I've now fine-tuned my trip using the advice here and would love some feedback on my itinerary, as well as suggestions as to where to stay in/near Naples for the last two nights.

On Oct. 4 we fly into Naples, will rent a car and drive to Positano (staying at the Palazzo Murat) where we will stay for 4 nights while we explore the Amalfi Coast.
On Oct 8 we drive back to Naples, return the car and fly (via Air Italy) to Catania to spend 7 nights outside Siracusa (Hotel Principe di Fitalia) while we explore that area of Sicily.
On Oct. 15 we fly (again Air Italy) to Naples for two nights to explore Naples and see Pompei.
Then, on Oct. 17 we fly home on a 1:30 pm flight.

Does this seem to make sense? A friend told me she'd recommend driving to Sicily rather than flying an Italian airline, but I heard other people say that flying would be the easiest way.

Any suggestions on where to stay while in the Naples area? I don't really care if it's Naples itself or nearby, but would like to be conveniently located so we can get to Pompei easily and also explore Naples itself. The same friend who told me not to fly to Sicily also told me not to stay in Naples, that it's so very dirty and dangerous, but I've also heard wonderful things from other people and have decided to visit and make up my own mind!

Thanks so much for any and all advice!
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Old Aug 9th, 2012, 06:55 PM
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We are staying at the Piazza Bellini in Naples in early October. This is our first time to Naples and I wanted to be central. The hotel is right in the centre of the historic district apparently and only a few blocks walk away to the Archaelogical Museum.

The reviews on the hotel were favourable, many people mentioned that the streets around it were a little off-putting at first sight but no one reported any mishaps, only friendly people and good pizza.
Mind you I'm sure that the usual safety precautions would be in order, no showy jewellery, be aware etc.
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Old Aug 10th, 2012, 08:58 AM
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kyarkin, sounds like a good plan! I can only speak from personal experience (and preferences), but despite its gritty look, Naples has a lot of hidden gems. Like raincitygirl said, "usual precautions" go a long way to feeling comfortable while you explore.

As for flying Italian airlines, I have done so only one time, from Rome to Catania on the budget Blu Express (which I understand now has a different name). Nothing spectacular to write home about, but I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

My sister lived near Catania for three years and flew throughout Italy and Europe - she took advantage of her time there and did quite a lot of traveling. She was the one who recommended Blu Express, and she often took other Italian airlines as well. I haven't probed her on the subject, but I never heard stories of anything outrageous! (In fact, when I suggested we might take the train through the boot and across to Messina, she scoffed at the idea. She said the trip was long and tedious, both by train and by car.)
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Old Aug 10th, 2012, 09:12 AM
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I strongly recommend this place for your Naples stay:

http://decumani.com/en/

This converted 1600's Palazzo is right in the oldest part of Naples in an area with lots of cafes, restaurants, drop-dead gorgeous churches, and photo-ops.

It's a block or two away from Santa Chiara Church and Cloister (which you'll want to visit).

Highly rated, inexpensive, huge rooms, and walkable to countless tourist sites. We LOVED it!
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