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Objective view of Traffic in Amalfi Coast region in summer (August)

Objective view of Traffic in Amalfi Coast region in summer (August)

Old May 26th, 2022, 07:35 AM
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Objective view of Traffic in Amalfi Coast region in summer (August)

Hi all,

I have read quite a few times (here and accommodation websites) that non-local tourists should avoid driving in the Amalfi area, especially in August when most of Italy is also on holiday.

Can anybody give an objective view of what its like, rather than just say its bad or avoid it?

1. Is there sitting traffic on/along the Amalfi Coast road in summer? If so, is it all day long or just during the main peak/daylight hours?

2. Are the issues to do with 'bad' drivers, traffic, road conditions (damaged or dirt roads etc) or the layout/incline changes? I get that parking will be a mission if not booked/planned in advance.

2. Do the rest of the regions road have less traffic on them?

We will be in either Salerno/Sorrento and may use a car to get about if needed. Some places we saw in Massa Lubernes(?) pretty much needed a car to stay connected to the area.

Our trip: August 11 (from Rome so far planned by train) to Aug 17 (or night of 16th back to Rome).
Planned outings: 1.Day trip to Pompei/Vesuvius
2. Drive of Amalfi Coast road (half day with stops etc)
3. Day trip to Capri
4. Boat tour around the coastal area.

Potentially we only need a car for the Coast road drive IF we are in accommodation that makes it easy enough to travel around on public transport.

I hope someone can give some more insight into this, that will hopefully be useful to others also.

As a guide:
I live in central Cardiff, where we don't have major traffic unless events are on. I drive to west London every 6 weeks or so. Thats not so bad, but i hate Driving in central London (only due to sitting traffic).

I drove around central Paris (in 2009) which had some of the worst driving i have seen, but it was manageable.

I drove a hire car in Turkey (but in Antalya so maybe quieter) and we even had a 4 hour drive with a sat nav only giving directions in Turkish.

I regretted not hiring a car in Marrakech, as people said it was dangerous, but i didn't deem it so. We had to book cars with drivers for our excursions.

I have driven in Pakistan (all over central and some north areas) over the Past 18 years. My home city of Faisalabad has atrocious driving standards (better over the years, but previously a free for all). Lahore has heavy traffic but is laid out well (British design) and easy to navigate if you have the nous.
I have been on dirt roads that have literally been crumbling underfoot into the riverbank (one of the most stressful drives).

I will assume that not many people here will have been to Pakistan, let alone driven around there. Maybe someone can compare France/Paris to Italy/Amalfi in terms of driving?

Thanks in advance guys.
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Old May 26th, 2022, 10:21 AM
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Anytime of year it's that the road is narrow and winding. I took the bus Amalfi-Salerno in April once and we were stuck for 45 minutes when a truck tried to round a bend at a bad angle, and needed to back up about 30 feet to try the angle again, but in no time there was a long queue of cars piled up in each direction. By the time people nearby could figure out what was going on, the word had to be sent to the back of the queue that everyone needed to back up about 30 feet - - while cars continued to pile up on both ends. That's why we were at a dead standstill for 45 minutes, but other than that as long as you keep your eyes glued to the road instead of the beautiful sights it's pretty straightforward driving, albeit winding and white knuckly. I imagine the more cars there are, the more likelihood of accordioning (when one car brakes, everybody brakes, then starting the flow again is like train cars clinking back into motion one by one after a dead stop).
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Old May 26th, 2022, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by dfourh View Post
Anytime of year it's that the road is narrow and winding. I took the bus Amalfi-Salerno in April once and we were stuck for 45 minutes when a truck tried to round a bend at a bad angle, and needed to back up about 30 feet to try the angle again, but in no time there was a long queue of cars piled up in each direction. By the time people nearby could figure out what was going on, the word had to be sent to the back of the queue that everyone needed to back up about 30 feet - - while cars continued to pile up on both ends. That's why we were at a dead standstill for 45 minutes, but other than that as long as you keep your eyes glued to the road instead of the beautiful sights it's pretty straightforward driving, albeit winding and white knuckly. I imagine the more cars there are, the more likelihood of accordioning (when one car brakes, everybody brakes, then starting the flow again is like train cars clinking back into motion one by one after a dead stop).
We were in Atrani end April in apartment on the main coastal road. Several times we saw the traffic back up for anything from 5-15 minutes, I think the road towards Minori is rather narrow, leading to traffic congestion. I never heard people honking, they waited patiently till they could move forward again.

April was still shoulder season, I can imagine things would be much worse later in the summer.
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Old May 26th, 2022, 10:40 AM
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The timing of your trip coincides with the biggest summer holiday in Italy... Ferragosto (Aug. 15th). Have you been able to secure lodging???

I don't know what you mean by "Drive of Amalfi Coast road (half day with stops etc)." Sorrento to Amalfi with NO stops could easily take 3+ hours round trip. Add Ravello, and it's close to 4 hours. Coming from Salerno, Positano would be about 4 hours round trip with NO stops. Add Ravello, easily 4.5-5 hours round trip. And it's not just the traffic. Parking, parking, parking. Just FYI, even at very slow driving speeds, people who are sensitive to motion sickness might have a miserable time.

If you want to make stops, you need to devote an entire, long day for the coast drive. You should see if you could accomplish your sightseeing list using ferries.

https://www.ravello.com/ferry-schedule/sorrento/amalfi/
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Old May 26th, 2022, 10:52 AM
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As I recall from your other thread, you'll be traveling with children. Climbing Mt. Vesuvius in August is a really bad idea, esp. with children, and visiting Pompeii in the same day in August would be crazy IMO.
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Old May 26th, 2022, 12:34 PM
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I have been to Pakistan - the northeast, coming from China on the Karakoram Highway. The coast road is nothing like some of the side roads off the Highway in Pakistan, however, you cannot drive it and enjoy the scenery at the same time. You drive, or stand still, at the same pace as all the other traffic, you can forgot overtaking. I had no trouble staying in Sorrento, and visiting Herculaneum, Pompeii, Amalfi and Ravello by public transport. I spent a couple of nights on Capri and took the ferry to Sorrento.

There is actually no way I would consider this itinerary in August, with or without children, but especially with children. I would go the the Lakes or the Dolomites if I wanted to be in Italy, but I grew up in England so my heat tolerance may be different..
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Old May 26th, 2022, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dfourh View Post
Anytime of year it's that the road is narrow and winding. I took the bus Amalfi-Salerno in April once and we were stuck for 45 minutes when a truck tried to round a bend at a bad angle, and needed to back up about 30 feet to try the angle again, but in no time there was a long queue of cars piled up in each direction. By the time people nearby could figure out what was going on, the word had to be sent to the back of the queue that everyone needed to back up about 30 feet - - while cars continued to pile up on both ends. That's why we were at a dead standstill for 45 minutes, but other than that as long as you keep your eyes glued to the road instead of the beautiful sights it's pretty straightforward driving, albeit winding and white knuckly. I imagine the more cars there are, the more likelihood of accordioning (when one car brakes, everybody brakes, then starting the flow again is like train cars clinking back into motion one by one after a dead stop).
Thank you dfourh and geetika.

Thats what i wanted to know so i can make an informed decision. The coast road route is no longer suitable for the amount/type of traffic on it, especially in summer (when a lot of locals are also on holiday). Are there traffic jams on the northern side of that region (going Sorrento to Salerno say).

I can cut that day road trip out and we can have a day of gentle walking about instead. A boat cruise along the coast from Salerno/Amalfi towards Positano will give the same chance to see the scenery? If i was driving, I would be sure to focus and allow my passengers to enjoy the view instead, but if we're going to see the rear of buses/trucks a lot then we can gladly skip that.

Thanks guys!
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Old May 26th, 2022, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean View Post
The timing of your trip coincides with the biggest summer holiday in Italy... Ferragosto (Aug. 15th). Have you been able to secure lodging???

I don't know what you mean by "Drive of Amalfi Coast road (half day with stops etc)." Sorrento to Amalfi with NO stops could easily take 3+ hours round trip. Add Ravello, and it's close to 4 hours. Coming from Salerno, Positano would be about 4 hours round trip with NO stops. Add Ravello, easily 4.5-5 hours round trip. And it's not just the traffic. Parking, parking, parking. Just FYI, even at very slow driving speeds, people who are sensitive to motion sickness might have a miserable time.

If you want to make stops, you need to devote an entire, long day for the coast drive. You should see if you could accomplish your sightseeing list using ferries.

https://www.ravello.com/ferry-schedule/sorrento/amalfi/
Hi Jean,

We have booked our backup option (in Salerno which can be cancelled unto end of June). I'm still looking at 2 places each in Sorrento and Salerno, and 1 in Massa Lubrense (which needs a car for convenience). I wanted to figure out the best method for us to get down south before final booking. We did lose some very nice Airbnb places this week though.

For Pompei we were planning to get there early and do a self guided trip through and make our way over to Vesuvius around 3pm (leaves about 2hrs to see?). Prior to the first UK lockdown we have been as a family to holidays in hot countries always end July/start of August due to school times. i'm sure if we are sensible then the kids can have a safe and enjoyable time. My kids have done quite a few gentle hikes/hour long walks in Brecon/Peak district so the only extra factor is the heat (at Vesuvius)?

We are not climbing Mt Vesuvius, but taking the bus up then the 30 or so minute walk to summit that i assume almost all people are doing.

As an alternate we can cancel Pompei and do Ostia Antica in Rome in the prior week. Is that a good substitute?

Thursdaysd,

I believe our heat tolerances are very good now. And the kids know to keep themselves hydrated.

We did originally look at Rome/North trip vs Rome/South trip. The rest of my team liked the scenery/activities down south. As i have booked the flights, we are sort of tied into doing Rome then south. For northern trip we could have gone via Milan etc.

To go towards the Lakes would lose 2 days in travel now.

Thanks for all your help guys! much appreciated (even if it does seem I haven't listened to anyone).

For now it looks like Sorrento has more of the activities we want to do and Salerno has the better transport links from/to Rome.

1 smaller question. We will have a big suitcase (20kg ish) that we will keep all the used items from the week in Rome. Is it better to leave this at a luggage storage place (seen a few around Rome Termini) and travel lighter down south or just drag it with us? Anyone used this service before?

Many thanks again!
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Old May 26th, 2022, 04:16 PM
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Include seeing Herculaneum. It is very, very different from Pompeii, an interesting contrast of cities of the time, smaller area to cover, easy to reach, and has some beautiful intact buildings. It is along the sea. Along the street from the train station to the archeological site are a lot of restaurants with both sidewalk and indoor seating where you can sit for lunch.
I did a hike up Vesuvius one early April with older teens. It was hot even then and walking was on mostly ashy surface. You can always make a last minute decision on that once you are there. Pompeii in the morning with an afternoon in a pool would work for me, but your family may want to keep moving.
For your purpose, staying in Sorrento would work well. The train takes you directly to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Naples. Ferries go to Capri and places South.
OTOH, if you spent the last night in Naples, you could see museums in Naples that day or Herculaneum or Pompeii on the way from Sorrento that day and take the train into Rome the day of departure.
The big suitcase thing, I can’t advise on. Can’t you just take enough clothes in each person’s suitcase and wash some before heading to Amalfi. You won’t need that much for hot weather.
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Old May 27th, 2022, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
. . . Canít you just take enough clothes in each personís suitcase and wash some before heading to Amalfi. You wonít need that much for hot weather.
Indeed, rather than haul a big suitcase, make your life easier the whole way & do a load of laundry. Thereís a laundromat in the center of Sorrento which I used one evening. It need not interrupt your sightseeing & I confess I enjoy doing laundry when I travel. Itís always fun hanging out for an hour with local ladies.
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Old May 27th, 2022, 09:50 AM
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I do my laundry in the bathroom sink when traveling. That said, if you insist on a big suitcase full of dirty clothes, definitely find somewhere to store it.
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Old May 27th, 2022, 12:33 PM
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I also routinely do bathroom sink laundry but it was nice to do a whole load at once. In any case, for this relatively short trip & several people, I think a visit to a friendly neighborhood laundromat would beat the bathroom approach or hauling around (or storing) a huge suitcase full of dirty clothes.

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Old May 28th, 2022, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
Include seeing Herculaneum. It is very, very different from Pompeii, an interesting contrast of cities of the time, smaller area to cover, easy to reach, and has some beautiful intact buildings. It is along the sea. Along the street from the train station to the archeological site are a lot of restaurants with both sidewalk and indoor seating where you can sit for lunch.
I did a hike up Vesuvius one early April with older teens. It was hot even then and walking was on mostly ashy surface. You can always make a last minute decision on that once you are there. Pompeii in the morning with an afternoon in a pool would work for me, but your family may want to keep moving.
For your purpose, staying in Sorrento would work well. The train takes you directly to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Naples. Ferries go to Capri and places South.
OTOH, if you spent the last night in Naples, you could see museums in Naples that day or Herculaneum or Pompeii on the way from Sorrento that day and take the train into Rome the day of departure.
The big suitcase thing, I canít advise on. Canít you just take enough clothes in each personís suitcase and wash some before heading to Amalfi. You wonít need that much for hot weather.
I was planning on prebooking just the Pompei entry and then we can see how the kids feel about Vesuvius. Thanks for the tip about Herculaneum!

If I keep Pompei in our trip, should i rule out Ostia Antica (earlier on, whilst in Rome)? Most of our trip will be superficial sightseeing (intentionally). We have a hyper active 6 year old who will be 7 by the time we go and our 12 year old daughter is keen on outdoorsy stuff and getting her 10k steps in

Originally Posted by MmePerdu View Post
Indeed, rather than haul a big suitcase, make your life easier the whole way & do a load of laundry. Thereís a laundromat in the center of Sorrento which I used one evening. It need not interrupt your sightseeing & I confess I enjoy doing laundry when I travel. Itís always fun hanging out for an hour with local ladies.
I will pass on that idea to my wife... they are very particular on laundry and ironing in our house ​​​​​​​
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Old May 28th, 2022, 12:30 PM
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Sorry, another small question.

What is the availability of taxis like in this region?

Will it be an issue if we are out say 8-9-10pm and need to get back to Sorrento from Amalfi etc?

Around August I saw that dusk will be 9.30 or so. Not sure what time restaurants will be available until.

Many thanks!
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Old May 28th, 2022, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by HaroonMB View Post
I will pass on that idea to my wife... they are very particular on laundry and ironing in our house
Oh, no! Ironing? Iíd recommend getting everyone 2 sets of clothes that donít need ironing, one to wear & one to wash, which youíll come around to if you do much more traveling, Iím sure. But for the moment I believe weíre from different laundry planets as ironing left my world decades ago. Take care & I do hope youíre sharing laundry duties with your wife!
​​​​​​​
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Old May 28th, 2022, 12:54 PM
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Ironing? What's that, lol. I test wash my clothes before I travel, and if they don't drip dry without wrinkles they don't get to go.

Can't help with taxis, I used public transport almost exclusively, but watch out if you do. The Italian taxis I have used have tried to cheat.
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Old May 28th, 2022, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
Can't help with taxis, I used public transport almost exclusively, but watch out if you do. The Italian taxis I have used have tried to cheat.
Restaurants will be open till late, but a taxi from Amalfi to Sorrento at that time of the evening will cost you a small fortune. The bus runs till 11pm, not sure about the ferry, you might be better off with either of the two. If you do want a taxi, suggest you book it in advance and not wait till the last moment.
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Old May 28th, 2022, 02:57 PM
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I have used taxis in Naples and in Sorrento, but not between places on the AC, so can’t say. You can always check when you are there, but they will be costly at night.

Restaurants are open late. We usually ate lunch in places we were touring and returned to someplace nearer our hotel for dinner. For dinner, try to make a reservation, even if only an hour or two before. That is really expected and respected in Italy.

BTW, some places (definitely in Sorrento), bread costs extra, not included with the meal, but they will automatically put it on the table. We enjoy bread and oil, so always accept it, but just in case, if you do not want it, tell them. If you order water, it will be bottled and there will be a charge. You can order still (natural) or carbonated (with gas).

If you go to Pompeii, you for sure do not need Ostia Antica. There are some great beaches close to Rome. That might be better for a nice afternoon.

Herculaneum is so different. Just google some images. You do not need to prebook tickets to either Pompeii or Herculaneum. Price is the same.

Your kids might really get a kick out of touring the underground excavations in Naples. It is the remains of the first city which was filled in and built over. Several years ago, a documentary was made, showing some of the tunnels and a place were people stayed durning war. They even grew food there and often have examples growing. It can be a little bit claustrophobic and some places are a bit narrow for large people, but other places are entire rooms, some with left over furniture and toys. Somehow, my links are not working today. Just do a search for Naples Underground and see the photos.



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Old Jun 4th, 2022, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
I have used taxis in Naples and in Sorrento, but not between places on the AC, so canít say. You can always check when you are there, but they will be costly at night.

Restaurants are open late. We usually ate lunch in places we were touring and returned to someplace nearer our hotel for dinner. For dinner, try to make a reservation, even if only an hour or two before. That is really expected and respected in Italy.

BTW, some places (definitely in Sorrento), bread costs extra, not included with the meal, but they will automatically put it on the table. We enjoy bread and oil, so always accept it, but just in case, if you do not want it, tell them. If you order water, it will be bottled and there will be a charge. You can order still (natural) or carbonated (with gas).

If you go to Pompeii, you for sure do not need Ostia Antica. There are some great beaches close to Rome. That might be better for a nice afternoon.

Herculaneum is so different. Just google some images. You do not need to prebook tickets to either Pompeii or Herculaneum. Price is the same.

Your kids might really get a kick out of touring the underground excavations in Naples. It is the remains of the first city which was filled in and built over. Several years ago, a documentary was made, showing some of the tunnels and a place were people stayed durning war. They even grew food there and often have examples growing. It can be a little bit claustrophobic and some places are a bit narrow for large people, but other places are entire rooms, some with left over furniture and toys. Somehow, my links are not working today. Just do a search for Naples Underground and see the photos.
Thank you Sassafrass for all those great tips!

And thanks to everyone else also. I managed to find a nice Airbnb in Vico Equense (2 train stops before Sorrento). We are planning on mostly using bus/train/feet during the day and getting back in our area for the evening and dinner.

There is a specific train line that runs from Naples to Sorrento? I think they had 1 line which just stops at the major points along the route, Campaigna(?).
Will that be faster/better or even less busy than the regular trains?

On an unrelated note, are the 2/3/7 day metro/bus passes for Rome better than getting single tickets each time? Or is it just the convenience?
We are 2 adults and a 12yr and 7yr old, so we need to get 3 passes i think.

We are going to finalise our place in Rome over the next 10 days or so, but I have mostly been looking around Prati (close to Ottaviano metro station).

Many thanks again all!
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Old Jun 4th, 2022, 09:25 AM
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There is a light rail train that runs between Naples and Sorrento. It's called the Circumvesuviana, and its timetables are not available on the Trenitalia website. Trenitalia does not offer service between Naples and Sorrento. Vico Equense is not 2 train stops from Sorrento, but it is close.

https://www.sorrentoinsider.com/en/n...train-schedule
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