Short break from Liverpool April 2010

Nov 8th, 2010, 09:21 AM
  #1  
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Short break from Liverpool April 2010

Hello - I was hoping to find a package deal for a short break to either Tuscany or the Amalfi coast (say 5 nights) leaving out of Liverpool but have not been able to come up with anything - most of them seem to be for 7 - 8 nights. So - having said that, looking for alternatives. The problem seems to be that most of the short breaks are to cities, and that's not really what I'm looking for.
Looking for a package deal primarily because they will often lay on transportation for day trips from a home base, often included in the cost of the package and I don't want to rent a car.
Any help at all will be greatly appreciated.
Toying with Spain or Portugal, but I really had my heart set on Italy!
Thanks!
gillybrit is offline  
Nov 8th, 2010, 10:48 AM
  #2  
 
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I can't help you with package deals, but I can tell you that April on the Amalfi Coast is shoulder (or even pre-shoulder) season so you might be able to get some deals. (Our hotels in early May were very reasonable and not fully booked.) Also in that area, tickets for the Sita bus that runs along the peninsula and the Circumvesuviana train (Naples to Sorrento or Salerno) are very reasonably priced (though not as you said included in the cost of the package).

Hope this helps!
ggreen is offline  
Nov 8th, 2010, 11:02 AM
  #3  
 
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If you could get flights to Pisa (or more difficult Florence) then Tuscany is quite easy to self organise. Transport from the airport is good ans in general the bus and train links are plentiful and reasonably priced. English is widely spoken so should not present a problem.

As a base, Florence would be ideal as it has excellent transport links to just about everywhere. My personal preference is Siena (easy day trips to Florence or San Gimignano) or maybe Lucca (not as central, but Pisa /Florence are easily reached).

The AC is more problematic in that by public transport everything is a bit of a trip. Sorrento makes a good base - easy access to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Naples via the Circumvesuviana. There are frequent buses down the Amalfi coast itself, and I believe the ferry will run to Capri (I am not sure if it is seasonal)
willit is online now  
Nov 8th, 2010, 03:36 PM
  #4  
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Thanks - from what I can see flights out of Liverpool are pretty limited. Pisa might be an option for flights..can you give me any info on how we would get from there to Tuscany by public transportation.
As mentioned, I would be willing to consider other areas too.
ggreen - do you have any recommendations for hotels?
thanks
gillybrit is offline  
Nov 8th, 2010, 10:38 PM
  #5  
 
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I recently posted on another thread about our stay in the AC area; maybe you can glean some info from my comments and others here:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-home-base.cfm

On that post, I mentioned that I booked my hotels through hotels.com. I should add that I had to do all the booking 1 week before we flew to Italy! So it was a bit rushed to say the least, and probably not as economical as it could have been.

In Amalfi, we stayed two nights at Hotel Miramalfi. In the direction of Salerno, it's just before the town proper; we only had to tell the bus driver and he dropped us at the door. The room was basic but clean and suited our needs, and the staff was incredibly helpful. Of the four hotels total we used on this trip, Miramalfi's breakfast was a close second best: not only was the food great, but the view is spectacular! It's a relatively easy 10-15 minute walk down into town, where we sampled limoncello and had some good dinners. (Oh, and we were happy not to be staying in the town proper: we saw a number of tourists dragging their suitcases up the steep narrow streets! Miramalfi has an elevator from the street to the lobby.)

We then spent three nights in Sorrento at the Hotel Grand Continental. Upon arrival we were upgraded to a sea view room. This hotel is also a bit of a walk: 15 minutes from the train station, overlooking a small quiet square and the Bay of Naples. The walk was not terrible with our wheelie luggage and rather charming when we made the daily trek for our sightseeing visits elsewhere. There really was nothing to complain about other than the breakfast (watery juice! in orange country!!); the room was spotless and the bathroom gigantic. But I did sort of feel like I was on the set for some period piece from the 1960's, grand public rooms vacant and wistful awaiting the full season... Suffice it to say, it's not the kind of place we usually stay in! Oh, and of all the places we stayed, I felt the front desk staff here was the most officious and least helpful, making pat recommendations they clearly give to every tourist.

For a base from which to see sights around the bay and peninsula, Sorrento's location can't be beat. But arriving as we did after Sicily and Amalfi, the town felt overly touristy and not our speed...
ggreen is offline  
Nov 9th, 2010, 12:04 AM
  #6  
 
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"Looking for a package deal primarily because they will often lay on transportation for day trips from a home base, often included in the cost of the package and I don't want to rent a car"

Then you're just not going to find what you're looking for. The good old-fashioned British package holiday is fast losing its share of the holiday market, and as we told you last time all such packages out of Liverpoool and Manchester are ultimately listed on the references at the two airports' websites. There simply aren't flights from either airport to Naples at the times you want, for example.

Bluntly: if you want a holiday in Tuscany (or Andalucia or the Algarve), there's no shortage of cheap flights from either airport allowing 4/5 night stays, or of web-based services (often provided buy Easyjet or whoever) that will offer good value hotels to connect. But you're going to have to:
- stay in Pisa/Florence, Faro, Granada etc, or
- hire a car, or
- get a taxi to San Gimignano, Lagos, Ronda or wherever, then either stay there or use taxis/public transport to get about.

Mind you, I've NEVER found a package holiday, anywhere, that "will often lay on transportation for day trips from a home base, often included in the cost of the package"

I've found lots that take you to a hotel, then sell you overpriced daytours offering infinite opportunities for guides to take kickbacks from local merchants. But is that what you really want?
flanneruk is offline  
Nov 9th, 2010, 06:28 AM
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"Pisa might be an option for flights..can you give me any info on how we would get from there to Tuscany by public transportation."

gillybrit I am not sure how to answer this. Tuscany is a region of Italy and cities such as Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Siena are all part of Tuscany in the same way that Liverpool is part of Lancashire.

Pisa airport to Pisa itself is easy - a train every half hour from the station at the airport takes less than 10 minutes. There is also a bus about every 20 minutes into the city, and on to the Cathederal and Leaning tower.

The famous city in Tuscany is Florence. It was the first place I visited in Italy, and responsible for my love affair with the country. You can get there direct from Pisa airport via the Terravision bus (tickets available in airport departures - journey takes about an hour) or via Train (some direct from Pisa Airport, but about 3 or 4 an hour changing Pisa Central)

Lucca is very easy - train to Pisa Central, then change to Lucca - from Pisa to Lucca is about 20 minutes.

Siena is more tricky. Train from Pisa, change at Empoli for Siena, catch a local bus from Siena station to the town centre.

Rereading your original post, you might consider the Cinque Terre as an alternative to the Amalfi coast. There are trains from Pisa to La Spezia (you could also fly into Genoa and get a train - I don't know how difficult this is as I've never done it.)
willit is online now  
Nov 9th, 2010, 08:05 AM
  #8  
 
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You can fly to Nice in the south of France from Liverpool. Train from Nice to Genoa (2.5 hours direct). Genoa is an interesting old port and, from there, you can take a local train to Cinque Terre, fishing villages perched high on the coast with walking trails between them or delightful boat trip. Train via La Spezia to Lucca which is a beautiful old city. That should fill 4-5 days admirably and you'll have seen two great Italian cities and
spent some time by the sea.
I agree with previous poster that you'd be lucky to have side trips built into the price of a package. More likely pressed into buying top price trips once you're at your base.
Much more pleasurable to tailor make your own trip.
bellini is offline  
Nov 9th, 2010, 01:56 PM
  #9  
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Thanks to all.
Bellini - thanks for the suggestion to fly in to Nice.
Flanneruk - Unfortunately I didn't find the Liverpool Airport website to be particularly helpful.
I was actually having trouble finding suitable flights - seems like a very limited schedule at that time of year.
Regarding side trips, my mum frequently travels on package holidays which include tours and the packages are VERY reasonably priced (most recently to the Croatia/ Montenegro area). She stayed in a couple of different hotels and transportation was laid on for day trips for the bases. I
have no problem "doing my own thing" but her experience has been that she can get some really good deals going the package holiday route.
I am asking for help on this board because I am not familiar with the UK travel sites. My mum lives in Liverpool, but doesn't have a computer, so I was trying to do some research from this end (I live in the US). I am planning to visit my mum in the spring and then we will take a side trip for a few days. I will keep looking and as always appreciate the info on these boards.
gillybrit is offline  

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