Spain/Italy European Vacation

Mar 1st, 2014, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,304
Nightfawl, just saw something that might or might not apply. Some Ryanair flights depart from Girona, not Barcelona. Do make sure exactly which airport they are using for the flight to Treviso (Venice).

I also noticed that there are many airbnb apartments in Sorrento at very reasonable prices. I even saw one by the marina that I want to stay in soon. So, that might still be an option for you.
Sassafrass is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 06:30 PM
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I just verified our flight and its Barcelona El Prat (BCN) to Venice Treviso (TSF).

So far we are REALLY liking the results we are finding on airbnb. We already booked our reservation for Venice and very close to finalizing a spot for Barcelona.

Btw, we are also more than likely going to make one more change to our itinerary. Instead of 3 full days in Tuscany (2 for Florence, 1 for a day trip to Siena), we are probably only going to stay 2 full days in Florence and use the extra day for either Rome (4 full days) or an extra day in Sorrento. I think we will enjoy this more than travelling to Siena. We will be taking the train when we leave Florence so this should give us a nice view of the Tuscan countryside.

I guess my question is should I add the day to Rome or Sorrento?
Nightfawl is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 08:37 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Either would be good. Can't go wrong with any choices you make.

Several options.
1. What I think I would do - spend an extra day & night in Sorrento. Use that day to see both Pompeii and also Herculaneum, then head straight away the next morning early to Rome, giving you a good half day in Rome extra. You could play it by ear. Go to Pompeii, then decide if you have the energy for Herculaneum. It is a great contrast to Pompeii and really pretty.
2. You could also do a day trip to Capri, but hard to avoid lots of tourists.
3. If Herculaneum does not interest you, you could visit Pompeii, then do a nice walk through the lemon groves or marina.
4. You could hit the big museums in Naples.

Having the extra half day for Rome (as above), you could probably do a day trip to Orvieto though may be too rushed that way. Play that by ear once you are in Rome.

5. Extra day in Rome. Plenty to do and could visit Orvieto (kind of a replacement for Siena).

Does this make sense? Giving the day to Pompeii and the evening to Sorrento actually gives a lot of the next day to Rome, so a little extra for both. If I did not care about Capri (and I personally do not), that is the way I would go if I wanted to squeeze out a bit more time for Rome.
Sassafrass is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 04:56 AM
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I don't think I will use the extra time going to Capri. We will be doing a tour of the AC which I think will be a highlight.

I like your idea of visiting Pompeii and not having to carry our luggage and storing it on the way to Rome but I am a little confused how I get an extra half day in each. Right now if I have 1 less day in Tuscany, that part of my itinerary could look like this:

June 21 - Take evening train from Venice to Florence.
June 22 & 23 - Florence.
June 24 - Trenitalia and Circumvesuviana to Sorrento.
June 25 - Tour Amalfi Coast
June 26 - Pompeii
June 27 - Morning train to Rome.
June 28, 29, 30 - Rome.

I guess this makes good sense and like you said would give us a little bit more time in each area, but one could argue that its a good idea to take our luggage to Pompeii and then head to Rome afterwards since its on the way.
Nightfawl is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 08:10 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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You won't see much countryside on the train ride between Florence and Rome unless you take a slow regional train. The high-speed train goes through lots of tunnels. There are regional trains every two hours starting at 9:09,and ending at 21:09. The tickets are very cheap compared to the fast trains, about €20, but the trip takes over 3 1/2 hours instead of 1 1/2, and the train makes many stops.

If you buy the ticket for the fast trains far enough in advance (about 4 months) you can find tickets that are as cheap as the regional train, but they are inflexible. You can't change the travel time without a stiff penalty, and you can't get a refund if your plans change.

The tickets for regional trains should be bought in a train station in Italy, not online. They never have discounts, and have no reservations, so you can get a ticket up until the last minute, so there's no advantage to buying them in advance. These tickets have to be stamped in a machine in the station, at the head of the track in large stations, or at the side of the track in small stations, before boarding the train. Otherwise they're not valid.
bvlenci is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 08:11 AM
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I should add that you can see train schedules here:
bvlenci is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 08:31 AM
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Since you won't be toting luggage or checking out of the hotel the 26th, you can head right out early to Pompeii, and depending on your interest there, be done by noon to one or two, and have the rest of that day for something else. We did spend an entire day at Pompeii once though. It was nice to explore and not feel rushed. We did it on our own, with a guide book. If you decide you want a guide, there are guides who can be hired on the spot at the entrance. Be sure to take plenty of water with you and sun screen.

Herculaneum is much smaller, took about two-three hours for quite a good self guided tour.

On the 27th, if you leave Sorrento pretty early, you will easily be checked into your hotel in Rome by noon and have a solid afternoon extra there.

I like your new plan.

Once there, if you change your mind and want to do something different on the AC (another tour or boat trip), you could still follow your first plan and see Pompeii on the 27th on your way to Rome. Nice to have this flexibility.
Sassafrass is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 10:45 AM
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bvlenci - I agree with you but as you mention that the train tickets can be purchased 4 months in advance, wouldn't it be cheaper to buy in advance online rather than the day of departure? Also, don't I run the risk that the train would be sold out?

Sassafrass - I agree with you as well 100%! I will be sticking with this itinerary now and I really love that we have the flexibility as you mentioned. You have been so helpful with my planning and I really do appreciate it. If I knew you in person I would totally buy you a drink!
Nightfawl is offline  

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