Suggestion for Naples/Amalfi Coast trip

Old Jan 7th, 2015, 08:18 AM
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Suggestion for Naples/Amalfi Coast trip

Hi all,
I'm just starting to plan our trip to Naples and the Amalfi Coast end May/early June this year. There is a lot of information around and enough questions about itineraries here and elsewhere but I am still lost. We have 9 nights/10 days and there is so much to see and do. Sometimes you think you need a lot of time and it's too much and sometimes you think you don't need so much time and are totally wrong so I'd appreciate some feedback on my plans. I haven't booked any accommodation yet until I've nailed down the itinerary so if it can be optimized, I'd like to do so to get the best out of this trip.

I was originally going to rent a small car but the comments about roads and parking have scared me off, so hoping to do it all by public transport. We are open to renting a car for one or two days if necessary.

Day 1 - arrive 2:30pm in Naples from Munich, (night in Naples)
Day 2 - Pompei, (night in Naples)
Day 3 - Herculaneum/Vesuvio, (night in Naples)
Day 4 - leave for Ischia, (night on Ischia)
Day 5 - explore Ischia, (night on Ischia)
Day 6 - leave for Sorrento, explore Sorrento, (night in Sorrento)
Day 7 - Day trip to Capri, (night in Sorrento)
Day 8 - bus to Positano, beach somewhere??, what else, (night in Sorrento)
Day 9 - bus to Amalfi, then Ravello, (night in Sorrento
Day 10 - morning in Sorrento, take airport bus to Naples airport for 3pm flight

I feel like I've left out some nice areas cos we won't have a car. The above are obviously all places on the beaten track. I wanted to do a walk/short hike but it looks like there isn't going to be time!

Many thanks!
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Old Jan 7th, 2015, 08:42 AM
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Your plan really looks fine as it is. Some people don't really like Naples - it is a big, gritty city. I really enjoyed a day trip there (from Sorrento) but if you are one of those who prefer smaller, more relaxing locations you could do just one night in Naples and add the others to Sorrento. It is almost as easy to visit Herculaneum/Pompeii from Sorrento as it is from Naples (only about 15 minutes closer to Naples). That way you could break up the days at Pompei/Herculaneum with days on the coast. Just a suggestion, not a big deal.

The other thing is you might want to switch the order around so you are doing Naples at the end, since that is where you are flying out of.

If you click on my name you'll see trip reports from two relatively recent trips to that area (2010 and 2014) with links to photos. Have a great trip.
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Old Jan 7th, 2015, 08:56 AM
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I would put Naples at the end to make it easier to get to the airport for the flight home. I think I would put Sorrento first as there is a shuttle bus from the airport (10€) to Sorrento. There is also a ferry from Sorrento to Ischia.
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Old Jan 7th, 2015, 09:10 AM
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I would also put Naples at the end of your trip.

Since you want to visit Capri, Positano, beaches, Amalfi and Ravello while staying in Sorrento, it would make more sense to stay somewhere actually on the Amalfi Cooast. It will save you time (and money) to not have to commute to and from Sorrento every day. Capri is easily reached by ferry from Positano,, as is Amalfi/Ravello.
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Old Jan 7th, 2015, 11:36 AM
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Thanks Isabel, kybourbon and ekc. Yes, good tip about putting Naples at the end. Didn't know about the ferry from Sorrento. Anyway, now that I have read Isabel's very informative report, I will rethink Ischia. Spending two nights there might be a bit too much. Back to the drawing board.
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Old Jan 7th, 2015, 01:16 PM
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I agree about putting Naples at the end, not least because it's a bit of a shock to the system when you first get there, and staying in Sorrento etc will help you to work yourselves in gently.

if you like gardens, think again about dropping a night from Ischia, as there is a great one there - La Mortella.

http://www.lamortella.org/en/
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Old Jan 7th, 2015, 04:24 PM
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Another vote for Naples at the end. I'm one of those who fell in love with Naples; I wish I'd given it much more time than I did.

Are you committed to seeing Mt. Vesuvius? If not, you can see Pompeii and Herculaneum in the same (VERY long) day.

I found Capri MUCH more enjoyable at night after day trippers left.

You have not mentioned magnificent Paestum or underrated Salerno -- maybe they aren't of interest to you?

I didn't visit Sorrento, so I honestly don't know what I missed -- but I must admit that nothing I read drew me to it.

Of the half-dozen guidebooks I used for the area, I found the Rough Guide most useful.

Hope that helps!
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Old Jan 7th, 2015, 09:56 PM
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Yes, do keep 2 nights in Ischia (that's only one full day). It is a lovely island with plenty to see and those gardens are magnificent. Your programme is already full but if you can squeeze in Procida for 2/3 hours on your way to Ischia it would be well worth it (many, but not all ferries and hydrofoils from Naples to Ischia call at Procida)
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Old Jan 8th, 2015, 02:50 AM
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I would be absolutely nauseous every day going back and forth on buses to towns on the Amalfi coast. I really recommend staying on the Amalfi coast given your interest in seeing those towns.
I wouldn't bother with "exploring Sorrento" unless you have a very specific interest in something that is there (touring a limoncello distillery, an woodworker).

Other people may know the answer (or maybe you already do) but were it my trip I would be interested in going directly from Ischia to Capri. I don't know if ferries go between the islands or if private boats are remotely affordable, but I think I would prefer doing that if possible. But I would rethink the itinerary to eliminate Sorrento.
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Old Jan 8th, 2015, 03:00 AM
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As far as I know there are very few direct ferries from Ischia to Capri or vice versa. One or two a day at the most. There are privately run day trips and people have been known to take those and simply not return to Ischia at the end of the trip.
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Old Jan 8th, 2015, 04:18 AM
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I would keep Ischia. If you are rethinking it because in my trip report I said I was a bit disappointed in it - that doesn't mean I didn't think it was worthwhile or really enjoyed it. I think I just had very high expectations and it didn't quite meet them. The castle was fascinating with gorgeous views and I think there are other parts of the island besides the main town that would be interesting. And it would be very easy to do a day trip to Procida from Ischia. I didn't have time for both so skipped Procida but I am going again in March and doing two nights on Procida ( so as to have one full day).

Given that you want to see Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri, Ischia, Sorrento, Amalfi, Posoitano and Ravello - then the base of Sorrento makes more sense to me than staying in either Amalfi or Positano. It's just more convenient, and you are doing the further places without hauling your luggage there so you can enjoy the trips. Both the bus and boat from Sorrento to Amalfi/Positano are experiences in themselves. But I prefer not to have my bag with me (and I travel light, one 20" bag) and to then have to find another hotel, check in, etc. If you aren't checking out of a hotel then it's easier to make one of the early buses which tend to be less crowded (we always got seats, in July). If you want a trip with 3 or 4 or 5 days IN Positano or Amalfi then of course it makes more sense to stay there. But if you want to see all the other places then Sorrento is a better base. PLUS - while this board has lots of people who much prefer Positano, there are plenty of us who actually prefer Sorrento. I admit that the guidebooks make Positano seem more 'romantic' and Sorrento more 'touristy' but I actually found it to be the opposite.

On my 2010 trip I did two day trips to Amalfi - one day we did the bus to Positano, spent half a day there, then went on to Amalfi (had lunch, explored the town), walked to Atrani and back, and took the bus back. Another day we took the boat to Amalfi, then the bus up to Ravello (visited both the villas, had lunch), then walked back down through Atrani to Amalfi (about a four mile hike straight down) and took the boat back.
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Old Jan 8th, 2015, 04:48 AM
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@isabel (and the OP if interested): I have an article which I wrote about Procida. However Fodor's has no private message function so I don't know how I could get it to you. I see a website mentioned on your profile but that doesn't seem to give me a contact.
I am not prepared to post it on travel boards as they always want to keep copyright.
Anyway, Procida is really something different and well worth visiting.
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Old Jan 8th, 2015, 08:20 AM
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appia - could you email it to me at: forcier at gcc dot mass dot edu ?
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Old Jan 8th, 2015, 08:25 AM
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isabel: it's winging it's way to you now!
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Old Jan 8th, 2015, 08:50 AM
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I definitely would keep Ischia - it is on my list to visit but I never seem to get there during my week in Positano each year.

I think in 10 days you could divide your time between Naples, Ischia and Positano or Amalfi.
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Old Jan 8th, 2015, 05:44 PM
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Thanks appia - nice article. Looking forward to my two days in Procida.
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Old Jan 8th, 2015, 09:35 PM
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OP: As you probably know Ischia is famous for its thermal springs. Most of the larger hotels have their own spa centres where you can relax and soak off your travels in a hot pool.
Bear in mind that those lovely pools you see on the hotel websites are generally hot water pools so if you want a cool dip you need to go to the beach. Often the hotel pool is not suitable for young children due to its temperature and the mineral content of the water. The hotel will tell you if this is the case.

isabel: Glad you liked it. I've got another - longer - one on Venice if you know anyone who could use it. They can email me.
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Old Jan 9th, 2015, 04:49 AM
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Oh my goodness! I didn't realize the responses were still coming in. Many, many thanks. I was busy googling places to stay and did drop Ischia but now, I will put it back in. I should have made the trip one or two days longer.

I didn't forget Paestum or Salerno. Just don't know how to fit them in with the limited time. My husband is not the rush-around type of tourist and needs plenty of time doing NOTHING. Will have to keep these for the next visit and maybe drive to Puglia like what Isabel did. Maybe I'll cover Procida next time too!

I am now considering staying a couple of days on the Amalfi coast (haven't figured out where but I would opt for the smaller places) and then move on to Sorrento. I thought we could pick up a small car at the airport and drive to our Amalfi base and then when we get to Sorrento, we'll just give it back on arrival. Need to stay in Sorrento so that we can visit Pompei, Hercolanuem and Vesuvius and of course Capri.

kja, is the trip up Vesuvius worth it or is it better to just see it from afar?

Molto grazie!
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Old Jan 9th, 2015, 07:28 AM
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Ischia is turning out to be a pain. There appears to be only one direct ferry from Sorrento to Ischia and that's at 9:30am which is not convenient. Other departures go through Naples or we'd have to go to Capri and then to Ischia. That'd be wasting time and cost a whole lot more, not to mention prolonging the sea-sickness possibility! I hate the word 'hydrofoil' as my daughter and I do get sea-sick. We also got sea-sick on a two hr boat trip in Germany over choppy sea, breathing in diesel fumes!
Hmmm... do I really want to see those volcanic springs??? More thinking to do...
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Old Jan 9th, 2015, 11:36 AM
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So leave Ischia for another trip. If your husband is not the rush around type, then fewer bases would be better. Maybe just split between Sorrento and a town on the Amalfi Coast.
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