3 week Honeymoon in Italy

My fiance and I will be traveling to Italy and Prague on our honeymoon next summer. (Prague for the World Yoyo Championships - he's a professional yoyoer) I spent a month in Italy 21 years ago, this will be his first visit. We are both into history, but my knowledge of Italian art and history vastly exceeds his. We are on a TIGHT budget. He is pretty content letting me figure out our itinerary and being his tour guide, with the caveat that he doesn't want to spend too much time trying to cram in museum visits - he'd like the trip to have leisurely pauses to enjoy the culture. (I am all for this too) So, we have approximately three weeks in Italy. I am hoping to fly in to Venice, and fly from Rome to Prague on a cheap Euro flight before returning home. I've booked a hotel for 4 nights in Venice (our big splurge), and am thinking 2 nights at Lake Como, 3 nights in Florence, 3 nights in Rome, and a night in Sorrento (MUST see Pompeii/Herculaneum - I missed them last time) That's only 13 nights, so I have some bulking out to do. I am looking for some recommendations. Should we find somewhere small and quaint to stay for a few days? Should I add another night in Sorrento? Where would you guys send us?

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8756 posts

Hi Andra, May I ask how tight is TIGHT? It would help us suggesting rooms. What month next summer? One night in Sorrento all the way to and from Rome won't leave you much time for Pompeii and Herculaneum. Please make it it 2 or more nights. It is a very romantic town and area. If you never stop when will you have time to enjoy the Limoncello or the fabulous view across the Bay of Naples?

Posted by Andra
Vancouver, BC, Canada
23 posts

We have to be in Prague from August 6-10, so I'm looking at flying in to Italy on or around July 15. Tight means we're trying to keep our accommodation budget under 100 Euros a night (Ideally under $100 a night, but I know that's going to be challenging), and we'll be eating lots of picnic lunches.

Posted by Andra
Vancouver, BC, Canada
23 posts

(yes, I know July in Italy isn't the ideal month. We are locked in to the Prague dates though, and he's a teacher so Summer is our only option)

Posted by Linda
Seattle, WA, USA
432 posts

Andra, I would send you to the Island of Ischia. Ferry from Sorrento in the morning and return in late afternoon for a day trip or stay over. Next time I am in Southern Italy, my plan is to chill on Ischia and stay a night or two. Last September, I had a fabulous time as a day trip there. So, if I were you, add more days to Sorrento with Ischia in mind as well. Ciao! Bella Italia! Linda

Posted by Andra
Vancouver, BC, Canada
23 posts

Thanks Linda - could you please tell me WHY you're recommending Ischia? (I'm googling the island, but it would be helpful to have reasons why people think we should check out certain places)

Posted by Linda
Seattle, WA, USA
432 posts

Andra, I spent the day at one of the thermal spa resorts - just a beautiful, laid back place to be after Rome and Naples. I didn't really know anything about Ischia except that it had thermal spas - so that is what I had planned. Now, I want to explore more of the island's charms and will on the next trip to Italy. Negombo is the name of the spa my friend and I enjoyed, but there are several others. Happy planning ..

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17779 posts

Andra, To begin with, congratulations! My first suggestion would be to pick up a copy of the RS Italy Guidebook. The 2014 edition will be released later this month. There's an enormous amount of information there, which will help you to plan sightseeing, transportation, lodgings, etc. As others have mentioned, I'd recommend adding at least one night to Sorrento. It's a beautiful city and if you're planning any day trips (ie: Ischia or Capri) in addition to Pompeii and Ercolano, you'll need time to do that. In planning your time, don't forget to allow for your two travel days. Especially from YVR, you'll arrive in Europe the day after you depart, and the last day will be required for the flight home. Given the places you mentioned, this is the order I'd use..... > Flight inbound Venice - 4 nights > Freccia or Italo train to Florence - 3 nights > Freccia and Regionale train to Lago di Como. I'm assuming you plan to stay in Varenna? I'd suggest 3 nights as the place is perfect for Luna di Miele. > Regionale train to Milan and Freccia high speed to Rome - 3 nights (is there any way you could add at least one night in Rome? There's a LOT to see and you could also take a day trip to Orvieto). > Freccia and Circumvesuviana to Sorrento - 2+ nights? > Flight to Prague - it would be easier to fly from NAP to PRG, but I haven't checked flights on that route. If you decide to fly FCO to PRG, have a look at Vueling. I'm sure the group here will be able to help you work out the fine details. It's great that you're getting an early start on the planning! As I'm sure you're aware, that's PEAK travel season in Europe, so it's going to be hot and crowded. Pre-booking accommodations, etc. WELL in advance would be prudent. Cheers!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17779 posts

Andra, Have you researched flights yet. The two easiest options will probably be: > Air Canada - The inbound flight will likely have a layover in Frankfurt, while the return flight will likely have a layover in Frankfurt or Munich. > KLM - Both the inbound and outbound flights WILL have a layover in Amsterdam. You might want to speak with a Travel Agent on how far in advance to book flights, in order to get the best price. I prefer to use a Travel Agent for international flights, as I've found that they can often find me some better deals. Also, the purchase will be covered by the Travel Assurance Fund if purchased through a T.A. in B.C. Regarding rail travel in Italy, there are some potentially expensive "caveats" to be aware of (which may not have been as much of a concern when you were there 21 years ago). If you need more information, post another note. It might be a good idea for both of you to read Europe Through The Back Door also, as that will get you up to speed on how to travel well in Europe and avoid problems. Your local Library should have a copy. Happy planning!

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2208 posts

What a wonderful treat for your honeymoon! We have traveled extensively and I almost always am successful staying under €100 per night. If you have 20 nights: - 4 Venice is perfect! - 3 Lake Come so you have 2 full days there - 3 Florence is plenty if museums are not the focus - 2 Tuscany or Umbrian hill town: Orvieto, Assisi, Cortona, Montepulciano - pick one of these or any other that appeals to you - 4 or 5 Rome - there's more than enough to do for a lifetime
- 3 or 4 Sorrento - don't rush it here. A day at Pompeii and Ercolano, another for Amalfi Coast trip, one for Naples see Rick Steves' guide for possibilities. We spent a week here on December and loved it! Didn't even think about the islands. How to keep budget in line: apartments and B&Bs. We rarely stay in hotels and when we do, they are tiny family operations. I use Booking.com a LOT to search and reserve, and also VRBO.com. If I can get a place with a good breakfast (not just pastry and coffee, but also yogurt, fruit, meat, cheese) I opt for it, otherwise we keep yogurt, fruit, wine, coffee in the apartment and self-serve. We never "cook" and we average €87 a day for food and beverage when trying to stay in budget. Panini for lunch will allow a splurge at dinner now-and-then. Buy you high-speed rail tickets in advance on the Trenitalia or Italo websites for significant savings. I recently scored 1st class tickets from Rome to Salerno and back for €58 per person!

Posted by Andra
Vancouver, BC, Canada
23 posts

Thank you for your suggestions! I have been talking to a TravelCuts agent at the university I work at, and she says the flight prices i've been able to find on Kayak and Air Transat are as good as the prices she has access to. She said that seat sales to Europe happen in January and that I'd be best to wait to buy the ticket then. I was thinking of flying out of Rome because it is a fair bit cheaper than flying out of Naples, but obviously I will have to factor the train cost in.

Posted by Andra
Vancouver, BC, Canada
23 posts

THANK YOU for the suggestion to check out VRBO - I'm finding some fantastic options and have had a couple of responses from owners already!

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

Since you're on a budget, it will be very important for you to book your high speed trains in advance. This will lock you into non-refundable and non-exchangeable tickets, and since the cheapest fares can sell out fast, you'll need to figure out your itinerary in advance, then buy the tickets as soon as they go on sale. The savings are worth the sacrifices. Here's a tutorial for Ron In Rome on buying tickets from Trenitalia: http://tinyurl.com/c4t693b There is also the newer competitor Italo, whose trains get great reviews. They use a different stations in Rome and Milan from the main ones (in the other cities they serve, they use the main stations). They also have advance purchase discounts. Here's their website: http://www.italotreno.it/EN/Pages/default.aspx. Trains from Milan to Lake Como are regionals on Trenitalia. Trains from Naples to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Sorrento are the Circumvesuviana, a different company. All of these trains can be bought on the day of travel for no penalty. But for your other routes, you'll save a lot with advance tickets.

Posted by Marie
Wilmington, DE, USA
683 posts

We just stayed 2 nights at a Bed & Breakfast high on a hill overlooking Sorrento. It is called Villa Monica. You can google it. Fantastic views overlooking Sorrento, Bay of Naples, and Mt. Vesiusus. Great breakfast and Wifi included. The owner Pasquale drives you back and forth from Sorrento to his bed and breakfast. My husband took the local train to Popmpeii for day. He will give you a lot of advice for day trips. We only stayed 2 nights, but wish we had stayed 3. We had the a Sorrento Room with a wonderful balcony and bathroom. Price is reasonable too! Pasquale has a schedule for drop off and pick up about every hour during day. You can take ferry or hydrofoil to Capri for day. He recommended our neighbors buy a picnic lunch to take.
You can take the local bus for the famous cliff drive or you could splurge and take his recommended driver for a day which another couple did the day we arrived.

Posted by Andra
Vancouver, BC, Canada
23 posts

How far ahead is it possible to book train tickets on trenitalia?