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Amalfi Coast - how far can we get from Pompeii in 5-6 hours?

We are planning a day trip from Rome to see Pompeii in early July. We have a driver picking us up at the Naples train station and taking us to Pompeii, where we'll have a two hour guided tour. We expect to finish around noon. The driver is then going to drive us around for the afternoon and take us to the train station in time for our return train to Rome. We need to decide which train station to use for our return to Rome: Naples or Salerno. In order to make this decision, we're hoping to get more information on the time involved in driving the Amalfi Coast during the super busy summer season.

When we finish at Pompeii, we will need to eat lunch (a quick one is fine) and then want to drive at least some of the coast. We would like to spend at least an hour in Positano, maybe also Amalfi if time allows? We have seen many warnings that driving the Amalfi Coast is ridiculously slow during the summer. My question: how far is it reasonable to expect our driver to take us along the Amalfi Coast, given our time constraints? On even a terribly crowded traffic day, is it reasonable to expect to get all the way to Salerno, or would that be pushing it? We don't want to spend all afternoon "pedal to the metal". Ideally, it would be nice to see the entire length of the coast, but I worry that being required to get all the way to Salerno might be too stressful. I'm leaning toward having the driver take us to Positano, perhaps Amalfi and then turning around to go back to Naples (there are trains leaving Naples at 6:30 & 7:40 pm). Also, should we give any time to Sorrento, instead of Amalfi? I've heard about a coral factory in Sorrento - is that interesting. or a tourist trap?

I'd appreciate hearing from others with experience along this route in early July. Thank you!

Posted by
3122 posts

I would stick with Naples for the reasons you've listed. You can count on pretty heavy traffic, but it could be a real nightmare or just "normal" heavy. If the driver can decide when is the right time to backtrack to Naples, you'll have a much less stressful afternoon. Another option is to stop at Herculaneum, located on the sea between Pompeii and Naples, instead of sitting in traffic.

Posted by
7364 posts

I would not depend on reaching Salerno in July. You would also have to expect an extra charge for his empty return from so far away.

You need to think about what you want from the drive. We hired a car and driver (not "a guide") for 8 hours from our Sorrento hotel. He took us to Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, the Green Grotto (not really recommended) and 3 stops at view points. We got an hour or 1.5 at the three main stops, while he played cards with his friends. Even so, trip ran late, and we got 10 hours for the price of 8. (Just saying.) When he asked if we wanted to go to his brother-in-law's pottery shop (just kidding), we asked, "Do they have a row of toilets for the tourists? Yeah, we'll just use those and not shop."

Will you have advance purchase Frecciarossa discount train tickets, that are not changeable or cancellable? Or just (very slow) regular train service tickets?

I am NOT an authority on this, but there may be some back roads from, say, Ravello to Naples that are not subject to the choke points like Positano. You can expect Pompeii to be swelteringly hot, with savage sun and hard stone pavement with uneven edges. You will need the air conditioned car when you finish the tour, which is a rushed way to see a huge ancient city. If you can order wet washcloths from the car service, do so. Toilets at the Pompeii cafe. But you should get premade sandwiches at a (stand-up, maybe) bar recommended by the driver, or as you walk around one of the towns.

Posted by
4105 posts

Drive from Pompeii to Salerno, shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. This is the prettiest end of the Amalfi Coast. You’ll save time driving in the opposite direction of traffic flow. The drive from Salerno to Amalfi town is about an hour. Ravello is 35 minutes. From Ravello, there’s a road in the hills that will take you to Angri and on to Napoli Centrale in an hour.

Posted by
67 posts

I would let the driver drop you off in Salerno and get on a half day boat tour. It is more relaxing and you can see the coast better when you're on the water. On top of that the boats stop for an occasional swim or to discover a place briefly.

Driving from Pompei to Positano and then to Salerno will be a nightmare in summer. The traffic is sometimes completely stuck. On top of that it's nearly impossible to park your car in some places.