I have read with interest a number of posts on this topic from 2011, but have not seen any recent comments. We will be arriving in Sorrento from Orvieto on Thursday June 13 and had intended to drop off the car at that point. We will be in Sorrento for 4 nights. Since the car is paid up for an additional two days after our arrival, we are wondering if we should consider driving the coast (Sorrento to Amalfi) ourselves, instead of taking a bus. I would be grateful for any comments from people who have made this drive themselves. We will have a small standard, probably a Peugeot. Thanks, Chris
I drive all over Europe and have driven the coast. Although I definitely made it to where I was going I have to say it was not really an enjoyable experience. I did it in March, so I know there were not a ton of tourist buses, however, it was still busy and if you don't like heights it can be a bit unnerving. I would probably not do it again, but I know a lot of people drive it all the time... it was more of a 'white knuckle' drive for me but I would probably feel the same way riding on a bus.
I don't find driving those roads difficult or scary at all, but Italy is where I learned how to drive so I feel comfortable in narrow and/or congested roads. The biggest issue I had was the exorbitant prices of parking the damn car, assuming you even find a spot anywhere, especially on a summer weekend. It's also important to be skilled at parallel parking in very narrow spots between cars, a lot of parking is along the road, but you have to be able to parallel park quickly (you can't hold the traffic forever) in often small spaces. If I were you, first thing, I would base that decision on the availability of parking at your hotel. If they have free parking, I'd keep it, at least for the 2 free days. Also chech the opening hours of the rental office in Sorrento, to make sure you return it before they close on Saturday. A word of warning, drive the coast before Saturday, because Saturday the traffic will be horrible for sure.
I was very afraid of driving the coast when we first arrived in Italy... I have to say there was no reason to fear it. If you are hitting the roads before 10am (maybe before 9am in on the weekend in June as kids are still in school so weekends are the prime times) its not scary. Drive slow, let the others enjoy the view and WAIT... when two cars, a motorcycle and a bus meet on what seems like an American one-way road, go as far to the side as you can and wait. They are professionals and are used to it. Let them sort it all out and when the congestion passes, go. Parking is spending but Vietri has hourly cheaper parking if you are there early. I prefer the drive at this point but I've never taken a bus (we took a cruise to get there the first time)
Here's a quick tip for driving the Amalfi
Start early, head back N to the road to Pompeii,take a pic of the Pompeii Burger King, think its the A 3. Go overland to Vietri sul mare (treasure trove of pottery) and drive the coast road backwards. Much less traffic and since you're going against the flow, some of the towns will not be as busy. Have not done this in early June but have in April May, Sept and Oct
Why not use the car to explore the other roads in the area? The walking guidebook "Landscapes of SORRENTO, the AMALFI COAST and CAPRI" from Sunflower books includes some interesting car tour itineraries with spectacular views and picnic spots. http://www.sunflowerbooks.co.uk/product/walking-in-sorrento-the-amalfi-coast-and-capri/