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Regional Travel

I have a question about traveling Italy I hope to get some feedback on. We are planning a trip to Europe next September 2016 and one of the places that I've always wanted to visit has been The Amalfi Coast and I've spent months reading about it and looking at photos and trying to figure out where to stay what trains to take should we hire a private driver should we do the bus...You get the idea. After all of that time and effort I've put into it I'm starting to second guess visiting there, I'm beginning to think that it may very well need to be on another trip. It just seems to be not worth the time and the hassle to enjoy the way I want to. So let me ask you this.....though I do realize that each person has their own style of travel I'm curious to hear some feedback. Is the Amalfi Coast worth the trip from Rome or would my time be better spent staying in Rome/Tuscany and visiting cities that are easier to travel to like Salzburg & Munich? We will be spending 11 nights in Europe that does not include our travel to and from the U.S. that is 11 full nights. We first thought we'd stay in Rome Florence and Sorrento but I just don't think that's enough time. I've even thought maybe ending the trip in Nice, France would be easier than trying to carry luggage from train to train to get down to Sorrento plus I'd want to stop in Naples too. Thoughts, suggestions?

Thanks I really appreciate your input.

Posted by
4637 posts

It is not that difficult to get to Sorrento from Rome. Go by fast train to Naples, take a taxi to your hotel there. Then when leaving Naples take a taxi to the harbor and take ferry to Sorrento. Much better than Circumvesuviana train. Make your base in Sorrento and from there take a bus to Amalfi and back by boat. You can also visit Capri from Sorrento.

Posted by
32111 posts

For a short trip of 11 nights with three main destinations, your trip is actually quite simple and easy to accomplish. Perhaps something like this would work.....

  • Flight inbound to Florence, 3 nights (you could add a night if you want to take a day trip to Siena)
  • Train to Rome (~90 minutes), 3 nights
  • Train to Naples (~1H:10M), private car to Sorrento, 4 nights (try the Monetti Taxi listed in the guidebook - this will be a much easier and more comfortable option than using the Circumvesuviana)
  • Flight outbound from Naples or Rome (if you choose Naples, use the Curreri Viaggi Bus to the airport - about an hour and only €10 PP last time I checked)

The above is a simplified version. If you need more detail, post another note. There's still one night available in the above plan, which you can add to either of the three cities, depending on which one is most important to you. Sorrento isn't "officially" part of the Amalfi Coast, but it makes a great home base to explore that area, and it's a wonderful city to spend a few days in.

One other point - have you travelled in Italy before?

Good luck with your planning!

Posted by
7175 posts

Firstly, let me make three gentle observations.
1) You have invested too much time reading and dreaming to give up on this idea.
2) Some effort is required but I think you are stressing too much about the logistics of travel.
3) Salzburg & Munich are no substitute as they are completely different experiences, similar only to Rome perhaps in one respect with the Baroque architecture.

Day 1 Arrive Rome or Naples, then to Sorrento (4 nts)
Day 2 Capri (by ferry)
Day 3 Pompeii/Herculaneum (by train)
Day 4 Amalfi+Positano (by bus)
Day 5 Train to Rome (3 nts) via Naples
Day 6 Rome sights - Colosseum, Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps
Day 7 Rome sights - St Peters, Vatican, Pantheon, Piazza Navona
Day 8 Borghese Gallery, Afternoon train to Florence (4 nts)
Day 9 Florence sights - Duomo, Medici Chapels, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Piazzale Michelangelo
Day 10 Academy (David), Afternoon to Siena
Day 11 Uffizi, Afternoon to Pisa
Day 12 Depart Florence

Posted by
1446 posts

I agree with Ken and David: keep to your original plan, 'open jaw' your flights from the U.S. and keep to (max) the 3 'bases' in Italy. Don't fall into the trap of 'over-planning'!

IMO, Rome should get 3 nights and Sorrento (which I agree is the best base) could comfortably use 5 nights for exploring around the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Getting to/from Sorrento is not difficult at all - with your accommodation arranging a private transfer (to/from Naples), if it all really stresses you out too much.

I was quite happy visiting Naples in the afternoon, after we spent the morning in Pompeii (the earlier in the day the better, in September). This as a daytrip from Sorrento. As David mentioned, you can plan a day on Capri by ferry. The Amalfi Coast can be explored by bus and ferry from Sorrento as well.

With 11 nights, you could also simply skip Florence this trip. Rome, the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast are easily paired. You can then spend your first 4 nights in Rome and add two nights on Capri (or somewhere else where you can swim). It's a quick and easy train ride to Naples, a quick taxi to the ferry, and a fast ferry to Capri (and/or to Sorrento). Flying back to the States from Naples would be very easy.

On a future trip, Milan, Florence (Tuscany) and Venice make logistical sense to group together.

Posted by
7046 posts

It sounds like you're all over the place (geographically and otherwise). You need a structured way of looking at things, as in picking a discrete region to minimize travel time. If the Amalfi Coast is your priority, then plan your trip on sites/cities that would enable you to get there easily (pick a base that's no further north than Rome, preferably south of Rome - Sorrento, for example). If you need to stay a few nights to enjoy the Amalfi Coast, then incorporate that into your plans. It's not clear from your post what your priorities in Italy are - you seem stuck on the logistics and potential stress of moving around. If that's the case, definitely plan on packing light. I traveled around from Rome south to Amalfi using the train system (and ferries) and was able to see Naples, Sorrento, Pompeii, Capri, and Amalfi, and Rome all on the same trip. By the way, with beautiful photos of Italian coastlines, I think people are tempted to focus on some very distinct areas without realizing that most of Italy (no matter where you go) is stunningly beautiful, so you can't go wrong.

You may also want to check out these links (it really is easy to travel to the Amalfi Coast on a bus right from Sorrento):

or here's another option from Rick:

Posted by
11613 posts

The Amalfi Coast is beautiful, I keep going back. I like Praiano, a small town (upper and lower sections), between Amalfi and Positano. I would plan this trip for Roma and South, and keep Firenze for another trip. Fly into Roma FCO, go directly to Napoli, spend a couple of nights there (beautiful sights and you can take the ferry to Capri from there and visit Pompeii, Ercolano and Mt Vesuvius). Then go to the Amalfi Coast for a few nights. Work your way back to Roma for the rest of your trip.

Posted by
11294 posts

Just a clarification: you seem to be under the impression that from Rome, it's easier to get to Salzburg, Munich, or Nice than it is to get to Naples and the Amalfi Coast. The reality is the opposite. Save France and Austria for a separate trip. With your short time, stay in Italy (and I myself only get 10 day trips, so I know how hard it can be to cut down the wish list).

It's not clear to me if you were considering a day trip to the Amalfi Coast from Rome. Whatever you do, don't do this. I did a day trip from Naples to Sorrento and Positano, and consider it a wasted day. If I had come all the way from Rome, I really would have been miserable. The point of going to these places is settling in to the relaxing vibe and natural beauty, not doing them as a drive by.

I agree with the other replies - if the Amalfi Coast is a priority (and that's a fine priority!), then plan the trip around it; don't shoehorn it in around other places.

Posted by
15314 posts

Another vote here for spending the entire trip in Italy and keeping the Amalfi if it's a priority. Travel in much of Italy is not difficult, and it will be no easier to haul luggage around in France or Germany if you pack too much.

You could do Florence, Rome and Sorrento but it would be tight with just 11 nights, and I'd skip Naples unless you spend the last night there to catch a connecting flight home (we have). That would be approx. 3 nights Florence, 3 nights Rome, 4 nights Sorrento, 1 night Naples. Or trade one night in Sorrento for another in Rome.

Yes, you could hire a driver from the train station in Naples to get to Sorrento but I don't have big issues with the Circumvesuviana; it's bare bones but cheap. It's also your best (depending on what 'best' is for you) option for getting to Pompeii and Herculaneum.

As Harold has said, Sorrento/Amalfi Coast is not a reasonable day trip from Rome, IMHO, so either give it at least 3 nights or allocate those nights between Florence and Rome.

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks for the great suggestions, I really appreciate it. I'm at a cross roads now. It will either be Rome, Tuscany (Florence) & Nice or Rome, Tuscany (Florence) & Sorrento for access to Amalfi. The idea of flying to Nice and a taxi to the hotel and relaxing sounds good. Both my husband and I tend to be a bit impatient (mostly b/c we're excited to get to where we're going) when it comes to waiting and transferring from taxi to bus to plane or train etc. though I do realize this is part of the experience. I think we're spoiled by our trip to England/France in 2012 where we didn't have the obstacles that you have getting from Rome to Sorrento, we'd be happy for a fast train non-stop direct trip to Sorrento.

Posted by
15314 posts

That's an option. We've flown home from Naples - with 2 connections - but we're used to that as we really can't fly direct much of anywhere in Europe from Minnesota. You could fly in and take the Curreri to Sorrento if you can make schedules work.

Then again, I don't see a change of train in Naples as an 'obstacle'. Other locations we've been to in Italy have involved more changes than that one.

Here's another idea? What about making your base Salerno instead of Sorrento? It would be more time-consuming to get to Pompeii, if that's on the itinerary, but there are direct trains from Roma Termini to that one, and buses/ferries from there around the coast.

Posted by
1446 posts

Good suggestion Kathy, but I think the OP will go batty with the every day getting around - not so easy to get from Salerno to Pompeii or Capri as she would want...

Getting from Rome to Sorrento is a breeze - it's really not as complicated as the OP imagines it to be. It would be really too bad if she gives up the Amalfi Coast for Nice, since Nice is not nearly as beautiful, IMO.

Posted by
1446 posts

There is a direct bus from the Roma Tiburtina station to Sorrento. It looks like it's run by Marozzi bus.

Posted by
15314 posts

I agree that it's more time-consuming to get around from Salerno, Diane. At the same timeI don't think we've heard yet what our poster is interested in doing during the stay in Amalfi? A lot of sightseeing, or a lot of relaxing with maybe just a ferry trip or two thrown in?

Posted by
1446 posts

Kathy, I don't think that the OP really knows herself... it's hard to keep up with the various threads that she's got going concurrently. I know that she mentioned Pompeii, Naples (and Capri?). I got the sense from her posts that she indeed wanted to see quite a bit of the Bay of Naples & Amalfi Coast area. Yet, she also seems to just want to pluck down and relax.

In another poster's thread, I wholeheartedly supported that poster's decision to transit through Salerno. I personally have no 'favorite' in the discussion, but rather take into consideration the info that the OP shares.

Her various 11 nights scenarios are just too ambitious to start with, IMO. The OP still has some adjustments of expectations to do: on the one hand, her plans involve A LOT of getting around from point-to-point, but she and her husband would prefer to NOT deal with that aspect of their trip. Unfortunately, we just can't 'beam' ourselves to connect the dots yet! ;-)

Posted by
15314 posts

Haha, Diane! If I could beam myself, I'd be having a fabulous time in Italy right now!

I had looked back at the previous posts and didn't see mention of Pompeii or Capri on HER wish list unless I just missed it. What jumped out at me a couple of times was "relax" so I'm not sure what intentions for the Amalfi area are.

Also this previous comment:
"I don't need several days in one place, to take in everything there is to offer in the area…"

That's sort of interesting to me if one doesn't really enjoy the transport piece that moving around a lot usually entails - not to mention the time that relocation gobbles up. 2003mer, I guess we could use some help here?

Posted by
1446 posts

Yeah, easy to miss. As I said, the OP has had several different question threads on the go at the same time and it's been a bit hard to sort through her intentions. All I'm left with is 11 nights, too much all over the place crammed in, and not liking the getting to/from parts... we do try to help.