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Splitting stay between Sorrento and Positano

I got very useful advice for my itinerary on the thread at https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/15-day-mid-march-early-april-itinerary-suggestions-feedback-please. So my itinerary is now having 4 days at the end of March in Sorrento which I have booked at a Rick Steves recommended practical hotel in the town center in Sorrento. The idea is that Sorrento makes for a great base for day trips to other locations on AC and Capri - and if it really rains badly on a day we can go and visit Naples and do some indoor activity like a museum.

But I have also booked a room with in Positano with a view to die for (from the room's private terrace). I know folks recommend using one single base for short stays like 4 days - and recommend Sorrento if you want to go to Capri or Pompeii. But is it practical to split it to 2 nights each between Sorrento and Positano? The idea would be:

Day 1: Arrive at Sorrento (from Florence via train) - stay at that convenient hotel.

Day 2: Take a day trip (to Capri if weather is nice or to Naples if weather is not so great).

Day 3: Book a private taxi tour like the one that Rick Steves mentions in his book along the Amalfi Coast drive. On the way drop the luggage at the Positano hotel. Come back after the tour to stay at the Positano hotel.

Day 4: Explore Positano, also keep this a slow day by hanging out sometime at the hotel for relaxing. If it is raining that day, then chill in the hotel room and enjoy the view from the terrace.

Morning Day 5 - check out Positano hotel to go to Rome.

Folks who have been in that area, is the plan doable? This way we are at Sorrento for the Capri day trip and do Amalfi Coast drive/Positano with Positano as the base.

Posted by
70 posts

BTW - I did search up and read a lot of similar but not exactly the same threads on ricksteves and Fodors forums - the consensus recommendation seemed to be Sorrento as a base and some recommending splitting but those were longer trips. But there were none considering this possibility to do the hotel transfer as part of the Amalfi drive day tour via a private taxi.

Posted by
12376 posts

It's definitely doable. Actually I even visited Capri while staying in Positano. Boats go from Positano to Capri, although not sure if they operate in March. Also one year I visited Pompeii on the way back from Positano to Florence. I just stopped along the way in the morning, then went to Naples to catch the fast train in the afternoon. Choosing Positano or Sorrento is a matter of preference. I prefer Positano, because in my mind it's quainter, although maybe more touristy. But it is true that logistically Sorrento is better for day trips, primarily because of the more frequent boat service (to Capri) and the Circumvesuviana train (to Naples and Pompeii).

Posted by
1502 posts

We stayed in Sorrento for 2 nights, Amalfi town for 2 nights, and Positano fir 2 nights. The switch between Amalfi and Positano made no sense but I did find the Amalfi coast to be different than Sorrento.

Personally I liked Amalfi better than Positano. We had a view to die for too but all those steps got old!

Posted by
2378 posts

I’d stay all 4 nights in Sorrento but if you really want to change- it will be easier to get to Rome from Sorrento than Positano
With all 4 nights in Sorrento you’ll have 4 opportunities to go to Capri if you need to wait for weather to cooperate

Can you flip the order?

Posted by
70 posts

Thanks for letting know your experience Beth.

Christine - the order flipping can work, but I will not be able to use the private Amalfi drive taxi for changing the hotels. I will need to do the Amalfi drive on the second day after arriving in Positano from Florence, while I will need to change the hotels on the third day morning. Also Florence to Sorrento will be faster than Florence to Positano. Still, may be worth considering.

Posted by
70 posts

I have decided to flip the order as suggested by Christine as I will have two chances to hope for good weather to go to Capri - either of the days at Sorrento can be used for the Capri trip. With Sorrento first, half of the day would have gone in travel (Florence to Sorrento).

I made the changes to the hotel bookings already.

Posted by
2378 posts

Ah!
Good thinking

Have you figured how you’ll get to Positano from Naples/Sorrento?

Posted by
70 posts

I think time will be premium since we are coming from Florence - so I am thinking best option would be to get a taxi otherwise by Circumvesuviana/SITA bus we may arrive too late in the day to make anything of that day other than travel. The 7 am fast train from Florence reaches Napoli Centrale at 10:30 am. We have two choices for the day:

  • Alternative 1 is to visit Pompeii on the way. Take the Circumvesuviana from Naples Centrale to Pompeii Scavi, check luggage at Pompeii Scavi station, see whatever we can in the time available and have a car and driver arranged to pick us up at the Pompeii entrance at a set time. After having brunch, we should reach Pompeii site by 12:30 pm. Give ourselves 3-4 hours and ask the driver to pick us up around 4 or 4:30 pm. We may reach Positano after dark but that is OK if we take a reliable driver - one of Rick Steves' recommendations.

  • Alternative 2 is to go straight to Positano from Naples and enjoy the day there - especially if we can reach by 12:30 pm. We will use this alternative if we want to skip Pompeii this visit for a more relaxed trip.

Posted by
1502 posts

Well I loved Pompeii but that was our entire day activity. I think going there on the way to Positano after leaving Rome that morning seems like a bit much. You can’t do everything and in my opinion doing less well is more enjoyable.

I would save for another trip.

Posted by
70 posts

Yes - most likely I will save it for another trip. Or at the most for another day as a second day day-trip from Sorrento (assuming the first day at Sorrento we have already done Capri). But most likely we will decide to prioritize more time at the coast (say in Sorrento town) over one more day trip.

Posted by
4992 posts

We found Positano underwhelming, but that is a minority view. However, there is no dispute that Sorrento is a better location for Daytrips than is Positano. At the end of March, you need to consider reduced ferry schedules and smaller ferries (on winter water) being needed to serve Positano. You also have to consider that some proportion of hotels and businesses will be closed out-of-season.

It is very hard to download far in advance ferry schedules. And I can tell you from a 5-day stay in Sorrento that "another" ferry company will NOT tell you that you could leave for the same place in 20 minutes by buying a ticket at a competitor's window.

Make sure you understand how much extra time it takes to move between Positano and either Sorrento or Naples rail-station. You can't fly out of Rome the same day you check out of Positano, it's too risky.

While it is untrue that Positano is "like" Capri, I question how many international boutiques you can't afford to shop in that you need to look in the windows of! (That is a cynical comment about both places.) I liked walking around Capri much more than I liked walking around Positano. I "had to see" Positano, but I'm "glad" I went to Capri. To be more specific, I had always wanted to visit La Sirenuse hotel. But when we went there for a drink (on their rather small deck, with no sea view), I was shocked at the micro size of their pool (2.5 meters by 7 meters or so?) and the fact that everyone in it appeared to have had a lot of "work done." Opinion.

Posted by
70 posts

I am converging on the following plan for the Amalfi coast days:

  • Day 1: Florence to Naples (early morning train 7-10:30 am). Naples to Positano, private taxi and arrive by 12:30 pm. Sightsee Positano. Sleep in Positano.
  • Day 2: Amalfi Coast drive (Amalfi, Ravello) by a private taxi. Sleep in Positano.
  • Day 3: Move to Sorrento in the morning (by SITA bus or taxi) & keep bags at the hotel. Day trip to Pompeii (or some other activity TBD in or near Sorrento). Sleep in Sorrento.
  • Day 4: Day trip to Capri (by ferry). Sleep in Sorrento.
  • Day 5: Travel to Rome and stay there for 4 more nights before flying back to San Francisco.

If weather is a factor, based on the forecast we may change some of the plans.

For a different place, I may have rented a car from Naples and used it to gain more flexibility. But I will likely not save much, parking may not be very easy/easy to find and it increases my liability in case the car gets dented. I will not save by a rental car much because automatic transmission rental cars are not cheap and hotel parkings also cost roughly 28 euros per night.