The Amalfi Coast – Stretching between the Gulf of Naples and Salerno is one of the most beautiful and picturesque coastlines in Italy. With warm summers and relatively mild winters it is the perfect holiday destination and one that is extremely popular with tourists from around the world.
This was the first post I wrote and truly happy to start with such a stunning location. As we were going to cover 2 beautiful and completely different locations on this trip I could only do justice by braking it down into 2 parts. We start our journey in the Amalfi Coast and travel all the way to Roman capital and the Vatican.
Planning our summer break we narrowed down to the Amalfi coast and Rome this time. Keeping costs in mind as we were looking to travel during the peak season and the Amalfi coast being much more expensive than any other Italian destinations (mainly hotels) and secondly my son who was learning about the Roman Empire we kept it to a week and travelled in and out from 2 different cities.
We booked our tickets well in advance (Rule No 1: try and book as early as possible especially if you are looking to travel during the busy school holiday period). Looking at various combinations found it cheaper to get 2 one way tickets from 2 different airlines. This was my first go at using two separate airlines and must say being apprehensive did not face any issues.
The most popular and commercial airport serving the Amalfi coast is Naples, which is well connected with all the major airports in the UK and Europe. We booked our tickets flying out from London to Naples and the return from Rome to London. Next we looked up trains and got some great deals on the Trenitalia, travelling between Naples and Rome. (http://www.trenitalia.com).
Day 1. Naples & Pompeii
An early flight out of London and we land in Naples to give us a good part of that day. As we get out of the airport there are a few options to travel within the city but as we wanted to make the most of that day we took the quicker option of a taxi. A ride to city centre is roughly €25 and takes just under 30 minutes.
Early check in agreed with the hotel in advance and we are all set to explore Naples and Pompeii.
Choosing accommodation in the heart of the city may cost you a bit more but has its merits. You save on transportation costs and can easily walk around with most of the attraction and facilities at your door step. Our hotel was within a short walking distance of the main shopping area so a quick lunch at one of the authentic Napoleon Pizzerias and we were off to discover Pompeii.
There are a number of restaurants dotted around the city centre tucked away in the narrow lanes which is very Naples (nothing fancy) but the food is absolutely amazing.
There are rustic with a few seats on the street but give you a feel of the local life of Naples. The city centre is quite busy with both locals and tourists and you can easily spend a few hours browsing through the shops and eateries.
Our first stop Pompeii.
With limited time in Naples we needed to cover a fair bit so after doing some research we decided to go with the taxi. This cost us just under €100 for a round trip from Naples to Pompeii including a waiting time of 3 hours.
You can negotiate prices with the taxi drivers who will show you a chart of costs to various tourist destinations in and around Naples. It’s a 30 minute drive from the city center traffic permitting. There are other options like the train and bus but as I was travelling with kids on a fairly tight schedule we decided to use the taxi. Tickets to the great ruins can be bought at the entrance and if you do have any form of a European ID there is a discount available so make sure you carry one. With the discounts the 4 of us paid roughly €25.
You can easily spend a whole day here if you want to see Pompeii in detail but a 3 hour trip with kids is more than enough to get a good feel of this historic site. You can opt to take a trip to Mount Vesuvius which we didn’t as it was 36 degree C and included a lot of walking. Out tour of Pompeii included a small break in the centre of the ruins which houses a cafe which serves snacks, hot and cold drinks and ice creams.
We returned to the hotel in the evening and were ready to discover the city of Napoli.
We did not spend too much time here as there is not much to see or do in Naples city itself. A relaxed walk around the city centre followed by a lovely Neapolitin pizza at Rosati. Rosati is one of the popular pizzerias that have been serving the popular Neaopolitian Pizza for many years .You cannot come to Naples and miss the Napoli pizza.
Day 2. Off to Sorrento
There are many ways to get to Sorrento from Naples (Ferry /Train /Bus or Taxi). If you are travelling on a budget then surely the train or bus is more pocket friendly. Having read a few blogs and articles on the train journey we decided to avoid this and went with the more relaxed option of the taxi. You can negotiate the rates with the official taxis and we managed to get a great deal for just under €100 from Naples to Sorrento. The road trip is just over and hours and a half and is quite scenic.
For help with the train timetables and rates please refer to link below. http://www.sorrentoinsider.com/en/naples-to-sorrento-train-schedule.
We left Naples after breakfast and reached Sorrento in the afternoon just in time for check in. We checked into our lovely boutique hotel which was just a short walk away from the main square and a great location again. It’s a beautiful walk along the main street of the city which runs through the heart of it with shops/cafes/restaurants/ice cream parlors and even a cinema. A relaxed lunch followed with some chilled Limoncello at the famous Fauno Bar and Restaurant in the heart of the square and yes comes highly recommended.
We walked around the city and returned to the hotel for the kids to have a quick swim in the pool and some time for us to relax and enjoy the Sorrento sun.
Evening in Positano.
We decided to spend the rest of the day and evening in the picturesque town of Positano. If only I knew before how beautiful this little town is I would surely plan more time here.
Headed for the bus station which in the centre and few steps away from the Sorrento train station. Buses are the cheapest way to get around the Amalfi coast with fares as low as €4 to get you to Positano. The CITA buses go all the way from Sorrento to Amalfi and Ravello. Just be mindful that the buses can get very crowded and uncomfortable in the peak hours. They are used by locals as well as tourists and can get really hot even though they are air conditioned. You could be standing for most part of the long journey and must say this was not very pleasant. So if you can try and use the buses off peak hours.
The normal journey should not take more than 40 minutes but during the peak summer holidays you could get a fair bit of traffic which could increase this to over an hour easily. I must admit once you get off the bus and get that first glimpse of Positano you forget all about the journey. We spent the evening walking round the narrow lanes and market stalls all the way to the beach. It is a steep walk down hill but one which you will enjoy going through the shops and admiring the beauty of this fairytale town. There are some unbelievable views from the beach of the town literally carved into the mountain. The different coloured houses add to the beauty of this gorgeous town. We had a lovely dinner in one of the many restaurants dotted along the beach and I would highly recommend this. A bit of local shopping and finished off with a Gelato, which you just can’t miss when you are in Italy.
Some great souvenir shops and not to miss the locally made Limóncello.
I could have easily spent a few days in Positano alone so if you can please do so. You could use this as a base to travel around the Amalfi coast with a good transportation link t most of the cities.
It’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places I have visited in my life.
Day 3. Capri & Anna Capri
A good night’s rest and we head to the picturesque island of Capri. There are plenty of ferries and private boats that you can use to get to this island from Sorrento. We headed to the port in Sorrento which is situated at the bottom of the hill.
You can get here by either walking down or a passenger lift. We did not buy tickets in advance as there are plenty of companies at the marina offering last minute deals with regular ferries that leave every 30 minutes. We got on to a fast ferry which took us to the island in around 45 minutes. Return fares for 4 of us cost around €120.
As you approach the Island you get a feel of the beauty and the popularity of this island. Capri is a millionaire’s playground with yachts dotted around the island and a view by itself. Once you land on the island you have plenty of shops and restaurants lined across the marina. This is where you can have a quick bite/drink before you head up to the main town located at the top of the hill. There are a few option you can chose from to get to the top. Bus /Taxi or the more picturesque mode of transport the funicular which we opted for after reading about the beautiful views it provides. The taxis are rather expensive on the island but they are straight out of a movie and none you have seen before. Round trip cost on the funicular is under €10 per person.
You get beautiful views of the sea and the island on the way up so keep your camera ready. After you reach the top there are plenty of shops and restaurants and places to buy souvenirs. There are some high end designer labels if you fancy. Just in the middle of the town is a bus station where you can take a bus or get a taxi to go further up to Anna Capri (a must). This time we decided to go with the taxi and with that open top this was a ride of a lifetime. It’s a 20 minute ride at a cost of €25 and one of the most scenic drives I have ever taken.
Once you reach the town centre it looks like a set out of the movie. Anna Capri is a small little town lined with whitewashed houses covered with colourful flowers and small shops and cafes. We walked along the narrow lanes and had a snack at this family owned pizzeria which had no seating but seemed famous as there were plenty of locals and tourists getting their share of the delicious pizza. You could easily walk for hours admiring the beauty of this little town and the surprises at every corner.
Spending a few hours here is not enough but we had to say our farewell and headed back to Capri. Capri is much bigger and lots more tourists here. It’s beautiful yet swanky with a lot of big labels dotted around the main square. We wondered around the streets and before we knew it was time to move on.
Spending a few hours here is not enough but we had to say our farewell and headed back to Capri. Capri is much bigger and lots more tourists here. It’s beautiful yet swanky with a lot of big labels dotted around the main square.
Next we took a boat to go around the island which was recommended when I read about the must do’s. There are a few sites including the famous Blue Grotto which we skipped. The over an hour wait for a 3 minute boat trip into the Grotto did not appeal to me with kids. You can hire a private boat or use one of the larger ones to go around the island. We opted for the larger boat which cost us €15 per person for a 2 hours trip around the island. The views are mesmerising and a must if you visit Capri.
Once we were back on the island we had a late lunch at the marina and must say it’s nice to just sit here and see the world go by.
As we sat and enjoyed the views the kids were busy splashing around in the water before it was time to say goodbye to Capri.
Back on the boat and we headed to Sorrento.
Day 4. Amalfi
Day 4 and there is more to see and do along the Amalfi coast. Today we head to the historic town of Amalfi.
We decided to take the bus again which took an hour and a half. A late start this time and we avoided the rush hour and would recommend the same. However the last 30 minutes of the ride is a winding up hill journey so if you do suffer with travel sickness suggest you take some medication. The buses pass through Positano and once you start the climb the views are breathtaking.
The bus station is located in the heart of the old town, very close to the marina where you can get ferries to Sorrento and Naples.
We headed towards the town centre which has a beautiful piazza at the steps of the famous Cathedral. A great place to relax and watch the world go by from one of the many cafes dotted around the piazza. There are shops dotted around the centre and some big brands if you fancy. As the Mrs. decided to sample the local shopping it was time for me to head to the beach with the kids.
Like most of the other beaches around this area they are pebbled with crystal clear waters. The only sad thing is that most of them have been privatised so you will need to pay a fee to use them. You can hire beach chairs and umbrellas here but they all come at a price and to give you a flavour we paid €32 for 2 chairs and an umbrella.
We spent the next few hours here enjoying the sun and the water. Plenty of kids around and once we had our fair share of the beach we decided to walk around the city. It is busy in July and a lot of walking if you want to see the whole town. Getting our share of the souvenirs it was time to head back to Sorrento and this time we decided to take the ferry. (€60 for the four of us.)
I must admit that this was one of the most scenic ferry trips I have ever taken. On the way to Sorrento it makes a stop at Positano where you will surely use your cameras as the views when you leave Positano are just jaw dropping.
It is a scenic trip with a stop at Positano where you will surely use your cameras as the views when you leave Positano are just jaw dropping.
Day 5. Sorrento and back to Naples.
Our last day Last day in Sorrento and we decided to wonder around the city for one last time. We walked through the lanes into the main square (Piazza Tasso) and visited the Chiostro di San Francesco.
After spending a few hour’s walking around the town it was time to say our goodbyes to Sorrento and head back to Naples. This is where we start our second leg of the holiday with a train tried to Rome.
I had pre booked a taxi from the city centre the previous night and yes you can negotiate rates with them. It cost us just short of €100 for a minivan which was comfortable and spacious. Once again the train and the bus are cheaper options. It took us an hour to get to Naples main train station. A quick look around the station a coffee and it was time to wiz off to Rome on the high speed train.
Please follow the trraveller on the next leg of his journey in Rome and the Vatican.
Hotel Used on this trip
Hotel Capri Sorrento
Must Do and See
- Walk the streets of Sorrento
- Admire the coloured houses of Positano.
- Walk the steps of the cathedral @ Amalfi town.
- Sip on a Limenchello
- Visit the Cathedral Duomo @ Sorrento
- Take a trip to the gardens of Ravello.
- Enjoy the beaches of Sorrento, Amalfi and Capri.
- Visit the ruins of Pompeii
- Take an old fashion taxi ride in Capri.
- Take a boat tour into the Grotta dello Smeraldo
- Enjoy a boat ride around Capri.
- Walk along the Piazza Tasso in Sorrento town.
- Wonder around Mariana Grande and Piccola in Sorrento.
- Have a Napoli pizza @ Caffe Rosati in Napoli.
- Treat yourself to a gelato
- Admire the blue waters of Capri and the yachts in them.
- Spend an evening in Positano.