Five days in Amalfi Cosat

Amalfi Coast is a natural phenomena with an intrigue, romantic scent. Breathtaking views, picturesque towns and the finest cuisine seduce people from every corner of the globe. We’ve seen the best of the Amalfi Coast and Campania region during our 5 days trip but you could easily add an additional few and experience more. 

After three days in Rome (read about Rome in my previous blog) we rented a car and drove to Ravello (read about Ravello in my previous blog). We spent two nights in Ravello, located up in the mountains and then drove on extremely narrow and curvy roads down to Amalfi. We planned to visit Amalfi town but unfortunately we had failed to find any parking space there.

It is very busy there in summertime and traffic is also heavy. Distance between Ravello and Sant’Agata sui due Golfi is a mere 50 km but the roads are really challenging. It took us approximately 3 hours due to traffic and two stops along the coastline to capture the moment. We also could not find any parking in Positano.

People leave cars there along the way up to 2 km before and after the town, then walk on foot but we found it a bit extreme in that hot weather and a bit stressful considering that your car insurance policy may be limited in Campania Region. Please note that most of car rental companies block extra deposit on your credit card if you travel to Campania. We decided to come back to Positano on another day and drove straight to our next hotel in Massa Lubrense.

During our five days stay in Amalfi Coast we visited Ravello, drove Amalfi Road, visited Sorrento, Positano, Capri Island, Sant’Agata sui due Golfi and also – on the way back to the airport – Pompeii. All thanks to the freedom that gives you driving a car.

Sant’Agata sui due Golfi

Saint Agata on the Two Gulfs is a part of the town of Massa Lubrense , located 10 km from Sorrento, on the top of an incline with the best panoramic views. On the one side, the Gulf of Naples and on the other the Gulf of Salerno.

We booked Agroturismo Fattoria Terranova for three nights. This farmhouse is located on the hills of Sorrento, overlooking the bay of Naples and Salerno, surrounded by vineyards and olive / citrus groves. It is absolutely beautiful place.

Our room was very basic but clean and comfortable. The restaurant is a must to visit place for its arrangement and absolutely delicious food which is prepared using their own fresh or local products. The restaurant looks like a magical garden in the evening hours. Dimmed lights, old big trees and hanging baskets filled with flowers make it a very romantic place.

You need a car or taxi to get there. The last part of the road is not easy to drive. Consists of approx. 2 km unpaved, curvy and one-car-sized road. It is well worth the effort and we even met there people coming from Sorrento just for that evening dinner experience. We drove the road many times without problems.

This place provided us with much desired serenity after days spent in busy, noisy and crowded towns and it is a great base for exploring the whole Amalfi Coast.

POSITANO

It is Amalfi Coast’s most picturesque and photogenic town. It is very steep there and you have to walk up the little alleys covering multiple steps to explore the place. There are lots of shops and galleries so don’t forget to take your credit cards with you.

We planned to explore Positano from the sea side so we were wondering if we had enough time to rent a boat but thanks to the lack of parking spaces we changed our plans and – instead by car – we visited Positano by ferry departing from Sorrento.

When you reach the top of the town turn right for the best and most beautiful views. If you visit Positano only for a day tour, skip the restaurants at the beach level and head toward the ones located at the very top, like the one attached to Hotel L'Ancora. These provide you with unforgettable views and tasty food.

 

The beauty of this place makes it overcrowded. Amount of the people visiting is enormous. To be honest, I am happy I did not book hotel in Positano. I was a bit tired of the crowd just after few hours.

The beach – even though named amongst the most beautiful in Amalfi – did not steal my heart. Black, pebbly beach is not great for lying down on the towel but most of the people choose this option because they don’t want to pay for overcharged sun loungers.

Seeing the town from sea perspective was a unique and wonderful experience. Going by ferry was easy, stress free and very scenic. On top of that you don’t have to worry about your rented car anymore. We highly recommend this way of travel.

Positano is an amazing place, worth experiencing for so many reasons. Do not allow the crowd to put you off from visiting it.

SORRENTO

The town beautifully lies on the cliff overlooking the bay of Naples. Unfortunately, this results in lack of proper beach. For me personally, it wouldn’t be a holiday destination. But if you are more interested in sightseeing surrounding regions than lying at the beach, then Sorrento makes the perfect base for exploration.

The old town centre is great place to get lost in its narrow streets and alleyways. You can find there variety of shops – also that famous, designer’s brands – and restaurants.

Piazza Tasso is a place to chill and relax in one of the many cafes, full of people till late night hours.  From Marina Grande port, you can catch a ferry to Naples, Positano, Amalfi or Capri Island.

We visited Sorrento few times. Once for dinner in one of the restaurants and evening stroll. It was nice to feel the town’s fantastic, evening atmosphere. Other times for catching ferry to Positano and Capri Island. It is good idea to book a ferry ticket online because, especially in the early morning hours, the ferry to Capri Island, is often fully booked.

There is no problem to find a parking space but traffic is absolutely mad. The closer to Centro Storico and port, the parking gets more expensive – even €10 per hour. If you do not mind 10 minutes walk, then you can find a cheaper one. We left our car in Sorrento twice for a full day (13 hours) for €16 only. It was a parking attached to the Supermercato Pollio Sorrento (GPS location 40°37'32.5"N 14°23'00.8"E or 40.625705, 14.383559).

Sorrento has many very narrow roads, more for scooters than cars but TOMTOM GO navigation, stubbornly guided us into those narrow passages. We saw so many badly scratched and dented cars, so I do believe locals use those shortcuts but please be extra careful and do not take your GPS commands for granted.

Pompeii

Pompeii is an excavation site and outdoor museum of the ancient Roman city. That once thriving place was buried under meters of ash and pumice, result of Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 A.D. This very well preserved archeological site provides an insight into ancient Romans’ life.

We visited Pompeii on the way back to the airport in Rome.

Pompeii ruins cover vast area, covered in kilometers of footpaths, much exposed to the sun with just few places to hide. You can easily spend there your entire day, so allow yourself at least 3 hours to see the most interesting parts of it.

You can get there by bus, train or car. Parking is easy to find and will cost you €10 per stay. We parked our car at one of the private car parks located just opposite the main entrance to the site.

Queue to the ticket office can be very long. Be prepared to wait in the line for up to 1 hour. I recommend you to buy online “skip the line” ticket or visit this place in the afternoon hours.

Note, they do not accept credit / debit cards at the ticket office. 

Walking around that maze of the ancient ruins can be quite exhausting, especially in the heat of the summer. Wear comfortable shoes and bring some water. There are some small restaurant and shops just outside the entrance and one small restaurant inside, in-between uncovered buildings. Water fountains are also available onsite so no need to bring with you excessive amount of liquids. 

Exhibition of Igor Mitoraj’s artwork runs until the end of January 2017. His sculptures create very unique atmosphere. I am so glad we had a chance to admire those.

Pompeii is an extraordinary site, definitely worth visiting once in a lifetime.