Amalfi coast, Capri, and Ischia – Italian gateway in one week
What do you do with spare 10 days but the only place you can travel in Europe. Definitely go to Italy. It has so many gorgeous places, I lived there for a year and didn’t even manage to see whole Tuscany. Whenever you go it will be beautiful. You can’t go wrong with Italy.
As we saw some parts of Tuscany, Rome, Sicily, and Milan all the way to border with France and it was time for famous coast.
In general, we would rent ca ar to discover Italy. It the most convenient way to travel to Italy. You may have heard that driving in Italy can be a challenge, it is especially with Italian drivers sitting on your “a**” especially on the highway, pressurizing you to go faster, change lane or for whatever reason and roads are sometimes small or one way, it can be stressful experience but we survived and I am Sunday driver they say, meaning after 5 years in China I haven’t driven a car. Yet, I manage and despite some cursing, crying, shouting I drove without a scratch (really common in Italy).
Absolutely no regrets not renting a car this time. Roads are absolute hell on the Amalfi coast, Sorrento to Positano and in my opinion even worst from Positano to Amalfi. Plus, if you don’t know how to behave on the turns and narrow roads while the bus is passing you may cause a hell of a traffic. We saw some drivers stopping for a bus in a place where there is no way for the bus to do any kind of maneuver and that’s super pressure on the driver’s side. Also on the turn, there is no way for two cars or car plus bus to go together so you have to pay attention to who is approaching from the other side to act fast and appropriately. That said, I was super relieved I did n’t go by car otherwise it would end in some super damage not only to my car but also to my psychic, haha.
It’s absolutely easy and cheap to travel by public transport in Amalfi.
Our way included Naples airport – Pompeii- Sorrento – Positano – Amalfi – Capri -Ischia – Naples.
We go super pumped in Pompeii as we never saw such low prices in whole Italy. I mean who pays 1 euro for three scoop gelato!? Or whole pizza for just 5 euro. Come on that’s cheap.
Pompeii is nice but has only its volcano to see and we thought let’s stay for a night to do some sightseeing and go then to Sorrento. Volcano looks great from Pompeii ruins, that I can say.
Then time to Sorento which is just half hour ride and less than 2 euro. Sorrento has some great views but honestly, we didn’t like it as much and on the other day we moved to the hotel just outside Sorrento we perfect sunset view just out of our window and went for a day trip to Positano. When we came back it was almost sunset time and boom I saw that golden sun just out of the window. We got super less time but we thought lets go to the coast to see the sunset from closer. We had no idea how to get there and we started running into the one road we could possibly go. after 15 minutes of running, We made it just in time for sunset. They were some locals laying on the rock by the edge with water enjoying this spectacular view. We took some great shots and satisfied and amazed that we discovered this nice gem of a place.
So for our day trip to Positano, we had to take a bus from train station in Sorrento. We couldn’t make on the first bus as it was super crowded and waited for next one, this time with front seats to enjoy this famous route. Here we are experience Amalfi coast ride. It took more that an hour to get to Positano. Trust me it looks incredible when the bus was approaching the town. I must tell you I didn’t like it as much when we got to the town. So buildings built on the hill look truly amazing but there was already so many people so many crowds I had difficulty to call stay here perfect holiday. There is plenty of restaurant with great view but definitely you may expect to pay na ice price for it. Overall experience was good but not super good. We had to then wait for a bus coming back and we again didn’t make for the first bus haha. We were actually happy to go back to our peaceful hotel.
The next day we took a ride to Amalfi town where I founda super cheap apartment for just 65 euro a night. We stayed here for 3 nights so that one night we could go back and see more of Positano, one day in Ravello and one day for Amalfi.
Time for Capri which is just 1.5h away from Amalfi. It was super nice to seat on top deck enjoying the view and fresh air. We got to Capri. This time we stayed in two different b&b’s as it was quite booked in Capri already. Both b&bs were nice with complimentary water (I think the first time we got water with our accommodation) plus coffee maker which I love and used to while traveling in Asia but in Europe is not that common until you stay in a really nice hotel. The second b&b was beautiful and all new, overlooking lemon trees.
Two days in Capri were enough for us to see what we wanted and last three days we spent in Ischia. Ischia is not that popular island as Capri thus we had more peaceful experience here, which don’t get me wrong we were grateful for. We saw plenty of islands just by commuting by bus. However, on the last day, it was Maydayy holiday in Italy and it got super crowded on the buses. We stayed in Ischia town and travel to different parts of Ischia.
Last day, as we had a late flight, we decided to store our luggage at the train station in Naples and see the city. Absolutely surprised by what has happened to Naples. It was dirty and kind of destroyed, reminded me a bit of India. It was super cheap too. After 3 hours of exploring we got tired and a bit discouraged by the look of the city and went straight to the airport.
I absolutely loved our time in Italy, it was less planned though and we took it quite slow but I think we saw and experience a different part of South, enough to make Ischia our favorite place.
Tips for Amalfi
If you have 7 to 10 days to spare in Amalfi I definitely recommend to start From Naples airport – Pompeii – Sorrento – Positano – Amalfi – Capri – Ischia
In my opinio,n there a is not too much to do/see in Sorrento so you can skip it or go to Roman ruins just outside Sorrento to sea the beautiful sunset
Travel by public bus/train
There isa bus frothe m airport to Sorrento/ Pompeii
You can takthe e train from Pompeii to Sorrento
Then public bus for less than 3 euro to Positano/Amalfi and ferry to Capri (there are ferries to Capri from Sorrento, Amalfi and Capri) There is also a ferry from Capri to Ischia
If hotel are too expensive for you in Positano stay in Sorrento or Amalfi instead and commute
One day is totally enough in each place but spare extra day for Ravello
Positano is small and expensive. In Sorrento or outside Sorrento ( we stayed in hotel villa Igea) you can get food for half the price at least (we got pizza in outside Sorrento for 5 euro/ big pizza)
In Capri, we stayed in B&B instead
Capri is expensive in food but there are supermarkets so you can easily buy ready to go food and if you stay in B&B where is kitchen you can prepare meal yourself (we stayed in Casa Gaia witha common kitchen and it hada great new design)
Its worth to travel outside of season as there is less tourist and many tourist attractions like Fiordo di Furore was almost empty but for exampl,e buses were already crazy occupied and many hotels booked, even though it was just end of April. We also happened to spend last days in Ischia duringthe national holiday so it was really busy, plenty of people on the beach and difficult to find some reasonable price B&B as some were closed due tothe holiday.
Its definitely good idea to drive in Amalfi due to the landscape and you can stop anywhere to take pictures or go to the beach down the coast but if you don’t know how to drive on narrow roads, you need to remember that you need to pay attention to passing by big cars and buses as two of you won’t fit in the turns and you need to sta op way in advance before turn to give a bus chance to go first, that can be tricky as we saw many drivers don’t know how to behaved and had later problem to pull back the car so that bus can pass by. You can create a lot of traffic. Also t,here is a lot of traffic in narrow streets of Positano and Amalfi.
If you on a budget always try to stay at places with kitchen and get food from a supermarket or stay outside of Positano. Even Amalfi is cheaper for meals.
If you staying in Capri near the port, restaurants are closed when the last ferry leaves.
Buy food to go if you want to save money as if you sit at the table, the price can get even doubled.
Waiters don’t tend to come fast to ask for your order, you need to call them
There is not much to do in Naples and part of town (center) seems to be destroyed or kind of not developed and feels unsafe.