A Week On The Amalfi Coast
Published: 23 November 2017
Author: Stephanie Coulter
The Amalfi Coast has always been on my ‘must-visit’ list. And while heading there with my family at the end of October was due to a last minute change of plan, it meant that we got to explore this fabulous part of the world – every cloud has a silver lining!
Staying in Sorrento was a good choice as we could enjoy this old city and its many restaurants, with the added bonus of it being a good base for exploring the surrounding area thanks to the varied transport options available.
Over the week we visited as many places as possible. Here’s where we went and how we got there:
Positano – as the public SITA bus was standing room only, which wouldn’t have been much fun for our girls on the winding coastal roads, we plumped for a well-known red sightseeing bus company. Whilst it costs more, it’s worth it as you get a seat and the journey time is cut from around 50 minutes to 25. The place itself is picture perfect, with its colourful houses stacked up the hillside, narrow streets lined with quaint shops and the beach front with its cafes and restaurants. The girls got to swim in the sea and play on the sand so the day was enjoyed by all.
Ferries to Capri and Amalfi were quick and easy.
Capri - we decided to head up to the town first via the funicular but we found that it was not entirely clear where to get the tickets from. This was soon solved thanks to a large queue that led to a booth in the area where you get the bus and ferry tickets from (head left from the quay on arrival to get to the booth). The journey up was quick and we spent a lovely few hours wandering around. After enjoying the view at the Augustus Gardens (Giardini di Augusto) and an alfresco lunch we headed back down with the intention of visiting the Blue Grotto – or so we thought. We’d not even considered it would be closed, but it was. Instead we hired a traditional wooden boat with comfy cushions to lounge on, skippered by a friendly local who took us on a tour of the island and into some of its other caves – truly memorable.
Amalfi – while the plan was to head to Ravello, on arrival we decided to spend a few relaxing hours strolling around, having lunch and enjoying the beach. While Amalfi itself is small, it’s a pretty town with an impressive church. The view of the coast from the ferry was another plus point.
Trains to the Ruins – the train is a really cheap way to travel and it runs at regular intervals, seven days a week and we used it to go to Herculaneum and to Pompeii. At Herculaneum we got the bus to Mount Vesuvius right outside the station first, and visited the ruins on our return. Then on our last day we visited Pompeii which is a definite must do – it’s truly awe inspiring.
We’d heard that the better option for children is to visit Herculaneum as its smaller and more intact but we all agreed that we found the sheer scale of Pompeii to be one of the highlights – we didn’t see it all however, we limited our time to two and half hours and focused on visiting the key parts. Even then we felt we’d seen a lot and it was the right amount of time before the inevitable comments of ‘Can we sit down’ and ‘I’m hungry’ kicked in. When you arrive at the station it’s a good idea to purchase your entry tickets and audio guides there, as the queues at the actual site were longer and the guides were more expensive.
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our week on the Amalfi coast. Because of the time of year things were starting to wind down and while it was certainly quieter than in summer, it was busy enough. Plus the temperature was warm but not oppressive, which meant sight-seeing was pleasurable. Just pack a coat for the evenings.
Top tip - we booked a private transfer to and from the airport which was worth every penny when we saw the queue for the bus!