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Tours Of Amalfi Coast From Naples – I’m sharing my complete planning tips for one of the most exciting Naples day trips: visiting Pompeii, Vesuvius and the Amalfi Coast on a completely independent tour. I didn’t use any expensive tours or agencies and now I’m showing you how you can do it. This is fun and adventure in Italy!
I just got back from a surprise trip I planned on my SO to Naples, Italy. I plan most of every trip involved anyway, but this time was everything. Turn on. me And let me tell you, planning this trip was not an easy task.
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Most of the information online is geared towards organized tours – most of Naples’ tourism comes from cruise ships – or city safety. I seriously got the impression that I was going into a war zone but it was nothing like that.
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Ah and don’t even get me started on public transport. Navigating between unorthodox schedules and sketchy websites in Italian was a logistical nightmare.
It definitely took longer than I expected, but I finally got everything to plan an independent trip to Naples. And now I am sharing all my juicy knowledge with you!
For starters, this was the exact itinerary we followed for our 3-day trip to Naples. Yes, it was action packed – especially with the sweaty hot summer days – but also varied and rewarding. It’s totally doable for a pair of active travelers.
I did not use any tours on this trip. Quality over quantity and we like to explore places by ourselves and at our own pace.
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Looking back, I wish we had more time to properly explore the Amalfi Coast, but I knew the cost of staying there for a night or two would add up significantly!
The first question in my mind was where to base ourselves. I debated between Naples city center or the seaside town of Sorrento further south.
Sorrento has geographical advantages. If you’re coming to Naples, you’ll want to visit Pompeii, Vesuvius, and the Amalfi Coast. Sorrento is right in the middle of these places. Getting to and from the airport can be more of a hassle, but sightseeing is easily accessible by ferry or Circumvesuviana train.
Sorrento is basically a tourist town full of expats and British middle-aged couples (nothing against them, just a case). There is absolutely no truth here. My feeling is that it is
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I’m glad I chose Naples. It’s chaotic, urban, vibrant and yes, playful. But it’s so cheap, the food is so worth it – we’re talking about the best pizza in the world!! – and the greatest opportunity to dive into real Italian culture.
No, it’s not a memorable place, but neither is Sorrento. But on the other hand, it’s a dramatic contrast to the region’s real showstoppers: the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and Vesuvius. In my view, Naples is worth staying for this reason alone.
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To get to Naples city center, the best way is to walk or use the metro. Renting a car can be difficult in such heavy traffic.
Naples and Sorrento are the terminal stations of the Circumvesuviana train. Trains are frequent and tickets are cheap. Along this train line, you will find stations at Vesuvius and Pompeii.
For the Amalfi Coast, there are 2 stages of the tour. First you need to go to Sorrento or Salerno. From there, a ferry or bus will take you to the main towns on the Amalfi Coast: Amalfi and Positano.
We narrowed it down to just visiting Positano and Amalfi on our day trip to the Amalfi Coast. It seemed like a mother had to choose between her children. I would have loved to visit Praiano or Ravello, but hey, quality over quantity!
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The first town, Positano, had a charm. It may be too touristy for some – the town feels like an open womenswear shopping center – but it has an incredible raw beauty. The way the village is draped over the Monti Lattari hills and plunges abruptly into the turquoise sea is beautiful.
The pebble beach is crowded, but the water is crystal clear. In my crystal clear waters I swam: Zlatni in Brac, Croatia near the ranking no.
From there, instead of getting the next bus to Amalfi, we opted for the ferry. Not only did this save us a hike to the station but the trip itself was much more comfortable and pleasant. I recommend making at least 1 ferry trip to higher.
I found Amalfi to be even posher than Positano. Same open-air shopping center feel, but when I saw a group of tourists paying 30 euros (!) for 3 lemon granites, I knew it was serious.
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The cathedral steals the show. Standing tall in the middle of a cobblestone street, it is an architectural delight.
The beach was a little low. Not even as beautiful as Positano, finding a place to put my towel on the beach is really hard work. The Amalfi mountain side may be more impressive, though the backdrop of the city is stunning. Reminded the scene of Dalmatia again!
There are 2 types of people in this world. Those who love Amalfi and those who love Tim Positano. I am the latter. Both are touristy and even a bit pretentious, but in my eyes Positano has the edge in terms of uniqueness.
BTW, Amalfi is eerily similar to Monterosso in Cinque Terre. They even specialize in fancy and ultra-expensive organic cotton clothing for some reason.
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The last stop was the unimpressive Salerno. We only stayed here for a few hours in a bland tourist town with no particular highlights.
Getting from Naples to the Amalfi Coast by public transport always involves two legs. First, train to Sorrento via the Circumvesuviana line. The journey takes about 1 hour, if you take the Campania Express (see tips below).
Sorrento’s SITA bus station is conveniently located right in front of the train station. The bus left 10 minutes after our arrival.
From Sorrento, the cheapest way to get to the Amalfi Coast is to get a day pass from SITA Bus. These buses are frequent (every 40 minutes or so) and cover the entire coast from Sorrento to Salerno, stopping at the main villages.
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There is also another bus, the City Sightseeing Company’s Red Hop-On Hop-Off Bus. A one-day ticket costs 15 euros. But they only go from Sorrento to Amalfi/Ravello. To get back to Naples, you need to return to Sorrento or get a ferry from Amalfi to Salerno.
Alternatively, you can board a ferry directly from Sorrento to Positano or Amalfi. It is more scenic, but ferries are less frequent.
Pompeii is one of those places that gives you that amazing feeling of “I’m walking in history”. Highlights were definitely the entrance to the ancient thermal baths and spas and the central forum area, which is incredible not only because of the ruins, but also the setting.
Pompeii’s main square is backed by Vesuvius on one side and the Amalfi Coast on the other. Clearly this is not a coincidence but an urban planning masterpiece. It makes you daydream, imagining what it would have been like to live there 2 millennia ago.
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Now for the negative. Call me creepy, but I was expecting to see more corpses and personal artifacts from the residents. I’ve only seen a couple in the forum area. Apparently the National Architecture Museum in Naples contains most of the items that were scavenged in Pompeii.
Which leads me to my next point. Why doesn’t Pompeii have a proper museum? The whole site, while impressive, is a bit boring. Apart from the main squares, once you’ve seen 1 noble house, you’ve seen them all. I think there is a lot of potential to unlock here. But even so, this is a huge bucket list item for any traveler!
To get to Pompeii, the best way is to take the Circumvesuviana train line and get off at Pompeii Scavi station. You can either get the local train – stopping at every station – or the Campania Express. It will only stop at tourist stops on the line.
The entrance to the ruins of Pompeii – Porta Marina – is only a 4 minute walk from the station. Expect to be bombarded by brokers who say “wait at least 1 hour in the ticket line” and that “you should get a tour guide” bla bla bla. Don’t believe them and do as below.
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Get to the Porta Marina entrance early – there won’t be a queue. And get an audioguide instead of a tour guide. You see, following a tour guide makes 30 more people