Posted on November 16 2017
Naturally I had to save the best for last. Put yourself in my shoes, I mean how would you want to end a 16-day Europe trip? You got to go out with a bang, and Italy accomplished just that.
Like I mentioned in my past articles, my girlfriend and I started off our trip by spending 5 days in Greece, then we made our way to the Czech Republic where we spent 3 days in Prague, followed by visiting Hungary for 2 days.
If you are planning on visiting the Amalfi Coast, then this article is going to be imperative for you. Because it is pretty hard and tedious to reach. You can’t just simply wing a trip to the Amalfi Coast. Although I always encourage people to be spontaneous, this is a trip where planning and attention to detail is crucial.
Now there are different ways that you can approach a trip to Italy, depending on what your goal is, what you want to see and how much you are willing to spend. But no matter what your choice will be, it will always be yours. I am not going to make the choice for you. I will however, tell you how my girlfriend and I approached the trip, then I’ll give you my recommendations on an ideal itinerary, but ultimately the decision lies with you.
We decided it would be best to visit the Amalfi Coast at the beginning of our Italy trip, some of you may choose to do it at the end, some other may even devote a sole trip on the Amalfi Coast. If you can work out the itinerary, nothing else matters.
There is a reason why I am dedicating an entire article on Italy, because there truly is so much to write about, so much details to describe and discuss. The way I am spending an entire post on Italy, is the same way you can spend an entire vacation there. So be mindful when you’re determining how many days in Italy you want to spend.
To put it simple; if you are questioning yourself whether or not you are devoting enough days in Italy, the answer is most likely no. You’ll agree with me after your trip.
Like I mentioned earlier on, we departed from Budapest International Airport and made our way to Rome. After arriving at the airport in Rome and receiving our bags, we quickly came to the harsh realization that Uber in Rome is outrageously expensive. So here are my two cents of advice; don’t call an Uber from the airport. Instead, you will be exiting the airport terminal and stumbling across men, dressed in suits. You know the ones that scream: “Taxi, Taxi?” Yea, those. Now you know how you would normally ignore them and just continue to walk and mind your business right? Well, this time don’t.
See, they know how expensive Uber is in the city, and they’ve come up with a fantastic strategy; they will charge you €10, €15 less than what Uber would charge you for the exact same trip. So be mindful of that. The best thing to do is have one of them drive you to your destination.
So, we ended up catching a ride with a nicely dressed gentleman with a thick Italian accent. We had less than an hour to make our train ride to Naples, which is the direction that you will need to be going if you are planning on traveling to the Amalfi Coast.
Hence, time wasn’t something we were adequately equipped with, we were definitely in a rush. Part of me feels like our driver was able to read our minds because that man drove like a mad man. To this day I’m still not quite sure how we made it to the train station on time. Honestly, any conventional Uber driver would have not been able drop us off on time.
Rome’s international airport is over thirty minutes away from Roma Termini, which is one of the main train stations in Rome.
Once you get to Roma Termini, you take the train from there to Napoli Centrale. Make sure you book those train tickets online at italiarail. I would book the train ticket as far in advance as you possible can, as prices go up the closer the departure date gets. If you book early enough you can get a one-way train ride from Rome to Naples for less than $30.
The train ride from Rome to Naples is about 1 hour and 10 minutes. In Naples Centrale, go down to the basement and take the suburban Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento. These trains run every 20 minutes or so. You can buy the ticket on the spot. Its about €7 per person.
Now taking the local Circumvesuviana isn’t the only option to reach Sorrento, but it sure as hell is the most economical one. The train ride from Naples Centrale to Sorrento is close to an hour and a half. So just be mindful of that. You will come across some shady people on those trains but just be vigilant, keep your personal belongings in front of you, and you will be fine.
What you do after you arrive in Sorrento is dependent on where you are staying. I would probably recommend for you to stay in Sorrento. Although most people want to stay in Positano, it is extremely expensive. Which goes back to what I was saying; your travel itinerary is going to be dependent on how much you are willing to spend.
You can easily stay in Sorrento, find a nice place for a good price and have a great time.
If you’re planning on visiting the Amalfi Coast, I would highly encourage you to hire a private driver. My girlfriend and I used Lovely Amalfi Tours. and they were AMAZING. They pick you up from your hotel/Airbnb, drive you around the Amalfi Coast, and 9 hours later return you safe to where you are staying. It’s totally worth the price and if you break it down, it really isn’t that much.
Trust me, the last thing you want to be doing is spending 6 hours on a bus with 50 sweaty people, just so you can save a few bucks.
Traveling smart means knowing when to spend a little more, for a greater experience.
It isn’t always about ‘cheap, cheap, cheap’. Sometimes more is in fact MORE. Cheap is good, but a great experience over a bad one is even better.
So, like I said, we finally made it to Sorrento, after half a day of traveling. Getting there was no picnic. But it’s all about embracing the journey, loving the experience.
We stayed in an Airbnb a little outside of Sorrento and it was honestly a great experience. A little secluded, which was okay, but next time we would definitely stay in Sorrento.
We spent 3 days down by the Amalfi Coast and then made our way back to Rome, where we had another Airbnb waiting for us.
Rome is a beautiful city but getting around can be a pain in the ass. So be mindful. Great food, great culture.
We planned a day trip to Florence on our second day in Rome, which I hope you would consider as well. You can book your train tickets online at italiarail. A round trip ticket from Rome to Florence is about $80 a person and takes about an hour and twenty minutes each leg. Flying would have definitely been the preferred form of transportation, however it was simply out of our price range.
It is safe to say that Florence is worth more than a day trip. If you can find the time, stay in Florence for at least 2-3 days. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Unfortunately, after 16 days we kind of ran out of time and therefore weren’t able to spend a night in Florence. We took the train back to Rome at the end of the night and the following day headed back stateside.
So, as you can see, we first did the Amalfi Coast, then Rome, and then Florence. Like I said earlier, it’s all about preference and making the itinerary work for YOU. If you can make it work, nothing else matters.
But my advice on this matter is that if you want to visit the Amalfi Coast and see other parts of Italy in the same trip, then you should plan an entire trip solely around Italy.
Depending on where you are coming from, that’s where I would start my itinerary from.
Let’s say you are able to fly into Naples Int. Airport, well why not start of your trip by making your way down the Amalfi Coast and then heading back up, visiting Rome, Florence, Milan etc.?
If you can fly into Milan first, well then start there and make your way down to Florence, Rome, Naples and end up in Sorrento.
See, creating the ideal itinerary boils down to one simple thing; PRACTICALITY.
If you want to see all major parts of Italy, including The Amalfi Coast, then I would devote at least 14 days to the trip. 3 days in Milan, 3 days in Florence, 3 days in Rome and 5 days down in the Amalfi Coast (Positano, Amalfi, Sorrento)
That is just a rough itinerary and can obviously be adjusted accordingly. But it gives a little idea about a solid trip with adequate time in each city.