Have you been to Amalfi Coast (Italy) by car?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by pensacolaphoto, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. I am considering a trip to the Amalfi Coast from Rome. It sounds as if the majority of online feedback state that it is best to leave behind rental cars and use other methods of transportation. Have you been to this part of Italy? What are your recollections?
  2. SCL


    It was many years ago & the drive in a nice sports car with the top down was breathtaking, as were many of the curves, many of which I understand have been straightened out as safety measures. Beautiful vistas and the food...well...you may never return home it is so good.
  3. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Stephen's recollection would be true if you were the only car on the road. I recall a family trip around 1990, based on Sorrento in a rental car, that was great albeit quite busy and slow to get around and hard to park from time to time. However having made day trips along the Amalfi coast on the way back from other trips to Italy in the last few years I've ended up regretting going back every time. The only reason is traffic- both in the sense of getting around but also parking to walk round towns and photograph. Its just busy, even out of season (my last visit was Nov. 2013. Huge tour buses block the roads in main road villages, motorcycles appear from nowhere round the curves on the wrong side of the road. Its about as bad a place to drive as I've seen and you need 100% concentration just to avoid accidents. Even crossing the peninsula over the hills takes an age.
    Also unless you're starting off from one of Rome's airports , driving through Rome itself doesn't strike me as something you'd do for fun. The motorway network's OK though. I have rented cars from Rome but I've always started off at Leonardo da Vinci so I could get on the motorways and head out of town avoiding the frustrations of the city itself.
    I have no idea how convenient the rail system would be- in particular how close to the town centres the stations are; how busy the trains themselves are.
  4. Thanks for your input, Stephen and David. It is right now still early for making any decisions beyond the fact that we start out from Rome. I don't plan to do any driving while we will be in Rome.
  5. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    From Rome, if you drive north, Tuscany and Umbria are as easily reached as the Amalfi Coast, and are likely to be far quieter when you get there. Different sort of scenery of course.
  6. David: we are also considering such an alternative. It is a different beauty.
  7. I drove from Rome to Napoli and then to the Amalfi coast, staying in Amalfi. It was stupendous, and remains one of the highlights of our 5 week Italian sojourn.
    The driving was crazy, but with a bit of care (expecting everyone else to be totally insane), it's survivable, and indeed in retrospect, it was a great adventure.
    Parking however, was a %$#&^@%$, as others have mentioned. It was either non-existent, or if it did exist, we had to pay a king's ransom. But was a few Euros worth some amazing vistas and towns? For me, it was.
    Also as others mentioned, you can't avoid the tourists and tour buses (which were a major hazard on the curves!) - shrug, focus on what you came to visit, and blot them from your consciousness.
    Whatever you decide, have a wonderful trip. Italy is gorgeous!
  8. All I can say is that the Italian drivers are insane, so watch out. If you are a timid driver you will get eaten alive, otherwise I say go for it. I also agree that parking in Italy in general is difficult because the natives will have taken every spot you could possibly want and will be snapping at your heels to get to any one ahead of you. You will have to examine your inner self to decide what kind of stress you can handle. Driving in any large or largish town indeed is not something that will fill your heart with pleasure.
  9. I don't know anything about the Amalfi coast but I have driven a rental car in Italy. What was most disconcerting the first time it happened was when driving down a narrow two lane road and the car behind me went to pass despite an oncoming car which seemed to make the pass impossible. Basically in that situation the Italian drivers expect both cars to move sideways to essentially turn the road into 3 lanes. This happened again and again so clearly that's the custom there. If you are not expecting it, it can be quite a spike to your blood pressure.
  10. I have to watch my blood pressure, so I will most likely skip for the time being the drive south of Rome, and instead will target the Portofino area.
  11. As an Italian by birth, and a native Italian driver (although I have been living abroad for most of my life), I would confirm the suggestions you did receive.
    The Amalfi-Sorrento coastline road is exceedingly beautiful (arguably the most beautiful in Italy, which has plenty), but also exceedingly demanding on the driver. It is not really dangerous per se, because the speed you and the other cars (motorbikes are a different proposition altogether) can manage would limit the damages of any accident, but it would demand your total and complete attention. I've made the trip on at least a dozen occasions, but my only remembrances of the scenery are of the two or three trips when I was a passenger. Otherwise, I only saw and remember my steering wheel. And parking.....!

    This is not intended to scare you off or anything. You might even come to love the drive as such, but I cannot see the point of traveling all the way to one of the most scenic spots in the world just for the fun of a challenging road.
    The Ligury coastine is also very beautiful, but please mind that there is no coastline road to talk about here (google maps might help you). You certainly can drive to Portofino, but that's basically it and I would not even consider moving north from Rome just for that. The top scenery attraction in the region are the so-called "Five Lands" ("Cinque Terre" in Italian), i.e. five small coastal villages which however are better reached by sea, by rail or by foot. If you have time to spend and the weather allows, it would be worthwhile (including from a photog's point of view) to take the "Sentiero dell' Amore" ("Lovers' Trail") walking path which joins them all.
  12. Hello Bonsignore Ezio,
    Thank you very much for your insightful tips. We were last summer in Cinque Terre, which is a beautiful place to visit (briefly). Nothing has been yet set for next summer's visit, and maybe a compromise can be reached where we take the train from Rome to some town close to Amalfi, and then hire a driver/van?
    Italy is a beautiful country and we will try to fully enjoy our family trip there.
  13. The Cinque Terre being already "done", then the Amalfi coastline certainly becomes the obvious choice. I would certainly not assume to decide on your behalf what to do and not to do, but I thought I could perhaps offer the following points for your consideration:
    - The "top" section of the roas is considered to be Sorrento-Amalfi (and viceversa), but an extention down to Vietri IMHO is highly recommendable
    - The road from Rome down there is mostly highway. If you already have a car in Rome then there is no real reason not to use it at least to reach Sorrento. There is a rail link Rome-Sorrento, but this is not recommendable in that it requires changes. It is way more convenient to take the line bus.
    - There are line bus links to both Sorrento and Amalfi. The latter will of course allow you to already see the most beautiful part of the coastline road, but don't expect the bus to stop to allow you to admire the scenery or take photos... When booking the tickets, please ensure that you get seats on the right-hand side, otherwise you will see next to nothing! If no right-hand seats are available, change company or timing, but insist on it!
    - If you definitely prefer not to drive along the road, then the most convenient option (beyond a chaffeured van, of course) would probably be to take the line bus to either Sorrento or Amalfi, and then use the local bus connection to visit the small villages (Positano, Atrani, Praiano, Minori, Ravello, Vetri).
    - If you are prepared to drive there (although not on the road itself), then your best starting point in probably Vietri, in that it lies directly on the highway. Even Amalfi can be reached by crossing inland from the highway. In any case, ensure that the hotel has a parking space available.
    - A propos hotel... all the accomodations on the coast itself are needless to say very expensive, which in some cases in not in relation to the quality of the accomodations ands service they offer. You might wish to consider seeking something more affordable (and way more relaxing...) on the hills immediately inland. We normally stay in Agerola, which despite being less than 6km from the coast is 700m higher.
    - Talking about Agerola, if you are not scared by moderate hiking then by all means take the "Sentiero degli Dei" path from Agerola to Nocelle. Your hotel will be prepared to send a car to pick you up. This can also be made in the opposite direction, but then it becomes strenuous.
  14. You don't want to go to Amalfi by car, there's no place to park.
    Fly to Napoli or take the train, then take the bus or taxi and make sure you're travelling light because you'll be climbing stairways on foot!
    Avoid july-august. It's too hot and too busy. It's best to go in may-june. April and september are pleasant too.
    hire a driver/van?​
    How much are you willing to spend?
  15. We visit Italy every other year and almost always rent a car. The one exception is the Amalfi coast. This is the one place in Italy to hire someone to drive and most importantly to drop you off somewhere and come back to pick you up (rather than you spending an hour trying to find parking).

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