Having only visited well out of season before, with hardly any people queuing for the buses, I was astonished to see the mid-October queues for the Sorrento>Amalfi bus (see photo). Most people did not get on the first bus which arrived and had to wait, by which time the queue was just as long again. I felt sorry for those with suitcases, clearly moving on to their next hotel.
If queues are this long in mid-October what must they be like in the high season?
If you are visiting in season and want to take the bus along the Amalfi Coast (it is a truly superb trip, not to be missed) then I suggest you get up early and take an early morning bus. That way you will avoid the worst of the queues (the photo was taken around 1130) and be able to enjoy the ride.
But, judging by the number of people in that queue, you will also have to be flexible about your return time. Try to return from the bus station at Amalfi, for it is quite possible that the bus will be full before it even reaches Positano or anywhere else. At least in the Amalfi bus station you know you will eventually get on a bus, even if you have to wait for a while.
Or, by far the best option imo...make sure you visit Sorrento well out of season!
Taking the ferry or hydrofoil from Sorrento to Capri is a popular trip. But you should be aware that Sorrento lies high above the sea, and it's a long walk down to (or up from) the dock.
Going down isn't too bad. You can follow the road (as in the photo) or take the long series of steps which leads off Via San Francesco. Coming up is much more of an effort, of course.
There is a bus service to and from the dock, although the buses are small and it can be a 'sardine-tin' experience..one wouldn't really want to try it with luggage.
So, if you have bags, taking a taxi will be the best way down to or up from the dock. There is always a taxi or two parked at the dock when the boats arrive, and there are always taxis waiting outside the Circumvesuviana station.
The coast is really beautiful, but if you are thinking about beaches... you'd better search somewhere else.
There are a few spots with some centimeters of sand, you'll see people diving from the rocks or the piers, but conventional beaches is something to forget.
There are many places advertising " tourist information" that are in fact private travel agents. Be careful: they often have a misleading “i” sign outside. The info that they give is bound to be biased.
The official tourist office is at
Via Luigi De Maio, 35
80067 SORRENTO (NA)
This is not a true warning or danger.... however, be aware that opening and closing times are flexible and do not necessarily adhere to what is either written on the sheet or shown outside the locale. The local tourist Office supplies a sheet of museums, etc. in both Sorrento and Naples - for the most part it is accurate but the admission charges tend to be outdated.
I’m not sure whether this should be a general tip or a warning, but do note that the streets that lead down to the water in Sorrento are steep in places and would be hard for anyone with walking difficulties to manage. In places there are steps and almost everywhere cobbles. On the steepest stretch down to the Marina Grande a handrail is provided, but if you need more help than that you should consider taking the little tourist train which we saw a couple of times. I didn’t find out its exact route but as I saw it both in the main Piazza Tasso and down by the harbour, you can be sure it links the two – I presume by the same longer way down that the cars we also saw in the harbour area had taken.
As a solo female traveler, I was physically violated (kisses on arms, face) by more than one man in Sorrento. I didn't let it ruin my time, but girls be careful! Assume that any man (young or old) will start touching you without any flirtation on your part whatsoever...
If you go on a trip to Naples beware of pick pockets. It's best to split your money up and always be aware. Care should be taken if you go through the old spanish quarter, we were warned by an Italian tour guide not to go there alone and not to venture into the shops there.
stay away from crowds and keep hold of your bags. We had no problems but you must be aware that it is a real danger
Maybe should also be in 'Transportation'?
Italian trains/buses are on time are safe. Getting the train to Naples is no problem, very safe and once at the station (I think they've cleaned it up a lot since the last time I went), I didn't see any gypsies etc. until I went outside - then they were all asleep on the grass!
The trains are normally full, but you sometimes get a full band playing on board (for tips - obviously!) but they're more fun and interesting than in the UK!
I didn't travel on the trains at night - although I have regulary on the buses, which are perfectly safe.
I've been reading a lot about Italian drivers and after just coming back from Sorrento (and Naples - again after travelling there for the past 30 years!), I'd just like to put peoples minds at ease. Yes, Italian drivers are sometimes fast - yet very competant drivers. Scooter & car drivers are very aware of others and pedestrians. Although drivers will not stop for you when waiting at the kerb (unless they see you're obviously a hovering tourist), you just have to step onto the road - and they will stop for you. The same in Naples - and I've crossed the main street there with 3 lanes of traffic either way in rush hour with 3 kids and my elderly mother!
The Amalfi Drive:
If you've hired a car - Do it! It's a beautiful drive - and not as hot as the bus!
Lots of people have been put off by the 'hairy hairpin bend road' and I don't mean to be rude, but I find many of these comments have been made by Americans, where their roads are wide and fairly straight. Being British and living for many years in the country in Derbyshire, I'm used to narrow, almost single track roads, obscured by miles of hedges, so the Amalfi Drive was a doddle. The road is as wide as any other - people don't drive madly and for your peace of mind - there is a wall along the entire edge!
Gypsies & Theives:
Gypsies beg - ignore them. And there are thieves in every city/country and town - Naples & Sorrento are no different. You have to be aware anywhere you go, but I'd advise anyone going to the Neapolitan Riviera to not let these warnings and dangers by other members to put you off seeing some of the most beautiful towns and cities in Italy. Just be sensible like you would anywhere
Most Italians have a scooter (motorini), as they don't like being stuck in traffic jams. Unfortuntaly especially the young Italians quite often ignore the traffic rules: They go the wrong way down one-way streets or overtake on the left and right and don't respect pedestrians.
So when in Italy always beware of the motorini drivers!
The streets are very, very, very narrow! The drivers are very, very, very crazy...WATCH OUT for both cars and motorcycles.
Also careful while walking through the pebble stone streets and going up/down steep stairs.
Pick pocketing is rife all along the Sorentine peninsula. On quite a few occasions, we turned around and found (usually) men stood far too close for comfort and looking rather shady! Take out only what you need and make sure it is someone safe away from wandering hands.
If you travel by rail to Sorrento and have some time to kill in between trains at Napoli Centrale either stay in the station compound or get completely away from it. Like the areas around the central stations of most big cities the square outside is frequented by the more unsavoury section of the population.
If you go to Herculaneum keep to the direct route from the station to the ruins. There are lots of run-down, graffiti-daubed tenement blocks in Ercolano and plenty of the dubious-looking characters that often go together with this type of architecture. We strayed from the beaten path and felt more insecure there than anywhere else we'd been in Italy. The ruins are well worth the visit but NOT the rest of the town.