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Driving on Amalfi Coast

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Driving on Amalfi Coast

Hi

Am off to Naples this weekend but staying outside in Torre del Greco. Didnt want to hire a car but due to late flights I dont think there is any public transport (arrive 2220 in Naples?). So have hired a car but is driving really as terrible as everyone says? I drive in London if that could be a comparison? Wont be driving in Naples but along the coast and outskirts.

Would love some feed back as more nervous than excited about going now!!

Thanks

Toronto
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1. Re: Driving on Amalfi Coast

I want to know too.. how "scary" is it? say compared to the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1) at Big Sur

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2. Re: Driving on Amalfi Coast

driving from the airport to Torre del greco is not very diffuclt as it's just a part of the highway. The Amalfi Coast is just a bit more exiting, and if your partner feel sicks of bends.... From Naples you can easly get to the coast and avoid part of the worst : drive up Valico di Chiunzi and than stright to Ravello, that is one of the most beautiful of the area.

Compared to London.... driving is much more stessing, but a really entchanting view .

after 3 times driving along the Coast I really started to enjoy it. Hope you will love as well.

Coeur D'alene, Idaho
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3. Re: Driving on Amalfi Coast

As far as scenery, the Amalfi Coast and the Big Sur area are two of the most beautiful spots to drive.

I've driven Hwy 1 several times, and have been driven on the Amalfi Coast -- They're comparable in many ways as far as windiness (if that's a word) and steepness, but I believe the Amalfi Coast is a much more daunting task. Driving is driving, but being in a foreign country -- there are undoubtedly signs/customs/etc. that you may be unaware of -- but what would scare me the most is the other drivers on the road. Italians are brilliant drivers, but if you've been driven by a taxi driver or two, or spent any time driving through a city, you'll know that they love to drive fast and challenge themselves and the motorists around them. It really isn't a myth that they can be a little crazy behind the wheel. I love sitting in the front seat of a taxi ride through Rome -- it's like a video game if you get a young driver and if you show any sign of either excitement of fear. I'd be nervous about some fiat coming around the corner at 35 mph (which is really fast for that drive) and crossing the line.

In any case, I'm not sure I'd want to try driving myself, and if you're making the drive at night, all the more reason to maybe hire a driver.

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4. Re: Driving on Amalfi Coast

I'm surprised you're staying in Torre del Greco - not a very savoury place as I remember it... but it may have improved.

There's the local train along there from Naples and Sorrento - so you might as well get a taxi from the airport and rely on public transport after that.

As you leave Sorrento, the Amalfi coast road is all a succession of hairpin bends... a nightmare - don't forget you'll be meeting buses coming from the opposite direction - they have right of way...and you will have to hug the cliff (between a rock and a hard place !) or the outer edge towards the outside edge of the road hanging over the sea ! Even if you head inland, you'll be twisting up mountains on narrow roads. (Don't drive yourself !) Buses or taxis best ! Public transport is very good.

Bus schedules for Naples to Sorrento / Positano / Amalfi/Ravello and Pompei :

www.sita-on-line.it/CampaniaTPL.html

... boats and hydrofoils to the islands and Amalfi Coast / Positano - websites as follows:

www.metrodelmare.com

www.navlib.it

www.snav.it/eng

www.aliscafi.it

www.alilauro.it

Circumvesuviana trains from Naples to Sorrento / Pompei / Herculaneum etc. : www.vesuviana.it/faqen.htm

From Naples Airport, there are several buses.

'Alibus' goes every 30 minutes from outside the airport, to the railway station (Stazione Centrale in Piazza Garibaldi) and then on to the port (near Piazza Municipio) in the centre of Naples. tickets for these buses are bought on board. They are run by the ANM company : tel. + 39 081 251 41 27

ANM public transport buses (no.35) leave outside 'Arrivals' at Naples airport every 15 minutes going to Napoli Centrale railway satation and Naples port.

Bus no.14 also goes to Piazza Garibaldi. Tickets for these ANM buses are bought from the Sunshore shop in 'Arrivals' and you date stamp them at the little machine on the bus.

If you are going to Sorrento or the other station between Naples and Sorrento - you can catch the Circumvesuviana train from the lower level of the Stazione Centrale, but, , there is a bus run by the Curreri bus company - which goes direct from outside the airport to Piazza Tasso in the centre of Sorrento. website for the Curreri co. is www.curreriviaggi.it where you can check the time-tables. This bus takes one hour and a quarter, and costs about six euro per person. I don't know if the Curreri coach stops at Torre del Greco - or if it runs into the evening. I'm pretty sure the trains run well into the evening if not up to or even after midnight.

The autumn, early spring, and winter months are less scary on the roads as there are less motorists around (except at weekends) - but then you have to look out for landslides after heavy rain.

Whatever you decide to do - I hope you have a wonderful holiday - those places along the Amalfi coast are really idyllic and shouldn't be missed ! Best wishes, Nolana

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5. Re: Driving on Amalfi Coast

Bibimbob: I used to live in Northern California and have driven various sections of Highway 1, including Big Sur, many times. I was on the Amalfi Drive about 3 years ago and couldn't help but compare it both to Highway 1 and to the Hana Highway on Maui, which I have also driven several times. The thing that surprised me about the Amalfi Drive (and by the way I wasn't doing the driving) was that it was wider and in better condition (well paved) than I expected, compared to the other two roads. In all other respects it was very similar to CA and Hawaii -- torturously winding and steep, with dramatic views and the constant fear of a head-on crash with a bus or truck coming around a curve from the opposite direction.

I agree with other posters who are wary of Italian drivers and driving in Italy in general. I find driving in continental Europe very stressful. In addition, when you're in a beautiful area like Amalfi you can't relax and enjoy the view (at least I can't when I'm behind the wheel). The public transportation in that area is very good.

Toronto
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6. Re: Driving on Amalfi Coast

Personally I didn't find the PCH drive daunting or scary at all. I enjoyed the driving, especially if it's a car with good handling, which a European car is more likely to be one. I can and often drive like an Italian driver :) My concern after reading the posts so far, would be the on-coming buses.

Another question is people talk about steep cliffs just off the road. Are there barriers of decent height (2 feet or so) at portions when it's a cliff, or are we talking about just 8 inches of raised curb and then it's the steep fall?

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7. Re: Driving on Amalfi Coast

Hi Bibimbob !

No - not high barriers. The cliff - open side to the sea, just has those knee height metal bumpers you sometimes see separating the two directions on the motorways - and they're missing in parts, where someone's hit them before you ! Sometimes you see what hit them hanging over the undergrowth on the cliff side - or you just see the mangled metal barrier. Just another bit of roadside interest for the bus passengers to point out to each other !

Some parts do have a waist high wall - but mostly that's where they have the 'panoramico' viewpoint, with a manmade 'balcony' on stilts that juts out over the cliff for people to admire the view. The low wall bits are interspersed with those two parrallel metal poles in between, so the panoramic view isn't reduced.... There's no pavement alongside the road - and the cars that stop just pull into the side of the road, as there's no car parking facility there (huh ! just because there's a panoramico space for pedestrians, why should you imagine they might put in a car park ? !!!). It's not as if there's any room along that road to put anything in !!!!

You get used to the bends if you like the adrenaline rush - and are careful, with quick reactions to oncoming drivers (and the idiots too close behind).... Best wishes, Nolana

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8. Re: Driving on Amalfi Coast

By the way - I don't know how wide your Pacific Highway is... that you're comparing with the Amalfi coast road - the Amalfi coast road is one car wide in each direction..... literally. The buses and holiday coaches are normal long, 52 seaters etc. and they have to come right across the wrong side of the road to get round the hairpin bends, so anything coming the otherway has to back up out of their way !

Toronto
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9. Re: Driving on Amalfi Coast

Thanks Nolana! After reading your posts, I think I would pass :) The scenic PCH portion is 2 lane throughout and there is never a need to back up in order to let the on-coming bus through.

Toronto
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10. Re: Driving on Amalfi Coast

Actually I think I would take the bus first, check it out and then decide if I would car later. haha.