Looking for some advise on an attempt to spend 9-10 days in the Amalfi coast area. We've never been to Europe, so we don't know if this would be too adventurous re: excursions, renting a villa, maybe in Ravello, transportation,etc.I have seen some beautiful villas in Ravello on cyberrentals.com, but very nervous about reputability of postings.We are on the fence between RCC VOS 7 day cruise out of Barcelona or attempt the land route to see the Amalfi Coast.(our 1st choice) We have done 8 cruises but all in the Caribbean, so we're very familiar with the ship's tours!.
Please point me in the right direction,
I want to be very careful on offering advice since the "different strokes for different folks" saying really does apply. We have been on numerous Med cruises (lets just say more than a dozen) and have also spent some time on the Amalfi Coast (staying in Praiano for a week just last year). Renting villas is not a feat for an amateur unless you are a gambling person. We recall a couple we met last year who rented a gorgeous villa on a hill over Praiano but did not have a car. They found that it was over 700 steps to get up or down to their villa everytime they wanted to catch a bus or stop by our cliff-side hotel (the Onda Verde) for a drink. And, if you do have a car you need to be careful to ensure that your villa (or apartment) provides parking or can advise you on nearby parking facilities and the cost. Of course we hate the Amalfi coast so much that we going to return there next May for another 5 - 7 day visit. This being said, since this is going to be your first visit to Europe I am not sure that a 9 -10 day visit to the Amalfi Coast is the best choice. Why? Its a pretty confining area and you are talking about a pretty long visit. I also have some difficulty in comparing a 7 day cruise our of BCN to a villa on the Amalfi Coast (or anywhere else in Italy). Its truly an apples to oranges comparison with nothing in common other than the fact that they are both in Europe. If you do have your heart set on the Amalfi Coast I would suggest you do some research on Positano...which is a more central location than Ravllo, a frequent destination of jet-setters, has plenty of different types of accomodations, cafes, restaurants and lots of charm. We personally choose to stay about 5 miles East of Positano at a small hotel that is quite isolated, but it suits our personal taste and since we always have a rental car we can always come and go as we please. Or course driving in Italy is not for the faint of heart and parking can be a real pain in the (^*%#$.
Thanks so much for responding. I know the cruise vs. Amalfi Coast is apples /oranges. I thought due to our short time limit, the cruise would give us a "taste" of some ports, but the time restriction to get back to the ship at each port would be stressful.(12 hrs at each port.)On the villa situation, I found a gentleman on a messageboard who frequents Italy as often as you, if not more...lol. He actually plans itineraries for people(for a fee) depending on the request for types of vacations. He gave me a website, summersinitaly.com, with great information in general, (villas, locations, costs per week). He too did not recommend Ravello as the focal point to stay. He suggested Positano. I spoke to a woman in Italy who sponsors the website, with an 800 #, whom he recommeneded highly(Lucca was her name.) She was very helpful, when I gave her our ages and background info. The villas have guest reviews, numerous photos, locations ie: steps up and down from villas,convenience to buses, boats and restaurants,water views, pool availability, beach distance, etc.Some questions are arriving in Naples on Friday, but not checking into a villa until Sat.What to do from Fri.-Sat? She suggested NAples Fri. then hiring a driver to see Pompeii on Sat. before arriving at the villa. Lots of questions for planning the week!!!Am I on the right track so far?
It really does sound like you are getting good advice, but be cautious in booking a villa and I guess I do not need to tell you to check references by at least sending some e-mails to past guests (if they will give you a phone number that is even a more definitive check). Getting around the Amalfi coast without a car is possible as long as you are staying within easy walking distance to the SITA bus line (there is also a local bus line that operates in and around Positano). If you stay in the Positano area you can plan on a day trip to Amalfi and Ravello and another day trip to Capri (you can catch a boat right from Positano). You will need to use a car (either rental or car and driver) to get to your villa since taking luggage on the SITA bus is a real hassle. I like the idea of using a driver from Naples to stop at Pompeii on your way to whereever you stay along the coast. Some other attractions between Naples and the Amalfi Coast include Herculanium and Sorrento. You are making a very interesting choice for a first time visitor to Europe. Many first time visitors would opt to spend most of their time in Tuscany and/or Umbria because of the abundance of interesting towns and sites. In our case we probably made a dozen trips to Italy (we generally rent a car and drive ourselves) before we ever spent a night on the Amalfi Coast...and as I said in my other post it is now a very high priority for a return visit. Although most cruise ships have one-day Amafli Coast tours, we think those are simply too rushed and do not allow adequate time to really enjoy the region. We (wife and I) both think you are on a very nice track. As to Friday night in Naples, we have no love of Naples but the idea still makes a lot of sense. I am on record on several web sites for not being a big fan of those 7 day cruises out of Barcelona. Its just not enough time to do what they do on those cruises..and we always favored the 12 day itineraries that start and end at different ports since it affords more opportunities for both pre and post cruise explorations. The cost of getting to and from Europe is quite expensive so its wise to do everything humanly possible to lengthen trip times to maximize the return on the air fare. By the way, given the situation with the dollar vs. the Euro, start saving your pennies! The day-to-day costs of being in Europe can be a real shocker!