DIY Pompeii and Amalfi Coast: a 2 day / 1 night itinerary by public transportation and no backtracking!
I had a good solid 4 days to spend in Naples, as I was arriving in the morning on Thursday, and departing at night on Sunday. The question was, how could I fit in a trip to Pompeii and Amalfi Coast during that time?
A lot of people recommend basing oneself in Sorrento rather than Naples, and make day trips. But I like big cities, and I wanted to give a couple days to experience Naples, as messy and chaotic as people made it out to be. There were a few challenges:
1. How to get around by public transit, since being low season in December, frequencies are reduced and none of the ferries run along the coast. I looked into doing some private tours through Viator, but they were either too expensive, left from Rome(!) instead of Naples, or simply not running during off-season.
2. How to maximize sightseeing during daylight hours. Since the sun set around 5pm, I knew I would want to get as much of scenic Amalfi Coast drive done in the morning.
3. How to avoid backtracking and tight connections. I wanted to make the most out of my 4 days, and traveling the same route just takes up time - plus you repeat the same scenery! I also didn't want to plan for risky bus-to-train connections where I might arrive at a town late at night and/or miss a hotel booking.
So, studying the train and bus schedules carefully, I mapped out the following itinerary leaving and arriving back to Naples. The main thing to make this itinerary work is to TRAVEL LIGHT! That's because you'll be taking your overnight bag with you from Herculaneum and Pompeii (there is luggage check at both archaeological sites), and then onto the bus that runs along the Amalfi Coast.
Day 1: Leave Naples in the morning on the Circumvesuviana train for Ercolano (Herculaneum), see Herculaneum site. Grab lunch in Ercolano town. Continue on to Pompeii on the Circumvesuviana, take the afternoon for a tour of Pompeii. Continue on the Circumvesuviana on to Sorrento. Dinner in Sorrento.
Overnight in Sorrento
Day 2: Take an early morning SITA bus departing for Amalfi. Make a stop in Positano to walk around town and the beach. Get back on the bus to Amalfi. Lunch in Amalfi, and tour the Cathedral. Take another SITA bus for Salerno, and walk to the Salerno train station for a high-speed train back to Naples. Dinner in Naples.
Read the next post to start the journey!
Here are all of the posts in this Pompeii and Amalfi Coast itinerary: