Italy’s Amalfi Coast: Not Quite Up to the Hype?

We couldn’t decide if we wanted to visit Italy’s Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre. I had seen photos and heard stories of both from friends who studied abroad in Florence and I felt that Cinque Terre was the better option.

But when we met Dan in Switzerland, he told us that we should really try to do both. And when we realized that we had about two weeks from when Meghan and Caitlin left to when we had to meet our Aussie friends in Barcelona, we decided to try both.

So from Florence, we headed to Sorrento.

Dan and Ricky, who work for Bus2Alps, told us to just follow their company’s itinerary and we would have a great time.

Except that their itinerary included buses and boats specifically for their tour guests so it wasn’t going to be so easy for us.

We stayed at Seven Hostel which was probably one of the best we’ve been in. It was about a 25 minute walk from actual Sorrento but it was as nice as a hotel. It was big, fairly well priced and with free breakfast! And I love a free meal.

It was about a three hour train ride from Florence to Naples where we would then have to get on a local train for an hour and fifteen minutes to get to Sorrento.

Of course, we got on the wrong train in Naples. We always do!

We realized it after about five stops so fortunately it only took about 30-40 minutes to get us back on the correct train.

We were told that if we could get to Sorrento without getting robbed on this train, we were lucky. DO NOT FALL ASLEEP, we were told. But we didn’t find it to be as sketchy as people said.

The directions from the hostel said to go left out of the train station, under the train bridge, pass the fountain and walk straight. When we came out of the train station, we didn’t see a train bridge to the left but we did see one to the right. So we went that way. There was a fountain, so we walked past it. We walked past a couple dead ends and down a street. For a loooooooong time. This couldn’t be right. But HOW could there be a train bridge and fountain on the other side, too? There was no way. This had to be right.

Twenty minutes later, we’re still walking. Still trying to find this hostel. Finally, we ask at a restaurant for Seven Hostel and they tell us it’s a 20 minute walk to the right, back toward the train station. Great.

Turns out, there was a train bridge and fountain to the left. Of course there was. Of course.

We were absolutely exhausted our first night from traveling so we were passed out at 9 p.m.

The next day I met a fellow American girl at breakfast who said she was going to try to rent a boat for the day to explore the coastline and surrounding islands. I love boats and I love the Sea, so I was sold.

We couldn’t find enough people to fill the boat so we decided to head to Pompeii instead. It was a 30 minute train ride from where we were.

We ended up doing a two hour walking guided tour which was definitely worth the 12 Euro. A lot of times we walk around monuments and historical sites and have no idea what they are and don’t get the full effect.

I was shocked at how much was left of Pompeii. But it wasn’t quite what I expected. For some reason, I had in my head that there were sort of frozen, stone bodies everywhere but it wasn’t like that at all. We saw the theater and the streets where the first floor of the buildings are pretty much still in tact.

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We also saw a brothel which was sort of rebuilt but mostly still in tact. Including the drawings above each door which portrayed what act could be performed inside. Apparently Pompeii was a pretty dodgy town so some say that God was punishing the town with the eruption.

Our next day, everyone in the hostel seemed to be taking this boat trip through the hostel that took people to the grottos of Capri. There weren’t any spaces so we just planned to attempt to get to Capri the next day.

So instead we headed to Positano which is on the Amalfi Coast and absolutely beautiful in photos.

We tried to get on the bus in Sorrento and it was completely packed. Every seat taken, the aisle completely full with people standing. We were two people away from getting on! So we had to wait another 25 minutes for the next bus.

The drive to Positano was an hour but it was absolutely gorgeous. An Asian Aussie girl (yup, you read that right!) in our room called it “the most geologically unstable place in the world.” It was literally on a cliff. Sometimes it looked like we were driving on the Sea we were so close to the edge. Talk about serious vertigo.

We found Positano to be very touristy. The streets were packed with people speaking English and the tiny beaches were wall to wall with people. The beaches were also packed and pretty small. We’re very spoiled in the U.S. to have such long, wide, sandy beaches!

But the view from above was absolutely breathtaking.

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We wanted to make it to Amalfi, too, but it was another 40 minute drive to Amalfi and unfortunately we didn’t wake up early enough to really do both. And if it was as touristy as Positano, I’m not sure if it would have been worth it.

We were determined to find a boat to Capri the next day. The ferry to Capri was about 30 Euro each way which was way out of our price range and probably not worth it. Finally, we accepted we weren’t going to get there and decided to explore Sorrento instead.

We met two really cool girls from California and walked around with them today. They share our love of sun, gelato and pretty much all food so we knew we were going to get along!

Unfortunately, it rained the entire day we walked around. We desperately tried to find a beach but what we found was a dock with some lounge chairs that you had to pay for. Yeah, we were not paying for a dock, in the rain. We cut our losses and went to find food!

It ended up clearing up in the afternoon so we sat on our hostel’s rooftop to get some sun. The view from up there was absolutely beautiful!

The California girls convinced us to come with them to Corfu, Greece three days later, but first we had to head to Cinque Terre!

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