One of the main reasons I read travel blogs is for logistics. Some people read travel blogs for entertainment or to learn of new destinations. But I read them so I can plan my trips better!
Right now I am planning a roadtrip through the Scottish Highlands with my friends and have read many blogs based on these main questions:
1. how long does it take to tour this ___?
2. how much time should I give myself to drive from Point A to Point B?
3. which hikes are the most beautiful and easy?
These type of questions are what I'm always asking before heading to a new place with limited time.
A month ago I visited Naples + Sorrento + Positano + Capri + Pompeii and hiked Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods). I only had 4 full days of touring as 2 days were flight days.
I read so many blogs and spent hours trying to get this trip just right. And guess what?! It paid off!
I found the best way to hike the Path of the Gods without wasting time & I found the the best way to see as many beautiful cities as I could before I left.
Here's how I did it:
I flew into Napoli around noon.
Early morning flights might make you feel like you made the worst decision ever when your alarm clock goes off but believe me it's worth it. Let that traveler's adrenaline push you through the day.
Why Sorrento? I wanted to go straight to Sorrento from Napoli instead of staying in Napoli because my main goal was to hike the Path of the Gods.
The Path of the Gods is achieved best from cities like Sorrento, Amalfi, or Positano. However, as I am not on a honeymoon nor do I have a pet money tree, I chose to stay in the cheaper city of Sorrento.
Hostel: To be honest, the hostel I stayed in was actually in Sant'Agnello but it's right next to Sorrento and was not a problem for me. Everything is in walking distance.
It was called Seven Hostel and I highly recommend it. The breakfast spread in the morning was included and amazing. The staff was friendly and the lounge + bar downstairs was really nice for meeting other travelers.
How to get to Sorrento from Naples: There are many ways but I found the way that worked best for me which was to take the Curreri Viaggi bus. The reason I chose it was because I had luggage and this bus sits right in front of the airport doors and leaves often.
It cost 10 euros which is definitely more than the train would have taken but for me it was worth it. I told the driver I was going to Sant'Agnello and he told me when we arrived there. It was easy and the ride had gorgeous views the entire time
Sorrento + Sant'Agnello: For the rest of the day, another traveler I had met and I walked around Sorrento all day. We found a little beach that was hidden down some steps and actually closed for the season but we skipped and hopped over and explored. We went down to the boat dock and drank coffee. For lunch we ate pizza and drank wine. It was a great day under the sun. Sorrento is small but beautiful.
Path of the Gods
First thing first: Don't pay for the tours unless you really want history lessons, which could be cool, but it's free otherwise. Also, plan ahead!
To hike this path, you have to take buses to get to the starting point of the trail. It takes a chunk of time. It is what it is and what it is is worth it. Keep up!
If you don't plan accordingly then you could waste time in your day.
There are different bus times throughout the day but if you take certain bus times you can really maximize your entire day.
There will be a bus connection in Amalfi and some bus layovers are 2 hours while others are 5 minutes. Be smart with this or you could waste precious hiking or beach time later!
This is how my day began:
My two friends and I began early and walked to the train station in Sant'Agnello to connect to the train station in Sorrento. This only cost a couple euros. The SITA buses park in the front of the train station of Sorrento. At the front of the train station you can buy your SITA bus ticket whether you want a day pass or one bus ride pass.
Then you need to find the SITA bus that has AMALFI written on a sheet of paper that's placed in the windshield of the bus. Don't get on another SITA bus even if it's the correct time. Buses and trains tend to run late in Italy.
We caught the Amalfi SITA bus at 7:30 am. We then arrived in Amalfi around 9 am and chose to have the 1 hour layover. This was the best option for us.
IMPORTANT! Some buses have 5-15 minute layovers. This is a risk. The buses run late because the roads are nearly impossible. Winding around mountains and only wide enough for 1 vehicle, the roads can cause delays often, so I wanted to take a morning bus that had a layover of 30 minutes or more.
We wanted to start as early as possible in the day, too, because the hike can take 4+ hours, depending on how often you stop for pictures and breaks.
On our layover time, we got coffee and snacks in Amalfi. The bus parks right in front of the city center.
Then we caught the next bus to Agerola. This is the last stop on the bus but you will get off on the Agerola Bomerano bus stop! The bus driver will say "BOMERAMO" because literally almost everyone on the bus is on the bus for 1 reason : Sentiero degli Dei.
When the bus stops you then have to find where the entrance of the path is in Bomerano. We followed other hikers and signs on buildings and finally found it.
Thus begins your hike!!
Recap: From Sorrento train station > SITA Bus to Amalfi > layover time > SITA bus to Agerola : stop at Bomerano
The hike ends in Nocelle which is a small city near Positano. There are two options from here:
Walk down 1,000 steps from Nocelle and then walk about 20 minutes on the side of the winding roads to get to Positano or take a bus to Positano from Nocelle. It's easy to see Positano from Nocelle so you'll know the direction you need to go.
Soooooooo, my friends and I did the walk down. It was difficult. Really difficult. My legs were shaking, my calves were cramping, and my knees hurt. But it was awesome because I was with friends and we made the most of it through cussing and laughing and motivating each other.
Positano: We finally got to Positano right in time for the end of a late lunch. We ate pizza and pasta on the beach, bought a bottle of wine, and hung out on the Positano beach until sun down. It was magnificent.
From Positano, we took a bus back to Sorrento. Then we grabbed pizzas at a restaurant called The Little Burp. LOVED THAT PLACE. Find it if you you stay in Sant'Agnello. Friendly staff and cheap pizza.
Day 3 is for Capri.
See what I did there?
We, as in the same friends from the day before, took a ferry in to Capri from Sorrento. There are cheap ferries and then there are expensive ones depending on the time you go. We took the cheap ones. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the ferry dock, stand in line, and walk to the ferry.
On arrival, we walked up to the top of Capri where a main center is. We grabbed some sandwich food, honey and cheese, and some waters at a store and then began our hike around the island. Just grab a map or read the maps on the walls throughout the city to guide yourself on this hike around the side of the Island. It's got some damn good views.
Tip: Be aware that Capri has steep hills that take a while to ascend. After the hike the day before, I was sore and exhausted. Walking around the island and its many stairs and inclines was difficult. Either space the days of seeing Capri and the hike out or take the buses around Capri as instead of doing as much walking as we did.
On our hike around the island, we took a picnic at Arco Naturale.
Tip: The island was warm by day and cool by night and NOT CROWDED because it was March. This is a great time to visit!
By afternoon we finished our hike and took a bus to Anacapri. The buses are near where the ferries are. You can't miss it.
My friends did a ski lift to see the views while I grabbed a coffee at a nearby cafe. Then we took a bus back to the ferries and headed into Sorrento.
Tip: Capri is expensive. It's got designer shops, it's an island, and it's mainly a resort type getaway. The food, drinks, and gelato will be more expensive. Shopping at a market is the cheapest option for food and drink.
Tour of Napoli
I took a train from Sorrento to Napoli's main train station--Napoli Centrale. I then had to take a metro connection from the station to my hostel and met Giovanni! If you have luggage then I recommend using the metro if you've got a long walk. Napoli is loaded with hills!
Tip: Napoli has a reputation for being unsafe. Just be smart. I think it's safer than people think. However, don't stay at a hostel near a train station. Don't walk around the train stations at night, especially while alone. Train stations, in any city, are never the safest places to be.
Hostel: I stayed at Giovanni's Home in Napoli. He runs his hostel from his own home and it's amazing. He cooked every meal for us, fed us treats and coffee, showered us with information on Naples, and even gave me a ride to the airport on his motorcycle! He's awesome and if you want to learn anything about Napoli then stay at his place!
I walked around the city that day, spotting the castle on the sea, gazing at the Piazza del Plebiscito, witnessing a parade on the streets, enjoying the charm of the alleyways and hills despite my body crying from the steps and hikes I'd already accumulated throughout the previous days, and finally I went back to the hostel by night to rest.
I regret not seeing more of Naples that day or the next. Had I another day then I know I could have done justice to the beautiful city as a tourist. However, my exhaustion won and I chose to keep that day minimal.
Napoli: Napoli is Italy. This city is rich with history, has incredible museums, and is just as fascinating if not more so than Rome. Tourists tend to overlook this diverse and historical city. Do a little research before going so you can truly enjoy the complexity in its own history and its impact on Italy.
I woke up early and visited the Museo Cappella Sansevero. This small chapel is so worth the visit. The sculptures are breathtaking! The Veiled Christ lives here and is very famous throughout the world. It is phenomenal. Yes, I took art history classes and may appreciate these things more, but really, this chapel was such a good start to my morning.
Here you can also see the famous Anatomical Machines which are two skeletons, or more like two circulatory systems, of a man and woman. The doctor Giuseppe Salerno created this experiment in the 18th century under the prince Raimondo di Sangro.
Rumor has it that these two people were servants and were killed for the purpose of the scientific experiment. The woman was pregnant, I believe, and the fetus is no longer on display. It's eery and mind blowing to see the circulatory system of two human beings standing upright. Definitely worth seeing!
Then, I prepared my trip for Pompeii!
An English woman around my age at the hostel came with me and then we made a friend from Mexico on the train and the 3 of us toured Pompeii!
Getting to Pompeii from Napoli: Get to the train station Napoli Centrale, go the Circumvesuviana train ticket window (there are signs) and buy a ticket for Pompeii Scavii. You can find the platform via signs or be pointed in the direction.
Tip: It's always good to ask locals if the train is the correct one to your destination before stepping on. Trains run late and you don't want to get on the wrong one!
Tip: Upon stepping off the train and walking to the entrance of Pompeii, do NOT buy the informational Pompeii pamphlets that people are trying to sell you! These pamphlets are FREEEE inside. Yes. Don't be scammed.
Pompeii was definitely one of the best trips I've made on my many travels.
Definitely check the closing time of Pompeii. This is why......
My friend and I thought Pompeii closed at 5:30 pm. We were on the outskirts of the city in the Villa dei Misteri. We arrived back to the center around 5:40 and there was literally not a soul in sight.
We were completely alone.
We knew we overstayed. Pompeii actually closed at 5:00.
In a mixture of panic and excitement, because I didn't want to pay a fine or be stuck in Pompeii as I had a flight out the next morning, my friend and I took a few tourist photos taking advantage of having the place to ourselves. It was pretty amazing really.
Then we walked to the exit.
We couldn't get out.
We were locked in.
Pompeii, we have a problem.
No lie, we got locked inside of Pompeii. We tried the entrance. It was locked.
Honestly, I would normally not care at all. It would be pretty cool. But yeah, that flight was an issue and I didn't have a coat with me for the chilly nights.
After a while of standing at the entrance and talking very loudly hoping someone would hear us, a worker came out of a building as he was leaving and saw us.
He really didn't care but told us it was a good thing he saw us then. Then he said, "You could have spent the night with the ghosts!"
Seriously, though, Pompeii ghosts sound kind of cool.
Dinner: That night I ate at Gino Sorbillo for dinner with my Pompeii friend! Don't miss out on eating here! It's the most famous pizza spot in Napoli. It's not even expensive but you do have to stand in line for a long time if you want to stay and seat instead of do takeaway. It's worth it. Or you can show up early but that rarely works for me. I'm too busy getting locked inside historical, abandoned cities.
Giovanni gave me a ride to the airport on his motorcycle, the true Naples way, and it was amazing. I took a morning flight because they're always cheaper. I was sad to leave Naples and the coast. I had a hell of a trip! I got back home, showered, got in bed, and watched Netflix for like 4 hours.