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Amalfi coast - any recommendations?


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I'm off to Praiano on the Amalfi coast next week - hoping the weather holds out.

 

Stayed in Positano for a few days many years ago, but don't remember it that clearly. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I can get a decent coffee, or any other suggestions for the week. Will be going to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri or Ischia, up Vesuvius and visiting the various places on the coast etc - all things I did last time, but would love to do again and I'm going with someone who hasn't been to the area before. Any suggestions greatly appreciated :)

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Thanks Gangstarrrr. I remember Capri being an amazing place - the ruins of Tiberius's villas above the harbour, the Villa San Michele, taking the cable car to Anacapri, swimming in the blue grotto etc. Would have loved to have stayed for more than one night.

We nearly booked a place in Ravello, the views look spectacular.

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thanks Nijntje. though Pompeii is amazing, I do remember finding Herculaneum better preserved and more intimate somehow - obviously it's a much smaller site. What is the rest of Ischia like?

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I don't know, we only went there for the day, I really fancied the thermal spring spas though! It was lovely, definitely going again one day.

I love Capri too, not over keen on the chair lift up to Ana Capri though!

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Ill go against the grain but I absolutely hated Capri! It was like a generic shopping centre plonked in the middle of a lovely island. Crowed and full of fashionette types, a proper tourist trap. A waste of a day.

 

Some of our friends who had been before warned us it had changed over the past few years and to have a boat-tour of the neibouring coves and coast-line instead.....should have listened to them!

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Got to admit that I'm with Gary on Capri - over-hyped, over-priced, over-commercialised and over-ridden with tourists.

 

I am also in the camp that prefers Herculaneum to Pompeii any day of the week. If your going to Herculaneum, in nearby Catellammara di Stabia, there is a truly incredible cable car ride up Monte Faito, with stunning views over the bay of Naples (Google either for pictures)

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Here's a 3rd opinion as well about Capri being over commercialised, and packed out with people who just want to be seen buying in the shops, we did have a pretty decent coffee on the front terrace of some hotel in the middle of Capri, but Tiberius' Villa and the Blue Grotto were the best things about that day out. All the small cafes and restaurants that are close to the beach and the ferry jetty in Positano were all good and the nightclub/bar further along the beach that is built into the cliffside is worth a visit. Amalfi itself is quite interesting, and Pompeii and Herculaneum kind of go without saying, one of the things that made the trip to Pompeii stand out for me was as a big Pink Floyd fan being able to roam around where the movie was made of their performance. Naples can be worth a day out exploring as well.

 

On the coffee front pretty much everywhere serves the Neapolitan style dark espresso and the standard is usually pretty good within what it is, I don't remember there being anywhere that stood out for me though.

 

The only exception is the flash hotel down in the middle of Positano and having dinner outside in amongst the lemon grove there was an excellent evening out and dinner finished with some very good coffee and the obligatory local Limoncello.

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Herculaneum was far more interesting but I'm glad I went to both sites - the scale of Pompeii is incredible.

 

Edit: Naples is a cool city too. Me and some mates spent four days there a couple of years ago. Worth checking if you have a bit of time.

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Amalfi Coast is fantastic :good: if the red open top buses are still running this late in the season have a ride along the coast road Amalfi -- Maiori and back again , a bit hairy when another bus comes in the other direction on the narrow coast road :eek: you will pass through the town of Atrani which is where they filmed the advert for Galaxy chocolate and starring Audrey Hepburn :cool: (well almost) Sorrento also worth a visit.

Didn't like Capri :bad:

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thanks for all your replies, really helpful. i tend to agree with some of the negative comments re capri, though i loved the blue grotto and tiberius's villa, and there are some spectacular views across the bay if i remember right. i wonder if ischia is less touristy and less full of poseurs, but it will be out of season so i don't think it will be too bad anyway.

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Herculaneum was far more interesting but I'm glad I went to both sites - the scale of Pompeii is incredible.

 

 

Bit off topic, but if scale is your thing, then you'll find Ostia Antica, near Rome, absolutely incredible. I went there for the first time about a month ago. It's an old Roman port town that became disused, then silted up, and only excavated again this century. The scale is immense, (rows of warehouses, shops, bars, apartment blocks. You can touch things, climb up to first floors, and the top of the amphiteatre, and really generally feel the experience - all for a one and a half euro metro and train ride from central Rome. I just don't understand why it's not much more famous. And mid-week in late September, I doubt if there were more that a hundred people on the whole site.

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Make sure you visit Atrani (just over the hill from Amalfi - heading South) and sit in the square with a beer between 5pm and dusk - watching the locals. It's like Eastenders and Corrie all rolled into one. If you stay there a few days you'll get to know all the characters

 

There is a nice seafood restaurant on the waters edge as well. Amazing seafood pizzas served with a nice cold beer

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Ravello is stunning but can be cool, misty and under cloud for parts of the day at this time of year. Capri is certainly a tourist honeypot, but as the season is over you are likely to see it differently than in high season where it is a place to avoid. Getting there will depend on sea conditions and whether ferries/hydrofoils are running. This is a traditional holiday area, so mediocre, overpriced food and drink dominate. Like anywhere there are good places if you look around. The best place for coffee is Naples. Many coffee bars that look like they haven't changed in the past 50 years and quite a few with lever machines. Challenging city through and often avoided by visitors. Just go with the flow and enjoy!

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Bit off topic, but if scale is your thing, then you'll find Ostia Antica, near Rome, absolutely incredible. I went there for the first time about a month ago. It's an old Roman port town that became disused, then silted up, and only excavated again this century. The scale is immense, (rows of warehouses, shops, bars, apartment blocks. You can touch things, climb up to first floors, and the top of the amphiteatre, and really generally feel the experience - all for a one and a half euro metro and train ride from central Rome. I just don't understand why it's not much more famous. And mid-week in late September, I doubt if there were more that a hundred people on the whole site.

 

Thanks Vintagecigarman. Just googled this as I hadn't heard of it and it looks amazing. Will certainly try and go there on another trip.

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Make sure you visit Atrani (just over the hill from Amalfi - heading South) and sit in the square with a beer between 5pm and dusk - watching the locals. It's like Eastenders and Corrie all rolled into one. If you stay there a few days you'll get to know all the characters

 

There is a nice seafood restaurant on the waters edge as well. Amazing seafood pizzas served with a nice cold beer

 

Thanks Glenn, Atrani is now on the list. Had a quick google and it looks great.

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Ravello is stunning but can be cool, misty and under cloud for parts of the day at this time of year. Capri is certainly a tourist honeypot, but as the season is over you are likely to see it differently than in high season where it is a place to avoid. Getting there will depend on sea conditions and whether ferries/hydrofoils are running. This is a traditional holiday area, so mediocre, overpriced food and drink dominate. Like anywhere there are good places if you look around. The best place for coffee is Naples. Many coffee bars that look like they haven't changed in the past 50 years and quite a few with lever machines. Challenging city through and often avoided by visitors. Just go with the flow and enjoy!

 

Thanks Gary, will be interesting to see how different Capri is off season - probably a lot nicer!

I do like Naples, It's a grimy city, but I like it. Though the taxi ride I had from the train station a few years ago was one of the most insane (and frightening!) experiences I've had.

 

I'm quite disappointed we didn't end up staying in Ravello in a way, but we'll certainly pay it a visit. I suspect it will be quite cloudy for much of the time next week anyway. Praying for a bit of sunshine at least.

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