Plan for two days
Our plan was to drive from Villa Angelina in Sorrento to Positano and then to Amalfi town where we had booked our accommodation for two nights. We planned to drive slowly through the scenic Amalfi coast, stopping for an hour or two at Positano to explore before arriving at our stay near Amalfi Town. The next day would be dedicated for exploring Amalfi town and Ravello.
By the End of two days
Amalfi coast was very beautiful. Unfortunately all the coastal towns were very overcrowded with cars and visitors. On the first day we drove through Positano and did not have any opportunities to stop and explore the town as we could not find a place to park our car. We only manage to catch a glimpse of Positano town from the valley side. After checking in to our hotel we went out to explore Amalfi town. The next day we took a boat trip from Amalfi town to Positano. This time we saw Positano coming inward from the sea and it was a beautiful sight. We did not explore Ravello as our timing was off and decided to skip it.
On hindsight we had made a wrong choice of selecting Nido Degli Dei as our base. Two much time were wasted commuting between Nido Degli Dei and the coast and this had caused us to drop our visit to Ravello and two walking treks due to the limited time.
Sorrento to Amalfi Coast
From our stay Villa Angelina there were several roads to our stay at Amalfi Coast. We took a longer route that brought us through the coastal road. Though the total distance was only about 60 km the duration was long due to the windy road. Once the road reached the coast it hugged the coastal line and the drive became more scenic.
A couple of kilometers before Positano we started seeing cars parked by the roadside. Then about a kilometer from the start of the town the road was jammed with cars. For an hour our car could only inch forward slowly. Right in front, at the start of the town were two policemen stopping and directly traffic, to me they seemed to be causing the congestion than easing it.
When we reached the policemen, they just waved us through. We drove on looking for suitable places where we could park and come down to explore the town. All the carparks were full and the lots along the street were packed with cars.
Positano was a pictureque coastal town. Its colorful houses were built on the slope of a hill that descended to the beach/sea. The houses looked spectacular in the afternoon sun. Unfortunately our car was forced to move forward as there was absolutely no where to park and stop. Finally we found an empty space by the side of the road but it was a handicap parking lot. There was no police around so we supposed we could just stop for 5 to 10 minutes, stayed by our car to take a couple of photo shots.
Unfortunately, the moment we got out of our car we saw the shopkeeper lady across the road staring hostilely at us. She whipped up her mobile phone and took pictures of our car. Oh – no its seemed like “neighbourhood – policing” in action! We had no choice but to get into our car and drove on.
Our stay for two days was Nido Degli Dei and it was located in a small village San Lazzaro. San Lazzaro was a municipality of Agerola. On the map Nido Degli Dei looked so near the coast and we thought that it would be a good base for exploring Amalfi Coast. Unfortunately the “nearness” to the coast was incorrect, the journey from Sorrento to Nido Degli Dei was 59 km taking about 135 minutes and last one third of the journey was just for driving uphill to San Lazzaro!!
Just when we would do a sharp left turn and drive uphill there was a no entry sign. So we had to drive further down the road to search for another alternative road to go uphill. The alternative road added 2 to 3 km into our route adding more twists and turns with sections of terribly narrow road.
The situation was worsen when we met on coming cars and buses.The drive was exhausting for Yat Thong and “scary” for me as I felt on several instances our car was either too close to the cliff drop or a house or an on-coming vehicle. Midway we just had to stop for a coffee break to “de-stress”.
San Lazzaro was a small town with a few shops, cafes and restaurants at its town square (piazza). After we settled our stuff in our hotel we did some town exploration and found that besides a couple of scenic spots there was really NOTHING much to do at San Lazzaro.
We had to get back to the coast, to Amalfi town and from there could “bus”/”ferry” to Positano or ” Ravello. Oh dear… after experiencing the “terrible” drive to San Lazzaro we dreaded driving back to the coast again and even if we managed to drive down to coast we would still have the problem of parking. Our host suggested other two ways to go down to the coast, by trekking or by public bus.
We could do a scenic walk to Amalfi town, by trekking on an ancient route, “Maestra dei Villaggi” path. This ancient footpath connected main villages from Agerola to Amalfi town at the coast. Along the trail would be breathtaking views of steep cliff with villages/houses clinging on to it and the beautiful sea below. Our host told us that it would take about an hour of walking, but according to google map it would take 1hr 42 min and from our experience we would take one and a half time of that stated on google map which meant we would need 2.5 hour. The walking path looked less windy than than the driving route, which also meant plentiful of steep trekking.
Though trekking an ancient footpath seem interesting but we figured by the time we trekked to Amalfi town we would not have much time to explore as we would need to hop onto the last bus back to San Lazzaro.
In the two days we took two return bus trips to the coast. Each single way journey costed €2 per person and required about 45 minutes to an hour. At times the bus was over crowded and we had to stand practically all the way. Compared to our car the big size bus made me felt safer when it winded its way down to Amalfi town.
The only issue with going by bus was the duration between buses were not consistent, some times it was an hour apart some times it was 3 hours apart.
On our second bus trip to the coast we missed the 9.30 am bus and had to wait till 12.15 pm for the next bus, what a waste of time!
Another problem with staying so far away from the coast also meant that we had to watch out for the last bus back to San Lazzaro, if we missed it we would not be able to get back to our hotel as it would take more than 2.5 hours to walk back in the dark.
The bus stop was at the town Piazza where Chiesa della SS Annunziata (church) stood. We were at the Piazza at 3.30 pm but the ticketing booth was closed. We walked across the road to a “Tobacco shop” to get the ticket but the shopkeeper was away for his afternoon siesta. We could get the standard one-way ticket at a ticketing machine nearby but chose to wait for the shopkeeper to come back from his siesta break as we wanted to check out the day pass. At about 4.20 pm the shopkeeper appeared, he told us the day pass (24hr) costed €10 per person for unlimited rides. We decided not to buy the day pass after all.
On the second day when we returned to San Lazzaro after visiting Positano we stopped at a cafe for icecream and cakes. It was only 6 pm, and the place was all bright and cheerful (sunset at about 9.30 pm), it seemed such a waste to just return to our hotel and do “nothing”. We spotted Cafe Avitabile, a delightful store just across the bus stop at San Lazzaro Piazza. The cafe owner was a pretty lady and she made us an equally pretty icecream. The ice cream costed €5.
We felt that we had selected a wrong base for our Amalfi coast exploration. We booked Nido Degli Dei on Booking.com and on the map of the booking website the hotel looked so near the coast which made us thought that it would be a short ride to the coast. We should have double checked on google map the route/distance/time getting to it from the coast.
Staying at Nido Degli Dei forced us to depend on public bus for the transfers to and back from the coast which greatly limited our time to explore Amalfi coast. Each day we wasted 2 hours on the bus going to Amalfi town and returning to our hotel. It was only at Amalfi town where we could get to places like Positano and Ravello and the other coastal towns. Whereever we went we had to be conscious of returning to Amalfi town for our the last bus back to our hotel. This time constraint caused us to drop our visit to Ravello and two trekking trips on the “Path of Gods” and “Maestra dei Villaggi”.
Amalfi town was one of the most historic towns along the Amalfi Coast. The town started near the water edge with a pretty promenade. From far on a bus we could already see several levels houses built on the slope bordering the sea.
On the first day we reached Amalfi town at about 5.30 pm, there was no point hopping onto another bus to visit Positano or Ravello as would not be able to return to Amalfi for the last bus back to our hotel. So we decided to just explore Amalfi town.
We found a restaurant, Gran Cafe, by the sea front and sat down for dinner. We had pizza, and a cake and the cost was €36. The food was not impressive but the view and ambience were great. By now we were no longer expecting much of local food as we were definitely spoilt by the rich Italian food served in Singapore.
After dinner we went down to the jetty and found a spot to sit and relax. It was pure bliss to see the sky turning dark and the town lights brightening up. We would love to stay till the sky turn black and the entire town lighted up like a “christmas tree” but sadly we had to leave or we would miss the last bus back to San Lazzaro.
We were back to Amalfi Town on the second day to take a ferry to Positano. The ferry cost was €8 per person. Our host had told us that viewing Positano from the sea was a beautiful experience so we heeded her advise. The boat ride was a 20 minutes trip. Coming in from the sea we saw Positano from a different angle, its colouful houses looked pretty stunning clinging onto the sides of the cliff.
The boat stopped at the jetty on the beach and from there we explored the town through a maze of stairs that went uphill. From the beach there were several paths uphill and we took the path on the left trekking up slowly. It was a long way up and the steps were pretty steep.
It was exhausting to go up the steps and soon we were out of breath. The path were lined with doorways on both sides. There was so sign indicating where we were on or what was ahead. We could only depend on our google map, which was not very accurate at this point, to navigate our way up. Eventually the walking path led to an open area and we got a lovely view of the colourful houses on the opposite side of the hill.
The hillside formed sort of a semi-circle over the beach/jetty. On the left side of the bay we had a lovely view of the houses on the right side of the cliff. Similarly when we reached the right side we got a lovely view of the houses on the left slope of the hill.
Positano was definitely a busier destination then Amalfi town. Tourists and visitors everywhere, thronging the colourful vibrant shops occupying the lower levels of the town.
From Positano we took a bus to return to Amalfi Town. The price of the ticket was €2.40 per person. It was not easy to find a “Tobacco store” that sold the bus tickets. There was a local bus (Interno) that looped the town of Positano and this bus did not go to Amalfi town. Only the SITA bus plied between the coastal towns. The SITA bus stops were not on any of the Positano internal roads there were sited only on the “Via G Marconi /Amalfi Drive”, a road that rounded the outer edge of the town.
We booked Nido Degli Dei at Booking.com for €130 for two nights. It came with ensuite toilet, breakfast, parking and panoromic view. We thought the pricing was very good for a stay so near the coast. If was only on arrival that we realised that though on the map it was near the coast to get to it was a 45 minutes of uphill drive thought terribly windy and narrow road.
Our room was on the 2nd level with a window with not much view and practically no wifi signal and data roaming signal in the room. To see the scenic view around us we had to go out to the ground floor terrace or the 3rd level shared balcony. The 2nd level balcony was a private balcony for the front rooms on the 2nd level.
Breakfast served at Nido Degli Dei was Italian breakfast. Though it was the standard fares, the food was fresh, coffee was aromatic and the view was great.