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What to visit?

by lizscoular Online Now Feb 26, 2013 at 11:50 AM

We will be docking in Naples for 1 day this May. We want to visit Pompeii, but I also want to visit one of the picturesque towns on the coast. Should we shoot for the Isle of Capri, or Sorrento (or even another suggestion)? We like to go it on our own and not book one of the ship's excursions. Was thinking of taking the train from Naples to Pompeii and then Sorrento, if that is what we pick. Is that too much to pack into a day? It all looks so beautiful, it's hard to narrow it down!!

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by leics Online Now Feb 26, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    I'm afraid with only one day you will be pushed to see Pompeii (for which you should allow at least 2-3 hours) and 'towns' along the coast

    However, it shold be possible (depending on how long you have available) to visit Pompeii and have a quick look at Sorrento as well.

    You will first need taxi, shuttle or possibly bus (depending on how far you are prepared to walk) from your cruise ship dock to Napoli Garibaldi station. Perhaps allow 20-30 minutes for this?

    Then you need to take the cheap, fairly frequent Circumvesuviana train to Pompei Scavi Villa Mysteri station (which is directly opposite the site entrance). Tickets will cost less than 5 euro one-way, journey time from Napoli Garibaldi is around 35 minutes. Timetables here:

    http://www.vesuviana.it/web/en

    Circumvesuviana trains are like overground Metro trains rather than long-distance trains. They are safe and used as a commmuter service, but are often covered in graffiti..don't et that put you off. It's simply a cultural difference.

    Once you have explored Pompei you can take the Circumvesuviana onwards to Sorrento (around another 30 minutes). That's the end of the line, so no worries about getting off at the right place.

    Sorrento Circumvesuviana station is pretty much in the centre of the town, so you'll easily be able to explore a bit.

    I really do not think you have time to do anything else. And do allow ample time to get yourself back to the ship.

    A word of warning; Circumvesuviana trains can be very crowded indeed during commuter hours and also when schools and colleges finish (from around 2-3.30). You'll be able to get on (and if you are starting from Sorrento you should easily get a seat) but be prepared for lots of people standing.

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by mccalpin Online Now Feb 26, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Well, yes, there far more to do in the Bay area than you have time for :-(

    From the docks at Naples, to follow your thought, you would have to get over to the Circumvesuviana train station(it's up to a couple of kilometers, if I remember correctly), so I'd take a taxi just to save time. Tell the driver you want to go to the Circumvesuviana Napoli Terminale at Piazza Nolana (write this down, it'll help) - most people go to the main train station with the Circumvesuviana station next door, but the Terminale station is actually closer to the docks, and all trains for Sorrento start at Piazza Nolana anyway.

    It will take some 50 minutes to get to the Pompei S. Villa Misteri stop, which is just outside the entrance to the excavations. Of course, this means that it will take more than an hour to get back (waiting for the next train, 35 or so minutes on the train, and a taxi over to the docks).

    See vesuviana.it/web/files/Orari...">vesuviana.it/web/files/Orari... for the train schedule.

    To continue to Sorrento, you will need another 30 minutes, then a little more than an hour to train all the way back.

    I don't know how much time you have, but you can use this for planning.

    Also note that I imagine the hydrofoils will be running from the dock area straight over to Sorrento. So your potential trip could be: 1. Arrive at the docks in Naples 2. hydrofoil over to Sorrento, enjoying the bay view from sea and land, 3. take the train back towards Naples and get off at Pompeii. 4. See the excavations 5. take the train back to the Piazza Nolana station ("Terminale") 6. walk or taxi back to the docks.

    I haven't done the hydrofoil, but I am sure that in the terminal building at the docks, that there is an information desk to guide you...I'd do the hydrofoil first, because in case of bad weather, the service can be suspended...make waves while the sun shines ;-)

    Bill

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by leics Online Now Feb 26, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Here's the hydrofoil timetable and fares, should you wish to take that option:

    http://www.alilauro.it/orari-e-tariffe

    Services are not terribly frequent so whether this will work depends on your timings.

    Good idea to use Terminale for the Circumvesuviana, if it's feasible for you.

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  • Jamesr3939's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by Jamesr3939 Online Now Feb 26, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    We did a cruise stop there a few years ago and like you we usually do our own thing. However, the bottom line is there isn't much time and if you miss a transportation or get hung up the ship will leave you. I know because we saw it happen. Also, at Rome we were the last bus to get back as we were late. They had the lines all but untied and we had to use th small crew gangplank to board. The only safe way to see so much in a short time is do the ships tours. We bit the bullet and paid extra for the smaller "VIP" tour which was well worth it. I was not impressed with Naples if that helps.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by leics Online Now Feb 26, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    Naples is noisy and grubby and the traffic is horrendous (hence my warning about getting to/from the station or wherever) but it does have the superb National Archaeological Museum (with most of the artefacts from the Pompeii sites), the magnificent Cappella Sansevera and a fascinating historical centre with caves, catacombs and whole Roman streets still existing under later buildings. It's most definitely worth at least a day's exploration for itself, but perhaps not when you only have one day on a cruise stop.

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  • starship's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by starship Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    Just a few years ago we were actually on a cruise and took an excursion which covered Sorrento and Pompeii in one day. If I had it to do over again, I would have tried to spend the entire day in Pompeii and probably skip Sorrento altogether even though the sea views are beautiful. When we were at Pompeii it was very hot and dusty to the point of being extremely uncomfortable -- that being said, I would try to see it as early in the day as possible. But on another note, I have heard that Herculanium is even better than Pompeii and also quite close and reachable!!

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  • QuigleyM's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by QuigleyM Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 7:13 AM

    I agree, it will be too much to see Pompei and other towns in the same day. Pompei is absolutely enormous, and you won't even be able to see half of it in one day. Pompei is absolutely worth the visit--its history, the landscape, everything--to see something you've read about since you were little is amazing. On the other end of the spectrum is Sorrento and the islands, which are also beautiful and worth visiting in and of themselves. If you opt for an island, go to Ischia instead of Capri--yes, Capri is more famous, but it's also overrun with tourists. Ischia is just as beautiful, has thermal waters, and amazing food. Sorrento is very easy to get to from Naples and it is so, so charming. If I had to choose between Pompei, Sorrento, and Ischia....I would go with Sorrento. Unless you're a huge history buff, then go with Pompei. Whatever you do, don't waste your day exploring Naples.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by leics Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    I would agree that Herculaneum (accessed from Circumvesuviana station Ercolano, a little nearer to Naples than Pompei Scavi) is well worth visiting. It is a much smaller site and was affected in an entirely different way....there are far more organic remains in situ. The two sites are very different in atmosphere.

    Having said that, Herculaneum's very smallness means that it is likely to 'feel' far more crowded than Pompei (which is a vast site even though not yet fully excavated). And yes, if you are visiting Pompei when it's hot and sunny you do need to take plenty to drink (there is a small cafe inside, but it gets very busy) and be prepared to walk on uneven surfaces. There isn't a great deal of shade on the site and, obviously, the majority of surfaces are the original ones. You can certainly spend 3 hours very easily on site and not see it all (I've been 3 times now and still haven't managed everything, not least because restoration is an ongoing process, so buildings will always be closed).

    You can expect not to be alone. I was lucky enough to have Pompeii almost entirely to myself early one February morning, which was magical, but even in that low season tour groups started to arrive from around 10am.

    If the history is not your main focus and Pompeii will only be a brief visit then visiting Ischia, Capri or just Sorrento might be a better option.

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  • lizscoular's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by lizscoular Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    So many things to consider!! I appreciate all the comments - much food for thought!

    For now, going to keep my options open. thinking of taking the hydrofoil from Naples to Sorrento early in the day, spending a few hours, then taking the train to Pompeii, then the train back to Naples. Am hoping that taking the train will help us avoid the horrendous traffic!!

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  • starship's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by starship Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    By the way, if you do choose to go to Pompeii, and IF you are an animal lover, there are many dogs there that would really appreciate a treat! They were not aggressive when we were there, just lazy.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by leics Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    I'd agree absolutely that taking the train is by far the best option. Traffic is not only horrendous in Naples itself (most of the day, it seemed to me but also all along the coast during commuter times and on the major roads around Naples too.

    If you arrive in Sorrento by boat you will land at the bottom of a steep, high cliff. You can either walk up (not impossible, takes 10-15 mins or so, mostly steps and pathways rather than the road itself) or possibly take the little bus which meets boats (but it is very little, so you might be sardined) or take a taxi (there are always one or two hovering around when boats arrive). I have taken the bus and, when it was too sardined, walked up. The latter is quite pleasant, if strenuous, and does give a good idea of what life was like before the advent of the motor vehicle! :-)

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by leics Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    There have been stray dogs at Pompeii for centuries but I'm not fond of them, to be absolutely honest. I am always very wary of any dog I do not know and, on a couple of occasions,I did not enter a house simply because there was a dog lying asleep inside one of its 'rooms'.

    I've not seen them being aggressive to humans but I have seen them being aggressive to each other. I simply do not like the fact that there are stray dogs around the site (even though I'm sure they do a good job of guarding it against thieves and looters)....but that is just a personal thing.

    They've all looked pretty well-fed to me whenever I've visited. I believe they are 'looked-after', to some extent, possibly by staff or possibly by an animal charity (not sure about this).

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  • QuigleyM's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by QuigleyM Online Now Feb 28, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    I think your ideal of the hydrofoil to Sorrento and then train to Pompei is a good compromise. The train between Sorrento and Pompei is only an hour. You won't be able to find the schedule on the regular trenitalia website, as it is part of the Circumvesuviana line: http://www.vesuviana.it/web/

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by leics Online Now Feb 28, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    The train between Sorrento and Naples takes just over an hour. Sorrento >Pompeii is only 25 minutes.

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  • Re: What to visit?

    by valscamp Online Now Mar 15, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    We booked a bus trip from Rome to Pompeii, stopping for a walking tour in Naples then took the bus from Pompeii to Sorrento where we stayed the night. You could travel from Naples to Pompeii then Sorrento for a day but it would be fairly full on. If you go to Pompeii try and book a tour as they explain everything. Sorrento is beautiful and worth a visit

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  • johnbyjohn1's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by johnbyjohn1 Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 7:09 AM

    To see everything in few hours is very difficult, the only way is to take a private driver, if you find few more people join you is very convenient you can check sorrentoexcursionservice, I was using 2 years ago and was very nice

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: What to visit?

    by leics Online Now Mar 31, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    The poster did not say he/she was visiting on 1st May. They said '1 day in May'.

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