Sorrento Coast (Vico Equense)

  • Sat 9/21 – land at 9:45am and arrive at hotel before noon. Catch 12:48 train to Naples.
  • Sun 9/22 – 
  • Mon 9/23 – 
  • Tues 9/24 – pack and leave at 9am for Rome

We are staying at Hotel Mary (Via Filangieri 132, Vico Equense). Map (note that the Google Map places the red dot wrong; the hotel is towards the bottom left of the screen). WiFi is listed as available but cost unclear. This is a good, inexpensive place to stay if you don’t mind a walk to the train station and a short train hop to Sorrento. And leaving Sorrento by 9:30pm or so to return.

A group of us ended up chartering a private boat tour that left from the docks at Vico Equense and visited Positano, had lunch on Capri, and went part-way around Capri. Very nice day.

Vico Equense city web site.

The train station (Vico Equense) (Linee Circumvesuviana Naples-Sorrento) is approximately 1/4 mile walk from hotel.  Google Maps says the walking time is about 11 minutes. We go up Corso Filangeri toward Via Cavottole, left on Via Cavottole bearing right at the Y, left onto Via Cortile and then turn right onto Via Santa Sofia and follow that to the train station.

The Vico Equense station is near the end of the Sorrento Line from Naples to Sorrento. There really isn’t anything to see in Vico Equense so plan to take the train to Naples or Pompeii or Sorrento. The train schedule and other information is at: www.vesuviana.it.  

The train takes about 1hr (or 40 mins on the express) into center of Naples and the detailed schedule is here. But since there is only 1 line, basically get to the train station and take the next train going towards Naples. The local train arrives in Naples before the next express.  Note that we usually want to get off at the Garibaldi / Centrale Station which is 1 stop before the end of the line in Naples.

Note that on Saturday the school kids take the train home in the early afternoon (short day) and the train was packed!

Remember: Last train from Naples Garibaldi leaves at 9:41pm (into Vico Equense @ 10:36pm) and the last train from Sorrento leaves at 9:37pm (into Vico Equense @ 9:48pm).  Basically, be at a train station by 9:30pm or find your way back to the hotel on your own (i.e., an expensive cab ride).  And since this is Italy, I wouldn’t depend on the train not leaving a couple of minutes early.

We have one afternoon and 2 full days.

Things to do:

Naples:

While Naples is an hour train ride away, the on-line forums are split about going there.  A great many posting say Naples is very dirty and overall disgusting.  But there are a few posts that say everything is just fine. Unfortunately, you never know which posts are real, which are overly critical, and which are just self-promotion.  I found it just like any big city, dirty but not overly disguising.

The  Museo Archeologico Nazionale (open daily 9am -7:30pm) has a world renowned collection of frescoes and mosaics from Pompeii, Roman sculpture, glass and coins.  It is a wonderful add-on if you are also going to Pompeii/Herculuem or have already been as most of the items of note has been removed from Pompeii/Herculuem and taken to the museum. Cost is €10 (as at Feb 2011) but included in the artecard. Take the train into Naples Garibaldi/Centrale Station, take Metro Line 2 towards Pozzuoli 1 stop to Cavour; walk up the hill. 

After the museum, we were hungry and stopped and eat pizza right outside the museum.

Naples Metro
Transportation Map

  • 12:25 (latest) leave for train station
  • 12:48 pm catch train to Naples; arrive 1:43pm
  • 1:45 pm take Metro Line 2 towards Pozzuoli; 1 stop to Cavour; walk up the hill
  • 2:15 tour National Museum for 3 hr- 5:15 walk 15 mins to Montesanto funicular (runs every 10 mins)
  • 6pm (1800) Castel Sant’Elmo €5 for elevator to top
  • 6:45 pm (1845) Walk to Centrale funicular
  • 7pm (1900)  walk 30 mins or take R2 bus to da Michele (pizzeria)
  • 7:30pm (19:30) dinner at da Michele
  • 8:45 pm 10 min walk to Porta Nolana station
  • 9:09 pm (21:09) and 21:39 last trains from Naples; arrive 10:06 or 10:36pm. The late night trains can be a bit sketchy so we sat in the car that had a conductor.

Volcano:

Can’t pass up Pompeii, Herculuem and/or Mt. Vesuvius itself.

Take the train from Vico Equense towards Naples. Best to be alert at the Circumvesuviano train platform for very organized and sophisticated pickpocket gangs that operate there.  Guard your wallet and avoid sudden crowds when boarding the train.  I don’t know if the warning are overblown since we will be visiting after main tourist season.
– Pompeii   Get off at the “Pompeii Scavi, Villa dei Misteri” stop, and walk approximately 100 meters to the Porta Marina entrance. Private guides can be hired at the entrance, or comprehensive audio guides can be rented. Alternatively, you can take an organized tour or just walk around.  Plan to spend 2-3 hours.

Visiting Pompeii

– Mt. VesuviusSince it can be much colder, windier and maybe wetter at the top, bring some warm clothing on the trip if you plan to go to the top.

From the hotel: – take the train and get off at the “Ercolano Scavi” train stop and take the Vesuvius Express minibus €20 each, including admission.

From Pompeii:- UnicoCampania bus marked EAVBUS or City Sighteeing Naples. Bus to top at 1pm, 1:50pm, 2:40pm and 3pm.  Buses back at 2:55pm, 4:40pm and 5:40pm (last bus!).  Ride takes 1 hr each way.  But you can catch any bus down. Departs from Piazza Antiteatro 

– Busvia del Vesuvio departs from train station hourly from 9am to 3pm. Approx 1 hr at the top. You need to take a specific bus back down. Total time 3 hrs back to train station. More details at: www.pompeivesuvio.info

The reviews of the 2 buses don’t point to a clear winner.  The EVABUS has the advantage of any bus downwards, while some of the reviews for Busvia were very positive; probably depends a lot on the driver you happen to get.

– Herculuem Get off at the “Ercolano Scavi” train stop, then walk downhill for about 1 km (½ mile). Private guides can be hired at the entrance, or comprehensive audio guides can be rented. Alternatively, you can take an organized tour.

leahtravels pompeii-mt-vesuvius-naples

When we visited Pompeii, we were assigned a tour guide that, while claiming to speak English fluently, had an accent such that we couldn’t easily understand him. So we switch to a different guide that we could understand.


If the weather is really nice, one option is to have a beach/island day; Ischia or Capri are reasonable options. Not sure how warm it will be in mid-September. Since we were in Mykonos and Santorini two years ago, just got back from Aruba, and been to Hawaii many times, just going to the beach isn’t a high priority.

Ischia:

a small island in the Bay of Naples.  Giardini Poseidon Terme (Poseidon Gardens) is a hydro-therapy spa and beach club.

Capri

Visiting Capri.   Map.    Ferry schedule.

The ferry to Capri uses the Marina Piccola port in Sorrento, just a short walk downhill from the Sorrento train station.  Since Sorrento is only 11 minutes by train (as opposed to an hour to Naples), and then 25 mins to Capri (as opposed to 50 mins), going via Sorrento is the better option.  

gescab ferry line between Sorrento and Capri.

The other option is to go to Capri from Sorrento but return to Naples so the evening can be spent there. Capri-Naples ferry  The last ferry to Naples leaves Capri at 6:10pm and costs €18.60.

Trains leave Sorrento every 30 min until 21:37 (9:37pm). 

Beach clubs: Bagni TiberioLido del Faro (a Blue Flag beach that is on the other side of island)

Tour bus

Individual public bus one-day ticket €8.40. It may be used for only one day and by one person. It is valid for two funicular rides and an unlimited number of bus rides for Capri, Marina Grande, Marina Piccola, Anacapri, Faro and Grotta Azzurra.

The Scala Fenicia (Phoenician Staircase) begins above Palazzo a Mare, to the west of Marina Grande, and ends near Villa San Michele in Anacapri (or the opposite going down). It has about 800 steps and plan 30 mins down and 45 mins up. Most reviews say to go down, except I find that going down steps is much worse on my knees that climbing up so it may be a trade-off between knees and cardio.

Capri Whales di Wendy – 5-star TripAdvisor rating for boat rentals.   Meet at little shop front to the left of the funicolare station as you come off the quay at Marina Grande.

gianni’s boat –  meeting point for passengers is the Caffè Augusto in Marina Grande.  5-start and lots of TripAdvisor recommendations.

Via Krupp is high-rated winding walkway from Capri Town down to the water. 

Blue Grotto – Remember to check the tides and seas since there is no tour if rough seas or during high tide. Expect to pay around 12 Euro

Green Grotta – Able to swim here if from a private boat and entrance is free.


The Amalfi coast is very scenic and could make a nice-weather outing.  Take the train to Sorrento. Take the SITA bus from across from train station to Positano (50 min ride); sit on the Right side of the bus for best views. Get off at the Sponda stop (the one after Chiesa Nuova). Buses run about every 30 min and are marked “Amalfi via Positano”. After lunch, take a boat to Capri.  Or get to Capri on the noon ferry and lunch on Capri.
italys-amalfi-coast-cruising-with-enzo

Hydrofoils leave Positano for Capri at noon (Gescab – Alicost – €18.90) and 2pm (Lucibello – €20). Ferry Schedule  (As of July 2nd; times change so will need to recheck in September.)  Arrive in Capri 25-30 mins later.  Then return in the evening as above.