Amalfi Itinerary | exploring the Gulf of Naples in 8 days
The region from Naples to Sorrento is the ideal destination if you want to have a mix of everything. There is a lot of culture and history, but also astonishing nature and great shopping opportunities. A great advantage of this region, especially for younger people, is that you can travel the whole bay just by using public transport. There is a train, the Circumvesuviana, that goes from Naples to Sorrento and has stops on various places along the way. A ticket for this train is around €2-€3,60 depending where you get off and there is a train every 30 minutes.
I did this trip with my boyfriend, who is also a student. We like to enjoy the atmosphere and each others company while seeing beautiful places, nature and culture on a budget, and with success.
We spent 3 days in Naples, which was the perfect length for us. Next, we went to Castellammare di Stabia, where we slept in a bed&breakfast for the rest of our vacation. We chose Castellammare di Stabia because it is close to everything we wanted to visit and the prices for accommodation are about half the prices from Sorrento, which was great for us students. Down below you can find our itinerary as well as a map of everything that we did, plus some things that we didn’t do but seemed interesting too.
Table of Contents
Day 1-3 | Naples
We arrived at the airport of Naples around 13h00. The best way to get to the city center is by taking the Alibus. This bus departs at the airport and stops at the train station of Naples and the port of Naples. There is a bus every hour, you can check the timetables here. From there, we had to walk just eight minutes to our apartment.
We took 2,5 days to explore Naples, which was the ideal length for us to visit the city. We saw what we wanted to see and didn’t get bored. To see how we spent our time in the city of Naples, check out this post:
Day 4 | Naples-Castellammare di Stabia
After we checked out of our apartment, we walked to the train station of Naples and took the Circumvesuviana to Castellammare di Stabia. There leaves a train every 30 minutes and a ticket costs €3,60. This train is quite busy from Naples to Pompeii so we were lucky to find seats. Once we passed the train station of Pompeii, half of the people got off and it was fairly calm on the train.
Castellammare di Stabia is a small coastal town on the bay of Naples. It is not very touristy, but there is still a good atmosphere and it has a small and cozy center. There is an esplanade from where you can see all the way to the Vesuvius, and it has a few good restaurants. If you are lucky, you can watch fireworks on the beach in the evening. It is very common in Castellammare to do fireworks, so if there is something to celebrate, you are probably going to see it.
After we arrived in Castellammare di Stabia and checked in at the B&B, we went to visit Villa Arianna, which is conveniently located in this town. It is part of the collection of excavations in the region, which also includes Pompeii and Herculaneum. The advantage of this villa is that you are almost entirely alone when visiting. We arrived in the around 15h00, and we were the 6th person that visited that day. The frescos are well preserved and the structure of the enormous villa is still clearly visible.
It was our first introduction to the excavations and it was just impressive to stand in a room with walls that were painted by someone 2000 years ago. although we were impressed, I think it is good that we saw this villa before we visited Pompeii because a whole village of excavations is, of course, more impressive than just one villa. That said, the villa at Pompeii is nothing much in comparison with Villa Arianna, and we got the chance to explore the place entirely on our own.
In the evening, we walked to the port of Castellammare. It is a more quiet place where you can enjoy the view of the sea. In the summer, there are a lot of big yachts that come to the Amalfi Coast, and often one or two of these enormous yachts moor in the port of Castellammare.
Day 5 | Pompeii & Boscoreale
We got up early to catch the train to Pompeii this day. To get there by taking the Circumvesuviana, you get out at the train stop called Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri . Entrance to the site is €15 per person, but there are also reduced rates (check here if you can get a reduced price). We got there half an hour before opening, and there were already at least 40 people waiting. At opening time, the small square in front of the entrance was really crowded. It seemed like there were a lot of people and it was going to be really crowded, but Pompeii is very spacious. You just have to go in another direction than the crowd and you have a piece of Pompeii all for yourself.
Pompeii is an entire town that is excavated, so all the streets have a name and you also get a map at the entrance, because otherwise you would get lost or miss some important parts. Be aware that there are no nice flat roads and you really have to watch where you step because the stones on these roads are pretty uneven. There are a lot of townhouses and small villas in the town, but they open and close at random times so you have to get lucky with this to see the right ones.
The places you really should see are the Forum Romanum, the Stabian Baths and the Theaters. Besides these three, there are a lot of villas with very well preserved frescos and beautiful atriums, but I think that you just need to walk around enough and hope that they are open at the moment that you pass them. So one piece of advice: if something is open, always go inside! Because there are chances that the next time you pass it, they are already closed again.
Next, we went to visit Boscoreale. We thought that going on foot was a good idea because it was not that far. But don’t do this! If you want to see Boscoreale, take at least the train to the nearest train station. The roads we walked were not that safe and we would not do it again. Boscoreale itself is just a museum with objects of the excavations. It is okay if you’re really interested, but not really special anymore when you already have seen the archeological museum in Naples.
Day 6 | Capri
In the morning, we headed to Sorrento to take the ferry to Capri from there. You can also take the ferry from Naples or Castellammare di Stabia, check the hours and prices here. We didn’t particularly visit Sorrento, we just walked from the train station to the ferry and back, but from what we have seen, I think it is definitely worth visiting.
The ferry is very pleasant, with comfortable seats and air conditioning. Once you get off the ferry, you arrive at the port of Capri. A good tip: when we arrived, we immediately went to exchange our online ticket for a valid ticket. There was no queue and we had more time to enjoy the island because we didn’t have to worry about waiting at the ticket office for our trip back anymore.
When we had our return tickets, we started to hike up to Piazza Umberto I. It is a square on top of the hill with a beautiful view of the cliffs of Capri. The path leading towards it is well marked and is a beautiful path of stairs between the little houses of Capri. It is a pretty steep hike, so if you’re not up for it, there is also a little train that goes up and down the hill. Once we were at Piazza Umberto I, we enjoyed the view and searched for a supermarket to buy some food for a picnic.
Next, we headed to walk Via Krupp. It was a beautiful path towards the Gardens of Augustus, from where the Via Krupp starts, but when we arrived, we found out that the Via Krupp was already closed for a few years.
We still wanted to try if we could access the Via Krupp from the other side. While walking all the way up to the Piazza Umberto I and walking all the way down to the other side of the Via (there is no shorter path because the Via Krupp runs as the only path on one side of a cliff, and the only path on the other side of the cliff is the one we came from), we arrived at a closed gate. On the way, we saw a few beach bars but they were very crowded and we wanted to have our picnic somewhere more quiet, but still next to the sea. We proceeded to find a way to some rocks next to the sea, where we could enjoy our picnic and our view.
When we took the ferry back and arrived at Sorrento, the view of the bay and of Capri was amazing. We enjoyed the view for a while and headed back to Castellammare di Stabia.
Day 7 | Hike Monte Faito
We wanted to hike the Monte Faito, there is a cable car that goes from Castellammare di Stabia to the start of the trail. The trail is a loop around the top of the mountain and offers amazing views of the bay.
Unfortunately, the cable car didn’t go up that day because of the bad weather. Because we couldn’t do our hike, we decided to relax for a day and discover the town a bit more.
The weather was unstable so sometimes the sun was shining for an hour between the rain showers. We came across this beautiful cocktail bar with a nice patio, called Palladino Sweet Therapy. They have a great selection of cocktails for a reasonable price and a nice and quiet patio.
Day 8 | Vesuvius & Herculaneum
We started our day in Herculaneum. To get there, you take the Circumvesuviana to Ercolano Scavi and you just follow the main road until you are at the entrance. After seeing Pompeii, we weren’t as astonished anymore. I think that it is better to first see Herculaneum and then Pompeii because Herculaneum is much smaller. Nevertheless, it was still very beautiful.
After that, we took the bus from Ercolano to the Vesuvius. We went with a bus of Vesuvio Express for €20 per person (€10 up and €10 down). Once arrived, you still have to walk a bit to the top of the volcano. The walk is fairly short, and normally you have great views while walking. However, when we were here, there was a big cloud around the top of the Vesuvius so we couldn’t see anything. We wanted to wait until the clouds went away, but it took too long and we had to leave to catch our bus back to Ercolano. The pictures of our walk on the Vesuvius are not useful because we couldn’t see anything, so the best picture that I have of the Vesuvius is a picture of our view in Castellammare di Stabia while eating pizza.