Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Any recommendations for where to stay on the Amalfi Coast in Italy to experience Roman history?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Monday 08 April 2013
Q. My girlfriend and I are looking to spend a week on the Amalfi Coast in Italy in early June, on a combined beach and sightseeing holiday. We’d like your recommendations for hotels to stay in that are close to the beach but have easy access to day trips to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Vesuvius, etc, to experience the culture and history of southern Italy.
Mike Hawdon, Sutton
A. The Amalfi Coast is lovely, but not ideal for exploring the amazing Roman remains in Pompeii, Herculaneum and elsewhere – as currently highlighted in the British Museum’s blockbuster exhibition for 2013. Instead, focus on the Bay of Naples, which will be beautiful in June. Earlier this year I spent a week in the area, staying half the time in Naples and half in the resort of Sorrento (read about it here: bit.ly/PompHerc). All the sites are accessible on the cheap and cheerful (if not exactly punctual) Circumvesuviana railway.
In terms of hotels: for Naples, I commend a stay in the four-star Royal Continental (bit.ly/NapHC). Online, doubles with breakfast are available for €109 – including use of the rooftop pool. The hotel overlooks the bay, with Vesuvius as a constant reminder of the power of the restless earth.
In Sorrento, I stayed at the cheap and cheerful Hotel Linda (hotellinda.it), but the clifftop is lined with grand hotels, such as the Excelsior Vittoria (exvitt.it) – which is currently offering Pompeii specials.
From Sorrento, you can make a day trip by bus to the Amalfi Coast. Ideally, you should time it for the end of your stay, so you can continue along the fascinating corniche to the city of Salerno and then take a fast train back to Naples and the flight home.
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