looking for suggestions for a family trip on a budget...
We will be flying into Naples on a hop and unable to book too many hotels, etc. in advance. We would like to see the Amalfi coast and possibly head up to Rome. We will have about 10 days to travel and will head out with 2 adults and 3 children (7,5,1). Will it be more cost effective for us to rent a car or travel by train? What in the area would be recommended? Thanks for any help!!
Hello, if you are on a budget train is probably preferrable. Also having a car means finding parking space which is not easy in Italian cities, unless your hotel has parking. Definitely go to Rome, there are so many things to see, and I think the older kids will find interesting too, the Colosseum, the Forum, the parks Villa Borghese for example. A great place is Villa Adriana, which was the summer palace of Hadrianus, big park lot's of ruins - great for the kids to run around. You have to check out how to get there, suburban train+bus, maybe a rental car for that and nearby Tivoli would be a good idea. In Naples go to Pompeii or Herculaneum (take the Circumvesuviana train). Naples is maybe not the best place for kids (too much traffic), but the food is wonderful. I don't know much about the Amalfi coast so can't help you there.
All I'd say about Naples is be very, very careful with a family when you are in the station area. We were there for 5 minutes and I nearly had my bag snatched, and my husband later had his wallet stolen in a crush to get on the trains. Trains are definitely an easy option on paper and cheaper, but be on your guard - I wouldn't dissuade you completely as I think we were a bit naive, and therefore were easy targets, if you're on your guard things shouldn't be too bad.
In hindsight I would have preferred a car...can get out to Pompeii and Herculaneum too quite easily which are incredible sites to see as greek gal says.
We arrived in Naples and took a ferry down to Amalfi but there are ferries that stop all along the coast so you could easily get off in Positano or Sorrento. We found a cost effective way of doing it was to hire a villa. And we hired a villa in Amalfi which made a good base to get to places such as the Isle of Capri, Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius etc. We could take ferries or buses along the coast as well.
The benefits of having your own villa mean that you can also do some cooking which keeps costs down and you can use it as a base as well. You could try and get a villa for 4 or 5 days and see the coast from there.
We loved Naples but it is hectic and as Inga said it may be a little difficult wandering around with children, mostly as you'd be concerned they would stop paying attention and step out in front of a scooter or something.
We blogged about it fairly recently Unbelizeable: An Italian Wedding
and would be happy to answer any further questions you had. Its a beautiful place and well worth the trip!
Unless you're a driver with nerves of steel, take the train up to Rome! While the faster Eurostar trains will get you there in about an hour, tickets cost about 50 euros each way. The slower trains are significantly less expensive and you can probably use the time to catch up on some sleep 😊 Plus, you don't have to worry about parking!
Going to sites around Naples (Pompeii, Ercolano), use the Circumvesuviana, regional trains and stuff like that. It's so much more convenient than driving, especially if your hotel is near the station.
For the kids, there is a zoo/theme park in the city called Edenlandia, which could be kind of interesting one day!
Hope you have a great trip!