We received a particularly interesting travel tip from Franco Parla, who is a member of the Italian “camperisti italiani” community. He has been travelling in his motorhome for many years, and would like to introduce you to his favourite travel routes.
Dear Motorhome lovers, a big hello from Franco Parla.
I would like to share my recent experience of a visit to Sorrento and the Amalfi coast with you: What difficulties can be expected there during a the visit? What sort of problems might motorhome owners encounter?
My wife and I visited these locations at the beginning of October. Our “base” was at the Nube d'Argento camp site in Sorrento, where we have stayed before. In October, this camp site costs about 30 Euros per night for two people and is therefore probably more expensive than the average, but it is in a very central location.
The coordinates are: 40°37'31.5"N 14°21'56.2"E 40.625422, 14.365614
It is important to mention the camp site is on the right hand side on a corner when you arrive. Unless you have a particularly short motorhome, you may encounter a problem at the entrance to the camp site: You won't be able to get in. The solution: Drive past the camp site, make a U-turn and you will then be able to get into the entrance without problems.
There is another camp site one and a half kilometres down the road in the direction of Massa Lubresne. Not only is this further away, but the road also has a steep slope and no pavement in places. Of course, you can also take the bus to the town centre from there, but at certain times the journey can take much longer due to traffic.
Sorrento is only a few metres away from the Nube d’Argento camp site, and it is a beautiful and lively city. You’ll find tourists there all year round. There are many shops and restaurants and, particularly many traditional Limoncello manufacturers, where you can not only try the famous liqueur, but also a wide range of other products such as sugared almonds, sweets, nougat and much more. From the terrace of the Villa Comunale, you can enjoy magnificent view of the gulf of Naples and Vesuvius. You might recognise this view worldwide from postcards, since it is a popular subject. The city lies on a plateau high above the sea. In order to visit the coasts and beaches, you have to descend from the plateau. However, if you wish you can also take the bus to the Marina Piccola beach and from there back to the centre. From Marina Piccola, you can also take an excursion to Capri with the ferry or a speedboat. This tour will leave you with some great memories, and is well worth the price of approx. 80 Euros per person: Round trip by ferry/hydrofoil, island tour on a boat, visit to the blue grotto, travel to Anacapri by cable car or bus.
If you don’t want to stop in Sorrento itself, you can also go to Pompeii, where there are many cheaper camp sites and motorhome pitches. From here, you can take the Circumvesuviana to Sorrento. This train travels from Naples to Sorrento and also stops at Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vico Equense. However, you must also take the cost and time of the train trip into consideration when doing this. Personally I find it better to park your vehicle in Sorrento.
The Amalfi coast: Motorhomes are not allowed on the roads along the coast until 10 pm. The roads along the Amalfi coast are narrow, and there are many difficult locations and narrow tunnels. Buses which are much bigger than motorhomes may drive along the roads but not motorhomes, unfortunately.
What's the solution? How can motorhome owners view the sights of the Amalfi coast? There are three options:
Travel on the regular bus from Sorrento to Positano and Amalfi. This is the cheapest solution.
It is also the most spectacular: Travel from Sorrento on one of the regular boats which land in the most important locations on the Amalfi coast. Of course, it takes a long time to get there, but you avoid the traffic jams and you can marvel at the artistic, colourful villages on the rocks from the sea. You can get onto and off the boat wherever you like, e.g. in the harbours of Positano, Amalfi or Minori. You can't visit Ravello on this type of trip because it isn't situated on the coast.
My wife and I took option 3: We rented a small vehicle. There are several car hire companies in the “Corso Italia” opposite the Circumvesuviana train station in Sorrento. You can rent a car for 24 hours for about 50 Euros. This gives you independence, and you can travel where you want, when you want. A little patience may be required at the rental stations, and you may have problems parking during your trip. This is why I recommend renting a small vehicle. I had no particular problems finding a parking space in Ravello. If you can’t find a parking space at the roadside, there are also car parks where you can pay and will definitely find a space. It’s not that easy everywhere. In the coastal villages, you will have to search around a little. However, with a little patience you will usually find a parking space on the roadside outside the village centre. I have actually often asked myself: If motorhomes were allowed to drive down these roads, where would they park? It is practically impossible for these kinds of vehicles.
But don't let yourself be put off by this. Try one of the one of the three options which best suits your needs, and enjoy Amalfi with its beautiful cathedral, Positano, Ravello and the other villages with their spectacular views. The Amalfi coast is simply wonderful!
Franco Parla, Camperista Italiano
More information about Franco Parla, the “camperisti italiani” community and many other travel tips can be found on the Italian web site www.camperisti-italiani.com