**So You Want to Drive Along the Amalfi Coast? (Free Italy Travel Advice)**
For the first time this week, I rented a car to drive to the
and navigate my way around its many villages. Even those who
haven't visited the area surely know of the famed Amalfi Drive (S.S.
163), filled with tour buses, cars and scooters all fighting for space
on hairpin turns along cliffs high above the sea. Yet every corner
seems to reveal an even more stunning view of the ocean, the villages,
the rows of lemon trees and even the clouds above. Should YOU
rent a car to explore this region?
Here are some things to consider:
* Driving Experience/Desire for
Adventure*: I don't mind driving
in Italy; I've done it numerous times, but I also know that drivers in
Italy are crazy. They see the lines in the road and speed limits as
mere suggestions and are incredibly impatient. If this is your first
time driving here, think about whether you are confident enough to do
so on one of Italy's most trying roads. On the Amalfi Drive, the road
is so narrow that special traffic cops must stop traffic to allow huge
tour buses to pass, the twists and turns require quick reflexes and
when it is raining, traffic can really back up (see photo -- but if
you're in one of the local buses, you're stuck in traffic too.)
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When driving along the Amalfi Coast, it is easier to do so in an
automatic car (lots of shifting in a manual). But an automatic is also
much more expensive. The cost for our one-week rental of an automatic
Mercedes hatchback was $575. (Filling the tank cost 57 euros -- gas is
much more expensive here.) Taking the train to Naples and then
switching to a smaller one for the Naples to Sorrento journey and then
taking the bus to all of the cities along the cost is far cheaper (but
lugging all your bags, ugh and it takes longer) but a rental is far
more cost effective than higher a car and driver (prices are definitely
at a high for this type of service). I always get the best rental rates
of Italy's 5% discount code:
Size/Luggage*: You will want to
rent the smallest car you can (all the easier for those tight
squeezes), but make sure it will hold you, your fellow travelers AND
all of your luggage. Having a car proved to be a great advantage for us
in handling our luggage. We could leave some of our bags in the trunk
of the car and not bring everything into each hotel -- all the better
since we tried a different hotel each night (a hazard of the job). I
don't recommend hotel hopping so much but if you are going to do it,
having a car helps.
to pay for it and it can be at a premium. Parking the car for one
night at our hotel in Amalfi cost 18 euros. If we had parked it at the
waterfront lot (where you can catch the ferries to Capri, etc.), it
would have cost 3 euros per hour. It makes sense to leave the car at
the hotel for short journeys and only take it out when you really need
it. Oh and always fold in your mirror if you can (that's what the
locals do) as space can be that tight.
Photo by Uljana Egli, flickr.com