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car rental near Naples port
We are looking to rent a car to drive 'n see on our own in Naples Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, etc.), can you recommend a car hire agency close to the port? I believe we will dock in Molo Beverello and I have been unsuccessful in my search attempts. Many, many thanks for all the help!
Where to start on this question? We have been to Naples several times, once on a cruise ship, the others from Sorrento where we were enjoying land based stays. This is what we have observed.
Naples is Naples and the traffic is scary, fast and furious when its not stopped or slowed to a crawl. They drive using horns, brakes, shouting and universally known finger and hand signals. It can be quite difficult to cross a street. The crossings near the main museum are particularly daunting for some and we heard of some passengers who did not make it into the museum because they could not cross the street. Watching the traffic can be fun. When we went to Piazza Plebiscito (close to the dock) we discovered on a section of it that we were slightly raised and could look down on a busy junction. Hair raising. We watched for a good few minutes.
If you brave this and succeed in getting out of the city, the Amalfi route is very busy and bendy. It is also quite narrow in places and the buses often have to swing across to the opposite lane to get around a bend. Sometimes you have to back up to let the driver cross to "your" side. Sometimes it is too narrow for two buses to pass and everyone has to back up to a wider section. One day whilst on a local bus we were stopped by an accident. Not so much an accident, simply a tourist coach and a public transport local bus firmly wedged together on a bend. Some of the bends have mirrors on them so you can see if anything is approaching you from the opposite direction. If you go higher up, such as Ravello from Amalfi, the roads are narrow and have sheer drops down hundreds of feet. This applies also on the coast side of the Sorrento Amalfi route. You will see many cars, buses, lorries etc which show scrapes, dents, broken wing mirrors etc.
And last but not least, you are on the Amalfi coast for the views. If driving you will see almost nothing.
Perehaps others would advise differently, but I would suggest you use a ships tour, a private tour, or the very good public transport available locally. If you "SEARCH THIS FORUM" with key name places such as Pompeii, Herculaneum, Vesuvius, Sorrento, Capri, amalfi etc, you should get lots of previous threads and replies popping up in the results as these are all FAQs. You will find lots of info on them. Public transport is user friendly and cheap.
All I can say about a person driving the Amalfi Coast themselves is .....
I couldn't even sit on the side of the bus that was next to the CLIFF. Too much.
Rethink driving this yourself, unless you are used to VERY winding, VERY crowded, VERY cliffhanger drives. The Pacific Coast Highway in CA between Morrow Bay and Santa Cruz is a easy piece of cake compared to the Amalfi Coast.
I have lived and driven in the SF Bay Area and Los Angeles my entire life. I commuted the worst traffic in CA for years and years. I know what you are referring to with the drives in the hills of Los Angeles.
The driving you are accustomed to does not compare to what we are describing here.
I'm sure someone will answer your questions regarding where to rent the car.
All the major (and some smaller) rental car companies have rental offices in Naples. I do not recall anyone right at the port, but you should have no problem finding an office within a mile of the pier. Keep in mind you can always walk out of the port and flag-down a taxi rather than fight for a cab on the pier where they often only want long haul hires. As to driving in this part of Italy, if your husband is comfortable driving in busy cities such as New York City, DC, LA. etc. and if he has a great sense of direction than its doable. We recently spent a week on the Amalfi coast (Praiano) where I drove every day along the Amalfi drive covering much of the territory from Hurculanium and Pompeii all the way to Amalfi (and everything between). Its tricky, but fun. But some warnings. The traffic during the summer on the Amalfi Drive can be awful, so assuming you do not get lost you will need to figure at least 1 hour to just get from Sorrento to Positano (half way to Amalfi). Parking in Positano is very difficult and you best chance would be to actually drive down the road into town and hope there is room at one of the very expensive garages. Amalfi has a large parking lot in town (its on a wharf) and Ravello also seems to have sufficient parking. Be prepared for delays enroute since its common for traffic to come to a halt on the Amalfi Drive because the road is not wide enough for two buses (or even a car-bus) to pass. And last, but not least, have a backup plan to catch-up to the ship in case you cannot get back to the port in time for departure. Also beware that in May there was some road construction along the highway that connects Naples to Sorrento,,, and I am not sure whether that will be a factor in the future.
I am a NY driver and would NOT drive here. If I can hanle the trafffic of NYC, San Francisco is a piece of CAKE! I have driven in Rome, and through the Alps. We have driven in Paris! This far more daunting...my advice is DO NOT DO IT! Try auto europe or hertz.BUT also try a driver LOL!
LOL Queenk2. There is a big difference between driving in Italy vs. NYC. This past May we had a situation on the Amalfi Drive where I had to squeeze by a large tourist bus (neither of us could back-up due to traffic). It was so tight that I had to reach outside my window and fold-in the side view mirror in order to avoid having it knocked-off. It all worked out well, but if this had happened in NYC the bus would have simply kept going and not worried about taking off my mirror (or side of the car). After spending a week back and forth on the Amafi Drive we never saw so much as a fender-bender. The Italians are crazy drivers, but they are also some of the best drivers. By the way, we love to use AutoEurope but they do not handle single day bookings.
It sounds like you had fun driving around there. We had fun riding the buses. Our favourite (because it was the scariest as we were sitting up front) was the Amalfi/Ravello/Amalfi route on the local bus. The tyres may have been on the road, but I swear the body of the bus was overhanging some of the drops as we swung around bends.