Campania is served by Naples's Capodichino Airport (tel. 081-7896111 or toll-free from within Italy 848-888777; www.gesac.it); its international airport code is NAP. All attractions in the region are a short distance away.
Only a few international airlines fly directly to Naples so you may also decide to enjoy the wider choice offered by Rome's Fiumicino-Leonardo da Vinci airport (international airport code FCO). You'll then have to transfer to the train.
In addition to several low-cost companies, a few major airlines offer international flights to Naples from their European hubs: Alitalia, Air France, Aer Lingus, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, and Lufthansa. The only intercontinental nonstop flights to Naples are those offered by Meridiana from New York (Meridiana recently purchased Eurofly from Alitalia). From elsewhere in North America and from Australia and New Zealand, you will have to take a connecting flight (Rome is only 50 min. away, Milan about 90 min., and most European hubs about 2 hr.).
From the Airport -- About 7km (4 miles) from Naples's city center, the airport is only 20 minutes away from the downtown area and the harbor. The easiest way to get to your destination is by taking a taxi directly to your hotel: The flat rate for Naples is 19€ plus gratuities, 100€ for Sorrento, 120€ for Positano, 130€ for Amalfi, and 135€ for Ravello. Most hotels and resorts along the coast offer airport pickup: For a limousine booked through your hotel, you'll pay about 30€ for Naples, 90€ for Sorrento, and 115€ for Amalfi. You might get better rates contacting a car service directly.
If you don't have a lot of luggage, the Alibus shuttle bus (tel. 081-5513109; www.unicocampania.it) to Naples is a cheaper alternative at 3€. With departures every 20 minutes, it stops on Corso Garibaldi near Napoli Centrale train station, and in Piazza Municipio at the heart of the historic district. Shuttle bus service to other nearby towns (Sorrento and Castellammare di Stabia, for instance) is also available.
Italy enjoys an excellent railway system, and trains often are the most convenient way to get from one destination to another. Naples is on Italy's main southern corridor, making it easily accessible from other Italian and European towns. The national railroad company FS-Trenitalia (tel. 892021 from anywhere in Italy, 39-06-68475475 from abroad; www.trenitalia.it) offers local trains as well as the faster, more expensive AltaVelocità, EuroStar, and InterCity trains (designated AV, ES, and IC on train schedules, respectively), which make limited stops. AV trains -- Italy's fastest -- travel at speeds of up to 300kmph (186 mph). The new AV train takes only 87 minutes between Rome and Naples, and 5 hours and 35 minutes from Milan, making it by far the best way to move between these cities; regular trains take about 2 1/2 and 9 hours respectively for the same connections.
Fares for these fast trains are not cheap, but there are specials if you book online and in advance directly on the Trenitalia website (www.trenitalia.it). Children ages 5 to 11 receive a discount of 50%, and children ages 4 and younger travel free with their parents. Seniors and youths ages 25 and under can purchase discount cards. Advance seat reservations, which are obligatory on all AV, ES, and IC trains, are highly recommended for other trains during peak season and on weekends and holidays.
If you plan to travel extensively in Europe by train, it may be cheaper to purchase a Eurail Pass, a prepaid train pass for sale at all major rail stations and online (www.eurail.com). You can choose among several possible combinations, including an Italy-only pass granting 3 to 10 unlimited travel days within a 2-month period. Adult rates vary from between 153€ to 346€, depending on time and class. You will need to pay an extra fee for compulsory seat reservations on the faster trains and sleepers, but you'll be entitled to reductions on certain bus and ferry lines of up to 20%. If you prefer to discuss your options with a travel agent, contact Rail Europe (tel. 877/272-RAIL ; www.raileurope.com) or your own travel agent, but they'll charge a commission. Savings are available for youths ages 25 and younger and for groups.
Italy is well served by international ferries and is a regular stop on most cruise-ship lines. Two of its major ports are Naples and Salerno, both in Campania. Naples is the main port of central Italy, receiving daily ships and ferries from international destinations. Salerno is only slightly smaller.
Arriving in Naples by ship is a magnificent experience. You'll land at Stazione Marittima, only steps from the Maschio Angioino, in the heart of the historic district, the città antica. Salerno's harbor is also only a short distance from the historic district.
A number of cruise-ship companies sail to Naples, especially in the good season, from spring well into fall. One of our favorites is MSC Cruises (www.msccruises.com), both for the quality of ships and cruises and for the company's commitment to sustainable tourism and minimal ecological impact. Another favorite, both for the quality of its ships and service and its commitment to the protection of the environment, is Costa Cruises (www.costacruise.com). Other reliable companies offering cruises to Campania are Regent Seven Seas Cruises (www.rssc.com), Norwegian Cruise Line (www.ncl.eu), and Oceania Cruises (www.oceaniacruises.com).
The major ferry companies offering regular service to Naples are Tirrenia (tel. 892123 or 02-26302803; www.tirrenia.it), with boats to Sardinia (Cagliari) and Sicily (Palermo); Siremar (tel. 199-118866; www.siremar.it), with ships to the Aeolian Islands and Sicily (Milazzo); TTTLines (tel. 800-915365; www.TTTLines.it), with ships to Sicily (Catania); Medmar (tel. 081-3334411; www.medmargroup.it ), with boats to Ischia and Procida; and SNAV (tel. 081-4285555; www.snav.it), with boats to Sicily, Sardinia, and the Aeolian and Pontine islands. Major companies operating from Salerno are Grimaldi Lines (tel. 081-496444; www.grimaldi-ferries.com), with regular service to Spain (Valencia), Malta (La Valletta), Tunisia (Tunis), and Sicily (Palermo); and Caronte & Tourist (tel. 800-627414 toll-free within Italy, or 089-2582528; www.carontetourist.it), with boats to Sicily (Catania and Messina).
Of course, you could also cruise to another of the Italian harbors and then get to Campania by other means. Major navigation companies serving other Italian ports are Blue Star Ferries (www.bluestarferries.gr) and Superfast Ferries (www.superfast.com), from Greece; Marmara Lines (www.directferries.it), from Turkey; Grandi Navi Veloci (www.gnv.it), from Spain; and Virtu Ferries (www.virtuferries.com), from Malta.
To drive a car in Italy, you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP) which is an official translation of your license. Apply in the United States at any American Automobile Association (AAA) branch; or contact AAA's national headquarters (tel. 800/222-4357 or 407/444-4300; www.aaa.com). Canadians can get the address of the nearest Canadian Automobile Association by calling tel. 613/247-0117, or by visiting www.caa.ca. Remember that an international permit is valid only if physically accompanied by your home country-issued driver's license and only if signed on the back.
Most car-rental companies require a minimum age of 23 or 25, but a few will accept a minimum age of 21 for their cheaper models. Most rental companies will not rent a car to drivers 76 and older. Insurance on all vehicles is compulsory and can be purchased at any reputable rental firm. You will also need a valid credit card (not a prepaid or debit card) for a standard model and two credit cards for a deluxe model; cash payments will not be accepted.
Car rental in Italy is more expensive then in the United States. Your best bet is to check for specials on companies' websites. Prices vary with car size and special offers, but a compact car will generally rent for between 60€ and 100€ per day.
All of the major international rental companies operate in Italy: Avis (tel. 800/331-1212; www.avis.com), Budget (tel. 800/472-3325; www.budget.com), Hertz (tel. 800/654-3131; www.hertz.com), and National in the U.S. (tel. 800/227-7368; www.nationalcar.com). National is associated with Italy's primary rental company, Maggiore (tel. 199-151120 toll-free in Italy; www.maggiore.it). A newer, reputable, and sometimes cheaper company is Sixt (tel. 888/749-8227 in the United States; 199-100666 in Italy; www.sixt.it, or www.sixtusa.com for U.S. citizens). If you need a long-term rental, Auto Europe (tel. 800/223-5555; www.autoeurope.com), Europe by Car (tel. 800/223-1516, or 212/581-3040 in New York; www.europebycar.com), and Kemwel Holiday Auto (tel. 877/820-0668; www.kemwel.com), might offer better rates. It is worth asking when you book if your American Automobile Association (AAA) or AARP membership will give you a discount. Renting online usually will get you the best prices, but it is worth checking with the local rental office for a better deal. Package discounts are sometimes available when you book your car together with your flight.
Cars in Italy have manual shift, but you can request a car with automatic shift; they usually rent at a premium.
If you are driving to Italy from abroad, you will have to pass the Alps. There are three tunnels (Mont Blanc and Fréjus from France and Grand St. Bernard from Switzerland, all leading to the A5 highway to Turin and Milan) and a few passes (the main one is the Brenner from Austria, leading to the A22 highway to Bologna). Traffic at the border can be delayed by bad weather or at times of mass exodus (such as the beginning and end of school vacations).
Limited-access express highways in Italy are called autostrada and numbered from A1 on. They sometimes are also marked with the European number, starting with the letter E. North of Naples, autostrade are toll roads; they are quality roads with modern gas stations at sensible intervals. Tariffs depend on the size of your vehicle and the type of road; regular cars pay .061€ per kilometer on flat roads, and .072€ per kilometer on mountains, to which you need to add a small surcharge and rounding. To give you an example, Rome-Salerno will cost you a minimum of 14.60€. The official website, www.autostrade.it, offers a tool to calculate your costs and organize your trip, but, for the moment, it is in Italian only.
The Autostrada del Sole A1 from Milan to Naples is the highway to Campania. From Naples, the A3 leads to Salerno. Driving from Milan to Naples will take you about 9 hours on average, and about 10 to Sorrento. But be forewarned, driving in Campania is notoriously dangerous.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.