Gardens of the Amalfi Coast
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Experience the dramatic coastal scenery and beautifully designed gardens on the lovely Sorrento peninsula. Highlights of this holiday include the Island of Capri and the gardens of Villa San Michele, and the volcanic island of Ischia across the Bay of Naples with the stunning Mortella gardens. We also visit the gardens of the Palazzo Reale at Caserta, inspired by the part at Versailles, as well as the landscaped gardens of the Villas Cimbrone and Rufolo in Ravello.
- Capri’s ‘Villa San Michele’, built by the Swedish physician and author, Axel Munthe, on the site of one of the Emperor Tiberius’ villas. The many garden ‘rooms’ are carefully designed to incorporate the incredible views of Vesuvius and other magnificent aspects
- The volcanic island of Ischia, known as the ‘green’ island, has the stunningly beautiful gardens of ‘La Mortella’, designed over 50 years ago by the English landscape architect, Russell Page
- Magnificent Palazzo Reale in Caserta. The garden is inspired by the park of Versailles, but it is commonly regarded as superior in beauty.
- Visit to Pompeii
Great reasons to join us:
- Great value: all prices include Half Board en-suite accommodation, plus five full-day excursions, with entrances to public and private gardens included in your holiday price. All transport, including trains, ferries and hired coaches are also included
- Knowledgeable leader: learn more about the design and planting of these stunning Italian gardens from your expert leader
- Accommodation: enjoy comfortable en-suite accommodation at our 3-star partner hotel
- Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays - visit gardens together, eat together and relax together
The Liccardi family and their staff have been looking after HF Holidays’ guests for many years, and will offer you a warm welcome at 4-star Hotel Caravel. The hotel lies in the residential district of Sant’ Agnello and is surrounded by pleasant gardens with lemon trees. Close by are the shops and Sant’ Agnello railway station. The centre of Sorrento town is about 1 mile away.
HF Holidays Europe Partner Hotel Awards 2016
Silver Award for Overall Hotel, Great Hotel Staff, Dining and Breakfast.
Hotel Caravel has 92 comfortable bedrooms which are decorated in a traditional style.
All bedrooms have:
Hotel Caravel has a:
Our holidays at Hotel Caravel are on a Half Board basis and include breakfast and evening meal.
Hotel Caravel offers a self-select buffet breakfast including cereals, fruit, bread and cake, yogurts, cheese and ham, and scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are available.
Dinner at Hotel Caravel is a three course meal offering many Italian specialities plus an excellent self-service salad bar. There are vegetarian options at each course. For special dietary requirements we recommend that you discuss your requirements with the manager on arrival.
Hotel Caravel has a well-stocked bar serving beer, wine and spirits.
Lunch (payable locally)
Picnic lunches can be bought from the hotel (ordering the evening before). Alternatively ingredients can be bought in local shops. It may also be possible to eat in a café during the day; your leaders will advise you of the options.
The friendly atmosphere of our holidays continues throughout the evening.
Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer before hearing about the next day's activities followed by a leisurely meal with your fellow guests.
One evening we visit a local a Limoncello factory and have a tasting session and another we visit the famous Foreigner's bar which offers spectacular views across the bay.
Your leader will also be checking out for other local events or you may like to relax on the terrace or in the piano bar with a drink.
Saturday: Arrival day.
Your leader will give you a brief introduction to your holiday programme.
Sunday: Today we drive along the beautiful Amalfi coast to Ravello, a renowned beauty spot with beautiful views of the coast. In the morning we visit Villa Rufolo, originally built in the 1270s for the Rufolo family. The palace is built around a courtyard richly decorated in Moorish style. The garden on the upper level contains cypresses and exotics such as cycads, yuccas and palms. Overhanging the sea is the terrace where every year the Ravello Festival is celebrated.
There will then be time to explore Ravello and the small cathedral before visiting Villa Cimbrone. The villa’s gardens are beautiful. They were largely redesigned at the start of the 20th century with the valuable input of the English gardener, Vita Sackville-West. They are considered among the most important examples of the English landscape and botany culture in southern Europe. Here an overgrown edge of the cliff was transformed into a romantic park containing pergolas, small temples and domed wrought iron gazebos. There are any number of corners to explore including the ‘Terrace of Infinity’ where the sea meets the sky, and the Avenue of Immensity.
Monday: The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD froze the way of life in Pompeii as it stood at the time – a way of life that has been revealed by subsequent excavations. We spend the day visiting the preserved buildings and hearing tales of life in Pompeii, with plenty of time to explore.
Tuesday: Today we ferry across to the island of Ischia, for a private guided tour of the garden at Villa Ravino - a Mediterranean tropical botanical park. This is a unique garden first opened to the public in 2006 showing a magnificent collection of succulents and cacti and is the vision of Giuseppa D’Ambra. We then visit the wonderful lush tropical garden of La Mortella, the former home of the late British composer Sir William Walton and his Argentinian wife Susana. They, together with the designer Russell Page, took on the arduous task of painstakingly sculpting the lava to create the hard landscape of the garden to create wonderful pools and cascades of water. This is an exotic garden filled to the brim with lush foliage and rare and exotic plants.
Wednesday: Free day to visit Herculaneum, the Archaeological Museum in Naples or to enjoy the sites of Sorrento and the beautiful coastline.
Thursday: This morning we travel to Naples to visit Orto Botanico, the Botanical Garden of Naples, part of the University’s Department of Natural Science. It is one of the many scientific and educational facilities instituted under French rule in Naples between 1806 and 1815. The garden opened in 1810 and is now actively engaged in the preservation of endangered plant species. There is also an ethnobotany section where plants are studied for their potential medicinal use. In the afternoon we visit the Palazzo Reale di Caserta. This was the largest palace and probably the largest building erected in Europe in the 18th century. The gardens were inspired by the park at Versailles with long vistas, fountains, cascades and statuary. There is also an English garden styled according to the principles of Capability Brown with pathways winding through groves and meadows and decorated with ancient ruins.
Friday: Another ferry trip this morning, to the island of Capri, where we will visit the garden and sculpture gallery of Villa San Michele. The villa is just outside Anacapri, the highest village on the steep cliffs of the island. The villa was created by the Swedish physician and writer Axel Munthe, who believed that the views were the most important aspects of a garden – ‘the soul needs space’. A wonderful long white-pillared pergola covered in wisteria and scented white jasmine winds around the edge of the garden. In the early morning, dappled light illuminates peonies, hydrangeas, camellias, pomegranates, bananas and vines. Among the archaeological treasures is a sphinx who gazes out towards the sea, Sorrento and Mount Vesuvius.
In the afternoon we make our way downhill to Capri Town. We take a wonderful walk exploring the garden alleyways to visit our final garden of the German industrialist Alfred Krupp, the Giardini di Augusto. This is a small terraced formally planted garden and offers the most magnificent view of Isole Fraglioni with the three dramatic limestone pinnacles set in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
There will then be free time to explore Capri Town before catching the funicular down to the port to catch our return ferry to Sorrento.
Saturday: Depart after breakfast.
Every effort is made to adhere to this itinerary, however there may be circumstances beyond our control which could lead to a change in the programme.
An introduction to the area
Sorrento, known in local dialect as ‘Surrient’, is the most important town on the peninsula. Sorrento's greatest prosperity was during the first century of Roman occupation, when it and Capri were favoured homes of Augustus and Tiberius and the town experienced considerable commercial trade.
Today, Sorrento has a fascinating atmosphere and is a busy tourist destination. Particular attractions in the town include the cathedral, renovated in the 15th century, which has an unusual campanile in front, and the 16th century city walls which are interrupted by the remains of a Roman arch at the top of the town. The Museo Correale di Terranova houses an interesting collection of 17th and 18th century decorative art. Narrow streets wind down the cliffs to sea level, where you will find the harbour, and two marinas.
Ischia - This fascinating island sits at the opposite end of the bay from Capri but is volcanic in origin giving it a very different appearance. It can be reached by ferries from Marina Piccola. Visit the superb gardens of la Mortella
Naples - Naples has a wealth of interesting sights to explore. The harbour is one of the most important in the Mediterranean and the old part of the city, the Quartiere Vecchio di Spacca, is full of famous churches and ancient palaces. Many visitors head for the National Museum, which houses a magnificent collection of wall paintings, mosaics, sculpture and artefacts from Pompei and other ancient sites.
Pompeii - The famous site of Pompei is an extremely popular free day option. Buried by volcanic ash in 79AD, it has been steadily uncovered resulted in a huge site giving a remarkable insight into the life of a first century Roman town.
Herculaneum - Herculaneum suffered the same fate as Pompei when Vesuvius erupted in 79AD. Although a smaller city, in some ways its ruins offer an even more detailed glimpse into the past. Herculaneum was engulfed in hot mud and lava which later solidified into rock and the preserved buildings are often two or even three storeys high.
Shops & facilities
There are numerous shops and banks with ATMs available in Sorrento. There is a pharmacy and post office near the hotel. Sorrento also has a Tourist Information centre and a hospital and first aid centre.
We recognise that everyone’s travel arrangements are unique, so all our holidays to Europe can be booked ‘with flight’ or ‘without flight’, giving you more flexibility and choice.
‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle-free option
Book your holiday ‘with flight’ and choose between Gatwick and Liverpool flights to Naples airport. For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.
If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel. The coach transfer takes approx 1 hour 15 minutes to the Hotel Caravel.
‘Without flight’ holidays – the flexible travel option
Alternatively, tailor your journey to suit you by booking your holiday ‘without flight’ allowing you the freedom to book your own flights from your local airport.
If you choose this option, transfers are not included in the price. However, below are some suggestions to help you reach your destination:
Transfers must be pre-booked. Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details
* Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach
Sally is a qualified professional gardener, planting designer and well-established garden writer. She is a columnist for the RHS journal The Garden, and writes regularly for BBC Gardeners' World Magazine, Grow Your Own and Guardian Weekend. She loves to share her passion for all things plant-related, especially design, garden history and kitchen gardening, and is much in demand for her talks at gardening events from horticultural society meetings to the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. She is also an online tutor at My Garden School.
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Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Double room for sole occupancy: £33 per night (2016), £36 (2017)
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person