Gardens of the Amalfi Coast

Italy

Code: STGDT

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Activity types:

  • Central location
  • Coastal
  • Flora
From £1,049.00 - 7 nights

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Prices are per person

Room 1:
Room 2:
Room 3:

Holiday overview

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.

Highlights include:

  • 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

Accommodation

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.

Bedrooms

Hotel Caravel has 92 comfortable bedrooms which are decorated in a traditional style.

All bedrooms have en-suite bathroom with shower or bath, cable television, telephone, hairdryer, safe deposit box and mini-bar.

 

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Facilities

Hotel Caravel has a large open plan lounge area incorporating a piano bar, a garden terrace and swimming pool, and a games room with pool-table. Internet access is available.

 

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Food

Our holidays at Hotel Caravel are on a Half Board basis and include breakfast and evening meal.

Breakfast

Hotel Caravel offers a self-select buffet breakfast including cereals, fruit, bread and cake, yoghurts, cheese and ham, and scrambled eggs, bacon and sausgaes. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are available.

Evening meal

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 wine and spirits.

Lunch (payable locally)

Picnic lunches can be bought from the hotel (ordered 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.

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Evening

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.

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Itinerary

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.

Local area

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.

Local Highlights

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.

Travel

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.

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.

For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.

 

‘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:

-          We can book you a seat on the HF Holidays’ transfer coach from Naples airport.

This is timed to meet the HF Holidays’ flights* (provisional flight times can be found on the dates and prices tab or you can call us on 020 8732 1220 for more information). Cost per single journey is £18.50.

-          Why not let us book you a private taxi transfer at a cost of £100.00 per single taxi journey?

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 under any circumstance. 

Leaders

Sally Nex

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.

Reviews

Date & Rating Customer Review HF Holidays says
23 Jun 2016, 12:18 a.m.

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Product rating:

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Service review:

I enjoy the congeniality of HF participants and in the past have appreciated the leadership, enthusiasm and knowledge of HF its volunteer leaders.

Product review:

This holiday's virtues were diminished by the deficiencies of the leader who failed to look after the needs of her group, smoked incessantly, had never visited the area before, and provided little information on the gardens or the region. The leadership was "bad" but I'm unwilling to have a bad holiday. It was useful to have the bus/ferry transfers organized, we found gardens can be enjoyed without a guide, wikipedia and other websites offered information about the visits after the fact, and the other participants added interest to the tour. Hopefully this particular leader will not be called upon to 'lead' again. She was unprepared and ill-suited to the role.
Thank you for your feedback.

I was sorry to read your comments with regards to your leader. All Leisure Activity leaders undergo a rigorous assessment and training process to ensure we have the best leaders possible to create an enjoyable holiday experience for our guests.Your leader successfully led two holidays in the UK for us in 2015, and as with all new leaders we have been keeping a close eye on guest feedback, which up until now has been positive.Thank you for bringing to my attention this concerning change in attitude. I would like to reassure you that we have acted on the information you have supplied as a matter of urgency and the leader in question will no longer be leading for HF Holidays.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your comments. Feedback is very important for us to improve holidays where necessary.

I do hope we will be able to welcome you on another HF holiday in the future and it will fully meet your expectations.

Kind regards

Toni McNulty
Customer Relations Manager
HF Holidays
20 May 2016, 5:39 p.m.

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Service review:

I have really enjoyed the HF holidays in UK. Great for singles wanting to hike at various levels with a group. Prices for the trips are reasonable, given accommodation and food plan.

Product review:

While the plan for the holiday was largely OK, leadership of the garden tour group was lacking in experience of how to lead a group, and also not personally familiar with the area or venues to be visited. I could not recommend this trip to others unless it was under different leadership. Also, not all the gardens visited were up to the standard that most people expect on a 'garden tour'. As it appears the gardens are selected by HF Head Office, perhaps some review of certain gardens is warranted. The trip was very 'busy', and on occasions the time spent in certain places was not warranted, and earlier return to the hotel could have been done, whereas, due to ferries being booked ahead of time, return to hotel on our last day especially was very late, and meant the last evening was not enjoyable, as it should have been.
Nevertheless the hotel and general organization was good. The two leaders of the HF Hiking group which was based at same location were excellent, and they provided good info and organization in the hotel environs to the extent they could, given they were not leading our garden group on our outings.

With better training in leadership and some 'massaging', this tour would be excellent.
Thank you for your feedback.

I was sorry to read your feedback with regards to your leader. All Leisure Activity leaders undergo a rigorous assessment and training process to ensure we have the best leaders possible to create an enjoyable holiday experience for our guests.Your leader successfully led two holidays in the UK for us in 2015, and as with all new leaders we have been keeping a close eye on guest feedback, which up until now has been positive.Thank you for bringing to my attention this concerning change in attitude. I would like to reassure you that we have acted on the information you have supplied as a matter of urgency and the leader in question will no longer be leading for HF Holidays.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your feedback. We really do value all guest feedback.

I do hope we will be able to welcome you on another HF holiday in the future and it will fully meet your expectations.

Kind regards

Toni McNulty
Customer Relations Manager
HF Holidays
18 May 2016, 7:58 p.m.

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Service review:

Clever mixture of a family hotel in a pleasant location, knowledgeable guides and friendly fellow guests.

Product review:

A brilliant way for several people in a party to follow their own interests. One took the harder walks and the other two visited the amazing gardens of the Amalfi Coast. We were able to compare notes on the day when we all gathered for supper in the hotel.
13 May 2016, 12:52 p.m.

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Service review:

As usual good hotel food and programme
like HFs ethos

Product review:

Lovely gardens though final one not worth the climb. times might have been oraganise better to avoid the day being so hectic.
12 May 2016, 7:15 p.m.

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Service review:

I especially appreciated the helpful service from the operatives whenever I phoned HF with a question or problem

Product review:

Excellent accommodation and well organised transport.
10 May 2016, 1:27 p.m.

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No review provided

Product review:

Excellent communication and support from the senior tour leader. Beautiful hotel. Excellent food. I will certainly travel with HF again.
9 Jun 2015, 4:46 a.m.

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Service review:

HF Holidays represents good value with a good standard of accommodation and interesting program of activities.

Product review:

The holiday fulfilled all expectations.
19 May 2015, 3:24 p.m.

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Service review:

Very well arranged. Mistake not to mention we had to remit the remaining sum to you ourselves, after having had the first payment taken by you. Caused some alarm, in nothing happening.

Product review:

hotel was excellent, leader good. Very well worth a visit, specifically the gardens.
14 May 2015, 7:36 a.m.

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Service review:

A wonderful holiday. Super hotel marvellous leader great visits in an area of spectacular scenery & blessed by sunshine. Lovely holiday companions- the best holiday I've had in years & I've travelled extensively & on some v v expensive holidays.

Product review:

Gardens varied & all had their different joys
14 May 2015, 6:37 a.m.

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Service review:

The website is excellent, and the selection of holidays across the world. The administration service was very poor; I was not told about the flights that were available with the holiday, and consequently had to arrange my own. Transfer costs should be included. I was sent the pack for the wrong holiday and it only arrived 7 days before travel; this is unacceptable.

Product review:

The hotel facilities were good. The food could have been better, I do not feel thta tinned fruit salad at breakfast is acceptable. I mentioned this and for one day fresh fruit salad was provided, but this needs to be done daily. More information on what to do in free time in between visits to the gardens.

Read more reviews from feefo

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Book
21 Oct 2017 STGDT - Gardens of the Amalfi Coast
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 21 Oct 2017, 6:40 a.m.
  • Arrive: 21 Oct 2017, 10:20 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Naples Mil. & Civ. (Capodichino)

Flight - Return

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 28 Oct 2017, 11:05 a.m.
  • Arrive: 28 Oct 2017, 12:50 p.m.
  • Depart from: Naples Mil. & Civ. (Capodichino)
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,179.00 Book Now
21 Oct 2017 STGDT - Gardens of the Amalfi Coast - Without Flights 7 £1,049.00 Book Now

Prices are per person

Information

  • Double room for sole occupancy: £33 per night (2016), £36 (2017)
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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