Our journey to Italy began in Sorrento, a charming little town that gives you a great taste of Southern Italy. Situated on the Bay of Naples it makes it a convenient hub for tourists because of its easy accessibility. Many visitors use Sorrento as their home base from which they explore the full breadth of the region. But I think it deserves more attention. So let me share what you can see and do in Sorrento.
Sorrento sits on the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples, Mt. Vesuvius, and the Isle of Capri. Because of its locations it’s just a ferry ride to popular tourist locations including Amalfi, Positano, and Capri. This gives travelers a reason to choose it as a home base to explore the region. Even though our ultimate goal was further afield to Amalfi, upon our arrival we soon discovered that Sorrento deserves more attention on its own right away.
Wander the Backstreets
Sorrento is busier compared to Amalfi town. But it encapsulates the lifestyle of local communities of Southern Italy. A morning walk will give you a glimpse into an Italian daily life: people drinking an espresso at an outdoor cafe, pigeons snacking on fallen olives, motorbikes parked everywhere, local shops inviting with a smell of freshly baked bread and marinated olives. There is no better way to have a taste of Italy than through food.
Sorrento’s historic centre is a maze of narrow streets which run back from the cliffside. Forget the map and wander the streets, you never know what you might discover around the next corner – a fine trattoria or a fantastic gelateria.
While wandering the streets you’ll find many dogs standing at the forefront of the shops with their owners. We couldn’t help ourselves and pet every one of them.
Feast on Local Produce
Food and drink are an important part of life in Sorrento. The volcanic soil in this part of Italy produces tasty olives, tomatoes, peaches, cherries, oranges and lemons. This region is famous for the limoncello liqueur, whose bright yellow bottles fill the shops. This drink is originally from the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi. Therefore, when driving along the coast you’ll see lemon tree valleys surrounded by cliffs.
One of the first things that we did when we arrived to Sorrento we went to find a fine place for pizza. It was a late evening around 10 pm and we thought it will be hard to find an open trattoria. But this town is bustling until the midnight and restaurants close around 11 pm. And you can see how happy my mom and sisters were waiting for food. What can be better than having a warm meal before bed than snacking on sandwiches left from the flight.
Another great place not to miss in Sorrento is D’Anton, check their instagram I linked it on their name. It catches your eye from a first glance with its interior. It’s shop and cafeteria run by a family. Rare artists works, paintings and ceramics fill up the shop and the cafeteria. You sit between those artworks and you can purchase home interior details here, at least I dream about coming back here when I will have a house. Also the family who runs the business is so friendly. The owner of this place asked if we are a family, because my sisters and my mom look very similar and then offered to take a picture of us. But sorry it’s on mobile, so I don’t share it here 🙂
Or you can simply enjoy your morning coffee and breakfast here. They have pies proudly put on the main table in the middle of the cafeteria and you can choose which looks the best for you. I have never seen anything like that before! The homemade lemonade is also perfectly prepared – it’s sweet & sour. Without pies and lemonade they serve great coffee as it’s usual in all of the country 😉 I can’t recommend this place enough. We liked it so much that we would have preferred to stay there whole day, but we had to catch the bus to Amalfi later that day. But I guess spend spend there roughly 3 hours.
Take a Day Trip
The Bay of Naples has so much to see, and Sorrento’s prime location right in the middle of it all make it a great place to get out and explore the region on day trips. To the north there are the archaeological sites – Pompeii and Herculaneum. You can find tickets to Pompeii here and all information about opening hours and how to get there.
You can also devote an entire day trip to Mount Vesuvius. It takes about 30 minutes on a path mostly made of ashes to walk up the top of Mount Vesuvius. The Volcano that buried Roman settlements mentioned above two thousand years ago can still erupt at any moment. There are around 2 million people that live in the vicinity of the volcano with no real plan to evacuate.
To the east is the spectacular Amalfi Coast, with its dramatic cliff-hugging coast road. Though people say the driving here’s pretty scary and for others, like my mum, even a bus ride was too intense. You can also catch a ferry from Sorrento to Amalfi or Positano if you’re not confident on the roads.
You can also head across the bay to the islands: Capri and Ischia. You could also take a boat to explore some of the hidden coves that are nestled beneath Sorrento’s cliffs.
Within striking distance of Naples, Sorrento is a springboard for walks and hiking trails in the rugged Lattari Mountains that hug the Sorrentine peninsula. So as you can see there is plenty to see and do in Sorrento and one day is not enough to see this place and explore the surroundings. You can take this great 3 days trip to Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri with a pic up from Rome.
How to Plan a Trip from Naples to Serroneto
The easiest way to get to Sorrento is by taking a train (technically speaking it’s a subway) from Naples. The train trip takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes, but it arrives only 10 minutes walk from to the main town square – piazza tasso. You could also take the bus or ferry from Naples to Sorrento or order a tour with a pick up from your hotel in Naples. You can choose which options suits best for you. But if you want a special deal for the tour to Amalfi Coast from Naples, use this link.
While being easily accessible from the city, Sorrento has many reasons why many travellers choose it as their travel base. It has more trains, ferries, boats and busses than any other town along the coast. Also it’s rumored amongst travelers to be an economical choice. Unless your day budget is between €150-200 per night to stay in Amalfi, you’ll probably feel more comfortable to stay in Sorrento. But from my personal perspective there is nothing better than exploring the small coastal town before the down and eating pastries in the morning at the local cafferetia in Amalfi. Just saying.
Find Accommodation in the Center
We stayed in the center of Sorrento – piazza tasso. The location let us explore the town within the seconds we stepped into the street from our accommodation. I advise you to find the best place to stay with Booking and this was our apartment we enjoyed so much.
Thoughts and photos by Eisve Treciakauskaite