Being on the southwest coast of Italy, Sorrento guarantees to bring some sun, sea, and spaghetti to everyone’s summer holiday. Whilst still being close to the notable city of Naples, Sorrento offers a more relaxing location for those who enjoy both sunbathing on the beach and learning about the local history. Here are some of my must-see attractions, hidden gems, and culinary delights that you cannot miss when travelling to Sorrento.
The ruins of Pompeii has to be one of the most popular attractions in the whole of Italy and is incredibly accessible from Sorrento. Due to the ash that blanketed the area after Mount Vesuvius’ eruption, the majority of Pompeii has been preserved allowing us a detailed insight into Roman lives. Some would suggest that the easiest way to see Pompeii is to purchase a full tour with travel included. However, these trips tend to be extremely expensive. The best way to see Pompeii is to take a Circumvesuviana train to Naples and the entrance to Pompeii is a short walk from the station. You can still learn the full history of Pompeii without the need for a guided tour. You can purchase tickets on the day for €11.
2. Mount Vesuvius
Take a hike up Mount Vesuvius to witness beautiful views of Italy and to see the volcano that brought Pompeii to its knees centuries ago. This trip is best booked with a coach company that provides easy access to the start of the trail that leads to the top of the volcano. Tickets for these coaches can be bought for €22, which also includes your entrance ticket to the crater. It is best to do the Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii trips on separate days, considering they are both quite tiring.
3. Trip to the Amalfi Coast
Visiting the Amalfi Coast is a great day out for all of the family and is easily reached either by car or a ferry trip. Spend a day wining and dining in some of the many outdoor restaurants, or shop around for art depicting the coastline. Amalfi’s speciality limoncello spritz is an essential and refreshing drink for any visitor. End the day by relaxing on the beach or taking in the architecture of the coastal houses. A ferry trip to Amalfi can cost from €16 – €28.
4. The beaches
Sorrento has numerous beaches, coves and boardwalks where you can take a day off from travelling and bask in the sunshine. While the boardwalks can be rather pricey for a sunbed, taking a short walk along the coastline can provide some hidden gems when it comes to beaches.
1. Marina Grande
Slightly further away from the classic Sorrento boardwalks, the Marina Grande offers a more secluded atmosphere. You can sit on the beach watching the small fishing boats going out to sea, or enjoy a coffee in a cafe by the sand.
2. Chiostro di San Francesco
If you are a fan of historic architecture or art, the Chiostro di San Francesco is a must-see attraction. It offers peace and quiet away from the busy piazza. Admission is free so it would be foolish to miss out!
3. I Giardini di Cataldo
If you want to see how Sorrento’s most famous produce is grown, visit I Giardini di Cataldo. You can learn the history of the orchard while buying some of the products that they make; most notably: jams, liqueur, and gelato.
4. Il Vallone dei Mulini
The remains of old wheat mills bless the modern and bustling town of Sorrento. Youcan find the structure in the only surviving gorge left in Sorrento; the two others were destroyed by a volcanic eruption. This attraction isn’t for the fainthearted due to the terrifying drop and haunting atmosphere created by the abandoned building.
Sorrento is small enough that most restaurants, beaches, and shops are easy to access just by walking. You can access the Boardwalks either by walking down the stairs that have been created from the mountainside or by paying to use the lift, which costs €1 for a single trip and €1.90 for a return. For travelling outside of Sorrento, the Circumvesuviana train line is easy to use and allows access to Naples and the surrounding area. The multitude of ferry services are great for coastal travel. The bus services are reliable with tickets available at tobacco shops but, if you want to travel like a true Italian, renting a scooter is the most stylish way to get around town.
Food & Drink
It may seem obvious that Italy is the place to be if you like pasta but, any restaurant that you walk into in Sorrento will have amazing pasta dishes. It is possible to spend your whole trip eating nothing but pasta and still have a different dish every day.
A speciality of the south, limoncello is a liqueur made from the lemons grown in the area. Limoncello is great both by itself and mixed as a cocktail. You can buy bottles at one of the many market stalls in the town allowing you to prolong that holiday feeling.
Perfect to satisfy anyone’s need for a little indulgence, tiramisu combines all of the best aspects of dessert (coffee, cream, and cake) to top off any meal. Those who have the ultimate sweet tooth have to try this almost devilish dish.
Many tourists will make the mistake of booking expensive tours or overpaying for transport because it seems easier than alternatives. However, by doing some extra research before your trip and with some help from the locals, Sorrento and its surrounding towns can be easily explored solo and at a much cheaper price. Carefully planning your trip is the key to saving money and ensuring a stress-free trip!
Word by Amy Britton