We recently stayed in the beautiful coastal town of Sorrento, as part of a wider visit to the Amalfi Coast. We absolutely loved our time there and since we got back have been inundated with questions about where to eat, where to stay, how to do day trips etc. So this is your handy guide to everything Sorrento!
1. When To Visit
The best time is when we were there, April or May. Tourism season hasn’t quite kicked off yet but everywhere has already reopened. Restaurants, shops, ferries, buses etc are all running so you won’t be missing out on anything. If you want to visit the Blue Grotto on Capri for instance, your wait time is already shortened by virtue of the time of year; in the height of Summer, queues of boats waiting to enter can take upwards of an hour or more. Also, heat-wise, you’re looking at temperatures of 24 or 25 degrees at most, whereas in July or early August, it can rise to 40 degrees, which I personally could not handle. Worth noting that if you go there at a more touristy time, you’ll end up queuing a lot more too. Pompeii, buses, ferries, etc. Save yourself the hassle!
2. How To Get There
We flew in to Naples with Ryanair. You’ll find a coach directly outside of the airport that brings you to the bus and train station in Sorrento for €10 each. You can see their timetable on their site, HERE. We bought our tickets from the driver but you can also purchase online. From there, we got a taxi to the marina where our Airbnb was but that was the only taxi we got the entire stay- more on that later.
3. Where To Stay
For us, Sorento was very much divided into two areas; the marina and the town itself. We stayed in the Marina Grande, a little hub of activity involving fishing, boating for tourism, restaurants, the local mini supermarket, gelato bars and regular bars too! Hotel accommodation was really quite pricey and we wanted to do a lot on this trip so we saved on where we stayed so we could spend more elsewhere. Our apartment was lovely- quite small but perfect for two, with a newly built bathroom, comfy double bed, kitchen and best of all, a balcony! We really felt immersed in the community where we were and it felt like coming home each evening after a day exploring. It’s really worth scouring Airbnb for a good bargain like this. Otherwise, there are lots of hotels in the centre of the town, if you’re happy to spend a bit more (for a honeymoon for instance).
4. How To Get Around
We did some research beforehand and realised that renting a car was a terrible idea- the roads are notoriously windy on the Amalfi coast and the driver can’t possibly enjoy the spectacular views as they’re working so hard not to kill you both! In Sorrento itself, we walked pretty much everywhere unless we had a deadline or had our bags with us- in which case there’s a bus that leaves the marina every day quite regularly (check the timetables HERE ). To get to other towns we got the Italian equivalent of a Bus Éireann coach, that again was reasonably priced and brought us from A to B with air conditioning and lovely views! A word of warning though; these buses were really busy when we were there and that was April, not considered tourist season for Italy so if you’re visiting during the height of Summer, be aware that you might have to wait for a second or even a third bus to carry everyone. You can of course hire private coaches or do specific tours. We looked into this but didn’t feel like they afforded us the same freedom we would have liked for ourselves.
5. Where To Eat & Shop
I’ll do a whole separate post on food and shopping; there’s too much to tell you here!
6. How To Do Day Trips
We used Sorrento as our base and did day trips to Pompeii, Capri, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. We’ll do separate posts for these as there’s much to tell! But for the purpose of planning; we got a train to and from Pompeii. These leave from the Circumvesuviana, or the regional railway system (I’ve linked the timetables in no.4 above). You can buy your tickets there, again much cheaper than going on a private tour. It brings you pretty much directly to the main entrance of Pompeii where you then buy your tour ticket (although you can also get these online). We got a bus from the same station to Amalfi, and from there another bus to Ravello and back. For Positano, we decided to go by sea to get a view of that beautiful bay so we got a ferry from Marina Piccola (the opposite Marina to where we stayed, which was the Marina Grande) directly to Positano. It’s a quick crossing and also reasonably priced as it’s public transport. Lastly, we got to Capri via a private tour boat, which brought us there and back and provided us with lunch and drinks. Sipping wine while doing a full tour around Capri island is really lovely to be honest! More detail in a future post!
7. Is It Expensive?
Parts definitely are. You can easily spend money here and certainly some restaurants do charge more than others- it’s a good idea to look at online recommendations before you go and have some idea of where you’d like to eat. Sorrento isn’t that big so if you wanted to eat out every night and picked 5 good restaurants to try, you’d manage that easily. We also bought our breakfast in the local mini market so that we had fresh bread, mozzarella and tomatoes every day, which was very cheap so that was a big saving. Alcohol and snacks are also much cheaper to buy this way and we really enjoyed sipping our pre-dinner Belinis on our own balcony before heading out for the night! Otherwise, I’d say it’s no pricier than Dublin.
8. What To Pack
While we were there it rained really heavily one of the days, so I’d suggest packing a light rain coat or an umbrella if you’re visiting at the same time of year. It does cool in the evenings so a light jacket and scarf for sitting outside and a pair of flat shoes that you’d be happy to wear in a nice restaurant- no one wears heels here, it’s cobbley in places and there’s a couple of steep areas to walk up. Light summer dresses and hats for daytime, shorts, flip flops for the beach, a good pair of walking shoes for Pompeii, sandals, t shirts, the usual really for a sunny destination. Oh and SPF!!! Factor 50!
I hope that was helpful so far! We’ll visit each stop we made in more detail in future posts!
Chloe & Cilian