Sorrento, the bay of Naples is the gateway to Amalfi coast tourism and hence most people choose Sorrento as the base to visit the Southern Coastal Italy.
How to reach Sorrento
You can take a flight to Naples and then take a train from Naples to Sorrento (Circumvesuviana train). The other option is if you would like to drive on your own is to rent a car from Naples airport itself. There is a SITA public bus too, however, the frequency is not that great.
Naples doesn’t have many direct international connections besides that fact that direct flights to Naples could be more expensive from your destination so you may take flights till Rome and then take a train from Roma Termini to Naples which I did. The train takes an hour plus.
Sightseeing – Places to see around Sorrento
Pompeii – The lost City
Pompeii ruins – an ancient Roman city near Naples in Campania region, was reduced to ashes along with its 10,000 residents overnight by a volcanic eruption (Vesuvius) in AD 79.
It is easily reachable by the same Circumvesuviana train. Please note, the station name to alight for Pompeii ruins is Pompei Scavi. There is another station called Pompeii on Poggiomarina route but it takes you to the city.
A few clippings of the Ancient Roman site
Amalfi coast drive – Positano, Amalfi, Ravello
Reckoned as an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape by Unesco, Amalfi coast is one of the most popular European travel spots sprinkled with stunning seaside towns like Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello, attracting thousands of jet-setters each year.
The drive on this Amalfi coast is beautiful yet thrilling. On one hand, you would find turquoise seas, small beaches, colorful boats and on the other hand, there are mountains and sea cliffs, dotted with pastel confections of holiday homes, sumptuous villas, postcard-perfect piazzas, vineyards and staircases leading into the town lanes.
The narrow roads on Amalfi coast nestled between the rock and the sea cliffs, give a new and spectacular shot at the exit of every tunnel or hairpin bend. It’s romantic & amazingly attractive.
We had rented a car in Sorrento for the drive, but wouldn’t really recommend it unless you are well versed with right hand driving on winding coastal roads with twists and turns. My brother in law could do so. I didn’t even try. Parking is not easy plus the influx of tourists results in frequent logjams due to narrow roads on Amalfi coast.
It takes almost an hour from Sorrento to get to the first town Positano, but if you start late and that too in tourist season (June- August), it can take forever.
The other option is to take a bus tour either a private one or SITA bus (the state bus) from Sorrento or Naples. You can even take a boat tour to Amalfi but the journey is a long one 3-4 hrs from Salerno.
Capri Island – A must do from Sorrento
A must visit from Sorrento. The beauty of this island stretches from rocky caves around the island to the edges of the horizon inspiring many poets, lovers.
The island can be reached from the ports of Naples or Sorrento by hydrofoil or ferry. Hydrofoil and ferry tickets can be purchased at the port, either in advance or immediately prior to departure. Some tours and activities companies also sell tickets online. From Sorrento, it is 30 min one way and frequency is usually every hr.
Capri is famous for primarily three sights
- Grotta Azzurra or the “Blue Grotto“, now known to have been a Roman bathing place. We missed this important part due to the high tide in the sea so try matching your trip with the low tide or else it can’t be seen. The blue Grotto ticket can only be purchased only once you reach Capri island. There are two options – one is to take full circle tour including blue grotto while the other is to just take the tour to Blue Grotto. We took the full circle tour and would recommend the same.
- The three peaks, emerging from the blue waters of Capri, pointing toward the sky. These peaks are known as the Faraglioni collectively.
3. View from Anacapri and visit to Villa San Michele – As soon as you finish seeing Blue Grotto, please ask the skipper to let you get down at the stairs next to the grotto, don’t go back to Marina Grande. Climb the stairs to the top and take the bus to Anacapri . From Anacapri you will have the gorgeous views of the Island.
Excited seeing the few pics of the Italian Riviera? Include Coastal Italy in your plan, you will love it. In fact would recommend staying in one of the seaside villas specifically in Positano.
Buon Viaggio !