"Unexpectedly Interesting" Sorrento by weatherwytch

Sorrento Travel Guide: 731 reviews and 1,836 photos

The minimum amount of research we did before traveling did not put Sorrento in a good light. There was almost nothing to know about it. We weren't really visiting Sorrento anyway so it hardly seemed to matter. What was important was it came over well as a place from which it was easy enough to reach Pompeii, Vesuvius etc without being in Naples. If Sorrento came over as un-noticed and un-remarkable, then Naples had a big sign hanging from it that said 'Be afraid, be very afraid'.

If you have not left the UK in 17 years as was the case with us then Sorrento is like a different country: the buildings are jammed together and every piece of garden is planted with olives, lemons, oranges, aubergines, tomatoes.... This town has more trees and greenery than our home village.

Sorrento old town starts at Piazza Tasso and is a warren of the narrowest streets, lined with the smallest shops all the way down to the seafront at Marina Grande. The appearance is exactly what we found in ruined state at Pompeii and Herculaneum and it allowed us to paint a living scene onto those ruined streets without really any stretch of the imagination. The best time we found to walk the streets of Sorrento was Sunday morning when the main Corsa Italia road is closed to traffic and the locals come out to see and be seen.

The last 2 weeks of October were a good time to be there. The place was winding down so there was a little bit of 'squeeze the visitors for the last few pennies' and a late Friday afternoon attitude of 'we're closing up soon so what do we care?' But everything was open and I can only imagine how jammed it must be when the visitors are in town at the height of the season.

As a base to explore from it was ideal, the circumvesuviana train got us everywhere we wanted to go. The travel info office in the old railway car in the front of the station had an answer to everything and if they didn't then the young lady selling train tickets in the tabbachi did. Be aware you pay by the time taken to travel not the distance and if you plan to break your journey so you can visit more than one place a day pass is almost certainly going to work out cheaper as I think there was a policy to oversell tickets, a 60 minute ticket where a 45 would have done with some spare.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Perfectly placed to explore from.
  • Cons:Only very small beaches.
  • In a nutshell:Just as Pompeii would have looked 2000 years ago.
  • Last visit to Sorrento: Oct 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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