"An excellent base for exploring....." Top 5 Page for this destination Sorrento by leics

Sorrento Travel Guide: 649 reviews and 1,455 photos

I'll be honest..........I didn't deliberately choose to visit Sorrento for itself. The first trip in 2008 was to see Pompeii, and Herculaneum, and Oplontis. I didn't fancy staying in Naples, so Sorrento presented itself as a possibility because of the Circumvesuviana train, and the local bus services.

As I visited out of season (as I prefer) I found a really nice and very reasonably-priced hotel: the Hotel Savoia for my first visit. My other visits have been based in an equally nice and equally well-priced hotel, the Mignon Meuble. And because I usually travel out-of-season I wasn't too surprised to find that many places in Sorrento (restaurants etc) were closed, although that is something of which to be aware if you plan to visit in winter.

So what do I think of Sorrento? Well, for a place so obviously geared up for tourism and day-trips it maintains its own character very well. There are vast numbers of visitors in the season (and a lot out of season too), vast numbers of cruise tour groups and school groups (it's the ideal safe base for a school trip to Pompeii) but although Sorrento caters well for all these people it still feels like an ordinary town as well.,

Sorrento's Medieval street pattern still remains, with narrow alleyways and buildings which, if you look closely, betray their great age. Deep clefts separate chunks of the town and there are orange groves almost in its centre. I liked searching out the Roman remains incorporated into the bell-tower and the Cloisters of St. Francis, was fascinated by the votive objects in the crypt of the Basilica S. Antonino and found a little of the ancient Greek defensive wall under the Medieval structure at Porta Parsano Nuova.

But there's not a vast amount to see in terms of history; a leisurely day visit would easily cover all the main sites. I'm not a shopper, so I wasn't particularly interested in browsing the limoncello shops, or the beauiful marquetry on show, or the shops which sell 'typical' products. But I know thousands are, and the income they generate is vital to this area, so I have no objection to so much time and effort being devoted to the tourist trade.

I always manage to eat some good gelati, some excellent cakes from Paticceria Monica on Via Fiuorimura, perfectly satisfactory salads, pizza and other dishes in local bars and pizzeria.

But Sorrento is a base, not my primary target. Its superb public transport links mean accessing everywhere else is easy and very reasonably-priced...and accessing everywhere else is the reason I go to Sorrento.

For me, being not really interested in the 'usual' touristy stuff, in spending money or in wandering aimlessly, Sorrento out of season provides a convenient and pleasant base for my explorations. It has an excellent and reasonably-priced hotel, everything else I need in terms of food and supplies and some pretty stunning views. I know I wouldn't like it in summer, entirely stuffed with crowds and coach tours.

My second visit was to introduce my friend to the area. It was freezing cold in February 2009, with snow on Vesuvius and a landslide reducing our planned Amalfi coast bus ride to a Positano visit......but she enjoyed herself.
Her interests are not the same as mine, so I knew I'd have to return to finish seeing what I wanted to see.

I decided to visit for a third time in October 2011. Not a good idea, I later realised, as mid-October is still in season and Sorrento had far more visitors than I would have liked. But I spent little time there, making a proper visit to Herculaneum, exploring Naples in more depth, visiting the amazing volcanic Solfatara in Pozzuoli (which also has a magnificent amphitheatre) and finally managing to find and visit the wonderful Roman villas near Castellammare di Stabia.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Easy access to everywhere by public transport, and a nice town in itself.
  • Cons:Overcrowded in season.
  • In a nutshell:Come back to Sorrento! :-)
  • Last visit to Sorrento: Oct 2011
  • Intro Updated Oct 22, 2011
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Reviews (27)

Comments (15)

  • TXgal's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Sorrento in the off season seems like my kind of place! Great tips, enjoy reading them!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Oct 22, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    Thanks for your wonderful description full of your interesting remarks and observations....

  • Turska's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2011 at 6:05 AM

    I shouldn´t have red these when i´m this hungry ;) I took also some other tips from you to my my trip planner. We might be going on march. Was it rainy when you were there? Are there other restaurants open, when you said that those in marina wasn´t? We like to eat in "real" restaurants at night.

  • mindcrime's Profile Photo
    Feb 22, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    hm, I think I will skip Naples because of you :)

  • royalempress's Profile Photo
    Jan 16, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    Great Sorrento Pages! Maybe it will be this week? Hitting VT rating number 2. Anyway too bad we will miss you this fall in Southern Italy. Mike and Sue

  • Sambawalk's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2009 at 5:38 AM

    Pasticceria Monica is "the" place for my afternoon cake and Cafe Latte! Oh I need Cafe with Cafe! ;-)))

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    Lovely photos and detail - this is the Sorrento I want to see! Adding much to my travel plan. Grazie, <(•¿•)>

  • Maurizioago's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2009 at 8:55 AM

    Nice page. Ciao!

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo
    Mar 13, 2009 at 1:17 AM

    We were meant to have 2 nights in Sorrento but the tour coy changed to a Naples Hotel. Only a few hours in Sorrento late afternoon. Too far from OZ to return. Enjoyed your page.

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Feb 21, 2009 at 10:34 AM

    Hmmmm....Sorrento cakes, must be reallllllly good! I think I'm hungry, will see some more pages and I'm goiong to eat now, hehehe....I go to bring my twins born Feb 14 here(ST Antonio)... Norman :)

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