"An excellent base for exploring....." Top 5 Page for this destination Sorrento by leics
Sorrento Travel Guide: 730 reviews and 1,837 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:Easy access to everywhere by public transport, and a nice town in itself.
- Cons:Overcrowded in season.
- In a nutshell:Come back to Sorrento! :-)
I cannot believe I have never made a tip about the Curreri bus from Naples airport to Sorrento. I'm sure I've taken... more travel advice
Although Sorrento is largely a more modern town, you can find glimpses of its older roots. Walk its narrow alleyways... more travel advice
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