I couldn’t help myself with the alliteration in this post’s title, but there are no two words that better describe our time in Sorrento. Every night we witnessed incredible sunsets, whether that was from the terrace of our “slice of heaven” hotel or table side during a dinner of delicious seafood, pasta, and wine. If you’re looking to relax and be awestruck by the coastal beauty of Italy, you must visit and, we think, stay, in Sorrento.
What to see:
- Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius- if you’re going to be corraled like cattle during any point of your visit to the Amalfi Coast, we recommend it be during a tour of these two historic sights. The day of our tour was forecasted for intermittent rain, which our tour guide, Nelo, informed us was actually the best-case scenario, as less people would be trying to climb up Vesuvius and it wouldn’t feel like “an eternal hell” at the top- lucky us! But, first stop was the ancient city of Pompeii, which was astonishingly well-preserved after the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. It was incredibly helpful to have a guide point out things such as old bread ovens, drinking wells, and of great interest to everyone there, the red light district! After a two hour tour, the group gathered for a quick lunch, and then we drove to Vesuvius. On the way there, Nelo was telling us that scientists predict Vesuvius is due for another eruption soon as this is the longest period of time it has gone without erupting, and they are fearful that it will be as damaging as the historic catastrophe in 79 AD. With that, we charged up the volcano! Definitely a must do, and even on misty days the scenery at the top is breathtaking.
- Monte Solaro- for the most picturesque views of the Mediterranean, be sure to take the chairlift ride up to the top of Mount Solaro’s summit in Capri. Adverturous travelers can attempt to find the hiking trail that leads to the top, but honestly the chairlift is a thrill itself!
- Positano- while staying on the Amalfi Coast it is highly recommended to check out other towns that stud the coastline. We had wanted to make a day of it, and book a boat tour to take us to Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi, but the weather was not cooperating, so we felt better off braving the bus ride to Positano for the day. Once it finally cleared up, we were greeted to the most colorful and cheerful beach town we’d ever seen! There were plenty of shops to stop in, limoncello to taste, and beachside relaxing to be had in Positano, but I can’t say I would have been happier staying here as opposed to Sorrento.
What to skip:
- Capri- unless you’re on your honeymoon, uber-rich and snobby, or old and retired, we would not recommend spending too much time in Capri. Yes, everyone says you must go and see the Blue Grotto, and honestly I thought I would be missing out on the most amazing, natural wonder if we didn’t see it. However, we arrived in Capri (after a 20e per person, one-way hydrofoil ferry ride) to learn that the waters were too high and there were no tours of the Grotto that day anyways. Well, that was fine by us, and saved us and extra 25e each! On the whole, we felt Capri was crispy and classy looking, but more overpriced and underwhelming than we were hoping for.
- The Circumvensa train- our hotel concierge was appalled when we told her we arrived on the “local” train from Naples, and now we can tell you why. Unlike the other clean, high speed trains, attended by well-mannered Italians , we had taken throughout the trip, the Circumvensa train departing from Naples was colorful (I mean literally colored in graffiti), loud, aggressive, and packed with potential pickpocketers. We held on to our belongings tightly, and hoped this was not the day that the workers decided to go on strike and stop the train mid-tracks over a bridge (this is known to happen on many occasions!). Our advice would be to invest in the private car transfer between Naples and your Amalfi Coast destination as your sanity and security are worth it!
Where to eat:
- Ristorante Bagni Delfino- if you’re looking for a romantic, seaside spot for a dinner that is definitely not a steal, you must go to Delfino. Seafood is the name of the game in Sorrento, and so we started off with some mussels in a tomato, garlic, and chili broth with plenty of focaccia for sauce-soaking. Then, I enjoyed their signature Calamarata “Delfin”- a pasta shaped like calamari rings, with clams, zucchini, and shrimp- and Danny bravely ordered the swordfish with asparagus. We lingered over the sunset with a bottle of Pinot Grigio, tiramisu for dessert, and of course, limoncello. Highly recommend making reservations a day ahead and enjoying a delicious meal here.
- Pizzeria Da Franco- to allow ourselves a break from all the seafood and enjoy pizza one last time we headed to Da Franco for our last lunch. We thought to ourselves, “Finally, we will experience true, Naples-style pizza here.” And while our pizza was quite delicious, we thought it was lacking the signature runny tomato sauce and thin, but substantial slices of mozzarella. My Quattro Stagione and Danny’s Diavola was still delicious nonetheless! And the place was packed, so it definitely must have been the local spot for good pizza.
Check out our pictures of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast here!
And with that, our Italian adventures came to an end. We truly loved every minute of our trip and many experiences exceeded our expectations. It’s a country we’d both love to go back and explore more of, particularly the northern cities, Cinque Terre, and the islands of Ischia and Sicily. The food, language, people, and history of Italy are incredibly unique and we feel so lucky to have spent time getting to know it better. We can only hope to return again soon!