Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast are a hot spot in Southern Italy for visitors – but if you make even a brief trip you’ll very quickly understand why.
The whole coast is very accessible from Naples by using the Circumvesuviana Napoli-Sorrento. You can grab this train from Naples main station but cannot book tickets as it’s not part of the National rail network. Trains run every 30 minutes or so and tend to be very crowded. If you’re confused and lost looking for it in the station, head downstairs – it will appear.
You probably need about three days in the area, but if you want to extend and spend a little more time here there are lots of options to visit islands like Capri or just basque in the Italian sun, eat gelato and drink limoncello like the sophisticated character that you are. Alternatively add this as a destination to an Italian roadtrip as there are high speed trains from Naples up to Rome very frequently and from there Italy is your oyster.
Here are the things that I’d recommend down South:
This beautiful spot effectively perches on a ledge overlooking the Mediterranean. It’s a major tourist attraction of Southern Italy and stands in a stark contrast to some of the poorer areas you’ll pass through on the train to get here. It’s got a great array of restaurants, although it isn’t cheap, and there are some pretty lively spots if you’re looking for a night out. The only downside to this spot is the fact that it has virtually no beaches, such is what happens when you place a town on top of a cliff, so it’s seen more as a popular gateway spot to access the Amalfi Coast.
Due to the fact that it’s not a cheap spot, if you’re on a budget then I’d advise staying in Sant’Agnello to the east, a short walk away from Sorrento. I stayed in the excellent Seven Hostel, a very reasonably priced location boasting a rooftop to watch the sunsets and a bar to meet fellow explorers.
Jump on the Circumvesuviana Napoli-Sorrento and get off at Pompeii-Scavi.
If you don’t know anything about the history of Pompeii then it’s worth looking up a little more than the very vague information that I have for you. Created in the shadows of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii was buried in the eruption of 79A.D. Over 2000 people died and the city was deserted. Despite the destruction, Pompeii remained largely preserved under the ash and was rediscovered in the 1700s – everything from buildings to bodies. It’s well worth setting aside the time to go and visit if you’re a bit of an historian, or alternatively if you just want to be in awe by the sheer size of this city and how it can still possibly be there. Grab yourself an audio tour to bring this place back to life, or you’ll just be walking around looking at stones and rocks that vaguely resemble buildings, and set aside a few hours exploring this amazing place.
Top tip: Don’t do it in the midday heat. It’s really bloody hot. (Those stones just absorb the heat.)
What’s more shocking is that there are now approximately 3 million people living within 25 miles of the crater – and it’s due for another eruption.
Top tip: Try not to time your trip with this if you can help it.
The Amalfi Coast:
This is the treat of this trip and is a busride that you will never be able to forget for the simple fact that it really will take your breath away. Prepare for a view of steep cliffs crumbling into the sea, crystal blue waters and lush green forests perched atop the rocks. The Amalfi Coast easily merits an abundance of adjectives that dwarf the word beautiful. Bring a good pair of shoes as this coast is also littered with some terrific hikes.
Top tip: Opt for the bus to travel the coastline on this occasion – it’s easy to grab it from Sorrento. Despite the attractive appeal of a scooter in Italy, I wouldn’t want to be faced with sheer cliffs, narrow roads and Italian drivers. It’s basically a deathwish. Plus this way, you can just enjoy the ride and compete for your life from within a bus instead of on a two wheeler.
Top tip: Don’t get on this bus hungover – I learnt this one the hard way.
There are a number of places that you ought to be jumping off said bus for. The first of these is Positano, a colourful little town perched on steep cliffs. Climbing your way up and down these streets is well worth the sweat that you’ll break. Spiaggia Grande in Positano is the longest beach on the Amalfi Coast, although it’s still only 300m and a tad pebbly, but from here you can also access smaller coves along the front.
From Positano you can wander up to small communities nestled in the mountains such as Montepertuso. On this route you’ll find Nocelle – one of the best views of the coastline looking towards Capri.
Amalfi is one of the biggest towns along this coastline. Again the beach in Amalfi is very small and rocky but the water is well worth having a dip in. The town itself is great for shopping, restaurants and interesting architecture such as the Duomo di Sant’Andrea Apostolo, located on the main Piazza, and an afternoon wandering its little alleyways should be topped off with a little glass of limoncello, the famed beverage of the area.
Make sure you munch on:
So this is Italy – it wouldn’t be pushing it to say that it’s the best food in the world so anything you try here will be incredible.
Along the Amalfi coast make sure you grab any kind of seafood pasta. It will all be freshly caught and it will all taste like there isn’t enough of it on the plate despite looking like a mountain when it first arrives.
Mozzarella from Caserta – this is the best buffalo mozzarella you will ever taste and I can say that hand on heart, 100%, promise – all mozzarella will seem bland in comparison. Grab it fresh. Eat it whole. Life will be great.
Limoncello. Especially if you have a sweet tooth.
Grab a pizza down here. Naples is the king of Pizza.