As you pull around the mountainside from Naples and descend upon the Amalfi Coast, it is quick to tell you have arrived to an area of pure beauty. Each car is pulling off to the side of the Amalfi Drive to snap a photo of the adventures that lie in front of them.
The first stop and well known town out of the Italian coastline treasures is the quaint destination of Sorrento. Known for limoncello, lively street music, and a bustling marketplaces, Sorrento is a destination for everyone. Each corner holds surprising new flavors of gelato, a new memorabilia with the famous lemon designed on it, and of course cafes you can smell a mile away. This town holds as the gateway to many popular destinations through the coastline of Italy. Only 30 minutes away from Ravello, Positano, and Amalfi, it makes for a great home base for indulging in the Mediterranean lifestyle. For those who crave a little adventure on the waters, the island of Capri is just a ferry ride away and can be easily experienced in just a day's worth of time.
As I wandered the streets, I found myself looking up. Perhaps it had to do with my fear of being sh** on by pigeons (or my lack of height), but there was something intriguing that was going on above me. Flags were strung across, back and forth between the steep alleyways, old lanterns that once lit the streets during the Roman Empire, people hanging their clothes to dry, and steeples of churches that loomed above the city's limits. The stories of Italian culture and history lived on the high perches of the city walls. It was quick to notice that most of the corners were filled with busy tourists dying to get a deal on a new scarf, but I wanted to find the locals.
Often there would be a doorway, rather large, old wooden doors, that would open into a space of wonder. I found myself popping in just on the sheer possibility of something new. The first door I went into led to a courtyard of what seemed to be of a business area; men were outside having a smoke, women chatting away of the day's happenings and children kicking soccer balls round. I found the welcome was not too warm, so I quickly popped back out. With trying my luck again, I opted for another wooden door that seemed more inviting. I could smell the cold, musty air of old brick and linens as I approached the entrance - reminding me of my days as a child spent wondering through the churches of the French countryside. It was an old cathedral, voided of people, but filled with history. I wish I could remember the name but perhaps the thought of possible discovery is enough for you to walk into wooden entrance when you visit. As I entered in, I was quickly stripped of any thoughts of what next flavor of gelato I would eat, and filled with thoughts of inquisition. Walking around inside of the chapel, taking in the vibrant colors of the stain glass and the smells of history, I knew I found a place where I could spend the next few minutes to escape the indulgences of the town.
Getting to Sorrento, Italy:
You can arrive to Sorrento via a few options. Flying into Naples and having a driver take you to the coastline is definitely the most efficient. As I do not suggest driving the Amalfi Coasline, some people do choose to make the drive. The other option is to arrive by train via the Naples main station and to take the "direct" train right into Sorrento.
Staying in Sorrento, Italy:
For staying in Sorrento, my personal favorite is the Excelsior Vittoria as it is near the main square but also removed from the noise and crowds. It is a destination within itself, a luxurious stay and great service. To see more about my full review on the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria read here.
What to do in Sorrento, Italy:
Sorrento is a destination for those wanting to explore a vivid town filled with culture, shopping, food, and a busy lifestyle. The cliff sides offer stunning views of the Bay of Naples and many places to go enjoy the afternoon on the water. My suggestion is to stay a few days, explore the town, take a day trip to Capri, and sunbathe like the locals on the docks off the shoreline. Be sure to indulge in the local limoncello, gelato and of course classic Italian cuisine.
Bon Travels Xx!