The Sorrento Peninsula lies on the south west coast of Italy between the Gulf of Naples to the north and the Gulf of Salerno to the south. Its best known town is the popular seaside resort of Sorrento which is on the peninsula’s northern side and is the region’s premier tourist destination. Sorrento is a stunningly picturesque spot where steep cliffs provide glorious views across the Bay of Naples. A few luxurious hotels in Sorrento have long been popular with Italian celebrities including Luciano Pavarotti who was a regular visitor here. With a growing number of overseas weddings taking place in Sorrento these fabulous properties have also proven popular with newlyweds before they head off on honeymoon along the nearby Amalfi Coast.
When to Go?
You only need to look at the additional flight services to Naples from all over Europe to appreciate that the warm, dry summer months are when most visitors arrive in Sorrento. Aside from the weather it’s the wide range of events which take place throughout the year which attract people to these shores. Easter processions are highly recommended though most visitors at this time are Italians. In terms of events locally ‘La Grande Opera Italiana’ takes place between April and July in the Correale Museum where you can listen to great Italian Opera and Neapolitan Songs. A little further away but well worth travelling to see are the Ravello Concert Festival on the Amalfi Coast between April and October and the fabulous Pompeii Festival between May and September which hosts a series of operas and other cultural events in the town’s famous excavated theatre.
Getting to Sorrento
Many of the major European airlines put on seasonal flights to Naples during the summer months including Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Air France, British Airways, easyJet and Lufthansa. In addition, two of Europe’s biggest tour companies, Thomas Cook and Thomson, offer package holidays to Sorrento flying on their own airlines. Capodichino Airport: is just 6km north of the city of Naples and some 50km from Sorrento by road which shouldn’t take more than about an hour traffic permitting.
From the airport you can take the Curreri shuttle bus to Sorrento or head into the city of Naples from where frequent trains operate from the Napoli Centrale. Far more convenient is to arrange for a private transfer with Shuttledirect who can provide private cars with driver or larger vehicles if you’re travelling in a group.
If you’re travelling without too much luggage (and preferably without children) you might like the option of travelling from the airport to the Molo Beverello port from where there are hydrofoil services to Sorrento.
Where to Stay in Sorrento
There isn’t a lot of accommodation in the town centre and what there is tends to sell out quickly in what is such a popular destination. If you’re heading to Sorrento for a special occasion then you certainly won’t be disappointed by some of the prestigious hotels which reside there. Here are a few that come highly recommended:
Bellevue Syrene (Piazza della Vittoria 5): This 5-star property is perhaps the flagship hotel when it comes to luxury in Sorrento. Be sure to ask for a sea view room with a balcony overlooking the Bay of Naples with Mount Vesuvius in the background.
Grand Hotel La Favorita (Via Torquato Tasso, 61): This is a more modern 5-star option located right in the centre of town set amongst beautiful gardens. Everything about the hotel exudes Italian style and its perfect location puts the whole of Sorrento within a very short stroll.
Antiche Mura Hotel (Via Fuorimura 7): Located near the main square in the heart of Sorrento this 4-star hotel is another luxury establishment where guests are made to feel so very welcome. It has a magnificent swimming pool which is surrounded by lemon trees.
Hotel Bristol (Via Capo 10): This stunning property which lies just outside the town but within easy walking distance is quite possibly the hotel with the greatest views of all. Balconies look down on Marina Grande directly below and across the bay towards Vesuvius and Pompeii in the distance. The 7th floor restaurant is sensational.
What to Do Around Sorrento
Dine in the Marina Grande: A selection of traditional restaurants offer excellent dining with superb views out to sea in this former fisherman’s village whose history can be traced back to the 14th century. The atmospheric Bagni Delfino (Via Marina Grande, 216) comes highly recommended for its typical Neapolitan dishes and local wines. Be sure to enjoy an after dinner Limoncello liqueur which comes from this region.
Take a Trip Along the Amalfi Coast: Thanks to its cultural landscape the famous Amalfi Coast on the southern part of the Sorrento Peninsula has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you get the chance you should take the 30km trip along the narrow coast road from Sorrento to Amalfi as it is surely one of Europe’s great drives. If you don’t have your own transport you can book a day out with a local agency or take the bus to Amalfi returning to Sorrento by boat. Be sure to include the beautiful village of Positano when planning this excursion.
Take a Boat Trip: There are many ferries and hydrofoils providing services from Sorrento. A trip to the beautiful island of Capri which lies off the west coast of the Sorrento Peninsula is highly recommended. Short trips along the beautiful Amalfi Coast are most rewarding as is a visit to the volcanic island of Ischia. You can also take sea transport across the Bay of Naples if you’re heading for Pompeii or Mount Vesuvius.
Visit Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius: The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pompeii was a Roman city which was destroyed by the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. It is one of Italy’s top tourist attractions with around 2½ million visitors. The active volcano remains a serious threat considering the density of the large urban population which lives nearby. There are day trips with local agencies to Pompeii from Sorrento or you can simply hop on the train to Naples and get off at Pompei Scavi Station which is right next to the ruins. To visit the ruins of Herculaneum, another Roman city destroyed at the same time as Pompeii, get off at Ercolano Scavi Station. The latter is lesser known but no less impressive with far fewer tourists.