Day Trips from Sorrento, Italy
Staying in Sorrento
Sorrento is a beautiful and picturesque town in the south of Italy in the Campania region. It is situated along the Amalfi Coast overlooking the bay of Naples and giving a spectacular view of the active volcano, Mount Vesuvuis.
Located on high cliffs with breath taking views, Sorrento is a top tourist attraction. In the summer months, there are more tourists than locals.
There are many places to visit around the area and all with beautiful scenery and full of history. It wouldn't be possible to see everything in one holiday, as the famous Italian song ‘Come Back to Sorrento’ (Torna a Surriento) indicates.
Sorrento is in the perfect place for visitors to see the surrounding areas. There is a port to travel by ferry or hydrofoils to Naples or the Island of Capri. There are also good bus routes along the Amalfi Drive and there is one road out of Sorrento. Because of this, there is a low crime rate as this one road makes it difficult for thieves to escape efficiently.
Sorrento itself has a lot to offer. It is full of local shops which sell the famous Sorrento Lemons and the Italian lemon liqueur Limoncello. There are also restaurants, bars and small private beaches.
Up on the cliffs make stunning views of the bay and Mount Vesuvius. There are lemon and orange groves and olive trees all around the area. Being high on cliffs does however make uphill walking challenging, especially in the summer months when the temperatures average 29 degrees Celsius. But many hotels provide shuttle buses into the town or do as the locals do and rent a scooter (or Vespa, naturally) to get from A to B.
Pompeii and Herculaneum
Towards Naples are the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. It is about 29km to Pompeii which takes around 40 minutes by car or bus. These were Roman towns built two thousand years ago.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted on 24th August, 79 AD, it was so big that the ash and rock completely covered the nearby towns. They were buried so deep, that they were not discovered until 1748 (almost 1700 years later) when excavations began.
Today hundreds of visitors from around the world come to see Pompeii and Herculaneum. Pompeii was a busy town full of shops, bakeries and old Roman homes. It contained a theatre, arena for gladiators and religious buildings.
Herculaneum (named after the Greek god, Hercules) was a small town for affluent Romans. Once situated on the port, it is now 4 miles away from the coastline, where the tons of volcanic rock have filled the land.
Tours of these ancient places show the detailed fresco’s on the walls of the houses, mosaics on the floors, structure of the buildings and casts which were made and put on display of the bodies of those who died in the disaster.
Mount Vesuvius is about 9.5 kilometres east of Naples. Although it is still an active volcano, the last eruption was in 1944 but the most violent was in 79AD.
The volcano is constantly monitored for signs that it may erupt so that the people in nearby towns and cities will have time to flee in this case.
Mount Vesuvius is a tourist attraction where many people go to the mountain and climb up it. There was once a cable car to take visitors up the mountain, but it was never re-built after its last explosion.
The famous Neapolitan song Funiculi Funicula was about going up the mountain on the cable car.
Island of Capri
The Island of Capri is a short distance from Sorrento, taking about half an hour by hydrofoil.
There is a lot to see on Capri as the Island is split into two sides. On the Capri side there are many tourists in the summer months. It can be quite busy, but very beautiful. There are plenty of cafes and exquisite shops as well as gorgeous scenery, especially venturing up the high slopes.
Capri has been a hot spot for artists and movie stars, where over the years many famous faces have holidayed on the Island.
The other side of the Island is Anacapri, where it is far quieter. There are alleyways of gift shops and restaurants, with historic buildings and palm trees.
Getting around the Island can be done by bus, taxi or scooter. Alternatively take a boat around the caves, visiting the famous Blue Grotto. The water is a colourful blue due to the lighting which comes through the openings of the cave and it is possible to take a small boat inside.
Positano is situated on the Amalfi Coast, and is an old little fishing village taking around 20 minutes by bus to reach.
High up on the cliff tops, it is advised to sit on the right of the bus going into Positano from Sorrento to get spectacular views of the sea.
Positano is hilly with plenty of steps going up and down it. There are shops to buy clothes, gifts and Limoncello as well as a small pebble beach.
The ‘stacked’ up slopes of Positano make a perfect picture postcard, with interesting architecture and churches to see.