Italy, in my opinion, is one of the most gorgeous places in the world to visit. The architecture, best admired when getting lost in among winding cobbled streets, is stunning – and of course, the food is incredible. I’m forever pinning my next dream destination and looking up hotels in some of my favourite areas, eager to return for another adventure.
You may remember that last summer, I spent a week or so exploring the beautiful Amalfi Coast, with trips to Naples and Sorrento, the latter of which I absolutely adored. Intertwining the adventure of a city break, the roof-top-pool moments of a sun-soaked getaway and the sea-side beach break, I honestly loved every minute.
So, to reminisce just that little bit more, in addition to providing some inspiration in case you’re planning your own Italian trip, I thought I’d put together one of those listicles. Fifteen very justifiable reasons to visit Sorrento.
- You only need a few days. If you’ve already got your main holiday planned for the summer and aren’t sure quite how to book another break, then you’ll be pleased to know that you needn’t book tonnes of time off. Sorrento can be quite easily explored (with nothing missed) in a matter of days, since the area lends itself to the pace you’re happy with. We had a grand total of four days to spend in the city – and felt it was a perfectly adequate time to both relax and explore the sights. However, if you’ve got a week or more, then it’s quite easy to immerse yourself in the local culture, slow things down and eat a tonne of pizza.
- Limoncello. Yep, this point only needs one word. If you haven’t tried this delicious liquor before then you’ve missed out. And even if you have, it’s probably the mass produced stuff we have in the UK – so you haven’t tried anything yet! Usually served at the end of a meal (many restaurants gave it out complimentary), it’s a refreshing sweet lemon-y syrup.
- Best of both. As I said before, Sorrento has a real ‘best of both worlds’ feel, with the offerings of a city break – in the form of cobbled streets, amazing architecture, traditional restaurants, culture and shopping – but if you fancy unwinding, then you can spend the day by the sea. Take the lift down (through the cliff face) to the beach areas. Here, you’ll find an assortment of ‘beach clubs’ – all of which offer a sun-bed for the bargain price of about 15 euros. If you fancy your usual sand addition, you can opt for one of the man-made beaches, which tend to be very busy – so I’d plan ahead.
- Sunbathe and swim. If you do enjoy topping up your tan but don’t want to risk the crowded beach areas, then I’d be sure to pick a hotel with a pool. We stayed at the gorgeous Hotel La Favorita, which had an incredible roof-top pool and terrace area. I made the very most of this, waking up early to catch some rays, before having my breakfast in the lemon garden and then ordering a strawberry smoothie to my sun-bed. It doesn’t get much better than that.
- Or does it? Italy of course, is famed for its food and Sorrento certainly doesn’t disappoint. The local speciality is pizza and pasta – which was my excuse to tuck into it every single day. Some days, I even had two pizzas. #BreakingTheRules. Make sure you opt for places which cook it fresh – in a wood fire oven. These are rarely expensive (8 euros each) and best accompanied by a large helping of bruschetta. My favourite restaurant was Delfino’s, on the Marina Grande. They served the very best complimentary bruschetta (even gluten free) and the most generous portion of pomodoro pasta. Delicious!
- It’s oh so romantic. I know Venice is often cited as the most romantic city in the world, or even Paris – on occasions, but in my opinion, Sorrento beats these two, hands down. The sun setting over Mount Vesuvius, the lapping of the ocean against the cliffs, the stunning floral displays and the quiet cobbled streets – all set the scene for romance. It’s no coincidence that so many choose to honeymoon here.
- There’s history. And speaking of Mount Vesuvius, there’s a little bit of history waiting for you right around the corner – if you fancy a day trip. If you’re familiar with the tale of Pompeii, then you’ll know about the incredible ruins that exist just outside of the city. Buried under metres of volcanic ash, the city has been excavated and it’s something you really won’t ever see again elsewhere. I didn’t realise quite how large the ruins are – which involved walking for miles in the scorching heat in a rather ill-fitting pair of shoes – however it’s definitely worth the trip, even if just for half a day on your way back to the airport.
- Gnocchi. If you like pizza and pasta and all things carby, then gnocchi will be your new best friend. If you’ve never had this delicious stuff before, it’s a bit like a potato crossed with a doughy pasta. And it’s best served Sorrento style in a creamy tomato sauce topped with stringy mozzarella. You won’t regret this.
- Gelato. Another foodie delight is the ice cream – or gelato, as the locals call it. In Sorrento, there are a vast number of shops that offer this as their speciality – with one that we came across offering a grand total of 80 flavours. If you’re dairy free, there are still options available to you – either their granita (a kind of slushy, fruity ice concoction) or sorbet. For those who are a bit sick of boring fruit sorbet (me included), watch out for their dark chocolate sorbets – which are incredibly creamy and delicious.
- It’s where pizza was invented. Yep, I’m going there – again. I’m not going to under-sell the pizza tie. It’s the best you’ll ever taste. And if that’s not a reason to visit somewhere, then I’m not sure what is.
- Island hop. Not only are there so many day trips accessible by train (Pompeii, Rome etc) but there’s also a number of excursions via boat too. Capri seems to be a popular choice – with attractions including ‘The Blue Grotto’ (the most stunning sea cave), The Natural Arch and a spot of snorkelling.
- It’s not mega expensive. Despite many myths online, it’s not actually that pricey. From what I’d read prior to our trip, I was expecting to be spending £££’s per day but we actually did it all well within budget, without missing out. The food isn’t mega expensive – and you can expect to eat out for two, with wine and two courses for 40 euros. There’s no ‘main tourist’ areas, so you can pretty much just go for a stroll, take your pick of restaurants – and enjoy. The hotels are the most pricey part, although they’re well worth investing in – as there’s so many gorgeous ones!
- The weather is warm. And it’s pretty mild all year round, if you wanted to go out of season. The summer is scorching hot – but the tiny cobbled streets, hidden from the sun’s glare by the towering pastel coloured buildings, provide the protection so that you can walk around for the most part of the day without feeling like you’re going to pass out. Always make sure you have a steady supply of water though – and make it bottled!
- Shop til you drop! Along the main street, there are a number of shops dotted about offering the most gorgeous Italian clothing and shoes. Although not jaw-droppingly expensive (necessarily), it’s perhaps not the place to splash the cash if you’re on a budget, but a spot of window shopping and inspiration hunting is definitely in order.
- It will look fab on your Instagram. Okay, so I’m not going to profess that you should go purely for the Instagram shots but if you’re a keen photographer and love a good photo-op, then this is definitely your place. There are beautiful scenes around every, single corner.
So, if the above has tempted you to visit yet – then I’m not sure what will. As you can probably tell, it’s a place that I really love and would return to in a heartbeat. If you’re pondering over Venice or Sorrento (ooh, difficult choice to be honest) then I’d seriously consider not ignoring this place. Yes, Venice is beautiful (I’ll be doing a similar 15 things article on it too) but Sorrento has a more chilled vibe – and it’s less touristy. You feel like you’ve stumbled across somewhere undiscovered, that you can really make your own.
Have you visited Sorrento? What did you think? Do you have any other Italian city recommendations?