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Pocket Guide: Sorrento

Visiting Sorrento

Known as the “gateway to the Amalfi coast”, Sorrento is an atmospheric Italian resort town on the Bay of Naples. Overlooking the Tyrrhenian sea, it has views stretching to the island of Capri and Mount Vesuvius. Sorrento is famous for its beautiful sea cliffs and the scenic drive along them to the town of Amalfi. Sorrento also boasts a rich history and has been a popular tourist destination since 600 AD, when it was visited by Roman nobles. Although nowadays Sorrento has a lively nightlife, there’s still an atmosphere of romance in its cobbled streets, citrus-scented air and sun-mellowed stone. You could easily spend a whole day strolling through the town’s fragrant gardens, then relax at sunset to sip a local limoncello liqueur at a pavement cafe. With its breathtaking scenery, historical streets and friendly tavernas, Sorrento offers much to enchant.

Where to stay in Sorrento

When selecting your hotel in Sorrento, Italy, you have a number of areas to choose from. Sorrento’s charming town centre is often bustling, yet many of the central hotels are peaceful and quiet as they are set back from the street. Alternatively, the Via Capo area, set on a hilltop just outside of the centre, offers excellent views and is surrounded by citrus trees and olive groves. The fishing villages of Marina Grande and Marina della Lobra, on the outskirts of the town, are also both pleasant places to stay. Whichever Sorrento hotel you choose, you’re bound to have a relaxing holiday in this welcoming town.

Accommodation choices in Sorrento

Hotels in Sorrento, Italy, offer accommodation to suit a range of budgets. For 5 star luxury, the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria will definitely impress. This art nouveau hotel has its own marina, frescoed ceilings, a full-service spa and an outdoor pool. Hotel Antiche Mura, another sumptuous offering, has antique-style furniture in every room, plus marble interiors, valley views and a citrus garden. In terms of mid-price Sorrento hotels, the Boutique Hotel Helios is situated beside the sea and includes a rooftop terrace, a free buffet breakfast and a lounge bar. Another mid-price option is the Hotel La Tonnarella, which includes a beach bar, rooftop terrace and free buffet breakfast. The Relais Correale Rooms and Garden is a budget B&B offering an outdoor tennis court, garden, Wi-Fi, satellite TV and a free continental breakfast.

What to do during your stay in Sorrento

Sorrento is the ideal location for exploring the rest of Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast, yet there’s much to see in the town itself. Highlights of the town include the Museum Correale, an art collection based within an 18th century villa, the Baroque 16th century Sorrento Cathedral with its bell tower and frescoes, and the Villa Commune park which has ocean views, gardens and fountains. Other charming attractions include the tranquil garden of St Francis Cloister, the Museo Bottega della Tarsia Lignea which showcases Sorrento’s specialist style of inlaid woodwork, and the central square of Piazzo Tasso. It’s also worth visiting the Wonderwall Art Gallery, the Wooden Marquetry Workshop Museum and the Museo Correale di Terranova, which is filled with precious artefacts and paintings. The town is also known for having unique souvenir shops that sell traditional craft items such as lacework, ceramics and marquetry. For a night out in style you could even head to the Sorrento Opera House. In fact, if you’re a music lover then you might enjoy visiting during the Sorrento Festival, which showcases opera, jazz and classical music and takes place every summer.

There are also many wonderful nearby places to visit on a day trip. A unique attraction is the Vallone dei Mulinim, a historic valley that was once an industrial area and is now overgrown with greenery, creating haunting, moss-covered ruins. Or you could take a boat trip to the Sirenusas (also known as the Gallos), an archipelago of small islands. The world-famous ruins of Pompeii are a 17-mile journey away from Sorrento. This once vibrant Roman city was destroyed after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago, yet its streets, houses and even amphitheatres are wonderfully preserved. The nearby ruins of Herculaneum, destroyed in the same eruption, are also worth seeing. Other destinations include the island of Capri, where you can browse designer shops, visit the famous Blue Grotto or simply watch luxury yachts drifting into the marina. You could even stay the night in a Capri hotel, giving you more time to enjoy the island.

The picturesque coastal towns of Positano and Amalfi are also worth visiting, and the ancient city of Naples is unmissable. Known for its many art treasures, plus its Duomo di San Gennaro cathedral, 13th century Castel Nuovo and Royal Palace, there’s so much to see that you may want to consider lengthening your stay in a Naples hotel. Whatever you choose to do on your trip, Sorrento and the Amalfi coast will delight every one of your senses.

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