We almost chose not to squeeze a visit to Sorrento into our itinerary last year when we visited the Campania region of Italy, but what a mistake that choice would have been! We spent a glorious six hours there, and we felt relaxed the entire time. It was almost as if time slowed down just for us and we truly were able to soak in the experience. Most surprising to us was how little money we spent in such a beautiful place.
We took the morning ferry from Naples, where we were staying. In hindsight, we should have actually stayed in Sorrento for our entire trip, but we planned our visit very last minute and our main focus initially was to see Mount Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii. This day trip was thrown in after we had seen everything we had planned to see and had some time left over. Anywho, Sorrento is a real treat- for the eyes as well as the tummy!
When the ferry docked in Sorrento, we were greeted by a couple small shops and restaurants and we quickly spied signs pointing to the city center, which was UP! You have to do a bit of a climb on the ancient pathway and stairs. Alternatively, you could taxi to the top, but the views from the stroll are just absolutely remarkable!
First on our agenda was a good cup of coffee (never hard to find in Italy!). We also had kids who needed to use the restroom, so when we spotted a café called Puro just upon reaching the top of the stairs, we decided to drop in. Delicious pastries and a colorful assortment of gelato is on offer, and the coffee is just right. It’s a great place to enjoy a sfogliatella, a unique delicate Italian pastry. Bonus: clean restrooms! Always worth a mention, especially when visiting old cities. Trust me on that one!
We hadn’t spent much time researching Sorrento, so we didn’t really have a plan other than to sample some of the region’s famous limoncello! We spotted the Piazza Tasso (the square in the city center) to our left and strolled that way. The kids saw the sweet little white novelty train-trolley that boards there and takes visitors around Sorrento. The tour includes a headphone guide in multiple languages. It was inexpensive, so we hopped on to humor our children and get our bearings on where we were and what the area had to offer. I don’t have photos of it, but it’s similar to the one pictured in our recent Ireland post. You can’t miss it, since it drives around all the main attractions. It was fun! I think had we not taken the enchanting trolley, we wouldn’t have found the Parco Giochi, a fantastic playground hidden a short distance from the city’s central area.
The playground had kiddie paddle boats and lots of space to run and climb. It also had restrooms, which is again worth a mention for people traveling with littles! A lovely little ice cream stand with snacks and drinks available sits at the entrance. It was a great little break for the kids and it truly made it a fun day for everyone! Plus, it’s free!
After playtime, we strolled through a citrus grove down the street en route back to the city center. It’s free public entry and there’s a little outdoor shop that offers samples of the limoncello they make in house. Incredible!
After we sampled and shopped their fare, we lunched at one of the attractive restaurants situated on the edge of the cliff. I can’t remember the name of it, and it honestly was not notable other than the gorgeous view it offered (I ordered an Italian lemon tea, as it stated on the menu, and they delivered can of Nestea. Seriously?! This is Italy!). When we finished up we wandered down one of those charming little alleyways you see on postcards. I’m so glad we did, because it opened up to what was quite a remarkable street of specialty shops selling local and regional handmade items. The scent of Italian leather is a memory I shall never forget! An incredible authentic Italian leather bag store is down this shopping lane, as well as clothing boutiques, a coffee roaster, custom leather shoe and sandal shops, plenty of gorgeous produce markets and much more. It was pretty fun to glance into the city’s oldest men’s club, Sedile Dominova, and see quite a few elderly local gentlemen playing cards just as we’d read they would be.
After scoring a sweet deal on a leather weekend bag for Ben, some amazing coffee beans, and plenty lemon treats for the flight home the next day, we leisurely made our way back down to the port, where we stopped for a little snack and wine before ferrying back across to Naples.
We had arrived at 10:00 in the morning, and we departed at 4:00 in the afternoon. When we left we were relaxed, cheerful, and feeling satisfied with all we’d seen. Of course, the whole experience just made a trip to the Amalfi coast sound all the more enticing! But that will have to wait for another time.
Have you visited Sorrento? What did we miss on our trip? We’d love ideas for next time. There will certainly be a next time!