Sorrento is one of those places that seems to polarise Italian visitors, dividing the people who LOVE Sorrento and go every year for their Italian escape, and those who say it’s not “the real Amalfi Coast”. With so much online banter, I wanted to experience it for myself, if only for a few hours.
We arrived via the ferry from Capri around 11am. This coincided with the hordes of Sorrento visitors trying to escape over to Capri and I was happy to be heading in the opposite direction. At this time of the morning, the town centre was relatively quiet but that only last about an hour or so.
With 4 hours to explore, we had enough time to get a taste of the town centre, eat lunch and still manage to have a full night in Naples, arriving in the late afternoon. During our short time in Sorrento we:
- Bought a ticket to Naples on the Campania Express from the kiosk at the train station and left our bags at the left luggage next door
- People watched from our front row seat at Fauno Bar while sipping on a cappuccino
- Strolled through Sorrento’s maze of alleyways and along Corso Italia
- Popped in to admire the architecture and art in the Cattedrale di Sorrento
- Smelled about 1,000 different soaps, candles, candies and other miscellaneous items all smelling like lemon
- Had a lovely lunch, including spaghetti alle vongole (baby clam spaghetti), at La Lanterna Sorrento
- Wandered down to Piazza della Vittoria with views of Vesuvius and Sorrento’s ‘beach’ below
With just a few hours wandering the main tourist area in Sorrento, I can see its appeal for so many people. Would I base myself here when visiting the area? I don’t think so, since it is a fair distance from the Amalfi Coast and the town didn’t have the real authentic Italian town vibe that I’ve found in a lot of other places.
For a large number of tourists wanting to visit Pompei and Herculaneum it would make a good base, being a much easier town to navigate compared to the big city of Naples. Which is where we were heading next …
Our departure from Sorrento should have been pretty straightforward having already purchased our tickets. The Campania Express is an express train between Sorrento and Naples, which stops at a few tourist stops, mainly at Pompeii and Herculaneum (Ercolano). Unfortunately on the day we were taking the train, there was a train painted “La Campania Express” but it was on track 4. The train information signs said it would leave from track 1. I even asked one of the train workers if we should wait on track 1 or go to track 4 and he suggested to go to track 4. We boarded the train and it was full of locals and students which didn’t seem right since the Campania Express was double the price of a normal ticket. Just before the train on track 4 started to leave we jumped off, with lots of confused tourists lugging giant suitcases.
Come to find out the train would arrive on track 1 but about 30 minutes late. Once we were onboard, it was a comfortable journey due to the lack of other travellers onboard, but a bit awkward. Every time we’d stop at a station, there were people wanting to get on the train, but a train worker would hop out and explain that they needed a special ticket to get on the train. Cue lots of angry train passengers not understanding why this train was so special!
Well past our scheduled arrival time, we finally arrived in the grand city of Napoli.