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The Amalfi Coast: Sorrento & Naples

By Izzy Whitley, 01 March 2019

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Sorrento , Naples

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Sorrento and the Amalfi coast had been on my “bucket list” for as long as I can remember – thanks to the reputation for breath-taking scenery, with picturesque towns which cling to the dramatic coastline, and the beautiful blue sea below. Sorrento is the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, about an hours’ drive south of Naples airport, and it is such an extraordinary drive: passing Mount Vesuvius on one side, and then the island of Ischia and the Bay of Naples on the other.

Sorrento itself was such a pleasant surprise, a lot quieter in November than in peak season, but for me it was a revelation nonetheless. The town has lovely narrow streets lined with colourful stalls selling anything from limoncello, cheeses and meats to leather goods from local craftsmen. The town itself is set on a cliff top, above the Marina Grande, from where ferries run frequently to Capri and Naples.

The marina itself is a secluded former fishing village, and during the winter it has a timeless feel to it, where there are small local fishing boats moored up and many family-run seafood restaurants: the perfect location to catch a lazy late lunch and watch the world go by.

For those who are looking for a relaxing holiday, away from the bustle the main town, we have a few hotels in Sant’ Agnello di Sorrento which is about a 10 minute drive from Sorrento’s main square. We were lucky enough to stay at the 4* Hotel Corallo, which has a lovely cliff top position – and all the rooms that Kirker offer have lovely sea views, many with balconies that have this dramatic view. These same panoramic views can be seen from the terraces and the rooftop restaurant, whilst the hotel also offers a complimentary shuttle bus which runs regularly into Sorrento.

If you are looking to stay in Sorrento itself I would highly recommend the Excelsior Vittoria, the best hotel in town. This hotel oozes calm and serenity thanks to its extensive oasis-like gardens, many public areas and terraces with panoramic views over the Bay of Naples. Even if you are not staying here I would recommend a drink on the terrace - and perhaps dinner at the Michelin star restaurant ‘Terrazza Boquet’ where a reservation is essential (ask the Kirker Concierge).

What I definitely did not understand until I arrived, was the ease of getting to Naples from Sorrento. From the Marina Grande it is a 45 minute hydrofoil to Naples city center, which allows you to visit the city as a day trip, and for me Naples was actually a highlight. Often overlooked on travellers’ quests to reach the Amalfi Coast, this bustling, city is well worth a visit for at least a couple of nights. There is a huge amount of history which dates back to the 9th century BC, but modern Naples is also teeming with traditional pizzerias, and superb restaurants. The city has an opera house, the grand Teatro San Carlo, and a fantastic archeological museum, where the most impressive finds from Pompeii are now held.

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