Experiencing the Amalfi Coast in a day is like binge-watching the Sopranos – it’s not easy but it can be done. Sorrento is long renowned as a perfect send-off point for exploring the coast. Offering authentic local food, plunging rock cliffs, breathtaking views, vibrant shops filled with lemon products and family feel hospitality, this stop is worth a stay in and of itself. But it would be sinful to see Sorrento without experiencing the coveted Amalfi Coast, even if it’s just for the day. Our Nonna said so!
Article by and all photo credits to Sarah Nicoli. Sarah is an American living in London who loves to bring the beauty and story of travel to others through her writing and photography as you will discover in this article!
Where to Stay
Finding a decent base camp in Sorrento is made easy by a selection of hotels, 5 star luxury resorts and Airbnb accommodations. We have a few recommendations for each category to make things easier for you:
For those of you who want more of an upscale feel, Hotel Caravel is a great choice. It It is incredibly clean and comfortable and the staff make you feel like you are family. Hotel Caravel is located on a quiet street a short walk’s distance from the city centre and is also serviced by a shuttle. The breakfast spread you’ll miss as much as the views.
5 star luxury at its finest, the Grand Hotel Royal has a private beach, lush gardens and delivers pure elegance from start to finish. Enjoy your day exploring the coast but make sure you get back in time for drinks as the sun sets over the ocean and you enjoy the sweeping views of Mount Vesuvius.
For Airbnb, we found this spacious and sunny bed and breakfast. It is centrally located and offers fabulous views of the sea. Take in the awe-inspiring scenery from the comfort of your own abode: the Bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius and the Sorrento coastline.
How to travel the Amalfi Coast
Two main choices exist for traveling up the coast from Sorrento: by boat or by vehicle. Both have their unique advantages for experiencing this exquisite area – ideally you’ll have time for both!
By Boat: numerous private tour options, boat rentals as well as ferries and hydrofoils can be booked from the Marina Piccola taking you to many coastal towns and nearby islands including Capri and Ischia. Whether it’s an overnight or day trip, or perhaps just a few hours that you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it here. Three main companies offer a variety of routes for you to choose from: Alilauro, Seremar and NLG.
By Vehicle: Truly an experience that’s not to be missed with several options for you to consider.
Car – Unless you’re a local, most drivers will find themselves clutching the wheel with sweaty hands while everyone else in the car enjoys the scenery. Countless hairpin, cliff caressing turns on this often one lane road shared with giant tour buses is not for the timid. If you want to enjoy the views, leave the driving to someone else! That being said, a huge advantage of driving your own car is the opportunity to stop when you want to take a photo or perhaps to enjoy some fresh olives sold on roadside stands.
Public Bus – an attractive, economical option that will allow you to set your own schedule. Check the timetable to make sure you have a ride home. Summer months can be incredibly crowded, sweaty and hot and a seat is not guaranteed.
Private Bus Tour – this is a much more expensive way to go but it allows for full enjoyment of the outstanding views as well as the benefit of the additional commentary you’ll receive along the way. You are committed to their time schedule but rest assured you’ll see it all in one day.
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Not To Be Missed!
A sprawling blanket of pastel-colored homes stacked vertically up the mountainside, Positano is a watercolor painting come to life. Local dress shops with white and vibrant colored eyelet dresses wavering in the ocean breeze are nestled next to local ceramic shops along every narrow and winding street. Pure, palpable magic. Our first stop was lunch at La Zagara for takeaway pizza and pastries. I wish we had more time to sit and enjoy their stunning outdoor terrace but we had so much to see!
Continue along the coast to Amalfi and enjoy an Aperol Spritz at a buzzing café like Da Maria. Stop by next door for homemade gelato at Bar Royal before strolling to nearby Duomo di Sant’Andrea church with its boldly patterned exterior. A quick 40 minute guided boat tour from the main port will provide coastal views from the cobalt blue and turquoise waters, gifting you with a spectacle filled with lush green mountainsides, wave crashing caverns and homes of the famous!
Lastly, heading inland and to the highest point in the Amalfi Coast, Ravello is the perfect place to slow down the pace and marvel at sweeping views from its towering bluffs. Rich with cultural heritage and an inspiration for writers, composers and lovers throughout the world, Ravello is sure to charm even the coldest heart. Explore the Duomo di Ravello in Piazza Vescovado but save time to climb the Villa Rufolo before heading home. You’ll be rewarded with breathtaking, 360 degree expansive views that I promise will make you want to linger a little longer. If you decide to stay, try Cumpa-Cosimo-Ravello.
If you can’t bring yourself to leave Revello (or you’ve managed to miss the last bus back to Sorrento), Revello offers a great selection of hotels. Three that we loved were Hotel Villa Fraulo (£288), GRAAL Hotel in Ravello (£168) and Palazzo Della Marra B&B (£74).
However you choose to go; by boat or by bus, the Amalfi Coast is sure to capture your heart and animate your daydreams until you are drawn back again another day. Salute!