Today, I’m sharing how to make the most of your time with three days to explore Sorrento, Italy (including Pompeii and the island of Capri). This is the second post in a four-part series covering our 10-day trip through Italy with stops in Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Capri, Venice and Florence.
Getting to Sorrento –
Sorrento + Capri were hands down my favorite spot of Italy! And getting to Sorrento was fairly simple — just a little hot, crowded and semi-dangerous when it comes to losing personal belongings (like my wallet).
1- We took the train from Rome (Termini Station) to Naples. (about 1.5 hour train ride)
**Heads up: I got pick-pocketed in this hell hole of a train station in Naples, so guard your stuff!! Naples is super sketchy in my opinion, so I highly suggest getting in and out of there and ONLY using Naples to get to Sorrento/Amalfi Coast.
Maybe grab a slice of pizza in Naples (since that’s where pizza originated), but that’s basically it.
2- From Naples, we switched to the Circumvesuviana train toward Sorrento. (about 1.5 hour train ride — and only a few euro).
Things to expect on the Circumvesuviana train:
– No AC (but there are windows)
– Probably no seat (it’s crowded)
– No personal space (still crowded)
– A fairly long ride — about 1.5 hours with lots of local stops.
– This is the same train you would take to visit Pompeii (it’s about half way between Naples and Sorrento)
– Sorrento is the last stop on this train, so it’s easy to know when to get off.
Ok, now that all the BAD parts are out of the way, you can totally 100% enjoy Sorrento now — because it’s the BEST. Just getting there sucks.
Where We Stayed:
We stayed at Hotel Helios, which was my favorite of the trip. It’s about a 20 minute walk to the main city center, but totally worth it for the panoramic views.
The whole hotel only has a few rooms — all over looking the Bay of Naples with a clear view of Mt. Vesuvius.
*Sidenote: Mt. Vesuvius was legit on fire the entire time we were there — lots of forest fires! So in our photos, you can see lots of smoke, but very little Mt. Vesuvius. But it’s there, I promise! And on a clear day, this hotel would have an amazing view!
Breakfast + coffee are complimentary every morning — and you sit overlooking the water and it’s magical.
Things You MUST Do in Sorrento:
- Try something lemon-flavored
- Eat seafood
- Take a day trip to Capri or Amalfi Coast
- Drink limoncello
- Watch the sunset
- Eat a sfogliatella (basically a lobster tail pastry, but SO delicious)
- Eat more gelato
- Visit Pompeii
Day 1: Exploring Sorrento –
The walk from our hotel down to the city was amazing itself with views of Mt. Vesuvius, the water, the harbor — all breathtaking views.
Sorrento is a fairly small town and very quiet compared to the bigger cities in Italy. Something about it feels very homey. We stuck mostly around the marina area near the water — there are plenty of shops, restaurants, parks, and coffee bars to visit.
Day 2: Boat Trip to Capri –
This was my favorite day of the whole trip! We took an 8-hour guided tour to the island of Capri. You can easily rent private boats with a skipper or book through a tour company. We opted for a smaller boat with only 12 people. It was nice because we were able to make friends and still have a pretty private day. We booked through Viator, which has tons of options for you.
We even got to swim and snorkel at various points around the island.
Then, we got off the boat for about 4 hours to explore Capri. You can take a bus into the city center, but we wanted to stay along the beach, so we ate lunch over-looking the water, then rented a locker for our things and played in the water all day.
I really liked this tour because I felt like our skipper was taking us to his favorite spots, which seemed to be pretty secluded and away from all the tourists just trying to see the Blue Grotto.
But really, writing about it photos cannot do this place justice. You just have to go!! I’m also very impressed by how little ALL THE SMOKE affects the overall beauty of this place.
Day 3: Visiting Pompeii + Mt. Vesuvius
I got really sad/worried when I thought we wouldn’t be able to visit Pompeii because of the forest fires — from the news it seemed like there was an emergency evacuation of the area, BUT lucky for us the excavations remained open.
Pompeii was pretty much just like you would expect from studying it in school — but SO much bigger than I realized. For whatever reason, I thought it was a smaller village, but this place was HUGE. We walked and walked and walked for hours looking at everything. I recommend booking a tour or at least getting audioguides.
We went through by ourselves using a map, but it would have been nice to hear more about the history as we we walked through.
From here, we headed back to Naples for the night. And from there, we fly from Naples to Venice!