Sorrento, Capri + the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Dreaming of a long weekend in Capri and the Amalfi Coast conjures up images of a warm Italian sun, steep cliffs, and the blue waters of the Mediterranean. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

Just saying the names of Capri and Amalfi conjures up images of a warm Italian sun, steep sea-side cliffs, and the blue, inviting waters of the Mediterranean. This beautiful part of Italy has inspired artists, poets and travellers for centuries, and with good reason.

The countryside, houses and topography of southern Italy are a stark contract to the more industrial north of the country. The south is more arid and the air lemon-scented; the topography becomes hilly and steep towards the Mediterrean coastline, with houses and towns perched on cliffs. The local cuisine is fresh, delicious, and locally sourced from the land and sea.

It feels like you’ve discovered a little bit of paradise. Our stay in this gorgeous part of Italy was not nearly long enough. But we packed memorable experiences from our multi-generational adventure that will last a lifetime.

Dreaming of a long weekend in Capri and the Amalfi Coast conjures up images of a warm Italian sun, steep cliffs, and the blue waters of the Mediterranean. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

The stunning Sorrento coastline. The town sits above the Bay of Naples.

Sorrento

The town of Sorrento is a great place to base yourself for discovering the islands of CapriIschia and the Amalfi Coast. But don’t miss enjoying the lemon-scented charms of Sorrento itself. The town is very pedestrian-oriented, with narrow streets and a compact town centre. You can get anywhere quickly by walking.

Dreaming of a long weekend in Capri and the Amalfi Coast conjures up images of a warm Italian sun, steep cliffs, and the blue waters of the Mediterranean. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

Discovering the narrow streets of Sorrento

There are many places to stay in Sorrento that encourage multi-day visits. The town has many services such as grocery stores, banks, restaurants and shops specializing in leather goods, coral jewellery, ceramics and limoncello – a specialty of this region. There are several limoncello stores offering samples of this delicious lemon-infused digestif. A bottle of this pale liquid gold makes for a memorable souvenir. Sorrento is also very popular with British tourists, and you will hear English spoken throughout the town.

From Sorrento, you can travel by train north to Rome, Naples or Pompeii, or by bus south to the towns along the Amalfi Coast. Even if you have rented a car to get to Sorrento (and we admire your courage), we would highly recommend visiting the Amalfi Coast by bus. You can purchase bus tickets at the train station in Sorrento, not far from the main square.

Dreaming of a long weekend in Capri and the Amalfi Coast conjures up images of a warm Italian sun, steep cliffs, and the blue waters of the Mediterranean. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

Discovering the stunning Amalfi coastline by bus

Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coastal road is one of the most spectacular drives in the world, but you won’t see a thing if you’re driving.

The road is narrow and constantly winding its way down the coastline. Sitting up higher in a bus driven by a professional – and local – driver, you’ll be able to enjoy the the views, the curves, and snap some photos and videos while you’re at it. It’s a breathtaking journey, and takes a good half-day round trip, depending on how many stops you take along the way and how long you stay in the picturesque hillside towns.

Dreaming of a long weekend in Capri and the Amalfi Coast conjures up images of a warm Italian sun, steep cliffs, and the blue waters of the Mediterranean. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

A stop to enjoy the picturesque town of Amalfi

On our all-too-brief visit, we enjoyed a wonderful stop in the town of Amalfi, complete with gelato, espressos, and sips of locally-made limoncello. One of the town’s particular specialities is hand-made paper, often scented with lemons and oranges from hill-side groves. Perfect gift ideas for friends and family back home.

Lemon groves are everywhere along the Amalfi Coast, and from those lemons are produced fantastic products to enjoy and take home; candied lemon, chocolate-covered lemon & orange peel, and limoncello, the strong lemon-based liqueur of the region. Many shops that sell limoncello offer tasting samples of their wares, and may even produce the limoncello in-house. It’s worth the purchase of a bottle, as it tends to be quite expensive back home.

Dreaming of a long weekend in Capri and the Amalfi Coast conjures up images of a warm Italian sun, steep cliffs, and the blue waters of the Mediterranean. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

A small walking path leads to stunning viewpoints on Capri

Capri

The small island of Capri has been a favorite destination for Roman emperors, celebrities and just plain regular folk for centuries. From Sorrento, you can take the fast hydrofoil ferry (leaving nearly hourly) to Capri. It’s a short 30 minute trip through the Bay of Naples, with views of Vesuvius as you speed along.

One of the Island’s major attractions is the famous Blue Grotto or La Grotta Azzurra, but many also visit to browse the many high-end designer shops, walk the narrow streets, and enjoy gorgeous views of the Bay of Naples. We also discovered the best blood-orange granita drink ever. It was cool and refreshing on a hot day, which it will likely be even in spring or fall.

Sorrento, Capri and the Amalfi Coast are bucket list-worthy destinations in Italy. How to enjoy a visit down the Amalfi Coast.

Upon docking, if you wish to visit the famous Blue Grotto, you can hire a boat to take you there straight away. The Grotto is a very popular attraction. You’ll need some time to travel there and wait your turn to enter the Grotto in a smaller craft.  If you have more than a day planned on Capri, enjoy a visit. If you only have a few hours on the Island, save it for a return trip.

From the harbour, you can walk, or take the more popular funicular up the steep hill to get to the main square of Capri. From here you can stroll the narrow, car-free streets, people watch, and window-shop at the designer stores. We chose to do a small hike through the quiet residential areas off the main square. The regular viewpoints along the way showcase spectacular views of the Island and Amalfi Coast. Another great destination (more accessible by bus) is Villa Jovis, the ancient roman villa built by the Emperor Tiberius in the first century B.C.

Dreaming of a long weekend in Capri and the Amalfi Coast conjures up images of a warm Italian sun, steep cliffs, and the blue waters of the Mediterranean.

Enjoying lunch with a view at Da Gemma Restaurant

There are many restaurants to enjoy on Capri. You cannot go wrong by sitting down to a fabulous meal of antipasti, pizza and pasta at the Da Gemma. It’s been a local institution since the 19th century. We enjoyed a memorable birthday meal overlooking Capri and the Bay of Naples. Le sigh.

The Sorrento, Capri and Amalfi Coast region of Italy is quite simply, magnificent. The people are friendly and they like children (just as in most of Italy), the food and weather are wonderful, and the views unforgettable. Alla prossima!

Photo credits: S. Laroye

Have you visited Italy’s beautiful Amalfi coast? Share your comments below.

20 Comments

  • Tamara says:

    We were in Positano and Capri around this time last year and looking at your pictures just brings back those special memories. We spent 3 days in Positano and 5 in Capri. If you get to go back, I’d highly recommend staying overnight on Capri as it is so different after the day trippers leave. And a slightly longer hike out to the Natural Arch is so spectacular.

    • Claudia says:

      I will definitely stay overnight in Capri next time. One day is not nearly enough to enjoy the many lovely sites and walks on the Island. Thanks for the tips, Tamara!

  • Ian says:

    We stayed on the Amalfi Coast in April this year at a place called Conca Dei Marini about half way between Amalfi and Positano. It has to be the most beautiful part of Italy. We had a room with balcony and view was stunning, where the horizon and the sea blend in to one in the late afternoon sun. Next time we’re I would like to drive the coast road.

  • Jade says:

    Thanks for your post Claudia! What beautiful photos. It seems that your family had a lovely stay in the Amalfi Coast. Like you, my home base was Sorrento during my time there. I loved how compact the town was and how easy it was to get around. Visiting Positano and Capri were my 2 favorite day trips. I wish I had been able to spend more time in both. I had no idea about the paper production in Amalfi! Just thought they had lemons there haha. Hope I can return again soon! http://www.jadescapades.com/a-drive-up-the-amalfi-coast/

    • Claudia says:

      Thanks very much for your comments, Jade. I long to return to the Amalfi Coast for a much longer stay, and a extended limoncello tour! 😉

  • Janice says:

    Thank you for this! I’m heading there in June and cannot wait!

    • Claudia says:

      That’s wonderful to hear, Janice! I wish you a fantastic trip to this magical party of Italy.

  • Una says:

    We’re in Rome for 3 days in mid October & are trying to decide on the best guuded day trip by taking a fast train to Naples from Rome…which is better for a return day trip back to Rome via Naples….Capri by ferry or Amalfi by car? Thanks

    • Claudia says:

      Hi Una, I would take the fast train from Rome to Naples. Provided there are no strikes of course when you go. We experienced a strike and had to negotiate with a cab to get from Naples to Sorrento! You can take the ferry to Capri from Naples or Sorrento. The Amalfi coast via car ride is stunning, but the driver won’t see much of the amazing coastline as he/she will have to keep all eyes on the road. A local bus is perfect so everyone can enjoy the ride. If I had to choose only one, I would take the ferry to Capri. It is just so idyllic. But it’s a very difficult choice to make! Buon viaggio!

  • Michelle says:

    I recently did a tour of the Almafi, Sorrento, and Capri ( went in Blue Grotto). The scene from Ravello was AMAZING! Pictures does it no justice, simply Perfection! I’m already planning a trip back to Sorrento as my base very soon!

    • Claudia says:

      I’m delighted other that you enjoyed your trip to the Amalfi coast! I totally agree that Sorrento is the perfect base from which to explore this magnificent part of Italy. I can smell the limoncello now… 🙂

  • Amy says:

    I was in Italy in June-July of 2015 with my family. We flew into Rome for 4 days, and drove to Praiano where we stayed for 10 days. From Praiano we did day trips to Capri (visited all the grottoes, marinas, gardens..etc), Naples (not super impressed), Ravello (beautiful little town), as well as a few others before driving back to Rome. Highly recommend staying in Praiano in a villa near the beach. It was nice sightseeing, but taking a few days off on the beach definitely made the vacation more relaxing. Thinking of going to Milan (where we have already been), as well as the Ligurian coast with my family next year. Do you have any recommendations?

    • Claudia says:

      Hi Amy, Sounds like you had an incredible trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast area! Beach time is always a good idea to break up busy days of sight-seeing. 😉 Unfortunately, I haven’t visited Milan or the Ligurian properly since I was a child. It’s changed a lot since then!

  • Uma says:

    Thank you for your response dear Travelling Mom…we have decided to do Capri!

  • Evelyn says:

    Reading you page has us so excited about our upcoming trip to Europe in August! We are flying in and out of Hungary but will make a trip to Italy for a week. Can you recommend a place to stay in Sorrento and on Capri? Any other recommendations or tips are appreciated! We are traveling with a then 3 yr old and 10 month old.thank you again!

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