Day Trips From Sorrento Along The Amalfi Coast
We spent the last 3 weeks of our 10 week trip to Italy in an apartment high over Sorrento. We had been to the Amalfi coast twice before so this was like coming home. We could alternate our lazy days with day trips from Sorrento both close to home and a little further out.
Seafood Lunches in Sant’ Anna
If you kept walking along the water south of Sorrento you would hit another cove at Sant’ Anna for one of the easy day trips from Sorrento. Following the path and stairs down you would arrive at the marina. We had read an article or a blog suggesting that we eat at Restaurante Bagni Sant’ Anna, so we bypassed the other half a dozen or more still open and headed for the restaurant on the pier. It was the perfect menu – fresh seafood, seafood and seafood. We saw seafood being delivered as we ate!
After we finished lunch and wine at Sant’ Anna we wandered further out on the pier to the sunbathing area. While not a beach, this offered a relaxing place to lounge in the sun or under an umbrella. If you got too hot, you could walk down the steps into the water.
For a change of pace, you could rent a boat, with or without a captain. We would return to this little cove again a few times, always sure we would find a quiet spot with great seafood.
The proprietress (also named Anna) made sure to give you a card for Restaurant Tasso off the main square in Sorrento, owned by her father Franco. Franco welcomed us warmly (he had seen our good TripAdvisor review of Anna’s restaurant) when we showed up and helped us with our lunch choices. The food was so good we made sure to return a bit later in our stay.
The Local Marina in Piano di Sorrento
On the other side of the main port of Sorrento is “Piano di Sorrento” with its marina sitting far below the cliffs. This marina appeared to be the place where pleasure boats were moored and where locals could come to the beach.
We lucked out and wandered this way on the last day that the elevator was operating. The switchback road to the main level of the town was a much more daunting way without a car.
Beach Days in Meta
From our perch high above Sant’ Agnello we could see the beach at Meta below the cliffs. This was one of our favourite day trip from Sorrento.
The first time we headed to Meta was a bit of an adventure! When we got to the first town outside of Sant’ Agnello, David thought we were at the main piazza in Meta and decided we should get off in town and walk down to the beach. The shopping was great and we found the cheese grater we had been looking for that would create very fine grated cheese. Even with our offline maps we thought it was a short walk to the beach. Walking along we heard a beep and saw the ever helpful Piña from the Mediterraneo Hotel. When she heard we were going to the beach she offered us a ride. And quickly explained we were still in Piano di Sorrento and not in Meta. While there was a beach here she very nicely took us to Meta and left us with a short walk down hill (of course) to the beach. We would be so glad we had found the right beach. Walking along the beach when we were finished, we easily found the bus stop that would take us back home (and where we would get off the next time).
When we hit the beach level we saw a wide range of beachfront bagnis to choose from but headed to the far north under under the cliffs we could see from our balcony. We paid our 10€ for two lounge chairs and got set up pointing into the sun. We had clearly found the locals beach. As the day wore on, the beach became busier and more crowded making us wonder how wild it was on a weekend rather than on a Monday!
The La Conca restaurant that ran our beach concession offered a full lunch menu including a good house wine. We took our time over lunch, figuring the hour out of the sun would help to cool us down.
With water shoes on, the slightly rocky entry to the water was manageable. While I snuck in one step at a time, David did his usual dive beside me to urge me to move faster. The water was certainly still swimmable in mid-October, especially after cooking in the sun for a bit.
Many of the locals ignored the comfortable lounge chairs and took up spots on the rock beach or even on the large rocks. When the rocks got fully loaded with people it bore an uncanny resemblance to pictures we had taken of Harbour Seals in California this past June.
On the second trip, we made it confidently as locals. It was now a little colder and there were less people at the beach. Some locals were dressed in full autumn clothes (long pants and sweaters) while they lay on the beach chairs. The hardier group of locals were lounging in bathing suits and the hard core swimmers (including David) were still doing laps in the bay. We would not be deterred from getting sun, so we stripped down and enjoyed the heat. Our landlords Pietro and Francesco showed up for lunch, I am sure a bit surprised to find us at their local spot. It was a great way to spend a long day at the end of October. We stayed on the beach until the sun started to set and waved goodbye from the bus.
Day Tripping Down The Amalfi Coast
One day we walked into town to catch the bus to Positano. You could tell by the orderly queue that this was a group of tourists waiting (mostly British). We finally squeezed in, accepting that we would be standing the whole way.
Gripping the handrail we made our way along the infamous cliff road. You could see newbies with their mouths agape looking straight down the cliffs and as the crazy scooter people darted in and out, ignoring all traffic signs and polite expectations.
Alighting at the south bus stop (Sponda), we took the less steep road into Positano, stopping like the other tourists to take our pics.
We found a quiet spot for lunch before continuing to wander the small streets and the main church. Debating our options to return to Sorrento, we decided to hop aboard the next ferry to Amalfi. This was not an orderly crowd, not helped when a tour group somehow thought they should be able to board first. But we put out Italian on and made sure to keep our spot in line for a seat on the prow of the boat (but not right up where the rolling swell would soak us).
It was a nice trip down the coast. We watched as Praiano passed by, pointing out the hotel we had stayed in last year and the great mama’s restaurant in the marina. We could see Ravello high on the cliffs and David wondered if we would get back to visit the Chestnut Festival in nearby Scala. The caves before Amalfi came into view as we neared the town.
We let the other tourists push their way off and then departed the ferry to walk around Amalfi. Having explored the whole town the previous year, we didn’t need to seek out sights but rather could just wander and relax. Our favourite seafood restaurant could be seen way down the harbour. The tourist crowd was there but we knew it would quiet if we stayed until dinner time.
But after spending the day in the sun, we opted for an air conditioned ride back to Sorrento. We thought the HopOnHopOff bus might give us some of the history of the Amafi coast towns but the bus commentary was brief and missed many of the things we knew should be mentioned (e.g. the mosaic tiles of the church in Praiano).
The second time we explored the Amalfi Coast we decided to be decadent and rent a boat to head down the coast. We went as far as Praiano, stopping at our favourite seafood restaurant for lunch.
While the weather was not great the day we took the boat, we had a blast running our rhib boat on the waves. It is something we would definitely splurge on again.
Day Tripping For History
We had planned to do both Paestrum and Pompeii on this trip but as we dawdled through our 3 weeks in Sorrento, we ran out of time to do both. We watched the weather and booked a trip to Vesuvius and Pompeii when we thought the peak would be clear. We had a great tour starting with a walk up to the crater on Vesuvius and ending with a stroll for a few hours around Pompeii.
This was a trip to “tick the box” but I found myself much more interested in the massive Pompeii site than I expected to be. We will definitely plan to visit the archeological museum in Naples on a return visit to see the large collection of artifacts recovered from Pompeii and Herculeum.
There was still lots to do from Sorrento that we missed on this trip. We had planned by boat to go to Iscia for the thermal baths but they closed for the season before we got this scheduled. We had wanted to go by train or ferry back to Naples but decided to leave that for our next trip. The year before we had spent a weekend in Capri, so that was not on our agenda this time.
Sorrento makes a great base for day tripping!
What is your favourite day trips from Sorrento??