Day tripping - Positano to Sorrento

Some of us love Positano for its truly relaxing vibe. You can't not relax here. There is no traffic, no traffic lights, no commuters rushing, glued to phones and looking frantic. There is simply the sea, shopping and an abundance of great places to eat. Positano commands you to slow down.

View from the pathway between Spaggia Grande and Fornillo - I bet those four people in the water weren't thinking about emails and deadlines.

Positano taken from my 'secret staircase'* just off Via Pasitea

But what to do when you'd like to see somewhere else? When you'd like a day of sightseeing and activity? After all, look what's only a ferry ride away - Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi, Atrani and Ravello. It's super easy to plan a day or even half a day away from Positano especially in high season (April to end October) when the ferry services are running. In a series of blog posts, I will show you just how easy it is to visit the areas surrounding Positano using public transportation.

Positano to Sorrento

This makes for a delightful day out. The ferry to Sorrento goes via Capri (at least the one I took did) so you get to skirt the coastline of this enormous limestone beauty before pulling into the charming Marina Piccola in Sorrento. The trip takes about 45 minutes. From there you follow the signs to the outdoor elevator and - for one euro - it will whisk you straight up to Villa Communale, which is about as central as you can get in Sorrento.

Above and below - views from Villa Communale looking down on Marina Piccola - note the bathing platforms which allow a comfortable place to swim and sunbathe without getting sand in your swimsuit. There is still sand if you prefer (see top photo). 

From Marina Piccola I had no plans. I didn't even have a map but that doesn't matter in Sorrento as its historic area is an ancient Roman town constructed as a grid - much like NYC (but without the Romans) so highly unlikely you'll get lost.

The historic streets are tiny, cobbled and very picturesque. I took my time walking around, checking the shops and stopping at the highly recommended 'Davide' for gelato. If you're a holiday shopper, then Sorrento is the place for you - with kitsch in abundance in the form of Italian map-shaped limoncello bottles, tea towels, spice mixes, every fridge magnet you wish you had and every magnetic bottle-top opener you didn't know you needed. There is also  inlaid wood - a craft the Sorrentine artisans have been perfecting for centuries. As well as shopping, you'll find many places to eat and as it was lunch time, I headed for the famous Bar Fauno on Piazza Tasso.

Sorrento's charming streets (above and below)

I had heard that Bar Fauno is THE place for watching the action so I was hoping for a front of house table - but that was not to be - in fact they were full but when they heard I was a party of one, they found room for me. Service, food and atmosphere I rate a 10/10, especially the atmosphere with loads of holiday-makers enjoying their beers in the afternoon sun. The view - well, I was in the 'cheap seats' but you can't have everything and at least I was outside.

I took the SITA bus from Sorrento back to Positano, which only took 15 minutes and was not crowded at all. This trip can take 45 min to an hour normally but I was travelling late Sunday afternoon and most SITA bus passengers leave early in the morning. There was also no traffic.

I was charmed by Sorrento and can see its appeal for the many visitors who love it and go back every year. There is more to see - some stunning churches and a few small museums - but I was there for a lazy Sunday afternoon and Sorrento certainly obliged with a sunny day and loads of happy people.

Information on ferries from Positano to Sorrento is here - note - this is at June 2017 - the link will update with new schedules around April/May 2018.

* the 'secret staircase' in Positano is marked 'private' but you can walk down a short way for a quick photo or two. It's near the junction of the Via San Giovanni stairs.

Travelled October 2017


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