Sat in the glorious sunlit pennisula of Italy, it’s easy to get lost in its beauty and start reflecting on life as your normal days fade into the abyss. It has been a while since my last post, and to the few that read my blog regularly, I apologise for this. This is in part due to a painful breakup when twomedicsandacamera has in spirit become onemedicandacamera. However, do not despair! This doesn’t mean my travelling days are over, and in truth I have many more trips planned!
Although my second trip to Italy this year, I feel the tug of this country forever drawing me in. But can you blame me? The country is steeped in Mediterranean beauty, myth and legends that not even the sirens had to try very hard to keep me away. This time this trip was planned with some of my friends from university, so it was going to be a big trip, even if it was only for a few days.
How we got there
We decided we would stay close to Sorrento (massa Lubrense), expensive as it may be, it was smack bang in the middle of everything. It was our gateway to the Amalfi coast, and yet let us travel to Pompeii, Naples and anywhere else we would like to visit. However, if there is one piece of advice I can give about this area is to book early! It really is a stunning place, so the places sell out quickly, booking in advance is a must!
The easiest way to get into Sorrento is to fly to Naples. It is a 2 hour drive away, and unlike the horrendous stories that you may have heard about driving in Italy, its actually not that bad! Yes, so it takes a few hours of attention driving on the opposite side of the road (lucky people who are already used to this!), and the drivers have no concept of giving way, but other than that, it is probably the easiest way to travel to and around sorrento. For the 8 of us including all the parking, fuel and the tolls for the 4 days we paid around £80 per person, which we thought was worth it for the comfort.
Our airbnb: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/14366314?euid=864ed191-bdfa-6e62-f5f6-651753a86742
However, if you are looking for a slightly cheaper option, there are other ways to get to sorrento from Naples airport.
In order of price, cheapest to most expensive, these are:
- Cheapest option is to take the airport bus from Naples airport to Central Station in the city of Naples then get the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento
- Curreri Viaggi run a regular scheduled bus between Naples and Sorrento. Timetables are erratic and seasonable but are about every two hours
- private car pre-booked.
- Take the bus from the airport to the central station of Naples (around 15mins), then from naples central station, get a train to sorrento train station. Be aware though, there are multiple stations for each city, so know which one to get off at in advance. This journey is over an hour and a half, but in the summer, when the traffic can be a nightmare, this may not be a bad shout. A single ticket costs 4 euros while a day ticket will cost around 7 euros.
- Curreri Viaggi is a shuttle bus that runs every 1-2 hours from the airport to sorrento coast, and costs roughly 10 euros. No reservations required, and you can pay the driver.
- As above you can hire a car, we booked through avis, which we have done in the past and have found it to be useful. We booked out two cars between the 8 of us to allow for baggage space (never forget bags!). The process itself has been easy and all you need is a credit card and your driving license.
So you’ve made it to Sorrento, now what??
`There are so many different itineraries to pick from, but in four days you want to be able to see as much as possible while enjoying everything as well.
We wanted to see and do as much as possible so the main things we wanted to see were:
- Postiano (and amalfi if possible)
For four days this seemed like enough of a challenge, so that’s what we attempted.
Day 1- Pompeii and Vesuvius
The ancient city of Pompeii, isn’t something that you expect when you get there. Sorrento being a paradise of sea and lush lemons, suddenly changes to these ruins expanding in every direction, preserving each ruin so well, you feel like you have suddenly travelled back in time.
Getting here from sorrento is not difficult, particularly by train. We parked our car by sorrento train station, and got a day pass for 7 euros, which took us all the way to pompeii. There is an entry fee to get into the ancient city and it cost us (under 18s free, 18-25 reduced fee, >25 15 euros). However it is 100% worth it. We found that having a guide with us was also helpful, particularly as she was able to explain all the intricate details of the city.
It was 79 AD when mount Vesuvius, an active volcano still erupted, spewing out volcanic ash, and poisonous gases for hundreds of miles around it. This covered the city of Pompeii and its surrounding cities in very deep layers of ash, making it almost forgotten till the 18th century. When it was dug up, nearly everything was preserved, making it a great historical site for archeologists to understand the ancient roman times.
Theres so much to see in the city, from the ancient auditoriums (we asked our friend to sing for us here, but sadly she refused), to the red light district (kindly marked in the streets by male genitalia). A lot of these places have been renovated but its amazing to jump right in into this historical beauty.
But of course the tale of Pompeii started with Vesuvius, and you have to see it even if just to see the amazing views from the top. Don’t worry, you don’t have to walk the full way up if you don’t want to, or just don’t have the time to. A bus goes up most of the way to the top from Pompeii station. You still have to walk a little, but it is well worth the view.
Day 2: Capri Island
There are many ways to see capri, but the best by far is a private boat. Depending on how many of you there are, a ferry is also available for a much cheaper price. However with there being so many of us, we hired a boat for 8 hours for 500 euros. Our guide Simon, showed us the beautiful grottos around the island as well as sharing some of the greek (yes greek!) mythology of the area.
The journey itself is an hour away from the coast of Sorrento, where we started. But it was worth it! The island itself is so beautiful, although very expensive! The place has been a holiday resort for thousands of years, even the ancient Italians used to come here to relax, and was known as paradise. Its easy to see why, when you can see glistening blue waters, which ache to be swam in and the beautiful cliffs which you want to stare at all day (or jump off if you’re feeling daring!).
Unfortunately, since we could not stay very long, we stayed here only for a few hours, but were able to have some amazing sea food here, while overlooking the sea.
Around this area are the most beautiful grottos, with orange corals and the world famous blue grotto. But if you are a swimmer there are lots of options to jump in and and check out some of these. Our guide helped us out and took us to these, the ferry doesn’t really offer this opportunity, so if you can get a private boat!
The myth of the sirens
When it comes to myths and legends, I am always the first one there, and learning about this one was just as enticing (I always let my nerdy flag fly). The area of the bay of Naples this mostly refers to is between capri island and solerno, but as this was on our travels we saw a little of the magic.
Sirens, were said to be part human and part bird/fish (varies in some scripts). They could be found in the bay of Naples, and would prevent sailors travelling across by playing the best music. It would cause them to crash on the shores, and either die or be unable to leave. Eerie right! Fortunately for us, the curse of the sirens meant that that they would only live as long as a human was able to withstand their songs. This was done by Odyssus who was warned about the sirens before he entered this sea, and blocked his ears by wax (ouch!) and tied himself to the mast of the ship. When this happened, the sirens were said to have died, by crawling into the ocean and becoming three islands.
Day 3- Sorrento and Postiano
Sorrento is a beautiful place, to relax and enjoy as much food as possible, do some shopping and enjoy the coast. It was nice to have a morning to just relax and enjoy the city for a little bit.
You can get here by driving here or get a boat. We decided to drive here, as we had the car. It was a 40minute journey without much traffic, but be aware, the weekends are a little crazy with italian traffic. Buses are also available from sorrento to Postiano, which take about an hour. The buses do become very crowded in the summer, so if you are planning on taking the bus, make sure you get an early bus. The price is usually around 1.80 euros for the bus.
The ferry is around 10 euros, and will take you to the centre of postiano, which will allow you see the major sites, and may be more beneficial especially if you are planning on staying a day in the summer.
So what did we think?
I hope the pictures speak for themselves, we honestly had an amazing time. It is quite tight for time, so planning is needed in advance. Trust me when I say this trip was 100% worth doing. And if you hear the sirens calling, let us know!!