Solo Travel Destination: Sorrento, Italy
We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Lee, a member of the Solo Travel Society. Lee is from the United States and submitted the following report about Sorrento. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: Italian
Reasons to go: If you have ever seen photos of the Amalfi coast, then you do not need to ask for a reason to go. I had been to Italy a number of times and had even spent a semester in Florence but I had never been south of Naples. So when I decided to take a 3 month sabbatical I chose Sorrento – or it chose me.
Sorrento is an amazing place. You can arrive by bus, train or ferry from Naples, each with a unique perspective. My preference was by sea. Many people commute to Naples by ferry or visit the town on the weekends.
Sorrento is built on a cliff overlooking the sea with several paths and staircases that allow you easy access to Marina Grande or Marina Piccolo. You can spend your days (as I did) walking along the cliff road overlooking the sea while you visit several of the smaller towns that are also linked by bus and train.
Sorrento is a popular tourist spot for Europeans and there was always a large group of British visitors in town, so you hear English in the pub, restaurants and on the streets in Sorrento.
Sorrento is an excellent hub to visit Capri, Amalfi, Positano, Pompeii and many, many other great towns and villages in the area. You can hike some wonderful trails up the hillside, but I preferred the ones that went to the rocky sea shore. Italians will spread a towel on a rock and spend the day in the sun or taking a dip in the cold water.
There are about 17,000 residents in Sorrento and everyone comes out in the evening for una passeggiata or the evening walk. Neighbors meet and chat, families gather for a drink or a meal in one of the restaurants. It was an amazing event and it occurred every night.
As a solo traveler, living in Italy has a few challenges. The Italian people are kind and helpful to strangers but it may be a little difficult to make friends. Italians can be more formal, even their language allows you to address someone in the formal or the familiar.
A great source of information on visiting Sorrento can be found at sorrentoinfo.com. There are endless cafes and bars (for coffee) throughout town. The many fine restaurants on and near Piazzo Taso are well known. Many have outdoor dining for people-watching and to enjoy the fine weather. There is a good vegetarian restaurant, Mondo Bio Café and Shop on Via deli Aranci, behind the train station and many places to find real pizza.
Shopping on the main street of Corso Italia offers everything from high end boutiques to souvenir stores. The narrow parallel lane of Via San Cesareo and the surrounding lanes, remind you of how life was many years ago. There are fruit, vegetable and fish stalls spaced among small shops, delis and some of the best stores for handbags and sandals. You can select your sandal style, color and size and wait while they are created for you. If you have a few days you can have a custom pair of sandals made.
Solo travelers will find Sorrento an easy town to navigate. There are casual restaurants and several ‘take away’ outlets. And don’t forget to stop at David “il” Gelato, open since 1957, and the best place in town for gelato.
Sorrento may be a popular tourist stop and on the cruise ship itinerary, but you will still find stores closing for the long lunch hours. This was the best time for long walks, to visit the lemon groves or to sit in the park overlooking the sea. Sorrento will stay in your mind for a very long time.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety - 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language - 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)