Monday, 3 July 2017

A Week In Sorrento And Visiting Capri & Rome

Well it's 3 days since I returned from my week in Sorrento, Italy (plus a few little jaunts to Rome and Capri in between) and I'm still suffering from a major case of the holiday blues so I thought I'd do a little blog post about it. This was probably the best holiday I've ever been on so I'm excited to share with you what we got up to there whilst there!

Since Josh and I got together, we've been on a foreign holiday almost every year but we usually tend to stick to the classic sun, sea and sand European holidays. Whilst I'm defo not against spending a week catching some rays, drinking, eating and, well, not really doing much else (sometimes you just need that kind of relaxing holiday), I wanted to visit somewhere with a bit more to it this year. We settled on Sorrento as I've always wanted to visit Italy but wanted to go somewhere that wasn't just a city break, like Rome or Milan.

Sorrento is a coastal town in Southwestern Italy and is just absolutely beautiful. It has the perfect mixture of the calmness of being right by the sea together with the hustle and bustle of crowded streets dotted with shops, restaurants and, of course, countless gelateria's.

We ended up booking a package deal through Thomson, as it worked out cheaper to get out flights, transfers and hotel all included in one set price. We did stay on a half board basis as it was pretty much the same price as self catering but knew we'd still want to explore the local cuisine!

We stayed in the Hotel Admiral, a waterfront hotel situated in Sorrento's Marina Grande. This meant that we were a little walk away from the centre of Sorrento and had to climb a flight of stony steps every time we wanted to visit the town's shops and restaurants but I loved our location. There were still restaurants by the Marina, in fact the Sorrento's top rated restaurant, on TripAdvisor, was based there but the Marina area of town was a lot quieter and more chilled out than the rest of Sorrento.

Our hotel was built into a cliff side, overlooking the Marina as well as the rest of the Sorrento peninsula, the sea and even Mount Vesuvius! Honestly, I've never had a view that good at any hotel I've ever stayed at. Waking up on a morning to the sound of the waves lapping against the shore, the seagulls squawking and the fishermen heading out on their boats was just perfect. And the cherry on top was definitely seeing Mount Vesuvius just chilling, in all it's glory, in the background. It really was like a scene from a postcard...

Our days tended to be spent roaming around Sorrento town - there's literally so many cobbled, narrow streets that you'll keep discovering new ones each time you head out - eating all the pizza, pasta and gelato and having a little sunbathe either on our balcony or on the little beaches by the Marina if we fancied a dip in the sea. The food in Sorrento is amazing - I'm a massive lover of Italian food so, for me, pizza and pasta every day was perfect but due to Sorrento being a coastal town there was also a huge variety of fresh seafood on offer. And, of course, the gelato. You couldn't walk 5 minutes without being confronted with some kind of gelato stand/shop/parlour and, obviously, it would be rude not to sample the town's many options, wouldn't it? My highlight was Raki, a seemingly, unassuming small gelato shop based in the middle of one of Sorrento's busy, touristy streets but, seriously, it's gelato was out of this world. I opted for coconut and salted caramel and really wish I'd discovered it earlier on in the week so I could have sampled the many other flavours available! Another one worth noting was Gelateria Primavera which had over 80 flavours in store including Bounty, Oreo, Kinder Bueno and Ferrero Roche.

We took a trip to nearby island of Capri on the Monday - despite only been a half an hour ferry away it was 75 euros for us both to get there and back - so a little on the pricey side but 100% worth it. Like Sorrento, Capri is gorgeous. The fact so many celebrities visit for their vacations should tell you all you need to know! We took a boat trip around the island whilst there which I'd definitely recommend doing as there's so many caves and grotto's dotted around the coastline that you can only see whilst out at sea. The most famous being the Grotto Azzurra, where the sunlight passing through the seawater creates a blue reflection that illuminates the cavern. Unfortunately, the queues were so big to get in that we didn't end up visiting but a lot of the other caves we visited on our boat trip had a similar, albeit less dramatic, effect! However, I was more than happy to get back on land and indulge in a Pizza Funghi after spending the 2 hour trip out out at sea feeling like I was about to vom at any second.

We also decided to take a spontaneous trip to Rome on the Wednesday. We were originally going to climb Mount Vesuvius but the strong winds and promise of thunderstorms put me off a bit! So, Rome was decided upon. The train to Naples took an hour and then a further hour to Rome so not too shabby to say it's just under 300km away from Sorrento.

We booked a last minute hotel for the night - which had a Jacuzzi bath in it, a definite highlight - and spent the entire day roaming around the city. I must say, though, our first impressions weren't brilliant. Stepping out of the train station and walking along back streets, filled with grafitti, to the hotel, we did start to wonder what the appeal was to the capital city. But once we'd checked in and began to get closer to the centre, we realised we had nothing to worry about. Rome was everything I thought it would be; a buzzing city filled with history and ancient architecture with something new to discover around almost every corner. We visited the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and a few of the cities grand Basilica's. I would love to visit again though as we only really touched the surface and didn't get chance to explore Vatican City.

Overall, our week in Sorrento - with a few visits elsewhere in between - was perfect. I like to visit different places but I would return here in a heartbeat. I still feel like there's so much more I could have done during my time there; visited Pompeii and Herculean, climbed Vesuvius, ventured to Positano and Amalfi - the list goes on. But I guess that just gives me even more of an excuse to return someday...

Have you visited Sorrento?


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