02 Sep How to survive Sorrento on a budget
Words by Ellen Corrigan
So you really want to experience the beauty of southern Italy but you haven’t got bundles of cash? As a young couple we wanted to visit the Amalfi Coast but we couldn’t afford it. We’d been putting off travelling around southern Italy because ‘we couldn’t afford to’ but then we decided to make it a priority and to see as much as possible within budget. We set ourselves €100 per day and went for 5 days and 4 nights.
So, here’s how we did it!
Getting from Naples to Sorrento:
There’s a great bus service from Naples to Sorrento that costs only €10 per person: it’s very well air-conditioned and clean. It leaves Naples frequently throughout the day and will save you the €100-€120 taxi fare out to Sorrento. It’s a little slower than a taxi but comfortable and great value at €10 per person.
What’s hot: Public transport
What’s not: Expensive taxis
Where to stay:
Accommodation can be expensive in Amalfi so we decided to do a day trip to Amalfi and stay in Sorrento instead. We’d recommend staying a little out of the town as prices are cheaper. The hills of Sorrento are beautiful and the further up the hill you go, the more beautiful your view is so it’s win win!
We stayed about 20 minutes from the town of Sorrento in a beautiful family run hotel called ‘Le Terrazze’. They have a great set up for money-conscious visitors. Like a lot of hotels in the Sorrento hills, they offer a free bus transfer service every day on the hour to and from the town. This was a great way of saving cash as taxis from the town are very expensive. The only downfall is that if you want a late night on the town the busses finish at 11:30pm.
What’s hot: Great Views & free buses
What’s not: Early nights & FOMO (fear of missing out)
Where to eat/drink:
If you’re looking for authentic cuisine, any of the endless street restaurants are perfect. The bigger hotels often charge a good deal more than the street restaurants and don’t have the same authentic feel that the street ones do. If you’re drinking wine, always always choose the local/house wine… it’s superb and incredibly affordable on any budget.
Of course, Sorrento has its very own Irish Bar called Chaplain’s. It’s a little more expensive compared to the local restaurants and bars but if you’re looking for an atmosphere, it can’t be beat!
On your last night if you’re looking for something a little fancier and you’re willing to splash some cash for this one night only, get yourself to the Hotel Excelsior. It is Sorrento’s 5 star luxury hotel where you can take in the finest cocktails, nibbles and views of the Sorrento coast for about €15-€20 a cocktail. We made sure to get the value from our evening arriving just before sunset and capturing some of the best views in Sorrento.
What’s hot: Local cuisine
What’s not: Leaving Italian wine in Italy
What to visit:
As with most tourist destinations there is no shortage of organised trips and excursions in Sorrento. The majority of trips offered around the area have a range of prices you can pay depending on the level of comfort you need or want. Average excursions are about €100 per person, but be careful to watch out for hidden extras (we got caught for that!).
Pompeii & Vesuvius
We decided that we would see Pompeii and Vesuvius in comfort and with a guide. We booked a full day trip. We travelled by boat to Castellammare di Stabia where a bus waited to transfer us to Pompeii. At Pompeii we were given an authorised guide who told us all you need to know about the ruins of Pompeii. I would recommend walking with a tour guide, the information our guide gave us was what made the morning memorable.
The Path of the Gods
Whether you’re looking for a mountainous hike or a stroll in the hills, the Path of the Gods has something to offer everyone. You can do guided tours but we decided to grab a map and set off on the 12km adventure trail together. We caught the public bus for €1.60 each and headed to Nocelle. The trail begins just north of the picturesque town of Positano and gets more and more breath-taking as you climb.
On the way back to Positano make a stop in La Tagilata, a family run restaurant. There is no menu, just Mama in the kitchen. You decide if you want lunch or dinner, and Mama decides the rest. This was a real taste of fresh Italian cuisine. The little restaurant perched high in the hills of Positano offers one of the most unbelievable views of the Amalfi coast and was by far one of our favourite memories!
What’s hot: Luxury excursions
What’s not: Hidden entry fees
You really can make any budget stretch on the Amalfi and Sorrento coast with these little adjustments – so go!