Amalfi Coast Series: When Sorrento Gives You Lemons

Sorrento

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and there’s no better place to find both lemons and happiness in Sorrento!  Famous for its lemons, the size of these Sorrento lemons are practically as big as baseballs.

Of all the places near or considered part of Amalfi Cost (Sorrento/Positano/Praiano/Amalfi), Sorrento remains to be the newest and most modern area of them all.  The roads are easier to drive, the architecture and surroundings feel newer, and everything seems cleaner.  That said, you can pretty much explore the major areas of Sorrento within a day, and most of the stores are quite similar – island wear clothing, tourist shops selling anything lemon related like limoncello (Italian lemon liquer) or porcelain designed with lemons on them, and random art pieces.

By the way, Sorrento is not part of Amalfi Coast.  But due to its good transport links and its proximity to the rest of Amalfi Coast, it makes a good base to explore the rest of the area.  I am grouping this post as part of the Amalfi Coast Series due to similar location and environment with the other areas.

 

Accommodation

Boutique Hotel Helios (website)

When driving, be sure to slow down when you are almost there, because it’s easy to miss the entrance on the right with a small sign that says Helios and it slopes downwards.  Once there, someone from the hotel will take care of your car.

Boutique Hotel Helios

In terms of walking to and from the hotel to Sorrento, it’s actually not situated centrally in Sorrento (most hotels aren’t) so it takes about 12 minutes to get to the start of main stream in Sorrento.  Boutique Hotel Helios is actually located on an upward cliff with a pedestrian walkway that sort of disappears once you are almost at the hotel.  There are convenience stores on the way to the hotel in case you need to buy water or drinks or gum.

Staff was extremely friendly and helpful, again guiding us where to go and what to do in Sorrento.  The hotels were very clean, rooms were spacious and comfortable, and they included breakfast with fresh orange juice, bacon, sausages, eggs, bread, pastries, yogurt and more.

Boutique Hotel Helios

Boutique Hotel Helios

Boutique Hotel Helios

Boutique Hotel HeliosBalcony

Boutique Hotel Helios

Boutique Hotel HeliosBoutique Hotel Helios

Boutique Hotel Helios

Boutique Hotel Helios

Boutique Hotel HeliosView from the hotel.  There’s also a hot tub in the hotel.

 

Restaurants and Food

Lots of great food in Sorrento, especially seafood since well, as you can tell from the picture we’re close to the sea!

 

Ristorante la Basilica (website)

The first restaurant we took a look at was Terrazza Bosquet, but that was more of a walking pass than legitimately deciding on the one star Michelin restaurant; we’ll save the Michelin meal for another one.

Instead, it was between Ristorante la Basilica and Il Buco, which was next door.  While Ristorante la Basilica was more traditional Italian, Il Buco was more modern and fusion Italian dishes, so we decided to go for more traditional and homey, especially since we just saw a large group of people coming out of the restaurant (turned out to be just a tour group, which should actually have been a warning sign to us!)  On the website, la Basilica says they serve authentic mediterranean cuisine.

Situated near central of Sorrento area, the restaurant was well lit, comfortable, and enough tables and spaces.  The meal, overall, was just OK.  Nothing spectacular, not disgusting, but average.  I wish I would have gone to Il Buco instead.

Ristorante la Basilica

Ristorante la Basilica

Ristorante la BasilicaPizza with parma ham and rocket

Ristorante la Basilica
Ristorante la BasilicaSauteéd spinaches with garlic and oil

 

Ristorante Bagni Delfino (website)

Ranked as the #2 restaurant in TripAdvisor as of this writing (right behind a Gelato shop), Bagni Delfino is located in Marina Grande and is sort of tucked away at the farthest end of the area.  That said, you will be rewarded with a beautiful view and fresh seafood at the restaurant.

Am I extremely impressed by the restaurant?  No.  It’s great, it’s good, but it’s not exciting or mindblowing.  They have good seafood ingredients, they make it great, but it’s not innovative in any way.

Ristorante Bagni Delfino Sorrento

Ristorante Bagni Delfino Sorrento

Ristorante Bagni Delfino Sorrento

Ristorante Bagni Delfino Sorrento
Ristorante Bagni Delfino Sorrento

Ristorante Bagni Delfino SorrentoBruschetta with tomato on the left

Ristorante Bagni Delfino SorrentoSeafood salad

Ristorante Bagni Delfino SorrentoGrilled local sea bass

Ristorante Bagni Delfino SorrentoGrilled local squid

Ristorante Bagni Delfino SorrentoGrilled eggplants, courgettes and peppers

 

Hotel Rivage Restaurant (website)

On Google Map, I was trying to find Chef Squillante, which was shown in the same location as Hotel Rivage Restaurant.  I thought it was wrong as well, but it was exactly at the same precise location, and we were hungry, so we didn’t care anymore and just decided to go to this restaurant, which of course didn’t turn out to be Chef Squillante, but Hotel Rivage Restaurant.

Of all the restaurants we had in this Italy trip, this one was probably the worst.  Service was amateurish, food taste was meh.  No need to go.  Nice atmosphere though.

Hotel Rivage Restaurant

Hotel Rivage Restaurant

Hotel Rivage Restaurant

 

Queen’s Chip Amsterdam

OK so we did have a quick snack in the afternoon as we couldn’t resist stepping into this shop.  The fries were sooo good!  If you’re ever in Amsterdam or in Sorrento, try these fries.  You also get to choose from, if I remember correctly, at least 16 different sauces.

Queens Chip Amsterdam Sorrento

Sorrento

 

Things to Do

Relax at Marina Grande

Go next to the sea and enjoy the vast amount of seafood restaurants nearby the Marina Grande.  Feel the sea breeze and appreciate the clear waters.  If not for lunch, at least stop by for a prosecco.

While Marina Grande was below our hotel, there was no direct path to it so we had to walk down the cliff, follow a twisting route before reaching there.  There aren’t many signs that direct you to Marina Grande, so you may have to whip out your Google Maps to get there efficiently.

SorrentoPathways to Marina Grande

Sorrento

Marina Grande Sorrento

Marina Grande Sorrento

Marina Grande Sorrento

Marina Grande Sorrento

Marina Grande SorrentoI had to show this picture twice.  The first one to show how clear the water was.  The second to show the beauty of the view.

Marina Grande Sorrento

Marina Grande SorrentoAnother restaurant we passed by in Marina Grande.

Marina Grande Sorrento

Marina Grande Sorrento

Marina Grande Sorrento

Marina Grande Sorrento

Marina Grande Sorrento

Marina Grande Sorrento

Marina Grande SorrentoMarina Grande at night

 

Browsing and shopping around

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, there are many clothing and lemon-related souvenirs everywhere.  In a sense, it feels completely like a “tourist” spot.  That said, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t walk around; relish in the moment that you’ve finally hit your first stop at the alluring Amalfi Coast.

Lemon FantaWhen you’re here, you have to try the Lemon Fanta.  Exclusively in Sorrento.

Sorrento

SorrentoBuy some sauces for your next meal

Sorrento

Sorrento

SorrentoSome shops are insist in having you taste some of their limoncello or chocolates or little snacks

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

SorrentoWalking down from our hotel

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

SorrentoBe environmentally friendly and recycle!  Plastic may take up to 1,000 years to dissolve, glass is indefinite, and aluminum cans up to 100 years!

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

SorrentoTry to avoid taxis unless you have to… super expensive!  A cab ride for 20 minutes may cost you anywhere from €20-30, and this is during the day only!

Sorrento

SorrentoTicket office to buy ferries to go to Capri Island.  There is no need to buy on the days before; they wouldn’t even let you do it!  You have to buy on the day of.

SorrentoDo not go in this Ristorante!  We sat there literally for 2 minutes, decided that there were too many flies, and they wanted to charge us €2 per person for just using their chairs!  Maybe it’s an Italian custom, but they force you to pay something or otherwise using the chairs (something that doesn’t happen in other cultures).  It’s not just the paying part, it’s the attitude behind it, the way they force you to take a different exit and can’t use the entrance so you pass by the cashier, and just too many flies.

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

SorrentoSunset from the view for the parking lot above

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

SorrentoBesides the main streets, they also have other side alleys to explore

Sorrento

Sorrento

Ristorante 'O Parrucchiano La FavoritaRistorante ‘O Parrucchiano La Favorita

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento

 

Original itinerary:

  • Piazza Lauro, then walk down to Coros Italia to Piazza Tasso (also lively at evening), Sorrento’s main piazza
  • Few meters up is Viale Enrico Caruso, then take in the Valley of the Mills
  • Walk down Corso Italia for shopping thoroughfare
  • Walk along Via San Cesareo, until reach Sedil Dominova
  • Take Via Reginaldo Giuliani to Church of San Francesco on your right
  • Take a walk at Villa Comunale, see Mount Vesuvius from distance, then walk down to ports or beach clubs
  • Continue walk to Piazza Vittoria, follow road to Marina Grande for fresh fish and seafood (Da Emilia for traditional, Bagni Sant’Anna, and Bagni Delfino)
  • Cathedral of Sorrento
  • Old Sorrento

 

Let me know – would you want to try the limoncello?  How likely would you want to visit Sorrento after seeing these pictures?  Hope you enjoyed!

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