Sunday, August 24, 2014

Secrets of Sorrento: the beach, the lift, shopping and cool spots

Arriving to Sorrento on Azamara Quest
 Sorrento  is usually the first stop on cruises beginning at Rome's port of Civitavecchia and while first time visitors  are whisked off  to  Pompeii, Capri and the Amalfi Coast, those who already know the area can enjoy a leisurely  visit  in town or  a swim  and lazy lunch at one of the many beach places along the waterfront. 
Azamara's tender  to Sorrento 
These  latter  options are much  appreciated during the humid days of August. 

This year we discovered an alternative to the uncomfortable  bus ride up from the port: a short walk along  the  beachfront leads  to the  entrance of a modern elevator/lift carved out of  Sorrento’s  cliff.

picking basil 
beach cabins, loungers and umbrellas  rented for the day
the beach at  Sorrento 

the free beach at noon 

As we made our way to the lift the beach concessions/stabilimenti were just opening for the day: the day’s menu (fish, salad, tomatos) was  being trundled in for the trattoria kitchens and teenagers were  staking out places on the free beach with their towels.

lower entrance to lift 
entrance to lift

waiting for the lift

Passing the turnstile (entrance 1,20 euro) we were whisked up through the hillside to the Sorrento plateau and  exited at  the  cliff top gardens (Giardino Comunale) close to  San Francesco church and cloister, a favorite venue for English couples  who marry in Italy.

in the cloister with the couple from Casablanca who  followed us 

The shopkeepers we spoke with complained that  business this summer is not as good as it was 2 years ago: they had fewer  clients with less spending power. 

modern art exhibit  in a Baroque church 

tired shoppers  with  Azamara Quest  in background

some hardy souls walking down the cliff 

The mid-summer sales were enticing but the heat and humidity made  shopping a hard task, and our priority was to seek refuge from the blazing sun.

Antica Sartoria: wonderful selection, good prices
Besides the  many air conditioned shops along Corso Italia and Via San Cesareo, Sorrento  is full of cool, airy palazzi and churches offering  benches for resting and art in many forms including presepe scenes the area is famous for. 

a cool hall in Sorrento's Comune  
Duomo's  holy water font & John Paul II's coat of arms  
in the Duomo, Sorrento 
benches in Duomo
Other  tips for cruising the Mediterranean can be found here  and    here : or use the Search bar to find more information on the blog.

 Don't forget  to check out the hundreds of articles about travel in Italy on my website  and click here to see more about  the ship we sailed on.  

Please leave a comment  if you  learned  something from  this  story, and feel free to share with friends on Twitter, Facebook or email.  Just use the icons  at the bottom of the page. 

Christmas Presepe scene, Duomo

(P.S. It is such a pleasure to read genuine  comments, for lately  there has been so much  spamming. )


  1. I'm an American expat in Atrani (down the Amalfi Coast). Thanks for the info about the elevator. That new to me- and I'll definitely try it on my next day trip to Sorrento.

  2. Thanks Mary Jane, I'm visiting close to Sorrento in a couple of weeks time and I'll look out for the lift. Any other recommendations wold be useful thanks

  3. those who already know the area can enjoy a leisurely visit in town or a swim and lazy lunch at one of the many beach places along the waterfront. discount code for Cooperative Electrical

  4. Don't you hate that beaches are all occupied by the concessions/stabilimenti that plant their sun-umbrellas almost one upon the other?
    To me it's a shame for such awesome places like Sorrento...
    Btw would you like to share your tips on Sorrento's page of my travel platform (