On a recent call to Naples, I decided to take advantage of a cruise ship tour to Sorrento and the coastal town of Amalfi. I’d never visited either of these popular Italian hotspots and I’d always wanted to experience the drive along the beautiful Amalfi coast road.
The nine hour P&O Cruises shore excursion provided me with the perfect taster. Setting off early in the morning, it took us an hour to drive to the popular city of Sorrento, famed for its limoncello.
Nestled on a hilltop, Sorrento is a mix of old and new, with fabulous views across the bay to the island of Capri. There is a lift (or steps) from the top of Sorrento down to the harbour below. From there, you can take the ferry to Capri.
With two hours to explore independently, I took a walk along Sorrento’s dusty central shopping street (Corso Italia), which was busy with cars and tourists. This is where you will find both designer and high street fashion stores. Set just behind Corso Italia is the historic quarter, which is made up of an intricate network of quaint, cobbled streets packed to the brim with souvenir shops, cafés and restaurants. This area is full of charm and was a lovely place to spend the rest of my free time.
After a delicious three-course lunch at Ristorante Parrucchiano Garden (known for its mouth-watering ricotta cannelloni), my fellow cruise ship passengers and I headed off to the coastal town of Amalfi, an hour and a half away. The drive along the coastal road was great fun and we got to witness some hair-raising driving from the locals. Our coach driver received many whoops and cheers for his expert negotiation of the windy roads. The views from the coach were superb and we had a bird’s-eye view of the popular resort of Positano.
Amalfi: Playground for the rich and famous
Located in the province of Solerno, Amalfi is a playground for the rich and famous. We had an hour to explore the charming town centre, which boasted an abundance of gelaterias, souvenir shops and expensive boutiques. An intricate web of narrow lanes, hidden shops and shadowy nooks appear all the way along the bustling main shopping street. At the centre of the town’s Piazza del Duomo sits the beautiful 9th century Cathedral of St Andrew, which has a €2.50 entrance fee.
The town was thronging with tourists as there was a cruise ship tendering in to the town that day. That did not detract from Amalfi’s charm and I would happily spend time relaxing on the stunning volcanic beach, sampling the local seafood or sitting on one of the hotel terraces with a cool drink. Amalfi is one of the prettiest parts of Italy I have seen in recent times (aside from Venice) and is somewhere I would love to return to one day (preferably on one of the lovely yachts moored just off the coast).
Thus our fabulous excursion came to an end. We wound our way along the cliff road back to Naples and the mighty Vesuvius, returning to our temporary home, our cruise ship Ventura.
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