The Amalfi Coast is an amazing place to visit and Sorrento is a gem of a town whatever the time of year. In summer you have incredible weather, although crowded I imagine, and during the winter it’s cooler but easier to explore.
I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days here back in December and here are my recommendations of places not to miss if you decide to take the trip yourself!
GO AT CHRISTMAS TIME
December is not the month that people often rave about when heading to the Amalfi Coast, but unless you’re going primarily to sit on a beach, then it’s a fabulous month to visit. The temperature, around 12C, is perfect for pottering around the streets and visiting the surrounding area (Sorrento is very close to Pompeii). Everywhere is lit up with fairy lights and hung with decorations; it’s completely magical.
They literally light up every frond of the palm trees in the main square alongside the huge Christmas tree in the middle of the roundabout. Plus, the citrus trees, both orange and lemon, are heavy with fruit and are perfectly juxtaposed with the Christmas decor. I was so surprised when we drove into Sorrento to see garlands of lights hanging above the main street all the way into the town. There are also huge fairy light structures like fairies hanging in trees, a carriage pulled by reindeer, and even Mickey Mouse and all his friends! Aside from the lights, there are people singing Christmas songs in the street, shops selling thick hot chocolate outside their doors and bakeries selling traditional and seasonal pastries. It was foodie heaven. Speaking of which……
TRY GELATO, HOT CHOCOLATE & LOCAL PASTRIES FROM GELATERIA PRIMAVERA
My brother recommended that we go to Primavera for their gelato and I’m so glad he did. They have some of the best gelato I have ever tried in my life. Their pistachio was incredible and the texture and flavour of their lemon sorbet was out of this world. It was thick and fruity and unlike any sorbet I’ve eaten before. I was honestly so happy here.
The walls are plastered with photos of the achievements of the chef (some what of a celebrity) and the glass display cabinets filled with his baking. Their are endless kinds of cakes, sweet treats and biscuits, including piles of gingerbread men on the top. They also served some of the most delicious thick, dark hot chocolate brought to your table topped with whipped cream or without. We visited this place on every day of our trip; on our first evening, the second evening and then in the morning before lunch. I ate too much that day, was so full but I have no regrets. It was all amazing.
DRINK LIMONCELLO WHILST WANDERING THE STREETS FOR SOUVENIRS
Sorrento is the kind of town that has small cobbled streets filled with shops and restaurants, where you could spend all day exploring. There are many stores that sell limoncello, but some also offer tastings of both their local lemon liqueur and the sweets they sell; chocolate covered lemon peel or maybe lemon cream filled chocolates. These shops make a perfect respite from browsing the leather goods, painted pottery and herbs and spices.
Just remember if you’re travelling with Ryanair or Easyjet, you might end up paying to check a bag as you’ll definitely want to buy a few bottles of limoncello to take home!
STAY AT RELAIS CORREALE
This small boutique hotel is absolutely gorgeous. It’s situated walking distance from the centre of town, but the building sits in the middle of a citrus grove. You are surrounded by lemon and orange trees and some of the lemons are like the size of my head, no kidding. The staff are super friendly and very helpful and the breakfast (included) is huge. Freshly made pastries, bread, fruit, cereal, meat, cheese…. the list goes on. I imagine it’s beautiful to sit outside amongst the trees to eat, but unfortunately it was a little too chilly for that when we went.
They do, in fact, make limoncello from their lemons and marmalade from their oranges but the fruits weren’t quite ripe enough yet to begin the process so we were lucky to see the grove full to the brim with fruit. The bedrooms themselves are absolutely stunning.
The floor tiles are beautiful and all the textiles are white and bright blue, giving a beach side vibe while still staying modern. I would highly recommend this as a fantastic place to stay and I would definitely go back again.
EAT LUNCH AT L’ANTICA TRATTORIA
We had originally booked to eat at L’Antica Trattoria for our first evening, but due to flight delays, we had to postpone until our last day for lunch. I’m actually glad we did because their lunch set menu was incredible. We started with an amuse bouche, followed by 3 delicious courses and all for the price of a main course on the a la carte.
It’s a gorgeous restaurant and felt very traditional in it’s design, and the terrace outside was just so beautiful. Being there at Christmas meant seeing it fully decked out in it’s Christmas finery, but I imagine it’s just as lovely the whole year round. And whatever you do, order the stuffed courgette flower to start, because it’s possibly one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten.
I hope you get to visit Sorrento in the future, even if it’s just for the day. It’s a great jumping off point for the rest of the Amalfi Coast or for visiting Pompeii. Take some time out to relax amongst the citrus trees, eat some gelato and potter around the little stores and I swear you won’t be disappointed.