Sorrento with kids… a home base for Pompeii & Vesuvius

Vesuvius can be seen from Sorrento

Our family spent 4 nights in Sorrento, a pretty seaside town on the doorstep of the Amalfi Coast, with our two children (9 & 11)… here I outline how we got there, where we stayed, what we did, what I wish we had time for, and how much we spent.

We chose Sorrento when planning our trip to Italy because…

  • We wanted to see the Amalfi Coast
  • It’s a short train ride to Pompeii (& Vesuvius)
  • It’s easy to reach from Rome
  • We needed some downtime after a busy time in Rome and would need a rest after doing Pompeii & Vesuvius in one day with kids!

How we got there…

Hot tip… When trip planning in Italy, I recommend using Rome2Rio to work out how to get from A to B.

From Rome to Naples

We travelled from Rome to Naples on a Frecciarossa high speed train. We purchased our tickets online three months in advance (because its much cheaper that way). The trip was only about an hour and the train reached 299 km per hour (at least that’s the highest figure I saw on the monitor).

Hot tip… get to Rome Termini 30 – 45 min in advance if it’s your first time. We found it a little confusing… they changed the number of our train and the staff member I encountered couldn’t care less!

From Naples to Sorrento

From Naples Central Station (Napoli Centrale) we got a taxi to Molo Beverlo (the port where the ferries leave) and took the Hydrofoil (we went with Alilauro) to Sorrento. The ferry is not a cheap option… it’s way more expensive than the Circumvesuviana (local train) or Campania Tourist Train. We chose this because we wanted to see the coastline from the sea so it was just as much an experience as it was transportation. In retrospect it was a good choice inspite of the cost. We booked the ferry in advance on the website but there were a lot of seats spare.

The ferry timetable changes with the season
According to this we paid too much for our taxi

Hot tip… ask the Taxi driver “how much?” (Quanta costa?) before you get in! They should charge a fixed fare including luggage if you ask but will hit you up for more!

We walked from the port to the Sorrento Lift which only took a few minutes once we knew where we were going (it is signposted but we got a little confused at the start). This lift takes you from the beach up the cliff to where the city itself is. You could walk up the ramp if you wanted to save the 1 euro per person it costs to use the lift but I wouldn’t recommend it with luggage!

Where we stayed…

We stayed in an AirBnb in the centre of the old city. It had a spacious rooftop balcony with views of the ocean and Sorrento itself, a lift to get up to our room, all the conveniences we needed (fridge, washing machine, oven, etc) and our apartment was decorated in authentic Sorrento style. It was located right in the heart of the quaint market lined streets with restaurants and gelato but was still quiet enough at night not to get in the way of sleep. We loved it!

What we did…

Wander the streets

Sorrento has pretty, market lined streets with old buildings, narrow alleyways and beautiful doorways. Wandering the streets while eating gelato is perfect way to spend a morning or afternoon. There are also some beautiful churches you can wander into.

Go to the beach

The Sorrento beach isn’t really much of a ‘beach’ by Australian standards (I’m from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland where we have miles and miles of beautiful beaches). It is however, a lovely place to dip travel weary toes in the crystal clear ocean or lay in the warm mediterranian sun. Our kids loved it and went swimming in the water despite it being too cold for mum and dad!

Eat!

There are lots of great places to eat in Sorrento. The pizza place recommended by our AirBnb host, Pizzeria Trianon da Ciro, did not disappoint and was so much cheaper than the restaurants in the touristy part of town. We did eat at a restaurant downstairs from our apartment, Blu Water, which does an amazing Tiramisu but costs significantly more that the aforementioned Pizza place.

Day trip to Pompeii & Vesuvius

Vesuvius is an eerie sight when walking the streets of Pompeii

Sorrento is only a half hour train ride on the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii and Vesuvius is a 40 minute bus ride from Pompeii. My recommendation if you do both in one day is to do Vesuvius first (to find out why read my post on Pompeii & Vesuvius in one day with kids – I will link to it here when I finish it).

What I wish we had time for…

The baths of the Queen Giovanna

I found this gorgeous place when researching Sorrento and really wanted to see it. Unfortunately we just didn’t have the energy to do it in the end as we needed to rest after our massive day seeing Pompeii and Vesuvius. To visit the baths of Queen Giovanna you can catch the local bus up. According to feedback on TripAdvisor, its not safe to walk all the way there from Sorrento because you would have to walk on the road.

How much did it cost?

You can assume that costs stated here covered our entire family of 2 adults and 2 children (9 & 11 years)

Day 1 – Travelling to Sorrento

  • Frecciarossa Train (one way for 2 Adults & 2 Children) €52.80 ($84 AUD)
  • Taxi from Naples to Molo Beverlo €20 ($32 AUD)
  • Lunch at Molo Beverlo €20 ($32 AUD)
  • Hydrofoil (ferry) from Naples to Sorrento (return ticket for 2 Adults & 2 Children plus 4 suitcases) €116 ($185)
  • Sorrento lift €4 ($6.50 AUD)
  • Gelato (x4) €14 ($23 AUD)
  • Pizza Dinner €38 ($60 AUD)

Day 2 – Wandering the Streets and Eating

  • Late lunch (with wine and dessert) €77 ($123 AUD)
  • Snacks (Hot potato thing on a stick) €10 ($16 AUD)
  • Groceries €7 ($11 AUD)

Day 3 – Vesuvius & Pompeii day trip

  • Groceries €16 ($25 AUD)
  • Pompeii tickets €30 ($48 AUD)
  • Vesuvius entry €30 ($48 AUD)
  • Return Circumvesuviana train tickets (Sorrento to Pompeii Scavii) €10 ($16 AUD)
  • EAV bus from Pompeii Scavi to Vesuvius (return) €24.80 ($40 AUD)
  • Lunch at Pompeii €52 ($82.50 AUD)
  • 2 books from Pompeii Souvenir shop €17 ($27 AUD)

Day 4 – Beach, Gelato & Relaxation

  • Groceries €32 ($51 AUD)
  • Lunch €46 ($73 AUD)
  • Gelato €14 ($22.50 AUD)

Accomodation

AirBnb (4 nights) €704 ($1126 AUD) plus tourist tax €24 (€3/adult/night) ($38 AUD)

Total Spend

€1338 (approximately $2150 AUD at time of writing)

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