Cruise destinations: the Sorrentine Peninsula
The main town of Sorrento gives the peninsula its name, but the nearby Amalfi coast, Lattari Mountains and Island of Capri are also known as beautiful tourist destinations.
The peninsula has long been a popular destination for travellers, with the Ancient Romans first discovering its beauty and building palaces and grand villas on the coast overlooking the water. Today, the views out to sea remain largely unchanged, and while the area retains much of its ancient charm, it is also a great place to enjoy shopping, culture and nightlife as well.
Sorrento itself is known for a range of crafts that are traditionally practised in the area, and visitors can find shops selling the complex lacework, beautifully designed ceramics and intricate marquetry that has made the region famous. The town is also known for its Limoncello, a lemon-based alcoholic digestif that is popular among locals and visitors alike.
Art enthusiasts can visit the Museo Correale di Terranova, an 18th-century villa that is home to a huge private art collection that includes paintings, porcelains and furniture. There are also a number of archaeological exhibits, including Greek and Roman artefacts and beautifully tended gardens featuring citrus groves and palm trees.
For unrivalled views of the Bay of Naples, the largest public park in Sorrento sits on top of a cliff and welcomes visitors that want to enjoy the wide array of flowers and trees alongside the stunning vista. With steps down to the Marina Piccola, the Villa Comunale is perfectly located to take in the very best that Sorrento has to offer.
Famous for its beauty, the Sorrentine Peninsula is packed with beauty spots, including the Punta Campanella Lighthouse that is still in operation at the South Western tip of the Peninsula, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. Known as the place where Ulysses was tempted by the sirens during his famous quest, the lighthouse is surrounded by olive groves and vegetable gardens, not to mention breathtaking views over to Capri.
Il Sentiero degli Dei, the Path of the Gods, is a hiking trail that takes its name from the spectacular views walkers can enjoy as they make their way between Agerola and Nocelle. There are options for those who want a gentle downhill stroll as well as for seasoned hikers who are happy to take on some of the steeper sections to be rewarded with the most amazing views, and the Arienzo Beach at the end of the trail is perfect for a refreshing swim.
This archipelago of tiny islands sits just off the Amalfi Coast, and they are named after the mythical sirens that were supposed to have lived there. There are three main islands: Gallo Lungo, which is half-moon shaped and was once home to a prison and a monastery; La Castelluccia, which is also known as Gallo dei Briganti, and La Rotonda which is almost a perfect circle.
There are also a series of even smaller islands that can be viewed from the sea, and although visitors are not allowed to land on most of them, swimming in the seas around them is a favourite pastime among locals and visitors to the area. For visitors that choose an Italian yacht charter there are plenty of off-shore spots that are ideal for a day trip.
Despite its tiny size, the beach town of Positano is a popular tourist spot, famed for the wide range of restaurants and the iconic sight of the brightly coloured buildings, strewn almost vertically down from the top of the cliffs to the sea shore. Souvenir hunters and bargain spotters will love the chance to browse an array of local boutiques that offer a range of local arts and crafts as well as regional delicacies and fresh produce.
Couples often favour Rada, a terraced restaurant perched on the top of a coastal cliff that offers an amazing backdrop for a romantic meal. Those in the know also stop at Zagara, the most famous pastry shop in the region, where the delizia al limone is a firm favourite that sees visitors come from miles around.
As one of the better-known regions on the Sorrentine Peninsula, Amalfi certainly lives up to its reputation. As one of the most historically significant towns in the area, Amalfi has been an important maritime hub for centuries, linking the Byzantine and western cultures for hundreds of years and witnessing the passage of many early explorers.
The city is bounded by the sea, which can be enjoyed from the promenade that runs along the water’s edge and gives visitors the perfect viewing point for the array of brightly coloured boats in the marina. The historic centre splays out from the Piazza del Duomo where the cathedral provides some welcome shade for those enjoying a drink or meal at one of the many cafes and bistros that line the square.