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Naples vs Sorrento

Why do you think Rick recommends staying in Sorrento and just 'day tripping' to Naples? Has anyone stayed in Naples instead? Is Sorrento better as a home base? Also, is it easy to get from Naples airport to Sorrento? ie. only one bus or shuttle? Will be traveling w/my elderly mom, so want to make sure we stay in the 'right' place. Thanks so much.

Posted by
14 posts

I agree with those who condemn Naples. While we were only there a short time, we found it filthy. Street crime is also an issue. The amalfi coast and environs will be more enjoyable.

Posted by
7735 posts

This is a very common discussion on this board. You would probably benefit from checking out the FAQ on how to search for things on this site to see those discussions. (The search window in the upper right doesn't really work.) The strong consensus (with a vocal minority) is that most American travelers prefer Sorrento over Naples. It's the perfect example of why there is no one-size-fits-all approach to travel. The reasons are laid out in those other postings. People may choose to rehash them here as well. Good luck.

Posted by
1003 posts

If you read the TripAdvisor Naples board, you will see that Naples is a love it or hate it kind of place. Here it is mostly hate it, for whatever reason. Personally, I am staying 4 nights in each in May, but as I haven't been yet I can't share my personal experience with these cities. Only you can decide if you would be bothered taking a train ride in and out of the city to see it. However I know that my experience in other Italian cities has been that staying in a very central location has enhanced my experience of that city. I enjoyed Florence much more when I stayed central as opposed to even a 20 minute walk from the center. But that is just me.

Posted by
668 posts

Naples is gritty, chaotic and urban with few sight lines to the Mediterranean. It reminds me of Gary Indiana. Sorrento is the American Dream of Italian Coast and Cliffs overlooking the water. Sorrento is eye candy compared to Naples, and I would equate it to any of the Cinqua Terra towns. If you get off the tourist alleys, Sorrento can be just as real as any other Italian town. We found little three table restaurants, hiking trails and informally toured a fishing boat making shop. Bought lots of lemoncello. I want to go back just by thinking about it.

Posted by
358 posts

After spending one day in Naples on a tour I would not go back to Naples which is just another big city w/o much charm. Sorrento,Positano,Capri, or Amalfi would be much better choices

Posted by
1804 posts

If you're concerned about the transfer from Naples airport to Sorrento, you might ask your Sorrento hotel to arrange transport from the airport. It's more expensive but, IMO, worth every penny, especially with your elderly mom after a long flight. Once you arrive in Sorrento you'll be glad you chose to stay there.

Posted by
3463 posts

The Curreri bus (curreriviaggi.it) leaves from out in front of the Naples airport. Direct to Sorrento 1h15m E10 However, if you plan on seeing anything of the Naples sights, you might be better off staying in Naples.
There is also the ferry that connects Naples and Sorrento. This might be a better option than using the circumvesuvian with your mom if you elect to stay in Sorrento.

Posted by
7735 posts

Excellent point about using the ferry to Naples if you stay in Sorrento. That allows you to avoid the area around the train station. It's also a very pretty ride across the Bay of Naples.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you all for your frank opinions! Wow! it seems Naples can be pretty scary, and i'm from NYC! Will consider all your opinions into serious consideration.

Posted by
7735 posts

But there are definitely sites in Naples worth seeing. The Archaeological Museum, for example, is amazing. They have an ENORMOUS scale model of Pompeii that blew us away (no Vesuvius pun intended). And all the statues and lots of other items from Pompeii were taken to this museum.

Posted by
559 posts

You're a NYC girl. Naples will not be scary to you. Gritty - yes! Petty crime - probably. But listen to Rick. Wear your money belt. Not to be missed San Severo, the Veiled Christ. The Archaeological Mueseum, pizza!! While we stayed in Sorrento - loved it. We used it as our base to travel to Positano, Amalfi and Capri. We also used the Circumvesuviana to get to Pompeii (incredible, hope you don't miss it.) Also use the Circum. to travel to Naples. The shuttle from the Naples airport to Sorrento is a very comfortable coach bus. Pleasant ride. Of course, don't know your mom's situation - that will probably dictate your itinerary.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you! Sounds like there are alot of good things about Naples and lots to see. But now i know Sorrento is not that hard to get to from the airport if we decide to go there instead. My mom has bad arthritis and literally cannot carry anything moderately heavy, much less drag her own carry-on. Since i'll be carrying both our bags, that's why i was leaning towards just staying in Naples for our first 2 nights, before going to Capri for 2 nights and then going to Rome for 4 nights. I plan to buy Rick's carry-on with the optional 'back pack' shoulder straps so i have my hands free and can pull mom's carry on. Thanks again folks! Happy travels.

Posted by
483 posts

I too think you will enjoy Sorrento more. I also see that you mention Capri. When we were there I constantly thought how hard it would be to be elderly or disabled there. Sorrento is a lovely flat base and much more accessible. I prefer its ambiance far more than Capri or Naples.

Posted by
323 posts

Have to add our two cents. We stayed in Sorrento but took two trips into Napels and loved it. Would we stay there? definitely not but we loved the big city feel and were able to go to nice quiet Sorrento to sleep. We really loved the food there also and I guess we are somewhat foodies. We also stayed in mostly small towns when we were there. And do watch when you cross the streets, it is not a joke that they do not stop for red lights.

Posted by
194 posts

I think the Curreri bus idea to Sorrento is a good one, but it only works if your flight time and the bus schedule coincide. That would avoid having to take a taxi to the ferry terminal. Let me tell you, that was the scariest taxi ride we had ever taken! It made Rome's taxis mild in comparison. Then our driver insisted on a bigger tip because he had gotten us to the terminal "very fast." I'm in the Sorrento camp; very relaxing and never felt unsafe. You have to constantly keep your wits about you in Naples.

Posted by
194 posts

Sorry for the second post, but I forgot to mention that we hired a driver to take us from our hotel in Sorrento (Antiche Mura - great hotel, by the way) to the Naples Airport because our flight was too early for the Curreri bus. I agree with Charlene; stress free and so much simpler for your mother to go directly from your flight and be dropped directly at your hotel in Sorrento.

Posted by
7245 posts

I highly recommend staying in Sorrento. I so agree with Karen and Char. Sorrento is wonderful and my favorite place in Italy. We've been there 3 times, for a week each time. First time we went we took a taxi from the train station to the port. Like Char said, it was the scariest ride of my life. It was like being in an action movie. He drove on the sidewalk, on the center median, people had to jump out of his way and there were no seatbelts in the taxi! I would not recommend going to Sorrento by boat from Naples. Our experience was very bad. Since then, we've been picked up by a private driver at the airport. That was the best, especially after a long flight. And especially for your elderly mom, as others have said.

Posted by
7735 posts

I wonder what the bad boat experience was for the previous poster. We did the Naples to Sorrento hydrofoil and loved it. If you avoid everything where one person says they had a bad experience, you might as well stay home. :-)

Posted by
7245 posts

Michael, Because of our experience I don't recommend the boat based on THEIR situation. Karen is arriving at the airport with her elderly mother. That needs to be taken into account when giving advice, imo. I believe it would be much easier for them to have a driver meet them at the airport after their flight and drive them to their hotel rather than getting themselves and their luggage from the airport to the port, waiting outside for the ferry (no building to wait in, no bathroom, and beggars relentlessly asking for money), lining up for the ferry and being herded onto the boat in a large crowd of pushing people, scrambling for seats, arriving at the port in Sorrento (no bathroom), then having to take a taxi to their hotel. That is not easy with an elderly person and luggage. I think it's good for people asking for advice to hear the positive and the negative of an option so they can decide for themselves if that option works for them. If the OP wants to know why our experience was bad (there's more than the above), I assume they will ask. I'm not going to bore people who don't care with the story.

Posted by
7245 posts

Hi Karen, In addition to what I wrote about the scary taxi ride it was sketchy from the start. We waited in line for a taxi as you're supposed to do. When it was our turn the next taxi in line pulled up and the driver got out, he took our luggage and put it in the trunk - just then another taxi screeched in from nowhere, stopped and the driver and another guy jumped out, they grabbed our luggage out of the trunk and put it in their taxi while screaming at the 1st taxi driver and motioned to us that we were going with HIM. It was scary but we didn't feel we had a choice, we don't speak Italian and we were out of our element. Then the scary taxi ride. When we got to the port the driver said we owed him x amount which seemed really high to me, but again, I felt I had no choice but to pay. He was an intimidating guy. At the port, we got in line to buy ferry tickets. We had our suitcases with us which the ticket guy could plainly see. We bought two tickets and had to wait over an hour for the ferry. While we waited outside, we were constantly harassed by beggars for money. to use a bathroom we had to go to a nearby "cafe", sit down, wait for a server to buy a drink before we could use their bathroom. When the ferry arrived we got into line along with 100's of other people. We were herded and aggressively pushed all the way to the small door onto the ferry when the ferry worker yelled at us in Italian - we finally figured out he was saying we had to buy tickets for our suitcases!! Why didn't the ticket guy tell us?! Meanwhile people are pushing past us grabbing seats that were quickly disappearing. My son went onto the ferry to get us seats while I went all the way back to the ticket counter, with both suitcases, to get tickets for our luggage. My 15 yr old son was freaked out that the ferry might leave without me which was very stressful for both of us because it could easily have happened. Continued....

Posted by
10 posts

Susan: I thank you for sharing your experience and opinions very much. I'd like to know why your experience was so bad going from NAP to Sorrento? Thank you again!

Posted by
7245 posts

It didn't, and I got back on the ferry and joined my son when I noticed most of the people appeared to be commuters and they had closed all the curtains so we couldn't see out any windows! The only reason we took the ferry was to see the views along the way. Unfortunately, there was no place to go outside on the boat. The exhaust fumes (or whatever it was) the entire way, along with the closed curtains, and a filthy dirty ferry made the experience very unpleasant. The ride is well over an hour so it was a long trip under the circumstances. When we got to the port in Sorrento, we then had to pay a taxi to take us to our hotel. We stayed a week, and have since been back two more times and love Sorrento. We loved taking boats from there to Capri and Positano - so it's not boats/ferries that we don't like. We even take the ferry from here, where we live, to San Francisco often because it's fun. I just don't think going from the Naples airport after a long flight to the port and taking a ferry with an elderly person and luggage is the best way to get to Sorrento. Once there, taking a boat/ferry, without luggage, might be enjoyable for Karen and her mom. We have also taken the Circumvesuviana to get there, but we were coming from Rome by train that time and because we were already at the train station it was easy. We like the Circumvesuviana. But from the airport, after a long flight and with an elderly person, I recommend a private driver.

Posted by
7735 posts

Thanks for the additional info, Susan. I doubt that anyone was bored with it. :-) That's definitely what I would call a bad experience. My mom would say "Bless your heart!"

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you all for all you've shared. So sorry about your bad experience Susan. Travel is an adventure and that includes some risk i guess. But i'm glad it hasn't lessened your love of travel or of Sorrento! Will keep all of your tips in mind when i make my plans and as Rick says, will me militantly optimistic. Ciao!

Posted by
7245 posts

Travel is definitely a FUN adventure for us and we love it! We are seasoned travelers and have loved (almost) every minute of the many, many trips we've taken. We save every penny we can so we can go back as often as possible. I can't wait for our next adventure in Europe = ) and I hope you and your mom have a great time!

Posted by
37 posts

Has anyone taken the hydrofoil from Naples to Sorrento? I'm going to Sorrento in May and was planning on arriving by sea (weather permitting). The taxi ride doesn't scare me but was hoping to arrive Sorrento in 35 min. not an hour. The last post makes the Currier bus sound better for me, (private driver isn't an option). Thank for your input!

Posted by
7735 posts

Susan, one of my good friends shared some wisdom about bad experiences when traveling: "Don't think of them as bad experiences - Think of them as raw material for great stories once you get home." Might as well make some limoncello when life hands you lemons, right? :-)

Posted by
483 posts

We took the hydrofoil to Naples as a daytrip from Sorrento. It was early June 2008 and we had rain unfortunately so it was not scenic. The pier from Sorrento is down a steep hill that we walked but they do have bus and I assume taxi service. We had a fun walk to the Museo and loved it. Coming back to Naple's port we took a taxi from the Museo and it was an awful over priced ride in a smokey cab with a rude driver. With a poor Euro exchange the roundtrip for three worked out around $120. On a previous trip with an early flite out of Naples we did use a driver that RS recommends and he was a careful driver and pleasant older man.

Posted by
7245 posts

"Might as well make some limoncello when life hands you lemons, right? :-)" Absolutely right Michael! Well said! And I love limoncello! =)

Posted by
81 posts

Naples urban, chaotic and dirty! It may remind you of some areas of NY! It does grow on you though and has its own charm! Sorrento is beautiful, great views nice relaxing atmosphere. You can do multiple day trips. Positano and amalfi were beautiful hilly towns. Capri and Anacapri has undeniable gorgeous views. Pompei is also easy to do from Sorrento. Naples is probably just worth a day trip.. So it depends on what floats your boat. I would vote for Sorrento any day as a home base.