Sorrento or Naples?

Old Mar 5th, 2013, 01:29 PM
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Sorrento or Naples?

We are returning to Italy and are finalizing our itinerary and wondered if we should make Sorrento or Naples our home base for visiting the Amalfi Coast and surrounding area. I realize that Naples is a big city and have read all the comments about how "unsafe" it can be but also realize that street smarts is important in any large city. I would like to hear from anyone who has stayed in both places and what are the differences and suggestions as to which one we should make our home base. Our travel agent (who is from Italy and returns once a month) has arranged a guide for us in Naples, saying that he would not send us there without a guide.
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 01:59 PM
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We have twice based in Sorrento for exploring the Amalfi coast by car, the more recent trip about 6 years ago. We also did a day trip by train to Naples. We enjoyed the museum and a few other sites but generally didn't care for Naples -- lots of crazy traffic, litter on sidewalks, no charm IMO, although it may be better now. I'm sure you will get other opinions so in the end it's your decision. However, we feel that Sorrento is better located for visiting the many Amalfi coast sights.
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 04:05 PM
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> Our travel agent (who is from Italy and returns once a month) has arranged a guide for us in Naples, saying that he would not send us there without a guide.

I am one of those who loves Naples - it's definitely a bit gritty, but I find it a wonderfully lively and dynamic city with delights around every corner (some inside). I spent several days there, on my own (solo female traveler) and would happily do so again. I'm not saying you should stay there - that's really a matter of preference, and I haven't stayed in Sorrento and so can't compare them. But I don't see the need for a guide in Naples just for safety's sake. As you say, street smarts are the key.
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 04:38 PM
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I vote for Sorrento. Much calmer, cleaner, and relaxing than Naples. Also, being in between the AC and Naples, it allows you to visit both more easily.
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 05:37 PM
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I agree with joannyc.
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 05:55 PM
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I prefer Naples. Sorrento is a low end package tour destination for Brits (the type who complain about the food and need a good tea). If you like cut-outs of Bobbies pointing you to the nearest fish and chips "pub" you'll love Sorrento.

Naples, on the other hand, is a vibrant living city. Not without its problems, but offering a glimpse of the real Italy. Vibrant street life, excellent museums, easy access to Roman sites and very good food make this the urban destination in the area.

I would suggest dividing your time between Naples and a a town on the Amalfi Coast (Sorrento is not on the AC) such as Positano or Amalfi.
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 06:42 PM
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I like Naples a lot, and Sorrento is a bit humdrum, but for touring the area, Sorrento is a lot more central, and getting in and out is more simple and pleasant than commuting through Napoli Centrale. From Sorrento you can get right on the bus to Positano and Amalfi, and it's a shorter ferry to Capri; for Pompeii & Herculaneum it's about a tie with Naples.
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 07:09 PM
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Sorrento, hands down.

When we went to this area with our children many years ago, we stayed in Sorrento and enjoyed how scenic it was. Last year, our children (now young adults) returned to Italy but had to stay in Naples because, traveling on their own dimes, they could not afford Sorrento. The word I remember about Naples from their recounting of their trip was "armpit".
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 08:15 AM
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Sorrento has been a tourist center for over 100 years and they know how to do it. It's more central for touring (Naples is at the far end of the region) and is all set with bus, train, and water transport. Naples is a big city with big city problems and benefits; Sorrento is for relaxing. The streets of Naples have graffiti, the streets of Sorrento have lemon trees. The pizza is better in Naples.
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 09:09 AM
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Naples is a good distance from the Amalfi coast. It takes 75 minutes from Naples to reach Sorrento which isn't the Amalfi coast and then you are still about an hour by bus from Positano and a bit more for Amalfi or Ravello.
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 09:22 AM
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I've never thought that Naples made a great base when visiting in summer - and we always went elsewhere when vacationing in the area..... although you really, really should have one day there at the very least!

An indication of how long, and when, you'd be here would be a great help - but, if intending to travel around by public transport, perhaps this will give some idea of what's involved:

And if you've perhaps 4 or more nights, consider splitting them between either Naples or Sorrento (handy for each other as well as Pompei, Herculaneum and Capri) and somewhere on the AC side (also good, in season, for Capri - but almost all of it far lovelier and less packagey than Sorrento)....


PS For a look at some of the places you could get to (but keeping that map in mind!) try the photos here:

... where you'll also find a few taken on Ischia, our home for a decade!
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 09:26 AM
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