Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sorrento, Positano, Pompeii

Day 1-2: San Francisco-Barcelona
Day 3 AM: Barcelona City Tour - Pre Cruise
Day 3 PM: Norwegian Epic Cruise
Day 4: At Sea
Day 5: Livorno (Cinque Terre excursion)
Day 6: Rome (Rome city tour)
Day 7: Naples (Sorrento, Positano, Pompeii excursion)
Day 8: At Sea
Day 9: Palma de Mallorca
Day 10: Barcelona - Post Cruise
Day 11: Barcelona - San Francisco

Our cruise ship docked at Naples port at 7 AM. Naples is actually the 3rd biggest city in Italy (after Rome and Milan). The town of Naples itself wasn't very pretty and looked a bit rundown actually, but was the stop for a lot of famous sites such as Pompeii, the Amalfi coast, and Capri island. We had heard of Amalfi coast before, and it's supposed to be really beautiful. Apparently Kim Kardashian and Reese Witherspoon honeymooned there, so it must be beautiful!

Beautiful Positano

We booked a full day tour to the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. The Amalfi Coast stretches along the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula, and is made of several villages. Since we had limited time and could only do so much, we decided to visit Positano and Sorrento on the Amalfi coast, with a quick stop at the end to Pompeii. We were picked up promptly at 8 am by Dominic from Joe Banana Limo. He was an Italian middle-aged man, very nice. He always said "you know" after every sentence...which we thought was a little funny!

Positano village perched on the cliff

Our first stop was Positano village. The drive along the coast was so beautiful! Every turn we took showed the amazing view of the coast. We had about one hour to walk around the village. There were small shops on narrow streets, mostly descending until we got to the bottom which was the beach. From the beach, we saw the whole village which was gorgeous! The weather was pretty warm that day. We shared a gelato as well as lemon granita, which was very refreshing and much needed!

With my 2 younger sisters

Our guide told us that souvenirs at Positano were more expensive and suggested that we do our shopping at our next destination, Sorrento. Sorrento was a much bigger town compared to Positano, and the land was mostly flat, which made for an easier walk.

Sorrento Village

We came across a small beach on the bottom of the cliff and it looked so cute! My family loved Sorrento so much we want to come back here someday!

Cute beach area in Sorrento!

We found a good restaurant recommended by our guide. Apparently pizza from the Naples arena is excellent because of the fresh ingredients, and also because of the water. We tried three different kind of pizzas and some pastas and a risotto. The most memorable dish was the black ink pasta!

Black Ink Pasta

After lunch we walked around old town for some souvenir shopping. There were a couple of limoncello factories, and we finally got to try the limoncello lemon liquor. Lemons are supposed to be a specialty of this area and they grow year round. We saw some pretty huge lemons, they looked like yellow grapefruit! We were both not huge fans of the limoncello liquor, but we still got a couple as a souvenir.

HUGE Lemons!

We had two hours in Sorrento, and afterwards made our way to Pompeii. Pompeii is one of the most famous roman ruins in Italy, if not the world. The whole city sat on the base of Mount Vesuvius, and got destroyed and preserved by 2 meter layers of ash throughout the centuries. The ruins were still in pretty good condition. We both thought that the ruins were in much better condition than the ones in Delos (Mykonos). We did not get a tour guide here, but looking back, it's probably worth it for a private guide for Pompeii. We rented the audio guide which was 5 Euros each but the signs were not clearly marked so it was hard to follow. The main purpose of our visit was to see the remains of people and children that were killed during the eruption. It took a little bit of walking and asking people where it was and we finally found it! It was a really hot day but the afternoon breeze was actually really nice. We walked around for one and a half hours and then went to a cafe to rest and wait for our guide.

Cast of the victims in Pompeii
We LOVED the Amalfi coast and would definitely want to come back some day. Here are some tips based on our experience:
  • If you have the time, try to spend a couple days around this area. There's so much to see. As I mentioned, you can visit the Amalfi Coast, Capri island, and Pompeii. We definitely want to spend a couple days and visit the various villages along the coast someday.
  • If you don't have much time like us during our shore excursion, and if it's your first time in the area, we highly recommend our Sorrento, Positano, and Pompeii excursion with Joe Banana limo. We saw a lot in a short time.
  • If you decide to drive yourself, beware that the roads along the Amalfi coast are pretty narrow and on some of the villages, the roads are one way.
  • If you do visit Pompeii, we would recommend hiring a guide so you really get the picture of what happened and the meaning of the buildings, various ruins, etc.


  1. Dan & Ella, if you like Squid Ink pasta, you HAVE to check out:

    La Ciccia in Noe Valley (literally 1 block from my apartment):

    It's the BEST Italian restaurant I've ever been to in my life... It's been recommended by some Italian coworkers as well.

  2. Oh really??? Ok we'll definitely add it on our list! We haven't found a good Italian restaurant in the US that is comparable in quality with the Italian restaurant in Italy, so will definitely have to check this out!