The town of Sorrento is the perfect place to stay for a few days if you want Amalfi Coast views and location without the price. In my opinion, Sorrento is amazing and has a much better charm than many of the Amalfi Coast towns. There are many things to do in town, as well as in the area. Walk around the downtown area to find yourself at the beach, on streets littered with shops, and a piazza with views of Vesuvius.
Capri is a must-see if you’re staying in Southern Italy. This island is expensive to stay at, so you’ll likely be taking the ferry from another town you’re visiting. It’s a perfect day trip to do from Sorrento. You could choose to do a boat tour as part of that ferry. I’d recommend doing the tour on a larger boat. This will bring you around the island, shows you the grottos (except Blue Grotto), then leaves you with free time on the island. These tickets will cost around 50 euro compared to the 30 euro (Round trip) ticket you’d pay for the ferry. Make sure to pack a few snacks, because you will most likely be spending your whole day on the island.
If you have free time on Capri, you must visit the highest point, Monte Solaro. There is a chairlift in Piazza Vittoria in a small town named Anacapri. You can walk here from the main port. It’s all uphill and will take about an hour but it’s a beautiful path. Once in Anacapri, there is a chairlift to take you to the summit. You may also choose to continue the hike up to Solaro. The chairlift will take about 12 minutes, costs 12 euro round trip, 9 euro one way. Don’t be too worried about heights as the chair leans back, the views are worth it! If you go up there later in the day, your head will be in the clouds (like in my picture here). There is a small cafe for snacks and refreshments here as well. However, I’d recommend bringing some snacks from somewhere else since it is quite expensive.
Belvedere di Tragara Lookout
One of the lookouts for the iconic Faraglioni, I believe that this one gives you the best views. A good thing to know is that almost every lookout and path on Capri has a sign. Use Google Maps and put in Hotel Punta Tragara, the viewpoint is directly next to this hotel.
The Blue Grotto in Capri is one of the most sought out destinations. I never went to the Blue Grotto because it didn’t seem worth it. I have heard that it is a complete rip-off for your time and money. You will have to pay 14 euros per person then wait until a boat becomes available. Afterward, you will spend a very short amount of time in the crowded grotto (under 5 minutes). If you’re only going to have 8 hours on this island, then I think that there are better things to spend your time on.
I’m not sure how to describe the ruins of Pompeii, but it is a truly surreal experience to walk around this once flourishing city. The best way to get here is the Circumvesuviana train and get off at the Pompeii stop. The entrance is very close to the stop and there will be long lines. Make sure you purchase a ticket from an official Pompeii vendor, there are many people selling knock-off tours and tickets in the area. Like many other things, you can book a private tour if you’d like, but I prefer to do my own walk and go on my own schedule. The tickets will cost 16 euro for the day and there is a luggage deposit available at the Pompeii entrance for free. Since Pompeii is so large, I recommend spending around 3-4 hours here. I used Rick Steve’s Audio guide to help navigate my walk around the ruins of Pompeii.
While much smaller, Herculaneum is much more preserved than Pompeii. If you don’t want to walk too much or spend too much time here, then Herculaneum is a good alternative to Pompeii. The tickets will cost 13 euros for the day. You could use an audio guide for here as well since there is so much history in each monument in Herculaneum.
If you have your whole day planned around visiting Pompeii, I’d recommend making a trip up to Mount Vesuvius while you’re there. There is a ticket office outside of the back entrance of Pompeii (by the old colosseum area) to buy tickets for a shuttle up to Vesuvius. These might be a little pricey at around 22 euro, but they will be your best option for getting up there if you don’t have a car. The service includes entrance to Vesuvius and brings you right to the base where the ticket office is. Be careful on the windy climb up, the paths are wide, but steep and almost all loose rocks/dirt. Although, once you get up there you get to see extraordinary views from on top of the volcano and take a peek inside of Vesuvius. Make sure if you use this shuttle service, that you tell them to drop you off at the Pompeii Circumvesuviana stop!
Remember if you would like to learn more about any of the places included in my best sights & attractions for Sorrento, Capri, & Pompeii, then you can visit my all-inclusive guide for free here!