Back in 2014 I spent a week in Sorrento exploring the city, the stunning Amalfi Coast, the ruined cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and wandering the tiny streets of Capri. Now, I absolutely loved visiting the typical tourist-y areas and I would highly recommend them, but my favourite day of all was one of the far more relaxed days I spent there.
The Bagni della Regina Giovanna (Baths of Queen Joan) can be found about 2km west of Sorrento, among the ruins of the Roman Villa known as Villa Pollio. Both the ruins and the baths are free of charge to visit, and the ruins in particular give a beautiful cliff top view onto the Bay of Naples (definitely take your camera if you go!). It is thought that the baths were named after the 14th century Queen Joan of Naples who frequented the baths with her ladies in waiting. The baths have some of the clearest water I have ever seen and many rocky outcrops that would be perfect for sunbathing if you got comfy! Unfortunately, I (stupidly) didn’t bring a towel or a bikini so I didn’t actually manage to take a dip myself, but this leads me onto another fab thing about the baths.
Just around the corner from the baths, via a very long and slightly rickety looking boardwalk is the Lido la Solara, a small and unassuming beach bar but let me tell you, it is a gem. From memory, the bar has really lovely vibe and a wide range of food and drink on offer at very reasonable prices – it is the absolute perfect place to sit and chill, looking out over the water. You can also rent a sun lounger from the bar and soak up the rays until your heart is content! When we went I think we were just about the only non-Italians there and it was so so nice to feel a bit more off the beaten track.
So, you’re probably wondering how you get to this little slice of paradise? Well you’ve got a couple of options but either way you’re going to end up walking downhill on a fairly long and uneven path so I don’t advise trying to do it in flip-flops!
- From Piazza Tasso in Sorrento (the square with the international flags), walk directly west along Corso Italia
- Continue walking out of the city along Via Capo (SS145) WARNING: there is no footpath along a large stretch of the road and it is rather busy with some quite large buses, but if you hug the side of the road you’ll be fine (I survived!)
- At the fork in the road next to Hotel Metropol, follow the road round to the right (I’m pretty sure it’s signposted to Massa Lubrense)
- As you come into the hamlet you’ll see a sign on the right saying “RUDERI DELLA VILLA ROMANA DI POLLO“, with a narrow, cobbled path – go down here!
- Carry on walking downhill past all of the houses and lemon groves and eventually you’ll reach the baths! There is a sign pointing to the bar but if you’re not sure, keep walking round along the cliffs and you’ll catch sight of the boardwalk.
This is a reasonably long walk (about an hour maybe), so it’s probably best to go first thing in the morning before it gets too hot and so that you can make the most of the day at the baths and the bar!
- Catch the EAVBUS Line A bus from Piazza Tasso to Massa Lubrense and get off when it stops at Capo (this should take about 10-15 minutes), the timetables can be found here.
- Find the path and follow steps 4 & 5 as above!
If you ever visit Sorrento be sure to check this place out and let me know what you think! Do you have any hidden gems that you know about from your travels?
Until next time,