Sorrento Peninsula Sketching & Painting Holiday

An artistic exploration of Sorrento including Pompeii & Herculaneum


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Activity types:

  • Central location
  • Coastal
  • Meadows & hills

Holiday overview

Feel the aura of magic in Sorrento, one of Italy's most beautiful landscapes. Sketch and paint the spectacular coastal scenery of the Sorrento Peninsula.

Holiday highlights

  • We’ll spend most of the day outdoors seeking out the best light, colours and landscapes
  • Our professional artist leader will guide and encourage
  • Enjoy the sociable atmosphere of painting in a group
  • Small groups of up to 15 fellow-artists

Price includes 

  • Good quality en-suite accommodation in one of our European partner hotels
  • Half Board – continental breakfast and evening meal
  • Tuition from our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
  • All transport to and from painting sites
  • ‘With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers


Hotel Caravel in Sorrento, Italy

The Liccardi family and their staff have been looking after HF Holidays’ guests for many years, and will offer you a warm welcome at 4-star Hotel Caravel. The hotel lies in the residential district of Sant’ Agnello and is surrounded by pleasant gardens with lemon trees. Close by are the shops and Sant’ Agnello railway station. The centre of Sorrento town is about 1 mile away.




Your room

Hotel Caravel has 92 comfortable bedrooms which are decorated in a traditional style.

All bedrooms have:

  • En-suite bathroom with shower or bath
  • Cable television
  • Telephone
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe deposit box
  • Mini-bar
Hotel Caravel bedroom


Hotel Caravel lounge bar

Hotel Caravel has a:

  • Large open plan lounge area incorporating a piano bar
  • Garden terrace
  • Swimming pool
  • Games room with pool-table
  • Internet access


Our holidays at Hotel Caravel are on a Half Board basis and include breakfast and evening meal.

Hotel Caravel offers a self-select buffet breakfast including cereals, fruit, bread and cake, yogurts, cheese and ham, and scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are available.

Evening meal
Dinner at Hotel Caravel is a three course meal offering many Italian specialities plus an excellent self-service salad bar. There are vegetarian options at each course. For special dietary requirements we recommend that you discuss your requirements with the manager on arrival.
Hotel Caravel has a well-stocked bar serving beer, wine and spirits.

Lunch (payable locally)
Picnic lunches can be bought from the hotel (ordering the evening before). Alternatively ingredients can be bought in local shops. It may also be possible to eat in a café during the day; your leaders will advise you of the options.
Hotel Caravel dining room

Your evenings

The friendly atmosphere of our holidays continues throughout the evening.

Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer before hearing about the next day's activities followed by a leisurely meal with your fellow guests.

Your leader will be looking out for local events, or you can relax on the terrace or in the piano bar with a drink.

What to Bring

To enjoy your holiday comfortably and safely, it’s essential that your clothing and footwear is suitable for the conditions likely to be encountered. Changeable weather is possible throughout the year, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities – hot, cold, wet or dry.

All of our Sketching & Painting holidays involve walking whilst carrying your equipment. You should therefore be prepared for doing so on uneven terrain and wear flat, comfortable shoes. In the evening most guests wear casual clothing.

You will need to bring the following items. Please remember that you will have to carry these on painting excursions and possibly also pay extra if you exceed your luggage allowance.

  • Appropriate clothing, sturdy footwear (eg walking boots) and a wide-brimmed hat or plastic eye shade 
  • Rucksack or small case on wheels to transport art materials to and from painting locations – remember that you will have to carry your equipment, spare clothing, lunch, drinking water, sunscreen etc from the coach to the place where you are to paint or sketch. We strongly advise against bringing shopping bags or bags with long shoulder straps, which can swing and dangle, causing imbalance and possible trips and falls
  • A lightweight folding chair/stool if you have one, alternatively a cushion, garden kneeler or plastic seat pad

Paints - Guests are invited to bring their own preferred medium. A small watercolour box with yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna and Raw Umber would be perfect. Other suggested colours might include: Cadmium Yellow Pale, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Red Pale, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue, Ultra Marine Blue, Raw Umber, Raw Sienna and Yellow Ochre (Titanium White if you are using opaque mediums like Gouache or Acrylics). These are Murray's everyday colours but please only bring what you are used to or has been bought for you.

Brushes – Suggested sizes: 4, 6, 8 or 10 and a rigger brush (or just what you are using). Any reasonable quality will suffice e.g. Sable and synthetic blend or even just synthetic so long as they come to a nice point.

A folding palette or palette with wells for mixing, plastic is good for its lightness.

Paper - Any reasonable size in the paper and surface of your choice, Murray uses NOT and Hot Pressed Saunders Waterford 1/8 imperial sizes

Sketchpad - Murray uses an A5 sketchpad of good quality cartridge paper for his travels. A4 size paper would be handy too. He also uses waterproof ink technical pens in sizes 0.05 and 0.3 in combination with water-soluble graphite pencils, a 'B' grade is fine and a water brush pen either Derwent or Pentel are good in a medium size, this is a terrific way of sketching, this allows you to travel light!

Other smaller items:

  • pencils, sharpener, kneadable eraser
  • small lightweight water pot (non-tip best) 
  • 1 water bottle (for clean water) 
  • Paper towels / rag
  • Coloured watercolour pencils (entirely optional and only if you have them, but they can be useful for quick colour reference and enhancing)

Please note, on European holidays we are unable to provide easels or A3 painting boards for guests to borrow.


Arrival day

Your room will be available from 2.30pm onwards. Please join us for tea between 4pm and 5pm to meet the leader and your fellow guests.

Before dinner there will be a brief introduction to the holiday programme and some tips on sketching and painting.


We will begin exploring the narrow streets of beautiful Sorrento with our sketchbooks. Highlights Sorrento sits above the Bay of Naples overlooking Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri. Sorrento is an historic town witnessing the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. There is much in Sorrento to beguile the artist and Murray will guide you through tips and techniques for scene selection, composition including a practical look at simplifying perspective.


Today we head to Herculaneum a UNESCO World Heritage Site though a smaller archaeological site than Pompeii it is no less important, the subject matter here is perfect for many sketching methods including pen and ink, line and wash, pencil and of course watercolour. Perhaps sketch in the style of John Ruskin...


A shining gem on the coast of the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Amalfi sits at the foot of lofty, craggy peaks as though it has slid down from above. Amalfi has a magnificent Duomo, ‘St. Andrew’s Cathedral’ (patron saint of Amalfi), also of great beauty is the ‘Chiostro del Paradiso’ (Cloister of Paradise) another ecclesiastical marvel. Of particular interest to the artist will be the ‘Museo della Carta’ museum of handmade paper which used to be a paper mill.

Free Day

A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the hotel.


The ancient ruins of Pompeii are a UNESCO world heritage site covering a larger area than the ruins of Herculaneum, boasting both a Forum and Basilica. Many incredible frescoes survived their burial in ash and lava, encaustic art such as this is tenacious and many houses frescoes are both intact and have kept much of their original vibrancy.


We spend our final day at the mountain-top town of Ravello which soars above the Amalfi coast offering the most splendid views as well as more intimate scenes of buildings and flowers appearing to tumble down the mountain-side toward the sea, inspirational to artists like John Ruskin and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

Departure day

Depart after a leisurely breakfast.


Local area


Overlooking the Bay of Naples on the Amalfi coast of Italy, Sorrento is a beautiful town harking back to its Grecian past, when a temple to the goddess Athena was a notable landmark in the town. With stunning vistas across the Bay of Naples to Mt. Vesuvius, Sorrento has a maze of charming cobbled streets to explore, and a plethora of cafes to relax in.


The incredibly well preserved ruin of the ancient city of Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Delve into the city to uncover the residences, fountains and other buildings along with the residents themselves, who were ill-fated to stand forever as casts of their former selves. Visit Pompeii as part of a guided tour.

Herculaneum and Vesuvius

Herculaneum was a Roman city, which was preserved in the same way as Pompeii, following an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79AD. The volcano itself last erupted in 1944, and is the only volcano in Europe to have erupted in the last 100 years. Despite this, it is a popular tourist destination, and with modern technology being able to predict when a volcano will erupt, it is unlikely to cause as much devastation as seen at Pompeii and Herculaneum.


This sophisticated resort is a great place to relax in stylish cafes and chic boutiques. Positano also has a rich history; the town is said to be built around the Benedictine Abbey in the 9th Century, and near one of the churches, are the ruins of Roman built villas.


First settle in Roman times, there is dispute over how the island got its name; either from the Greek ‘Kapros’ meaning ‘Wild Boar’ or from the Roman ‘Capreae’ meaning ‘goats’. Certainly there have been wild boar fossils found on the island, so either could be the origin. Travel by boat across the Bay of Naples, and discover the gorgeous island of Capri using the funicular, on foot or by bus. From enchanting beaches and coves to picturesque towns, the island has many places to explore.

Did you know?

Sorrento is famous for the production of Limoncello.


We recognise that everyone’s travel arrangements are unique, so all our holidays to Europe can be booked ‘with flight’ or ‘without flight’, giving you more flexibility and choice.


Travel by plane


‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle free option

Book your holiday ‘with flight’ from Gatwick to Naples airport. For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.

If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel. The coach transfer takes approx 1 hour 15 minutes to the Hotel Caravel.




Driving to us

‘Without flight’ holidays – the flexible travel option

Alternatively, tailor your journey to suit you by booking your holiday ‘without flight’ allowing you the freedom to book your own flights from your local airport.

If you choose this option, transfers are not included in the price. However, below are some suggestions to help you reach your destination:

  • We can book you a seat on the HF Holidays’ transfer coach from Naples airport. This is timed to meet the HF Holidays’ flights* (provisional flight times can be found on the dates and prices tab or you can call us on 020 8732 1220 for more information). Cost per single journey is £22.
  • Why not let us book you a private taxi transfer at a cost of £125 per single taxi journey?

Transfers must be pre-booked.  Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details

* Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach


Murray Ince

Murray has many years experience of fine art tuition including various painting experiences, lecturing for the local College on the Isle of Wight and demonstrates and runs workshops for art societies and groups covering many mediums and genres in fine art. Murray is a Professional Associate with the SAA (Society for All Artists) and is a featured artist and product ambassador with Winsor and Newton and has written a book on the subject of ‘Landscape Painting In ‘Artisan’ Water Mixable Oils’.

Murray has a passion for art history especially British landscape painting and says that the beauty of working for HF Holidays is that all of their houses are in stunning parts of the British countryside which has inspired British artists for centuries and is still inspiring some of the world’s best artists today. Murray is a direct descendent of both Joseph Murray Ince R.A. (1806 – 1859), whose works can be seen in many galleries including the Fitzwilliam and Victoria and Albert, and William Ince of the Ince and Mayhew furniture making partnership.

He created a first class learning environment with his enthusiasm and encouragement. He was well prepared in terms  of handouts, visual aids and other teaching material and very flexible in his approach. 


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