The picturesque small town of Sorrento lies amongst the craggy cliffs and brightly colored houses of the Sorrentine Peninsula. While not technically a part of the Amalfi Coast, its convenient location makes it a popular base or stop while exploring the coast. The town is a bucket list destination, packed with quaint cobbled streets and lemon and orange groves.
Whether you’re looking to soak up some historical culture or dive into the exotic waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, Sorrento has it all and is the perfect town to base yourself to explore the wonders of the Amalfi Coast. Below we share what makes our list of the best things to do in Sorrento.
Where Is Sorrento?
Sorrento is located across the Bay of Naples from Napoli and centrally on the Northside of the Sorrentine Peninsula. The southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula is home to the famed Amalfi Coast.
Due to Sorrento’s location and appeal, it makes for a great base to explore Campania. In one direction, it provides easy access to Ischia, Pompei, and Napoli. At the same time, the other direction visitors can reach Capri, Sorrentine Peninsula, and Amalfi Coast.
How To Get To Sorrento?
You can reach via train, ferry, and car. The nearest airport to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast is the Naples International Airport. The airport is connected to the city of Naples by train, bus, and private taxis.
There is no direct train line that connects Sorrento with the rest of the Italian rail network. However, you can reach Sorrento with the Circumvesuviana train that connects Sorrento and Naples. So all rail journeys to Sorrento will require a stop and short station change in Naples.
During the summer months, ferries run three times a day from the port of Naples to Sorrento. The train can be unreliable at times, and the ferry can be a pleasant experience if the waters remain calm.
The best way to reach Sorrento is by car. You can rent a car at the airport or city center and drive to Sorrento in less than an hour. Or hire a taxi transfer from Naples direct from the city center or the airport. Prices vary from €70-100. Whether you rent a car depends on your itinerary, as driving on narrow roads and parking can be stressful.
Where to Stay in Sorrento?
Things To Do in Sorrento
Watch the sun go down at Villa Communale Park
A vacation to Italy is incomplete without watching the ultimate sunset, and they don’t get much better than in Sorrento. Head up the Sorrento’s clifftops at Villa Communale Park. From there, you can catch a sunset over the glistening waters. We spent our time in Sorrento down in Marina Grande, so the park was just up the hill for us.
Watching the sky turning red as the sun drops into the horizon will leave you breathless, and it is one of the best things to do in Sorrento. On top of the incredible atmosphere, a few buskers often play soothing Italian music as you watch over the clifftops.
- Location: Villa Communale Park (GPS)
- Price: Free
- Top Tip: Head to the park before sunset to secure the best spot, as it is popular due to its prime location. Plus you don’t have to to break your bank buying a cocktail at one of the expensive terraces.
Wander the backstreets of Centro Storico
Venture through the medieval alleyways and mazes of narrow cobbled streets in the Centro Storico region. You will find streets of vibrant flower-filled gardens, picturesque hidden churches, and beautiful old shuttered houses.
Centro Storico is also a paradise for foodies sprinkled with piazzas. You can make your way through piles of pasta whilst sitting in a beautiful backdrop. These restaurants also tend to be cheaper and more authentic than those located on the main promenade by the beach.
- Location: Centro Storico
- Price: Free
- Top Tip: Eat at Trattoria dei Mori for some of the best pasta in the area.
Explore Piazza Tasso
Sorrento’s historic center is the former site of a medieval castle now referred to as Piazza Tasso. It’s surrounded by pastel-painted cafes and a vibrant atmosphere full of local musicians.
Spend your evening soaking up the colorful atmosphere of traditional foods, spectacular statues, and quaint cocktail bars. If we felt like a quick pick-me-up in town, it was the perfect spot to stop for a coffee.
- Location: Piazza Tasso
- Price: Free
- Top Tip: Spend a couple of hours people-watching at the famous Fauno Bar.
Take a dip in the town’s main bay
Despite the town not being home to any beaches, there is still the opportunity to take a dip in the glistening Italian waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. If you walk along the town’s waterfront, you will find a selection of jetties with beach bars to enjoy.
The beach bars do cost money to enjoy as you’ll need to rent a set of lounge chairs to enjoy. Prices typically start around €14 for a sunbed. Along with a sunbed, you’ll also get the service of a restaurant and staff. We hung out on Bagni Salvatore for the day to relax in the sunshine and have some tasty pizza.
If you plan to visit one of the beach clubs in peak summer, it would be a good idea to arrive early or make a reservation the day before. This is especially important on weekends when the locals from Napoli head down to enjoy their days off work.
- Location: Sorrento Bay
- Best Spot: Bagni Salvatore
- Price: €14 for a sunbed
Check out the views at Vallone Dei Mulin
Vallone Dei Mulin is nicknamed the lost valley. Deep in a lush and overgrown valley is a complex of mills that appear trapped in time. A few minutes north of Piazzo Tasso lies a bridge that provides surreal views of the spectacular mill buildings that disappear on the valley floor.
The unique mill results from two rivers that join in the deep valley for an extreme humidity environment that is the perfect habitat for an abundance of unique vegetation. At over 700 years old, the stone mills and their attraction have captivated travelers for 200 years!
We’ve been to Sorrento several times. On our last visit, the vegetation was stripped from the historic mill, and restoration was underway. After the visit, we learned of the local controversy and fight that’s currently happening over the mill’s future.
- Location: Vallone dei Mulin
Take a day trip to Pompeii
We’ve been to Pompei twice, and we’re not big history buffs. However, Pompei is a historical site unlike any other in the world. The historic city is so well-preserved it provides extraordinary insight into the life of ancient Rome.
Luckily Pompeii is easily accessed from Sorrento as it is under an hour’s drive from Sorrento and easy to reach with the Circumvesuviana train. It can be best described as a big jigsaw piece packed with culture; Pompeii is a history-lovers haven. Spend your day exploring the remanence of ruins impacted by the famous volcano explosion whilst also exploring the area’s well-known priceless beauty.
- Entrance Fee: € 16.00 (reduced to €10.00 from 15:30)
- Top Tip: We recommend a tour of Pompeii. The knowledge of an expert will enhance your experience as without the background knowledge, it can be hard to interpret the site. It’s really the only way explore ancient sites like in Egypt or Italy.
Eat your heart out on one of Sorrento’s Food Tours
If you’re a big foodie and want to sample the best of Sorrento’s local cuisine, then look no further than one of Sorrento’s food and wine tours. Eat your way through the area’s finest selection of food from gourmet handmade pizzas, seafood, exotic pasta dishes, and some of the area’s finest selection of cheese and wine.
- Location: Sorrento Historical Centre
- Price: €60-70
Swim in the natural baths of Regina Giovanna
A visit to the gorgeous emerald baths of Regina Giovanna is a legendary experience. Formed by the crashing of the waves against the area’s limestone cliff has left protected pools separated from the open sea.
Located a 50-minute walk away or 20 minutes by bus, the baths of Region Giovanna are one of Sorrento’s best-kept secrets. Its difficult accessibility has kept it hidden from tourists meaning the pools have been left relatively untouched. Spend your day delving into the pool’s underwater life or watch the sun go down from the rocks of Punta del Capo.
- Location: Regina Giovanna (GPS)
- Top Tip: Opt for the coastal walk rather than getting a bus. The route is a lot of fun and offers spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast. Or pick up a scooter rental to explore the coast!
Eat Pizza in Naples
No trip to Campania is complete without a trip to Naples. It’s the vibrant cultural hub of Italy that is widely credited as the birthplace of pizza. There is so much to do around Naples with historical sites, restaurants, markets, museums, palaces, and beaches that it’s worthy of its own trip. No matter your interest Naples likely has something to pique your interest.
The food here is religious, and it’s essential to locals. Pizza is so prized to the city that in 1984 the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana was formed to protect and preserve “true Neapolitan pizza.” We’re far from experts, but if you’re looking for the spot in Naples’s head to L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele or Gino Sorbillo for an incredible pizza. Our good friends Mindi and Daryl have an awesome guide about pizza in Naples.
Take a trip to Marina Puolo
Just a short journey from Sorrento lies the charming coastal village of Marina Puolo. Home to less than 150 residents, it is the perfect place to skip the busy crowds of Sorrento’s Piazza Tasso and spend the day relaxing on its pristine beach.
In the area, you can also visit the spectacular bio-diverse region of Punta Campanella, experiencing striking views of its unique wildlife and greenery.
- Location: Marina Puolo (GPS)
- Top Tip: En route to Marina Puolo, you will pass olive and lemon groves along with flower-filled gardens, so make sure to stop here on your way.
Take a boat to the island of Capri
Sorrento is the perfect place to base yourself to visit the best of Italy’s spectacular off-shore islands, including none other than the hotspot of Capri. Capri is widely regarded globally as an iconic destination full of glamour, elegance, and pristine waters.
The island’s natural beauty is jaw-dropping from the beautiful gardens of Giardini di Augusto, the spectacular Faraglioni Rocks, and the narrow-cobbled streets of Anacapri. The island of Capri isn’t far from the shores of Sorrento – only a 30–50-minute ferry, which will cost you around €17 for a ticket.
- Price: €17 each way
- Top Tip: Go on a tour to Capri, including the stunning Grotto Azzura, a blue cave created through sunlight passing through a crack creating a blue reflection. It is one of Italy’s true wonders, albeit incredibly touristy.
Sip on some of Italy’s finest Limoncello
The renowned liquor is built up of bitter and condensed lemons matched with the perfect measure of sugar. The Campania region is home to some of the best limoncello Italy has to offer, and you’ll pretty much find it at any local bar or restaurant.
Make sure to order a serving or two after your meal; it’s a fantastic way to cleanse your pallet. On top of that, you’ll likely receive a digestivo thank you at the end of many meals in town. Several restaurants gave us their house-made limoncello with the bill.
If you’re seeking out an excellent apertivo, head to D’Anton. The eclectic cocktail bar is beautifully decorated in antiques and art that is ever-evolving. Everything within the bar is for sale and curated by local designers. Most importantly, they serve an excellent limoncello cocktail!
Make a trip to Positano
Make a day trip to one of the most famous and recognizable beaches in all of Italy: Positano. You may not have heard of it directly by name, but you definitely would have seen spectacular photos of Positano without realizing it.
Situated a 35-minute drive from Sorrento on arrival to Positano, with beautiful peach, pink, and white houses among a beautiful backdrop of the clearest seas. Spend your day soaking up the sun on the main beach, or make an adventurous trip to the less busy Laurito Beach, a hidden gem located just a small shuttle boat away from the main strip in Positano.
- Location: Positano
- Price: €15- Ferry, €3-Bus.
- Top Tip: Avoid using sunbeds. They can cost over €25. There are plenty of cafes offering a seat.
Take a Sorrento Cooking Class
Italy is widely known as one of the best places for authentic and tasty food globally. So what could be better than learning from the experts by taking a four-course meal cooking class? Whip up a feast of freshly made pasta, traditional Neapolitan pizza, crunchy arancini, and creamy affogato. There are plenty of places offering cooking classes in Sorrento, so have a browse and see what tickles your taste buds before signing up.
- Location: Sorrento Hills
- Price: €40- €60
- Top Tip: Consider looking outside of the main town and into the hills – you will find better deals and less touristy gimmicks.
Visit the island of Ischia
Take a boat ride over to the pristine island of Ischia, where you will find beautiful secluded beaches, natural baths, and an abundance of history. A similar landscape to its more famous neighbor Capri, Ischia provides a more laid-back experience with fewer tourists and is a lot cheaper.
Spend your day exploring through the island’s natural beauty – from its hidden coves to the spectacular marine life beneath its blue waters. Make sure to check out Castello Aragonese, a striking historical monument that is only connected to Ischia by a bridge.
- Location: Ischia Island
- Price: 60-minute ferry journey: €20
- Top Tip: If you have the time, head to one of the island’s excellent vineyards to explore its beautiful landscape and sip on the island’s finest wine.
Visit the Correale di Terranova Museum
The Correale di Terranova is a small establishment museum hosted inside an elegant mansion for art enthusiasts and enthusiasts. Previously home to the Correale di Terranova family many years ago, the museum presents its luxurious and pristine lifestyle.
Spend a little time walking around the ground’s picturesque citrus garden, which has breathtaking views overlooking the coast, before heading inside to a plethora of delightful collections of art, including majolica objects, ancient furniture, and pastel paintings. Personally, we find it a bit boring, but everything likes something different.
- Location: Via Correale, 50 (GPS)
- Price: Entrance fee: €8
- Top Tip: Bring a picnic to enjoy in its impressive garden, where you can find plenty of spots to relax in the shade with lots of tall trees providing cover.
Spend the day soaking up the sun on San Francesco Beach
San Francesco is the most popular beach in the town and consists of a darker tone of sand derived from crumbled reefs and rocks. It is located just off the marina. It is a decent location if you want a day soaking up the sun and relaxing in the exotic blue waters.
However, we found it to be less than ideal as far as beaches on the Sorrentine Peninsula go. You’re better off paying for a lounge chair, heading to Marina Grande, or getting outside of the Sorrento altogether. We gave it a skip as a beach day but did check it out.
Discover The Dish That Made A Town Famous
The town of Nerrano is a popular beach spot with several famous beach clubs. However, the reason you should truly visit is to try Spaghetti Alla Nerano. The dish is a staple made from pasta, zucchini, and local provolone cheese. It has now achieved worldwide fame. Most recently, it was featured in CNN’s Searching For Italy with Stanley Tucci.
Rent a Motorbike
There is so much to explore around the Sorrentine Peninsula and Amalfi Coast! However, the bus system is unpleasant on the mountainous roads, taxis are costly, and parking is very tough/expensive. In our opinion, the best way to explore the region is via a scooter. It’s tough to think of a more iconic form of transportation than a Vespa in Italy!
With your own set of wheels, you’ll be able to hit all the spots and keep to your own schedule. We used it to explore the Amalfi Coast and secure free parking in Positano (nearly impossible). We used Jolly Rent in Sorrento.
- Rental Agency: Jolly Rent
- Price: €45 a day
Go on a Sunset Cruise
As already mentioned, the Sorrento sunsets are truly incredible, and they are still stunning on the mainland. However, the sunset from the water is a bucket list experience for those heading to Sorrento.
There are various options, including group sunset cruise tours that provide you with canapés and cocktails as you watch the sun go down from aboard a large yacht. Alternatively, if you are looking for a more private and exclusive experience, there is the opportunity to rent your own boat – when split between a group of you, these prices aren’t too high.
- Location: Sorrento Bay
- Price: €45- Group Sunset Cruise, Private Boat (Up to 8 People): €350
- Top Tip: Find some new friends and opt for renting a private boat. Split between eight of you, it can be very reasonable and well worth the money.
Explore Marina Grande
Just a 15-minute walk from Piazza Tasso is the charming Marina Grande – packed with vibrant and colorful boats and various restaurants overlooking the water. It is the perfect location for an evening out. We spent a full week in an apartment rental in Marina Grande and loved every minute of staying in the charming fishing village.
Lots of the restaurants specialize in locally caught seafood along with a fine selection of the region’s best gelato. All served up with a magical atmosphere with stunning coastal views.
- Location: Marina Grande
- Price: Typical Meal for Two: €40- €60
Fresh Seafood at Porta Marina
Marina Grande is the most popular spot to head to Sorrento for fresh seafood. Many of the restaurants serve the local catch that comes right from the boats in the little harbor.
On a weekend night, the little town is buzzing with visitors as everyone clamors to grab a table along the water’s edge. You have a nice selection of restaurants, and it’s tough to go too wrong with your choice.
That being said, if you want to head where the locals go, it is Porta Marina. It’s sandwiched between two other restaurants and has blue/white decor. It’s also pretty tough to miss as it’s almost always the busiest restaurant in the harbor. If you have to wait for a table, grab a spritz at the bar adjacent to the restaurant.
Take a boat tour along the Amalfi Coast
A trip to the Amalfi coast is a bucket list activity to many, with it being dubbed as having one of the most stunning coastlines in the world. There is arguably no better way to explore the coast than on the water itself, making an Amalfi Coast boat tour the perfect experience.
Most boat tours will pick you up from the Marina before cruising along the crystal-clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. You will make stops at the coastal towns of Positano and Amalfi, where you can wander through their narrow cobblestone streets and grab a bite to eat.
- Location: Amalfi Coast
- Price: €60 pp
- Top Tip: Book a small boat trip rather than a large ferry as these trips will allow you to make stops for snorkeling or swimming.
Explore the Via San Renato Market
If your trip to Sorrento falls on a Tuesday, then you are in luck, as you will be able to explore the pretty market of Via San Renato. Open from 8:00 and closing at 14:00.
You will have plenty of time to venture through everything the market has to offer, from seasonal and delicious food stalls to handmade clothing stores. The vendors at the market are extremely friendly, so it is the perfect time to mingle with the locals.
Hike through the Campania countryside
The Campania countryside has some of the most spectacular views in Italy, and there is no better way to explore it than hiking through its stone paths. Venture through lemon and olive groves with stunning backdrops of the coastline whilst making stops at small, picturesque villages.
The Path of Gods is one of the most popular routes in the area, which will take you near Positano. Make sure to come prepared with lots of water, as this is along a route with not much shelter from the Italian sun.
- Location: Campania Countryside
- Top Tip: If you’re looking for a shorter route than The Path of God, there is a popular route (only 90 mins) taking you from Sorrento’s Piazza Tasso to Massa Lubrense.
Watersports on the Bay of Naples
For those adventure lovers, the Bay of Naples is a great place to take part in an array of waters whilst absorbing the natural beauty of the local landscape – from experiencing the Sorrento coastline by kayak to snorkeling through the marine life of Punta Campanella.
For those adrenaline junkies, you also have the opportunity to go parasailing, where you can experience spectacular views of the coast from above. We even saw e-foil rentals, and of course, a sailboat is always a classic experience!
- Snorkeling: €10-15;
- Parasailing: €50
- Kayaking Tour: €50 Kayak Hire: €20 Per Hour
- E-Foil Lesson: €200
Explore the town’s selection of picturesque churches
Sorrento definitely isn’t shy of spectacular architecture – this includes a great selection of picturesque churches. The two most popular of which are Duomo di Sorrento and Basilica of San Antonino. The churches have blends of Ancient Roman artifacts, neo-Gothic exteriors, and Baroque interiors, with the Basilica of San Antonino having a museum inside to explore.
- Location: Duomo di Sorrento and Basilica of San Antonino
- Top Tip: Visit these around midday for some shade from the beaming Italian sun.
Take an Eco-Tour to Riserva Statale Valle delle Ferriere
Take a trip to this hidden treasure in the little-known corner of the Amalfi Coast. The beautiful Valley of the Mills & Ferriere Nature Reserve is a secret place behind an Amalfi hamlet surrounded by trees, ancient plants, and amazing waterfalls.
A day trip here from Sorrento is a nature lover’s haven and is the perfect opportunity to sit back and relax. The waterfalls and lush valley are also a good way to escape the midday sun, but be warned humidity is very high there!
- Location: Mills Nature Reserve
- Price: Day Trip: €60
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