26/05/2024

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15 Fun & Best Things to Do in Sorrento, Italy

15 min read
15 Fun & Best Things to Do in Sorrento, Italy

Welcome to the beautiful coastal town of Sorrento, Italy, where stunning sea views, mouthwatering cuisine, and a rich cultural heritage are just some of the highlights waiting for you to discover. Located in the heart of the Neapolitan Riviera, Sorrento is a fantastic base for exploring southern Italy’s vibrant and diverse landscape, its history, culture, and some of the best food on the planet.

Before we get to the exciting parts, make sure you bring your walking shoes because Sorrento’s streets and alleys are mostly for pedestrians only, and trust me, you’ll want to explore every corner of this beautiful town. 

Aerial View of Old Town, Sorrento, Italy with Mt. Vesuvius
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

I love exploring Sorrento’s cobblestone alleys and peeking into classic Osteria’s and shops during the sun-filled afternoon. It had been nearly a decade since I last visited Sorrento, so this time was an excellent opportunity to visit old favorites and discover some new spots too.

TL;DR

Best Attraction Overall Piazza Tasso
Best Outdoor Activity Hiking in the Amalfi Coast
Best Beach Marina Grande Beach
Best Cultural Experience Museo Correale di Terranova
Best Food and Drink La Cantina
Best Shopping Corso Italia

Things to do in Sorrento, Italy

Here are some of the top things to do in Sorrento. Let’s dive right in!

1. Old Town

Narrow alley with Duomo in Sorrento, Campania, Italy
Gabriele Maltinti / Adobe Stock

As you step into the historic center of Sorrento, you’ll be transported back in time. The narrow streets, colorful buildings, and charming squares create a unique atmosphere that’s hard to find anywhere else in Italy.

It’s a place where you can get lost in the labyrinth of alleys and discover hidden gems around every corner. It almost feels like stepping onto the set of Game of Thrones.

One of the best things about the old town is its history. Dating back to the pre-Roman Empire the area has been inhabited for over 2,000 years. As you explore the town, you’ll come across ancient ruins, historic churches, and impressive palaces that are a testament to its rich past.

One of the must-visit places in Sorrento’s old town is the Piazza Tasso. It’s the town’s main square and is named after the poet Torquato Tasso, who was born in Sorrento. The square is lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops where you can taste local delicacies, sip on some limoncello, and shop for souvenirs.

But perhaps the best part of the Old Town is its authenticity. Here, you can experience Sorrento’s narrow alleys, colorful buildings, and vibrant street life like one of the locals. 

See Related: Things to Do in Italy & Best Places to Visit

2. Drive, bike, or rent a Vespa to cruise the Amalfi Coast

Aerial of the Winding Road of Amalfi Drive, Italy
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

One of the most breathtaking drives in the world is cruising along the Amalfi Coast. And what better way to do it than cruising around in a convertible, or pootling along on a Vespa, or bike? 

It is a simply glorious way to see the sights and allows you to stop and explore the small towns along the way. Pull over and take in the breathtaking views, stroll through colorful villages, or eat at a local restaurant – you can’t go wrong.

The Amalfi Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. The drive is approximately 50 kilometers long, and you can best enjoy it leisurely. That’s why renting a Vespa, a bike, or driving yourself is the perfect way to explore this majestic coastline.

The best part of cruising the Amalfi Coast is the sheer beauty of the drive. You’ll see endless vistas of blue sea, towering cliffs, and colorful villages clinging to the mountainside. It’s no wonder this is one of the most Instagram-worthy destinations in the world.

But, with all this beauty comes a few challenges. The road can be narrow and winding in places, and the traffic can be heavy sometimes, especially during peak season.

So, it’s essential to be cautious, take your time, and ensure you’re comfortable driving a Vespa or a car. Travel insurance wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

But trust me, the views and experiences you’ll have along the way are well worth it. It’s an adventure you’ll never forget and will be talking about for years. So if you’re looking for a new experience, cruising the Amalfi Coast on a Vespa, or in your car is a must-do when visiting Sorrento.

3. Take a boat trip to the island of Capri

Aerial View of Capri, Italy
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

If you’re visiting Sorrento, Capri is a must-see destination that should be at the top of your list. Capri is a small island located just off the coast of Sorrento, and it’s known for its stunning natural beauty, crystal clear waters, and chic atmosphere.

There are plenty of reasons to visit Capri, and it’s an easy trip from Sorrento either via a private boat tour or by taking the public ferry. If you’re thinking about the latter, you should save time and book your tickets in advance by using FerryHopper.

First of all, let’s talk about the scenery. Capri is well known for its stunning natural beauty, from the crystal-clear waters of the Blue Grotto to the dramatic cliffs that line the island’s coastline. Exploring this island paradise, makes me feel like stepping into a postcard.

And speaking of exploring, there is no shortage of things to see and do on Capri, from the famous Piazzetta, where locals and tourists gather to socialize and people-watch, to the Gardens of Augustus, which offer panoramic views of the island’s iconic Faraglioni rock formations.

If you’re a beach lover, Capri has you covered there too. The island has several beaches, including Marina Piccola, which is nestled in a picturesque cove and offers a variety of water sports and activities. And if you’re looking for some quiet time, the island has plenty of secluded coves and hidden beaches to discover.

And last but certainly not least, the sunsets on Capri are just remarkable. Whether enjoying a romantic dinner with a view or just taking a stroll around the island, you’ll witness the most breathtaking views in all of Italy right here in Capri.

See What Happened On My Day Trip to Capri From Sorrento! 🙃

Watch this video on YouTube.

See Related: Guide to Living in Italy: What Are the Pros and Cons?

4. Take in the views at Villa Comunale di Sorrento

View of Bay of Naples from Villa Comunale di Sorrento
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Villa Comunale di Sorrento is a charming public park and garden that overlooks the Bay of Naples. It’s the perfect place to unwind, relax and take in the stunning views of the sea.

This garden is located in the heart of Sorrento and is a popular spot among locals and tourists alike. Its well-manicured lawns, colorful flowers, and palm trees make it easy to see why it’s such a popular destination for anyone looking to chill.

Villa Comunale park is spacious, and there are plenty of benches where you can sit and relax while enjoying the picturesque views. One of the garden’s highlights is the terrace that overlooks the sea.

You can take in the truly breathtaking panoramic views of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. And if you’re lucky enough to visit the garden during the sunset, you’ll be treated to one of the most beautiful sunsets in town.

5. Tour Cattedrale dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo

Front of Cattedrale dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo, Sorrento, Italy
maudanros / Shutterstock

Cattedrale dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo (that’s the Cathedral of Saints Philip and James) is one of the top attractions in Sorrento. This fairly small cathedral is a wonderful, historic Roman Catholic church that dates back to the 11th Century.

Its striking facade of contrasting white and gray marble is an impressive sight to behold up close. And once you step inside, you’ll be transported to a world of beautiful religious artworks, intricate frescoes, and further fascinating details.

One of the most striking features of the cathedral is its wooden choir, which dates back to the 16th Century. Adorned with intricate carvings and paintings it’s truly a work of art, unlike anything you might have seen before. 

But the cathedral’s beauty is not just limited to its interior. Its bell tower is a prominent feature of the Sorrento skyline.

See Related: Cheap Places to Visit in Europe

6. Piazza Tasso

Busy Piazza Tasso During the Daytime
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

I mentioned it before, so welcome back to Piazza Tasso, the beating heart of Sorrento! This bustling square is named after the famous poet Torquato Tasso, who was born in the 16th Century. Today, it’s a hub of activity for locals and tourists alike. Let’s take a closer look at why you should add Piazza Tasso to your Sorrento itinerary.

First off, Piazza Tasso is the perfect spot for people-watching. You’ll see all sorts of characters here, from street performers to stylish locals sipping espresso at one of the many cafes. 

Speaking of cafes, Piazza Tasso is home to some of the best in Sorrento. From traditional Italian coffee to decadent pastries and gelato, you’ll find it all here. And if you’re looking for a full meal, plenty of restaurants around the square serve delicious local cuisine.

And let’s not forget about the entertainment. Piazza Tasso is a popular spot for live music, especially in the evenings. Grab a drink and enjoy the sounds of traditional Italian music or even some modern hits.

Finally, Piazza Tasso takes on a whole new character at night. The square is beautifully lit up, creating a romantic and enchanting atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot for a late-night stroll, a romantic date, or a drink with friends.

7. Bagni Della Regina Giovanna

Aerial View of Bagni Regina Giovanna, Sorrento
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Bagni della Regina Giovanna is a hidden gem that’s definitely worth a visit when you’re in Sorrento.  Located just a few kilometers from Sorrento’s city center, this spot on the Sorrento coast features ancient Roman ruins and a hidden cove of sparkling waters surrounded by breathtaking cliffs.

It’s named after Queen Giovanna D’Angiò, who used to swim here in the 14th Century. You can paddle in the natural pool, snorkel, sunbathe, or snap some pics of the stunning scenery. But that’s not all!

The cove is in a beautiful park with plenty of hiking trails that offer magnificent coastline views. So if you’re an adventure seeker, make sure to bring your hiking shoes and explore the area.

See Related: Best Tours in Italy: Food, Walking & Bike Tours

8. Take a day trip to Positano, Amalfi, or Ravello (or all three!)

Aerial View of Positano, Italy
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

If you’re visiting Sorrento, you cannot miss the chance to take a day trip and explore the neighboring towns of Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello! Our first stop is Positano.

This picturesque town is known for its historic buildings that appear to tumble down the cliff towards the sea. Positano’s narrow alleys are lined with stylish boutiques, art galleries, and inviting cafes, as well as views for days.

Next, is Amalfi. This ancient maritime republic was once one of the most influential cities in the Mediterranean. Amalfi is a charming town home to a magnificent cathedral, a historic paper mill, and one of the most stunning beaches on the Amalfi Coast.

And finally, we come to Ravello. This hilltop town is famous for its beautiful gardens, including Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone.

From Ravello, you can take in absolutely spellbinding views of the coastline below. Whether you’re thinking of spending a day in each town or finding a whistlestop tour that includes all three in one day, do it – you will be so glad that you did.

9. Go exploring around Parco di Villa Fiorentino

Entrance to Parco Villa Fiorentino
lucamato / Adobe Stock

While you may be forgiven for thinking this part of Italy is all style and no substance, you’d be sorely mistaken. Did you know that Sorrento also offers some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Italy? Well, let’s explore one of the most popular hiking spots in the area – Parco di Villa Fiorentino.

Parco di Villa Fiorentino is a beautiful park located in the heart of Sorrento. It’s the perfect place for nature lovers and hikers alike. The park features lush gardens, beautiful coastline views, and several hiking trails that vary in difficulty so all levels of hikers should be able to find something to enjoy here.

The hiking trails in the park are well-marked and allow hikers to explore the Sorrento peninsula’s beauty. Along these glorious walks, you’ll get to take in amazing views of the sea, the mountains, and Sorrento itself.

See Related: ​​Best Museums in Europe to Visit

10. Wine and dine at classic Italian restaurants

Entrance to Ristorante il Buco, Sorrento
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

If you’re visiting this charming town, you need to thoroughly investigate the Sorrento food scene. Sorrento is known for its fresh seafood, homemade pasta, and its famous Limoncello.

There are tons of great, local eateries in Sorrento, but we’re not just talking about any old restaurant here. We’re talking about the best spots in town like Ristorante il Buco or a local and personal favorite, Enjoy the Little Things Bistro.

This charming bistro is tucked away in a quiet alley, but don’t let that fool you. The food here is anything but small. Each dish is bursting with flavor, from the rich tomato sauce in the spaghetti alla carbonara to the perfectly cooked fish from their catch of the day. 

And the best part? You can enjoy your meal in their beautiful outdoor seating area, surrounded by colorful flowers and lemon trees.

And what better way to end your meal than with a shot of Limoncello? This sweet and tangy liqueur is made with Sorrento’s famous lemons and is the perfect way to cleanse your palate.

You can find Limoncello at any restaurant in Sorrento. But we recommend trying it at a local Limoncello factory, where you can see the production process and even taste some variations of this delicious, lemony drink.

11. Take a boat tour from Marina Grande

View of Marina Grande and Historic Buildings in Sorrento, Italy
viennamotion KG / Adobe Stock

Marina Grande, located on the water’s edge, is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Sorrento. There are several great Sorrento boat tours that take you past stunning sights like the Natural Arch, the Green Grotto, and the Scugnizzo Statue. Marina Grande is also the perfect starting point for exploring the beauty of Capri.

For those seeking a more leisurely experience, this gorgeous little fishing village is just a 15-minute walk around the headland to the west of Sorrento. The charming village is dominated by its picturesque harbor and offers yet another perfect spot for taking in the sunset.

See Related: Best River Cruises in Europe

12. Shop along Corso Italia

Busy Main Street, Corso Italia, in Sorrento
Marco Rubino / Shutterstock

If you love local Italian goods, or you’re searching for souvenirs or gifts, a trip to Corso Italia for some shopping is definitely in order. As Sorrento’s chic main shopping street, tourists can expect to find a variety of Italian and international designer clothes and shoes from brand big and small.

It’s worth noting that tons of Lemon-themed souvenirs are also sold in many of the shops, made popular by Sorrento’s lemon trees which adorn the city. Take a leisurely stroll down the busy street or explore some of the cobbled alleyways hidden off the main path.

For a truly unique shopping experience, a visit to Gargiulo & Jannuzzi shop is a must. Famous for their music and jewelry boxes, the stunningly beautiful hand-carved wood pieces are truly unreal. Regardless of what you’re searching for, with so many options, a shopping expedition along Corso Italia is the perfect way to spend a relaxing day in Sorrento.

13. Climb to the top of Mount Vesuvius

Trail at the top of Mount Vesuvius
dudlajzov
/ Adobe Stock

For the adventurous souls out there, no trip to Sorrento is complete without climbing Mount Vesuvius! Hiking to the top of this active volcano is an iconic experience, and visitors are treated to stunning views of the Bay of Naples once they reach the summit.

However, it’s important to note that climbing the volcano can be quite challenging, so it’s essential to come prepared. Good shoes, sunscreen, and plenty of water are essential.

Alternatively, if you don’t feel like climbing all the way to the top, you can easily take a tour of Mount Vesuvius from the basin to understand more about the history of this iconic volcano.

See Related: The Ultimate Backpacking Through Europe Itinerary

14. Spend a day at Pompeii

Ruins of Pompeii
Serenity-H / Adobe Stock

Up Pompeii!

If you’ve taken the time to climb Mt. Vesuvius, you absolutely have to take a day trip to Pompeii – the ancient Roman city that was destroyed by an eruption from Mt. Vesuvius in 79AD. The Roman ruins, some of which have been partially restored, make for a fascinating and haunting day out.

With several options for transportation to Pompeii, including guided tours and trains, it’s a doable journey from Rome. For those looking for a more guided experience, there are plenty of tours available from both Rome and Naples.

Alternatively, those who prefer a DIY adventure can easily arrange a cheap and easy train trip to Pompeii. All in all, a day trip to Pompeii is a must-do for anyone interested in history and the ancient world.

15. Admire the Cloister of San Francesco

Interior of the San Francesco Cloister, Sorrento
Marco Rubino / Shutterstock

After a long day of exploring Sorrento, wandering through the serene Cloister of San Francesco should definitely be on your itinerary. This is one of Sorrento’s best hidden gems.

With its roots going back to the 7th Century, the stunning cloister that remains was completed in the 14th Century. This historic church features a single nave and various chapels, with statues of different saints, including the church’s namesake, Saint Francesco.

Aerial View of Sorrento & Mount Vesuvius at Sunset
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The peaceful atmosphere, shady trees, and beautiful baroque architecture provide a perfect escape from Sorrento’s bustling crowds. It’s also a very popular wedding venue in Sorrento. Honestly, I can’t think of a more fitting place to get hitched.

FAQs

What is Sorrento, Italy Known for?

With a population of just over 16,000 people, stunning views of the Amalfi Coast, and vibrant culture, Sorrento has become a favorite travel destination for tourists worldwide. To get to Sorrento, Italy, you can take a train from the Naples train station to Sorrento or a ferry from the nearby island of Capri.

Once you arrive, there are so many amazing things to see and do that you don’t want to miss. So, to get a taste of southern Italy, you must visit Sorrento, Italy, it’s a place that will stay in your heart forever.

Is Sorrento, Italy Worth Visiting?

Sorrento is definitely worth a stop, especially if you are venturing into the Amalfi Coast. This coastal city features plenty of great things to see and do in town, great food, and is well-positioned for other excursions along the coast such as Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, and Amalfi.

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