Sorrento

Sorrento is one of the best known and best loved tourist destinations in the world.

The charm and fascination of the entire Sorrento Peninsula attract thousands of visitors every year. The mountains that drop into the crystal-clear water, the breathtaking views, the picturesque old town, the excellent cuisine and the strategic location make this town one of the most popular and dreamed destinations in Italy.

If you were looking for advice on what to see in Sorrento, how to get there and what you absolutely must do, you have come to the right place: here e you will find all the advice you need.

How to get to Sorrento

πŸ“£ There are several ways to get to Sorrento.

βœ…β€‹ The first point of reference, obviously, is Naples’ Capodichino International Airport. From here, buses leave every hour for the leading town on the Sorrento Peninsula. The journey takes just over an hour. From the airport it is possible to reach Naples’ central station quite easily by shuttle bus and bus, from where you can take the Circumvesuviana and get off at Sorrento station.

βœ…β€‹ If you want to get there by car, you can take the A3 Naples-Pompeii-Sorrento motorway, exiting at Castellammare di Stabia, and continue straight on following the signs for Sorrento.

βœ…β€‹ SITA SUD buses also leave from Amalfi to reach the city: the line to refer to is “Amalfi – Positano – Sorrento”.

If you are planning an out-of-town trip during your Amalfi Coast holiday, we recommend you read our full article on how to organise a day in Sorrento starting from Amalfi!

Where to sleep in Sorrento

πŸ“£ Looking for advice on where to stay overnight?
We have selected the best accommodation in Sorrento for you!

B&B

Corso 38 Sorrento

Sorrento – Corso Italia 38
9.7
Exceptional –
305 reviews
Hotel

Hotel Rivoli Sorrento

Sorrento – Via S. Maria delle Grazie 16,
8.9
Fabulous –
655 reviews
Holiday Homes

Solymar Apartments

Sorrento – Corso Italia 210
9.7
Exceptional –
89 reviews
B&B

Akyra suites

Sorrento – Corso Italia 261
9.4
Superb –
290 reviews
Holiday Homes

Leukosìa Holiday House

Sorrento – Via Santa Lucia 18
9.7
Exceptional –
109 reviews
Hotel

Magi House Relais

Sorrento – Via Padre Reginaldo Giuliani 56
9.5
Exceptional –
339 reviews

What to see in Sorrento

Although seaside tourism is the main resource of the area, Sorrento is not just sun, sea and relaxation under the beach parasol. On the contrary, those who love to wander around the city, discovering museums, monuments, nooks and crannies rich in history and suggestive views, will find in this city their ideal destination, because there is so much to discover, both in the city and in the surroundings!

πŸ“£ In this section we will provide you with a concise and comprehensive map of historical buildings, monuments and cultural attractions that are definitely worth a visit.

Let’s start right away!

πŸ“ The first piece of advice is to start from Piazza Tasso. 

Yes, because just a short distance from the marvellous views of the sea, you will find this lively city centre. The square owes its name to the famous poet Torquato Tasso: the famous monument, inaugurated in 1870, is dedicated to him and you can admire it in a slightly more hidden corner, while in a more central position, you will notice the statue of St. Anthony, in travertine stone.

πŸ“ On the southern side of the square, proceed towards Palazzo Correale. 

In this building, a treasure trove of the history of the Correale di Terranova family, you will find a rich museum, founded in 1904. A visit to the museum will allow you to observe splendid paintings ranging from the 15th to the 19th century, with a varied collection of still lifes from the Neapolitan school of the 17th and 18th centuries.

There are also splendid examples of landscapes from the Posillipo School. In addition to this, you will be enraptured by an incredible amount of art objects: porcelain, clocks, furniture, caskets made of rare and exotic woods, decorative objects. The building has access to a beautiful park and a belvedere terrace, offering one of the most beautiful views of the city.

πŸ“ Vallone dei Mulini

Not far from Piazza Tasso, this valley owes its name to the presence of a mill built in 1600. The valley was formed about thirty-five thousand years ago and belonged first to the Tasso family and later to the Correale family. Since the end of the 19th century, it has been totally abandoned, especially following the construction of Piazza Tasso, which caused the area to flood.

However, the particular climatic conditions of the place, which lasted for centuries, allowed the development of a particular flora, made up of ferns and plants unique to the area. Today, the Vallone dei Mulini appears as a riot of vegetation that completely envelops the buildings present, creating a truly evocative scenario. The American newspaper Buzzfeed even listed this place among the 30 most evocative on the planet.

πŸ“ Cathedral of Saints Philip and James

Over the course of its history, it has undergone several restorations. The only original element is the side marble portal, which dates back to 1479. The interior of the cathedral is in the shape of a Latin cross with three naves. The ceilings are decorated with Baroque paintings by Oronzo and Nicola Maliconico.

πŸ“ The Sedile Dominova

On the ancient Via San Cesario is the only one of the surviving noble seats in the whole of Campania. Noble seats were open buildings in which the nobility, from the 13th to the 19th century, met to make political decisions about the city. The Sedile Dominova, dating back to the 15th century, has two sides opened on the outside by large round piperno arches with archaic capitals. The dome, covered in faience, dates back to the 17th century. The walls of the outer hall are masterfully frescoed.

πŸ“ The Basilica of Sant’Antonino

was built around the year 1000.  At the entrance are two cetacean bones in memory of the prodigy performed by St Antoninus. The ceiling of the nave, which is decorated with three canvases by Giambattista Lama, is highly appreciated.

πŸ“ Church and Cloister of San Francesco

Although it looks very modern on the outside, the earliest records of this church date back to around 1300. As you enter, you will be struck by the mixture of styles: such as the Baroque style of polychrome marble that coexists with Gothic influences from the 14th century. At the side of the Church, a small door leads to the Cloister, a place that will strike you for its silence and the particular play of light that is particularly suggestive at certain times of the day.

If you are a person who loves details, have fun picking out the differences between the columns of the Cloister: they were made from materials from different pagan temples, so if you look carefully, you will notice that they are all different, even in height.

What to do in Sorrento

πŸ“£ We have selected for you the best experiences in and around Sorrento!

Trekking and Walking

πŸ“ Baia di Ieranto 

A stunning trekking path of around 6 kilometres, whose effort is richly rewarded by the chance to bathe in the crystal-clear waters of this protected and uncontaminated area, where access to any motorboat is strictly forbidden. The path starts from the centre of Nerano, about 100 metres from the village square. Along the downhill stretch there are wonderful views as far as the Faraglioni of Capri.

πŸ“ From Sorrento to Massa Lubrense

Along the CAI 343 path you reach Massa Lubrense starting from the centre of Sorrento. From Corso Italia, turn first into Via Capo and then into Via Capodimonte. Here begins your route, which will first lead you to the centre of Massa Lubrense.

From the centre of Massa, after turning into Via Mortella, you reach Santa Maria about 1 km away. On the way, you come to the Annunziata belvedere, from where you can admire a breathtaking view of Capri and the entire Gulf of Naples. From here you proceed downhill and reach Marina della Lobra, a characteristic fishing village, where we recommend you stop for a swim.

πŸ“ The Path of the Gods

If you are a trekking enthusiast, we recommend that you dedicate a day to the Path of the Gods, as it will provide you with unforgettable breathtaking views. You can already guess from its name the beauty of this road that connects Bomerano (Agerola) to Nocelle, a hamlet of Positano.

To reach your starting point, use the Sita buses: you will arrive first at Amalfi, from where you will take another bus to reach the hamlet of Bomerano, which marks the beginning of your journey. Do not be intimidated by the bus journey: we assure you that at the end of your day you will be delighted to have included this experience in your travel itinerary. 

πŸ“£Need some more information? Read our article dedicated to the Path of the Gods.

A city full of life and, as we have seen, rich in history, Sorrento will certainly not let you get bored.

After exploring the major sights on foot, the lively Corso Italia and its typical narrow streets, after discovering its beaches and photographing its unique views, there is nothing left to do but enjoy the authentic flavours of Sorrento and the thousands of experiences available in the surrounding area.

One must absolutely try the traditional gnocchi alla Sorrentina, a traditional dish of poor origin that is impossible to resist. Another typical delicacy is spaghetti with courgettes alla Nerano. The fish cuisine is also delicious, which we recommend you reserve for a romantic dinner in some typical seaside restaurant.

During your holiday in Sorrento, take advantage of the strategic location to plan a boat tour to Capri, where you can also visit the marvellous Grotta Azzurra. Or reach Naples, the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as Ischia and nearby Positano, which is about 40 minutes away by bus.

In short: from here you are very close to many places of interest. To avoid finding yourself doubtful and confused during your holiday, we recommend that you select the places to visit in the area beforehand, based on your personal taste and travel needs. This will allow you to optimise your time, better arrange your trips and minimise the possibility of unforeseen events.

The beaches of Sorrento

As good locals, we couldn’t forget a few tips on the must-visit beaches in Sorrento!
πŸ“£ Below are our suggestions dedicated to those who would never give up a day at the sea!

βœ… Marina Grande It retains the charm of a fishing village, with its colourful houses, boats and nets by the sea. It was the wonderful set of ‘Bread, Love and …’, an unmissable classic of Italian cinema, starring two of the greats of world cinema, Vittoria De Sica and Sophia Loren.

βœ… Marina Piccola This is definitely the point of reference for ferries and travel. Its location is strategic, since it is not far from the central Piazza Tasso. Certainly more crowded than the options below, it is the ideal solution for families who want the convenience of a beach, free or equipped, easily accessible from the city centre.

βœ… Bagni della Regina Giovanna At Punta Capo di Sorrento is this natural pool where, according to some traditions, Queen Giovanna met her lovers. The beach can be reached on foot from the centre of Sorrento. The effort of the walk is rewarded not only by the beauty of the place, which looks like a natural pool set in a romantic and evocative landscape, but also by the presence of the nearby Roman Villa of Pollio Felice, dating back to the 1st century AD.

For your exploratory visit to the archaeological area, we recommend early summer, when the weather is not too hot, as there is a lack of places to shelter from the sun here. Also, if you decide to spend a few hours here, remember to equip yourself with protection and everything you need for your stay, remembering that the area is not served by bathing facilities.

βœ… Spiaggia della Pignatella A beach that is particularly popular with locals because, in addition to being set in an enchanting landscape context, it offers a place more sheltered from the crowds. It can be reached by bus from the centre of Sorrento or by car. The beach is not served by bathing facilities.

Unmissable events in Sorrento

βœ… Numerous festivals enliven the nearby villages in summer and autumn: Sagra del limone (Lemon Festival) in Massa Lubrense, Sagra della Melanzana (Aubergine Festival) in Vico Equense, Sagra dell’Uva (Grape Festival) in Sorrento, are just some of the popular and folkloristic events you can consider during your stay in the Land of the Sirens.

βœ… Since 2017, the Fondazione Sorrento has been organising SyArt Sorrento Festival, an event that hosts various Italian and international artists during the month of October, which can be visited in the exhibition rooms of Villa Fiorentina.

βœ… On 14 February, coinciding with Valentine’s Day, Sorrento celebrates its patron saint Saint Antonino. The celebrations begin the day before, with a performance by the town band. The following day, the statue of the saint is carried in procession. The feast ends with a wonderful fireworks display.

βœ… For the past two years, an interesting gastronomic event has been held in Sorrento dedicated to the most famous traditional dish of Campania: gnocchi alla sorrentina. The event is called ‘Sorrento Gnocchi Day‘ and every year involves the town’s numerous restaurateurs, who are called upon to participate by including gnocchi-based dishes on their menus. The final evening sees the presence of several starred chefs, who present their interpretation and reworking of the famous dish.

Why choose Sorrento as a travel destination

The city of Sorrento, in addition to the numerous attractions we have already mentioned, is in a strategic position that allows you to easily reach both the Amalfi Coast and Naples.

πŸ“£ In fact, from here you can easily reach:

πŸ”Ή Positano, in about 40 minutes by car and 50 by bus;

πŸ”Ή Naples, in about an hour

πŸ”Ή Capri: by hydrofoil, in less than half an hour

πŸ”Ή Pompeii: in about 35 minutes you are at your destination, travelling by Circumvesuviana.

πŸ“£ In short, Sorrento is the ideal destination if:

πŸ”Ή You are planning a long stay and are looking for a place from which you can easily travel to other destinations of interest.

πŸ”Ή You are travelling as a couple and are looking for a romantic destination, but not too isolated, that combines the convenience of the city with the beauty of unforgettable places.

πŸ”Ή You are travelling as a family and it is essential for you to have all the major attractions, including well-equipped beaches, close at hand.

The best time to visit Sorrento

The spring months are, in our opinion, the best to experience the city in all its beauty, avoiding the torrid temperatures that characterise the summer months.

If you are a sea lover and for you the priority is to chill out under a parasol, opt for early or late summer, when the tourist crowds decrease and temperatures become more pleasant.

Facts about Sorrento

βœ… The name of the city is linked to a beautiful and very sweet legend that we will tell you about below. The protagonist is Sirentum, a splendid young girl, born from the union of a local farmer and one of the three sirens, daughters of Acheloo. Beautiful and good-tempered, this maiden met the famous siren Partenope at Marina Grande, who predicted her future as a queen. 

And so it was: Sirentum married the prince of the Durazzo family. The happiness of the couple, who often travelled and returned to Sorrento bringing gifts to its inhabitants, was marred by the Saracen invasion: in 1588, in fact, some prisoners were captured, including the beautiful maiden. The inhabitants of Sorrento donated everything they had to the Saracens, to have the beautiful Sirentum back. Eventually, to pay homage to her, they decided to name the town after her.

βœ… The town of Sorrento is linked to the myth of the Sirens, handed down by Homer in the Odyssey, through the famous tale of Ulysses, who managed to overcome the bewitching song of the Sirens unscathed. But how did they come to our coast? According to mythology, the sirens Ligeria, Parthenope and Leucosia, daughters of Achelous, moved from the rocks of the Pelorus promontory, between Sicily and Charybdis, from where they enchanted sailors, to discover the rest of the coast.

They thus reached Punta Campanella. This legend is confirmed by the fact that it was here that the remains of the temple of Athena were found, erected by Ulysses to thank the goddess after overcoming the terrible ordeal of the Sirens.

The History of Sorrento

A very ancient city, Sorrento’s foundation is attributed to the ancient Greeks. The first population to settle here were the Etruscans around 420 BC. In Roman times, it was one of the cities involved in the Italic uprising in 90 BC. Some of Octavian’s veterans were stationed here.

Sorrento gained autonomy as a duchy during the crisis of Byzantine rule in Italy, under the supremacy of the Dukes of Naples, who were in conflict with nearby Amalfi, Salerno and the Saracens. Later, like other towns in Campania, it fought against the Lombards of Benevento. In the 9th, the Duchy of Sorrento regained its autonomy.

In 1137 the town was absorbed by the Normans. In June 1558 it was sacked by the Turks. In 1648 Sorrento bore the siege of Giovanni Grillo, general of the Duke of Guise.

It was during the 19th century that Sorrento began to assert itself as a tourist destination: a favourite on the Grand Tour, it fascinated young heirs of European families and intellectuals, including George Byron, Percy Shelley, Charles Dickens, Friedrich Nietzsche and Walter Scott.

It is impossible not to mention the tenor Enrico Caruso, who spent his convalescence here in January 1921, and Lucio Dalla who, while staying in the Neapolitan tenor’s room, found the inspiration for his song ‘Caruso’.

Where to sleep in Sorrento

B&B

Corso 38 Sorrento

Sorrento – Corso Italia 38
9.7
Exceptional –
305 reviews
Hotel

Hotel Rivoli Sorrento

Sorrento – Via S. Maria delle Grazie 16,
8.9
Fabulous –
655 reviews
Holiday Homes

Solymar Apartments

Sorrento – Corso Italia 210
9.7
Exceptional –
89 reviews
B&B

Akyra suites

Sorrento – Corso Italia 261
9.4
Superb –
290 reviews
Holiday Homes

Leukosìa Holiday House

Sorrento – Via Santa Lucia 18
9.7
Exceptional –
109 reviews
Hotel

Magi House Relais

Sorrento – Via Padre Reginaldo Giuliani 56
9.5
Exceptional –
339 reviews

NEI DINTORNI

Praiano


Ancient fishing village nestled on one of the most beautiful inlets of the coast, where among rivulets of stairs, olive trees, pines and oleanders you reach the sea

Cetara


A fishing village that still maintains its ancient seafaring tradition intact. Famous for its colatura di alici and its delicious tuna

Napoli


A mixture of theatricality, chaos and vital energy. Absolutely unique place that you must experience at least once in your life