Sorrento is the main town on the Sorrentine Peninsula, and also the most famous, thick with attractions and one of the most popular places to stay when vacationing on the coast. The old town is teeming with shops, restaurants, gelaterias, and cafés, plus scenic overlooks and a complete public transportation network so is an ideal base for all types of travelers.
One of the most popular summer holiday destinations in the region of Campania and all of Italy, Sorrento can get clogged with traffic in the high season months, so the best time to visit is spring and summer. The Christmas holidays are also a particularly picturesque time to vacation in Sorrento.
When to visit Sorrento
The town of Sorrento has historic roots, and it foundation can be traced back to the ancient Greeks; the first stable residents were the Etruscans and Osci. Vestiges of the town's long history can still be seen in the urban layout, defensive walls, and artifacts unearthed over time that are now displayed in the Correale Museum.
The historic center: Sorrento's old town still reflects the classic urban plan of the ancient Roman cities, with the main roads running north-south and east-west. The most important thoroughfare is Corso Italia, where locals and visitors gather to stroll and shop. There are a number of secondary lanes that run from this main road lined with historic residences. You can visit the historic center on foot in a couple of hours.
The Villa Comunale: The scenic terrace overlooking the sea offers views that stretch from the dramatic tufa stone cliffs of the peninsula across the Bay of Naples to Mt. Vesuvius.
The Cloister of San Francesco: This elegant medieval cloister attached to the church of San Francesco is a popular spot for exhibitions, concerts, and weddings.
The Basilica di Sant’Antonino: Dedicated to the patron saint of Sorrento, this church holds an interesting collection of votive objects and a whale bone in its crypt. According to legend, the bone is from a whale that the saint struck down to save a child who had been swallowed while playing on the beach.
A walking itinerary for Sorrento
Sorrento is an ideal base for those who want to visit the nearby sights via public transportation.
From Sorrento, you can catch:
- trains to Pompeii and Herculaneum
- buses for the Amalfi Coast
- ferries for Capri. Ischia, Procida, Positano, and Amalfi
There are also numerous tours from Sorrento to visit the surrounding area by land or sea.
In the evening, Sorrento is a lively spot for a walk, an aperitif in the square, or for dinner in one of the many restaurants.
If it's your first time visiting this area, Sorrento is a great choice. If you're looking for a more glamorous base, however, we suggest Capri or Positano.
There is a wide variety of hotels, B&Bs, and vacation apartments to choose from in Sorrento. Here are our top picks:
Marina Piccola 73
(B&B and Homes)
"Your boutique B&B with a view of the Bay of Naples".
Tel. +39 081 8071643
"A modern luxury retreat with a timeless beauty".
Tel. +39 081 878 4020
(Small Boutique Hotels)
"Palazzo Marziale: A Dream Accommodation (Come True!)".
Tel. +39 081 807 4406
Sorrento offers an endless array of restaurants, with many new eateries that open each season. In this article, we suggest a few of our landmark favorites and newcomers:
Restaurants in Sorrento
The only beaches that can be easily reached on foot from the center of Sorrento are located in Marina Piccola. Take the stairs down from Piazza Tasso or the elevator from Villa Comunale. These are small, volcanic sand beaches or sundecks set on platforms over the water. If you head towards the cape of Sorrento, you can swim at the Bagni della Regina Giovanna (rocky cliffs directly over the water) or the Puolo Bay, which has larger beaches.
Beaches in Sorrento