The lovely coastal town of Sorrento, Italy sits 55 meters above the sea on the south side of the Bay of Naples. This holiday destination is the perfect Italian town for those looking to enjoy old-world architecture, cobblestone streets, and fabulous coastal views while being surrounded by lemon trees.
Sorrento’s proximity to famous places like Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi, and Capri make it a great home base to explore Southern Italy. When you combine these attractions with all of the things to do in Sorrento, Italy, it is easy to see why this Italian town has been attracting visitors for years.
I must admit, Sorrento stole my heart. I loved spending my days lounging around the local cafes, or strolling the cobblestone streets. It really is the epitome of la dolce vita (the sweet life).
Let me introduce you to some of the amazing experiences not to miss in beautiful Sorrento, Italy!
1. Relax In Piazza Tasso
Piazza Tasso is Sorrento’s main square and is the perfect place to enjoy a sunny Italian day. The square was built in the 19th century and Piazza Tasso was named after a famous Italian poet born here named Torquato Tasso.
The piazza serves as the heart of the town and is usually bustling with life. Grab a seat at one of the cafes on the square and enjoy people-watching while you sip a cappuccino. Once you have your fill of people-watching, wander into the local churches, or explore the many shops surrounding Piazza Tasso.
2. Explore Marina Grande And Marina Piccola
Sorrento has the luxury of having not one, but two marinas! Despite its name, Marina Grande (large marina) is actually the smaller of the two marinas. When choosing which marina to explore, I advise that you explore them both!
Marina Grande offers a great waterfront atmosphere located near the city center. In addition to the free public beach that you will find there, Marina Grande also offers fabulous oceanside restaurants and several unique shops to explore. One of my favorite things to do in Marina Grande is to watch the local fishermen bring in their morning catch.
Marina Piccola is a busy transportation hub, but well worth a visit. This is where the boats from Naples, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast load and unload passengers ready to visit Sorrento or depart on a day trip to one of the other local towns. Marina Piccola is a great place to visit if you enjoy watching the colorful boats come and go.
3. Hike The Path Of The Gods
While there are several options for hiking in this area, one not to miss is the Path of the Gods. This six-mile trail can be a bit of a challenge, but the stunning views of the Amalfi Coast make it well worth the effort.
I recommend booking a guided hike so that you have the experience of a local guide to assist you. It is also important to note that the Path of the Gods is a natural trail, so there is uneven, rough terrain.
4. Admire The Duomo Di Sorrento
The beautiful Sorrento Cathedral was built in the 11th century (and refurbished in the 15th century) and has served as the seat of Sorrento’s bishops and archbishops for years.
The exterior of the cathedral boasts incredible 11th-century doors and a three-story bell tower. The interior of the Duomo di Sorrento doesn’t disappoint either. Upon entering, you are immediately greeted by incredible architecture, gorgeous marble, and fabulous frescoes.
All history and architecture lovers should have the cathedral on their list of things to do in Sorrento, Italy.
5. Visit The Villa Comunale Park
A visit to the Villa Comunale Park combines the beauty of a peaceful park with the historic charm of the buildings located on site.
The historic buildings on site offer you the opportunity to visit archaeological museums and view historic mosaics before enjoying the gardens that perfectly frame views of Mount Vesuvius and the Gulf of Naples.
The Villa Comunale Park also hosts numerous events throughout the year including concerts, theatrical performances, and a great holiday light display.
Pro Tip: Villa Comunale Park is the perfect place to watch the sunset! Head to the park just before sunset and enjoy the incredible view of the sun glistening off of the sea as it sets for the day.
6. Swim At Bagni Della Regina Giovanna
If you love swimming at amazing places, then you have to visit Bagni Della Regina Giovanna during your time in Sorrento. Located about 10 minutes from Sorrento, Bagni Della Regina Giovanna is home to Roman villas from the first century and an incredible swimming area.
Located inside of a rocky outcropping, this natural swimming hole is delightfully romantic. The swimming area is filled with the turquoise-green waters of the sea and is surmounted by a gorgeous rock arch. On top of the arch is where the remains of a first-century Roman villa can still be found.
To get to Bagni, you can walk along the coastline for about 40 minutes, or you can take the number 5070 bus from town. After getting off of the bus at the Camposorrento stop, it is about a 10-minute walk to the cove. Then take the stairs down to the swimming area.
Pro Tip: Be sure to take water shoes. They will help you navigate the rocky coastline.
7. Relax At One Of The Beach Clubs
Despite being a seaside town, people don’t usually come to Sorrento for its beaches. That can be attributed to the fact that there aren’t any sandy beaches here, instead, Sorrento’s coastline is rocky.
With that in mind, if you want a relaxing day by the water, then try out one of the beach clubs in Sorrento. The beach clubs offer everything you need for the day. You can rent chairs and umbrellas, and enjoy food and cocktails during your time here.
8. Visit The Cloister Of San Francesco
Located near the center of town, the Cloister of San Francesco is part of a larger complex of religious buildings. Architecture lovers will admire the unique mix of architectural styles as they wander through the complex.
The courtyard arches are usually covered in flowering vines, adding to the beauty of the courtyards. The architecture of the property ranges from the 7th century to the 14th century and is a romantic atmosphere to enjoy one of the many performances that take place here throughout the year.
9. Meditate In The Basilica Of Sant’Antonino
Don’t miss the historic Basilica of Sant’Antonino during your trip to Sorrento. Located just off of the town square, the city’s oldest church sits among the Old Town’s buildings and winding streets.
If you visit the Cloister of San Francesco that I mentioned above, then you are already at the Basilica of Sant’Antonino. The church was dedicated and named after the patron Saint of Sorrento and is home to his remains and other religious relics.
10. Wander Around Centro Storico
Sorrento’s Centro Storico is a historic area in the city filled with narrow cobblestone streets and medieval alleyways. As you make your way through the maze of streets, you will catch glimpses of beautiful gardens, old houses, and picturesque Italian churches.
This area is also the perfect place to eat. Find a little trattoria and sit down to an authentic Italian meal at a much cheaper price than the restaurants located near the beach.
11. See The Incredible Views At Vallone Dei Mulin
Head a few minutes north of Piazza Tasso to see one of the most incredible views in Sorrento.
Nicknamed the lost valley, the Vallone Dei Mulin is a gorge that was formed thousands of years ago after a volcanic explosion. The valley is a great place to hike but can be strenuous, so keep that in mind before setting out.
Even if you don’t want to hike the valley, I still recommend making your way to the bridge that is just north of town so that you can see the view of the old sawmill that still sits on the valley floor. The stone structure looks as if it has become one with the earth around it as the vegetation has enveloped it almost completely.
The Vallone Dei Mulin is an interesting glimpse into the past.
12. Take A Day Trip To Pompeii
Pompeii is a truly fascinating historical site. Located less than an hour’s drive from Sorrento and easily accessible via the Circumvesuviana train, Pompeii makes for a fabulous day trip.
The historic city was trapped in time when Mount Vesuvius erupted in the first century. As archaeologists uncovered the volcanic ash, they discovered a perfectly preserved city, giving us a glimpse into what life was like during ancient Roman times.
It is important to note that Pompeii spans a large area. There is a lot of walking involved to visit Pompeii, and there are a few stairs. Most of the walkways are crushed stone, and there are few shaded areas at the site.
13. Take A Boat To The Island Of Capri
The Island of Capri is a short boat ride from Sorrento, and well worth a visit during your time in southern Italy.
While Capri is widely regarded as a place of luxury and opulence, it is the island’s natural beauty that stole my heart. To see this beauty for yourself, take the funicular up Monte Solaro from Anacapri. Once arriving at the top of the mountain you are greeted with a breathtaking view of the Tyrrhenian Sea and Capri’s Faraglioni Rocks.
Other items of interest on the island of Capri include the Blue Grotto, the gardens of Giardini di Augusto, their limoncello liqueur, and the Villa San Michele.
14. Sip On Limoncello Liqueur
The Campania countryside (where Sorrento is located) is famous for producing some of the country’s best limoncello. Created by combining bitter and condensed lemons with the perfect balance of sugar, limoncello liqueur is enjoyed not only throughout Italy, but throughout the world.
During your time in Sorrento, you will find limoncello in almost every bar, restaurant, and souvenir shop. Many restaurants in town will provide you with a small serving of limoncello after your meal. The Italians believe that limoncello acts as a digestive and helps you to process your food. I was able to sample many house-made limoncellos during my time in Sorrento and loved them all.
15. Visit The Correale Di Terranova Museum
Art enthusiasts should visit the Correale di Terranova Museum during their time in Sorrento. The museum is housed in an elegant mansion that was the previous home of the Correale di Terranova family.
Guests to the museum can enjoy walking around the fabulous gardens before viewing the incredible collection of art inside the home.
For more information, please visit the museum’s website.
Pro Tip: Be sure to schedule enough time in Sorrento, Italy so that you can enjoy all of the fabulous attractions that the city has to offer and enjoy taking some day trips from Sorrento. Sorrento makes for a great “home base” to explore the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Capri, and other areas in the Bay of Naples.