Ultimate guide to visit Sorrento and its surroundings

Breathtaking panoramas, delicious food, and a strategic location – discover our complete guide to visiting Sorrento and its surroundings.

Sorrento is often considered one of the most beautiful coastal locations in Italy. However, its immense popularity means that it can sometimes be challenging to experience the more authentic side of Sorrento.

That’s why we asked Carolina de Simone, a TUI Representative, for her advice and insights. Born and raised here, she works in the tourism sector as a Rep and as a guide, and is passionate about the region and sharing her insider knowledge with others.

Carolina loves Sorrento for its location between the sea and mountains, and its proximity to Naples, Capri, the Amalfi Coast, and the Vesuvian area. She emphasizes that Sorrento is a very safe city, populated by helpful and friendly locals that make tourists feel warmly welcomed.

Keep reading to discover her top recommendations and discover Sorrento like a local.

The best things to do in Sorrento and its surroundings

  • Enjoy water Sports: If you’re a sports enthusiast looking to fully enjoy the Sorrentine Peninsula then water sports are a must. There are many services catering to all experience levels. Try paddleboarding, snorkeling, kayaking, or diving, and explore this wonderful corner of the Mediterranean in an active way.
  • Visit the Hills of Sorrento: A particularly suitable option for those traveling with family, the hills above Sorrento offer bucolic landscapes, breathtaking views of the two gulfs, Naples and Salerno, and are decidedly less crowded. During the summer, you can join a train tour of the area, which includes tastings of local products.
  • See the Amalfi Coast: Sorrento is an excellent starting point to visit the famous Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage site that includes picturesque towns and spectacular landscapes. If you don’t want to waste time organizing the trip and want to be accompanied by a local guide, we recommend joining a day tour of the Amalfi Coast, which includes visits to Positano, Pontone, and Ravello.
  • Explore Pompeii and Herculaneum: Both archaeological sites make for another unmissable excursion from Sorrento. In these ancient Roman cities at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, time stopped in 79 AD, when the volcano’s eruption buried everything under layers of ash and lapilli. If you have limited time, book a combined tour of the two sites.
  • Discover Capri and Anacapri: Just a 20-minute boat ride away lies arguably the most glamorous island of the Mediterranean: Capri. But what some don’t know is that in addition to its luxury and glitz, Capri is home to significant historical attractions. Visit the remains of 12 Roman villas and the Salto di Tiberio, a sheer cliff from which the Emperor is said to have thrown the condemned. Then go to Anacapri and explore the artisan shops and monumental churches.
  • Tour of Mount Vesuvius: Here, options are endless, depending on your preferences. You can choose to hike one of the trekking trails, including the Gran Cono that reaches the volcano’s crater, or go on a tour to discover the local wine. If you have trouble deciding between these two options, a guided tour to the crater with lunch in the vineyard could be the best of both worlds.
  • Day Trip to Naples: The capital of Campania is about an hour’s drive from Sorrento and is easily accessible by public transport. With a day trip, you’ll be able to see the historic center and visit some of the main attractions, such as the San Severo Chapel and the Napoli Sotterranea.

The most beautiful beaches of the Sorrentine Coast

  • Marina di Puolo: A sand-and-pebble beach between Sorrento and Villazzano, it offers all the necessary services and is also family friendly. The beach’s gradual descent into the water makes it safe even for the little ones. But the real star of this cove is the view of Mount Vesuvius in all its majesty.
  • Bagni Regina Giovanna: A place that has become a legend, it’s said that Giovanna II d’Angiò brought her lovers here. To get there you’ll need to go on a short walk to reach this natural pool with crystal-clear water, near the remains of the villa of Pollio Felice.
  • Marina del Cantone: Easily accessible by public transport, this beach overlooks the Gulf of Salerno. Marina del Cantone is a crescent of pebbles with calm waters that’s been awarded the Blue Flag certificate. Services abound, and it’s a perfect location for a day of pure relaxation.
  • Bay of Ieranto: Probably the most famous beach in the area, it’s located within a marine protected area right in front of the iconic Capri Faraglioni. It’s the ideal destination for those who love immersing themselves in nature and getting active, whether it be snorkeling or going on excursions in the Mediterranean flora.

Where to enjoy Sorrento’s best panorama

  • Villa Comunale di Sorrento: The public gardens of Villa Comunale are perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. For this reason, from the terrace, also known as the city’s balcony, you can admire the most beautiful panorama of Sorrento. Come at sunset when the sky turns red and the atmosphere is at its most romantic.
  • Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi: A small town on the hills of Sorrento, it boasts truly breathtaking views. Thanks to its elevated position, at 1279ft above sea level, from here, you can admire both the view of the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno.
  • Path of the Gods: This trekking trail, about 5.6 miles long, starts from Agerola and runs along the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. An experience immersed in the Mediterranean flora, it rewards you with spectacular views overlooking the sea with every step.
  • Monte San Costanzo: Reachable both by trekking and, to a certain point, by car, the two peaks of Monte San Costanzo offer a truly exciting view of the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno. The most atmospheric summit is home to the white church of San Costanzo, where you can enjoy a picturesque panorama.

Sorrentine gastronomy

Typical Products and Dishes of Sorrento

  • Mozzarella: Did you know that the Sorrento Peninsula is famous for the ‘Treccia Sorrentina’? It’s a mozzarella made from buffalo milk, spun into a braid. In fact the Campania region is world famous for its mozzarella di Bufala Campana, the only mozzarella certified with the label PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). It’s definitely one of the products to try during your trip in Sorrento.
  • Caprese Salad: This refreshing salad, made with mozzarella and tomatoes, and dressed with olive oil, salt, and basil, is perfect for the summer months. And if you use Sorrento tomatoes, it’s even more delicious.
  • Margherita Pizza: Pizza is one of the highlights of Italian cuisine, and Margherita is one of its most loved and classic versions. It can be found in many restaurants and pizzerias in In Sorrento, but if you visit Naples during your vacation, we recommend trying it there, too.
  • Caprese Cake: As often happens in the kitchen, this delicious cake is the result of a mistake. It was invented by the Capri pastry chef Carmine Di Fiore, who forgot to add flour to the dough. Today, it’s one of the most popular sweets in the entire Campania region.
  • Lemon Delight: Don’t leave without trying this dessert, invented by the Sorrento pastry chef Carmine Marzuillo. It’s a delightful sponge cake, soaked in limoncello syrup, filled and covered with lemon cream.

The best bars and restaurants in Sorrento

When visiting a new place choosing where to eat is not always easy. Fortunately, Carolina has shared with us some of her favorite places:

  • Circolo dei Forestieri: In addition to the delicious dishes, the restaurant has a stunning terrace with panoramic views of the Gulf of Naples. If you’re looking for a special place for a romantic date, you’ve found it! In the evening, there is also often live music.
  • Basilico Italia: This restaurant, located in an indoor hall of the Cinema Teatro Armidia, serves traditional dishes prepared with local products. According to Carolina, the pizzas are exceptional.
  • O’Parrucchiano La Favorita: Founded in 1868, the restaurant, which is part of the association of historic Italian venues, has several indoor halls and a charming garden with tables shaded by lemon trees. The highlight is undoubtedly the cannelloni.
  • Fauno Bar: Located in Sorrento’s main square, Fauno Bar serves typical Mediterranean dishes and options for a quick lunch, such as salads, pizzas, and sandwiches, as well as homemade ice cream and desserts. It’s also a good place for an aperitif.

The best places for ice cream in Sorrento

Whether you visit Sorrento in summer or winter, it’s always a good time to try delicious artisanal ice cream. And if the weather is nice, then even better! Lemon sorbet is one of the most loved flavors.

  • Gelateria David: In addition to classic flavors, master gelato maker Mario Gargiulo tempts and intrigues you with more unusual proposals, such as parmesan or tomato and basil. You can also try other specialties, such as waffles, semifreddo cakes, and ‘Pan David’, exclusively created by Gelateria David.
  • Raki: Raki is another well-known ice cream parlor in the Sorrento Peninsula. Here, you can taste ice creams made with local products and in many different flavors, such as almond, pistachio, or mascarpone with pine nuts, to name a few.
  • Gelateria Bougainvillea: With more than three generations behind it, Bougainvillea is one of Sorrento’s historic ice cream parlors. Here you’ll find 80 different flavors of ice cream, sorbets, granitas, semifreddo, and mousse.

The best time to visit Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast

Thanks to its beauty and location, Sorrento is one of Italy’s most popular destinations and the ideal base to discover the beaches and historical-cultural heritage of the area. The months of July and August coincide with the high season and are usually very crowded. From late April to early May and from late September to early October, temperatures remain pleasant, making it a good time to visit as you also get to also enjoy the quieter atmosphere.

Events in Sorrento not to be missed

  • Easter Processions in Sorrento: On the Friday and Saturday before Easter Sunday, the traditional processions of white-cloaked and hooded figures take place, representing the passion and death of Jesus Christ. It’s an old tradition that the people of Sorrento are very passionate about.
  • Sant’Anna’s Fireworks: This pyrotechnic show is one of the most anticipated events of the feast of Sant’Anna, the patron saint of the Marina Grande fishermen’s quarter. Every year thousands of people gather on the panoramic terraces of Sorrento to witness the play of lights and colors illuminating the sky.
  • Villa Fiorentino Events: The Sorrento Foundation, headquartered at Villa Fiorentino, organizes numerous cultural activities, such as events, exhibitions, and concerts. We recommend checking the foundation’s official website regularly to discover all the latest news.
  • Ravello Festival: Every summer, Ravello, also known as the ‘City of Music’, hosts this music and cultural festival. The performances take place mainly at the belvedere of Villa Rodolfo, one of the most magical places on the Amalfi Coast. Throughout its history, the festival has seen the participation of numerous international orchestras, prominent soloists, renowned jazz groups and world-famous actors.

Maybe you didn’t know that…

  • Sorrento lemons, which have been certificated with Protected Geographical Indication, are the basis of limoncello, one of the most famous products of the Sorrento Peninsula. The much-loved liqueur is used as a digestif after meals.
  • During your holidays in Sorrento (and in the rest of Italy), never ask for pineapple on pizza. Although it’s a popular type of pizza in many other countries, for Italians, it’s nothing short of criminal. Discover the other 10 things never to do in Italy.
  • The aperitivo is a well-established tradition throughout Italy, and Sorrento is no exception. It mainly takes place before dinner from 6:30 pm onwards, and consists of a drink (usually alcoholic) accompanied by some snacks. Spritz and Prosecco are very popular drinks during the aperitivo hour, although you can choose another type of cocktail, wine, or beer.

Practical tips

  • Tipping is not mandatory, but considering that many locals have seasonal jobs and depend on tourism it’s always a welcome gesture.
  • Remember to pack a pair of comfortable shoes in your suitcase as you’re likely to walk a lot.
  • If you go to Sorrento in the summer, don’t forget to bring a hat and sunscreen.

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