12 must-do things to do in Sorrento

Sorrente

Visiting Sorrento: what are the best things to do and see on this peninsula that reflects southern Italy in all its splendor?

Perched on the edge of a cliff, the town of Sorrento is a marvel to discover. Located in south-western Italy, at the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, with a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Naples and Vesuvius, and facing the island of Capri, Sorrento, nicknamed the « city of mermaids », is a veritable gateway to the best that Italy has to offer. To visit Sorrento is to visit much more than just a town!

More tranquil than its Neapolitan neighbor, you’ll quickly fall under the spell of this town with its exceptional panorama and rich historical heritage, where a gentle way of life reigns supreme. Wondering what to do in Sorrento? Here’s the answer:

Also read on the Sorrento guide :

1. The historic center of Sorrento

Vieux-centre de Sorrente

Photo credit: Flickr – Gerry Labrijn

Visiting Sorrento is like discovering a city full of treasures: start with a visit to the ancient town center, where the narrow, authentic streets are full of surprises. You’re sure to fall under the spell of its steep streets steeped in history, its beautiful mansions and its Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

2. Piazza Tasso

Piazza Tasso, Sorrente

Photo credit: Flickr – VV Nincic

Piazza Tasso, the city’s must-visit square with its many cafés and restaurants, is a must-see during your stay. Here you can admire the statue of the writer Torquato Tasso, after whom the square is named.

A true crossroads of Sorrento, Piazza Tasso, built in 1866, is the place to be to soak up the city’s distinctive art of living.

3. Saint-François church and its medieval cloister

Cloître San Francesco, Sorrente

Photo credit: Flickr – Pikakoko

Located just a 5-minute walk from Piazza Tasso, the Church of St. Francis is much more sober than some of the city’s other churches, but nonetheless steeped in history. You’ll appreciate the quality of its frescoes, paintings and statues, but what we love most is the adjoining cloister courtyard, a delightful little corner of greenery!

4. Mill Valley

Vallée des Moulins

Photo credit: Flickr – Kirsi L-M

An extraordinary place in the heart of the city – can you believe it? Located close to Piazza Tasso, the Valley of the Mills(Il Vallone dei Mulini) is a picturesque spot well worth a visit. From the street (it’s not advisable to go down), look down and discover the ruins of an old abandoned mill nestling at the bottom of a ravine. The fern-covered building lends a touch of magic to the place.

5. Villa Comunale

Villa Comunale, Sorrente

Photo credit: Flickr – Elliott Brown

Visiting Sorrento also means discovering the public gardens of Villa Comunale, an opportunity to enjoy a lovely stroll! Perched atop the town’s cliffs, you can admire a magnificent view of the Bay of Naples. A little tip: an elevator takes you to the Marina Piccola port!

6. Saint-Philippe-et-Saint-Jacques Cathedral

Cathédrale de Sorrente

Photo credit: Flickr – Busy Traveler

A visit to Sorrento’s cathedral is a must. Its bell tower, clock, inlaid interior door and baroque nave are all worth a visit. A moment of calm and serenity awaits you when you visit this beautiful 15th-century cathedral.

7. Sorrento’s gastronomy

What to do in Sorrento A stroll through the town’s narrow streets will introduce you to the specialties of the Peninsula. You can’t leave town without sampling Limoncello, the local lemon liqueur. Via San Cesareo », a lively pedestrian thoroughfare, is packed with small regional producers and typical grocery stores where you can order a panino filled with mozzarella, pomodori (tomato) and prosciuto (ham). Another must is dinner in a brasserie, where you can try cannelloni or gnocchi alla sorrentina, and finish with sfogliatella, a delicious almond cake. One thing’s for sure: your taste buds will go wild!

8. The islands of the Gulf of Naples

Ischia, visiter Sorrente

Set sail from the port of Sorrento and discover three magical islands that complete the picture of this dream setting: Capri, Ischia and Procida. Each of these little jewels of the Mediterranean has its own historical identity…

9. Il Capo di Sorrento

Capo di Sorrento

Capo di Sorrento is a small village just a few kilometers from Sorrento. From a small street in the center, which then turns into a path, take a magnificent stroll to the tip of the cape, among mimosas and cactus, as you descend to the sea.

At the end, a pretty little cove called « I Bagni della Regina Giovanna » awaits you, with a splendid view over the Bay of Naples.

10. Marina Grande harbour

This small, traditional fishing port nestled beneath the cliffs is as pleasant during the day for a swim as it is at sunset to watch the fishermen clean their nets. There’s an atmosphere and simplicity about this charming hidden port that few can match.

11. A boat trip

Visiter et louer un bateau à Sorrente

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Cezary Wojtkowski

And while we’re on the subject of the port, let’s stay there. Visiting Sorrento also means taking advantage of its coastline. In fact, there are some very nice excursions to be made by boat.

You could, for example, sail to the magnificent Amalfi Coast, but also discover Capri or even Naples. So it would be a shame not to rent a boat in Sorrento, and take advantage of the magnificent Mediterranean setting to get around.

Find a boat to rent in Sorrento

12. Things to do in the Sorrento area

Pompéi depuis Sorrente

Still wondering what to do in Sorrento? The peninsula is also a great place to explore the surrounding area:

How do I get to Sorrento?

To get to Sorrento, you’ll need to land in Naples, some 50 kilometers away. From there, you have three choices: train (1h15 journey), bus or car (between 1h and 1h30) or – and this is surely the nicest alternative – boat! Cross the entire Gulf of Naples in 40 minutes, with a view of Mount Vesuvius. To find a cheap flight to Naples, you can do your research on the website of our partner Ulysse.

One of the most practical – and no less costly – solutions is to rent a car on arrival in Naples. This will give you considerable freedom to visit not only Naples, but also Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri, Sorrento of course, and anything else you might like to do depending on the length of your stay. You can compare car rental prices in Naples or Sorrento on the Rentalcars website.

Where to stay in Sorrento

In this small town, it’s best to stay in the historic center of Sorrento, and booking in advance is highly recommended. However, prices are quite high, especially in the high season from June to September. You can find a cheap hotel in Sorrento by searching on this hotel comparator

Map of hotels and accommodation – Sorrento, Italy