A tapestry of canary-yellow, candyfloss-pink and baby-blue hues, Sorrento is a region so remarkably gorgeous it deserves its place on your bucket list. As though it was plucked from a Wes Anderson film, it’s an Italian icon that begs to be explored, whether you check out all the things to do on foot, hire a car or rent a scooter.
Fancy a mooch around before you book your Sorrento holiday or flights into Naples? Let us be your guide...
Going off the beaten track will treat your eyes to various staggering scenes that make Sorrento so renowned in the good-looks books. Nestled between Marina Piccola and Marina Grande are the diddy, beach-hut-sprinkled seafronts, where stripes decorate everything from their walls to parasols as you stroll around. Pitch up by the water, order fried seafood for lunch and snap some pics.
The views are even more striking on the downwards hike to Bagni Regina Giovanna, an oasis of turquoises and emeralds, where people swim and chill out on its banks. But make sure you go in sturdy shoes, because there’s a sharp, upwards incline to the walk back!
Possibly the most sought-after of local jaw-on-the-floor experiences is the Amalfi drive. En route, you can stare in awe of your surroundings from a roadside vantage point – just be sure to pull in safely. We’d recommend at a curb with a teeny refreshments van all pitched up and ready to pour you an ice-cold cup of zesty, lemony granita.
It’s very much the Italian way to down tools late afternoon and soak up some well-earned chill-out time. You’ll come across an abundance of dreamy spots across all the resorts, where bars and eateries are at their most laidback during an ‘aperitivo hour’. Order spritzes, cocktails and glasses of vino as the sun sinks beneath the sky, anywhere from interior-design shops with drinks menus to full-blown, tree-lined terraces. You’ll often be brought out nibbles, such as juicy olives and salted almonds, as you sip.
When you’re feeling peckish after your pre-meal snacks, who’s for dining in a restaurant with a garden? Eke out all the ambience as you tuck into exquisite Italian meals between manicured plants, flowers and strings of fairy lights.
Quirky things to do in Sorrento
Dull moments? They don’t exist in Sorrento. If you’re keen to level-up your itinerary, it’s worth embarking on an adventure that’s a little bit different. How about going on a lemon tour, to check out the fruit growing in the groves? The zingy flavours go into everything from pasta to liqueurs. And speaking of – you might even fancy a wine or limoncello tasting. The latter promises all sorts of varieties, including mandarin and liquorice!
Keen chefs can try their hand at cooking classes, where they can hone their skills while prepping traditional Italian dishes. And nothing’s more classic than pastries, so budding bakers should hit one of the workshops.
If fashion’s more your thing, there’s a “hallelujah” moment waiting to be had at a bespoke sandal shop. Some places will measure your feet and craft a custom-made pair of leather sandals for you, in any colour straps.
Know before you go
We have a few top tips smuggled up our sleeves to help you hit the ground running when you arrive...
Start your morning right with a rich espresso. You can dip into a local pasticceria and order one for as little as €1 to take away, and it’ll come in a little glass bottle with an almost thimble-sized plastic cup to pour it into when you’re ready for your caffeine fix. Easy! Later, when only sugar will do, satisfy your cravings with a flavour-bursting gelato. Pistachio? Rum and raisin? Limoncello? We’ll have one of each... Just remember to swing into a shop that serves these soft scoops from silver cylinders – they house the tastiest stuff!
While we’re on the subject of flavours, did you know that, sometimes, owners of the citrus groves splice together trees, so that lemons and oranges grow from the same one? No wonder the aromas are so fragrant!
Looking to pick up a trinket or two? The backstreets of Sorrento Centre and its neighbouring resorts sell some of the best souvenirs, for much lower prices than in the more popular areas. Watch out for signs prohibiting photos though.
Self-confessed history buffs, make a beeline for the mighty Pompeii, the fabled complex that endured vast devastation caused by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. It’s worth noting that it could take up to six days to fully explore every inch of the complex, so get those comfy shoes in your suitcase ASAP.
Where’s it going to be?
Want to be beside the seaside, up in the hills with far-spanning vistas, or in the thick of a town? It’s whatever floats your boat in Sorrento. There are hotels to suit every style.
The buzz of local life is at its peak in Sorrento Centre, as folk congregate in Piazza Tasso for parmesan-dusted pasta and a natter over negronis. But you can get a similar feel with a slightly quieter vibe just a 25-minute amble away, in Sant’Agnello.
Further west, Massa Lubrense couldn’t be much sleepier if it tried. Dinky moored boats, quaint cafés and a pebbly patch of beachfront welcome you with open arms. But if it’s the big Sorrentine sibling you’re after, trace the winding Amalfi Coast road down to Positano and say hello to its deeply colourful houses, all staggeringly arranged across levels that create calf-testing wanders. But wow, it’s postcard-worthy bliss!
Ready to head off on your jollies? We thought as much.
Posted: 31st Aug 2023.