Between the breathtaking Amalfi Coast and Naples, the area of Sorrento is one of the most sought-after destinations across Italy. You can expect lavish towns, laid-back coastal picks and serene countryside that’s filled with a luscious lemon scent.
One of the best things to do in Sorrento is to simply immerse yourself in the charming tangle of streets and squares in the town itself, drifting between trattorias and backstreet boutiques. But if you’re after a rollcall of big hitters, we’ve got that just for you.
Get ready to soak up a bit of old-school Italian culture and sip a limoncello as we tick off some of the best things to do in Sorrento – it’s truly bellissima!
- Marina Grande
- San Francesco Monastery
- Baths of Queen Giovanna
- Mitigliano Beach
- Sant Antonio Basilica
- Angelis Winery
- Punta Campanella Marine Reserve
- Leonelli’s Beach
Step back in time to the ancient city of Pompeii. This UNESCO World Heritage site lay buried under volcanic ash and pumice for centuries after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.
It was eventually uncovered back in 1748 and today, you can view the well-preserved remains of temples, monuments and villas that tell the story of those who lived here thousands of years ago.
You’ll probably be surprised to see how many of the town’s original features still appear as they did before the eruption took place. In fact, many of the tiny details and decorative elements in the houses still remain intact. It’s a truly compelling experience and should be first on your list of things to do in Sorrento.
2. Marina Grande
This magical marina is all pastel-coloured houses and family-run trattorias. It’s the perfect place to soak up a dose of traditional, rustic charm and people-watch as locals go about their daily lives. Pull up a chair and sip your fresh morning coffee and sample some of the country’s freshest fish.
It’s around a 15-minute walk from the centre of Sorrento but feels like a world away with its calming atmosphere and go-slow pace. A number of jetties stretch out into the sea where you can hire a lounger and soak up the rays and there’s a little slither of sandy shore that’s also a prime sunbathing spot.
3. San Francesco Monastery
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Sorrento and spend time in this tranquil church and cloister. The pretty garden features charming archways and cascading vines that fall effortlessly on the intricate stonework.
The 14th century church is also worth exploring. Its interior is flooded with a yellow hue and the Baroque-style statues offer a fascinating view back in time.
Weddings, ceremonies and classical music concerts regularly take place here, so you might get to witness some extra-special moments while visiting. Just follow the faint notes of a live violinist or pianist and you’re sure to find your way. The best part? It’s free to enter.
4. Baths of Queen Giovanna
This emerald-green pool ringed by cliffs needs to be seen to be believed as its bright waters are simply stunning! Legend has it the 14th-century Queen of Naples, Giovanna II of Durazzo, used this pool to bathe with her fellow ladies-in-waiting. This is rustic Italian coastline as its best.
It takes around 45 minutes to walk here from Sorrento’s centre but there’s also a bus service that runs nearby if you’re looking to take it easy. Visit at night and you’ll be treated to a spectacular sunset over the Bay of Naples.
5. Mitigliano Beach
Searching for you own little slice of beach heaven? This unspoiled spot will do just the trick. You’ll be away from the crowds and the crystal-clear turquoise waters will feel like they’re all yours to explore. Plus, there’s a handy little bar serving refreshing drinks.
You can park in nearby Massa Lubrense and follow a footpath down to the shore. It’s a little uneven and steep underfoot but the views you’ll capture along the way certainly make the journey worth it. Get down early to be in with a chance of renting a lounger, as the cove itself is rocky.
Rub shoulders with the rich and famous and enjoy an island escape to captivating Capri. Simply jump on one of the regular ferries from the Port of Sorrento and within 20 minutes you’ll arrive in paradise.
It’s the perfect day-trip destination as there are plenty of picturesque spots to visit. Venture to the Blue Grotto, a mesmerising sea cave that glows in bright blues and greens or admire Villa Jovis, an ancient complex built by Roman Emperor Tiberius.
With the likes of Taylor Swift and Beyoncé choosing Capri as their holiday destination, you might catch a glimpse of some Hollywood A-listers while you’re here. Don’t forget to pack your camera just in case!
7. Sant Antonio Basilica
Check out the town’s oldest church which takes its name from Sorrento’s patron saint. Inside, you’ll see towering marble arches lined with glistening gold trims and intricate paintings adorning the walls. Don’t forget to look up – the gilded ceiling is a masterpiece in itself.
This little gem doesn’t look like much from the outside, so keep your eyes peeled or you might miss it!
8. De Angelis Vineyard
You’ll find this charming winery just a few streets away from the Port of Sorrento. De Angelis Vineyard was opened back in 1936 by Raffaele De Angelis and business has been kept in the family ever since.
Join a tour around the factory then take part in a tasting session which features a handful of different wines accompanied by local meat, cheese and bread. The winery’s famous red, Nero del Tasso, is matured in an oak barrel for 12 months before a further 12 months in bottle. Why not pick up one of your own to sip at home?
9. Punta Campanella Marine Reserve
Enjoy a different perspective of this dreamy part of the Italian coast at Punta Campanella Marine Reserve. This protected area stretches for more than 30km between the Sorrento peninsula and Punta Germano on the Amalfi Coast.
No matter your age or ability, you can join one of the PADI-certified groups and enjoy snorkelling, cave dives and scuba diving in these rich waters. Under the surface, there are grottoes, ruins, reefs and plenty of marine life to see up close.
10. Leonelli’s Beach
Keen to soak up that warm Italian sunshine? Stretch out on Leonelli’s Beach, located on Marina Piccola. This sun-drenched spot has been managed by the Leonelli family for three generations now, so it feels extremely traditional.
Alongside the beach, you’ve got three sun terraces equipped with deckchairs, loungers and umbrellas to choose from and a water-polo area. When it’s time for lunch, just head to the restaurant for seafood, pizza or salad. Perfect!
Posted: 2nd Oct 2019.