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Sorrento Bay
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The 13 best things to do in Sorrento

Soak up the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of this coastal stunner with our guide to the best things to do in Sorrento

Written by
Kate Lloyd
Rosemary Waugh

Ready for trees bearing huge, waxy lemons, ice-cold limoncellos in the sun and patio seats in the speckled shade? Then you’re ready for Sorrento, which looks a little bit like something straight out of a fairytale but is actually real, we tell you. 

Sorrento is lined with waterside restaurants, open piazzas, little antique shops and miles and miles of clear blue water, but there’s plenty of activities to get stuck into in this coastal town. From day trips to the best views around, here are the best things to do in Sorrento. 

🏨 The best hotels in Sorrento
🏖️ The best places to visit in Italy
🇮🇹 Italy's prettiest villages and towns
⛰️ The most beautiful places in Italy

At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

Top things to do in Sorrento

1. Old Town

What is it? Sorrento’s historic centre and beating heart of the city. 

Why go? If you’re visiting Sorrento, you’ve got to spend at least one day strolling through its Old Town. Unlike some of the slower, quieter parts of the city, Sorrento’s historic quarter is buzzy and full of life, full of winding cobbled streets, restaurants, boutiques and churches (and those perfectly Instagrammable pastel houses). It’s truly the heart of Sorrento and a must-see while you’re there. 

2. Piazza Tasso

What is it? Sorrento’s sun-trapped piazza in its Old Town. 

Why go? Warm yellow buildings, intricate archways, old statues and quaint cafés. Sorrento’s Piazza Tasso is a hub of social activity, full of locals and tourists alike, and you’ll see the odd horse-drawn carriage trotting past just to add to the ambience. There is no better spot to order yourself a couple of limoncellos, put your feet up and watch the world go by. 


3. Amalfi Coast

What is it? The world-famous Italian coastline stretches 50km along the southern edge of the Sorrentine Peninsula.

Why go? The Sorrentine Peninsula is arguably one of the most picturesque stretches of coastline in the world, with its sheer cliffs, crystal clear waters and pastel-coloured houses toppled high on top of each other amongst cliffside lemon and olive groves. Truly mesmerising, the views are those that you’ll never forget. The drive, however… is hairy. With hairpin bends aplenty, corners so tight you’ll squeal, and a cliffside drop from the road that will have you sweating, it’s quite the thrill ride. It’s one road the whole way so you’re either in or you’re out.

4. Limonoro

What is it? A sweet lemon liqueur and Sorrento’s proudest export.

Why go? In Old Town Sorrento, you can barely move for bottles of Limoncello that come in all shapes and sizes — the more novelty, the better we say. It would be rude to come all this way and not sample a drop, right? And at 32 percent alcohol, you can expect a bit of a kick out of it too. Course, lots of restaurants will offer you a thimble at the end of a meal, but for more of an experience, try it at Limonoro, where you’ll learn a little more about the process, the varieties, and its origins too.


5. Bay

What is it? Not beaches as such, but perfect spots for summer dips.

Why go? What with being a city on cliffs, Sorrento doesn’t have beaches as such, but there’s still plenty of places to cool off down by the waterfront. Take the steep road down to the harbour from Piazza Tasso where you’ll find a few piers that are just the ticket for jumping off or sunbathing. Most of them are owned by hotels, so you might have to buy a drink or fork out a few Euros for a sun lounger, but it’s worth it when you’re down there. Catch them rays!

6. 'O Parrucchiano

What is it? A charming Campanian restaurant filled with lemon trees.

Why go? There is no shortage of great places to eat pasta in Sorrento, but 'O Parrucchiano is an unique experience. Okay, it is probably not the most gastronomical spot in the city, and no, it is no secret from the tourists, but this place is worth it for the overall appeal. It isn't every day you get to chow down on seafood spaghetti under a canopy of lemon trees, is it? Like something out of a Disney film, it’s got major wow-factor and definite date night vibes. Just embrace the tourists!


7. Capri

What is it? A beautiful Italian island off of the Sorrentine Peninsula. Expect to see A-listers and glamazons in their holiday homes and villas.

Why go? Live the high life and get yourself over to glamorous Capri. One of the most beautiful islands in Italy, just a 20-minute ferry ride from Sorrento, Capri is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Be warned — such beauty doesn’t come cheap. Capri is more expensive than Sorrento and the rest of the mainland, but worth it for the glistening waters, towering cliffs, and sleepy laid-back vibe. Take the chairlift up to the summit of the island for the most amazing views of the bay. You can stay overnight on Capri in one of the many five-star hotels, but if you’re on a budget, just do a day trip and go there and back from Sorrento in a day.

8. Gelateria Davide

What is it? Dubbed the best gelato spot in Sorrento, dating back to 1957.

Why go? After all the salty seafood and heavy (but oh so heavenly) gnocchi alla Sorrentino, what you’re going to need is a little something sweet. Cue the classic Italian gelato, and why settle for anything but the best? Gelateria Davide is a family-run institution with the gelato skills passed down three generations. You’ll have a hard time choosing with over 30 flavours to pick from including tangy mulberry, ricotta, prosecco, classic pistachio, and sweet local lemon.


9. Basilica of Sant’Antonino

What is it? Named after Sorrento’s patron saint, this is the city’s oldest church.

Why go? Though a lot of Sorrento has been commercialised, much of the Old Town has maintained its precious old-school Italian charm. Twisting, winding streets are lined with quaint trattorias serving classic Campanian plates and scattered throughout, you’ve got numerous historical buildings that will take you back in time. Stop at the Basilica of Sant’Antonino, the 11th Century Cathedral, and the Cloister of San Francesco.

10. Bellevue Syrene

What is it? One of Sorrento’s most bougie hotels, with a large shaded terrace that happily welcomes non-residents.

Why go? Sorrento’s sunset is something else, and come dusk, there’s one place you want to be; overlooking the Marina Grande, ideally with a glass of something fizzy in hand. There’s the Villa Communale Park park that has great views and a few benches for perching, but why not take it up a notch and hit up the beautiful drinks terrace of the €450-a-night Bellevue Syrene, which has even better views, plus drinks on ice.

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