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Piazza Tasso, Sorrento
Photograph: nikolpetr / Shutterstock.comPiazza Tasso, Sorrento

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

Edited by
Ella Doyle
Written by
Rosemary Waugh
Kate Lloyd

Ah, Sorrento. Our love affair with you will never end. Sorrento is the home of trees bearing huge, waxy lemons, cold, punchy limoncellos and patio seats in the speckled shade, which look out over pastel coloured buildings and towering mountains far in the distance. Basically, Sorrento is a sun-soaked little paradise, and you’re going to love it. 

Overlooking the Bay of Naples, Sorrento is lined with waterside restaurants, open piazzas, little antique shops and miles and miles of clear blue water. Whether you’re there for a week or a long weekend, to people-watch or to food-tour, there’s something for you in Sorrento. And we’ve got the ultimate guide for your trip. Read on for the very best things to do in Sorrento. 

🏨 The best hotels in Sorrento
🍕 The ultimate guide to Naples
🇮🇹 The ultimate guide to Italy

Planning your next trip? Check out our latest travel guides, written by local experts.

Top things to do in Sorrento

Old Town
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/denisbin

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. 

Piazza Tasso
Photograph: nikolpetr /

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. 

Amalfi Coast
Photograph: Shutterstock

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.

Photograph: Asia Travel /

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% 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.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Eric Parker

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!

'O Parrucchiano
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Selena Y.

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!

Photograph: Shutterstock

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.

Gelateria Davide
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jessica T.

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.

Basilica of Sant’Antonino
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Halley

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.

Bellevue Syrene
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Miranda K. D.

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.

Marina Grande

11. Marina Grande

What is it? The pastel-coloured fishing village down by the waterfront.

Why go? Set around a small bay, Marina Grande is the postcard-pretty fishing village in the western part of Sorrento, right down on the waterfront. A contrast to the razzle-dazzle of Piazza Tasso, Marina Grande has maintained its rustic charm and laidback traditional fishing harbour feel. Stop for some seafood antipasti and the classic gnocchi alla Sorrentino in one of the family-run tavernas that line the water’s edge.

12. Frantoio Gargiulo

What is it? A traditional olive oil farm, 10 minutes drive from the city

Why go? It’s not just lemons that are big business here in Sorrento but olives too, with characteristic groves scattering the cliff sides of the whole region. If you’re not satisfied by the generous splash of the local stuff over your burrata at dinner, go all-in with a tasting and a tour of the olive farm sting at Frantoio Gargiulo, just 10 minutes out of Sorrento itself.

Photograph: Unsplash/Andy Holmes

13. Pompeii

What is it? The world-famous remains of an Ancient Roman city tragically reduced to rubble by the explosion of Mount Vesuvius.

Why go? While it can be tempting to spend all your time in Sorrento admiring those cute pastel houses or taking a dip in the ocean, there’s another very different attraction just along the way. From the town itself, Mount Vesuvius can be seen looming ominously in the near distance, which means Pompeii – the Roman city destroyed by its eruption – is also within reach via a doable train journey. Make time for possibly one of the most memorable tourist attractions you’ll ever visit: this is Big Important History with a notable dose of humanity and poignancy.

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