Sorrento’s dramatic cliff top setting overlooking the Bay of Naples makes it one of the most memorable holiday destinations in Italy. From fascinating museums and characterful markets, to scenic cliff-top towns and stunning coastal views, Sorrento offers something for everyone. Italy experts Classic Collection have created this ultimate guide to one of Italy’s most famed and picturesque destinations.
The main area to browse and buy in Sorrento is Piazza Tasso and the small side-streets leading off it. Many shops in Sorrento will open in the morning and close for a long lunch before opening again at around 5pm.
The lemons that grow in Campania are famous the world over and Limoncello is one of Sorrento’s most famous exports. Many shops sell the lemon-flavoured liqueur in all shapes and sizes for tourists to put in their luggage or to sip on their balcony whilst admiring the view.
In Sorrento you will find many traditional shops selling hand-crafted leather goods such as wallets, bags and sandals. Many of these workshops have been run by the same family for generations and offer tourists authentic one-off goods. For the ultimate in unique souvenirs, you can get your very own leather sandals handmade to order – it doesn’t get more Italian chic than that!
Don’t forget to visit Sorrento’s market which operates every Tuesday on the Via San Renato, it’s a fantastic way to mingle with the locals going about their daily life. This colourful and vibrant scene starts early in the morning selling food, clothes and household items and is a superb place to grab a bargain.
Pompeii and Herculaneum
UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1997, these fascinating archaeological sites are living proof of the powers of Mount Vesuvius which wiped out both towns’ populations with its violent eruption in 79 AD. The remains at Herculaneum are equally as impressive as the more famous Pompeii but set over a much smaller site if you want to save your legs. Don’t wear your best sandals as, naturally, both sites are very dusty.
Taking a visit to Vesuvio National Park is a rewarding experience for the more adventurous traveller – you can walk to the summit of Vesuvius and see inside the crater of this magnificent active volcano.
The dramatic cliff edges of Amalfi, overlook the glistening Tyrrenian Sea, create a jaw-dropping coastal drive. This is where you will find some of Italy’s most exclusive areas. Head to Positano, Praiano, Amalfi and the mountain-high Ravello to visit picturesque villages with views that will take your breath away.
Ischia and Capri
While in Sorrento you may want to take a boat trip to one of the islands off the coast.
Favourite holiday spot of the rich and famous, sophisticated Capri is a great spot for people-watching as boats arrive at the harbour every morning and the piazzas fill up with visitors. The Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto), where sunlight peers through the cave illuminating the sea water, is the island’s main attraction.
Ischia’s beautiful cobbled streets and laid-back atmosphere make it perfect for a day trip. Take a walk from Ischia Port to Ischia Ponte to see the beautiful Aragonese Castle or visit the enchanted La Mortella Gardens which overlook the Bay of Forio. Our travel expert Joanne visited Ischia with Classic Collection last year, read more about it here.
Food is part of Italy’s national identity and Sorrento is no exception. Local produce is key and Sorrento is famous for vibrant lemons, succulent tomatoes and fish so fresh you can still taste the sea!
Piazza Tasso is the heart and soul of Sorrento, you’ll find many restaurants in the square itself and on the small side streets leading away from it. At night, the entire square comes alive with people enjoying the mild evenings so if you want a quiet meal venture a bit farther out to the Piazza Sant’Antonino.
This small sandy stretch of beach is lined with understated family-run restaurants serving up fresh fish and local cuisine. The colourful fishing boats that bring in the day’s catch lining the waterfront and beautiful pastel-coloured houses make Marina Grande a lovely setting for any meal.
Sorrento might not be famed for its beaches but you don’t have to travel far to reach some truly beautiful spots along the peninsula. During the high season and weekends the beaches near Sorrento can get busy so head down early to get a good spot. At most of the beaches you can rent loungers and umbrellas (or just lay down your towel for free!) or pay for entrance to one of the beach clubs.
This is the closest beach you will find to Sorrento, located not far from its historic centre. It’s perfect if you don’t want to spend a long time travelling to a beach however, being small, it can get crowded.
Cala di Puolo
Located just 2 kilometres from Sorrento, this small beach with crystal-clear waters is idyllic. It is just by Marina di Puolo where you can find a handful of restaurants to have a bite to eat.
Although situated some distance away from Sorrento it’s well worth making the journey to Positano to enjoy the most famous beach on the Amalfi Coast, Spiaggia Grande. Looking for a spot for lunch or dinner? Chez Black is an absolute gem of a restaurant right on the beach.
For a unique experience try Laurito Beach, which is set in a secluded bay along from the main beach in Positano and can be accessed by small shuttle boat.
Incredible vistas over the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius, dreamy sunsets and a laid-back atmosphere all make Sorrento the perfect place for honeymooners or couples celebrating a special occasion.
Sunset in Sorrento
Sunsets in Sorrento are simply spectacular and the perfect way to wrap up a day exploring with a cocktail or two on a swanky hotel terrace. Sunset views from the terrace of the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria overlooking the sea will leave you breathless. Stroll along the seawall or pick a bench in the lovely Villa Comunale Park to watch the sun set without the price tag.
Cloister of San Francisco
By far one of the most romantic and magical places to visit in Sorrento, this tranquil garden is just a stone’s throw away from the busy and vibrant centre but offers a peaceful, fairy-tale-like atmosphere. The arches of the 14th century monastery are draped in greenery, creating a quiet and calm feeling as soon as you step inside. During the summer, the Cloister makes a beautiful venue for art exhibitions and concerts.
Correale Museum di Terranova
This beautiful museum is a labyrinth filled with artwork, furniture and chinaware both native and international. The museum spreads out over three floors with 24 separate rooms and a magnificent garden overlooking The Bay of Naples.
Cooking lessons in Sorrento
As food is such a big part of Sorrentine culture, there is no shortage of authentic family-run eateries that run cooking classes. No matter what your abilities you can enjoy one of the many classes that operate around Sorrento.
Churches, Cathedrals and Basilicas
You don’t have to wander far in Sorrento to find stunning churches of all sizes. One of the most magnificent is the Basilica Di Sant’Antonino. Named after Sorrento’s Patron Saint, the Basilica houses his tomb and is a truly exquisite structure. The Cathedral Di Sorrento is located just off Corso Italia and is worth a visit for its magnificent interior alone. Remember to dress considerately and give a small donation if you light a candle.
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