Sorrento is a gorgeous coastal town located in southwestern Italy. Its location makes it a perfect base to explore the surrounding areas including Naples, Pompeii, Capri, and of course the Amalfi Coast. Last year I visited Sorrento with my nan, mum and sister, and I’m sharing this guide with you so you can get the most out of your trip to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.
Not got time to read the whole post? Jump to the section you want to read:
- Why visit Sorrento?
- How to get to Sorrento
- Where to stay
- Best things to do in Sorrento
- Day trip to Capri
- Explore the Amalfi Coast
Why visit Sorrento?
Well, there’s a few reasons! Firstly, Sorrento is a beautiful town within its own right. If you’re looking for a quiet getaway in a beautiful Italian town, then Sorrento is definitely going to be up there. Secondly, if you’re wanting to visit the Amalfi Coast on a budget, then Sorrento is a great place to stay and use as a base.
How to get to Sorrento
The only annoying thing about this beautiful place is that it isn’t that easy to get to…
The nearest airport to Sorrento is Naples, located around 30 miles away. Getting from the airport to the town isn’t the easiest job, with your main options being public transport or a private taxi transfer.
As we weren’t on a budget we opted for the private taxi transfer, which for four passengers plus luggage cost €30 per person per transfer (€240 for four people to have a round trip!) This is an expensive option, but the least hassle. The only hassle you’ll have is the route that the taxi has to take… It involves a lot of winding roads that are only fit for one vehicle at a time so there was a few traffic jams along the way.
If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option then you are best to catch the airport shuttle bus from Naples to the Central Train Station, and then catch a train from Naples to Sorrento. The airport shuttle bus costs a couple of Euros per person and takes around 20 minutes to get to the station and operates every 30 minutes. When you get to the train station you’ll need to catch the Campania Express train from Naples to Sorrento, costing €15 for a return ticket and taking just over an hour.
Where to stay
Sorrento is quite a small town with all the sights pretty much centralised, so there’s not too much to consider when finding somewhere to stay. The smaller boutique hotels are located in the centre of the town, whilst the bigger hotels with more amenities are located just outside the town.
We opted to stay at the Grand Hotel Flora, just outside of the town on Corso Italia, the main street leading into the town. We chose this hotel because it was a decent price for a four star hotel, the pictures looked lovely, and they had a swimming pool.
The last point for us was quite important as we wanted to have the best of both worlds on this trip, with a good amount of exploring as well as relaxing. The pool came in extremely handy as we were able to sit around it in the afternoons and chill after a morning of sightseeing. Sorrento is a great place to go if you’re looking to explore as well as relax, so finding a hotel with this sort of facility was a great find. However, I wasn’t a massive fan of this hotel and wouldn’t opt to go back there any time soon.
Of course, there are many other options for staying in Sorrento. You’ll struggle to find something as cheap as a hostel, but you will find lots of B&B hotels as well as properties listed on Airbnb. It really depends on what type of holiday you’re after, but there are different types of accommodation available for all budget ranges.
Best things to do in Sorrento
This central square is perfect for an afternoon coffee or an Aperol Spritz, and to watch the world go by. There are plenty of bars and restaurants lining this square, but I’d recommend avoiding the food as there are better and cheaper places to eat in Sorrento apart from this central plaza.
Located down by the seafront, the Marina Grande is the perfect spot to watch the sun go down and enjoy local fresh seafood. This picturesque marina is lined with pastel coloured houses and seafood restaurants which makes it hard to choose which place to eat at. They all serve the same dishes and are within the same price range, so the competition is high! But it’s really up to you where you eat, all I can say is that I’ve eaten at two of them and they really are delightful!
This is the main shopping street in Sorrento and is great for boutique fashion purchases as well as souvenirs and leather goods. If you look down the side streets you’ll also find all of the classic shops selling local delicacies such as limoncello.
Desert at Gelateria Davide
There are two gelateria with the same name in Sorrento, and I’m not sure which one is the famous one… So I’d say head to both just like we did! The famous one has over 150 flavours of ice cream, perfect for an after dinner treat!
On the topic of Limoncello… you can take part in a tasting in Sorrento either in the town centre or at a local lemon farm.
Dine under the Lemon Trees at ‘O Parrucchiano
One restaurant you must absolutely try in Sorrento is ‘O Parrucchiano. This restaurant is set in a lemon grove in the middle of Sorrento, and is so popular that you will need to book in advance. The setting of this restaurant is just gorgeous, romantic and serene. What’s more, the food is lovely, prices are reasonable and the staff are extremely friendly!
Day trip to Capri
When using Sorrento as a base, one of the easiest places to visit is Capri. There is a ferry that goes from the Sorrento port straight to Capri and it only takes around half an hour to get there. The ferry ticket prices can be expensive with a round trip costing almost €40 per person. I’d advise booking your travel in advance as this route is extremely busy during the summer months, and especially on the weekends.
Capri is a beautiful island, and is a must see if you’re visiting Sorrento. However, I must warn you that it is a tourist trap and to be honest it has been ruined by its tourism. I’ve visited Capri twice, and both times it was just completely mobbed with people and it just didn’t seem as nice as what I thought it would be.
When we visited Capri on this trip we experienced an absolute #TravelFail for a day. It started off with me becoming extremely seasick on the way to Capri. The sea was so choppy and it just sent my seasickness over the edge. I was actually so confused by this as only a month before this trip I’d been island hopping in Thailand and hadn’t experienced any seasickness!
When we got to Capri it was ridiculously busy. I mean, I’d visited before and it was busy, but this time it was absolutely rammed. Turns out the funicular had broken down and the taxis and buses were overwhelmed with visitors, so people were just stuck at the harbour with no way to get up to Capri Town and Anacapri. It was an absolute nightmare!!
So, we decided to hike up to Capri Town with my Nan in tow (bless her heart) in the 25 degree heat. It was a workout! We only had limited time on the island too, so we had time for a wander around Capri Town and a pit stop for lunch, but everything on Capri is so expensive and customer service is terrible, so it just creates a bad atmosphere to be honest! We didn’t get the chance to visit Anacapri which was what we originally set out to do.
All in all, a bad experience on Capri, and considering it’s basically considered a bucket list experience it just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe I’ll change my mind if I’m able to go there and be chauffeured around the island and have unlimited money to spend!
Explore the Amalfi Coast
Now for my favourite part… the Amalfi Coast! This place is absolutely spectacular and is within such easy reach of Sorrento. The cheapest way to reach the Amalfi Coast is by catching the SITA bus which originates in Sorrento and ends in Amalfi. If you want to explore towns further along the coast than Amalfi you just need to switch SITA buses at Amalfi and jump on the next SITA bus heading towards Salerno which is at the other end of the Amalfi Coast.
The SITA bus costs just €10 per person for an all day ticket between Sorrento and the end of the line in Salerno, and can be purchased from a booth at the train station where the bus departs from. The service departs from Sorrento as early as 7:30am and return journeys back from Amalfi run until 7pm most days, which will have you back in Sorrento for around 8:30pm. The buses can become very busy in the summer months, but you’ve got a good chance of getting a seat considering the service starts in Sorrento.
The first destination from Sorrento is Positano and then it will go on to Amalfi. I would highly recommend visiting both of these towns as they are absolutely gorgeous. Both require a lot of walking if you want to see the sights, so be prepared to work up a sweat and wear appropriate footwear. You can definitely manage to see both of these towns in one day, and I’d recommend heading to Amalfi first thing in the morning and visiting Positano in the afternoon. Positano has an excellent beach that you can relax on during the afternoon, along with beach bars and restaurants perfect for an early dinner before catching the SITA bus back to Sorrento.
So, that’s it! My travel guide and tips for Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. I hope you enjoyed reading this and got some useful insight to this gorgeous part of the world. If you’ve got any questions, want to chat about your experiences of traveling to Italy, or just rant about your own #TravelFail please get in touch, I’d love to talk to you!