Nestled into the Sorrentine Peninsula, the Italian city of Sorrento basks in one of the world’s prettiest and most loved coastlines. Looking out over the Bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri, there’s barely any destinations on this planet to rival the breath-taking Sorrento area – and the great news is that you get to delve right into the action of the city and surroundings on a trip there! The region is famous for its lemons and limoncello, beautiful beaches and somewhat notorious volcanic eruptions – and visiting Sorrento will help you learn about and experience all of this!
- 1 Explore Old Sorrento
- 2 Visit the Il Dumo, the Cathedral of Sorrento
- 3 Drive the Amalfi Coast
- 4 Visit the Ancient Ruins of Pompeii
- 5 Go to Herculaneum
- 6 Have a Coffee by Piazza Tasso
- 7 Go on a Day Trip to the Isle of Capri
- 8 Visit Lemon Farms
- 9 Hike Path of the Gods
- 10 Go to Mount Vesuvius National Park
- 11 Explore the Bay of Ieranto
- 12 Punta Campanella Marine Reserve
- 13 Pay a Visit to Vallone dei Mulini
Explore Old Sorrento
Every trip to the southern Italian city should start with a wander around the rambling alleys of Old Sorrento. Perfect for an enjoyable afternoon’s exploration, these alleys and laneways contain thousands of years of history and detail what is so great about Italian culture. Particularly recommended is San Francesco complex which contains a church, a cloister and a convent!
Visit the Il Dumo, the Cathedral of Sorrento
Beautiful and classical architecture makes the Cathedral of Sorrento a must-see when visiting this part of the world. Built in the 11th century but completely rebuilt in the 15th in the then-popular Romanesque style, the cathedral details a lot of what is so fascinating about this ancient European religion. It’s been a popular place of worship for centuries and has been home to many notable religious figures.
Drive the Amalfi Coast
It’s possibly the most spectacular coastline in the world, so it’s pretty much mandatory that part of your stay in Sorrento includes a drive along the wonderful Amalfi Coast! If you’re after a driving adventure, rent a car and take to the coast yourself, or alternatively take part in a tour. Some of the most popular spots on the Amalfi Coast are Ravello, Salerno and Amalfi, and road trippers love the stunning beaches and awe-inspiring hikes of the region.
Visit the Ancient Ruins of Pompeii
Even though Pompeii was destroyed nearly 2000 years ago, they’re constantly uncovering new parts – so it’s no wonder why the ruined Roman town is so famous. One of Italy’s most visited sites, Pompeii is a chilling reminder about the dramatic and devastating impact that natural disasters can have on societies, and walking around the excavated ruins is an experience like no other. Visitors to Pompeii can enjoy vistas of the breath-taking Mount Vesuvius, and appreciate its proximity to the archaeological site – understanding why there was no escaping its wrath when it erupted!
Go to Herculaneum
Another ruined Roman city, Herculaneum was destroyed by the same eruption as Pompeii in AD 79. Visitors often favour it over Pompeii, because a lot more of the ruins are accessible and it is surrounded by volcanic rock, emphasising the sheer magnitude of the eruption. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and a great day trip from Sorrento.
Have a Coffee by Piazza Tasso
This is the place to grab some lunch or a coffee and watch the world go by in Sorrento. A busy spot with a hive of activity, the Piazza is frequented by locals and tourists alike, who flock to enjoy some authentic Italian cuisine and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere of Sorrento.
Go on a Day Trip to the Isle of Capri
The Isle of Capri lies a boat ride away from Sorrento, and is an absolute must-see for any visitors to this region of Italy. It can be explored in a day – although many visitors opt to stay longer. Everyone’s seen pictures of the beautiful Blue Grotto, Mount Solaro, and Villa San Michele – but if you can afford it, a private boat will enable you to see some of the smaller grottoes – some of which are virtually untouched by tourists!
Visit Lemon Farms
Taking part in a Lemon Farm Tour will help you learn all about the production of some of Sorrento’s most famous foods – including lemons and olive oil – which are staples in this part of the world! Many tours include hikes, sunset views and free tastings of local products. There are also a few lemon farms that can be visited independently, such as I Giardini di Cataldo – where free samples are offered and visitors invited into the backstage factory.
Hike Path of the Gods
The mountainous terrain of the Sorrento area lends itself to some fantastic hiking paths, including the stunning Path of the Gods. This path traverses the hills of the Amalfi Coast, taking in some of the best spots of one of Italy’s most scenic roads. It is a seven-kilometre, challenging hike that’s an absolute must for all adventurers visiting Sorrento. It’s possible to reach the start of the path by public transport from Sorrento.
Go to Mount Vesuvius National Park
It’s a great addition to have a four wheel drive vehicle to explore Mount Vesuvius National Park, but don’t fret if you don’t have your own – a tour can be organised! You can also hike to the summit of this legendary volcano, which offers you a chance to get up close and personal with the peak itself and marvel at some of southern Italy’s most impressive views. If you want to visit the National Park independently, buses leave from Sorrento and drop visitors off at about 1000 meters elevation, where they can climb up to the crater. There is also a complimentary volcanology tour, which helps to make sense of the surrounding landscape.
Explore the Bay of Ieranto
Famed as a place where mermaids used to sing to sailors, the Bay of Ieranto is a promontory that juts out into the glittering Mediterranean Sea from Nerano, a nearby fishing village and almost reaches the coast of Capri. It is considered one of the best sailing spots on the Amalfi coast and is fantastic to explore.
Exploring the Bay of Ieranto is easy by foot – there’s a well-marked six-kilometre path from Nerano, which can be reached by bus from Sorrento. It crosses Nerano beach, which was famous as the launching pad for local witches, and the Faraglioni sea stacks and FAI center.
Miners’ stairs were built in this area in the beginning of the 1900s to reach the sea level lyme quarry. Due to it being a protected area, with no motorised vehicles allowed, the sea here is crystal clear and serene, just begging to be dipped in!
Punta Campanella Marine Reserve
This reserve expands across 30 kilometres of grottoes, inlets and bays, with a huge variety of things to do in the area. There’s lots of walks and fantastic scuba diving opportunities. Some of the hikes are particularly good for the summer heat, as they offer shade from the mountainous peaks of the area. The reserve affords unbeatable views from Punta Campanella to Punta Penna and the island of Capri is nestled in the background.
Pay a Visit to Vallone dei Mulini
A fascinating example of the sheer power of nature, Vallone dei Mulini is a mill which has been abandoned and left for nature to take it over. It was an old sawmill, which was powered by water from natural sources, but was deserted a long time ago and has now been completely reclaimed by nature. It serves as a reminder of nature’s fortitude and warrants a half-day’s exploration.