The ultimate Sorrento travel guide for first-timers

The city of Sorrento, although touristy, is surprisingly pleasant. The historical center has many restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops. 

As a first-timer in Sorrento, enjoy a walk around and try some excellent gelato (ice cream in Italian). 

Most of the center of Sorrento is pedestrian-only. 

One of the alleyways of Sorrento. Roadside restaurant tables, with classic red checkered tablecloths, cobblestone streets. Many little flags hang from the top of the street.

There are numerous small alleyways to discover. 

Compared to Positano and other destinations around the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento is relatively flat, at least in the center. So it’s easily walkable. 

Places to Visit in Sorrento:

The view of the dramatic cliff from Sorrento, with the sea and the Marina Piccola ferry port in the foreground. A white sailboat is sailing on the water.

The park of Villa Comunale

The walkway near the Villa Comunale is a promenade in high elevation. This public terrace offers a panoramic view of the coastline, with the steep cliffs and the silhouette of Mount Vesuvius.

You can see the Island of The Bay of Naples in the distance: Capri is the closest, and Ischia and Procida are further on the horizon.

Cafés dotting the area are ideal for an afternoon drink or to enjoy a spectacular sunset.

Tables at a caffe near Villa Communale in Sorrento. People In the back walking around and enjoying the view.

Chiostro di San Francesco

Near the Villa Comunale, you will find the Chiostro di San Francesco. 

Inside of the Cloister. Ancient yellow walls and pointed arches. A colourful painting of the Amalfi Coast exhibited on the side, and several black and white images are hanging from the wall.

This fantastic architectural space usually offers art exhibitions where you can admire photographs and paintings. 

Inside the San Francesco Cloister. A very picturesque view of the archs and greenery growing in the open.
The Cloister resembles a painting in Itself: charming pointed arches and beautiful flowers grooving over the ancient walls.

Marina Grande

The old port of Sorrento is one of the best spots in the city. 

Although touristy, given its somehow more hidden location, time appears to be stopped here. You can still see the local fishermen untangling their nets after returning from the sea.

There are little colorful fishing boats and many excellent seafood restaurants. 

 This is a perfect spot for a romantic dinner directly at the seaside.

Don’t miss the Balcony from which Sophia Loren leaned out in the movie “Pane, Amore e…” by Dino Risi (1955).

The steps leading down are lined with tables. Little bars offer the perfect spot to grab a drink with a spectacular view. 

There’s a local bus line to bring you down to Marina Grande. You can take it if you don’t feel like walking or have mobility issues.

How to Get to Sorrento?

By Ferry:

You can arrive in Sorrento by ferry from Capri, Amalfi, or Positano. There is a direct ferry connection from Napoli also. 

The ferries arrive at Marina Piccola, where you can follow the signs to take the public elevator. The elevator will bring you up to the center near Villa Comunale. It’s also possible to walk up, but it’s steep, so I would not recommend it if you have luggage.

People waiting in lines to buy the ferry ticket in front of several small ticket offices. Cable stones on the square and flowers in the side of the image.
The ferry ticket offices in Sorrento, Marina Piccola

By the suburban train “CIRCUMVESUVIANA”:

The most common way to get to Sorrento from Naples would be by train. The train operating is a suburban line called Circumvesuviana

Although the train starts from Porta Nolana in Naples, you can take it from the central station. You have to go to the underground level of the station to find it. This is the same train that stops in Pompeii.

Once you arrive in Sorrento, You can walk to the historical center. Follow the main road towards Piazza Tasso, where the pedestrian area starts.

What to Buy in Sorrento?

Alleyway in Sorrento with cobblestone pavement. The sides are filled with colorful linen clothes, and sun hats on the other side, perfect for shopping.

Sorrento is famous for its lemons, and there are little shops offering excellent products made from local ingredients. 

There are several liquor stores where you can taste different “cellos”. Limoncello is the well-known one, but there are many different flavors: melon, arugula, berries..etc.

Most of the stores will be happy to give you a sample before you decide which flavor to buy.

If limoncello is too strong for you, try the cream version of it, crema di limoncello

You can buy the famous handmade sandals. Choose the style and color you like and watch it being made in front of you.

There are a lot of linen clothes available in Sorrento, and pretty sun hats too.

Where to Eat and Drink in Sorrento?

As mentioned above, Marina Grande is filled with excellent dining options. But you will find great places in the upper part of the city too.

At the Marina Grande we choose to eat at Porta Marina Seafood Restaurant and it was very good. Also we got a table just next to the sea. We could see the fishes swimming around just a meter from as. The setting was very romantic. Dining in one of the restaurants of the Marina is definitely something you should experience during your stay in Sorrento.

We tried several restaurants in the center too:

Ristorante Pizzeria S. Antonio: A bit of a hidden gem is a restaurant where you have to walk up in the courtyard, and the open level is like a secret garden. 

Interior of the restaurant Pizzeria S. Antonio. A covered terrace adorned with lots of greenery, plants in pots, and citrus trees. Set tables with green checkered tablecloths. Men sitting at tables, admiring the garden.

They serve excellent pizza (approved by my Neapolitan friends), and a gluten-free version is also available. 

Another restaurant we enjoyed was Blue Water. This is a bit more touristy but was very good, with nothing to complain about.

They offer gluten-free ravioli. 

The special dish of Sorrento is Gnocchi alla Sorrentina. Seafood is generally fantastic everywhere around the town.

The town has many excellent ice cream shops. 

When is the best time to visit Sorrento?

The best times to visit Sorrento are from May to mid-July and September to October.

Sorrento is a bigger coastal town and a lively spot even during the low season. Many events are happening during Christmas as well.

In winter, the villages along the Amalfi Coast are quiet, and even Positano becomes sleepy. Sorrento still offers plenty of life with its cafes, bars, and restaurants all year round.

So, if you find yourself in the area during winter, consider adding Sorrento to your itinerary. It’s easy to visit as a day trip from Naples.

Early spring and late autumn can be rainy. Most of the rain falls around November.

Although the weather is often unpredictable in Italy during March, sunnier days in early spring are perfect for hiking and sightseeing.
The seawater starts to warm up around late April. In most years, you can probably have a comfortable swim from May till October.

August is very crowded in the entire coastal area, so it’s not recommended time to visit. If your schedule allows it, plan your holiday for a different month.

Considering visiting Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast in October?

Check out my dedicated post on whether visiting in October is a good idea.

Day Trips From Sorrento

Sorrento is an excellent location to base yourself. Stay in Sorrento if you want to visit Pompeii, Herculaneum, or Mount Vesuvius.

The easiest way to reach Pompeii is by the local suburban train.

Visit Positano and Amalfi from Sorrento

You can make day trips to Positano or even Amalfi.
There is a direct bus connection to Amalfi that also stops in Positano.

Or you can take the ferry.

If you want to avoid crowds, the best is to book a private transfer. Also, the last bus back from Positano to Sorrento is around 9. So, if you already know you wish to enjoy dinner in Positano, book a private transfer for the way back and avoid paying a high price for a taxi.

Visiting Capri form Sorrento

Sorrento is the closest point of the mainland to Capri. Ferries will get you there in no time.

For more information on how to get to Capri check out my dedicated blog post.

You can also opt for a boat tour departing from Sorrento.
This tour transports you to Capri and lets you explore the island on foot.
Plus you will circumnavigate Capri!
See the whole island from the sea and cruise near the Faragliolini rock formations.
This full-day excursion by boat is good value for money. With this tour you save the ferry journey and also enjoy a boat trip around Capri. Make the most of your day trip from Sorrento to Capri without breaking the bank.

Where to Stay in Sorrento?

High End

The Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria is one of Sorrento’s most prestigious accommodations.

But don’t worry if it’s out of your budget – there are other awesome places to stay!

Mid Range

I love hotels with swimming pools, and there are plenty around.


If you want something cheaper, you can stay in Meta di Sorrento or Vico Equense.

They’re nearby and easy to reach by train.

From Vico to Sorrento, it’s just a quick 15-minute train ride.

Click here to see available accommodations in Vico Equense

Or stay in a Camping near Sorrento

For something really cool, you could try Camping Santa Fortunata.

It’s within walking distance of Sorrento.

This place has lots to offer – a pool, a private beach, and a shuttle service to Sorrento. They offer various accommodation types. From well-equipped bungalows to spots where you can pitch your own tent.

I’ve written a detailed review of Camping Santa Fortunata, so take a look for more info!