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Sorrento has welcomed droves of tourists every year since way back when the Romans started building holiday homes there and it’s easy to see why. A short, scenic ride from Naples Airport, this quintessentially Italian city nestled high on the clifftops of Campania is all about the dramatic views, food and vibes. There are so many fun things to do in Sorrento, whether you stay for a day or a month!
I got married in Sorrento in May 2022 after falling in love with the destination on our first visit there in 2019. My new husband and I plan to return for years to come.
Here’s our pick of some of the best places to visit in Sorrento. I’ve included famous Sorrento tourist attractions, the Italian delicacies you have to try while you’re there and some of the most popular free things to do in Sorrento.
TIP: Travelling to Sorrento via Naples? Taxis in this part of Italy can cost a fortune! I recommend booking either a private (and quicker) or shared (usually slower but cheaper) transfer ahead of your trip.
38 top things to see and do in Sorrento
1. Taste Sorrento’s local dish
In addition to the obvious fresh seafood that’s ubiquitous on the southern coast, there is a famous local pasta dish you have to try while you’re in Sorrento.
Gnocchi alla Sorrentina is a real comfort meal: pillowy gnocchi in a rich tomato sauce, kissed with basil and topped with melted cheese.
Pack your stretchiest clothes, because eating your way around the city is one of the best activities in Sorrento. The flavours are worth every calorie, I promise.
2. Enjoy a boat trip
I’d go so far as to say that a boat trip is one of the top three best things to do in Sorrento.
Particularly pleasant at sunset, a boat trip along the Sorrentine Peninsula is an absolute must. Most trips depart from Marina Piccola.
For a truly premium experience, book a private small group boat trip that includes a stop at Regina Giovanna beach for swimming, up-close views of a spectacular waterfall and prosecco. Check prices here.
3. Visit the Cloisters
The Chiostro di San Francesco is one of the must-visits in Sorrento, and I’m not just saying that because I got married in this beautiful courtyard.
The 8th-century monastery has been lovingly restored to retain its romantic atmosphere and quintessentially Italian architecture.
Admission to the Cloisters is free but if a wedding is taking place there, please be respectful. My wedding planner had to ask some oblivious tourists munching on a packed lunch to move so they wouldn’t be in our pictures… I suppose that’s what we get for picking a public garden!
Maybe I just had a bad experience in Naples, but my advice is to skip the city and instead eat the famously good pizza in Sorrento.
If you’d like to learn how to make authentic Neopolitan pizza yourself, book a pizza-making class in Sorrento before your trip.
This is one of the most fun things to do in Sorrento with kids and it means you can recreate the taste of your holiday at home with your newly acquired knowledge of Italian cooking.
5. Visit Capri
Although not in Sorrento itself, you can easily visit the glamorous island of Capri while you’re staying on the mainland. Ah, the joys of the south coast of Italy!
Though you can get the ferry there, the best way to visit Capri is to book this boat trip.
The tour will take you around the island with opportunities for snorkelling and you’ll get to see the iconic Blue Grotto up close from a rowing boat. Afterward, you’ll have free time to explore Capri before heading back to Sorrento.
6. See Pompeii
Another of the top places to go near Sorrento is Pompeii. If you’re even slightly interested in history, this is a must-do.
Book a day trip to Pompeii which includes transport, queue jump (the cost of the trip is worth it for this alone in the height of summer!), a guided tour of the ruins, lunch with a drink followed by limoncello and a visit to Mount Vesuvius’ crater edge.
7. Visit Sorrento Brewery
Think Italy is all about the wine? Wrong! Sorrento has its own brewery. Birrificio Sorrento opened in 2009 and welcomes thirsty travellers for guided tours.
While you sip the local brew, which is made with Sorrento lemons and walnuts, you can enjoy stunning views of the peninsula.
Tours and tastings start at 15 Euro per person (minimum of four people).
8. People watch in Piazza Tasso
Wondering what to do in Sorrento that doesn’t involve getting sore feet? Simple!
Pull up a chair at any of the bars in Piazza Tasso, order an Aperol Spritz and watch the world go by.
One of my favourite things about Italy is the fact that you’re given free nibbles every time you order a drink.
It’s easy to lose hours just munching on olives and evaluating the stylistic choices of passersby.
9. Explore the side streets
Like many destinations, Sorrento’s real charm lies in its labyrinth of narrow streets that flow off the main squares.
You don’t have to plan a million activities in Sorrento to keep yourself occupied, because the streets will keep you entertained. They really come alive after sunset.
If you’re short on time in Sorrento, I recommend booking a walking tour here.
10. Take an Italian cooking class
For me, visiting Italy is all about the food. One of the most memorable activities in Sorrento for families, couples and friends alike is a local cooking class.
There are various options, but the best Sorrento cooking class I’ve found is this one. It includes a prosecco cocktail on arrival, a local meat and cheese tasting and you’re taught to make a pasta dish and a traditional Italian dessert.
Though you can sip wine as you cook, this Sorrento activity is child friendly too.
11. Walk up Corso Italia
Corso Italia is the chic main shopping street in Sorrento, just off Piazza Tasso.
Lined with boutiques and bars, the street is pedestrianised so you can take your time walking after dusk.
Corso Italia is the perfect place to participate in the quintessential Italian evening activity, passeggiata (an evening stroll).
If the buzz of Sorrento becomes overwhelming, go back to basics with an excursion to a local farm where you can feast on a traditional lunch.
Here, you’ll experience rural life in Italy on a family-run farm and get to taste organic produce including olive oil, limoncello and different preserves.
13. Go parasailing
Have you seen Sorrento from the sky? For a truly thrilling perspective, you have to go parasailing!
You can book a solo, tandem or triple parasail flight here.
This activity includes a 90-minute boat ride, safety equipment, soft drinks and a 12-minute flight during which time you can take in magnificent views of the Bay of Naples.
Is there anything that would make your life feel more like a movie than cruising along the stunning Italian coast in a vintage Fiat 500 with your love?
This is one of the most romantic things you can do in Sorrento!
If you’re keen to get some great shots for Instagram, book this vintage car tour for yourself and your partner. You’ll be picked up at your hotel at your chosen time and taken to the most photogenic spots in Sorrento.
I recommend booking this trip at sunset for some serious golden hour beauty.
15. Visit the museum
Looking for things to do in Sorrento when it’s raining? Schedule a visit to The Correale Museum.
This fascinating Sorrento attraction is housed in a magnificent 18th-century residence that boasts tranquil gardens and a Belvedere terrace with views over the Bay of Naples.
Entrance fees apply, children under 10 can enter for free.
16. Spend the day at a beach club
Holidaymakers don’t really choose Sorrento for its beaches, but if you do want to spend a day soaking up some rays there are a small number of beach bars you can pay to use.
Leonelli’s is the most popular beach club in Sorrento. To get there, make your way down to sea level at Marina Piccolo and walk along the wooden pier to enjoy excellent views.
It costs 15 Euro for the day and you can eat and drink there.
17. Ride the tourist train
It might be touristy, but it’s one of the most fun things to do in Sorrento with kids!
The white Sorrento sightseeing ‘train’ takes you on a 45-minute tour of the city, so you get to see some of Sorrento’s top tourist attractions while listening to a guide on your headset.
You can catch the train from Piazza Lauro, opposite the train station.
18. Shop for lemon themed souvenirs
It doesn’t take long to work out the best souvenir to bring home from Sorrento: anything lemon!
Lemon sweets, lemon ceramics, lemon fridge magnets, lemon patterned shirts and dresses, lemon embroidered rattan bags… I could go on.
Sorrento is surrounded by lemon groves, and the SIZE of the citrus fruits there will take you by surprise.
19. Have a drink at Marina Grande
Undoubtedly the best place to visit in Sorrento at sunset, Marina Grande is a traditional fishing harbour that offers a welcome change of pace from the heaving city.
Sit at an outdoor table with a checked tablecloth, order a cocktail or two and watch the boats bob in the bay as the sun sets. Perfect!
While you’re there, be sure to look at the Greek Gate which dates back to 500 BC.
20. Swim at this secret spot in Sorrento
Bagni Regina Giovanna is a hidden gem on the Sorrento coast. It’s a natural pool that makes a fantastic secluded swimming spot and it’s surrounded by the ruins of a Roman villa.
The walk there is a bit treacherous, so wear proper walking shoes or get the bus most of the way. You might also want to pack a snorkel and towel.
21. Walk through a lemon grove
Another lemon-themed, free thing to do in Sorrento! I Giardini di Cataldo is a small but picturesque limonaie, latticed lemon groves which you can walk through for free.
The orchard was originally created to serve the nearby luxury hotel, the Excelsior Vittoria.
Alternatively, you can book a guided tour of a lemon grove called Il Giardino di Vigliano in the Sorrento hills, which includes lunch and hotel pick-up and drop-off.
22. Buy a souvenir at the Christmas shop
If you’re one of those people who like to purchase a new ornament for their tree in each destination they visit, you’re in luck. Sorrento has its own Christmas shop.
Located on Via degli Archi, the aptly named ‘Christmas Shop‘ sells some stunning decorations, including handmade Sorrento-themed ornaments.
23. Sip a Sorrento Spritz
While Aperol reigns supreme throughout Italy, Sorrento’s locals have their own twist on the classic aperitif.
A Sorrento Spritz is a wonderfully refreshing alcoholic drink made with (you guessed it) limoncello, prosecco and soda.
Ideal after a long day of sightseeing in Sorrento!
24. Be awed at the Valley of the Mills
Valle dei Mulini is an otherworldly attraction in Sorrento. 30ft deep in a crevice in Sorrento’s landscape that was formed over 35,000 years ago, the ‘valley’ hides the ruins of an ancient flour mill.
Built in the 13th century, the mill buildings have been abandoned since the 1940s.
This is one of the eeriest things to see in Sorrento. To get there, head to Viale Enrico Caruso and look down.
Be quick though – the site has been the subject of a controversial restoration debate in recent years.
25. See Basilica Sant’Antonino
There’s no shortage of beautiful churches in Sorrento, but Basilica Sant’Antonino is named after the city’s patron saint so it’s a Sorrento must-see.
One of the things that makes this church unique is the whale ribs crowning the entrance when you go inside.
It might not look overly interesting from the street but its interior is worth a peek!
26. Buy handmade leather goods
Even if you’re not one for shopping when you’re abroad, Sorrento’s shops might just win you over. One of the most popular things to buy in Sorrento is handcrafted leather sandals, bags and other handmade items.
The sandals could easily pass for Hermes Orans!
27. Have sundowners at a rooftop bar
One of the most popular spots for sunset drinks in Sorrento is the Vista Sky Bar at Hotel Mediterraneo Sorrento.
The ultra-modern venue is on the pricey side, but you’re guaranteed a panoramic view of the Bay of Naples in a sophisticated setting.
You’ll need to book ahead in the summer season. Visit their website to reserve your spot.
28. Sing karaoke at Daniele’s
In the mood for a singalong? Daniele’s Club is a tiny karaoke bar in Sorrento. You can get there via the stairs beneath the flagpoles on Piazza Tasso.
We spent the night before our wedding dancing in Daniele’s with friends. It opens at 8.30pm.
29. Say salute with limoncello shots
I’m going to let you into a secret: this is how to get free limoncello shots in Sorrento. Head to Limonoro, a shop with friendly staff who hand out free samples to customers.
You can try different flavours of limoncello, melon and pistachio cream liqueur, as well as some delicious biscuits chocolates, olive oils and balsamic.
Limonoro is one of the places you really must visit in Sorrento. Everything is made in the shop!
30. See Sorrento Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saints Philip and James, also known as Duomo Sorrento, is just off the Corso Italia.
Like Basilica Sant’Antonino, the exterior is fairly unremarkable but go inside and you’ll be stunned. The marble pillars and frescos are awe-inspiring.
Sorrrento Cathedral was built in the 15th century but the main doors date back to the 11th century.
31. Sip cocktails at Sorrento’s best cocktail bar
I did a ton of research on the best places to eat and drink in Sorrento before our wedding holiday and the results were unanimous: D’Anton.
Half cocktail bar, half interior design boutique, this is the place to go for a decent tipple.
D’Anton is located on Piazza Sant’Antonio.
32. See Sorrento’s most iconic view
The best viewpoint in Sorrento is at Villa Comunale, a small public park overlooking the bay of Naples near the Sorrento Cloisters. From here, you can gaze out to Vesuvius and see the Sorrento Coast from above.
On a clear day, you might even spot the islands of Ischia and Procida. You’ll also find the lift that takes you down to sea level in these gardens.
Be warned: if you don’t like heights, this might be one to avoid.
33. Indulge on an Italian food and wine tour
For a true taste of Sorrento, book a food and wine tour with a local guide. You’ll be taken away from the tourist trail and will get to sample real Campania cuisine made with seasonal ingredients in a local neighbourhood.
The reviews for this tour are fantastic! Find out more and read the reviews here.
Reviewers recommend arranging the tour for early in your trip so you can revisit some of the eateries you stop at later in your holiday. Yes, it’s that good.
34. Visit a local art gallery
Gallery Raffaele Celentano is a contemporary Italian photographer’s gallery, accessible via the Cloisters.
You can view the exhibition, buy signed prints, and even enjoy the view from the rooftop terrace. You might even catch the photographer himself!
The gallery is open from 10am until 9pm and entry costs 5 Euros.
35. Dine in a lemon grove
One of the most unique experiences you can have in Sorrento can be found at O’Parrucchiano La Favorita.
Founded in 1868, this restaurant is rather special. You’ll need to book a table ahead of your visit and request a seat in the garden, and you’ll be treated to a wonderfully romantic meal surrounded by lemons.
Fun fact: cannelloni was invented here!
36. Walk the Path of the Gods
If you’re into hiking when you travel, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are plenty of hiking trails surrounding the city. The most iconic though, is the Sentiero degli Dei, aka Path of the Gods, which is known as one of the most beautiful hikes in the world.
If you decide to tackle the 4km walk, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views and get to see farmhouses along the way.
37. Taste real Italian gelato
For a real dose of la dolce vita, you have to indulge in some creamy gelato. Gelateria Davide is known as the best place to get ice cream in Sorrento. The shop has been serving overheated tourists since 1957.
My personal favourite flavour is the ricotta, but there are lots to choose from!
38. Do a day trip to Sorrento’s nearby attractions
One of the great things about Sorrento is its prime location for visiting some of Italy’s other hotspots.
I’ve published a list of the best day trips from Sorrento, if you need some inspiration.
Take a look at this list of excursions from Sorrento on GetYourGuide, which is a very reputable website for booking tours and activities.
Where to stay in Sorrento
If you’re on a budget, Hotel Sorrento City has positive reviews.
Mid-range: Tom and I stayed at Hotel Astoria the first time we visited Sorrento and it’s an excellent mid-range option. This hotel is right in the center of town.
For luxury, it’s got to be Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria.
You can search for the perfect accommodation for you on booking.com here.
I hope you found my guide to the top things to see in Sorrento helpful for planning your Italian vacation!
Having visited the destination twice, I still don’t feel I’ve exhausted the possibilities and seen all of Sorrento’s attractions. Luckily, I know my new husband and I will return again and again.
I’ll keep this guide as up-to-date as possible on future trips.
If you’re interested in seeing more from our wedding trip, you can check out my Sorrento highlight on Instagram. My username is @danniellelily.
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