Sorrento is a charming Italian coastal resort town overlooking the Bay of Naples. Hailed as the land of mermaids and lemons, this popular tourist destination is a perfect escape from the bustle of Roman city life. The sloped hills looking out over azure waters, with Mt. Vesuvius outlining the horizon, offers a vacation with plenty to see and do – or even not do, for those looking to simply relax.
On my first trip to Sorrento, we stayed at the Hotel Del Mare. This charming hotel was a great stay because it was located outside of the main area of the city and offered a more local vibe. It’s located down by the waters of Marina Grande, and the walk to and from the main square wasn’t bad at all. It offered some incredible views and we ended up wandering some charming back streets that we otherwise may not have. I definitely recommend the trip down to the Marina Grande beach if nothing else – it can be less crowded than the main beach on certain days, is surrounded by great restaurants, and feels much more local.
On my second trip to Sorrento, we stayed in an AirBnb. Though it was more on the outskirts of town, the great thing was that the town is small enough that everything was still in walking distance.
For a more luxurious stay, check out the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria or Grand Hotel De La Ville.
My family is notorious when we travel for finding one restaurant that we love and spending every night eating there rather than trying new places. Which – hey, maybe we’re missing out, but then again, you can’t argue with great food and even better service! So the restaurant that we ate at at least three times in Sorrento was Ristorante Bagni Delfino. Come for the incredible food (fresh seafood anyone?) and welcoming service, but stay for the even more amazing views. Tables are seated on a dock in the Marina Grande, and overlook the bay and Mt. Vesuvius. Make sure to time your dinner for sunset for the best views! And be sure to make a reservation as it can fill up quickly.
There is no shortage of things to do in Sorrento. Whether you want to bum on the beach all week or you’re looking for more adventure, the coast has much to offer. Here are some of my favorite excursions to check out while staying in the area.
Walk the lemon groves
Sorrento is famous for its citrus, and here the lemons grow as big as your head. In the center of town sits I Giardini di Cataldo – a large lemon tree grove fun to walk through for some afternoon shade. Try a refreshing lemon soda from the stand in the grove. And of course, be sure to try some limoncello! This Italian liquer is famously made in the region from the locally grown lemons, and is as delicious as it is refreshing.
Take a day trip to Capri
Hop on a ferry across the bay to the Isle of Capri for a fun day in the sun. This stunning and colorful island offers some gorgeous views, cute towns and streets to shop, and fun excursions. A must do in Capri is the Blue Grotto – the water inside the cave glows a magical blue.
Take a day trip to Positano
Or just explore the many stunning towns along the Amalfi Coast in general! We took a day trip to Positano, and I love this town as much as Sorrento itself. We took a bus ride through the cliffs to get there, which is definitely not for the faint of heart, but ferry trips are available as well! Positano has incredible beaches, and the town itself is visually stunning, with colorful buildings built up on the cliffs on the coastline.
Be a beach bum
There is nothing wrong with coming to Sorrento just to relax. Though Sorrento’s beaches aren’t very large or sandy, they are still a great place to rent a chair and lay out in the sun (you could also do this on one of the many docks that offer chair rentals) or wade into the Mediterranean waters. Marina Piccola is the main beach in Sorrento, but like I mentioned before, Marina Grande is a great alternative as well.
Sorrento has many wonderful narrow streets full of local shops to explore. Via Cesareo is the main shopping street, full of little boutiques and local finds. My favorite souvenir from the region is a hand-painted bottle of limoncello, with the town painted colorfully on the front of a glass bottle.
This fun piazza is the main center of town. Here you’ll find fun shops, restaurants, and nightlife to check out, as well as some incredible views high above the bay.
Watch the sunset
If there is a view more incredible than the one over the bay from Sorrento, it is that view at sunset. Find a vista – from the beach or a restaurant on the docks, or higher up in the city overlooking it all. There isn’t a bad seat in the house.
What are some of your favorite places or excursions in Sorrento?