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The town of Sorrento sits on the Sorrentine Peninsula overlooking the Bay of Naples, which flows into the Mediterranean Sea, with Naples to the north and the Amalfi Coast to the south. It's a popular vacation destination and cruise port, and is similar to picturesque cliffside towns such as Positano and Amalfi on the Amalfi Coast proper. The city also serves as a practical base from which to explore the region, with multiple transportation connections and many tours using it as a hub. A walking or bus tour of Naples is available from Sorrento, and a boat tour to the nearby island of Capri—where you’ll find the iridescent Blue Grotto among other sights—is a must-do. The famous excavation at Pompeii is also close by; and you can learn more about Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that looms large over the landscape and that buried that ancient city, on a tour of the Unesco World Heritage Site. Another less visited ancient city also buried by the eruption, Herculaneum, is nearby; and tours to the two sites are often combined. Sorrento itself is well known for its pedestrian-friendly city center, where streets are lined with boutiques and restaurants and well-suited to a walking tour. Note that the citrus that grows so well in this area is put to good use in the delicious limoncello that is sold nearly everywhere in the city, and a food tour will introduce you to the liqueur and other tastes of the region.
The best times to visit Sorrento are in spring and fall when the weather is milder, the crowds have departed or not yet arrived, and the town’s charming cafés, restaurants, and hotels remain open (some close early between November and April). Summer, in particular July and August, are packed with action, including the feast day of Sant’Anna and Ferragosto, carnival-like celebrations which bring beach parties, concerts, and fireworks.
Sorrento is compact and best explored on foot. Bicycle and scooter rentals—and tours—are popular for traveling further afield along the Amalfi Coast. To get to Sorrento, ferries are your best bet: 40-minute rides from Naples are available year-round (except on off-season weekends); and hour-long rides from Salerno and Ischia are available in summer. The Circumvesuviana commuter train runs roughly every half-hour from Naples to Sorrento, but it can get crowded and hot during the week.
The island of Capri is not far from Sorrento—in fact it’s just across the water from Punta Campanella on the Sorrento Peninsula. Rather than take a ferry there, intrepid travelers can rent a gommone—a motorized inflatable boat—and reach the island on their own in under an hour. If the boat is small enough, you won’t need a license. Once there, you can explore the coves, beaches, and grottos only reachable by sea.
Sorrento’s strategic position on the Gulf of Naples makes it an easy gateway to the Amalfi Coast. Trains, ferries, buses, and tour groups all converge here, sprinting travelers to Positano and beyond. For Italians, the town is synonymous with its abundant lemon groves—and the limoncello liqueur made from them....More
One day is enough to see the historic center, stop for olive oil and limoncello tastings, and explore the Museobottega della Tarsialignea, dedicated to local marquetry traditions. The beauty of Sorrento, however, lies in the proximity to the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, and Capri—and each requires another full day....More
If it’s your first visit, stick to the historic center. Piazza Tasso is near accommodations, many restaurants, and public transportation. East of town, Sant’Agnello boasts the best views and cliffside resorts. Those looking for affordable stays should try Priora, a hilly, quiet hamlet about 15 minutes from Sorrento by car....More
Plenty. Explore the historic quarter’s tangle of pastel houses and arched lanes. Sample olive oils and limoncello—or gnocchi alla Sorrentina. Take a boat to Capri, a train to Pompeii, or a kayak to Punta Campanella. For something different, visit the Museobottega della Tarsialignea—dedicated to wood inlaying traditions....More
It depends. Amalfi is smaller, slightly prettier, and more characteristically of the Amalfi Coast—cliffside, terraced roads descend through the town to the elegant waterfront. Sorrento has more public transportation, varied accommodations, and can be less exclusive. It’s a more practical base for exploring the Amalfi Coast and farther afield....More
Yes, relatively. Sorrento is more expensive than Naples but less so than Capri and the Amalfi Coast. During the high season, especially from July through August, prices rise as the town swells with tourists. It’s home to designer hotels, but also modest, rustic charms if you look for them....More
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