When most people think of Italy, chances are that Rome, Venice, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Duomo in Florence are the first to spring to mind. However, Sorrento is one of those places that you really shouldn’t miss. Located in the southwestern region of Campania in Italy, Sorrento is often overlooked in favour other cities around this part of the coastline, when in fact it is the perfect place to base yourself for a few days.
Since visiting Sorrento in Italy for the first time in 2015, we have traveled back almost every year – that’s how amazing this little seaside town is! Wondering what to do in Sorrento? Read this Sorrento travel guide for what you need to know ahead of your visit including how to get to Sorrento, where to stay, things to do and more.
Planning a trip to Italy? Click here for 14 things you should know before you go to Italy!
How to get to Sorrento
Sorrento is not the easiest of places to get to in Italy via public transport, as there is no direct train from Rome to Sorrento or back. Even if you plan on flying to Sorrento, you must fly to Naples International Airport (the closest airport) and then take a bus, taxi or private car. Here are a few options for how to get to Sorrento from Rome with minimal fuss, and most routes will go via Naples if you are traveling by train or bus.
Don’t feel like stopping in Naples at all? It is actually also possible to get directly to Sorrento by rental car from Rome, skipping Naples entirely. Driving from Rome to Sorrento will take you just over 3 hours, and the highways are clean and relatively easy to navigate, though the traffic in and out of Sorrento can be extreme over the weekends. Expect to pay approximately 15 Euros each way for tolls. We booked our rental car with Locauto, a local affiliate of Enterprise and Alamo – their cars were in great condition and the staff were extremely helpful.
Looking for the best prices for rental car companies around the world? Click here to book your rental car ahead of your trip. Bookings can be cancelled or amended if your plans change!
1. How to get from Rome to Naples
From Rome Termini, there are regular high-speed trains to Naples. For our first trip, we took business class because we fancy. 55 Euros, air conditioned, wifi, comfortable seats with a view of the Italian countryside and you get to Naples in an hour and ten minutes – what’s not to love? This part of the trip is truly wonderful.
2. How to get from Naples to Sorrento
And then comes the Naples to Sorrento leg of the journey. You have a few options for this part of the journey.
Option 1: By local train (Circumvesuviana) from Naples – Many people choose to take the Circumvesuviana train because the station is just below the main Napoli Centrale station. We should have known something was up when we paid eight Euros for two tickets. This was a massive blow after our previous train journey, which was simply put, delightful. The train itself was old, stuffy, packed, dirty, stinky, and I’m not even kidding (I have a witness), I nearly didn’t make it.
To make things worse, we missed the direct train so stopped every two minutes on this ride from hell. I can’t and don’t want to even imagine what this would have been like in the dead of summer. If you are traveling with luggage I highly recommend against taking the Circumvesuviana.
Since taking the Circumvesuviana 2 years ago, it has only gotten worse. In June 2017 we took the train from Pompeii back to Naples, and witnessed a massive argument that nearly escalated into a fight, and then were accosted by a gang of hooligans who stole from us. After hopping off the train and confronting them, they gave our property back and promptly decided to try to spit on us. Honestly one of the most infuriating travel experiences to date – avoid the Circumvesuviana train!
Option 2: By express train from Naples – the Campania Express: There are only a handful of trains each day but they are newer trains that are catered towards tourists. It costs approximately 10 Euros each way and stops at Naples Garibaldi station, Herculaneum (Ercolano), Pompeii and Sorrento; however, this train generally only runs between March to October each year so check the website for exact dates (they change each year).
Option 3: By ferry from Naples – Because of our horrific experience on the Circumvesuviana train, I would recommend that you look into forking out the 15-20 Euros to take a ferry from Naples to Sorrento instead. It’s much, much nicer, only takes half an hour, and what we ended up doing on the way back to Naples at the end of our first trip in 2015. There are frequent ferries from Molo Beverello every 2 hours or so.
Option 4: By shuttle bus from Naples – Fantastic news, there are also shuttle buses between Naples Airport and Sorrento operated by Curreri Viaggi. The timetable is available here and the journey takes just over an hour! The shuttle costs 10 Euros each way and is a great way to get to Sorrento if you are not keen on the ferry.
Option 5: By taxi from Naples – Taxis from Naples to Sorrento cost approximately 100 Euros each way and are worthwhile if you are traveling in a group and have lots of bags.
Option 6: Private transfers from Naples – a private transfer from Naples to Sorrento is by far the easiest way to get from A to B. I can recommend ADM’s chauffeur service highly for transfer between Naples and Sorrento. We paid approximately 85 Euros for transfer in a Mercedes Benz sedan. You will need to book your transfer in advance here.
TLDR: Avoid the Circumvesuviana train. From Naples: take the ferry, shuttle, taxi or private transfer. Taxis/private cars from Naples to Sorrento cost approximately 100 Euros and are worthwhile if there are several people & lots of bags.
How to get around Sorrento
The best way to get around Sorrento is by renting a scooter once you arrive. Parking is far and few inbetween, and traffic can be a nightmare. We always rent a scooter from Freeway Scooter and their service & rates are outstanding – they also offer car hire in Sorrento if you only need a car for a day or so. Make sure you email ahead during the peak season to book a scooter in advance.
It’s also possible to get around the main part of town on foot, especially if you are staying within the historic center. If you have a rental car, prepare to pay anywhere from 18-24 Euros per day for parking.
Where to stay in Sorrento, Italy
For our first trip to Sorrento in 2015, we stayed at Vhome, a lovely B&B located in a residential building down a side street in a relatively low-key area of Sorrento. It is a quick ten minute walk from the heart of the city, and the people who run it are amazing and packed us cake for our day trip to Capri, in case the two salami-stuffed croissants I had for breakfast wasn’t enough. Click here to book your stay at Vhome!
Another fantastic option is B&B Veru, right on Corso Italia (the main street running through Sorrento – the location can’t be beat). Cristiana is a wonderful host and the boutique rooms are spacious, clean and modern. Although it is on the main street, street noise is minimal. Click here to book your stay at B&B Veru!
If you are traveling around the Amalfi Coast with family or friends, I recommend booking yourself into one of the SorrentoLife two-bedroom apartments right in the heart of town. The apartments offer a good-sized kitchen and the beds are extremely comfortable. The wifi is lightning fast if you need to stay connected, and you can also do laundry in the property. If you plan on driving, SorrentoLife can arrange parking at a nearby facility for a discounted daily rate of 18 Euros. Click here to book your stay at SorrentoLife!
For more Sorrento accommodation options, click here for current prices and availability, or head on over here for all of my Italy hotel recommendations and booking tips. Accommodation close to “Corso Italia” is your best bet, as that is the main street that runs through the city.
The best things to do in Sorrento, Italy
Sorrento is much less hectic than Rome and what I imagined every day Italian life to be like. It is relaxing to stroll through the small side streets and explore, people are nicer and far less pushy than in Rome, and the food is infinitely better. It’s a fantastic place to base yourself if you want to explore the surrounding regions, and there are a variety of great day trips from Sorrento that you can choose from. Wondering what to do in Sorrento? Read on for the best places to visit!
1. Check out the historic center
The first thing you should do in Sorrento is wander around the historic center and check out the incredible handmade Italian leather sandals and limoncello, a local specialty.
The narrow cobblestone pathways are lined with souvenir shops, restaurants, delis and galleries – exploring the nooks and crannies of the coastal town’s historic center on foot is one of the top things to do in Sorrento.
2. Day trip to Capri from Sorrento
It is extremely easy to travel from Sorrento to Capri, so Sorrento is a great base if you want to go on a day trip to Capri. You can take a public boat to Capri from Sorrento (it is a quick 30 minute ferry ride away), or if you’re feeling adventurous you can rent a small rigid inflatable from Sorrento Boat – we paid approximately 200 Euros for a full day and organized our own food and wine – such a great way to explore Capri!
You don’t need a nautical license for the smaller boats and it takes approximately 30-40 minutes to get to Capri. The benefit of doing it this way is that you can visit the blue, white and green grottoes and Faraglioni rock formation with more flexibility, it’s also more cost effective as return ferry tickets can cost upwards of 60 Euros per person.
3. Or go on a day trip to Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius
Going on a day trip to Pompeii is one of the top excursions from Sorrento – here are a number of ways to get from Sorrento to Pompeii including the Circumvesuviana (but you know how I feel about that) and Campania Express trains. To get to Mount Vesuvius from Pompeii, hop on the EAV Bus that departs from outside the Pompei Scavi Circumvesuviana station; the journey takes approximately 50 minutes and costs 2.70 Euros each way, tickets can be bought directly from the bus driver.
Planning a day trip to Pompeii? Click here for practical information on how to get to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, what to see, ticket prices and more
4. Explore the Amalfi Coast
There are lots of ferries to Positano and other towns along the Amalfi coast, just make sure you check the ferry times as the return ferries tend to be in the early afternoon so you wouldn’t be able to stay for dinner.
If you don’t feel like splurging on accommodation in the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento is a great place to base yourself to explore the surrounding regions! If boats aren’t your thing, there are hop on/off buses but they can get extremely packed during the peak season.
5. Go for a dip at Bagni Della Regina Giovanna
This hidden cove is just 10 minutes away from the city by scooter, and is the perfect place to go for a swim (or jump off a rock, if you dare!). It’s also one of the best viewpoints near Sorrento to see Mount Vesuvius from afar. Looking for more sunbathing spots in Sorrento? Read this guide to beaches in Sorrento.
6. Sail over from Sorrento to Ischia and Procida
During the summer months, there are direct ferries from Sorrento to the colourful islands of Ischia and Procida. These two islands are quick boat trips from Sorrento and make for a perfect day trip. Bonus: the tourist crowds are minimal! The ferries don’t run every single day, so make sure you check the ferry times ahead of your trip.
Hotel recommendations: Vhome, a cozy and comfortable B&B located ten minutes away from the historic center of the city. Click here to check current rates at Vhome!
B&B Veru is right on Corso Italia (the main street running through Sorrento) with spacious, clean and modern rooms. Click here to check current rates at B&B Veru!
The SorrentoLife two-bedroom apartments are perfect for families or friends traveling to Sorrento and offer a kitchen and washing machine. Click here to check current rates at SorrentoLife!
For more Sorrento accommodation options, click here to check current prices and availability.
Where to eat and drink in Sorrento
Kicking back and enjoying a delectable tipple is one of the best things to do in Sorrento. If you are a regular reader then you’ll know that I like a good cocktail to go with my sunsets, so we often stop by the Hotel Bellevue Syrene for a mojito or two.
There are several amazing restaurants in Sorrento and our prayers for authentic Italian food were answered in the form of L’Antica Trattoria. The restaurant is one of many along a street in Sorrento near the bay, and if you didn’t know any better you would just pick one restaurant over the other haphazardly, but it’s actually one of the best restaurants in Sorrento.
This place was so good, we have since returned on every trip to Sorrento. Amazing, amazing zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta, ravioli, lamb shanks and calamari. If you make it over, get the tiramisu for dessert. I have never tasted tiramisu as delectable as this, and I will never feel the same way about any other tiramisu for the rest of my life.
It has my heart. Oh, and prices are extremely reasonable for the quality of food and service. Make sure you call ahead or e-mail for a booking, especially if you’re looking to sit outdoors in their stunning courtyard.
Ready to discover the Sorrentine peninsula? Click here to check out highly rated hotels and accommodation options in Sorrento. I hope you found this Sorrento travel guide helpful!
Heading to Italy? You might also find these guides helpful:
- All of my Italy city and destination guides are available here
- There’s no place like Italy. Here are some of my top tips for visiting Italy so you have a fuss-free trip
- A Sorrento to Capri day trip is unmissable – read my guide on how to visit this stunning isle
- Pompeii is one of the most important archaeological sites in Italy. Here is my guide to visiting Pompeii and Vesuvius
- The Amalfi Coast is drop-dead gorgeous, but many people don’t know how to get there or which towns to visit. This is my ultimate guide to the Amalfi Coast!
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