Visiting Sorrento | The Complete Guide
They say a picture is worth a thousand words so this is what Sorrento is like. A lovely small town sitting on the rocky cliffs over the Mediterranean, spritzed by lemon groves and overlooking a breathtaking view of the Bay of Naples.
Visiting Sorrento | Must know
- Sorrento | Marina Grande & Marina Piccola
- Sorrento | Queen Johannas Baths
- Sorrento | Cloister of St. Francesco
- Sorrento | The Old Town
- Sorrento | Villa Comunale, best views
- Sorrento | Food & Culture
- Sorrento | The Old Churches
- Sorrento | Piazza Tasso & Corso Italia
- Sorrento | Museums & Cultural Events
- Sorrento | The Valley of the Mills
Sorrento, the Land of Marmaids
Overlooking the bay of Naples from a special perspective, Sorrento is a charming coastal town prefered by guests from all over the world for its strategic location and laid-back atmosphere. Its spectacular views, gorgeous food, pristine beaches and beautiful scenery make Sorrento one the most visited destinations in Europe. Sorrento is a budget friendly place that is good for day tripping or as an ideal base for exploring the fascinating region of the South of Italy. From Naples to the Amalfi Coast, from Capri to Pompei ruins. Safer and more pleasant than any other town in the area, the city offers both charm and enjoyment with numerous places of natural beauty, historical interest and cultural sites to visit.
Sorrento | Marina Grande & Marina Piccola
Marina Grande, Sorrento.
Considered by many the favourite place in Sorrento, Marina Grande is definetely worth a visit. The colourful and picturesque fishing village on the edge of the Bay, it is a great place to have a drink on the side of the dock and grab something to eat. You can find a lot of local trattorias with good meals at reasonable prices and waterfront restaurants with a buzzing atmosphere. During the summer, and especially on weekends, evenings are very busy for dinner. The tiny church of Sant’Anna is well worth a visit and if you are lucky enough to be in Sorrento in July when the Festival of St Anna is on you will see the whole Marina Grande light up. The cafés, hotels, restaurants on the edge of the sea host special dinners and parties for the fireworks show at midnight.
Marina Piccola is the main Sorrento harbour where you catch the ferries to Naples, the Island of Capri and Ischia. You can reach Marina Piccola walking down the steps from Piazza Tasso (next to the flags) or those from the Villa Comunale and take an lift on the way back or catch a bus. The views from the steps of the Villa Comunale are simply beautiful. When you arrive to the bottom, you will find beach clubs with sandy beach and sundeck area where sun loungers and umbrellas are set up. On the right hand side, there are plenty of little restaurants, cafès, hotels, and shops where you can purchase ferry tickets.
Sorrento | Queen Johanna Baths
Queen Johanna Baths, Sorrento.
If you want to get away from the busy beaches of the Amalfi Coast, I would highly recommend to visit the Queen Johannas’ Baths, a stunning spot with a Roman Villa and its exclusive natural swimming pool. Where you can swim and enjoy a great walk around the cliff tops with the best views of the bay, from May until the end of September. By walking to the other side of the ruins and following the wooden pier around the rocks, you will find an amazing waterfront bar/restaurant called La Solara. As one of the most popular places in Sorrento, la Solara is a fantastic spot to have great meals, enjoying a glass of wine, watching the sunset right over the water ( it faces west) and you can swim until late.
Don’t miss out!
Sorrento | Cloister of San Francesco
Cloister of St. Francesco, Sorrento.
Just a five minute walk from Piazza Tasso, you will see the most popular spot for weddings and concerts in Sorrento city centre. Situated near Villa Comunale park, a serene environment surrounds the small thirteenth-century cloister of the Church of San Francesco. It is a dreamy place with a mixture of styles and periods. With its vines and bright bougainvillea, the Cloister of San Francesco is a peacful escape from the bustle of the rest of Sorrento. We cannot think of anywhere in the world that could a better setting for a wedding ceremony than the courtyard of the cloister. There is a romantic and peaceful atmosphere and it is perfect for an intimate venue in a serene environment.
Sorrento | The Old Town
The Old Town, Sorrento.
This is considered the heart of Sorrento, the old town is a mix of little streets, anchored by Piazza Tasso and Via Capo at each end, and nestled between Corso Italia and the coastline. This area is mostly pedestrianised and it still preserves some medieval buildings, Antichi Palazzi with facades typical of the 13th century, original decorations and ancient churches. The main streets are lined with lemon products and leather shops. In the centre of the old Town, at the junction of Via San Cesareo and Via Padre Reginaldo Giuliani, you will find the Sedil Dominova, a 17th century loggia that used to be a meeting place for the towns nobles and now is a retreat for retired working class men. The old town bubbles with life and warmth and the craftsmen still work with their hands, the perfume of lemon and orange lingers in the air, and in the evening music, bars, cafes and restaurants come to life when locals and visitors mix and mingle.
Sorrento | Villa Comunale, best views
Considered “Sorrentos room with a view”, Villa Comunale gardens sits on the clifftop of the Peninsula and is the perfect place to relax and take scenic photos. The public park greets you in all of its beauty with the stunning views of the Bay of Naples, Sorrento Coastline and Vesuvius. An absolute must when visiting Sorrento. This park is on a hilltop next to The Cloisters of St. Francesco and near to the Hotel Tramontano. It’s a small area with a few benches but it’s a lovely place for a walk through the gardens filled with beautiful flowers or to have a drink or an ice cream in the cafe/restaurant overlooking the sea. Inside the Villa Comunale gardens you will find the lift that takes you down to the Marina Piccola harbour and beach clubs.It’s on the left corner of the garden and costs €1 single trip. You can also walk down by steps, from where views are incredible. I do suggest to walk down and return by lift.
Sorrento | Food & Culture
Food in Italy is a serious topic and in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast you eat a lot and you eat very well. Food is part of the Italian culture but with so many amazing options, it can be hard to decide what to try first and where to dine. From traditional restaurants to michelin star,from romantic settings to unique locations. The common thread is quality products and tradition. In the magazine you will find our reviews about the best restaurants to dine for for fresh fish and seafood, tradional pastas, best desserts and amazing pizza. Do not forget to try the well-know liqueur of Sorrento, a limoncello, produced using only the peel of lemons. Via San Cesareo in Sorrento old Town is lined with shops selling lemon products (biscuits, pasta, perfume, chocolate, soap) but you can find them also in supermarkets and grocery stores.
Sorrento | The Old Churches
Besides the Cathedral of Sorrento that lies on the main Street Corso Italia and considered the main Church of the Peninsula. There are many holy places which deserve to be visited in the Sorrento Peninsula, not just for their architectural beauty but also for the history and their art masterpieces. In fact, churches are part of the culture and history of Sorrento, they are all well preserved and during Holy Week they host events, rituals and processions.
Piazza Tasso and Corso Italia
Piazza Tasso and Corso Italia, Sorrento.
Piazza Tasso is the heartbeat of Sorrento and Corsa Italia its main artery. When you are looking for a place to stay consider the main square as point of landmark to find well located accommodation, close to the train station, restaurants and the old town. Piazza Tasso is bordered by bars, cafès, restaurants where people can relax with a drink and watch the hustle and bustle of Sorrento or enjoy a good pizza in the square . All roads seem to lead through Piazza Tasso that separates the pedestrian area of the Corso Italia from the portion which allows traffic. If you are travelling with luggage we recommend to look for accommodation on the first part of the Corso Italia, where cars and taxi are allowed for limited times.
Sorrento | Museums & Cultural Events
Set in a lovely garden in Sorrento city centre the Museum Corrale di Terranova was born from a private foundation commissioned by the Counts of Terranova who arranged for their art collections, ordered in the Correale villa, to constitute a Museum named after them. The collections are arranged on three floors, for a total of twenty-four rooms plus the attic recovered as an exhibition space. It has been described as “the most beautiful provincial museum of Italy.” The gardens of the villa are beautiful and also open for the public to visit.
Sorrento is famous for the historical craft of the marqueting and inlaid wood and in the old town there is the Museum of Inlaid Wood with a collection of art pieces, a painting gallery featuring scenes of last century, maps and portraits. It is highly recommended for those who love this ancient craft and want to learn why Sorrento and this craftsmanship featured on the Grand Arts Tour of Europe in the 1800s.
Sorrento | The Valley of the Mills
The deep Valley of the Mills, is recognized as one of the most fascinating abandoned sites photographed in the world. You can find this hidden treasure walking through the city of Sorrento, just behind central Tasso Square. It’s outstanding to see this beautiful old mill nestled into the valley below. You will see an old flour mill, used for grinding wheat for nearly a thousand years before it was abandoned during the 19th century. Now the ruins’ roof is covered in a tangle of plants and branches, as if nature is trying to consume the building. Today, access to the valley floor is discouraged, so take in the views from the street high above. To see the ruins and vegetation in more detail, bring a set of binoculars with you or a camera with a good zoom lens.