The place of legend from where sirens sang to lure ancient mariners to meet a rocky doom, Sorrento is now a fashionable place to holiday with a picturesque clifftop location overlooking the Bay of Naples.
On southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast, beautiful Sorrento boasts lovely shops, great places to eat and really lovely people. This Neapolitan Riviera town is also close to some of Italy’s most famed historic sites, such as Pompeii, frozen in time when Mount Vesuvius erupted.
Since 1997, when the area set out to market itself as a wedding destination, many British couples have come here to tie the knot – and the area has grown recently as a fave Brit hot spot.
Getting there/around Sorrento
Fly to Aeroporto Capodichino, five miles north of Naples and 31 miles from Sorrento. There’s a one-hour express train from Naples to Sorrento or get a taxi outside the terminal.
In the height of summer, traffic can get hectic around Sorrento and roads get very windy. There is an OK public transport system; taxis can be expensive.
Beaches in Sorrento
If you’re looking for long stretches of talc-like sand don’t come here. Sorrento does have little Punta del Capo, Positano has a little beach, as does Amalfi – get there early to secure a couple of the regimentally-arranged sun loungers.
What you will find everywhere are lots of piers extending into the water – again, space is at a premium.
Sightseeing in Sorrento
The city’s walls date back to the Greeks, whilst Sorrento’s Saint Francis’s 14th century convent is well worth a look and the ornate interior of the town’s cathedral is beautiful.
A former palace houses the gardens and museum of Correale di Terranova, stuffed with statues, antiques and Italian art.
It’s well worth visiting at the end of September for the annual Sorrento wine festival.
Family attractions in Sorrento
Sorrento tends to suit couples more than families. However, if your brood love pizza, boat trips, clambering over historic ruins and winding round hairpin bends on a road-trip to remember – then bring them here for a sophisticated family holiday.
Day trips in Sorrento
Positano’s sweetie-coloured houses cascade down to the sea, while climbing wistful Amalfi’s intricate little streets reveals wonderful boutiques and the Duomo, the town’s heart-aching 10th century church.
Peaceful Ravello is perched even higher than Amalfi, so the views are more spectacular still or get the hydrofoil to Naples – Italy’s third most-populated city and home to the brilliant Archaeological Museum.
Boat trips from Sorrento’s harbour leave for the islands of Capri, with its famed Blue Grotto, and lush Ischia, with pretty coastal and hillside villages, thermal springs and great seafood.
Go on a wine-tasting tour of the surrounding Campania region, or walkers will love the Amalfi Coast’s most scenic walk, Sentieri dei Degli, or ‘Path of the Gods’.
Visit the sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both frozen in AD79 when ash and lava erupting from Mount Vesuvius encased the Roman towns forever.
Eating in Sorrento
Delicious Italian food served on wonderful terrace restaurants or simple trattorias and pizzerias – pizza was invented at nearby Naples – you can’t go wrong.
Sorrentine cuisine is famous for seafood, buffalo mozzarella, red peppers, olives and lemons grown in abundance here. Gnocchi all Sorrentina is a waist-busting dish with a delicious tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella.
Try the white Falanghina wine or the red Taurasi, or Lacrima Christi, (Tears of Christ), one of the most famous red and white wines produced in Campania.
Polish off the meal with a local limoncello liqueur – Sorrento is famous for this – grab ice cream at a local gelateria or try local Sorrentine ‘cream horns’, a decadent treat.
Nightlife in Sorrento
Sorrento won’t disappoint anyone looking for ‘the sweet life’, la dolce vita. Corso Italia and Piazza Tasso is the area to head after dark as young locals zip around on their Vespas.
Sorrento has become very popular with British tourists so don’t be surprised if you see your neighbour enjoying a drink at one of the ‘English’ bars or restaurants. Go down the ‘Drains’ an area that’s a maze of medieval backstreet bars and restaurants. For somewhere quieter, stay at the nearby village of Sant-Agata.
Sorrento has a wonderful July season of classical concerts, or book up for a concert or a ballet at Teatro San Carlo in Naples, one of the country’s most beautiful theatres.
Shopping in Sorrento
Sorrento offers the best shopping along the Amalfi Coast, from Via San Cesareo’s quaint shops to Corso Italia’s boutiques. There’s a weekly Tuesday market.
Local goodies include embroidery, lace, cameos and of course – limoncello.