This iconic town, perched on the craggy cliffs overlooking the Amalfi coast looks as if it rose out of the sea fully formed. Like most of Italy, Sorrento is layered in history, with ancient monuments, medieval palaces and renaissance buildings scattered between its narrow cobbled streets.
While beaches in Sorrento are few and far between, the sweeping views out across the sapphire Tyrranehian Sea more than make up for it. Mount Vesuvius looms from the mainland and a collection of pretty islands can be seen just off the coast.
Due to its location, Sorrento has become known as the Gateway to the Amalfi coast. Its proximity to the historic site of Pompeii, the renowned island of Capri and Naples make it a convenient spot to use as a base for day trips.
Sorrento offers much to explore by land and sea. Take a rambling walk through the town and soak up the picturesque surroundings. Make time to visit the Duomo and the Marina Grande at the waterfront. The stone porticos and cloudy bougainvillea of the Chiesa di San Francesco are not to be missed. The church often holds classical concerts and events in the evening so be sure to check the performance schedule. You can take a boat trip around the waters of Sorrento and explore the coastal islands, plus fishing trips are also easily organised on the mainland.
The coastal restaurants benefit from fresh catches of the day, with local fishermen selling straight from their fishing boats. Places such as Ristorante Bagni Delfino offer waterside seating for beautiful views to enjoy while you tuck into the house special of Risotto Delfino, a risotto with fresh mussels, clams, squid and octopus seasoned with garlic and parsley.
There’s plenty of places to stay in Sorrento, but be sure to book ahead, particularly if you’re looking for value for money. Travel guide Lonely Planet recommends choosing somewhere on the Via Capo for coastal views. If you’re looking to splurge, Capo la Gala is set high on the clifftops and describes itself as “nautically Neapolitan”. Its chic interiors and exquisite rooms are redolent of Italian Riviera style. The more moderately priced Hotel Astoria Sorrento features authentic stone work and is situated right in the hustle and bustle of town. If you haven’t tried Airbnb yet, this is a great opportunity to live like a true Italian!