If you’re trying to put together a travel plan for Sorrento, your search for things to do there might make you feel like the town is just a base for several day trips in the area. This Italian town sure is well connected to a number of popular destinations but it does have a beauty of its own and has a number of tourist spots you can visit. Before we look at the places you can easily get to from Sorrento, let’s look at the top 10 things to do IN Sorrento.
1. Take in the stunning views from the cliffs
Sorrento is mostly built upon seaside cliffs, so stunning views come with it. From many places around town, you can take in views of the blue, clear water of the Bay of Naples. Look farther and you will be able to see the volcanic mountain of Vesuvius. You can also see the island of Capri in the distance.
Once you’ve taken in the views of the islands and the water around it, make sure to capture some sights just down below. Depending on what part of the town you are in, you might be able to see the ports at the foot of the cliffs or ruins from ages ago (more about them, later in this post).
2. Relax at Marina Grande or Marina Piccola
Marina Grande is the main port of Sorrento and it’s one of the most popular places to visit when in Sorrento, landing it an easy spot on the top 10 things to do in Sorrento. Marina Grande is also a fishing village still holding on to some of its rustic charm. It also offers some of those famous views of Sorrento but from another perspective. If you walk down the winding paths to the bottom of the cliffs you will find several restaurants, many of which are family-owned and are known to serve fresh seafood.
Don’t forget to look all around and take pictures of the bay, the colorful multi-story buildings, the boats and the crystal clear water beneath them. There’s also a bit of a dark sand beach here. Relax on the beach or under the umbrellas on the piers.
Marina Piccola just beyond the headland, and probably the busier one of the ports, is also a great place to find food and sun-beds. If you’d like a swim in the bay, this is the place to go to.
3. Look around Piazza Tasso
Walk back up the cliffs by Marina Piccola and you’ll be in the prime area of Piazza Tasso. It’s the main square of Sorrento.
Its buildings have an old-world look and there are lots of cafes and shops in the area. As such, it’s always bustling with activity. It’s a great place to grab a drink and watch Sorrento go by.
Explore the many narrow lanes that lead away from it to get a feel of the place. It’s fun to walk through the small shops selling everything from lemon liquor to fruits & vegetables to souvenirs.
4. Take Corso Italia to the Parsano Bastion
Corsa Italia is one of the main street of Sorrento. This narrow road is lined with shops, restaurants and all kinds of businesses. It’s another place for a walk to see Sorrento’s people & buildings and to feel the pulse of the town.
A few minutes of walking west and turning into Via Antonino Sersale will take you to a part of the ancient city wall. This wall is said to have been built during Roman rule. Back then it went around the city and was meant to protect the city. Since its construction, Sorrento has been under several rulers and seen the wall be strengthened, be destroyed & be rebuilt.
Today, only parts of it remain. The reconstructed bastion on Via Antonino Sersale will give you an idea of the structure that once protected the city.
5. Stroll through Via San Cesareo
Via San Cesareo is one of the roads that branch out of Piazza Tasso but it’s not just another street. This road that runs parallel to Corso Italia used to be the central street of Roman Sorrento.
These days it is a pedestrian-friendly lane lined with all kinds of shops. You’ll find them selling everything from clothes to ceramics, from Sorrento’s traditional woodwork and its lemon drink to all kinds of products made with lemon.
6. Vallone dei Mulini
Another historical building to set eyes on while you are in Sorrento would be the Vallone dei Mulini. This unique spot is definitely one of the top 10 things to do in Sorrento. When you are in Piazza Tasso, you can walk down Via Fuorimura and look down into a green valley and there you’ll see stone structures of another era.
Long abandoned and taken over by the wilderness of the valley, Vallone dei Mulini was once home to saw mills. You cannot walk down to the mills but you can see it from the bridge above it and take a few photographs to treasure the sight. (The area has been seeing some construction going on so you might want to check with locals if you can manage to get a glimpse of the old structures.)
7. The Baths of Regina Giovanna
Interested in more ruins? You could also go see the Baths of Regina Giovanna. If you could take a boat to Capo di Sorrento or take a bus to the area and walk down to the sea where you will be able to see Villa Pollio Felice, a villa that belonged to Queen Giovanna.
Only a part of the building is still standing. Another thing to see here is a natural pool you can jump into for a swim. The rocky surroundings and a natural arch make it a dramatic yet quiet corner away from the tourists of Sorrento.
8. Experience the serenity at the Church of St. Francis
This church is located close to the happening parts of Sorrento, yet it’s a serene area. A perfect mix to make it one of the top 10 things to do in Sorrento. The patron saint of Sorrento, Saint Antonino had first built an oratory here. It was later turned into a church and dedicated to St. Francis.
People come here to see not just the church and its architecture but also the convent, the cloister — Chiostro di San Francesco as it is better known — & the gardens. The complex often is a venue for weddings, exhibitions and musical events.
9. Marvel at the grandeur of Sorrento Cathedral
Sorrento’s Cathedral of San Filippo and San Giacomo is an 11th-century church that was rebuilt in the 15th century. It still has some of the original features. This cathedral often referred to as the duomo has seen additions of different styles of architecture over the years.
The features to specially look for over here are painted ceilings, a door from the 11th century, its 3-story bell tower and its grand altar.
10. Get acquainted with Intarsia
Did you know that Intarsia is a kind of wood inlay work and that it’s the traditional art of Sorrento? Seeing this artwork is one of the top 10 things to do in Sorrento.
Visit Museo Muta in Pomarici Santomasi Palace and you’ll learn about Sorrento’s woodwork-history and see some items from small decorative objects to pieces of furniture. There’s even a store from which you can pick up some of Sorrento’s famous woodwork souvenirs. You could also ask if they have events or workshops that you could attend.