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A list of the best things to do in Sorrento blends culture, history, and alcoholic aperitifs into an irresistible Italian cocktail.

This coastal city remains one of Italy’s most popular destinations. It’s also the perfect base from which to explore the Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Naples.

There’s a wide selection of things to do in Sorrento itself, such as wandering beneath fragrant avenues of lemon trees, dining on uber-fresh seafood pasta, and contemplating art within extravagant villas. It’s not hard to have a wonderful time in this eternally effervescent destination, but here’s some inspiration.

Taste Limoncello at a Local Distillery

Try limoncello, one of the best things to do in Sorrento

Villa Massa Limoncello Distillery

Sorrento is famous for its lemons. Beneath the warm Italian sunshine, the fruit swells to impressive proportions. The scent laces the air.

You’ll smell it on walks through the Sorrentine countryside, infused into your tangy Delizia al limone dessert, and as you sip your digestif of chilled limoncello.

Limoncello is a vivid and delicious bright yellow liqueur. While it’s perfect at a sidestreet trattoria or rounding off a Michelin-starred tasting menu, a trip to a nearby distillery helps you understand how its producers pack so much flavor into each tangy sip.

Bottles of Villa Massa at the distillery

Villa Massa Limoncello Distillery

Discover the know-how at family-run Villa Massa Limoncello Distillery, where they’ve been transforming the lemons of Sorrento into superb limoncello for over a hundred years. A bottle, traditionally slim, makes for a highly transportable souvenir.

Take a Scenic Stroll Through the City Center

Walk the city center, one of the best things to do in Sorrento

City Center

Sorrento’s center is wonderfully compact; it’s a great walking city. Corso Italia, which unrolls leisurely from one end of the city to the other, is its main thoroughfare.

It’s mostly pedestrianized and you’ll find yourself returning to Corso Italia’s abundant window boxes and shop windows again and again during your stay. Brightly painted stalls occasionally block the sidewalk, selling citrus in net bags alongside bags of chewy candy infused with their flavors.

Walk the city center, one of the best things to do in Sorrento

City Center

Leading off of Corso Italia, you’ll discover Roman-era sidestreets inhabited by tiny boutiques selling clothes, souvenirs, and other treasures. Among these lanes (or vicoletti), you’ll find artisan workshops that showcase the beautiful inlaid wood boxes that Sorrento is known for.

As the sunlight turns to gold in late afternoon, join the locals for a fashion-browsing passeggiata on Corso Italia. A cone of lemon gelato is an essential element.

Visit a Traditional Farm

Visit La Sorgente Farm, one of the best things to do in Sorrento

La Sorgente Farm

Arriving in Sorrento, you’ll see how agriculture patterns the surrounding foothills of the Lattari Mountains.

Superb olive oil, wine, and cheese have been produced locally for centuries. These ingredients, created with artful skill and fed by the Sorrentine sunshine, contribute to some of the most memorable food in Italy.

Discover the lifestyle and processes behind these outstanding ingredients with a visit to La Sorgente Farm. Rosa and Maria will unveil the way of life on their family farm and the secrets behind their mouthwatering mozzarella.

Couple eating from La Sorgente Farm

La Sorgente Farm

On the visit, there’ll be a chance to get hands-on with a cooking class. Alternatively, just revel in their delicious antipasti served with some of Campania’s most quaffable wine.

Taste Campania’s Superb Wines

Wine in Sorrento


From Barolo in northerly Piedmont to Primitivo in sunny Puglia, you’ll find that almost all corners of Italy produce distinctive and delicious wines. Campania, the Italian region of Naples and Sorrento, is no different.

You’ll find swathes of vines woven into its citrus groves that patchwork the Campanian countryside.

Aglianico grapes


For lovers of reds, aglianico is a full-bodied regional favorite that is, at its best, likened to Barolo (although at a much-reduced price point).

Delicious white wines are even more plentiful – and affordable. Greco di Tufo is a classic with seafood, while floral Falanghina was being decanted back when gladiators and lions tussled in Rome’s Colosseum.

As with Sicily, many of the wines in this region enjoy a secret ingredient: the volcanic soil of Vesuvius. Try Lacryma Christi for a taste of what vines with their feet in volcanic soil taste like.

Explore the Museo Correale

Exterior of Museo Correale di Terranova Museum

Museo Correale di Terranova Museum Photo by Carlo Dani on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

A visit to the Museo Correale di Terranova is one of the best things to do in Sorrento. Once the Correale family’s summer residence, this four-floor villa has been transformed into a monument to the lifestyle of 18th-century Italian nobility.

You’ll find exhibits about Sorrento’s history as well as art to admire on the walls. A library is stocked with the wealth of writing that’s been penned about Sorrento, its industries, as well as odes to its general marvelousness.

But while you’ll admire the interior, prepare to be awestruck when you wander out into the expansive gardens. As you relax beneath shady palms, the air fragranced with orange blossom and pine, you’ll not want to leave its carefully tended pathways. Ascend to the villa’s Belvedere Terrace for wonderful views over the Bay of Naples.

Peer Inside the Church of San Francesco

Beautiful exterior of Church of San Francesco

Church of San Francesco

Exploring the interior of this 14th-century church is one of the best things to do in Sorrento to commune with the city’s medieval history. It’s also a way of connecting with the local way of life, especially if you happen to witness one of the many weddings that take place here in the warmer months. You’ll find the church close to the main public gardens, near the seafront.

An ancient oratory converted into a church by Franciscan friars, it’s something of a hotchpotch of renovations and improvements. The impressive main doors date back to the 16th century, while the clean marble facade is a 1926 addition. Inside, the fabulous frescos are from the 18th century.

Take a Regal Swim in Bagni della Regina Giovanna

Aerial view of Bagni della Regina Giovanna

Bagni della Regina Giovanna

It’s a simple matter to step onto a strip of volcanic sand near Sorrento. However, an easy twenty-minute stroll from the town brings you to an altogether more intriguing bathing opportunity.

You’ll arrive at the atmospheric 1BC ruins of the Villa Pollio. From there, take the stairs that lead down to the Bagni della Regina Giovanna, known as one of the most romantic places in Italy. Named for a former queen of Naples who used to swim here (and pursue romantic assignations, according to historical gossip), the swimming hole is a lovely place for a dip.

Swim out beneath the stone arch to make your way to a sea-facing cove. You’ll also find flat areas of rock here on which to lay a towel and take in the wonderful sea views.

People Watch in Piazza Tasso

Street view of Piazza Tasso

Piazza Tasso

In Sorrento’s Piazza Tasso, find the Fauno Bar for a cappuccino and some superb people-watching. The square itself is in perpetual motion, with Vespas and Fiats slipping past while a constant stream of stylish locals and fashionable Neapolitans make their way by foot into the town center.

Named for a medieval poet who was born in this Italian coastal town, Piazza Tasso is located around the midpoint of Corso Italia. Other good vantage points for people watching include Via San Cesareo and the Marina Grande.

Discover the Local Handicrafts

Shop handicrafts, one of the best things to do in Sorrento

Shopping in Sorrento

While you’ll see colorful magnets polka-dotting souvenir racks in this ever-popular destination, the good news is that Sorrento also offers some beautiful handicraft traditions that provide superb keepsake or gift options.

Best known, besides the limoncello, is its inlaid wood (and marquetry) traditions. A craft that rose to prominence in Italy during the Renaissance, woodworking reached its zenith in Sorrento in the 19th century. You can learn more about its history with a visit to Museo Bottega della Tarsia Lignea on Via dell’Accademia.

Wandering Roman-era backstreets such as Via San Cesareo or Via Fuoro, you’ll find artisan workshops aplenty. Within are inlaid boxes, mirrors, and music boxes all elegantly decorated with wafer-thin wood pieces to form attractive landscapes.

You’ll also find the city’s wonderfully bright ceramics for sale as well (often decorated with lemons, of course).

See the Valley of the Mills

Abandoned Valley of the Mills in Sorrento

Valley of the Mills

Visiting the Valley of the Mills, a remarkable piece of the past sunken below street level, is one of the best things to do in Sorrento.

It’s a surreal sight. Just off of Corso Italia a narrow gorge gouges the urban weave. Peer into its lush green interior, and you’ll see the boxy ruins of medieval flour mills. Despite their overgrown, dilapidated condition, this industry only shut up shop at the beginning of the 20th century.

Besides being a window into Sorrento’s history, the Valley of the Mills also makes for a wonderful photographic subject. Discover why it was so popular with the 19th century Romantic poets with a wander among its ferns and carpets of moss, the noise of the traffic giving way to birdsong.

Enjoy the Art Exhibitions in Villa Fiorentino

Villa Fiorentino is one of the grandest buildings on Corso Italia. A neoclassical mansion from the 1930s, it’s been donated to the city and now acts as a cultural hub for Sorrento.

It’s nicknamed “Villa Fazzoletti” in honor of the fine handkerchiefs made by the original owners that furnished the fortune to build it. Today, you’ll find rotating exhibitions at the villa that feature work by local and international artists.

Regular annual events also take place, such as the Art Festival by SyArt, which exhibits work by major artists such as Chagall, Bacon, and Dali.

Hit the Beach

Waterfront of Marina Piccola Beach

Marina Piccola Beach

One of the best things to do in Sorrento is to visit the seaside. And while this particular stretch of Italian coastline is not blessed with sandy acreage, several beach options present themselves close to town.

Take the elevator or the zigzag pathway down the cliff from Villa Comunale Park to Marina Piccola Beach. There’s a minuscule wedge of volcanic sand here that’s free to all comers, and then the remainder of this slim strip is run by beach clubs. Make your way out to the breakwaters for uninterrupted views of Vesuvius from your beach club lounger.

Boats lined up on Marina Grande Beach

Marina Grande Beach

Or stroll westwards and you’ll quickly arrive among the upscale fishing village vibes of Marina Grande Beach. Bookended by fishing boats, this strip of sand is similarly compact but comes with the advantage of being adjacent to some of Sorrento’s best restaurants. Bagni Sant’ Anna, with its tables set out on a pier, is perfect for a dinner of fresh oysters.

If sand isn’t an essential factor, make the 20-minute walk through fragrant macchia to the Solara basking area. Close to the famous Bagni della Regina Giovanna bathing hole, it’s an area of flat sun-warmed rock strewn with tanning Italians.

Go Pizza Tasting in Naples

Couple at a restaurant in Naples

Restaurant in Naples

Sorrento and Naples are entirely different propositions: the former a chic seaside resort, the latter a seething metropolis. And while it’s hard to even consider leaving Sorrento once you’ve arrived, if you like pizza, you just have to spend time in Naples.

It’s an alluring city, full of history and vibrant culture. And pizzerias. The round format pizza prevalent worldwide—known as “pizza tonda” in Italy—hails from the Campanian capital.

Visit Pizzeria Brandi for a true slice of pizza history. It’s here that the Margherita was reputedly created to honor Queen Margherita of Savoy’s visit to the city in 1889.

Drive the Amalfi Coast

Beautiful landscape of the Amalfi Coast


Travel south along the Sorrentine Peninsula’s wiggly coastal highway and you’ll reach the Amalfi Coast, one of the best places to visit in Southern Italy.

Together, these two seaside regions combine to form one of Italy’s most glamorous areas. One of the best things to do in Sorrento is to hire a car—preferably a vintage Fiat 500 in limoncello yellow—and cruise the Amalfi coast with the top down.

You’ll pass through towns synonymous with classic glamor: Positano, Ravello, and of course, Amalfi. As you drive, you’ll take in its breathtaking topography ornamented with the area’s famous clinging architecture and brightly tiled bell towers.

Park up for hand-crafted leather sandals, award-winning pastries from Sal de Riso’s shop in Minori, and aperitivo in beachside bars that make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a movie.

Visit Pompeii

Couple exploring Pompeii


Vesuvius dominates the view from Sorrento across the Bay of Naples, a reminder of the contract with nature that all who choose to live in this area consciously or unconsciously undertake.

Pompeii, the wealthy Roman town that was dramatically buried beneath an eruption of pumice and volcanic dust in 79AD, is a must-visit if you’re in the area. After a 45-minute drive by car in the direction of Naples and that looming volcano, you’ll reach the UNESCO-protected archaeological park.

Visit Pompeii, one of the best things to do in Sorrento


The eruption took the inhabitants by surprise and it’s remarkable how the layers of volcanic residue preserved so much of this ancient town and its daily rhythms in a tragic, frozen moment. Specific highlights in its unearthed streets include the Amphitheatre, the Villa of Mysteries, and the deeply affecting casts of the dead.

It’s a huge place, so be sure to arrive early if you’re planning only a half-day visit. Hats, sunscreen, and plenty of water are essential.

Things to do in Sorrento - restaurant


Experience Sorrento on a cruise to the Amalfi Coast. Browse our cruise itineraries and book an Italian vacation that’ll burn as brightly in the memory as a sip of delicious limoncello.

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