Europe

Staying in the Charming Town of Sorrento in Italy

I recently shared our five day Amalfi Coast itinerary (which you should definitely check out if you’re planning a holiday), but for my next few posts I’d like to go a little deeper and share about each place we visited along the coast, starting with where we stayed – the charming town of Sorrento, Italy!

Colorful homes in Sorrento, Italy

Why You Should Stay in Sorrento

It was Sorrento’s convenient location and less expensive accommodations that originally convinced us to choose it as our home base for the Amalfi Coast, but it was the colorful character of the town and the relaxed Italian vibe we encountered there that made us never want to leave.

Even though it’s not directly on the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento is still an excellent place to stay when visiting the area thanks to how easy it is to reach most villages on the coast from here. Situated on the Bay of Naples, many popular tourist destinations including Amalfi, Positano, and Capri are all just a quick ferry ride away. Frequent buses provide access to even more.

The award for best beaches and prettiest scenery would likely go to its coastal neighbors, but what Sorrento did better than any of the places we visited on the Amalfi Coast was offer us a glimpse into Italian daily life.

A woman hanging wet laundry from her open, upper story window, motorbikes darting about everywhere, people enjoying their morning coffee and cigarettes at an outdoor cafe, a couple arguing in the street, gesticulating wildly with their hands, everyone gathering at their windows and balconies to watch the sunset over the bay every evening – this is what made Sorrento stand out so much for us.

It was our first time in Italy, and to see it come to life like that in person was an incredible experience. We spent two half days and most evenings of our trip exploring Sorrento, and we still left feeling like it wasn’t nearly enough.

Read More: Exploring Picture-Perfect Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast

Cliffside view of Sorrento from Piazza Della Vittoria

Plants on balconies in Sorrento, Italy Laundry hanging outside an apartment in Sorrento

Restaurants along the Marina Grande in Sorrento

View of the sea in Sorrento from Piazza Tasso

Man standing outside of a flower shop in Sorrento

Colorful seaside buildings in Sorrento, Italy

Where to Stay in Sorrento

We stayed in an apartment just off of Piazza Sant’Antonino, which I preferred to the busier, more touristy Piazza Tasso. There were plenty of shops and restaurants to choose from in this area, but it was still very quiet and felt more residential.

Every morning we’d walk down the narrow alleys off Piazza Sant’Antonino, exchanging smiles and buongiornos with friendly shop owners while taking pictures of literally everything we saw on our way to the bus station to head somewhere new for the day. (The bus/train station is just a short 10-minute walk away from the piazza.)

We’d return to our apartment at the end of each day, and despite spending all day at some of the prettiest beaches in the world, I’d feel a little sad knowing that we’d missed all the goings-on in Sorrento while we were gone. (There is just never enough time when you’re traveling!)

If photographing character-filled streets, colorful architecture, and people going about daily life is your thing, you’ll definitely enjoy staying near Piazza Sant’Antonino.

Find the perfect place to stay in Sorrento here.

Things to Do in Sorrento

Sunset from the Marina Grande in Sorrento with Mount Vesuvius across the bay

Sorrento beaches at night

Visit the Marina Grande

One of my favorite places in Sorrento is the Marina Grande. If you’re looking for a great place to watch the sunset, this is it. There is much to watch going on here, so if you’ve got the time, I suggest sitting at one of the outdoor cafes and not leaving for at least a couple hours. It’s loud and hectic, yet blissfully peaceful at the same time.

Boats are constantly coming and going, servers run back and forth from restaurants to tables along the waterside, groups of tourists wander through, and people living in homes above the marina shout to each other from their balconies. It’s a fascinating scene to watch unfold as an uninvolved observer, and the views of Mount Vesuvius and the delicious Italian food only make it that much better. (We liked Trattoria da Emilia. Their seafood and pasta is molto bene!)

Read More: Pompeii Guide: 14 Things to See in Pompeii + Tips for Visiting

Sunbathing deck on the beach in Sorrento

Bird's eye view of umbrellas on the beach in Sorrento

Relax on the Beaches

Regretfully, we didn’t get to spend very much time on the beaches in Sorrento other than to take a few photos as we were exploring the town. They certainly seem like great places to soak up some Vitamin D, though.

The beaches in the Marina Piccola are small, but incredibly colorful and unique. To make up for the lack of sand real estate, Sorrento’s beaches also have wooden platforms stretching out into the ocean for sunbathers to relax on.

The water is so clear here, and if we hadn’t been leaving every day to explore other places, underneath one of those blue umbrellas is where you would have found me before it got too hot to be anywhere other than in the water!

Colorful changing rooms along the Marina Piccola in Sorrento

Find Sorrento’s Best Photography Spots

Besides the beaches and the Marina Grande, here are a few other great photography locations in Sorrento.

  • The Piazza della Vittoria offers beautiful cliffside views along the coast.
  • The lookout point along the street near Piazza Tasso provides a great view of the sea through greenery-covered balconies.
  • The side streets and alleys around Piazza Sant’Antonino are great for street photography.
  • For a bird’s eye view of umbrellas on beaches, walk up the cliffside via the steps in the Marina Piccola.
  • The Cathedral of Sorrento is fairly understated on the outside, but the interior is gorgeous.

Even though I’ve got a long list of other places I’d like to see in Italy first, I hope we’ll return to this part of the country again someday. (One trip to the Amalfi Coast is never enough!) And when we do, I wouldn’t hesitate making Sorrento our home base a second time.

Read More: Atrani Beach: A Quiet Spot on the Amalfi Coast in Italy

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The town of Sorrento is a great place to stay if you're visiting the Amalfi Coast on a budget. Find out more, including where to stay in Sorrento and tips for things to do, here! The town of Sorrento is a great place to stay if you're visiting the Amalfi Coast on a budget. Find out more, including where to stay in Sorrento and tips for things to do, here!

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  • Sara Kay
    September 27, 2018 at 11:24 AM

    Very helpful thanks a bunch!

  • melanie l galvin
    June 5, 2018 at 1:58 PM

    Hi there, What’s the apartment you stayed at — i don’t see the link included here. Thanks so much.

  • Kathleen Bello
    May 29, 2018 at 1:16 AM

    This is perfect blog for anyone who is looking for topics like this. It has got it all, information, benefits and overview. A perfect piece of writing. Good job.

  • Kenny
    April 21, 2018 at 11:42 AM

    Sarah, since you are living in Singapore visit the Manhattan Bar at the Regent Hotel. Voted the best in Asia and 7th in the world. Chef Jeffrey from Amsterdam will prepare the best Angus beef burger and chips for you.
    Sophia the mixologist prepares the best Hemingway Daquri. Crowded during the weekends.

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 21, 2018 at 7:55 PM

      Thanks for the tips, Kenny! You really know your restaurants around the world, don’t you? :) I’ll definitely give the Manhattan Bar a go at your suggestion. It isn’t far at all from where we live on Orchard. And if we ever find ourselves back in Sorrento, which I sincerely hope we do, I’ll certainly try out Ristorante Caruso as well.

  • Kenny
    April 21, 2018 at 11:38 AM

    When you next visit Sorrento please try out Ristorante CARUSO. The food is amazing and Mario will take care of you.

  • Andy Cartridge
    April 11, 2018 at 11:14 AM

    Hi Sarah

    What a lovely piece.

    We’ve been visiting Sorrento for the last 7 or 8 years, sometimes twice a year, & we’re back again later this year. If you do go again, go to the Foreigners Club. I promise you won’t regret it.

    Ciao

    Andy

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 11, 2018 at 10:16 PM

      I absolutely will! Thank you for the tip!

      I’m a little jealous you’re able to visit Sorrento so often. :) I look forward to returning someday, but who knows when that will be?

  • Ron
    February 15, 2018 at 7:49 AM

    “Do you know the land where the lemon-trees grow,
    in darkened leaves the gold-oranges glow,
    a soft wind blows from the pure blue sky,
    the myrtle stands mute, and the bay-tree high?
    Do you know it well?
    It’s there I’d be gone,
    to be there with you, O, my beloved one…”

    • Sarah Shumate
      February 17, 2018 at 6:09 PM

      That’s beautiful, Ron! Thank you for sharing! :)