The largest city on Italy’s Amalfi Coast is more of an access point to other nearby tourist sights than a full-day destination unto itself. That said, Sorrento offers plenty of scenic charm, as it sits atop a spectacular curve of limestone cliffs with panoramic views of the sparkling Bay of Naples, the colorful Marina Piccola, and on a clear day, Mt. Vesuvius.
What We Love
Villa Comunale: With its photogenic mix of towering pines and palms, and manicured flowerbeds, Sorrento’s largest public park is a peaceful spot lined with paths leading to a belvedere affording fantastic views and stairs leading down to the marinas.
Easy Access to Capri, Positano, and Pompeii: Visitors with a full day in port can also hop a hydrofoil to the nearby island of Capri, a local bus to cliff-hugging Positano, or a train or taxi to the excavated ruins of Pompeii.
Best Known For
All Things Citrus: The fertile slopes surrounding the city produce fragrant, flavorful lemons and oranges — which are sold in abundance alongside locally made citrus candy, lemon sorbet, Limoncello liqueur, and zesty lemon and orange soaps.
Sun Loungers: Sorrento has a very small beach, but rows of sun loungers are for hire all along the jetty in Marina Piccola.
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Who It's Best For
At-home Chefs: Your kitchen will be well-stocked after a walk through Sorrento’s side streets and alleys, where shops overflow with local olive oil, spices, flavored pastas, sun-dried tomatoes, colorful ceramic bowls, and olive wood utensils.
History Buffs: Its proximity to both Pompeii and Herculaneum makes Sorrento a great port for anyone fascinated by ancient ruins.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
The Circumvesuviana Railway is ... An Adventure: Yes, it’s a cheap way to get to Pompeii, but it’s also extremely slow, crowded, painfully creaky, and without air conditioning.
Motion Sickness is Common: If you’re prone to nausea, take medication before heading out by bus or car (yes, the roads are that full of dizzying hairpin turns) or boat (the seas can be choppy).
Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.