Sorrento Travel Guide
Sorrento is a small city in the southern part of Italy. It features wonderful hills, deep valleys, and beautiful mountains. Nearby you will find small local villages, prestigious hotels, camping, or the opportunity to work local farm land if you so choose. Sorrento makes a good starting point for numerous excursions to nearby cities and island around the the famous Amalfi coast and is one of my favorite spots in Italy. I especially love driving along the coastal and winding roads overlooking the sea. If you can, stay a few days in this region as there is a lot to explore and Sorrento makes a good base of operations for doing so!
Hostel prices – Dorm rooms cost $25-35 USD per night, while private hostel rooms with a shared bath cost around $60 USD or more in the high season.
Budget hotel prices – Budget hotel prices begin at $70 USD but generally cost between $95-110 USD for something in the city center.
Average cost of food – A simple pizza meal will cost about $10 USD. A two course meal including a half liter of house wine, a bottle of mineral water, and coffee will cost about $25 USD. Cooking your food will cost about $50 USD per week. There are many ways to eat cheap in the city, so save money on food while here.
Transportation costs – With connections between all the major cities on the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, and Salerno, the buses that run along the Amalfi Coast offer visitors an excellent way to travel between cities at an inexpensive price. (From $4-10 USD depending on the type of ticket.) Before hopping on the bus, don’t forget to buy your ticket at any tabacchi shop or bar where you see a SITA sign.
Money Saving Tips
Get off the beaten track – Consider visiting Ischia instead of Capri to save yourself some money and beat the crowds, or stay in one of the small neighboring villages at a bed and breakfast instead of in the center of Sorrento.
Eat pizza and paninis – It may not always be the healthiest option, but you can find pizzas and paninis at most restaurants for a much more affordable rate than the main dishes. Most pizzas cost around $10 USD.
Top Things to See and Do in Sorrento
Head to Capri – Located a quick ferry ride off the coast, the island of Capri is a popular day trip from Sorrento. On Capri, you’ll be able to find beautiful beaches, great seafood, small villages, and some hiking. Make sure you go to the famous blue grotto, a small cave where the light turns the water a neon blue. Try to stay the night and avoid the day trippers. Once they leave, the island gets a lot better!
Visit Ischia – Ischia is just like the island of Capri but without all the tourists. It’s cheaper and though it lacks the blue grotto, in my opinion, it’s a better island to visit because of the fewer people.
See the cathedral – Mostly made of intarsia wood, the cathedral overlooks the main street of the town: Corso Italia. The church is where Torquato Tasso was baptized, and it was built at the beginning of the 15th century. It has been restored several times and contains a great number of paintings of the Neapolitan School.
Visit the Covent di San Francesco – The complex is formed by three buildings – the church, the convent, and the very famous cloister. It preserves important works in wood, representing Saint Francis, and has a rich variety of architectonic styles melded together to form one work. It’s an ideal setting of the art exhibitions, festivals, concerts and events.
Head to Sorrento Cape – Here you can see famous beaches and the archaeological site of the villa of Pollio Felice.
Explore Marina Puolo – This picturesque seaside village has only about 150 inhabitants and a territory divided into Sorrento and Massa Lubrense. There is also Punta Campanella, a protected area notable for its biodiversity.
Go inside the Duomo – Found on Corso Italia, one shouldn’t let the seemingly simple exterior of this sight detour them from the grandeur that resides inside. The interior is lined with beautiful, original furnishings, including wooden choir stalls and the marblebishop’s throne.
Wander the Museo Correale – This is the main museum in Sorrento. The collection here is very extensive, and includes Japanese, Chinese, Neapolitan, and European art dating from the 17th – 19th centuries. There are also some old furnishings, ceramics and clocks on display alongside various Roman and Greek artifacts.
Go swimming – The beaches here are beautiful but not all are ideal for swimming. Marina Grande and Marina Piccola are decent spots but may cost $7-13 USD for an entrance fee. While that includes seating and an umbrella, you’re better off heading to Bagni Regina Giovanna. The swimming is great, it’s free, and the locals also tend to go here.
Learn the art of marquetry – Sorrento is known for its marquetry handicrafts, a term which refers to inlaid objects (like pearls or other decorative materials) on wood. You can visit the Museo Bottega della Tarsia Lignea to learn about this art form.
Visit Castello Aragonese – Located on Ischia, this castle dates back to the 5th-century. At various points it has served as a defensive stronghold, a noble’s court, and a convent. Admission to the site costs $14 USD.
Rent a scooter – Renting a scooter on Capri is an especially fun and very local way to explore the island. A two-hour rental costs around $45 USD.
Stop by the Archaeological Museum – The Territorial Archaeological Museum George Vallet is a relatively new museum (1999) located in a neoclassical style building. The collection consists of archaeological artifacts unearthed along the Sorrento Peninsula. There are some pieces from the Greek era as well as the Roman.