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, and even the opportunity to work local farmland if you so choose. Sorrento makes a good starting point for numerous excursions to nearby cities and islands around the famous Amalfi Coast, and it’s one of my favorite spots in Italy. I especially love driving along the coastal and winding roads overlooking the sea. It’s the perfect place for a road trip.
Hostel prices – Hostel dorms cost around 20 EUR per night while private rooms cost and around 60 EUR per night.
Budget hotel prices – A night in a 2-star budget hotel starts around 60 EUR (expect to pay more in the city center). On Airbnb, you can find shared rooms starting around 10 EUR per night. You can rent also entire homes starting at 50 EUR.
Average cost of food – It’s also easy to eat for less than 15 EUR a day if you make the effort. A simple pizza meal will cost about 9 EUR. A two-course meal including a half liter of house wine, a bottle of mineral water, and coffee will cost about 25 EUR. At most restaurants, they will ad 3 EUR for the “coperto” (sit down fee). You can expect to pay 60 EUR per week for groceries that will include pasta, vegetables, chicken, and other basic foods. If you find a discount grocer like Eurospin, In’s Mercato, LD Market, Lidl or Penny Market, you’ll pay a lot less.
Transportation costs – Sorrento is somewhat walkable. There’s also a local bus system that runs about every 20 minutes. Taxis are very expensive (like everywhere in Italy), so it’s best to avoid them. As for connecting between all the major cities on the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, and Salerno, the buses that run along the Amalfi Coast are between 1.40-15 EUR depending on the distance. Before hopping on the bus, don’t forget to buy your ticket at any “tabacchi” shop or bar where you see a SITA sign.
Suggested daily budget – 50 EUR / 60 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a few meals, cooking, and using local transportation. You can use the budget tips below to lower this money. It’s just a guideline! If you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more, expect this to be higher!)
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 9 EUR.
- Drink the tap water – Ask for tap water or you will automatically get expensive bottled water included on your bill. You can refill your bottles of water at any of the drinking fountains throughout Italy.
- Buy lots of wine – You can buy a great bottle of wine for 4 EUR. It’s a lot cheaper than drinking at the bar.
- Couchsurf – Accommodation is quite expensive in Italy, even in the hostels. Use Couchsurfing to stay with locals who have extra beds and couches for free. I use the service a lot and find it not only saves me money, but I meet great people too.
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 for 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 marble bishop’s throne. It’s open daily from 8am-12:30pm and 4:30-9pm.
- 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. Admission is 7 EUR and is open daily (except Mondays) from 9:30am-6:30pm with abbreviated hours on Sunday.
- 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 6-12 EUR 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. Admission is 8 EUR and it’s open daily from 10am-6:30pm with abbreviated hours in the winter.
- Visit Castello Aragonese – Located on Ischia, this castle dates back to the 5th-century. At various points of time, it has served as a defensive stronghold, a noble’s court, and a convent. Admission to the site costs 10 EUR.
- 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 40 EUR.
- 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.