We’re Andrew and Kait – we share travel tips to help you see the world and have the best vacations ever. If you daydream about traveling to Italy as much as we do, keep scrolling to check out the best things to do in if you have one weekend to spend in sunny Sorrento.
Planning a vacation to the Amalfi Coast but not sure where to start? Sorrento is the perfect launching pad! Whether you’re looking to anchor your trip here or if you’re using the destination as a gateway, as we did, there are plenty of fantastic things to do and see. With classic Italian cuisine, incredible swimming grottos, and streets filled with music and lemons the size of your head, Sorrento is the perfect starting place for an unforgettable Italian vacation. Here’s how to spend one weekend in dreamy Sorrento, Italy.
While many people use Sorrento as a home base for their entire Amalfi Coast trip, we used Sorrento as the gateway or launching pad. Here, we gained our bearings and regrouped from jet lag before continuing our stays in Positano and Capri. We enjoyed two half days and a whole night in Sorrento. For this itinerary example, we’ll say you chose the smart route and took the ferry from Naples to Sorrento and arrived at the marina right before lunch. Here’s the plan:
DAY ONE: ARRIVE IN SORRENTO
Once you arrive in Sorrento, walk or taxi to either check in or check your luggage into your hotel or Airbnb. The typical tourist locations are all pretty central in town, so your journey to your stay should not be too strenuous. Out of all the streets in southwestern Italy, we found these to be the most walkable as there aren’t quite as many stairs in the central area. Some hotels do offer porter service at the marina. If this is the case for you, take them up on the service and head out to adventure sweat-and-worry-free!
After a morning of traveling, treat yourself to a lunch of prosciutto e melon, pizza, and beer at restaurants like Frankie’s Pizza Bar Sorrento Brunch & Vegan or Pizzaria da Franco. (Note: Italians tend to judge the pizza and wine pairing most Americans love.) After lunch, your next stop should be for a cup or cone of gelato to beat the heat as you explore the town.
Continue your stroll through town with gelato in hand for plenty of shopping. Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast are both known for incredible shopping. Sorrento is said to be the most affordable option, so we recommend doing most of your shopping here as we did. I scored an adorable linen swimsuit coverup, lemon candies, and a bottle of locally made limoncello.
DINNER & DRINKS
After shopping around, pop into Bellavista Cocktail Bar Sorrento for tasty aperitivo cocktails. The wait staff is friendly, and the views are unbeatable! With so many options in the center of town, it’s almost impossible to choose where to eat. We enjoyed L’Osteria Del Buonconvento, a charming osteria – a more low-key place to sit down for a meal – for a lovely dinner of ravioli, seafood pasta, limoncello, and tiramisu. Check out the Kiosk Bar before you call it a night for a digestivo – a small, potent drink that Italians believe helps with digestion after a big dinner and before bed.
DAY TWO: PLAY & CONTINUE ON
CATCH THE SUNRISE
The early bird might get the worm, but the early vacation risers get the city to themselves and the best sunrise views ever! During the summer in Italy, the sun rises EARLY. Like, at about 5:40 a.m. early. Not only will getting up at dawn add extra hours to your trip, but you’ll get to see the destination in a completely different way. The sunrise over the cliff sides definitely serves as a new core memory for us, and we can’t recommend it enough!
HIKE TO & SWIM IN BAGNI REGINA GIOVANNA
While we enjoy the sunrise views, we don’t typically wake up that early for only that reason. The Bagni Regina Giovanna is a popular attraction that’s relatively well known by locals and tourists alike. Still, not many experience the beauty of an isolated lagoon first thing in the morning. If you wake up for sunrise, you can avoid the crowds and heat by starting your approximately 3 km road and cliffside walk to an incredibly picturesque grotto for a refreshing swim.
You can either walk from the city center or take a bus or taxi to take you most of the way and then walk the final stretch. If you walk, be prepared for most of the path to be on the road with little shoulder, and cars are constantly going past you. You must cling to the side and keep your eyes open. That being said, there are runners all the time running down the street, so at least the drivers are pretty used to seeing people walking or running the roads.
Just keep your senses on high alert and be wise on your journey. While the walk is mostly roadside, the views are a photographer’s dream – especially during sunrise or sunset – so we recommend walking if this isn’t your first time venturing along high-traffic roads.
Once you get off the paved road, my maps app on my Apple Watch noted that the Bagni is straight ahead in about 700 feet… but it was pretty off. Once you get off the road, pass through the walkway through homes and gardens, and you’ll be led to the beach path. From this point, it was only about a 5-7 minute walk to the Bagni Regina Giovanna.
You’ll find the steep path to the little grotto lagoon area a few steps later. Here you’ll be greeted by a friendly cat or two, crystal clear waters, sunshine, and plenty of sea critters like fish and crabs. We enjoyed two hours of swimming, exploring, and cliff jumping completely alone before seeing another person! The water is chilly, but the experience of swimming here is absolutely one of a kind.
ENJOY A LIGHT BREAKFAST
Italians are not known to make big breakfasts. A typical Italian breakfast generally consists of a croissant and a shot of espresso. If you need an extra shot after an early morning, ask for espresso doppio (a double shot of espresso). Typically, a sugar packet is offered along with the espresso to cut the bitterness with a bit of sweetness. We enjoy it both with and without sugar – it just depends on the day and the quality of the coffee!
PACK UP & HEAD OUT
After an adventurous morning and some refueling, it’s time to move on to your next destination – which was Positano for us! Your route from here depends on where you’re going, but as most places of interest are along the coast, we highly recommend getting around by ferry. It’s essential to plan your trip around the ferry schedule as they mostly run in the morning, take a break throughout lunch hours, and resume trips in the late afternoon.