Everything you need to plan your dream Amalfi Coast vacation based in Sorrento!
Everything here is my own opinion and I received no compensation for this post. It also contains affiliate links. If you have any questions about this, just click here! All images copyright Teaspoon of Nose.
Planning Your Time
I put together a more detailed guide packed with the logistics of getting to the Amalfi Coast and some city recommendations for where to base your time, but here’s a quick overview if you’ve already decided on Sorrento!
How to get to Sorrento
You can take the Circumvesuviana train from Naples all the way down the line, where it ends in Sorrento. This train also stops in Pompeii and Herculaneum (Ercolano in Italian) making it a cost-effective way to see those sites!
What to know about Sorrento
Sorrento the city is set high on a cliff overlooking the sea. Meaning you have some incredible views, but also that there’s plenty of walking up and down steep hills to get to the water. You can catch taxis from certain points (the train station and the marina, for example) but know that you’ll be doing plenty of steep walking!
Sorrento Beaches & Beach Clubs
Sorrento follows the typical Italian style of lido beach clubs, where you pay for the day to rent a chair and umbrella, and they have an attached bar or restaurant to make getting food & drink easy! While paying for beach space may come as a new thing to many of us Americans, the perks of not hauling chairs, having drinks close by, and avoiding major sunburn are pretty fantastic.
That being said, there isn’t very much sand beach space. The Amalfi Coast is very rocky, meaning it varies from town to town if they have sand beaches at all. If they don’t have sand, you’ll find chairs & umbrellas set up on dock-like boardwalks! It’s unique and still gives you easy access to the water by ladder.
If you do want sand beaches, head to Leonelli’s Beach Club. Their prices are reasonable and they offer both sand and boardwalk spaces!
Seeing the Amalfi Coast by Boat
The best way to experience the Amalfi Coast is by boat! You can take in the beautiful towns, majestic coastline, and tiny caves only visible from the water.
You have two main options for boating day trips. The first is to go to Capri for the day, which involves riding away from the mainland to the dreamy island. Day trips typically include plenty of time to stop on the island for lunch and a few hours of exploring, and then a leisurely trip around Capri, potentially including a stop at the famous Blue Grotto. The Blue Grotto is stunning, but you can wait hours for your turn to go in due to its popularity! Some groups opt to skip it in high season.
The other day trip option takes you down the coastline, typically as far as Positano. These tours usually include several stops to swim or snorkel and see a historic spot or two. The captains always tell you about the craziest hotels overlooking the water!
Regardless of which route you take, I recommend Fernando’s Boats. They leave out of the Sorrento marina and take private tours or small group day trips – always less than 15 but often fewer. I do recommend bringing cash to pay though; where you disembark has bad cell service, meaning an unreliable credit card reader.
After a day on the water, it’s nice to relax and explore the town a bit. It’s very traditional Italian to take a passagiata (stroll) in the early evening before dinner! Two of the major areas to check out are Piazza Tasso and Corso Italia.
Sorrento itself is an interesting mix of tourism and locals. The city runs on tourism, so it’s everywhere, but you’ll see locals doing their daily life if you keep your eyes open.
Make sure to check out the Marina Grande for a great place to watch the sunset and get a seafood dinner that was in the sea that morning!
There’s a public park called Villa Comunale with a beautiful view of the coast below, so make sure you stop there! It also contains an elevator to save you the walk up and down to the beach clubs below.
There’s also a free entry lemon grove on the east side of the city called I Giardini di Cataldo. It’s meant to draw tourists in to buy limoncello and such, but it’s beautiful and doesn’t cost anything to enter!
Because the Amalfi Coast is such a popular destination, hotels can get CRAZY when it comes to price. In summer, don’t be surprised to not see anything under 300€ a night per room! It’s cheaper in the off-season or if you book far in advance, but if you’re looking for this summer expect to pay for the beauty of the spot!
La Piazzetta Guest House is in a great location, and is my top choice right now! It’s clean and bright, with everything you need, and on the more reasonable end of the price range.
Villa Silvana will fulfill all your “villa on the Amalfi Coast” dreams. The views are insane, perched right above the water, and the whole place gives that villa feel while still offering hotel amenities.
Accademia 39 looks like a magazine come to life, perfectly appointed with small touches. It hits that middle ground of a swanky hotel with attention to detail in the modern yet comfortable decor.
Casa Pantone is a great option if you’re trying to get a quality, comfortable space for a less-than-average price. It hits the sweet spot of being near the train station but only steps from the main street!
Want to explore some of the other towns? I recommend Positano, Capri, Amalfi, Naples and Pompeii! I also put together a map version of this guide with more suggestions on things to do and see in town if that’s helpful. Check back soon for a Sorrento restaurant guide to complete your Amalfi Coast experience!