5 Stunning Day Trips to Take From Sorrento
Three hours south of Rome, Sorrento stuns with its coastal setting and historic buildings. Quaint streets are lined by small shops selling ceramic pottery, handmade leather goods, and lemon-infused candies, and cafés with terrace seating are perfect for sipping on an Aperol Spritz while people-watching. Although there’s a lot to see within the town, Sorrento's port and the multiple Italian hotspots nearby make it a popular and convenient base for travelers wanting to explore the region. Whether you’re looking for beach clubs or romantic vistas, these are the five best day trips from Sorrento.
Twenty minutes by ferry from Sorrento
With its charming narrow streets, designer shops, and hopping beach clubs, Capri is one of the chicest places in Italy. The island is a quick 20-minute ferry ride from Sorrento, with the last return boat departing at 7 p.m, making it possible to hit up several hotspots in one day. Top sights include the Blue Grotto, a striking natural cavern with water that has an ethereal blue color from the sunlight; the famous Faraglioni, comprised of three dramatic rock formations that jut out from the Mediterranean Sea; and the 2,000-foot-high Mount Solaro, which can be accessed via hiking or a funicular for stunning views. Boat trips around the island are popular, as is checking out the many perfume stores, having at a drink or bite to eat in the bustling Piazza Umberto I (the Piazzetta), and strolling through the Gardens of Augustus. Even if you’re not staying overnight, sipping a cocktail on the alfresco terrace at J.K. Place Capri is a fabulous way to spend a late-afternoon.
Twenty-five minutes by car from Sorrento
The most famous town along the Amalfi Coast, Positano attracts travelers with its breathtaking cliffside landscape of colorful buildings that slope down to the sea. It’s also on the western end of the coast, putting it within an easy 25-minute drive of Sorrento. Positano is a particularly popular resort area in the summer, when vendors have beach chairs set up on the pebbly sand, cafes offer outdoor seating spilling onto the sidewalk, and buzzed-about restaurants like Ristorante Casa Mele serve the region’s famous fresh pasta and clams (spaghetti alle vongole) and limoncello. While you could easily laze the day away by the water, we recommend meandering through the winding streets and stepping into stores selling colorful handmade ceramic pottery, well-crafted leather sandals, and flowy linens in sea-inspired whites and blues. For fine-dining with a fabulous view, book a reservation at the Michelin-starred restaurant inside the luxurious Le Sirenuse Hotel.
An hour and a half by car from Sorrento
Despite being the only Amalfi Coast resort town on this list that isn’t on the water, Ravello is stunning. The town sits high on a hilltop, 1,200 feet above the sea, so expect to drive some windy, steep roads to reach it. This UNESCO World Heritage site is renowned for being a famous artist and writer retreat, drawing in the likes of Virginia Woolf, Arturo Toscanini, and Joan Miró, and celebrates its history with the annual Ravello Festival (also known as the Wagner Festival)—a two-month-long celebration of dance- and music-based performances. Even if you don’t visit during this time, Ravello still delights with its large open square, enchanting sea-view gardens at Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo, and the 11th-century Duomo di Ravello. Don’t leave without trying the pasta at Locanda Moresca and the pistachio or dark chocolate gelato at Baffone Gelateria Artigianale.
Forty-five minutes by car from Sorrento
No history buff can say they’ve visited the Amalfi Coast without also seeing the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. The city was buried by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius and, because the resulting ash and pumice were so thick, was largely preserved beneath it, creating an incredible archaeological site. Today, the UNESCO World Heritage Site offers visitors a glimpse of daily life during that time: you can now walk through buildings with frescos, sculptures, and mosaics, and see well-preserved artifacts such as crystals and figurines. JS Tip: there’s little shade to be found in Pompeii, so be sure to pack a hat, sunscreen, and lots of water.
One hour by ferry from Sorrento
While Capri and the Amalfi Coast see much of the region’s tourists, the Italian island of Ischia remains a bit off the beaten path. It’s the largest island in the Bay of Naples, reached via an hour-long ferry ride from Sorrento, and is perhaps most famous for Aragonese Castle—a medieval castle that sits on a volcanic rocky islet connected to the island by a causeway. Other great ways to explore the island include sunbathing on one of the many beautiful beaches (Maronti Beach and the harbor of Sant’Angelo are popular options); wandering Corso Vittoria Colonna, the main shopping street lined with clothing stores, cafés, and bars; or relaxing in a saltwater pool or mud bath at one of the many thermal spas. Nature lovers should be sure to add La Mortella Gardens to their itinerary, a gorgeous garden with its own tea room.
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