The city of Sorrento is found in Campania region of Southwestern Italy, and it is a spectacular getaway spot for visitors from around the world. Sorrento is built right into the cliffs overlooking the Gulf of Naples, so there is always a view of the water as well as a refreshing breeze. Since Sorrento is right on the water, many visitors come for the coastal walks as well as the lovely beaches.
To top it off, Sorrento is home to countless historic and cultural attractions like the Roman ruins of Villa Pollio. If you’re lucky enough to come this way, here are some fantastic day trips from Sorrento to add to your itinerary.
Map of day trips from Sorrento
8. Ischia[SEE MAP]
The island of Ischia is the most developed and largest of the islands in the Bay of Naples. Ischia is directly accessible by ferry from Sorrento a few days in the week. This beautiful island only attracts a fraction of the day trippers that head for Capri in summer though there is plenty to see and do.
Major draws to Ischia include its many sprawling spa towns, abundant gardens and stunning scenery. You can also visit some of the island’s famed villas including Villa La Colombaia, which is now surrounded by a gorgeous park. Don’t leave without enjoying the island’s beaches, particularly the popular stretch of sandy coastline known as Citara.
Getting to Ischia
- While a ferry ride to Ischia from Sorrento Port only takes an hour, they don’t depart all that regularly, so it is a good idea to plan your journey in advance. Ferries from Sorrento to Ischia only run during the summer months, so during the rest of the year, you’ll have to first head to Naples before taking a ferry from its Beverello port to the island. Once you arrive, you can then take a bus or taxi to explore the rest of the delights that Ischia has to offer.
7. Paestum[SEE MAP]
Just under two hours by car from Sorrento is Paestum, a sleepy destination that is nonetheless home to some of the world’s best preserved Greek ruins. The settlement of Paestum was founded approximately 2,600 years ago, and shortly after that founding the Greeks built three impressive structures in Paestum.
These temples, dedicated to the gods Hera, Poseidon and Athena, all stand to this day, and are surrounded by other ruins like Greek gymnasium and the remnants of a city wall. You can also explore the museum onsite, which explains more about the former Greek settlement and how the structures were built to withstand millennia of erosion, wind and weather.
Getting to Paestum
- To get to Paestum using public transport from Sorrento is quite difficult and time-consuming, but it is just about doable if you really want to visit the Greek ruins and don’t have any other way of getting there. The easiest way to do it is to take a 25-minute circumvesuviana train to Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri, then walk 15 minutes to Pompei station, where you should board a regional train to Paestum Station. This last stretch takes about an hour. Once you arrive, you’ll find signs pointing you to the Greek ruins, which should be 15 minutes’ walk away.
- Driving there yourself is a bit quicker and should take about an hour and a half to get to Paestum from Sorrento. Head northeast out of Sorrento and take the SS145 to Pompeii. Here, you take the E45 heading east until just past Salerno, when you transfer onto the SP175, which will bring you all the way to Paestum. On the way back, you could always return via the scenic Amalfi Coast, stopping off at picturesque little villages and towns as you go.
- Yet another option is to combine both Paestum and Salerno into one enticing day trip by taking a guided tour that takes you around both. After exploring the fascinating Greek ruins with an expert guide, you’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour around Salerno. The beautiful city center and stunning cathedral are just two of the highlights you can expect to see.
6. Naples[SEE MAP]
One of the most exciting day trips you can take from Sorrento is to the city of Naples, which you can reach by train in about an hour. Naples is the capital of the Campania region of Italy, and it is one of the country’s biggest, most vibrant cities. Naples is home to several interesting palaces and castles, the most interesting of which might be the Castel dell’Ovo at Porto Santa Lucia, or egg castle, which is located on a small peninsula just off the coast.
While in Naples, you should also make time to see the Royal Palace, explore the 2,000 year old Napoli Sotterranea aqueducts that run underground through the city and try some of the famous thin-crust pizza margherita for which Naples is famed.
Getting to Naples
- By circumvesuviana train, it takes around an hour to get to Naples from Sorrento, and trains depart frequently. Once you arrive at Napoli Garibaldi, it is then just a short walk to many of the city’s most impressive sights.
- If you’re pressed for time, another option is to take a guided tour that not only escorts you around Naples, but also around Pompeii in just half a day. Your expert guide will make sure that you see all the main sights in both places. Throughout the tour, you’ll see the spectacular Royal Palace and grand Cathedral in Naples, as well as the Forum, Thermal Baths and Lupanare in Pompeii.
5. Herculaneum[SEE MAP]
Just next to Pompeii is the settlement of Herculaneum. Although it is not as popular as Pompeii, Herculaneum suffered the same fact after a volcanic eruption nearly 2,000 years ago. Many of the city’s ancient buildings are actually better preserved than in Pompeii, which makes it ideal for historical and architectural enthusiasts.
When you buy tickets for the ruins of Herculaneum, you’ll be able to see the baths that were fed from a natural well, incredible mosaics that are still installed in the House of Neptune and Amphitrite, a luxurious waterfront dwelling known as the House of the Deer and the Samnite House, a courtyard residence that is believed to the oldest structure still standing among the ruins.
Getting to Herculaneum
- To reach Herculaneum by public transport from Sorrento is very easy; all you need to do is catch a 40-minute circumvesuviana train to the Ercolano railway station. From here, you’ll see signs pointing you to the archaeological site, which is around a five-minute walk away. As Herculaneum lies on the same train line as Pompeii, you could stop off at the neighboring historical site on the way back to Sorrento.
- If you decide to drive to Herculaneum, it is well worth looking into visiting either Mount Vesuvius or Pompeii on the same day, as both places lie nearby. It takes just under an hour to drive to Herculaneum from Sorrento; all you need to do is head northeast on the SS145 and then transfer onto the E45 just past Pompeii. You then want to turn off at exit Ercolano and follow signs to Herculaneum.
- Another option for visiting Herculaneum is to take a guided tour that not only takes you around the impressive archaeological site but also around that of Pompeii. Ideal for history lovers, the fascinating day out enables you to learn all there is to know about the tragic events that took place in both cities all those years ago, with a professional guide leading you around the ruins.
4. Mount Vesuvius[SEE MAP]
Behind the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, you’ll see the towering peak of Mt. Vesuvius. Although it is famously known for its eruption in 79 AD, Vesuvius is now a dormant volcano in a gorgeous national park that is only an hour from Sorrento by car.
This is a spectacular place to enjoy world-class views and to get outdoors and be active. A popular way to explore Mt. Vesuvius is by hiking along the trails of the crater. From some vantage points around Mt. Vesuvius, you can even get panoramic views of the Bay of Naples.
Getting to Mount Vesuvius
- Visiting Mount Vesuvius by public transport from Sorrento is relatively easy; it should take you around an hour to an hour and a half to reach the crater rim. First of all, you need to hop on a Circumvesuviana train and alight at Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri. From here, take the BusVia del Vesuvio bus, which departs on the hour, to the entrance of Vesuvius National Park, where you will be transferred to an eco-bus which will take you to the start point of the 20-minute trail to the summit.
- By car, it takes around an hour and 15 minutes to drive to Mount Vesuvius, where you’ll then need to park and hike to the summit. Head northeast out of Sorrento and follow the SS145 until just past Pompeii, when you transfer onto the E45. You then take exit Ercolano and follow Via Vesuvio up the side of the volcano. Here, you’ll need to park and either take a shuttle bus to the park entrance or walk there yourself. After having taken in the breathtaking views from the summit, you could opt to head to the fascinating archaeological sites of nearby Herculaneum or Pompeii.
- Many visitors to Sorrento who want to visit both Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii in one day opt to take a guided tour, as this takes you to both to the summit of the volcano and around the ruins of the city that it once destroyed. With a knowledgeable guide accompanying you, you’ll learn all about the area’s interesting history, and the views from the top of Mount Vesuvius are breathtaking.
3. Capri[SEE MAP]
You can take a water taxi directly from Sorrento to the island of Capri, which is found just three miles off the Italian mainland’s coast. Capri has long been a popular island getaway, was favored by the Roman emperors and is even known as the Isle of the Sirens.
Today, visitors to Capri can see the Blue Grotto, or Grotta Azzurra, which is a small cave once used as a bath by the Romans. You might also want to tour some spectacular homes like Villa Jovis, the former residence of Emperor Tiberius, or the 20th century Villa San Michele.
Getting to Capri
- During summer, ferries to Capri from Sorrento’s Marina Piccola Port depart roughly every half hour, with the boats leaving less frequently the rest of the year. The journey takes about 25 minutes, and once you arrive, you’ll find buses and taxis waiting to take you around the beautiful island.
- A lovely way to explore all of Capri’s amazing sights is to take a guided tour. These not only take you on a jetfoil to the island, but also for a sightseeing bus trip around it. With stops at the lively towns of Anacapri and Capri included, alongside visits to the Faraglioni Rocks and spectacular Blue Grotto, it is a fun day out with something for the whole family to enjoy.
2. Amalfi Coast[SEE MAP]
The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline that runs for about 25 miles along the road called Strada Statale 163. This drive lets you overlook the water virtually the entire way, providing unparalleled views.
While there are plenty of beautiful vantage points along the route, be sure to stop at the actual town of Amalfi. There, you can tour a 10th century cathedral, take a stroll along the pebbled beach or just sip a glass of wine or limoncello at a bar or cafe overlooking the town’s world-famous marina.
Getting to Amalfi Coast
- From Sorrento, there are a couple of different ways to visit the stunning Amalfi Coast by public transport. The most popular option is to take bus 5070 from Sorrento Station; this weaves its way along the Amalfi Coast, offering up breathtaking views of the sea and coastline as you go. It takes around an hour to get to Positano — one of the most picturesque towns along the coast — and around an hour and a half to get to Amalfi. In summer, you will find these buses can get very crowded.
- During summer, the other option is to take a scenic ferry ride from Sorrento to either Positano or Amalfi. Ferries depart regularly from Sorrento Port, and to get to Positano takes 50 minutes, with Amalfi being another 25 minutes. While the ferries are less crowded than the buses, they are more expensive at around 15 euros one way.
- Although it is certainly not too complicated to drive along the Amalfi Coast from Sorrento, it can be a bit of a nightmare, as the narrow winding roads often get clogged with traffic. In addition to this, parking can also be a bit tough to find, especially in the summer months. On the upside, however, driving there yourself does mean that you can stop off at such lovely places as Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi as you go. From Sorrento, head southeast out of the city, then follow the winding SS163 that weaves its way along the glorious Amalfi Coast. It normally takes around an hour and 15 minutes to get to Amalfi from Sorrento, but times vary considerably when there’s a lot of traffic on the roads.
- To avoid the hassle of getting there yourself, you may want to consider taking a guided tour; these allow you to sit back, relax and take in the beautiful views without having to worry about getting around. Accompanied by a local guide, you’ll visit the beautiful towns of Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. As well as seeing all the amazing sights they have to offer, you’ll revel in the stunning views of the Amalfi Coast that greet you wherever you go.
1. Pompeii[SEE MAP]
One of the most popular day trips from Sorrento is the city of Pompeii, which is just 15 miles north along the Italian coast. Pompeii has a history that dates back more than two millennia, but most people know it for the enormous volcanic eruption that took place in the region in the year 79 AD.
The eruption essentially preserved the ancient city, and excavation means that you can get a glimpse into everyday life from nearly 2,000 years ago. See the 20,000 seat amphitheater, the street of tombs and the stunning murals in the House of the Vettii.
Getting to Pompeii
- To get to Pompeii from Sorrento is very easy and quick; all you need to do is hop on a Circumvesuviana train and alight at Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri around 25 minutes later. Trains run frequently, and once you arrive, you’ll see lots of signs pointing you to the entrance of the amazing archaeological park.
- Driving is just as easy, although it will take you around double the time due to the winding roads that curve around the beautiful Gulf of Naples. Simply head northeast out of Sorrento and follow the SS145 all the way until you see signs directing you to the Pompeii car parks. As Herculaneum is not too far away, you could head there after having explored Pompeii to your heart’s content.
- Another option is to take a guided tour of Pompeii. This is a fantastic way to really delve into the history of the fascinating site. With a professional guide at your side, you’ll learn all about the fateful eruption that coated Pompeii in ash. While wandering around the ruins, you’ll get to visit the Forum, Thermal Baths, and Lupanare, among other incredible sights.