Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast are stunning parts of Italy, no doubt about that. Down in this part of Italy, life is all about relaxation, eating good food, and breathing in the fresh, warm air coming off the ocean.
This region is full of fun things to do, giving you a packed itinerary full of great food, outdoor activities, and plenty of meandering around quaint streets and taking in the atmosphere. It’s also an area rich in Italian history dating back thousands of years, making it the perfect place for any kind of tourist, no matter what kind of thing you’re into. Here’s our guide to the best things to do in Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast area.
There is some absolutely incredible sea life off the Amalfi Coast, and one of the best ways to see it is to go scuba diving. Here you can see anything from colourful schools of fish to sea turtles, and more. There are a number of companies that you can go diving with, and courses range from simply taking one dive or an open water dive course, or specialised course such as underwater photography or wreck diving. It might not be the first place you think of in the world for diving, but if you’re looking for an unusual experience in this area and you’re feeling adventurous, take a course in diving and swim amongst the beautiful marine life.
Visit Sorrento’s beautiful buildings
Sorrento is a town filled with absolutely beautiful buildings, but there are one or two of these that you should definitely check out during a visit. Chiesa di San Francesco, or the Church of St. Francis, it a pretty humble building from the outside, with a plain white façade and nothing all that special about it (considering it’s in Europe, the home of ornate masterpieces). However, the inside is well worth seeing. The ornate pillars and flourishes inside make this a beautiful little church to visit.
Alternatively, head to Sorrento Cathedral, which was constructed back in the 11th century. The inside of this building is a little more impressive than the Church of St. Francis, with some incredible paintwork on its pillars and adorning the ceiling. If you’re a fan of beautiful architecture and churches in particular, these are the two spots you should visit in Sorrento.
Go caving in Grotta dello Smeraldo
Located in Conca dei Marini, a little town on the Amalfi Coast, the Grotta dello Smeraldo is a cave beautifully illuminated with blue and emerald light. As the cave is half filled with seawater, the light coming in through the cracks in the cave lights up the water in the most beautiful way possible, making the cave a little nook of paradise on the Amalfi Coast. The Grotto was unknown for years, and only discovered in 1932, so it’s a nice little hidden spot to explore in this area.
Take a trip to Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii
Calling all history buffs! If you’re in Sorrento, you’ll be right next to one of the most famous parts of Italy, Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii. It only take around 40 minutes to get to Pompeii and a little more to get to Mount Vesuvius, so both of these make an easy little day trip from Sorrento. In Pompeii you can discover one of the most ancient civilizations known in Europe, a spot which has over 2.5 million visitors each year and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Everyone knows the story of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, and the volcano is still active today – which is worrying considering there are 3 million people living within its reach! However, the volcano is still open for people who are brave enough to climb it. The volcano and the area surrounding it was also declared a National Park in 1995. There is actually a road that will take you just 200m from the summit, making it easy if you’re not the most avid of climbers, while giving you an easy escape route if you feel a rumbling under foot…
Learn how to make gelato and other Italian food
Eating as much gelato as possible is always a top priority when you’re visiting Italy, but to get the real experience why not learn how to make it too? At David’s Gelateria in Sorrento, you can get a peek into the world of homemade gelato. The 45-minute demonstration will show you how David makes his famous gelato. At the end of the class, you’ll be able to try the latest flavors, a serious perk to taking the class!
If you’re not much of a sweet person, you can also take an Italian cooking class at the Sorrento Cooking School. This institute runs daily cooking classes in English from April to October, and here you can learn all those Mediterranean cooking secrets straight from the masters. The class ends with a meal made up of the things you’ve created, as well as samples of local wines.
Stroll through Villa Comunale Park
As the largest public park in Sorrento, Villa Comunale Park is the best place for you to go and find some green space in this town. The park has been open for hundreds of years, and the points of interest you can find here really reflect the history behind its beauty. It’s also home to the Anton Dohrn Aquarium, where you can see some marine life without having to dive in the water for it. Villa Comunale Park is located right on the coast, making it the perfect place for you to catch those stunning views across the Bay of Naples and the sunsets which grace the oceans here.
There are numerous opportunities to go boating around this part of Italy, and the peninsula is perfectly shaped for just such an activity. There are places where you can rent a boat, if you have the abilities to do so, or you can head out on one of the many boat tours available, from both Sorrento and other places along the Amalfi Coast. Nothing beats cruising around the coast, taking in views of the beaches and the beautiful ocean before you, while riding around the islands in this area. Take a couple of beers or a bottle of wine, and enjoy the sunshine from a boat for a few hours.
At the days end
After a day of sun, sea and sightseeing, its nice to know you have somewhere comfortable to lay your head and rest those exhausted feet. The Grand President Hotel in Sorrento is the perfect place to do just that. The large rooms are beyond comfortable and the hotel has some of the best views of both Sorrento and the coast you will find. You will find many a guest by the pool, over looking the exquisite coastline with a cocktail in hand. Not a bad way to end the day at all!
Do you have any recommendations for the Sorrento and Amalfi Coast area?