Sorrento is a charming town that stretches over a tuffaceous terrace overlooking the Gulf of Naples and has been welcoming tourists since the time of ancient Rome. It is also the largest center of the Amalfi Coast and has a wide range of restaurants, B & B, rental houses and hotels. For these reasons, Sorrento is the perfect starting point for exploring the surrounding area and a must for the best tours and excursions from Naples.
There is a lot to see and do in Naples and yet, if you stay more than three days I recommend exploring the Amalfi Coast. You will see some lovely scenery and taste the excellent food of the region. This article explains all the options for getting to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.
1. The best way to get there: an organized excursion
Time is precious, especially during the vacations. Guided tours are a good option to see more than one destination in a single day. Usually, the excursions take place in a small bus and pick you up at your hotel or another central location in Naples. You can choose between different types of routes:
Tour with stages in Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi
You will have time to have a snack from each city and see its main attractions. The first destination could be Piazza Tasso, the heart of Sorrento. Take the opportunity to enjoy the cityscape while sipping a coffee at the Bar del Carmine.
The city has a lot to offer, from the Cloister of St. Francis (Piazza Gargiulo 8) to the sea view from the Villa Comunale (Via San Francesco).
The second stop is Positano, a town between the sea and the hills that is famous both for its wonderful nature and for the homonymous style of clothing. The walks usually begin in Piazza dei Mulini, the main entrance to the historic center. During the walk you will see the main church and the typical colorful houses.
Here you can buy clothes, sandals, ceramic objects and other types of handicrafts. This stage is a plus, as most travel agencies are not authorized to do it.
The last destination is Amalfi, Italy's first seafaring republic. In the 10th century, the city's merchants wrested the monopoly of trade in the Mediterranean from the Arabs and commerce flourished. The fountain of Sant'Andrea and the Cathedral bear witness to its glorious past. As usual, these excursions have an approximate cost of 90 €.
Excursion to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello
After visiting the first towns, the minibus arrives in Ravello, the panoramic balcony of the Amalfi Coast. It is not on the coast but on the heights and is dotted with elegant mansions such as Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo.
Among so many classic buildings stands out the Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium, a concert hall built by the famous Brazilian architect. Every summer it hosts a famous music, film and literature festival. These tours last between 7 and 8 hours and cost about 80 €.
Day tour of Pompeii and Amalfi
Before reaching the coast, the bus will take you to the most important archaeological excavations in Europe. The guide will explain the history behind the thermal baths of Stabian, the forum, the Temple of Jupiter and other survivors of the eruption of Vesuvius. For more information I recommend you to read the post about excursions to Pompeii from Naples.
The tour ends near the Duomo of Amalfi. It is the symbol of the city and has an eclectic style that mixes Romanesque, Baroque and Rococo elements.
Admission is free but if you want to visit the Museum and the Cloister of Paradise (Chiostro del Paradiso) you will have to pay about 3 €. Normally, these excursions last 8 hours and cost about 120 €.
Tour of the Amalfi Coast by Fiat 500
The ideal option for those who love old cars. The cost is somewhat high, more than 300 €, and includes pick-up at the hotel or at a central point in Naples. The driver will take you to Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Pogerola and Ravello. Pogerola is a fraction of Amalfi located on the heights. From here you can enjoy beautiful views towards the Gulf of Salerno.
The last stage is the Grotta dello Smeraldo, a karst cave partially occupied by the sea. The best time to visit it is around 13:00. At this time the sun's reflections penetrate the cavity making the waters sparkle.
If the entrance fee is not included in the tour, you will have to pay approximately 5 €. Sometimes the excursions are done on board of a Fiat 600, depending on availability.
- Price: between 65 € and 300 €.
- Travel time: depends on the excursion.
- Advantages: you will be able to visit one of the most attractive areas of the region without having to worry about transportation and other logistical aspects.
- Disadvantages: the time you will spend in each of the places will be limited by the timetable of the excursion.
2. How to get to Sorrento by car
In my opinion, the car is a double-edged sword. If on the one hand it is a comfortable and scenic option, on the other hand it is subject to heavy traffic, especially if you travel in the morning to Sorrento, in the afternoon to Naples, on summer Sundays, on holidays or in August.
Without complications, the journey takes about 55 minutes, which can turn into an hour and a half or more if traffic is heavy.
To reach your destination, take the A3 Napoli - Pompei - Sorrento highway and exit at Castellamare di Stabia. At this point, just follow the signs for Sorrento.
The road is very beautiful as the route runs through the communal territory of charming villages such as Meta, Vico Equense and Sant'Agnello.
If you do not have your own car, the best option is to rent one at the airport of Napoli-Capodichino. You will find the main agencies in the arrivals terminal.
In case you want to rent it when you are already in the center, I leave you the article on transfers between the airport and Naples.
- Price: taking the A3 highway you will have to pay a toll of about 10 €, to which must be added the petrol and, if necessary, the price of the rental car.
- Travel time: about 1 hour.
- Advantages: without a doubt, traveling with your own car is very convenient. You can leave whenever you want and make the stops you want.
- Disadvantages: In addition to traffic, another disadvantage could be parking. Being a steep stretch of coastline with some small towns with small streets, from time to time you will be forced to pay for private parking.
3. How to get to Sorrento by train
This is one of the most popular options for both comfort and price. The Ferrovia Circumvesuviana - a railway network that covers the metropolitan area of the city - guarantees frequent connections between Naples and Sorrento.
You can catch the train at the stations of Napoli Porta Nolana (Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi) or Napoli Garibaldi which is located below the central station (Stazione Centrale).
The ticket costs about 4 € and the trip takes just over an hour. Sorrento is the last stop, you can't go wrong. The station is located in Piazza Giovanni Battista de Curtis, a stone's throw from the old town. Passengers boarding without a ticket must purchase one for a surcharge of €5.
- Price: between 3 € and 4 €.
- Journeytime: just over 1 hour
- Advantages: you can move easily from the city center.
- Disadvantages: if you are traveling with a lot of luggage, it might be better to opt for another means of transport. It is a commuter train and therefore does not have a dedicated space for luggage. In addition, it is very crowded at certain times of the day.
4. How to get to Sorrento by boat
In both cases, ferries depart from the Beverello dock (molo Beverello) which is located next to the Maschio Angioino, the medieval castle built during the reign of Charles of Anjou.
The rates depend on the day and the type of trip (by car or on foot, luggage, extras, etc.) but are usually around 15 €. In any case, I recommend you consult the official website.
- Price: around 14 € (one day, adults) or 10 € (one way, children)
- Duration of the trip: about 45 minutes
- Advantages: it is undoubtedly the most beautiful tour
- Disadvantages: the boats are subject to sea conditions. If there are many waves, the route can be a bit bumpy and, in the worst case, your ticket can be cancelled.
5. How to get there by bus
Only one company connects the two cities: Curreri Viaggi. Buses depart exclusively from Naples-Capodichino Airport and stop in 7 cities before arriving at Sorrento bus station. It is located in Piazza Giovanni Battista de Curtis, a few meters from the central Piazza Tasso. The price starts at 10 €.
Buses leave from the arrivals area of the airport and the trip takes just over an hour. If you visit Naples in winter. Please note that on January 1st and December 25th there are no buses. For more information I recommend you to have a look at the official website.
- Price: from 10 €.
- Travel time: more or less 1 hour and 15 minutes
- Advantages: you will not have to go through the city to get to Sorrento.
- Disadvantages: traffic jams are frequent and the trip could take longer.
What is the best way to get to Sorrento?
There are multiple ways to get from Naples to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, all of them with their advantages and disadvantages. If you are still undecided, here is a summary to help you clear your doubts:
- Organized excursion
- Price: between 65 € and 300 €.
- Travel time: from 4 hours to 10 hours
- Advantages: comfort, guide included in the price
- Disadvantages: closed routes
- Price: about 10 ¤ (toll price)
- Travel time: 1 hour- Advantages: convenience
- Disadvantages: Difficulty in parking, traffic jams
- Train- Price: about 4 €.
- Travel time: 1 hour
- Advantages: departure from Naples city center
- Disadvantages: no space for suitcases
- Price: about 28 Euro (round trip)
- Trip duration: 45 minutes
- Advantages: panorama
- Disadvantages: storms, especially in the wintertime
- Price: 10 €.
- Journey time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
- Advantages: direct route from the airport, comfort
- Disadvantages: traffic jams
Where can I park in Sorrento?
Finding a parking space in Sorrento without spending money is not easy. However, you can try your luck on Via Rota or Via Parsano, two streets where you can leave your car for free. You will see that the lines are white and not blue.
If you only find a place in the latter, you will have to pay 1 € for the first 30 minutes and 2 € per hour for longer stops, approximately.
Alternatively, you can opt for one of the following guarded parking spaces:
- Parcheggio Achille Lauro, €2 per hour or a daily rate of €24 (Via Correale).
- Garage Marina Piccola, a perfect choice if you decide to take a ferry to Capri. Check their website for more information on hourly and daily rates. By the way, if you want to visit the island I recommend you to read the post that explains how to get from Naples to Capri (Via Luigi De Maio 60/62).
- Parcheggio Vallone dei Mulini, open 24 hours and with video surveillance. In addition to the prices, on its website you can see the available parking spaces (Via Fuorimura 16).
- Parcheggio Stinga, a space within walking distance of the old town. Again, the hourly rate is 2 € (Via degli Aranci 25).
How can I visit other towns on the Amalfi Coast from Sorrento?
As you know, most tourists choose Sorrento as a base to visit the surrounding area. If you plan to stay here for a few days, it might be a good choice to rent a scooter.
The orography of the territory and the small roads make the scooter the ideal means of transportation. Fortunately, there are dozens of rental agencies in Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi.
You will always find a place to leave your scooter - the same cannot be said for a car - and you will enjoy roads with beautiful views, such as the SS163 state road that connects Sorrento with the picturesque town of Vietri sul Mare.
In general, it's worth having a motorcycle to explore the Amalfi Coast at your own leisure, with the freedom to stop as often as you like.
Another alternative is Taxi del Mare, a sea transfer service that serves the towns of Sorrento, Positano, Capri, Amalfi, Sorrento, Maiori and Cetara.
The trips are made aboard a yacht with a maximum capacity of 11 passengers. Normally, the ticket also includes the transport of luggage.
Is it worth visiting the Amalfi Coast by public transport?
It depends on the season. During the summer, the coastal roads fill up with cars and buses. A half-hour trip can easily turn into an hour-long queue. However, if you visit Naples in winter you will not find many traffic jams on the Amalfi Coast.
In this case, the bus is an economical alternative that can be taken into consideration. On the official website of the local transport company you will find all the routes and timetables. Just enter the name of the departure town in the "Comune di partenza" field and click on the "Ricerca" button. Please note that this is the slowest option.
Tips for visiting Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast
Whether you choose a guided tour or travel on your own, I recommend wearing comfortable shoes. The orography of the area is characterized by mountains that reach a short distance from the sea; the villages of the Amalfi Coast are beautiful but dotted with slopes that are best climbed with sneakers.
If you travel in summer do not forget to wear sunscreen to avoid the effects of the sun.