Cobalt seas, emerald hills, and terraced lemon groves make Sorrento one of the cheeriest spots along Italy's southern coast. The ancient Romans vacationed here, followed by the European nobility of the Grand Tour. Today, the resort town is still a popular A-list destination and base for jaunts to the Bay of Naples to one side and the Amalfi Coast to the other.
Less chaotic than Naples but more accessible than Positano, Sorrento is one of my favorite seaside towns. Unlike the villages along the Amalfi Coast, the historic center is home to year-round residents, giving it a more lived-in and authentic feel. With three days here, you can take in the best of the town plus the surrounding blockbuster attractions.
Like most of the coast, Sorrento is hot and dry in the summer and blustery in the winter.
If you only have time for one thing, make it the sunset view from the scenic overlook at the Villa Comunale gardens.
Explore the picturesque hills above Sorrento this afternoon, and visit a family farm by car or with a tour. While there, you can sample artisan cheese, olive oil, limoncello, and other traditional local products. Some tours include a pizza class that teaches the secrets to turning out a Neapolitan-style pizza in true Sorrento style.
Set off this morning by Circumvesuviana train or with a driving tour to wander among the ancient ruins of Pompeii. The archaeological site is sprawling, and there is little explanatory information posted inside, so explore with a guide to better understand the complex Roman city.
Once you’ve visited Pompeii, head to the peak of Mt. Vesuvius just above the ruins. Walk the path to the edge of its massive crater and take in views across Naples and the entire bay. The slopes of the volcano are home to boutique wineries, so stop for a tasting before heading back to Sorrento.
Today head south down the coastline. Avoid traffic on the winding coastal road by hopping aboard a ferry or private boat (or opting for a driving tour) to reach Positano. Meander through the tiny lanes of the former fishing village to browse the shops, admire the scenery, and enjoy lunch with a view.