Sorrento Italy - the Gulf of Naples
Guide for Cruisers

Find out why Sorrento Italy has been one of the most visited, celebrated and sang about cruise destinations in the Mediterranean

The Bay of Naples is one of those Mediterranean cruise destinations with an above-average concentration of destinations to visit in a day.

Pompeii, Herculaneum, Amalfi, Positano, Naples itself, Capri and Sorrento… enough to give any cruise guest a light headache, and a big question mark hanging above their head: why don’t more cruise lines have overnights when docking in Naples?

There is so much to see and do here! That's why it's such a great idea to read where in Italy is Sorrento and how far it is from all these fabulous and world-famous attractions

sorrentosongMany songs sing about charming Sorrento

Visiting Sorrento Italy as a cruise guest?

Thanks to its spectacular natural beauties, mild Italy Sorrento weather and the fact it is fairly easy to reach from the cruise terminal in Naples, Sorrento often ends up at the top of the list of things to do on that day.

This is a relatively small, charming town perched upon a cliff and overlooking the sea, set in the midst of vineyards, lemon, orange and olive groves.

It is on the way to Amalfi coast, something like a gateway to one of the most beautiful, chic and fancy seaside resorts in the world.

It's all about the lemons in Sorrento and Amalfi coast

Being so close to Pompeii Italy and Herculaneum, another ancient city, in the 18th and the 19th Ct, Sorrento became a good base for European aristocracy on their Grand Tour.

Thanks to that, it was visited by many famous people: Lord Byron, Keats, Goethe, Lamartine, Stendhal, Wagner, Mendelssohn, Giacomo Casanova, Charles Dickens, Friedrich Nietzche, Henrik Ibsen and Walter Scott…

Well, who wouldn’t like to hang around a crowd like that right? That’s why Italy soon became the holiday resort of choice for those who could afford it; it became the wealthy people’s playground.

Elegant villas and hotels were built to accommodate the crowds…

In the 19th Ct, Sorrento became one of the most renowned tourist destinations in Italy. And kept this status throughout the 20th ct too.


Country: Italy

Region: Campania Province

Naples Area: 9km2 (3.5 sq miles)

Elevation: 50m (164 ft)

Population (as of 31 August 2007): 16,547 

Patron saint: St Antoninus 

Saint day: February 14

Getting to Sorrento Italy from Naples

Only 50 kilometers away from Naples, Sorrento is easy to reach from the cruise ship dock, and many people will make it their destination for the day (together with Capri and Pompeii, actually they can all three be visited in a day! But only on one of the organised shore excursions, of course!)

You can read about different options when it comes to getting to Sorrento Italy in our article Italy Sorrento Travel.

If you like to take transportation into your own hands, you will like our tips on Sorrento ferry hydrofoil travel as well as taking a Sorrento train from Naples.

For a more relaxed day go for a sightseeing tour/shore excursion with a local and well-informed guide, take a look at my shore excursion recommendations. They cater to cruisers specifically and make sure to get you back in time, and combine Sorrento with other destinations in the Bay of Naples, as it would be a shame only to visit Sorrento on this day.

Today, most cruisers book their tours way ahead, to make sure they have more to chose from and don't end up left out: keep in mind there are 3-4 cruise ships in the port of Naples almost every day and tours do get sold out quickly!

What to see and do in Sorrento Italy?

Although the traces of the past glitz and glamour can still be felt in Sorrento, since the 50ies all the posh crowds have moved to Capri Italy.

Today, compared to the high-end Capri, Sorrento is more of a middle-range, family oriented travel and shopping destination.

There are a few Sorrento attractions to take a look at while you’re there too. But once you leave Sorrento, what will stay in your memory most is enjoying the al fresco cafes in the main square, enjoying some real gelatto, having a superb pizza, stocking up on some limoncello (the famous digestive made out of Sorrento lemons or shopping for the Sorrento music boxes or inlaid-wood furniture.

SorrentoNotturnoInlayNotturno Intarsio is located in the very centre of Sorrento, they ship anywhere in the world!

Even if you chose to do all of these we have listed, spending two hours here will be more than enough!

So, we suggest: do enjoy Sorrento but don’t make it the main interest of your short cruiser’s day in port.

That is why in the shore excursions recommendations above you will always find Sorrento combined with some other towns and destinations around: Pompeii, the isle of Capri, Positano, Herculaneum or Amalfi Coast.