Sorrento, Italy is a popular summertime destination. However, winter in Sorrento is also wonderful.
Perched atop seaside cliffs, the small town of Sorrento overlooks the Bay of Naples in Southern Italy. The town is located on a peninsula close to the island of Capri and not far from the famous towns of the Amalfi Coast, like Positano.
Home to 16,000 residents, Sorrento is a well-known tourist destination during warmer months. Visitors flock to this seaside town to enjoy days by the beach and delicious Italian cuisine.
However, Sorrento’s small town charm is palpable year-round.
During the winter, lights and wreaths are strung along every street, Christmas trees dot the squares, and locals and visitors alike revel in the holiday spirit. There are also plenty of attractions to enjoy in the off-season, including local museums and a day trip to Capri. Plus, there’s still lots of food to enjoy, no matter the outdoor temperature.
There are clear benefits to visiting cities in their off-seasons — fewer tourists, lower prices, and a better sense of what life in the town is really like. When the weather turns cold, this Campanian town is enchanting in a whole new way.
Here’s your travel guide for how to spend a winter weekend in Sorrento, Italy.
Explore the Town of Sorrento
Once settled in Sorrento, head out and explore the town. You’ve got to wander about on foot in order to best get the feel of winter in Sorrento.
It’s small enough that it can mostly be covered on foot and there are many mainly pedestrian streets. There are local buses and taxis available as well.
On your exploration, make sure to stroll through some of the town’s piazzas.
You can’t miss Piazza Tasso, named for poet Torquato Tasso, located right off Corso Italia in the center of Sorrento. Stop by a local cafe for a drink, relax, and people watch. Plus, the local tourist information center is located nearby, just in case you have any questions.
Piazza della Vittoria
Another local square is the Piazza della Vittoria, located along Via Marina Grande.
This quiet piazza overlooks the ocean and is made up of grassy areas filled with tall palm trees, centered around a tall sculpture. It’s a great place to pause and enjoy Sorrento’s beautiful scenery.
Take an Evening Stroll
In the evening, join the locals for a stroll.
Most evenings the Sorrentines take a leisurely walk along the main pedestrian roads through town, looking in store windows, talking with neighbors, and admiring the holiday decor.
Get the most out of your time in this charming town by simply doing as the locals do.
Eat Sorrentine Cuisine
As is the Italian way, you will find plenty of delicious food in Sorrento. In addition to the pasta of the rest of the country, restaurants offer more regional dishes as well; local cuisine features seafood, and of course, lots of limoncello. One of the best ways to stay warm during the winter in Sorrento is sampling plenty of pasta and limoncello!
For a traditional meal, visit L’Antica Trattoria, a Sorrento institution since 1930.
L’Antica Trattoria serves classic local dishes in a quaint and comfortable setting. The menu rotates seasonally and is full of regional fare, like local fish or cacio e pepe with a Neapolitan twist.
L’Antica Trattoria is open every day from 12:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. The restaurant is located at Via Padre Reginaldo Giuliani, 33 80067, Sorrento.
Sacro & Profano
For a more modern take on Sorrentine cuisine, visit Sacro & Profano. Here you’ll find local specialties, like seafood dishes, in a contemporary setting.
Sacro & Profano is open Monday through Wednesday and Friday through Sunday (closed Thursdays) for lunch from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and dinner 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (closed from 3:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.). The restaurant is located at Via Torquato Tasso, 53-55, 80067 Sorrento.
(2019 update: I visited Sacro & Profano a few years ago, and the Google listing for this restaurant says it is now permanently closed. However, there are some reviews online from the past couple months, so I’m unsure if the restaurant is still open or not.)
See the Art and Learn the History
The community of Sorrento predates ancient Rome and the town has been a favorite of writers and artists for centuries. Lord Byron, John Keats, and Sir Walter Scott are among those who’ve spent time the picturesque coastal city.
Immerse yourself in the local history and art by visiting the Museo Correale di Terranova. The museum is inside a villa owned by Pompeo and Alfredo Correale. The villa is surrounded by gardens and a citrus grove, complete with scenic pathways that overlook the bay.
The museum collections include paintings by Neapolitan artists dating primarily from the 18th and 19th centuries. The collections also feature a variety of local sculptures, glassware, and clothing.
The Museo Correale di Terranova is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays. The regular ticket price is 8 euros, with discounted prices for children and students. The museum is located at Via Correale 50, 80067 Sorrento.
Take a Day Trip to Capri
While you might not get to see the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra), it’s still worth taking a day trip to the island of Capri during the winter. (The Blue Grotto is not accessible to visitors when the sea is rough or winds are high.)
Once a hideaway for Roman Emperor Tiberius, today Capri serves primarily as a vacation destination. During the summer, the island is overrun with tourists, and it can feel more like an amusement park than a real community. During the colder months, however, the crowds are gone and you can really see the island.
How to Get to Capri from Sorrento
From the marina in Sorrento (Marina Grande) take a ferry to the main marina on Capri (Marina Grande).
Ferries generally run a couple times an hour for the whole day (the last ferry is usually around 7:00 p.m., but just confirm the schedule when you purchase your ticket). Tickets from Sorrento to Capri cost between 15 and 20 euros and the trip takes 20 to 30 minutes.
Anacapri on Capri
Once you reach Capri, first visit the local town of Anacapri. To get to Anacapri, catch a public bus from Marina Grande. The public buses on the island are small and only carry about 10 passengers. Tickets cost around 2 euros and the trip takes about 15 minutes.
In Anacapri, make sure to ride the chairlift to the top of the island (Seggiovia Monte Solaro). The single-chair chairlift (which might be a bit unsettling for those with a fear of heights) transports you all the way up the highest mountain on Capri.
From the top of the mountain you have a magnificent view of the Italian coastline on one side and endless ocean on the other. Chairlift tickets cost 12 euros round trip.
Town of Capri
After exploring Anacapri, make your way to the main town of Capri.
See the main square, then pick a side street to wander along, and see what you find. There are many shops, restaurants, and historical sites to see.
Gardens of Augustus
If you’re still up for some exploring, you can also walk over toward the opposite side of the island.
There you’ll find some more lovely ocean views, as well as the Gardens of Augustus (Giardini di Augusto). These public botanical gardens are full of beautiful greenery and walking paths. It’s a great place to take a break and enjoy the view.
Once you’ve had your fill exploring the storied island of Capri, it’s time to hop on the ferry back to Sorrento and savor the rest of your winter weekend.
Transportation: How to Get to Sorrento
As far as Italian coastal towns go, it’s pretty easy to get to Sorrento. The easiest ways to get to Sorrento are by train or by car.
To take the train to Sorrento, you’ll first get to Naples. Trains from Rome (Roma Termini) to Naples (Napoli Centrale) vary — some take just more than an hour and cost around 30 euros, while some take closer to three hours and cost around 14 euros. These trains are operated by Trenitalia.
From the main train station in Naples (Napoli Centrale), take the Circumvesuviana regional train to get to Sorrento. Sorrento is the last stop on the train line. Trains leave every half hour and there are both direct trains and trains that make stops. The journey ranges from 50 minutes to an hour and 10 minutes.
The Circumvesuviana station is located on the lower level of the Naples train station, where trains depart from track three.
You can’t buy tickets online ahead of time, so you’ll need to buy them when you get to the station. Tickets cost just a few euros. As a regional service, the train is a bit slow and there’s no luggage storage on the train. It’s not the most luxurious option, but it is pretty convenient and the least expensive.
If you’ve rented a car, you can also drive to Sorrento.
Driving around small Italian coastal towns isn’t generally relaxing (think winding roads high above the sea), but if you’re used to taking international road trips, this is an option for you. There are areas of Sorrento that are pedestrian only, so coordinate with your hotel about where you’ll park.
Another way to get to Sorrento by car is to take a private car service.
You can hire a car service based in Naples on your own, or you can ask your hotel in Sorrento to recommend a company to you (going through your hotel is generally a good way to go). This is the most expensive transportation option. It will be more comfortable and convenient, but it will cost you.
Bus or Ferry
In addition to taking the train or a car, you can also take a bus or ferry to get to Sorrento.
Both ferries and buses also travel from Naples to Sorrento. There are several bus companies, so choose one that fits your schedule and budget.
Ferries might be a bit trickier in the winter, depending on the weather, but it is a nice way to see the coastline as you travel.
As you can see, just because there’s a chill in the air, doesn’t mean you should count this southern Italian coastal town out of your travel plans. There’s a lot to enjoy in Sorrento in the winter — and plenty of limoncello to keep you warm. Cin cin!