Sorrento is a beautiful destination to visit in Italy, not to mention easy to reach on the direct train from Naples. However, it is also the perfect base to spend a few days and take some great day trips from Sorrento to some must-see sights nearby.
In under an hour from Sorrento, you can easily visit the Amalfi Coast, reach the archaeological site of Pompeii or the island of Capri. While there are organised tour options for each of these, it is also simple to reach each of these destinations yourself, going where you want and staying for as long as you want.
To find out how to easily organise these top day trips from Sorrento (and save a lot of money!), follow these steps.
Travelling with a dog? While I went on these day trips before getting my dog, they’re all dog-friendly, at least for small dogs. At the end of each day-trip, I’ve included the relevant dog rules.
1. Day Trip to the Amalfi Coast
Sorrento lies just before the true start of the Amalfi coast, with the main towns along the coast being Positano and Amalfi itself.
To travel onwards to these towns there are three options: driving your own car, taking a ferry along the coast or travelling by bus. (The train ends in Sorrento.)
The cheapest of the three options is taking the bus. This is one of the most popular day trips from Sorrento and the journey itself is one of the highlights. The road winds along the steep cliffs, with overtaking often being a precarious affair. It made me glad that I wasn’t driving myself!
Taking a Bus along the Amalfi Coast
Buses leave outside of the Sorrento train station about every 30 minutes. Check the timetable here. To go all the way to Amalfi takes about 90 minutes, whilst Positano in the heart of the Amalfi Coast is under 60 minutes away.
A 24-hour ticket for the bus costs €10.00. Tickets aren’t available on the bus, so buy in advance at the ticket booth in the nearby train station or at any “tabaccherie” (cigarette shop). Note that the buses can be crowded during peak season.
Try to sit on the water view side of the bus at least one way (on the right going to Amalfi, left on the return trip).
Visiting Positano and Amalfi
Positano was the highlight for me, but Amalfi is also a wonderful place to visit. Wander through the streets of the gorgeous towns, visit boutiques, have a seafood lunch or just a coffee and gelato, visit historic churches, and don’t forget your camera!
Consider Returning by Ferry
If you want a different return trip to Sorrento, consider taking a ferry; check the timetable in Sorrento or at the harbours. Note that the ferry only operates between April and October, with the timetable changing from month to month.
Total cost: From €10.00
Dog-friendly: Small dogs are generally allowed on buses in Italy, either in a carrier or with a leash and muzzle. Check if a ticket is required in advance.
2. Day Trip to Historic Pompeii
If you caught the train from Naples to Sorrento, you would have passed the train station for Pompeii. Not that much of this historic site is visible from the train line.
The site of a devastating volcanic explosion in 79AD, the ruins of this ancient Roman town were not rediscovered until 1738, when evacuations for a palace were being made. Since then the site has been progressively uncovered, although the work is ongoing.
Many of the most impressive sites to see include the Forum, Amphitheatre, bath houses, shops and the more richly decorated houses, including the impressive frescos in the Villa of the Mysteries.
Taking the Train to Pompeii
To get from Sorrento to Pompeii, take the regular trains from Sorrento train station. A single trip will cost around €3, purchased from either the train station or a newsagency. Get off at Pompeii station (about a 35 minute trip) and then it is just a short walk to the main entrance.
Entry and Opening Hours at Pompeii
Be warned that temperatures can get quite hot, especially in summer. Take advantage of the site opening at 9:00am and staying open until 7:00pm in summer (5:00pm in winter). Plus take a water bottle.
Touring the Site of Pompeii
To tour Pompeii, there are 3 options:
- The cheapest option to tour Pompeii is to just use the map (given out at the ticket booth) and the information on that. You can also download the map in advance.
- Hire an audio guide, only at the Porta Marina entrance.
- Go on a guided tour. Join a group on the day or book a tour in advance.
If you want to spend most of the day at the site, covering the majority of open buildings, but without spending too much, I highly recommend using the audio guide.
Total cost: About €22.00
Dog-friendly: Small dogs are allowed into the Pompeii site (they just need to be held inside buildings and be on a leash). Dogs are allowed onto the train with a leash and muzzle.
3. Day Trip to Capri
Due to the high costs of ferries and jetfoils, it is not cheap to travel to Capri. However, it is a beautiful island and well worth the cost. Located 5km off the mainland, it has been a resort town since Roman times, with the Emperor Tiberius having a villa on the island, and the island being popular with many writers and artists.
These days the island is best for enjoying the good food, swimming at the beaches and walking along the trails. Although the busy months of July and August are best avoided if you want to relax!
Taking the Ferry to Capri
Sorrento is one of the best departure points for Capri. Jetfoils and ferries regularly leave from the Marina Piccola in Sorrento.
To get there, just follow the steps and steep paths down to the waterfront, or take the lift. Boats depart approximately every 30 minutes; see the full timetable here including prices (select Sorrento – Capri in the menu).
Prices vary between €16.90 and €21.60, with the cheaper prices being for the regular ferries that take 30 minutes, while fast ferries take 20 minutes. Be warned that these are only one-way prices! Return trips cost double the price (no discount), with single tickets also able to be purchased on Capri for your return.
Transport to Capri Town and Around the Island
On Capri, it is recommended to firstly stop in and buy a map from the tourist information office for about €1. To then get from the Marina Grande harbour up to the main Capri town, there are three options.
Firstly there’s the funicular that runs every 15 minutes, takes 3 minutes and costs €2.00. The next option is to take the bus that runs about every 15 minutes, takes 10 minutes and also costs €2.00 (or €2.50 on board). Finally, you could walk!
To get further around the island, the other options are bus (single tickets €2.00 if bought in advance, otherwise €2.50 on board) or walking. Check out the timings on this great site.
Visiting the Blue Grotto
The other expensive part about a visit to Capri is visiting the Blue Grotto. The cost of a row boat alone is €14 (plus a tip if you pay one!)
Plus there is the cost of a boat trip there from Marina Grande or the buses (change in Anacapri for the bus to the Blue Grotto), unless you walk.
I don’t know whether it is worthwhile visiting the Blue Grotto, as there was a boat strike the day that I was visiting Capri, which even included the rowboats.
Visiting Monte Solaro
However, I can recommend taking the chairlift up to the summit of Capri, Monte Solaro; the views are amazing, and it is a peaceful break from the crowds on the rest of the island.
Called the Seggiovia by locals, the chairlift departs from Anacapri and takes about 15 minutes each way. It costs €12 for a return trip or €9 one way.
Total cost: From €39.80 (slow ferry plus funicular and two bus trips)
Dog-friendly: Dogs are allowed on the ferry with a leash and muzzle. Dogs are allowed on the funicular, again with a leash and muzzle, but require a ticket. Small and medium dogs only are allowed on the buses, and again require a ticket.
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