Located on the Italian coastline just south of Naples, Sorrento is a beautiful destination to visit in itself, with its dramatic cliffs, narrow pedestrian walkways and sumptuous choice of restaurants. Plus it’s easy to reach from Naples, as it’s directly on the train line. But even better is its central location for making so many glorious day trips, whether further onwards to the Amalfi Coast, to the ruins of Pompeii or off the coast to the island of Capri. Whilst you can join an organised tour, it is also simple to organise each of these yourself, going where you want and spending as long as you want. Here’s how to organise yourself the best day trips from Sorrento (and save money doing so).
Travelling with a dog? While I went on these day-trip before starting travelling with a dog, they’re all completely dog-friendly. (What else would you expect in Italy, one of the most dog-friendly countries I’ve visited!) At the end of each day-trip, I’ve included the relevant dog rules.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive commission if you make a purchase using the links. Last Updated: 12th October 2018
1. 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 line ends in Sorrento.)
The cheapest option is to take a bus. Buses leave outside of the Sorrento train station about each 30 minutes. A 24-hour ticket costs €10.00 (buy in advance at the ticket booth at the train station). Check the timetable here. To go all the way to Amalfi takes about 90 minutes, whilst Positano is about 60 minutes away.
This is one of the most popular day trips from Sorrento and the trip 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! 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). Positano was the highlight for me, but Amalfi is also a wonderful place to visit. Wander through the streets, visit the boutique and shops, have a seafood lunch or just a coffee or gelato, visit historic churches, and don’t forget your camera!
If you want a different return trip to Sorrento, consider taking a ferry; check the timetable in Sorrento or at the harbours. (The timetable changes for different months of the year.)
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.
Want to have a tour organised for you? Check out the details and price of this Amalfi Coast Tour by Minivan, departing from Sorrento, on Viator.
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.
To get from Sorrento to Pompeii, take the regular trains from Sorrento train station. A single trip will cost €2.80, purchased from either the train station or a newsagency. Get off at Pompeii station (about a 30 minute trip) and then it is just a short walk to the main entrance.
The entrance price for Pompeii is €15 per adult, although it is free the first Sunday of each month.
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 view the map in advance here.
- Hire an audio guide, which costs €8 each or €13 for two. You need to leave ID as a deposit.
- Go on a guided tour. Join a group on the day or book a 2-hour tour in advance through GetYourGuide, including entry to the site.
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.
Be warned that temperatures can get quite hot, especially in summer. Take advantage of the site opening at 9:00am and staying open until 7:30pm in summer (8:30am to 5:00pm in winter). Plus take a water bottle.
Total cost: From €17.80
🐾 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.
Prefer to take a guided tour? Check out the details and price of a half day tour, departing Sorrento, on Viator.
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!
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 €20.50, 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.
On Capri, it is recommended to firstly stop in and buy a map from the tourist information office for €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 day ticket €6.00) or walking. Check out the timings on this great site.
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 (from €14) or the buses (change in Anacapri for the bus to the Blue Grotto), unless you walk. I don’t know whether it is worthwhile, as there was a boat strike the day that I was visiting.
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 €11 for a return trip or €8 one way.
Total cost: From €39.80 (ferry plus funiculore and 2 bus trips)
🐾 Dog-friendly: Dogs are allowed on the ferry with a leash and muzzle. Dogs are allowed on the funicular, but require a ticket. Small and medium dogs only are allowed on the buses, but also require a ticket.