Are you planning your ultimate Amalfi Coast itinerary and don’t know if you should stay in Sorrento or Positano? Or maybe you could choose to stay in the smaller town of Amalfi? After visiting the magnificent region several times, I have my preferences and can guide you in making the best choice for your needs.
We are all different and are looking for specific things from our base on the Amalfi Coast. However, we can look at the 3 villages from other points of view, analyze each of them, and make an informed decision.
While we all dream of staying in the colorful Positano, that might not be the best choice for everyone.
Let’s see why!
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Should you stay in Sorrento or Positano?
Sorrento is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, and it’s easy to see why. From its stunning views over Naples Bay to its cobblestone streets and ancient ruins, there’s something for everyone here.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an adventure-filled holiday, Sorrento has it all.
Spend your days exploring the vibrant Piazza Tasso square, strolling along Marina Grande beachfront promenade, taking boat trips to Capri Island, or discovering the archeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
You can also relax on pristine beaches with crystal clear waters or go wine tasting in Massa Lubrense – not forgetting the delicious Italian Gelato!
With so much beauty and culture around every corner, Sorrento is an ideal destination that will leave you with lifelong memories.
The best things to do and see in Sorrento
1. Visit the Piazza Tasso
Piazza Tasso is the main square of Sorrento and one of the most popular attractions in town. Located in the heart of Sorrento, it’s a great place to take in some local culture and soak up the atmosphere. This vibrant piazza has been a meeting point for locals since medieval times and is still bustling with activity today.
It is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants offering everything from pizza to gelato. There are also plenty of historic buildings to explore as well as monuments dedicated to famous figures from Sorrento’s past such as Virgilio Cardarelli and Giuseppe Garibaldi.
2. Explore Marina Grande
Located on the northern side of Sorrento’s coastline, this picturesque port is one of the most popular spots in town.
The vibrant colors of the buildings along the waterfront are sure to captivate visitors while taking a stroll along its cobblestone streets gives you an authentic taste of Italian life.
At Marina Grande, you can also find plenty of restaurants serving up traditional dishes as well as gelato stands where you can cool off with some delicious ice cream.
With its crystal clear waters and breathtaking views, it’s no wonder why so many people come to enjoy this beautiful destination.
3. Take a boat ride to Capri
Located just off the coast of Naples, Capri is one of Italy’s most beautiful and iconic islands. This small island offers visitors a unique blend of stunning scenery, vibrant culture, and fascinating history.
Most tours and ferries depart from Naples or Sorrento, so by choosing Sorrento as your base on the Amalfi Coast you will be perfectly located.
4. Discover the ruins of Pompeii or Herculaneum
Pompeii was famously destroyed and buried under ash and pumice during a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The ruins of Pompeii are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, providing visitors with an incredible insight into the lives of those who lived here thousands of years ago.
Visitors can explore the well-preserved streets and buildings, see artifacts from everyday life such as pottery and jewelry, or even take part in guided tours to learn more about this fascinating place.
5. Relax on Sorrento’s beaches
Sorrento and its surrounding area are packed with both free public beaches and private ones. While you won’t find many sandy beaches, the crystal blue waters will lure you in.
Marina Piccola in Sorrento is set next to the port and is equipped with sun loungers and umbrellas for rent. The beach in Puolo is best for families traveling with children, but also for those looking for a bigger free public beach. Nerano is another option for those looking for a large pebble beach.
6. Stroll through the cobblestone streets of Corso Italia
7. Hike up Monte Faito for amazing views over Naples and Vesuvius Volcano
8. Go wine tasting in Massa Lubrense
9. Admire art at Museo Correale di Terranova Museum
10. Enjoy some delicious Italian Gelato! Or learn how to make it yourself!
Where to stay in Sorrento
For those looking for accommodation options when visiting this beautiful destination, there are numerous hotels, resorts, and villas to choose from that provide guests with unparalleled comfort and service.
Whether you’re looking for luxury or budget-friendly stays in Sorrento, you’ll be sure to find something that suits your needs perfectly!
Here are a few of my favorite options.
4* and 5* hotels in Sorrento
Bellevue Syrene Hotel
Set right next to the main beach in Sorrento, this amazing 5* hotel has a private beach as well as a beautiful outdoor swimming pool.
After a long day of exploring, you can relax at the hotel’s SPA or enjoy a delicious meal at their restaurant with a sea terrace. Rooms have air conditioning, a minibar, and free luxury toiletries.
Previous travelers have rated the hotel as exceptional and found everything about the hotel to be perfect, from the friendliness of the staff to the breathtaking view of the Mediterranean and the Vesuvio.
Grand Hotel Aminta
When you choose to stay at this hotel you will not be right in the center of Sorrento, you will be rewarded by the stunning views you get over the Bay of Sorrento and Mount Vesuvius.
The hotel has a lovely pool and terrace and can arrange an airport shuttle but also a bus to Sorrento city center. Previous guests loved the food served at the hotel’s restaurant, but also the lush views you get from the rooms.
Mid-Range hotels in Sorrento
Al Parco Verde B&B
Situated in the real heart of Sorrento, this property has an excellent location score of 9.5, being located only 350 m away from the Sorrento Train Station.
This place is perfect for those that want to travel extensively on the Amalfi Coast, but also for those who want to have a good night’s sleep since previous travelers have highly rated it for its very comfy beds.
Hotel Villa Fiorita
Set 6 kilometers away from the city center, this hotel offers private parking for those who choose to drive along the Amalfi Coast.
One of the main attractions is the hotel’s small terrace offering not only breathtaking views but also sun beds and jacuzzies. The property offers a free shuttle service to/from Sorrento center at scheduled times.
Apartments in Sorrento
Casa Gilda Sorrento
Also in Marina Grande, on the other side of the previous 2 locations, this apartment nestled under Sorrento lemon trees is perfect for 4 people. No matter if you’re traveling with a group of friends or with your kids, this place is perfect because you’ll have a kitchen but also the option to eat at a local restaurant.
I particularly loved the terrace where I could see myself having breakfast overlooking the sea.
Mediterranean Suites – Old Town
Different apartments that can host up to 4 people, in the heart of Sorrento, with a beautiful terrace with a sea view. You’ll get to wake up with Ischia, Mt. Vesuvius, and Procida under your eyes.
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Positano is a stunningly beautiful seaside town on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. It offers a unique combination of colorful Mediterranean architecture, quaint local shops and restaurants, breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, and rocky cliffside trails perfect for exploring.
Whether you’re looking for sun-drenched days relaxing on the beach or exciting nights out on the town, Positano has something for everyone. The stunning views from the top of Monte Tre Calli will take your breath away and provide lasting memories you’ll never forget.
The vibrant culture of this charming Italian village offers plenty of interesting people to meet and wonderful experiences to share. And with its abundance of hotels and villas, Positano offers plenty of comfortable accommodation options that will make your stay even more enjoyable.
The Best Things to do in Positano
1. Visit Spiaggia Grande Beach
Mostly covered with sunbeds and umbrellas, the Spiaggia Grande beach in Positano is lined up with popular restaurants and bars where you can spend your day. Don’t expect to find too much space to use if you are looking for a free public beach.
2. View the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Positano
The Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Positano is a breathtaking landmark that stands out among the picturesque landscape of the Amalfi Coast.
The church is home to an iconic colorful majolica-tiled dome, which can be seen from almost anywhere on the coast. Inside the church, you can marvel at Byzantine-style frescoes, amazing statues, and artwork.
3. Take a Boat Tour from Positano to Capri
4. Sample Local Food at LaTagliata Restaurant,
5. Go Shopping for Souvenirs on Via dei Mulini
6. Hike Montepertuso Trail & Explore Faraglioni Rocks
7. Lounge at Fornillo Beach
8. Enjoy an Aperitivo by the Sea at Chez Black Café Bar
9. Climb Steps & Discover Hidden Paths Around Town
10. Attend Music Events At Villa Eva in Ravello
Where to stay in Positano
Read also: The complete guide for where to stay in Positano
4* and 5* hotels in Positano
One of the most iconic places in Positano, and maybe the most photogenic as well. You can’t get more central than this because you will be only steps away from the heart of the village and minutes away from the beach.
Home to one of the most famous bars in Positano, they also feature an oyster bar and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
All rooms have private balconies, and by staying here you will have access to their infinity pool, hammam, and fitness center.
I dream of staying for at least one night at this stunning hotel, and a honeymoon or a special anniversary could be just the perfect occasion.
Il San Pietro di Positano
Although this hotel is set a little bit outside of Positano, they do offer tons of advantages for staying here.
A stunningly beautiful 5* hotel with a vibrant and luxurious interior design, a private beach so you won’t have to worry about the crowds, and a fitness center you will have access to. You will also have access to a state-of-the-art SPA and an outdoor pool.
Additionally, here you will also find a Michelin-star restaurant that is almost always fully booked, with a terrace overlooking the colorful houses and the sea.
Don’t worry about traveling to and from the center of town, because the hotel has a free shuttle bus available for their guests.
Mid-Range hotels in Positano
A family-run hotel with a great location and stunning views, AC in all their rooms. Make sure to book way in advance, because they have only a few rooms.
Hotel Villa Delle Palme in Positano
A bright and cheerful location, with authentic Italian interiors and stunning balconies or terraces, with only 9 rooms available.
The beach and the center of Positano might not be so close, but the bus stop is steps away for when you don’t feel like walking much.
All rooms have AC and you can enjoy a delicious breakfast with a view, and they have parking spaces next to the hotel but should expect to pay extra.
Apartments in Positano
Positano Holiday House
I would stay here for the view that comes with such an affordable price tag. Also, this is a big apartment, with 2 rooms and a fully equipped kitchen but also a washing machine for when you spend a longer vacation on the Amalfi Coast.
A 3-bedroom villa, fully equipped, and with a seating area where you can gather to spend quality time together or simply admire the view over the sea and the coast.
You will be only 200 meters away from one of the most popular beaches in Positano, Spiaggia del Fornillo.
Sorrento or Positano?
When it comes to the beaches, in my opinion, Sorrent is the winner. Even though none of the two locations will offer you sandy beaches, Sorrento and its surrounding area has a larger variety of public beaches.
Access from the airport
Because of its location, Sorrento is closer to the main airport in the region, the Naples International Airport.
While getting from the airport to Sorrento by public transportation is much easier, cheaper, and faster than going to Positano, there are plenty of private transfer options to choose from.
From Naples Central Station you can take the Circumvesuviana train and arrive in Sorrento in roughly one hour. If your final destination is Positano, from there, you must take a boat or a bus for another hour.
The easiest and fastest way to get from Naples to Positano is by renting a car or booking a private transfer.
Access to popular sights and activites
Since Positano is such a popular destination, there are plenty of tour options departing from the hotels in this city. That being said, Sorrento is perfectly linked by public transportation, boats, and most tours to places like Capri Island, Pompeii, Vesuvius, Herculaneum, Ischia, or Procida Islands.
Sorrento is flat, thus much easier to get around than elevated Positano. On the other hand, the city is also larger and you might need to use public transportation as well.
The verdict: Sorrento or Positano?
Both destinations are amazing and would make a perfect location for your vacation. However, Positano has more expensive hotels and accommodation options, being the perfect destination for a honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast.
Sorrento would make the best base if you are planning an itinerary on a budget, but also if you are traveling with children or a larger group. Also, this is the perfect place to stay in when you want to skip the crowds.
Is it hard to walk around Positano?
No, it is not hard to walk around Positano. Many of the streets are narrow and winding, but there are also plenty of paths and pathways that make it easy to get from place to place. Plus, as a pedestrian-friendly city by the sea, there is lots of beautiful scenery awaiting those who take their time exploring its hidden gems!
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