Heading to Sorrento, Italy? In my humble option, this is the best travel guide to Sorrento, Italy... with a literary twist (because this is a book pairings blog after all!). This post contains books set near Sorrento, the absolute BEST hotel, the best restaurants (+ what to eat), what to do and lots of pictures!
Our Italian honeymoon was my first travel abroad trip out of the United States, and it was not cheap. Based on this, as well as my very Type A personality, I dove DEEP into my travel research, scouring every possible resource, to make it the best possible experience, AND we also had an excellent travel agent.
The results: our time in Sorrento especially was the time of our lives! We found that the time spent planning was worth every minute and now I am sharing only the best of Sorrento with you.
Without further ado, below is the best travel guide to Sorrento, Italy, especially for book lovers.
Books Set Near Sorrento, Italy
As a book lover and book blogger, I always read books set in the place I am traveling to ahead of time. It really sets the mood for meaningful travel!
I don't have any favorite fiction books set in Sorrento, but I do have some great recommendations for fiction books set near Sorrento. Below are a few books you may enjoy:
My Brilliant Friend (Series) by Elena Ferrante
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (the first in a series of four very character-driven books) is my favorite book of all time.
It’s about post-WWII life in Naples, Italy, a short way from Sorrento, and two deeply complex friends, Elena and Lila, from their lives of poverty in the 1950s, throughout decades of their lives, as their friendship both pushes and pulls away as they come of age. Major themes in this book include education, class and violence.
I dare you not to become utterly immersed in the epic saga of Elena and Lila, intertwined with Naples itself and all of their family and neighbors.
Once, I read someone say that, while reading My Brilliant Friend, you will realize that you never again want to read anything not written by Elena Ferrante, and I wholeheartedly agree.
For more, read my full review of My Brilliant Friend.
Note: This book is also a FANTASTIC recent HBO series. And some scenes in season 2 take place at the hotel I recommend below!
Rick Steves Italy Travel Guide
My sister-in-law gifted me this specific Rick Steves Italy travel guide upon learning we would honeymoon in Italy, and it (as well as Rick Steves himself) became our most trusted travel resource. He is simply the best, and his Italy travel guide is a must purchase, a must-read and a must re-read, highlight and underline before traveling to Italy.
If you are doing the Around the World Reading Challenge, you can add these books to your PDF tracker for Italy.
You may also enjoy my list of best books set in Italy.
Travel Guide to Sorrento, Italy
Below is my full travel guide to Sorrento, Italy, compiled after months of research and experience. It includes the best hotel and restaurants, what to do, and lots of pictures!
The Best Hotel in Sorrento, Italy
Review of the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria
If you are wondering where to stay in Sorrento, look no further. The Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria is a 5-star hotel is ranked third in all of Italy, a member of one of the "Leading Hotels of the World," contains a Michelin star restaurant, and was the best travel experience of our lives.
It's on a vast private property, which allows you room and space to breathe amongst the otherwise very small and crowded Amalfi Coast.
Pro tip: It also has a private elevator that quickly transports you straight up and down a large cliff several stories to reach the water. (I can't find the exact height, but it's massive-- just look at my picture above!) In 100 degree Summer heat, we were utterly grateful not to have to climb several steep stories of public stairs.
Tourists regularly try to get on to the property, but they are whisked away. This means guests can better relax and enjoy all of the hotel's amenities in tranquility -- something that is hard to find in Southern Italy.
We loved the private, very refreshing pool, with poolside drinks and food, as well as the elegant inclusive breakfast in a decadent room filled with delectable Neapolitan delights.
Even room service of just a Caprese salad was one of the best dishes we had in all of Italy, thanks to carefully grown on-site produce and the most luxurious olive oil.
Our room was spacious, clean and elegant, with a sitting area and a large bathroom, and we had a breathtaking balcony overlooking the Gulf of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.
Perhaps the best experience at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, however, is watching the sunset with a cocktail on the patio while listening to nightly live music.
It's been traveled not just by *us,* but also celebrities and royalty throughout time.
While it's not a place where you look to find a great deal, we found the prices to be "reasonable" for the top-notch service and location you get.
Best Restaurants in Sorrento, Italy
I did a lot of research on the best restaurants in Sorrento, Italy, and am pleased to present three where we had some of our favorite meals in all of Italy.
Before we get to the restaurants, though, I want to note a few specific items you simply *must* try during your stay in Sorrento:
What to Eat in Sorrento
- Local seafood
- Neapolitan pizza - without question, the best pizza on earth. (We now have it shipped to us from Italy regularly from Talia di Napoli.)
- Anything and everything "eggplant" - it just melts in your mouth
- Gnocchi alla Sorrentina - baked with tomato sauce and cheese
- Lacryma Christi (tears of Christ) wine - the modern wine that most resembles Ancient Roman wines, which is still made on the slopes of nearby Mount Vesuvius
Where to Eat in Sorrento
L'Antica Trattoria is a higher-end renowned restaurant with foodie quality dishes which caught my attention because they have a beautiful garden and a vegan tasting menu. While it's on the pricy side, we loved testing out some more creative and elevated Italian dishes in the pretty atmosphere.
I recommend that you book several hours, or a few days, ahead, and ask for garden seating.
Ristorante Fuoro was a restaurant right in the heart of the main street for shopping and tourism, so I had my doubts that it would deliver an authentic Italian review, but it had good reviews, so we gave it a shot, and it ended up being one of our favorite meals in all of Italy.
Hands down: the eggplant was the best I've ever had, and the octopus was the best my husband has ever had. We still talk about this meal.
Ristorante Bagni Delfino
Ristorante Bagni Delfino was a popular, highly rated restaurant that came up a lot in my research. Our hotel advised that it may be "hard" to get a reservation (so I recommend you book a few days ahead), but they scored one for us, and it was my husband's favorite overall dining experience in Italy.
It's located right over the water, so sunset is the perfect time to visit. It's known for its fresh local seafood, especially the seafood risotto, which we saw ordered a lot, and which my husband ordered.
How to get to Ristorante Bagni Delfino: It can be difficult to locate, but the best advice I can give you is that if you are on the main streets of Sorrento, just keep walking as far left as you can, away from the Grand Hotel Excelsior and its cliffs. At the same time, aim to walk as close to the water as you can. It's right at the furthest left, lowest part of Sorrento.
On the image below, there is a yellow and a white building on the lower right side, with a dock jutting out from them. That dock is Ristorante Bagni Delfino.
(If these food photos are making you drool and you want the Neopolitan pizza experience at home, I recommend having frozen pizza shipped to you directly from Naples with all local ingredients via Talia di Napoli. They are the closest I have tasted to "the real thing" (especially the Margherita style). We are never without these pizzas in our home!)
What to Do in Sorrento, Italy
- Shop! There are two main streets, one higher-end, and one more touristy, where you can buy anything and everything "lemon," along with hand-painted art, hand-crafted wooden boxes, handmade jewelry and more.
- Explore! Sorrento is small, but there are still some pretty churches and streets that take you in maze-like directions.
- Take a cooking class! While we didn't get the chance to take a cooking class, I recall there being a lot of options in Sorrento.
- Get on a boat! You can either charter a boat ride or take a ferry, as we did, to the nearby Positano Coast and Capri for a day.
Related Italy Travel Guide Posts
If you enjoyed my travel guide to Sorrento, Italy, you may also enjoy my travel guides (with a literary twist) for these Italian cities:
Pin this travel guide to Sorrento, Italy to Pinterest because you can refer back to it when you are planning your travel.