Villas in Sorrento & Amalfi Coast

Located on the southwestern shores of Italy, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast are well-known for their dramatic and rugged coastline, where steep cliffs plunge into the sea and the shores are dotted with pastel-coloured seaside villages. Sorrento (aka the gateway to the Amalfi Coast) has retained its authenticity and charm, despite its popularity with tourists.

Oliver’s Travels selection of unique villas have been handpicked by destination experts and vary in location – from the coast to the lush green interior. Our experts have picked villas that are close to the action, whether that’s near to a beach, with a private pool, or within walking distance to restaurants and villages.

Why visit?

  • In Sorrento and at Amalfi Coast you’ll find a kaleidoscope of landscapes – from the mosaic of colourful villages to the cliffside lemon groves, terraced vineyards and cluster of small beaches.
  • This diversity of terrain, mixed with the architecture and artistic significance of the area is the reason behind its UNESCO World Heritage site status.

Read the Sorrento & Amalfi Coast Travel Guide

Why stay with us?

Style and character are everything at Oliver’s Travels, and our collection of handpicked villas in Sorrento and at Amalfi Coast have this in spades. We have destination experts who know the ins and outs of all our regions, picking villas that aren’t only unique, but also in the best locations. What's more, our villas are 100% family-friendly, and have the ‘wow’ factor.

Our helpful concierge team are on-hand to make your stay extra special. Whether you want a fully-stocked fridge, a local in-house chef to cook your meals, housekeeping or any other extra service – consider them your holiday genie, who will happily grant your wishes.

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Villas in Sorrento & Amalfi Coast: Our Top Picks

Why visit

If you want sunshine, food that is out of this world, and plenty of ancient history to explore, it doesn’t get much better than the Sorrento & Amalfi coast. It was the playground of Rome’s emperors for centuries, so if it’s good enough for Caesar, it’s good enough for us! And with such a great collection of luxury villas, you won't be disappointed.

In fact, this is the Italian destination to head to if you’re a hopeless romantic and want to sweep your other half off their feet, a history lover who just can’t get enough of those ruins, or a family looking for a beach to laze on.

The landscape is typically southern Italian, with green hills and steep, rocky cliffs that tumble down towards the sea. Dotted throughout the landscape you’ll find tiny towns and villages that have remained unchanged for centuries.

Sorrento coast

If you do want to get around, the public transport system in this part of the country is superb, but bear in mind that the roads are busy, chaotic, and feature the occasional random donkey, so using buses and trains is a much better option.

Escape the mad crowds of Naples and head a little further down south to the pretty towns of Amalfi and Sorrento, two of Italy's most popular summer destinations. A relaxed café culture, easy access to major historical sites like Pompeii, and some of the best Italian food you’ll ever taste are just some of the reasons to make this chilled-out destination your next stop for a great holiday.

Food and drink

You’ve really hit the jackpot in this region when it comes to food and drink in Italy. Kick off the day with coffee and the local sfogliatella, a delicious sweet pastry you’ll fall in love with at the first bite.

If you want to eat like a local, make lunch your main meal of the day, and seeing as you’re just a short distance from Naples, the birthplace of pizza, we’ve got a good idea what you should go for!

In this part of Italy the locals still believe in eating seasonally, so all year round you’ll see variations on the local menus, from fresh asparagus in the spring through to black truffles and chestnuts in the autumn.

Wash everything down with the local favourite tipple, limoncello, probably the best palette cleanser in the world! One of the best things to do in Sorrento is take a tour of Sorrento Farm, where you can see how the liqueur is made and, naturally, taste a glass or three for yourself. 

If you want more information, you can also check the Sorrento & Amalfi Coast Travel Guide or get some inspiration from locals in our blog.

What Oliver loves

A combination of the warm welcome you’ll get everywhere, wonderful food and drink, and those gorgeous beaches all come together to make you feel like a local. It’s one of our favourite spots in the Med, with year-round attractions, festivals and events to keep everyone happy.

Best time to go

  • Our advice: The main Italian holiday season is in July and August, and you'll find everyone gets in their cars and heads down to this little slice of Mediterranean heaven, so things can get crowded. To beat the crush, head here during the shoulder seasons of April through to June, and throughout September and October. The weather is still glorious in the spring and autumn, but the crowds are much thinner.
  • Weather: Expect average temperatures of around 20-26°C from April to June, and the mid to high 20s in September and October. July is the driest month.
  • Events: The Positano Premia La Danza Léonide Massine music and dance festival brings the area alive with colour and sound for the first week of September, or join in with the fireworks and feasting for the Festa di Sant’Andrea, held on June 27 and November 30.

Top Tips

  • Electricity and plugs: Italian voltage is 230V. The plugs and sockets are types F and L, so you’ll need a travel adapter for use during your stay in one of our Amalfi coast villa rentals.
  • Tipping: Optional but appreciated. For restaurants, leave a 10% tip but watch out for ‘Servizio’ on your bill as that means a service charge has already been included. Round it up to the nearest euro in taxis, and put a 10cent coin on the bar when you order your coffee to show you’re ready to be served.
  • Watch out for: Pickpockets in Naples and other main tourist spots like Pompeii.

Family friendly

We’ll be honest with you: you’re not going to find much in the way of theme parks for the kids if you book a holiday on the Sorrento & Amalfi coast. However, what you will get is plenty of quality family time together, exploring one of the prettiest parts of Italy. That makes it ideal for families with older children and teenagers, who will love seeing the petrified remains of the inhabitants of Pompeii, or hopping on a bike and touring the countryside.

If you're looking for that perfect family holiday in Italy, then we think you're better heading to the Amalfi coast, where you'll find larger, family-friendly beaches and more in the way of water-sports and activities. If your children are a little older and are happy to go sightseeing then Sorrento's gorgeous views, pastel-painted houses, and laid-back lifestyle is more attractive.

Feed their curiosity

While water parks and theme parks are a little thin on the ground, there’s plenty to keep curious kids entertained. We love the interactive Museo Archeologico Virtuale in Ercolano, which brings ancient ruins back to life with 3D holograms. If they’ve got a head for heights then a cable-car ride up Monte Faito is bound to have jaws dropping and cameras clicking!

Family holidays, celeb-style

If you want to turn your family holiday in Sorrento into something a little more high-end then why not hire a private charter boat and hop over to the island of Capri?

Family in the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

If you want to dodge the crowds, then the tiny island of Ischia is a must-do with the family. If you're lucky, you'll be able to spot bottle-nose dolphins playing around the bow of the boat as you sail over to the islands. Once you're there, it's time for a spot of wild swimming in the clear blue water, and some lazy sunbathing on the beach.

Head back to the mainland and into Sorrento for a family meal, or keep the kids happy with some of the best ice-cream you've ever tasted. Forget Mister Whippy, we're talking about some serious Italian Gelato. Look out for Profumi di Sorrento (a citrus sorbet that bursts with flavour) or the Noci di Sorrento, a nutty ice-cream that's utterly more-ish!

Why it's perfect for families

  • For babies: ‘Bambinos’ are worshipped all over Italy, so expect restaurants, shops and practically everywhere else to welcome them with open arms, and spoil them rotten! Check out our baby-friendly villas.
  • For kids: There aren’t any theme parks to speak of. However, if they’re water-babies then the beaches of Sorrento are excellent. If they’re keen on technology then take them for a visit to Città della Scienza science centre in Bagnoli, just west of Naples. See our list of child-friendly villas.
  • For teens: The preserved remains of the victims of Pompeii and Herculaneum should appeal to older children, or head here for a spring break in February or March for the Carnevale, which is always a colourful event. Discover our list of teen-friendly villas.

Top Tips

  • Pack sunhats, plenty of water and snacks for the kids – it gets hot, especially in July and August.
  • Head to the Parco Nazionale del Cilento, the spooky caves and grottos are a great way to escape the heat of the day.
  • Plan your visit to coincide with the Giffoni film festival, Europe’s biggest children’s film event in July.
  • You can’t miss a trip to Pompeii or Herculaneum off your list, just make sure the little ones know what to expect as it can be upsetting for younger children.
  • If you’re here with very young tots then bear in mind that the cobbled streets can be challenging if you’re pushing a stroller or buggy.

Beaches in Sorrento & Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi coast is not exactly famous for its beaches, but the ones that do line the coast are small, friendly, and usually relatively quiet. There are some larger ones with all the usual facilities, but whatever you do, don’t hit them in July and August, as you probably won’t be able to get a foot on the sand because of the crowds.

The best family-friendly beaches are around Sorrento, which is more orientated towards package holidays and your usual ‘bucket-and-spade’ break with the kids. You’ll find some water-sports here, but not as many as you would elsewhere. However, the waters are clean, crystal clear, and perfect for swimming, snorkelling and diving.

Head away from the regular haunts and you’re bound to find your own little secret cove somewhere along the coast. The coastline is quite rugged, with towering cliffs and small inlets, some of which can only be reached by boat.

You’ll also find that a lot of the beaches have that characteristic black volcanic sand, which makes them a little unusual.

Our villas in Sorrento usually come with their own pool, and if what you really want is having the coast close by, we suggest you to check these properties near the beach.

Oliver's Hidden Gem

Spiaggia della Gavitella beach: Because of the number of steps you have to walk down to get to it, this little gem tends to be a lot less crowded than its neighbours. The walk is absolutely worth it, as it’s stunning.

Spiaggia della Gavitella beach, Sorrento Amalfi

Our top pick for families, this beach is easily accessible, has good facilities, and plenty of sun loungers. For a special treat, check out the amazing lemon cream pastries at the local shop called Sal de Riso.

Right in the middle of Amalfi is this great beach for families, where you can also catch a boat to some of the nearby coves and quieter beaches along the coast. Avoid during the peak season unless you love crowds!

Our top choice if you want a paddle in safe, shallow water. Just a 2-minute drive from Amalfi, this beach is popular with local families, with easy access to the town centre for a quick lunch break or ice cream.

This is the longest beach on the Amalfi coast and has plenty of facilities for families as well as safe, clean water, jet skis and pedalos for hire. Great if you’re here with the family and love your water-sports.

If you want that romantic sunset walk along the surf with your other half, this is the beach to do it on. Afterwards, check out the local fish restaurants. Quieter than the other beaches, and perfect for relaxation.

Translating as ‘Children’s Beach’ and also known as Calypso Beach, this charming spot is sunny almost all day long, quiet, and perfect for a little rest and relaxation. Grab a snack and a drink at the Calypso bar.

Things to do

There is a good choice of museums and sights around Sorrento in particular, so if you fancy having a break from your pool back at your villa in Sorrento, throw on a comfy pair of shoes and head out exploring.

You’ll find some strange places as well as the usual pretty squares and courtyards, and one of the most oddball sites is tucked away behind Piazza Tasso. Il Vallone dei Mulini is a deep crack in the mountain that formed over 35,000 years ago. Sitting right in its heart is a plant-covered ruin of a wheat mill that wouldn't look out of place in a horror film. It's great if you love taking unusual photos on your holidays. More weird and whacky sights can be found at the Museo Correale di Terranova, which is packed to the ceiling with Neapolitan arts and crafts, as well as the occasional ancient Egyptian carving or two.

There’s a couple of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ attractions to look out for, too, including the large stone archway that sweeps over the top of the Via Sopra le Mura. This is one of Sorrento’s original Greek city gates. It was built in the 4th century BC, and you can see more of the city’s ancient walls at the southern end of Via Antonio Sersale.

But if there is something you really need to do during your holidays in Sorrento & Amalfi Coast it's trying the amazing italian food. For a very convenient foodie experience, stay in one of these villas close to restaurants. And in the meantime, check out some of the top activities to do in the region:

Ferriere Valley Nature Reserve

Full of lemon groves and gorgeous spring flowers, the reserve was once home to a number of old ironworks dating back to Roman times. Now it’s best known for its tranquillity and its spectacular waterfalls, making this the perfect spot for a day’s hike. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera as this reserve is unlike anything else you’ll see in the Sorrento region.

Ferriere Valley Nature Reserve, Sorrento Amalfi

Ferriere Valley Nature Reserve

Correale di Terranova Museum in Sorrento

Filled with artefacts dating back thousands of years. Even the museum itself is an exhibit, housed in an 18th-century villa that’s surrounded by classical Italian gardens. A great spot for culture vultures.

Take in a show at the Teatro Tasso Sorrento

The two-hour show is a celebration of the music and culture of the region, and you get a drink of the local limoncello before curtain-up; what could be better than that? After the show, head into town for a late-night supper in one of the many restaurants.

Cable-car ride up Monte Faito

Hold on tight as you take the cable car ride all the way to the top of the mountain for some of the best views of the entire Sorrento Peninsula, and along the Amalfi coastline all the way to the Bay of Naples. Pick up the cable car from the  Circumvesuviana train station in Castellammare di Stabia. It’s not wheelchair friendly, and our recommendation is that if you want to explore the mountain, book a local guided hike rather than heading off on your own.

Monte Faito

Monte Faito

Boat tour to Li Galli Sirenuse

Listen carefully and you might hear the song of the Sirens on this little cluster of islands off the coast. A boat tour takes you to the archipelago made up of La Castelluccia, Gallo Lungo and La Rotonda.

Gallo Lungo Island

Gallo Lungo Island

Kayak tour

Your guide will take you around the Bay of Leranto from Sorrento, where you can spend half a day escaping the hustle and bustle of the crowds back on land, and get up close and personal with the local seals. If you’re lucky you might also see dolphins and turtles, and your guide will take you to the best spots where you can really enjoy the very best of this marine park.

Oliver's Hidden Gem

The Emerald Grotto: 5km west of Amalfi town on the main coast road, is an absolute must-see. Forgotten about for hundreds of years, it was rediscovered in 1932 and is now at the top of our list of places to go.

The cavern is stunningly beautiful, and can only be reached by boat. Visit early in the afternoon for a real ‘wow’ moment when the light hits the water and turns it brilliant green – it really lives up to its name!

The Emerald Grotto, Amalfi Coast

Towns and villages

You can’t move along the Amalfi coast without tripping over gorgeously pretty little villages and towns. There are charming little villages to explore, with pastel-painted houses tumbling down the side of the hills.

They’re not all modern towns, either, and no trip to this part of Italy is complete without at least one visit to the eerie remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Hop on the Circumvesuviana Railway and take the train up towards Naples. Get off at Pompei Scavi (Villa dei Misteri). The trip takes around 35 minutes from Sorrento, so it's a great day trip and easy to get to. Our top tip: don’t drive! The parking is limited at best, and the only word to describe the traffic as you get closer to the suburbs of Naples is ‘madness’!

The best spot for shopping has to be Naples. It’s mad, it’s loud, it’s insanely busy, but with so many tiny backstreets and piazzas to explore, it’s an absolute gem of a city and well worth a visit. Use public transport to get here, pay-and-display parking is very limited, and most spots are permit parking only. If you want to be close to the main towns, discover these villas close to villages.

Oliver’s Hidden Gem

Capo: It’s a little off the beaten track, but if you want to see a village where time seems to have stood still, Capo is our hidden gem.

Described by writer Isaac Babel as an ‘earthly paradise’, it’s tranquil, charming, and colourful. Look out for the Roman ruins, and the stunning Bath of Queen Joan.

Located only a 30-minute drive (or 4km walk) from Sorrento you’ll find this little slice of heaven. Up in the hills of the Sorrento Peninsula, Sant’Agata sui due Golfi boasts incredible sea views over the gulfs of Naples and Salerno. It’s the perfect place for a walking holiday, with a vast amount of trails heading off in every direction. And don’t forget the tasty Italian food, particularly Michelin-starred restaurant Don Alfonso 1890.

Six kilometers north of Amalfi, Ravello’s known as the City of Music and home to the beautiful Villa Cimbrone, with its classical gardens filled with statues. It’s been the muse of writers and poets for decades and was given UNESCO World Heritage status back in 1997, so you know it’s going to be ridiculously pretty! Keep an eye out for the Ravello music festival in the summer.

This charming little town clings slightly precariously to the rocks, but if you don’t mind getting in your 10,000 daily steps on some pretty steep cobbled streets, it’s stunningly pretty with some great views of the coast. Check out the Torre dello Ziro fortress, which overlooks the town and gives you some great views, or pop your head into the Grotto of the Saints (below the Tower of Ziro), which dates all the way back to the 10th century.

Wander down narrow cobbled streets, peer into boutiques and tiny bars, and feel yourself slow right down in this delightful little town that’s all potted geraniums and amazing views. You’re heading off the tourist trail here, so expect it to have a laid-back vibe and a much more authentic feel of ‘old’ Italy. For amazing views and the ultimate place to watch the sunset on the Amalfi coast, head up the Torra a Mare.

Supposedly named after the sea god Poseidon, a 25-minute ferry trip from Amalfi will bring you to this charming village. It has two rather sweet little beaches that are usually pretty crowd-free as long as you don’t head here in July and August. Its famous church, the Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta, is home to a 13th-century Byzantine icon, and the coastline is littered with Roman villas. See it at its best during the early spring.

For a few euros you can hop onto a bus and head out to the incredible ruins at Paestum. You may be in southern Italy, but the Greek influence is strong in this part of the world (it was hotly contested between the Greek and Roman empires during ancient times). Paestum is home to some of the best preserved Greek Doric temples not just in Europe, but in the world. This is a must-see if you love ancient history.

If you like something a little different, this tiny village ticks all the right boxes. Tucked away between Amalfi town and Positano, it clings to the side of a rocky gorge and is a mass of tiny tumbling cobbled streets and alleyways. At its heart is the Fiordo or fjord and its arched, 30m-high bridge, where determined young men and women leap off and into the water every summer for the International Diving Championships.

Getting there and around

Flights to Naples

If you’re planning a break in one of our Amalfi coast villas, it couldn’t be easier to get here. Flights are regular, with over 100 flights from airports across the UK every week to Naples. The flight time is around two and a half hours from London or roughly three hours from most regional airports.

Bus, train or ferry to get to Sorrento

Once you land you can either hire a car or get to Sorrento by bus, train or ferry.

  • Train: If you want to relax and get some great scenic coastal views along the way, hop on the train (known as the Circumvesuviana) from Naples along the coast to Sorrento.
  • Ferry: Alternatively, take a ferry from Naples’ Molo Beverello port to Sorrento. It takes just 35 minutes, which is quicker than the train and much faster than the hour and a half traffic jam you’ll encounter on the roads. They run from the Easter weekend and until the end of October, depending on where you want to go. Ferries connect from Amalfi to Positano, Salerno, Capri, Naples and Sorrento.
  • Taxi: Transfer taxis are expensive, and you won’t see much change out of 100 euros.

Getting to and from your villa

Most of the villas in Sorrento are just a short walk from the town itself, so you’re within easy reach of buses and trains, as well as the town’s cafés, shops and restaurants. Some of the hills can be a little steep, so our top tip is to pack some comfortable walking shoes so you can tackle those cobbled streets without problems.

If you’ve booked accommodation that's a little further out of town, then you should be able to get a taxi to and from the station when you arrive. With such tight, narrow streets (and some challenging traffic during the summer) we don't advise hiring a car.

The trains and buses are excellent, and run regularly all through the year.

Moving around by train

Italian trains are fast, clean, incredibly cheap, and very reliable. The two main train stations on the Amalfi coast are Salerno, which connects directly to Eurostar as well as the main Italian network, and Sorrento.

The Sorrento line connects to Naples and the ruins at Pompeii and is an excellent way of getting around to see some of the region's essential tourist spots. You also get the benefit of a fantastic coastal view along the way.

Top tips

  • The Sorrento lift: If you don’t fancy walking up and down some very steep hills in Sorrento, there’s a lift that runs between the town (at the top of the cliff) and the beach and harbour area below.
  • Hire a bike: Cycling is popular in southern Italy, and if you can cope with some pretty monumental hills to start with, the cycling and hiking paths along the Amalfi coast are spectacular.

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