Why you should seek out Sorrento’s Marina Grande

Why you should seek out Sorrento’s Marina Grande

Sorrento is definitely no secret. It’s one of Italy’s most iconic towns, famous for its colourful clifftop buildings, sweet-smelling lemon groves and Neapolitan Riviera scenery. Down on the waterfront, Marina Piccola is buzzing and busy all summer long with ferries taking tourists to Capri and other islands in the Gulf of Naples. But Sorrento’s got another, lesser-known marina, too.  

Tucked out of sight around the west side of the cliff, Marina Grande’s got a more authentic feel. Its name makes it sound hard to miss, but it’s a hidden gem – literally – and seems a world away from the lively port around the rock face. From its sweet stretch of sand, to historic streets and seafront restaurants serving the catch of the day, here’s why you shouldn’t miss Marina Grande on your trip to Sorrento. 

Fishing village vibes   

Pastel-hued houses facing the waterfront and boats bobbing in the harbour – Marina Grande has that classic Amalfi Coast aesthetic. It’s still a fishing town at heart, and the daily ritual of boats coming and going is a lovely window into local life in Sorrento. Go for a stroll along the prom and watch fisherman pulling their nets onto the shore. Curious about what they caught? Get a table at one of the waterfront trattorias to find out.  

Fresh flavours 

Eating the catch of the day right next to the ocean just makes sense. The seafood here’s as fresh as it gets – it’s probably only caught a few hours before it’s brought to your table. Just ask for what’s come in today or keep an eye out for tuna and swordfish on the menu. Order it grilled with a slice of lemon – local ofc – or try it mixed into a pasta dish, like scialatielli ai frutti di mare. And there’s always room for dessert, so stay where you are for Caprese al cioccolato – a flourless chocolate and almond cake from Capri, washed down with an icy limoncello – or digest your main with a walk over to a gelateria. 

Sandy spiagge  

Marina Grande’s beach is one of Sorrento’s loveliest swim spots. Find a spot on the sand or the wooden jetty with loungers and parasols for hire. It’s all less crowded than the one in Marina Piccola, and the scene’s much easier on the eye, too. The sweet sweep is backed by colourful buildings perched on the cliff, and fishing boats frame the bay view. You can just make out the silhouette of Naples and Pompeii in the distance, and you can’t miss Mount Vesuvius over on the right-hand side. For a closer look, rent a kayak or a paddleboard and make your way along the coastline.  

Festivals and famous faces  

This was Sorrento’s most important port back in the day, and it’s still got a serious old-world charm about it. Weave your way through the cobbled streets for a major throwback, like the age-old stone archways and the Roman church, Chiesa di Sant’Anna. St Anne is a big deal here, and if you’re around in July, there’s a whole festival dedicated to her. The marina and town get a glow-up with decorations, ready for parades, traditional dancing and music, plus fireworks in the evenings. But she’s not the town’s only claim to fame – Italian icon Sophia Loren spent time in Marina Grande while filming Scandal in Sorrento. You can follow in her footsteps with a meal in Trattoria da Emilia, which is still open today. 


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Author: Daisy Colley
Last updated: 28/06/2024