Quite possibly the closest thing to heaven on earth, Positano is the crown jewel of the Amalfi Coast and once visited, will always hold a place in your heart.
The town is surrounded by and built on magnificent white cliffs and from far, looks like a kaleidoscope of little buildings and flowers tumbling down into the azure.
Just as beautiful at night, the cliffs twinkle almost in time with the tapping of tambourines and old Italian songs being sung from many of the little restaurants. Molto romantico <3
It’s no wonder at all why so many proposals take place in this town. It’s a honeymooner’s paradise and quickly becoming a flagship for destination-weddings.
Funny that we saw Dan Bilzerian on our latest trip at the end of June! Not exactly what you’d call the romantic type but he was thoroughly enjoying himself nonetheless.
Here’s your guide to this incredibly photogenic and loveable seaside town.
Naples International Airport is the closest airport, being just over an hour’s drive away. From this airport there are several options to reach Positano.
Private Car Service
By far the most comfortable and stress-free option. From Naples it costs approx.€100 and from Sorrento it’s approx.€70. If you have kids or a lot of luggage then it’s well worth it! I recommend Jack the Driver.
We didn’t get Jack himself but his colleagues are all friendly and professional with nice new air-conditioned cars. They’re all locals of the region so not only do they know the fairly hazardous cliffside roads extremely well, but while you’re sitting back enjoying the incredible views and not having to worry about plummeting to your doom, they’ll tell you pretty much everything there is to know about the area with fabulous suggestions – several of which are described further on in this post. [Jack the Driver: +39 339 17 18 140 | firstname.lastname@example.org]
A convenient and reasonably low-cost option, the Positano Shuttle goes between Naples and Positano roughly every hour for €35 each way and from Rome Fiumicino or Rome Ciampino it’s €180 each way. [Positano Shuttle: +39 081 808 7092 | email@example.com]
Train and Bus
From the Corso Garibaldi Station in Naples, take the Circumvesuviana train which runs roughly every half hour to Sorrento. It takes an one hour and ten minutes and costs about €5. You can view the timetable is here. You can’t book these tickets online, you’ve got to buy them at the station.
At the Sorrento Train Station catch the SITA Bus to Positano (the Amalfi line) which departs every hour from the train station for about €1.50.
Warning: If you get nauseous on long car rides then this is not a good option for you. The road leading to Positano (SS163 AKA Amalfi Drive) is a pretty treacherously narrow two-way road with continuous sharp twists and turns all the way up. In summer it gets jammed with tourist buses so it becomes a much longer ride and with more people on your bus the less you’ll feel the air-conditioning! It’s not uncommon to see vehicles pulled over with people being sick over the side.
Tip: There are two bus stops in Positano – Chiesa Nuova and Sponda (see the map in the ‘Getting Around’ section for locations). Check which one is closest to your accommodation ahead of time and make sure if it’s Chiesa Nuova that you inform your bus driver as they won’t stop there otherwise. The last thing you want to do is lug your bags up the hill from the Sponda stop! However if you end up at the Sponda stop accidentally there are porter services to carry your bags for you for about €10 each bag.
Driving from Rome (approx. 3.5 hours) or Naples (approx. 1.5 hours) is fun because you can stop off at Pompeii. It’s also recommended for super confident drivers – it’s one thing to drive on the other side of the road (if you’re from the land down-under or the UK) but as mentioned above, SS163 is not for the faint-hearted.
You don’t use your car in Positano as everywhere is walkable. Either organise with your accommodation for car parking there, or there are a few large public car parks in town. Make sure you book a spot before you arrive and know where you’re going. Like accommodation during summer, car parks fill up fast; and as there’s only ONE one-way road that goes through the town, if you drive past the car park, you must follow the road approximately five kilometres right around town to get back to the same spot.
Ferries are limited outside of April to October. In Naples, take the ferry from Molo Beverello to Sorrento and then you will have to catch another ferry to Positano from there. Check Alilauro for timetables.
As mentioned earlier, there’s only one road that goes through the town and it’s one-way so it’s almost impossible to get lost. At least that’s what Manuella from our hotel, Hotel Villa delle Palme said, as she handed me this map. Manuella had obviously never come across anyone with a sense of direction as bad as mine! The hotel is marked below with an encircled asterisk and the arrow from it shows the one-way road and it’s direction.
It’s often said that Positano is a pain to get around because you have to climb a lot of stairs. Yes, there are plenty of stairs but they’re meant to be used as ‘short cuts’ that weave in between houses up from the beach (the main beach, Spiaggia Grande). Since the houses are all built quite close to each other, navigating your way around them through the interconnecting staircases can get very confusing not to mention strenuous. So if you’re prone to getting lost like me or you hate climbing stairs, you can avoid both! Just stick to walking on the road and you’ll get everywhere you want to, in just about the same amount of time as if you’d used the ‘short cuts’.
Where to stay:
Being both small and highly sought-after means that prices soar like crazy in summer time so book as far in advance as you can.
If you’re on a budget, Airbnb has an excellent range of apartments in prime spots in Positano but like everywhere else, these sell super quick so you still have to book in advance.
If you haven’t used Airbnb before, this would be a great time to start. We have used Airbnb for about three quarters of all of our travel and have always had good experiences. I would recommend that you stick to listings that have been reviewed by others (i.e. not the brand new listings) and in Positano, the majority of Airbnbs have been reviewed.
Click here to sign up and receive US$36 in travel credit when you make your first booking of US$100 (or local currency equivalent) or more.
One of my favourite hotels in the world! It has a real charm about it like you might expect at a country bed & breakfast, but with absolutely jaw-dropping views and the elegance and luxuries of a hotel. The location is fantastic, being an easy walk to Spiaggia Grande (main beach), shops and excellent restaurants.
All of the rooms have large balconies overlooking the ocean and decorated with bougainvillea flowers. If you want to, you can also have your breakfast on your balcony. The suites also have jacuzzi tubs and the buffet breakfast is good, plus there’s a carpark if you’re driving there. All in all, remarkable value for money. [Via Pasitea 207, 84017 Positano | +39 89 875500 | firstname.lastname@example.org]
This is a gorgeous family run bed and breakfast that’s a little cheaper than the hotel above and is also extremely well located. It’s just a little lower down the cliff from Positano Art Hotel Pasitea which means that it’s a bit closer to Spiaggia Grande and the surrounding shops, as well as being mere metres away from the steps leading down to (arguably) the best beach in Positano, Fornillo Beach (more on this later).
All of the rooms have balconies and most have partial sea views with just one room having a full sea view. There are also larger rooms for families. A standard continental breakfast is included.
The family who run the hotel also have two great restaurants serving home-style Italian dishes. One of the restaurants is directly next to the hotel and is perfect for an easy lunch or casual dinner. The other is a few minutes down the road – Restaurant Mediterranean is a little more formal (more on this restaurant below). [Viale Pasitea 252, 84017 Positano | +39 89 875162 | email@example.com]
One of the most luxurious and famous hotels on the Amalfi Coast, this boutique five star hotel has an amazing location right in the heart of Positano, just steps away from Spiaggia Grande. It boasts a beautiful Michelin star restaurant that overlooks the hotel’s stunning pool and the ocean. The Champagne & Oyster Bar offers a cheaper dinner option but with the amazing views – make sure you go here for sunset drinks. [Via Cristoforo Colombo 30, 84017 Positano | +39 089 875066 | firstname.lastname@example.org]
Another luxurious five star hotel, the Covo is even closer to Spiaggia Grande – you pretty much walk out of the hotel onto it. Needless to say the rooftop pool has views to-die-for. Each room has a balcony with sea views and most of the rooms have jacuzzi spas. [Via Regina Giovanna 5, 84017 Positano | +39 089 875400 | email@example.com]
A cheaper option than the previous two, this small boutique hotel is located a bit further up the hill and as such and really exceptional views. It also has a rooftop pool with sun loungers. All rooms have balconies with views across Positano’s spectacular cliffs but only some have sea views so enquire about these before booking. [Viale Pasitea 318, 84017 Positano | +39 089 875655 | firstname.lastname@example.org]
Where to eat:
You simply can’t go to Positano without experiencing Da Adolfo! This rustic relaxed beach restaurant on beautiful Laurito beach serves some of the freshest seafood in the area, and can only be reached by boat. Don’t forget your swimmers to lay out on the beach loungers after lunch and let everything digest nicely.
From the pier at Spiaggia Grande (not where the ferry to Capri departs), look out for the restaurant’s small wooden boat marked with a red fish sign that departs regularly between 10am and 1pm. This is free for everyone with a lunch booking. Catch the earlier boats to avoid being squished.
It is possible to kayak over from Positano if you’re brave enough, but in the afternoons the winds tend to pick up and it’s almost impossible to kayak back. I learnt this the hard way – after a leisurely lunch with several jugs of the house peach wine (delicious – must try this plus their home-brewed seawater beer), limoncello and cigars, we swum with some locals to a nearby freshwater grotto. While swimming the waves suddenly strengthened and we only just made it there in once piece after being flung into the rocks with cuts, bruises and all! It was an amazing experience inside the grotto, drinking its fresh, icy cold water. Obviously only attempt this if you’re a super confident swimmer. After the swim, kayaking back was so rough, we were constantly on the brink of capsizing. In the end we had to be rescued by a passing boat. Memorable to say the least!
Da Adolfo is usually completely booked out weeks to months in advance so you’ve got to get in quick, although they have been known to allow a few people in without a booking that sneak on to the boat. It’s best not to leave it to chance because the first boat going back to Positano doesn’t depart till 4pm. [Via Laurito 40, 84017 Positano | +39 089 875022 | email@example.com (reservations accepted only by phone)]
This little restaurant is one of the most romantic in Positano. It’s located about half way up the cliff (a 10 – 15 minute walk up from Spiaggia Grande) so it has absolutely magical views from it’s candlelit tables lining the cliffside. There are only a handful of tables here, all quite close to each other and it’s such a great experience that by then end of the night, you’re very likely to have made some new friends. This happened to us each time we came and we saw the same thing happening when walking past on other nights.
Traditional dishes are served here but with a very contemporary twist and you’ll be impressed with their attention to detail – little surprises like a delicious amuse-bouche, exceptional bread basket (so hard not to fill up on these before your meal!) and after-dinner treats don’t go amiss.
The service is also impeccable. One night we came here and were so disappointed when we saw no tables left but in just a few minutes, they actually moved a car and motorbike away to make space and set up a new table for us.
Make sure you get the Antipasto Gabrisa, Vari Gustosi Antipasti di Verdure della nostra Tradizione – a selection of traditional house starters(€15) and the Risotto ai Fiori di Zucca Gameri e Seppie – risotto with pumpkin flowers, shrimps and cuttlefish(€16). Also their house prosecco is really good.
The prices are super reasonable for what you get – around €16 for primi and €20 for secondi. Some have complained about the cars driving by but we barely noticed when facing that view and there really aren’t many cars past 9pm. [Via Pasitea 221, 84017 Positano | +39 089 811498 | firstname.lastname@example.org]
A Positano institution, this family run restaurant is one of the most popular on the Amalfi Coast so you must book ahead. There are two sittings each night and they’ll come and pick you up in a shuttle van about half an hour beforehand. It’s an extremely twisty turny half hour ride up to the top and I can almost guarantee you’ll feel a tad queasy but it’s 110% worth it – you won’t regret it once you arrive. Try to take the later sitting as there’s usually fantastic live music and you might even see Don Luigi, the restaurant founder and family patriarch come out from the kitchen and join in the fun.
Whatever you do, make sure you come hungry! Signora Dora (Don Luigi’s wife) and their son Vincenzo make the most divine pasta by hand and you get plenty of it. It’s a set menu starting with bruschetta, cured meats and mozzarella; then delicious vegetables (grown in the garden around the restaurant), followed by a range of handmade pastas and gnocchi, then a variety of grilled meats and finally desserts – all described to you as they’re served by the Don and Dora’s other children.
A massive bonus is the wine is free-flowing and delicious, so drink to your heart’s desire. You can also ask for more of a particular dish if you can fit it in. Exceptional value at €25 for the ‘light’ (but not really light) lunch and €40 for dinner per person including wine.
You really feel like you’re at a traditional Italian home family celebration – just hundreds of metres above the sea! After you’re merry and much too full to move, there are shuttles waiting to take you home. Ahhh la dolce vita. [Via Tagliata, 22, 84017 Positano | +39 089 875872 | email@example.com]
This little deli is your go-to for a cheap and delicious lunch on-the-go. There are a couple of tables outside if you’d prefer to eat there. If you’re staying at an apartment it’s also a great spot for all of your supplies. They make hearty sandwiches and salads fresh as you order as well as a range of home made delicacies including arancini, croquettes, lasagne, quiches and the most delectable eggplant parmigiana I’ve ever tasted. If you’re extra hungry you can get an eggplant parmigiana sandwich – pure joy! [Via Pasitea 67, 84017, Positano | +39 89875081]
Another lovely family owned restaurant that serves unpretentious traditional dishes with a focus on seafood. While you’re waiting you’ll be treated to a glass of prosecco and finish with a complimentary shot of limoncello. Their deep-fried zucchini flowers stuffed with goat cheese are the tastiest in Positano. Apart from the seafood, the gnocchi is also delicious and you get a massive serving of it.
This is a good relatively low-cost option in the restaurant’s popular location in Positano. If you’re staying at Villa delle Palme and you book through them, you’re guaranteed an excellent table and 10% discount on your final bill. There’s live music on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights where they hand out tambourines so you can join in – kind of cheesy but just remember you’ll probably never see these people again so don’t be shy, shake your tambourine and get up onto the table, it’s a lot of fun! [Viale Pasitea, 236, 84017 Positano | +39 089 812 2828 | firstname.lastname@example.org]
Set a day aside to spend at this exquisite beach club and restaurant. It’s located halfway between Positano and Capri so it’s an ideal stop for a beautiful lunch if you’re hiring a boat, or you can ask your hotel to organise a boat to take you there and it will be free of charge if you order a full meal. Make sure to ask them to reserve beach beds for you too. Although it’s fairly pricey here it’s an experience you’ll always treasure. La Conco del Sogno are renowned for their salt-baked catch of the day and zucchini pasta. [Via Marciano, 9, 80061 Massa Lubrense | + 39 081 808 103 | email@example.com]
Awarded with a Michelin star, this very chic fine dining restaurant serves modern Italian that is beautifully presented. Book in advance for a table in their elegant terrace and dress up for a very special night out. Next2 have an impressive cocktail and wine list. After dinner, settle in with some cocktails in the lounge where there’s live jazz music until the early hour of the morning. [Viale Pasitea 242, Positano | +39 089 8123516 | firstname.lastname@example.org]
What to do:
Walking around Positano is positively dreamy, so make the most of it and get out and about early. Tour buses arrive from surrounding towns from 10am, so before then is when you’ll get your best photos.
Spiaggia del Fornillo
Fornillo is the beach in Positano favoured by locals and it’s likely to become your favourite swimming spot too. The main beach, Spiaggia Grande is lovely and has some fantastic restaurants and cafes on it but can get quite crowded. From here when you’re facing the sea, take the pathway on your right, past Covo dei Saraceni to Fornillo – it takes just ten minutes. Or if you’re coming from further up the hill, there’s a path with steps leading down just a few metres down from Villa della Palme (Viale Pasitea 252).
There are four beach bars/cafes along Fornillo, each offering beach loungers for about €10 for a front row (compared to €12 at the main beach) or €8 for rows behind. My favourite is the blue bar in the middle, Da Ferdinando. You can hire two seater paddle boats, stand-up paddle boards and kayaks from them for about €12 an hour and it gets cheaper the longer you hire it for. Although all of the bars say free wifi, none of them work so it’s best not to bother, it’ll just frustrate you! Turn off your phone and relax. From about 6pm there are boats that take you back to Spiaggia Grande for free if you can’t be bothered walking.
Il Sentiero degli Dei
Il Sentiero degli Dei means The Path of Gods and is one of the world’s most spectacular coastal walks overlooking the Amalfi Coast and Capri. The easy-going three hour trek (7.8km) links the town of Agerola and slopes gently down to Nocelle. Here you can catch a bus back to the main part of Positano otherwise it will take you another 1.5 hours to continue walking.
Day trip to Capri
High speed ferries depart to Capri every half hour or so from the larger pier to the far right of Spiaggia Grande (on the way to Spiaggia del Fornillo). Tickets cost around €19 and the trip takes 50 minutes. Click here to see the ferry timetable.
Capri is a stunning island to explore. The ferry will drop you off at Marina Grande, where you’ll see lots of operators for both group and private tours of Capri’s world-famous grottos. Before you depart, make sure you buy a Panino Caprese (tomato, mozzarella and delicious herby olive oil dressed sandwich) from Da Aldo – a deli where you can pick up all supplies for your day on the boat, including fresh fruits, prosecco, beers and more. It’s located in the heart of the shops at the Marina so just ask any of the locals working in the area where it is.
Pack a change of clothes so that when you return you can explore Capri town. Take the funicular from Marina Grande for €1.80 each way. Start off with an aperitivo at the piazetta for some of the world’s best people-watching. Then simply stroll around, as there are plenty of excellent restaurants both super high-end and casual, it’s hard to go wrong. You’ll enjoy seeing the photos of celebrities from decades back outside many of them.
Positano has some of the best shopping on the Amalfi Coast. There’s a wide range of goods from the luxuriously upmarket to low cost trinkets. You should set aside at least a couple of hours to explore the shops.
Anitca Sartoria sells some fabulous European beachwear and more dressy outfits too. They often have sale racks outside of their older season stock that is still very wearable and exceptional value. There are three stores in Positano, each with slightly different stock.
If you’re after footwear, Artigianato Rallo sell an amazing range of handmade sandals and can create a pair specially for you in a matter of hours.
There are also some great art and homeware shops and most of them can send bulky items anywhere in the world so you don’t have to lug them home.
Music on the Rocks
For a fun night out, get dolled up and head to the beach for Music on the Rocks. You’ll be mingling and dancing with a mix of locals and tourists to some excellent bands and international DJs. The drinks are quite expensive but you’ll definitely have a great, memorable time right up until the wee hours of the morning.
Amalfi’s most famous nightclub Africana is located in Praiano, just 20 minutes along the SS163 highway from Positano. There are generally more tourists here than locals. Set inside an elegantly decorated cave, the atmosphere is truly amazing and the music is loud. Be ready to party hard here.
Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta
The colourful tiled dome of this church is a staple in iconic photos of Positano. You can’t miss this church as it’s right in the heart of the town centre. Inside there’s a13th century Byzantine Madonna and Child sculpture. Weddings are held most days in summer so if you’re a wedding fanatic like myself, hover in the area in the afternoon and you’re bound to see at least one.
Finally, enjoy every minute of this incredible slice of paradise. I’ve literally teared up while writing this post, reminiscing about my trips here.
If you have any other tips, suggestions or comments about Positano or other places along the Amalfi Coast, please comment, I’d love to hear from you.
Also any questions you have, please comment or send them through – I’m more than happy to help you have the trip of your dreams!