Positano Travel Guide

Before we begin, listen to the tunes of Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore”

Cascading down towards the sea shore with houses seemingly stacked over across the hill is what this small yet captivating village of Positano looks like. Located in the southern coast of Italy, this romantic town is absolutely surreal with steep narrow roads, colourful houses, classic Italian infrastructure and a sunset drawn straight from the heart of paradise. A major attraction to the affluent, the town in all its rustic glory is a treat for travellers who fancy quaint and aesthetic features with some soul-searching endeavours.

Positano faces the sea and waves hello to the majestic sun with matching elements lining up the curvy interiors of the town. The island may be small but the impression it leaves behind on a tourist is certainly not. An ideal spring vacation spot, I say, every traveller needs to foray into this coastal village and explore the enclave Italian authenticity.

It’s almost impossible to fall in love with Positano. It’s only after I had left the town that I realized what a dream I was living. Here’s everything you need to know about this Italian paradise.

What to expect:
Love at first sight!
Imagine staring at two vertical cliffs, both stacked up with cute pastel coloured houses all the way to the top, beautiful boutique hotels, luscious greens and bright bougainvillea’s wrapping up the path, tourists galloping away on these slopes slurping a gelato and some local coffee, stores selling linen outfits, beach wear and luxe fashion, artisan sandal shops lined along the way down, art galleries brimming with talent and a buzzing pebbled beach right in the middle of these cliffs decked with retro striped Italian umbrellas. Oh darling, this town is straight out of Pinterest!

What to not expect:
Luxury brands, high end shopping, crazy nightlife, Starbucks, hotel chains.

 

Where to stay?
Choosing a hotel in Positano can be tricky. While a good view is essential you also have to remember the higher you go, the more walking you have to do. Positano is built on two vertical cliffs with a beach and port right in the middle (imagine two triangles with a beach in the center). All the hotels, shops, boutiques and restaurants are spread across the winding roads of these hills. So when you’re looking for hotels make sure to check the distance from the main beach Spiaggia Grande unless you want to relax in the hotel itself.

If you’re choosing something right on the top be prepared to climb a lot of stairs and do a lot of walking daily. I would recommend something right in the middle or closer to the beach. Also I happened to noticed, not sure if it’s completely true but the left cliff (the one near the church) has a lot more steps as compared to the other one (the one with La Sirenuse). The right cliff is easier to climb as there are just winding roads and no steps at all.

Since we had booked our trip last minute we didn’t have too many options and found this really tiny BnB right on the beach called La Caravella Positano (We stayed in the regular room but their one bedroom apartment looked quite nice). It wasn’t luxurious but the location was fantastic. There are tons of hotel options if you book in advance, from luxury to budget rentals and cute BnB’s they have it all. I would recommend checking out Villa Rosa, Poseidon Positano (they offer a Beetle and Vespa to all the guests), the famous La Sirenuse (luxurious and expensive) or Villa Fiorentino.

La Caravella Positano

 

Things to do:

1. Positano Beach:
A trip to Positano is definitely incomplete without laying on the pebbled beaches and tanning under the classic stripy umbrellas. With a perfect Italian set up and emerald waters hitting the shore this is an ideal swim and socializing spot. Basic in size but never boring, the beach is always bustling with tourists and is a must-visit when in Positano. You can also hire boats and kayaks to spend the day well. The main beach of Spiaggia Grande is also connected to a tiny port from where all the tourist boats operate. If you find this a bit crowded head to the Fornillo beach, it’s where the locals hang out.

2. Walk and explore Positano:
The best way to get fascinated is to just explore the town by foot. Just walk around, stop at fancy local boutiques, sip coffee at quaint cafes, visit art galleries, soak in the beauty of the place and just gaze from the various view points. Also make sure to click tons of pictures because this is nothing like you’ve ever seen before.

3. Visit the Santa Maria Church:
Located right in the centre of the buzzing market, this church is simply beautiful. Soft detailed infrastructure, an air of poise and calm, the cathedral is a must visit.

4. Shop:
Italy is buzzing with shoppers and if you’re in Positano, apart from colourful detailed glassware, handicrafts and beach ensembles, you have to splurge on its native linen clothing, art pieces, handmade leather sandals, lemon soap and lemon candy. There are tons of beautiful local stores that you need to explore. Most of the boutiques are right in the center of the two hills, just make sure explore the by lanes. I picked up some beautiful hats and beach wear. Do check out the store called Antica Sartoria, it’s steep but amazing.

5. Hike:
One of the most interesting things to do is the hike Santeiro Degli Di (the Path of the Gods). Not only do you get to see the most pristine views along the Amalfi Coast but it’s also the best way to start your morning when in Positano. There are some restaurants tucked away in Nocello along the way but try and pack a good Panini and lots of water for the hike because it can take anything between 3 to 5 hours.

6. Spend the day at Da Adolfo:
This place is 15 mins outside the city by boat and they do have a free shuttle provided you make a reservation. You have to wait at the port for a boat which has a red fish sign and it comes every 30 mins from 10am to 12.30pm. You can go and relax there, sip on a cocktail, sleep on the sun bed and enjoy some good seafood.

7. Try the coolest Pizza experience:
Here you can make a pizza from scratch and sit and dine with the locals- www.positanopizzaexperience.com

8. Ride a Vespa/ A vintage Italian car:
You can rent one of those cool Italian scooters or vintage cars and ride all around the coast.

9. Explore other towns:
You can ride a vespa or cab it to Praiano, a cute little town close to Positano. Alternatively you can also take a day trip to Amalfi, Ravello or Capri.

10. Relax:
Master the art of doing nothing, soak in all the Positano views. You’re living a dream. You can also take a pool package at Hotel Poseidon and spend the day there.

 

Spiaggia Grande

 

Santa Maria Church

 

Restaurants Recommendations:
Classic Italian cuisine is what one expects on a trip to the deeply culture rooted country. However, what you get at the resort town is so much more than just the authenticity. There’s a flavour that comes not just from the herbs but also the hearty feeling the food is made with. Wholesome pizzas, delightful wine, slurpy pasta and fresh seafood is what you can mainly find on this island along with some really rich creamy gelato.

Unlike the typical Italian dishes served up in the north of the country expect tons of fresh seafood and locally grown vegetables here. You have to try the Risotto alla Pescatora (Seafood Risotto) and Parmigiana Melanzane (Eggplant Parmesan). Here are some of my favourite spots on the island but remember to make reservations everywhere before going:

 Breakfast & Lunch:
-Chez Black: One of the most crowded restaurants by the beach. I loved their heart shaped pizzas
-Casa e Bottega: Highly recommend this for breakfast and lunch. This contemporary café is very close to the shopping area.
-Collina Bakery: Amazing pastries, donuts and coffee. Make sure to try their Nutella Croissant
-Da Adolfo beach club: They have a shuttle boat to pick you but make prior reservations, it’s always full for lunch.
-Vini e Panini: Great Paninis
-Il Tridente in Hotel Poseidon

Dinner:
-Ristorante Max: One of my favourite spots for dinner. I absolutely loved their pastas. Make sure to book a table outdoor.
– Da Vincenzo: One of the best on the island. Great romantic spot for a local meal. Do try the eggplant parmigiana
– Hotel Poseidon has some great dining options too.
– Capricci: Great pizzas
– La Tagliatta: They don’t have a set menu, they prepare meals based on their mood and pick fresh ingredients from their garden. Make sure to reserve a spot in advance. It’s a family run restaurant
-Next 2: Love the chic setting and the outdoor veranda
-Rada Restaurant: Love the vibe and the view
Heard a lot about Il Capitano (amazing view) and Ristorante Bruno but didn’t get a chance to try it.

Drinks:
– Franco’s Bar: Amazing place for a sundown drink. Arrive at 5pm so you can grab the best seat. Also they just serve drinks, no food.
– Fly Lounge Bar: One of my favourite spots for drinks and sushi. The place has a fun vibe and a great view.
– Champagne Bar at La Sirenuse: Upscale, fancy and a great set up
– Hotel Poseidon Poolside Bar
– Music on the rocks

Left: Hotel Poseidon; Right: Fly Lounge Bar

Left: Ristorante Max; Right: Chez Black

 


How to reach Positano:
There are two ways to reach Positano. You can either hit the road from Naples (1 hour 20 mins), Sorrento (40 mins and sit on the right side for the best view) or Salerno (1 hour 40 mins and sit on the left side for the best view). Alternatively if you’re travelling from Capri to Positano you can opt for a ferry (from Capri it takes 30 min and Salerno 40 mins). We came by boat from Capri, we had actually hired that boat to sail and explore the grottos. After sailing for 6 hours the skipper dropped us to Positano in his boat, the price of which was included in our sailing fee. It’s something I would highly recommend! Check the ferry schedule here: https://www.positano.com/en/ferry-schedule

Closest Airport: Naples

What to pack:
Positano is right out of an Italian movie- vintage, colourful, dreamy and beautiful, so make sure to dress the part. Unlike Capri, this town is a bit more casual but has a fun beachy vibe. So for the day pack lots of dresses in bright colours, printed and plain shorts, tank tops, off shoulder and ruffle blouses, polka dots and nautical stripes and all things that look Italian. Clothes in white, beige, tan, salmon pinks and bright yellows should be a must (avoid all things black). For the evenings pack long flowy gowns, romantic dresses and pearls.

Since there are a lot of steps make sure to carry comfortable walking shoes and non slippery flip flops. For the beach pack tons of swimsuits and bikinis preferably the ones with ruffles, dots, stripes and in bright shades. For accessorizing, hats of all sizes are a must as the sun is quite harsh and so are sunglasses. Pack tons of headbands and scarves along with delicate gold jewellery which can be stacked up, pearls and metallic hoops as well. Also, a straw beach bag is essential! If you plan to trek then carry ideal clothes, shoes and a backpack.

  

 


When to visit:

While the months of June to August are the best in terms of weather be prepared for sky rocketing hotel prices and tons of tourist. I visited Positano in the second week of June and needless to say, I loved it. Luckily it wasn’t overcrowded, the days were little warm, the water was quite cold but could easily jump in and the nights were quite pleasant. If you plan to travel in this season then I would recommend booking in advance.
Between November to February, the island is quite boring and most of the places will be shut down due to winter. Spring (April, May) and Autumn (September) could be alternate months if you want to avoid the summer, the crowds and are looking for cheaper prices. But also remember July and August can get very hot, so I would recommend June.

 Don’t leave without:
Chilling at the famous Positano beach and relaxing under the stripy umbrellas.
– Dining at Max and Casa e Botega
– Visiting Da Adolfo
– Watching a beautiful sunset from the top (Franco’s is great for a sundown).
– Riding a vespa along the coast

Things to know:
-The food here is very different from the Italian food we try in our countries; it’s way more authentic in the South of Italy. So be open to trying and adjust.
– The entire Amalfi coast is a bit steep, be prepared
– This town could be a bit difficult with small kids as there are a lot of steps and the strollers can’t be pushed, so if you’re coming with a child stay closer to the beach.
– There is a lot of walking and stair climbing involved, so carry comfortable sneakers and slippers.

How many nights to spend in Positano?
I would recommend spending a minimum of three nights to enjoy Positano. If you plan to see Amalfi, Praiano and Ravello then maybe an extra night for that.

Other Islands:
After exploring Positano, make sure you check out the nearby towns of Amalfi, Ravello, Salerno and Sorrento. To the south of Naples, lie the three most beautiful islands of Capri, Procida and Ischia. You can spend atleast 3 nights in Capri, a night or two Ischia/Procida. After which you can head to the coastal gems- Sorrento and Amalfi. If you plan to stay in Amalfi then try and do a day trip to the famous Ravello.

My South of Italy Itinerary:

Day 1: Naples-> Capri (Read the Capri Travel Guide)
Land in Rome and take a train to Naples followed by a ferry to Capri. Check in, explore the town and head for dinner.

Day 2: Explore Capri + Anacapri
Explore Capri by foot + Have a local meal + Take a cab and head to Anacapri + Take the chairlift to Mount Solaro + Explore Anacapri + Head back to Capri and dine at Da Paulina (lemon trees)

Day 3: Capri Shopping + Beach
Start the morning by shopping on the famous Capri streets + Head to La Fontelina + Spend the day by the sea and eat a great lunch + Sip an evening cocktail at Piazza Umberto

Day 4: Blue Grotto + Positano
Hire a private boat and sail all day + Visit the Blue Grotto + Swim in the sea + Pass through the Faraglioni+ Go to the other grottos too + Around evening get dropped off at Positano + check in to the hotel + Go for a sundown drink and then dinner.

Day 5: Explore Positano + Beach + Shop
Spend the day on the beach + shop around the local boutiques + explore both the vertical cliffs by foot + Head for a sundown and then dinner + Post dinner walk around the beach, it’s magical

Day 6: Hike + Positano Beach Club
Head for an early morning hike to the Path of Gods + Spend the day at Da Adolfo beach club + come back to the centre and walk around + Coffee or sunset drinks + Dinner

Day 7: Take a boat to Amalfi + Check in + Walk around the centre + Chill on the beach + Head for a romantic meal

Day 8: Hire a Vespa and ride along the Amalfi Coast + Head to Ravello + Explore the centre, eat lunch and spend the day there + Come back to Amalfi before the sun sets + Romantic dinner + Walk around the cathedral and centre.

Day 9: Take a cab to Naples and then a train to Rome.

Alternatively, if you have time on hand then you can head to Sorrento and spend two nights there. I would recommend you to skip staying in Amalfi town and instead spend the last two nights in Sorrento because Amalfi is very small and can be explored in a day trip.

Language Spoken:
While most of the locals speak Italian, English is also widely spoken considering the number of tourists that come into Capri

Currency: Euro
Check the current rate on www.xe.com

 

The small yet stunning town lured me in with its hillside amenities, further lifting my senses with its vintage beaches and graceful natural beauty. The old-fashioned stairways and narrow roads flanked by lush bushes and florals simply add to the town’s charm. If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in a dream-like setting, then this place is for you! At first you might not realize how stunning the town is but only once you’ve left and you look back at your pictures, you realize you were living an Italian dream. Positano grows over you..

 

Capri Travel Guide – Click

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