I can never get enough of the Amalfi Coast, particularly the town of Positano. Even looking at photos, it’s hard to believe this legendary luxury destination was once a poor fisherman’s village. Hipster travelers might write off Positano and think it’s touristy, it’s my favorite town on the Amalfi Coast. Since moving to Italy, this idyllic coastal town has quickly become my happy place and I’m always finding excuses to visit.
In this complete guide to Positano, you’ll find out where I’ve stayed, the places I like to eat at, what to wear, my go-to aperitivo spots and my favorite things to do in town. I also included how to get there (the big hurdle) and some other things to consider when planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast.
Things to do
Spend the day at the lido Bagni D’Arienzo. This beach club was the best experience I’ve had at a lido in Italy.
Hike the Path of the Gods. This is on my bucket list!
You can’t miss the church of Santa Maria Assunta in the town center.
Take a ferry over to Capri or a bus to Amalfi for a day trip.
Where to Eat and Drink
If you need more than a cornetto for breakfast, Casa E Bottega is a darling home goods concept store serving healthy salads, omelets and fresh smoothies.
La Tagliata for an experience. This restaurant up on the hill above Positano is known for it’s stunning views and appetizers so filling you’ll forget about the main course.
Next 2 for an fancy dinner. Buca di Bacco Ristorante for dinner down by the main beach and La Pergola’s Buca di Bacco Bar downstairs for a casual aperitivo. Be sure to get the limoncello spritz… They put lemon granita in it!
After posting this photo on Instagram, a few people commented that Il Fornillo is also a wonderful restaurant.
Along Positano’s smaller Fornilla beach, catch a relaxed drink at Da Ferdinando down by the water.
For a fancy (and pricey) aperitivo, posh crowd and stunning views of Positano, Franco’s Bar of Le Sirenuse is the place to be seen.
Bar Bruno for an equally beautiful view a little farther up the street.
Where to stay in Positano
I most recently stayed at Dimora del Podesta. This is a wonderful B&B with friendly staff, an excellent location and fair price point. Alfie felt right at home!
Villa Palumbo is a solid budget option with basic rooms. They serve a basic breakfast and most rooms have a terrace with a mountain view.
Casa Albertina is a more central option (read: only slightly less stairs) for rooms with a balcony and ocean view.
For a five star experience, Le Sirenuse on the main street or Il San Pietro di Positano and Villa TreVille a little outside of town.
What to Wear Positano
You’ll want to save some room in your luggage for souvenirs. When you’re there, check out Nadir or La Bottega Di Brunella for fine linen. Also try to pack light as you might be carrying your luggage up stairs and hills.
I always bring flat sandals, a bathing suit and a few dresses. Be sure to pack a hat for sun protection and big tote for going to the beach. For the evening, I’d recommend avoiding stilettos, but you could still get around in wedge espadrilles if you’re prefer heels.
How to get to Positano
From Naples, you can take the Circumvesuviana to Sorrento (check schedule here or here) and transfer to the Sita bus. The Sita Bus leaves at least twice an hour from Sorrento during the high season (schedule).
If you’re coming from Rome, you might also want to consider taking a train to Salerno and then a ferry to Positano.
Both Sorrento and Naples are worth seeing, but if you just want to get to Positano as quick as you can (damn the cost!), then I would hire a private transfer.
Personally, I always drive to Positano. It’s about 90 minutes from Naples. Most hotels will be able to direct you to their overnight parking (around €20 a night). I’ve used both Parcheggio Anna and Milano. However, I wouldn’t recommend renting a car and driving to the Amalfi Coast to someone new to driving in Italy. I’ve lived in the Naples area for over a year and you never quite get used to it.
How long should I stay in Positano?
This really depends on your budget and the type of vacationer you are looking for. If you are a beach person and just want a relaxing holiday, go for it and stay a week! However, hotels are more expensive in Positano.
If you’re working with a more limited budget, it is possible to enjoy what Positano has to offer for just one night. While you can do a day trip from Naples, it is nice to stay at least one night. After all the cruise ships have left and the day-trippers have returned to home base, Positano seems to quiet down and you can really experience a different side of the town.
Other things to consider
Positano is a luxury destination on the Amalfi Coast and it ain’t cheap my friend. You can literally stay for three nights in Lisbon for less than one night in a two star hotel in Positano.
Positano has a TON of stairs and steep inclines. People don’t talk about this enough. I’m a little embarrassed, but I am always a little sore after a weekend in Positano! So if you have a stroller, heavy luggage or an old dog named Alfie that you have to carry, expect to get a work out!
Yes, this town floods with tourist during the summer and when a cruise ship ports in Naples. You may want to consider shoulder season if you want Positano all to yourself. I also went the first weekend of October last year and it was still lovely. The clouds were lurking and it sprinkled one morning, but there were certainly no lines or crowds.
Personally, I’m not going to let a little crowd get in the way of a sunny beach day and this sunset view….
John Steinbeck was right, “Positano bites deep.” I practically start planning my next weekend getaway right when I get home.