positano italy travel guide

Positano: The Gem of The Amalfi Coast, Italy

The dreamy cliffside village on the Italian’s Amalfi Coast is renown for its colorful buildings, narrow streets of steps, pebble beaches and fancy restaurants. It is the gem of the Amalfi Coast and its beauty strikes you the moment you arrive.

Visit Positano 2020
View over the heart of Positano

This Breathtaking Pearl of Amalfi

Some people might say this place is overrated, but trust me, you have to visit it at least once, so add it to your bucket list right away. I also believe the best way to fully experience Positano is spending at least one night in one of its amazing hotels with terraces that overlook the Tyrrhenian Sea. Having a rich breakfast on the colorful terraces while admiring the blue sea and all the yachts is an experience itself.

visit Positano

Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.

JOHN STEINBECK, Harper’s Bazaar, May 1953

Prepare to Climb Up & Down

Positano is breathtaking, literally! Its beauty is stunning but you also have to be very fit, because the whole city is built in the cliffs, so you can only climb or go down the stairs, some of them being extremely tall and difficult to climb. I didn’t see any gym there and you wouldn’t need it, plus you can enjoy all the pizza, pastas and gelato you want.

the streets in Positano
The Streets in Positano

The Locals

I admired the locals who were all so fit and joyful. No wonder you would be like that, living in such a dream destination. They also know perfect English, unlike other Italians and they also seem more open to people, more used to very different tourists from all over the world.

The main beach and port in Positano, from where you would take the boat to Salerno, Amalfi, Capri
Positano beach
The main beach in front of Chiesa di Santa Maria

The small curving bay of unbelievably blue and green water laps gently on a beach of small pebbles. There is only one narrow street and it does not come down to the water. Everything else is stairs, some of them as steep as ladders. You do not walk to visit a friend, you either climb or slide.

JOHN STEINBECK, Harper’s Bazaar, May 1953
travel to Positano
The main narrow street in Positano

What Steinbeck said in the ’50s is, of course, still true today. You have a larger street above the main street in Positano, where the bus leaves you. It is the big road that connects the entire coast, then you go down a couple of stairs and then a couple more, until you reach the main narrow street that travels though the small village of Positano.

street in Positano
The main narrow street, Positano

This street doesn’t reach the sea, and to go down, there is a huge mountain of stairs. Not such a problem when you go down, more of a challenge going up 🙂 My advice is to not carry a troller and always use a backpack!

Romantic Place

Positano is a romantic city, it is a place for dreamers and artists. A city of color, of characters, that has an unspoken magic, yet to be discovered by everyone who sees it for the first time. It is like a corner of paradise where you feel completely safe and where life is celebrated and cared for.

The Beaches

Definitely one of the cleanest places in Europe, the beaches also sparkle. Everything is set in place and if you see the aerial shots, you notice the perfect order, symmetry and harmony in colors, houses, umbrellas – in everything.

Beach in Positano
Beach in Positano

You don’t need necessarily to rent a chair and an umbrella, there are places where you can use your own towel or carpet, although take into consideration the pebbles and the fact that there is not so much sand. But the swim… ah… the best swim ever!

The Best Swim

It is not only the water that is amazing, clear and clean – a bit salty but not too much – but also the view. You don’t have to swim too far to see the most beautiful view ever. A breathtaking scenery! The further you go, the more Positano opens up. The colors that blend with the sky and the serenity of the place fuel you with inspiration and desire for life.

swim in Positano
Swimming in Positano

Explore the City

The best way to experience a new city is to get lost in it. Although it is hard to get lost in Positano, you can discover so many beautiful paths with colorful houses, small gardens and terraces and simple narrow streets that seem to never end.

street in Positano
Street in Positano

Walking a full day in Positano is quite a challenge, because you will climb up and down so many stairs. But every corner of it is so beautiful, that nothing else matters. Every view is impressive and the sun and colors will uplift you!

Chiesa di Santa Maria

Chiesa di Santa Maria is right in the center of the city and it is that church that you have probably seen in all the famous photos of Positano. The entrance is free and you have to visit it, chill a bit inside, hide from the sun and take away a piece of its majestic beauty.

Chiesa di Santa Maria
Chiesa di Santa Maria, Positano

Shops & Small Art Galleries

Around the church, you will see lots of shops and even small art galleries with local artists, paintings, ceramics, clothes. Everything is so full of color and brightness! Linen dresses and crochet tops are specific to the area. The symbol of lemons from limoncello to lemon-scented perfume will also greet you in Positano.

colors of Positano
The colors of Positano

Is it Expensive?

The question that everyone is asking! Yes! I believe it is the most expensive city on the Amalfi Coast, especially when it comes to hotels and accommodations. HOWEVER, I strongly believe that you can travel the world on a budget if you wish so and there are alternatives in every place. The most expensive thing for us in Positano was the accommodation. We spent 220 euros/night. But it was totally worth it and I will share more with you in just a minute!

Blue summer dress
Positano Mood 🙂

Shop from Local Markets

We decided to not spend so much on restaurants and rather shop from local markets. You will find a couple of amazing local markets and stores in Positano where you can get very good wine for just 8 – 10 euros/bottle. You can also get amazing cheese and other goodies for just a couple of euros, like in every other market in Italy.

I highly recommend Alimentari Di Giovanni De Lucia where the owner and assistants are so helpful and amazing. They have their own wine store with the best wines and you can find there everything that you need. You will also find around Positano a couple of very good wine shops with amazing wines from all over Italy.

The Restaurants on The Beach

We did eat at the restaurants on the beach, where, with less than 40 euros you can eat amazing lasagnas or other pastas with house wine. This is what you would pay in many European cities, even in the cheapest ones. I am sure prices differ a lot in other restaurants and you could definitely feast yourself, but you can also go on a budget. We probably have spent in three days on food, drinks and some souvenirs just as much as we spent on one night at the hotel.

Stay at Rosa dei Venti

Rosa dei Venti is a really beautiful hotel. The price for the double room for one night was 220 euros. We did go in the high season, when the prices are much higher. I am sure you will enjoy a lower price in a low season, but nonetheless, the place is absolutely amazing.

Sunset in Positano
Sunset in Positano at Rosa dei Venti

We have arrived in Positano quite late in the evening and there was still someone at the reception waiting especially for us, just to explain everything and share their tips.

The Sea View

All rooms have a SEA VIEW which is what you really need in Positano. Don’t book anything that doesn’t have a sea view, because that changes your entire stay. Going to bed with that breathtaking view and getting up to the sound of the sea is something that you will never forget your entire life.

Rosa dei Venti
Sunset seen from the terrace, Rosa dei Venti

The large room with large mirrors has an entry hall that makes it seem like a small apartment. The large bathroom is tilled with Vietri majolica and the private terrace has colorful ceramics. It gives you a very specific feeling, with a real Positano touch.

Breakfast on The Terrace

Breakfast was included and I loved the fact that we could leave a note at the door with what we wanted to eat and drink from their menu and the hour that we wished to have breakfast, anytime from 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. At the precise hour mentioned, a lovely lady would knock at your door and come in with a big tray of goodies. She would joyfully greet you and place the tray on the terrace. Just for this and for that scenery and feeling – the experience is totally worth it! I highly recommend it!

Positano breakfast
Our terrace at Rosa dei Venti

The Location

The location is also very good, at about half of the distance to the sea from the main road, so we would reach quite fast one of the beaches and could spend evenings on the beach, enjoying drinks and not having to climb too many steps after a long day in the sun, swimming, eating pastas and drinking Aperol Spritz or red wine.

The way to the beach from Rosa dei Venti
The way to the beach from Rosa dei Venti

Probably One of The Safest Beaches

I was talking about that safety and I have to say that it’s probably the only beach that I have seen in Europe, where I could leave my things unattended and swim far in the sea. I felt so safe and I was sure that people who are there – in Positano – are different. I am not sure what their criminal rate is, but I could tell that there are no beggars or homeless people and even swimming at night felt amazingly. Everyone is nice and wants you to feel great! It is definitely a dream destination!

View from the city

How To Reach Positano

There are several ways to get there and you can choose to travel to Positano by land or by ferry.

By Car

If you have a car, the drive from Napoli is about 1 hour and 30 minutes to Positano. However, in the busy season, you will spend much more on the road, especially if you pass through Sorrento.

In August, from Sorrento to Positano I spent more than 1 hour in the bus, for a distance of 15 km / 9 miles between the two cities. But you can reach Positano straight from Naples, without going through Sorrento.

By Train & Bus

Circumvesuviana Train

From Naples Garibaldi Central Station take the Circumvesuviana train, which is different from Trenitalia. Just follow the arrows to the Circumvesuviana station, that is at -1 floor. It’s the same train that goes to Pompei. Now, you will go further on, up to Sorrento. The train ride is about 1 hour and costs 5 euros.

Read about Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius

The CITA Bus

When you reach Sorrento, you just need to cross the street and in front of the station, there is this blue local bus, the CITA bus, that goes on all the Amalfi Coast. You will see the sign of AMALFI written on top. The ride costs about 2 euros. Make sure to get the ticket at the newspaper stand in the Sorrento station.

You should reach Positano in about 40 minutes but when I arrived, the traffic was so packed that we did more than 1 hour.

Visit positano
Positano, Amalfi Coast

Enjoy the Twisty Road & Stunning Views!

The road is very narrow and incredibly twisty. If you are used to the Italy coast, its cliffs or have already visited Sicily and Taormina, then you know what to expect 🙂 The views are so breathtaking, so you can at least enjoy them and not worry about the crazy roads!

By Ferry

The ferry is the absolute best way to see the Amalfi Coast, so even if you choose to take the bus to Positano, you need then to travel from Positano by ferry to other cities on the coast. Metro del Mare is the company that you can take and it operates rides from April up to October from Naples to Positano.

Positano by ferry
Seeing Positano from the ferry

There are also other companies that have rides from Sorrento to Positano, so there are many options available, although the ferry rides are not as often as the bus rides. However, from Positano you will have tons of ferry rides to Amalfi, Capri and Salerno.

Read all about Salerno, The Charming City of Campania

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  1. Very interesting article, full of useful information. Thank you for sharing! If you go again in in Positano, don’t miss the spectacular Path of Gods from Positano to Bomerano on foot and back. You will have the best views on Amalfi coast from there. What the video (5minutes), it is amazing!

    1. Thank you! Yes, we didn’t reach to the Path of Gods but it looks breathtaking and I definitely need to go back there! Just loved Positano 🙂

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