Positano, Italy

Panda in Positano

Italy, Travel | March 9, 2015 | By

Glamorous with its celebrity-packed beaches, lively historic center and breathtakingly gorgeous seascapes and view, Positano is the most sought after destination on the Amalfi Coast and the most photographed fishing village in the world.  With Positano’s breathtaking natural beauty, high craggy cliffs and calming sapphire-blue sea, it is truly the jewel of the Amalfi.

Best time to visit…

Given Positano’s mild Mediterranean climate of warm summers and mellow winters, there is never a bad time to visit.  The best time to visit the Amalfi Coast is from May to June when the flowers are blooming and sun is already warm enough for swimming in the crystal clear waters.  The ideal month to travel here is May due to the mild climate, beautiful colors and the absence of crowds.  Prices in May to June are lower than in July and August.  September to October is also a great time to visit.

Getting there…

You can arrive in Positano either by land (train, bus or private transfer) or by sea.  Naples, Sorrento and Salerno are the main transportation hubs for the Amalfi Coast.  Positano is a 75 minute drive south of Naples.  On your drive, you’ll pass Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, the beautiful town of Sorrento and down the mountain coastline until finally descending to the town.  Just a warning, the roads are quite windy with hairpin turns and can get quite crowded during the summer months.

If you’re traveling to Positano from Rome, be aware that the journey takes at least four hours.  From the Rome Fiumicino Airport, take the Leonardo Express to the city’s main Roma Termini railway station and take the Eurostar Freccia Rossa (TAV) train to Naples.  This is the fastest but most expensive train (40 euros) with the journey taking a little more than an hour with trains departing every hour.  Train tickets can be purchased in the station at the ticket office or automatic dispensers or online at the Trenitalia website.  Significant discounts are often available if you purchase your tickets in advance online here.

Once you arrive at Naples Stazione Centrale – Piazza Garibaldi railway station, follow the signs to the Circumvesuviana (the regional railway line situated under the main railway station) and take the one hour train to Sorrento.  From Sorrento, take the Sita bus to Positano.  Sit on the right hand side of the bus to get the best view on the 30 minute ride to Positano…the road to the Amalfi is a series of stomach churning curves!

If you are arriving in the summer months, you have the option to take a hydrofoil operated by Metro del Mare from Naples (or Sorrento) to Positano and Amalfi which makes for a beautiful and scenic tour of the coast.  Take a taxi (or Alibus) to Molo Beverello port in Naples.  The trip takes approximately 40 minutes.

View of Positano from the hydrofoil

View of Positano from the hydrofoil

Where to stay…

Residence Villa Yiara is an adorable boutique hotel housed in an 18th century building on top of a hill with spectacular balconies overlooking the bay of Positano.  Every room features a sea-view terrace and the friendly staff serves you continental breakfast complete with cappuccinos, fresh squeezed orange juice, fruit, pastries and NUTELLA on your balcony every morning!  If you don’t mind climbing the stairs that lead straight into town (and it is a climb), you will love this hotel.  All rooms, with their charming white and yellow décor, have been recently refurbished and offer free Wi-Fi.  This was by far the largest hotel room we stayed in throughout our entire stay in Italy and our stay was an absolute delight.  If you’re arriving by sea, hire a porter to take your bags as you walk through the town to the taxi station then taxi up to the hotel. 

Our room at the Residence Villa Yiara

Our room at the Residence Villa Yiara

Complimentary breakfast on our balcony each morning

Complimentary breakfast on our balcony each morning

Residence Villa Yiara (Positano)
Viale Pasitea, 294, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
+39 089 812 2379

Hotel Buca di Bacco (4-star, Positano)
Via Rampa Teglia, 4, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
+39 089 875 699

A weekend in….Positano, Italy

Friday

Get settled and stroll into town to explore the central Spiaggia Grande with its boutique shops, restaurants, bars, wine bars and cafes near the marina.  Visit the beautiful domed Church of Santa Maria Assunta and its famous Byzantine Madonna painting that dates from the 13th Century, the beautiful Positano Botanical Gardens with panoramic views of the Amalfi Coast, and the Grotta la Porta cave where prehistoric remains have been found.  You can also take a ferry to Via Positanesa d’America, a stunning walkway on the cliff.

Have a drink at Buca di Bacco Bar, a meeting point for both locals and tourists alike and the clear hotspot of Positano.  Enjoy panoramic views of the azure waters and mingle with the locals and people from all over the world!

Buca di Bacco Bar (Positano)
Via del Brigantino, 35/37, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
+39 089 811 461
$$

Head up the hill for dinner at Ristorante Caffè Positano for an incredibly romantic dinner on a balcony perched on the edge of a cliff.  The views from the terrace are absolutely breathtaking and the food is fresh and local.  The best part is that the prices are very reasonable for a restaurant with these spectacular views!

Ristorante Caffè Positano (Positano)
Via Pasitea, 168/170, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
+39 089 875 082
$$

View from our table at Ristorante Caffè Positano

View from our table at Ristorante Caffè Positano

Our table for the evening!

Our table for the evening!

Saturday

Rise and shine ready to tackle the Sentiero degli Dei (“the God’s Pathway”), a breathtaking and extraordinary panoramic 8 km (3 hour) footpath above the Amalfi Coast.  A must-do for any visitor to the Amalfi, the walk from Agerola to Nocelle feels like you are walking through paradise with its stunning views of the coastline and the island of Capri.

Begin the walk in Bomerano, a fraction of Agerola.  Catch the Sita bus from Amalfi to Agerola and ask the driver to let you off at the Bomerano stop.  From here, follow the road signs that lead you to the start of the walk.  You will end the walk in Nocelle, a fraction of Positano nestled on the slopes of Monte Peruso.

The path is marked by white and red signs with “02” written on them.  You will pass the Convent of San Domenic, the Vallone grarelle, caves and terraces dropping from the cliffs to the sea and vineyards before reaching Nocelle.  You can then decide whether to make your way downhill by bus or on foot via the 1500 steps that lead to the district of Arienzo.  If you descend 300 steps further, you can take a quick dip at Arienzo beach before walking back to the center of Positano.

Agerola is famous for its fiordilatte, a particular type of delicious fresh mozzarella cheese.  Stop in one of the town’s salumerias before you start the hike and buy some fiordilatte to try with focaccia bread to eat along your walk.  If you’d rather have a sit-down meal, have lunch at La Tagliata restaurant which is located 1 km past the village of Nocelle.   Eat on one of their three terraces where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the water, Positano, the Galli isles and the island of Capri.  The restaurant has organic vegetable gardens on each terrace so you can even select your own produce for them to cook.  There is no menu – mama cooks it all for you!

La Tagliata (Positano)
Via Tagliata, 32b, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
+39 089 875 872
$$$

If you’re in the mood for a pricey but remarkable experience after your long hike, make a dinner reservation at La Sponda restaurant at Le Sirenuse hotel.  A Michelin star restaurant, La Sponda boasts the best view in all of Positano.  The spectacular views and unforgettable atmosphere are enhanced by the four hundred candles that are lit at dinner in the restaurant.  Enjoy the cuisine inspired by Mediterranean tradition created with only local, fresh ingredients set against the stunning sparkling sea. 

La Sponda (Positano)
Via S. Sebastiano, 2, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
+39 089 875 066
$$$$

If you have a wild hair and are looking for some fun on the town, check out the town’s only nightclub Music on the Rocks.  The legendary nightclub on the Spiaggia Grande beach is literally built on the rocks and carved out of a waterfront that offers a beach club by day and disco at night.  The inside of the club looks like an actual cave with exposed rock walls and ceiling with white columns and illuminated pottery.  Rada restaurant sits upstairs, a beautiful but expensive restaurant with gorgeous waterfront views in a posh setting.  We dined at Rada then had a fun limoncello-filled night with the pirates at pirate night until the wee hours of the morning! 

Music on the Rocks (Positano)
Via Grotte dell’Incanto, 51, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
+39-089-875 874

Dinner at Rada

Dinner at Rada

Pirate Night at Music on the Rocks

Pirate Night at Music on the Rocks

Cheers to limoncello shots!

Cheers to limoncello shots!

Sunday

You deserve a beach day today!  Spiaggia Grande, Positano’s main beach, is one of the liveliest and most glamorous beaches on the Amalfi coast.  Lined with a string of bustling restaurants and bars, the three hundred meter long beach has two bathing establishment and a free area.

My personal preference and favorite beach in all of Positano is Fornillo Beach.  Fornillo Beach is accessible from the center of town via a short and lovely walk between the sea and the cliffs.  It is close enough to town so it’s not difficult to get to yet far enough that is much more peaceful with cleaner water than Marina Grande.

On the beautiful walkway to Fornillo Beach

On the beautiful walkway to Fornillo Beach

Fornillo Beach

Fornillo Beach

Laurito beach is a small little beach that can be reached via a flight of stairs that starts in the small square opposite Hotel San Pietro.  Laurito has two casual restaurants, a free beach and a private beach that belongs to a small hotel.  The beach gets its name from the many laurels growing in the area and is beautiful as well!

Arienzo beach, or 300 steps beach because of the impressive number of steps you need to climb down to reach it, faces the south west so it enjoys the sun longer than any beach in Positano.  The beach consists of private and free areas.  On your way down to the beach, you’ll be able to see some of the most luxurious villas on the Amalfi Coast, including one that once belonged to Franco Zeffirelli!  Sita buses and buses operated by the Flavio Gioia Coach company stop at both Laurito and Arienzo beaches and depart from the center of Positano.  A shuttle boat service is available from both Positano and Praiano to the beaches.

Have lunch at Lo Guarracino restaurant with its breeze-kissed shaded terrace draped in bougainvillea, gorgeous views of the water and the freshest seafood that is located along the seaside path that leads you to Fornillo Beach.  The seaside path starts near Covo Dei Sarceni Hotel at the town dock.  Walk 10 minutes down the path until you see the restaurant to your right. 

Lo Guarracino (Positano)
Via Positanesi D’america, 12, 84017 Positano, Italy
+39 089 875 794
$$$

If you have the time, I highly recommend day trips to Ravello and Pompeii.  Ravello is situated in a more elevated position than the other pearls of the Amalfi Coast and boasts the most picturesque and exceptional views of the coast from its marvelous villas and gardens.  Don’t miss Villa Rufolo, famed for its beautiful cascading gardens and divine panoramic views, a villa built in the 13th century for the wealthy Rufolo dynasty.  You can hire a private driver or take the Sita bus to Ravello. 

Pompeii was an ancient Roman town-city that was destroyed and buried under 13 to 20 feet of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.  The objects that lay beneath the city have been well-preserved for centuries due to the lack of air and moisture, providing a detailed insight into the life of a city during the time.  During the excavation, plaster was used to fill the crevices in the ash layers that once held human bodies so you can actually see the exact position the person was in when he/she died.  Take a ferry, bus or taxi to Sorrento.  From Sorrento, you can take the Circumvesuviana train to the Pompeii Scavi station.  Some people actually now prefer visiting Herculanium which is smaller than Pompeii (take the Circumvesuviana train in Sorrento to the Eculano station).  Herculaneum has not been fully excavated and some consider it better preserved.  If you have the time, visit both!

Panda’s Tips for Positano:

  • Sit on the right hand side of the bus to get the best view on the 30 minute ride to Positano from Naples…the road to the Amalfi is a series of stomach churning curves so be prepared!
  • If you visit Positano during the summer, the Feast of the Assumption (feast that centers around the famous Madonna icon) is held on the 15th of August and is an important event for the city!
  • The tip is generally included in the price of the meal (especially if you see a cover charge) but some people choose to round the bill up and leave extra.
  • The house wine in Italy is amazing!  Simply ask for red or white wine.
  • Significant discounts are often available if you purchase your train tickets in advance online here.

1 Comment

  1. Rachael

    August 8, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Take me back nowwww! My favorite place in the world!

    Reply

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