Is there a more instagramable setting than the Amalfi Coast of Italy? Probably not. In fact, I would say the number one destination I saw pop up on my feed this Summer was Positano. Leave it to social media to make a destination trendy! The truth is, despite the crowds of influencers heading there, it is absolutely worth it. Pictures don’t do Positano justice. If you read my travel guide about Capri you already have a feel for what this region is like. Keep reading for my Guide to Positano.
Getting to Positano
Positano is definitely a bucket list destination. Positano was the second destination on our Amalfi Coast trip. Getting to Positano depends on where it falls on your itinerary. Unlike Capri, it is apart of the mainland, so you can reach Positano by boat/ferry or car/bus. Since we were coming from Capri, we took the ferry which takes about 40 minutes. I’ve got to say, traveling from one beautiful destination to another in the sun drinking an Italian beer is hard to beat. There are ferries that run all day, you can find more about the schedules here.
Arriving into Positano looks like a scene out of a movie. You arrive at Marina Grande where the famed Bagni d’Arienzo beach club is surrounded by buildings in the side of cliffs overlooking the sea. Once you get off of the ferry and collect your luggage, you realize that while it is beautiful, you are at the bottom of town and the only way is up. It was in the moment on a 95 degree day that I was once again grateful to have only a carry-on suitcase. This part of Positano is not accessible by car so you have to head a ways up to reach the taxis.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at Hotel Villa Franca which was unique because it was at the top of one of the cliffs in Positano. Upon arrival we upgraded our room to a room with a veranda because it offered some incredible views. We experienced incredible customer service from the staff and had some delicious Pizza by the pool. Since our hotel was high up, it was always a trek down into town. We did not mind this but it brings up a good point; have good walking shoes. Part of Positano beauty comes from being built into the cliffs but this means a looooooooot of stairs. A little too much Limoncello after dinner can lead to an interesting walk back to your hotel!
The hotel property is beautiful and has a really cool rooftop pool. One of my favorite touches they do is upon check out they give you a bottle of the fragrance of the scent they use in the hotel. They told me to spray it anytime I wanted Brian to bring me back. (You better believe I spray it frequently but I don’t think he gets the hint, lol.) I would definitely stay here if we go back to Positano. Drinking tea with Brian on our veranda listening to Sade will always be something I remember fondly.
What we did
Brian and I tend to fall somewhere in the middle of relaxation and adventure when we take trips. Meaning we are not ones to jam pack our days with tours but also like to enjoy an activity here and there. We absolutely loved spending time at the Bagni d’Arienzo beach club and swimming in the sea. It is good to know that the sand there is very hot, so get there early in the day to grab a beach chair close to the water. (Shorter walk!)
Our biggest adventure in Positano was taking a day trip to the ancient ruins of Pompeii. This is something I highly recommend you do if you are in this region of Italy. There are different ways to get to Pompeii, most commonly by tour bus. Since we had only 3 full days in Positano, we did not want to take an 8 hour all day tour. We arranged a taxi service through our hotel who drove us to and from Pompeii. The car ride is an hour each way.
When we arrived I couldn’t believe the crowds. Mind you, this was peak summer tourism time. It was also the hottest day of the year so far for Italy. While waiting in line there are local guides who ask if you would like to join their tour group. For a nominal fee we paid a guide who was able to cut the line to buy group tickets and then gave us a wonderful tour through all of Pompeii. I was happy we did this for several reasons.
First off, Pompeii is huge and having a guide allowed us to hit the highlights. Secondly there are not signs of information or facts to read around, so he was able to explain what things were and share some stories we would have not learned about. Last, being in a small group of about 12 people instead of a massive group allowed us to spend plenty of time looking at things that interested us and ask questions.
Pompeii was truly wondrous and I am so happy we spent the day to go there. And having a driver take us back let us enjoy the rest of our day by the pool before heading to dinner.
What we ate
Just like the rest of Italy, it is hard to have a bad meal. Some of my favorite meals we had on this trip were in Positano. Here are a couple of my recommendations for Positano.
Chez Black: Chez Black is located in the main part of town near the beach, you can’t miss it. It has a nautical theme inside of port holes, shells and mermaids. (But not in a cheesy way) The food is wonderful and it is really romantic at night. It is a lively spot and not to be missed.
La Sirenuse: One evening on our patio, Brian spotted a beautiful candle lit building on the other side of the cliffs. After asking the hotel staff at Villa Franca they let us know that it was La Sirenuse which is a hotel and a restaurant / bar. Sadly we could not get reservations as it was too short notice, but we did go here to have a drink. La Sirenuse offered incredible views and was truly picturesque. I’ve heard the food is amazing but definitely go for at least a glass of wine.
Il Ritrovo: Another spotting by Brian from our hotel view was a restaurant at the very top of Positano. It is not walkable so your hotel will call the restaurant and they will pick you up for dinner. I loved eating here because it felt like you were in a local Italian families home. The kitchen is viewable from where you eat and it had a very local and homey feel. It is not a massive dining room so reservations are recommended.
There were some of my highlights of restaurants in Positano. Something I love so much is the family feeling involved with restaurants here. On more than on occasion we had a meal where the entire family worked either serving, cooking or managing the restaurant.
Down in Marina Grande you will find winding alley ways and streets of local shops and boutiques. The shopping in Positano feels much more Italian oriented versus the luxury and designer options that Capri has to offer. You can find handmade Italian sandals, lightweight cotton clothing and locally made olive oils or limoncello. We did not do a lot of shopping as we did a bit in Capri but exploring the shops was enjoyable.
Overall Positano is a very relaxing place and really encapsulates what I love about Italy. Food, love, family and life. If you find the most you have done in a day is eat some incredible food with your loved ones then it means you had a successful day there. I love a destination that reminds me to slow down and enjoy the moment.
Do you feel like Positano is over done or is it still on your list of dream vacations? Let me know down below in the comments.