Without a doubt, Positano is one of the most enchanting places I’ve ever visited. If you’re visiting the Amalfi Coast, I’d recommend staying in Positano and taking day trips via bus or ferry to visit the surrounding towns. This cliffside town is like a dream, a beautiful, exhausting dream.
Keep in mind, the town is built vertically so you’re climbing hundreds and hundreds of steps ALL THE TIME. You can also take a local bus from the top to the center of town, but those get crowded and it can be annoying to wait around to see if you fit. Somewhere along the hundreds of steps, Positano lost me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my time on the coast and hope you experience it at least once, but it’s not one of those places that I feel the need to go back to.
How to get to Positano
Getting to Positano isn’t the easiest thing in the world. There are no direct trains from any of the big cities in Italy, but there are several routes to choose from. We were coming from Florence, and after a lot of research, we decided to take a train directly to Salerno (north of Positano) and then catch a ferry to Positano.
Another option many go with is taking a train to Naples, then a bus to Sorrento, and then a ferry or another bus to Positano. The bus can easily get packed and the winding roads can be rough. You can also take a train to Naples, then hire a private car to drive you all the way to Positano, it’ll cost you around 130 euros.
I mainly wanted to do a ferry to get this view coming in:
What I loved about Positano
Again, what a stunning place. We probably took around 700-800 photos in Positano alone, but how can you not? Any and every angle was perfect, and the flowers covering so much of the town just added to the whole picturesque scene.
The experience and view we had with our bed & breakfast Dimora del Podesta (more details on that below) were incredible, I cannot rave about them enough. Dimora seriously deserves all the love. Most locals were also friendly and inviting.
Lemons are the thing in Positano, and you’ll see some the size of your head. Due to the abundance of lemons, you’ll find plenty of lemon flavored goodies everywhere you go. I tried just about all of them. We also did not have one bad dinner the whole week we were there. I’ll list the places we loved below.
What I didn’t love about Positano
Here’s the thing, we all have our likes and dislikes and that’s the beauty of travel — we experience places in entirely different ways, and our opinions are formed based on that experience. What fun would it be if we all thought the same thing?
>>The sunny steps
I can easily see why people who love the sun and water would love a place like Positano. It has a few beaches to choose from, but I’d much rather not. We visited in late May, and the weather was around 70 degrees Fahrenheit every day. However, due to the wonderful steps and lack of clouds, it always felt like 85 degrees and I was dying.
I actually read this bloggers post about the steps before going and laughed in fear, you can read it HERE. Let me share a quick tidbit about me: give me a flat town, nowhere near a beach, on a crisp, fall day and I’ll be a happy girl. I can walk a flat city for miles upon miles, but when it comes to vertical towns like this, I quickly get frustrated. That’s why I haven’t been back to San Francisco.
We didn’t visit during the height of tourists season, but there were still SO MANY tourists (including us). There was a point when Jorge and I were eating dinner, and all we heard around us was American English. We even started speaking Spanish to each other just so we wouldn’t add to the group.
this is later in the day when the crowds calmed down
Then we visited a bar, and again just a bunch of English. You can’t help but worry that a lot of places will be tourist traps when you visit a town like that, but thankfully the food was still amazing and if you go high enough you’ll find plenty of empty streets to capture without people.
The center of town (near the main beach) is filled with clothing shops, souvenir shops, art shops, and an overwhelmingly amount of tourists. We tried to avoid it during peak hours and did not eat at any of the restaurants near there. By the way, Positano is not a budget destination. There is no street food and most meals are sit down and eat, which you know can add up quickly.
>>The lack of cafes
Something very important to both Jorge and I that Positano did not deliver on was the quality of the coffee. I was so so so excited to visit Italy again for their amazing cappuccinos, and this year I learned that not all cappuccinos in Italy are created equal and not every region knows coffee. We could not find a good cafe for the life of us.
We even ventured out to other Amalfi towns to find some with no luck. I don’t even remember seeing a coffee shop in Positano at all. There were restaurants that served coffee, of course, but the coffee wasn’t good. Milan and Rome (and even Venice) seriously spoiled us. We were so disappointed by this because that’s one of the things we truly enjoy doing.
Where to Eat
Although Positano didn’t have good cafes, they did deliver on their dinner options and pastries! Here’s a list of places that we enjoyed most:
1. Saraceno d’Oro– This place is actually connected to our B&B, owned by the same family. You get a 10% discount if you’re staying at the B&B. The prices are better than most places around them, the pizza is good, and Jorge liked his seafood pasta. Definitely try the lemon sorbet, they serve it in a huge frozen lemon.
2. Il Fornillo– This restaurant was just up the street from our B&B, and we had a great experience. I ordered stuffed ravioli, and Jorge got another seafood dish. We also got serenaded by the band of 4 guys that walk around every night to sing at different restaurants. We loved that! It added to our experience.
3. Collina– Remember how I said to try all things lemon? I highly recommend the delizie al limone from this bakery. It’s like a whippy, fluffy, lemon cake and it tastes amazingggg. I had 3 of them that week alone. I can’t recommend anything else here but for sure try the delizie.
4. Franco’s Bar– This bar is connected to one of the most popular hotels in Positano (Le Sirenuse). They have several bars, and Franco’s is the cheapest of the options. The view is amazing but the cocktails are tiny. Even if you order a beer they serve you like a third of a cup of beer. I had lemon drop martinis and piña coladas here (tiny, but good). If you want to get a seat with the best view, then make sure you arrive before they open.
Where to Stay
Dimora del Podesta is now one of my favorite stays from all my travels. It’s family-owned and they’re all incredibly friendly and helpful during your stay there. I believe there are only 3 rooms, and each room has its own balcony with a city/sea view.
Every morning they serve you a delicious breakfast on your balcony, and it’s nothing short of magical.
It’s further up from the city center, so it’s good to be able to get away from it every night. I loved people watching from the balcony, catching the sunrise, or buying wine and limoncello to just relax and enjoy our view.
Dimora is the red/orange building to the left of the photo above. Thanks to Christie from ckanani.com for this amazing recommendation!