In this complete Positano travel guide I cover everything you need to know to visit this beautiful town on the Amalfi Coast. It includes what I learnt by travelling to Positano, but also the tricks I’ve used as a travel agent booking clients to the Amalfi Coast.
Positano is a romantic village on the stunningly beautiful Amalfi Coast of Italy. It clings to the hillside, turning each sunset and sunrise into a photographer’s dream (I have a Positano photography guide here). Positano started life as a fishing village but has now grown into one of Italy’s most beautiful and popular towns.
Spend a lazy day on the beach, hike the Path of the Gods, or sit and enjoy the breathtaking view with food and wine. Positano is a perfect European weekend getaway and should not be missed. Popularity can make it a tricky place to travel to, which means travel guides like this are so important. Keep reading and discover the complete guide on how to get there, what to do, what to see, and where to eat in Positano.
Best Time To Go To Positano
The best time to go to Positano is in the shoulder seasons. These are May – June and September – October. I have a full blog post devoted to my experience in Positano in Autumn if you would like more information on what it is like. There are fewer people during the shoulder seasons and it’s not as hot.
The peak season in Positano is July – August. These months are perfect for the beach and the long Mediterranean nights. However, there are a lot of people in Positano in summer and the prices are much more expensive.
Positano in winter is still pretty, but this is also their rainy season. It is harder to get there as the ferries stop operating and so does the Campania Express train from Naples to Sorrento. Prices are much cheaper, but a lot of places close for the offseason. Fewer people, but also fewer things open and operating.
How To Get To Positano
One of the hardest parts of your holiday will be figuring out how to get to Positano. Positano is an hour and a half drive from Naples on the Amalfi Coast (I have a guide all about Naples here). Surprisingly, it is difficult to get to Positano. For one of the most popular towns in Italy, you’d think they’d have come up with a better travel system. But maybe there’s a method to their madness, and it keeps some of the crowds down in summer. The only direct way to get to Positano is by driving, but remember, a car park is not always guaranteed when you arrive.
Going by car is usually the fastest and easiest way to get to Positano. You can hire your own car, but make sure your accommodation has parking for you before you turn up. Parking is in high demand in Positano and I’ve had friends actually miss it completely because there were no parks for their car when they arrived.
The traffic on the winding road from Naples to Positano can be quite daunting. At some points, you can crawl in a long line for ages. This can get especially bad in summer. If you can, leave early so that you miss that traffic. We noticed from 10am onwards the traffic into Positano picked up a lot.
If you don’t want to drive yourself then a transfer can be one of the most reliable and stress-free ways to get to Positano. Several companies are offering private or shared transfers from Naples to the Amalfi Coast. The prices are much higher than taking public transport. You could pay seventy euro return for a cheap option. The private cars were from 140 Euros and up. You could even hire a helicopter on one website.
There is no direct bus from Naples to Positano. All buses will first take you to the Sorrento train station and then you change from there. The easiest bus from Naples Airport to Sorrento Train Station is the Curreri Viaggi. You can buy their tickets online for ten euros or purchase them on the day from the bus driver.
Once you arrive in Sorrento you can go to the convenience shop at the train station and purchase tickets for the Sitasud bus that goes to Positano. Alternatively, they have a little stand where you can purchase tickets and line up. There are several bus companies selling tickets. Some offer tours, and others just a transfer to Positano. Make sure to sit on the right side of the bus so you can see the coast views.
Trains run as far as Sorrento on the Amalfi coast and all depart from Naples main train station. Sorrento is about halfway to Positano. You will then have to organise either a bus or ferry from Sorrento to Positano. Two trains run between Naples and Sorrento.
Circumvesuviana – This is the local train and it’s super cheap. A ticket is usually less than 5 euros per person. The journey will take just over an hour and you will stop at all stations between Naples and Sorrento. This train is not maintained well and is definitely part of the jungle of Naples. There is graffiti all over it and some people have reported feeling unsafe.
Campania Express – The Campania Express from Naples to Sorrento is the tourist train and only runs from May – October. You have air conditioning, guaranteed seating and luggage storage. The journey is only half an hour and costs 10 euro. We booked tickets on this train as recommended, but on the day there was a problem and we still ended up on the Circumvesuviana. Definitely wasn’t luxury, and I watched our bags carefully, but wasn’t too scary.
One of the loveliest and most scenic ways of getting to Positano is by Ferry. There are several different ferry companies and they depart from Naples, Sorrento, Capri, Positano and Amalfi. If you depart Naples all ferries will stop in Sorrento. Some of them can also stop in Capri on the way to Positano. We used Travel Mar, but there are a number of companies.
Some helpful hints on the ferries. We found it very hard to book tickets online. It was showing no availability, even though it was low season. We ended up walking down to the Positano marina and they had plenty of tickets. We couldn’t get a direct ferry at the time we needed, so we had to sail from Positano to Capri to Sorrento. The transfer in Capri was very confusing and there was not much help. The one-way journey cost us 17 Euro per person.
The added benefit is the view of Positano as you pull away from the marina. If you’re planning on taking a photo, don’t sit down, just stay standing at the rail. People found seats and then when they saw the beautiful view behind them they went nuts and there was no space at the railing.
Where To Stay In Positano
Hostel Brikette – This hostel has some of the best views in the world. It’s clean, comfortable, has a bar, and shuttle service if you don’t want to brave the 742 steps to the beach.
B&B Casa Teresa – Casa Teresa is a clean and comfortable B&B with multiple buildings with rooms near Fornillo Beach. The views are beautiful and the rooms are Italian, outdated grandeur.
Positano Art Hotel Pasitea – This hotel is located up the hill of Positano with spectacular views. The rooms are white and blue and the terrace has an incredible amount of bougainvillea.
Villa Magia – This boutique hotel is rated as one of the best hotels in Positano. They only have 12 rooms and believe in treating their guests like family.
Hotel Palazzo Murat – If you want to feel like royalty then stay here. The hotel is 250 meters from the main beach. It even has the space for landscaped gardens.
Le Sirenuse Hotel – Le Sirenuse is one of the most beautiful hotels in Positano. It is very close to the centre and has amazing views over the main beach. It is also right next to Franco’s Bar.
Where To Eat In Positano
Mediterraneo – Mediterraneo is located on the hill with views over the ocean. The restaurant is blue with a Mediterranean theme. The food is very Italian with seafood being the main focus.
Il Fornillo – Il Fornillo does amazing pizza and pasta. They’re at the end of a road up the hill but you should definitely brave the hike. I had the lobster pasta and it was my favourite of the trip.
Da Ferdinando – If you’re looking for something a bit more casual and cheaper (cheap isn’t really a thing in Positano), then check out Da Ferdinando. They are a beach bar on Fornillo Beach and serve up tasty Italian dishes and cocktails.
Ristorante Saraceno d’Oro – If you’re looking for simple Italian and some great pizzas then dine here. Their outdoor dining is tucked onto the side of the road, so can be quite close to traffic, but the waiters are well versed in dodging the cars. This was one of our cheaper meals in Positano while still being very nice.
La Tagliata Positano – La Tagliata Positano is way up in the hills of Positano. The view is amazing, but it was completely dark when we arrived, so all we could see were the glittering lights far below. When you reserve a table they book you a seat on their shuttle bus and give you a pick-up location. They serve a traditional Italian menu of entre, starter, pasta course, meat course and dessert. Make sure you are hungry when you go here. All the food was very authentic and handmade.
Il Tridente – If you’re looking for a fancy meal in Positano then check out Il Tridente. They are a restaurant and cocktail bar with stunning views over the ocean and Positano city centre. Their food is delicious and they even provide vegan menus.
What To Do In Positano
Positano is the perfect destination for relaxing or exploring one of the most beautiful parts of Italy. Here are a few suggestions for what to do in Positano.
A Photography Expedition
Positano is one of the most photogenic places I’ve ever been to. Everywhere you go there’s a photo opportunity. Check out my photography guide here if you want to make your own photography tour.
Spend a Day At Positano Spiaggia (Main Beach)
The main beach is a beautiful part of Positano to relax and enjoy the beauty of the town and the coast. You can enjoy the free area, and the bay is usually calm for swimming. This is also a perfect place for sunset. Grab a takeaway pizza and wine bottle and have one of the prettiest picnics in Europe.
L’Incanto Beach Lounges
The beach lounges at beach bar L’Incanto on Positano main beach are iconic. The blue and white umbrellas and the black sand are in many photos of this famous town. In Autumn a lounge cost me 17 euros, and I would guess this price has inflated due to the pandemic. Many people stake out a lounge chair and spend all day here, as you can order food and drinks.
Fornillo Beach is a short ten-minute walk around the coast from the main beach in Positano. It is much smaller, but still has colourful beach lounges for a cheaper price. You can also visit the beach restaurant I recommended, Da Ferdinando.
Franco’s Bar is definitely one of the things you should do in Positano. Put on your prettiest outfit and watch the sunset from one of the best sunset locations in Positano. You will pay a lot for a drink, and will probably have to line up, but it’s still a really enjoyable experience once you’re seated and relaxing.
Path of the Gods
There are several walking tracks around the Amalfi Coast, but the Path of the Gods is the most well known. The name comes from the spectacular views. The path runs from Agerola to Nocelle in the hills high above the ocean. Nocelle is the town perched above Positano. It is recommended that you start walking from Agerola to Nocelle, as you then have a gradual downhill hike. You can get more information here.
Lemon Farm Tour
Lemons are the symbol of the Amalfi coast. These are used to make the famous limoncello from the south of Italy. A tour of a lemon farm can be a great way to see the process and purchase some lemon souvenirs right from the source. A lot of the farms are perched on the hills of the Amalfi Coast, so they are super photogenic.
Boat Tour of the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is one of the prettiest in the world, and one of the best things to do in Positano is to see this coast by boat. You can do it as cheaply as catching a ferry from Positano to Amalfi, Capri or Sorrento. Alternatively, there are tours that you can do, which are either shared or private.
Extra Tips For Positano
There Are Lots Of Stairs In Positano
Positano is built on the hillside. I spent three days there and my leg muscles were aching by the end of it. There is lots of walking up roads and stairs. We stayed quite close to the beach, so it can be much worse. There are shuttle buses that you can catch, and a lot of hotels have their own personal shuttle buses. However, in the peak season, you can wait to catch the public shuttle.
Many people do day trips from the surrounding towns to Positano. This means that the town gets busy by 10 am. It also means they start to head back at around 4 pm. During these times the streets in the town centre can be packed with people, and it can be hard to find a place for lunch. However, outside of these times, it is quieter, and a little easier to do things.
Positano is a popular tourist destination with a luxury vibe. This is where people come for honeymoons, destination weddings, or anniversaries. This does mean prices are inflated compared to a lot of other parts of Italy. A normal meal with starters, mains and drinks for two people can easily cost over sixty euros. You should also budget for some tipping. Usually, Italy includes the tip on the bill, but due to many American’s visiting the area this is becoming less common and a tip is expected.