Travel Guide: Positano, Italy

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Positano moved to the very top of my “favorite places” list soon after we arrived to the beautiful town built into the side of a mountain. The views from above, and looking up at the city from down below, are truly captivating. Everywhere you look seems like a place out of a storybook or a movie because it’s so picturesque. Not only is the town itself gorgeous, but the people living there make a visit even better because they are so hospitable and friendly.

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Where to Stay in Positano

My husband and I are Airbnb type of people when we travel, as we love to fully immerse ourselves into the culture that we’re experiencing. If you enjoy Airbnbs, I highly recommend staying in one during your visit to Positano! While there are a variety of highly-rated hotels that I’m sure are beyond beautiful and welcoming, nothing beats having an entire place to yourself and asking the host what his/her favorite restaurants and places to visit are. They will be different than the touristy spots a hotel will tell you go to, that’s for sure.

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Balcony at our Airbnb where we watched the sunset with a bottle of wine each night.
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Here is the view from our breathtaking Airbnb.
  • Airbnb or Home Rental – The Airbnb we stayed in has got to be one of the most amazing Airbnbs out there. It would immediately be #1 on my list, but is tied with the Airbnb we stayed at in Hawaii (we have a thing for Airbnbs with awesome views!). We ended every day on our huge balcony, watching the sun set over the water with a bottle of wine. Already feels like a dream.
  • Hotels – There are dozens of hotels in Positano, which makes it hard to choose because they’re all beautiful! The most important thing to focus on when choosing a hotel is location. Hotels that are mid-way up the mountain are best because there are plenty of restaurants and shops close by and the beach is a short walk down. Avoid staying near the top of the mountain, as you’ll either have to take a ton of stairs to get anywhere, or you’ll have to take a car. If you are looking at hotels near the beach or bottom of the mountain, be prepared to walk several flights of stairs if you want to explore anywhere further up the side of the cliff! The best advice I can give is going on Trip Advisor and reading up on the many hotels to choose from.
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Spiaggia Grande

What to Do in Positano

With Positano being a town that is entirely built into the side of a mountain, no matter what you decide to do, know that there will be a ton of walking involved! To get anywhere, you must go either up or down. Prepare to take several flights of stairs per day – we walked over 80 flights of stairs in two days – and one of those days we were on the beach for several hours! While our legs were certainly sore at the end of the day, it’s nice to get a bit of a workout in when you’re on vacation and indulging on all the food and drinks.

  • Hit the Beach – there are two main beaches in Positano – the larger one is called Spiaggia Grande and is more crowded than the smaller beach, Spiaggia del Fornillo (we preferred Spiaggia Grande). I’d recommend paying to use the beach club as you get towels and beach chairs, which is definitely worth it because this beach is made of rocks. You can bring food and drinks into the beach club – which is cheaper than ordering at the bar – and we brought in a bottle of wine and pizza! Just remember to bring plastic cups. If you prefer a more secluded beach, Spiaggia del Fornillo is a short walk away!
  • Shop –  There is a tonnn of shopping in Positano. Some people come to Positano just for the shopping! However every store is quite pricey. While we walked around to all of the shops and went into several, we only window-shopped due to the expensive pricing. If you want to shop while you’re in Positano, be prepared to spend several hundred dollars! Even if you can’t afford the stores or don’t want to buy anything, it’s worth exploring the shops and seeing the different artwork, clothing and antiques they offer.
  • Take a Day Trip – there are many day trips to take when you’re staying on the Amalfi coast! If you’re staying in Positano for several days, it would be worth taking a day trip to Sorrento or the island of Capri to see another beautiful part of Italy. There are several ferries that go out every day (you can buy a ticket the morning of or the day before), or you can opt to take a private boat.
  • Hike the Sentiero Degli Dei – The Sentiero Degli Dei, which translates to “the Path of the Gods,” is a trail that links Agerola to Nocelle. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to hike this trail because we were only in Positano for 2.5 days and there were so many other things we wanted to do (this hike takes 3 hours!). If we had been there another full day, we definitely would have done it. The name, the Path of the Gods, is an indication of how spectacular the scenery is throughout the entire hike.
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Can’t forget to include pictures of Dom!

Where to Eat in Positano

Breakfast/Lunch

  • Caffe Positano – I had one of my all-time favorite breakfasts at Caffe Positano. It included a huge fruit platter (seriously, I didn’t think I would finish it all, but of course I did) with two scoops of vanilla gelato – are you kidding me?! My dream breakfast. This spot has a spectacular view from mid-way up the mountain and offers a variety of simple breakfast dishes and sandwiches for lunch. We loved their macchiatos – a shot of expresso with cream! So delicious.
  • Ristorante La Pergola / Bar Buca di Bacco – This restaurant is super convenient because it’s right on the beach! They have a big sit-down area, but also a walk-up bar where you can order to-go drinks and food. We went here on multiple occasions when we didn’t want to sit down at a restaurant, and everything we had was delicious. We loved their pizza, drinks and even their gelato. This is where we got our pizza slices to bring to the beach club and eat on our cabanas.
  • Chez Black – We didn’t end up going here, but apparently they serve heart-shaped pizzas!

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My breakfast at Caffe Positano. Drooling all over again!

Dinner

  • La Tagliata – This meal was unlike any meal I’ve ever had before! Not only was it an amazing meal, but the entire dinner (and getting there) was an experience. La Tagliata is on a cliff at the very top of Positano – it’s actually technically in the next town over. Since it’s on the very top of the mountain, the restaurant will send its shuttle to come pick you up! Our driver was a complete hoot and had us cracking up the whole ride there (about 20-25 mins). There is no menu for this restaurant, but instead the guests are served whatever the chef is cooking in the kitchen that night. The portions are beyond humongous – I don’t think I saw one table finish everything! – and we were served six courses throughout the evening. Each course was delicious (some better than others, of course), and as soon as you finish your bottle of wine they bring you another. The best part of the meal? It costs 40 euros per person regardless of how much you eat and drink.
  • da Vincenzo – This restaurant was recommended to us by our Airbnb host, who has lived in Positano his whole life. He said this restaurant was a top-5 must in Positano! You can either make reservations on the earlier side, or arrive after 9 p.m. without a reservation. We arrived around 9:15 p.m., were told to come back around 9:45 p.m. and when we returned they gave us glasses of champagne and seated us right away. We ordered a bottle of wine, an appetizer, two entrees and dessert and everything tasted amazing. For the appetizer we ordered the prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella, for our entrees I ordered the Fusillo con ragu napoletano and Dom ordered the spaghetti with prawns, and for dessert we had tiramisu (and complimentary limoncello!).
  • Il Tridente at Hotel Poseidon – If we hadn’t received recommendations for restaurants to eat at, this is somewhere we would have gone based on its great reviews, location and view. Apparently the food here is fantastic and the views are even better.
  • Next 2 – This was another restaurant recommended by our Airbnb host. He said it’s incredible! We unfortunately never got the chance to dine here, but I always think if a local recommends it, it’s got to be good.

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Gelato

  • Hotel Covo dei Saraceni’s La Brasserie – We tried so much gelato in Positano (we tried at least 3 flavors each day we were there!), but this place was our absolute favorite! We loved the Pistachio flavor… so good. Didn’t even know that I liked Pistachio gelato, but when we were in Italy I couldn’t get enough!
  • Ristorante La Pergola / Bar Buca di Bacco – This is the little restaurant/walk-up bar on the beach that serves drinks, pizza (and other food), and gelato. We tried their gelato and it was pretty good! Not our absolute favorite, but it’s hard not to like gelato since it’s always so delish!

There are so many places to stop for gelato, I would try a variety! We stopped at a bunch of different places as we were walking around (didn’t catch the names of every gelateria), but each place was unique and tasted different than the last.

Keep in mind these recommendations are all based off of what we experienced over the few days we were in Positano, as well as a some suggestions we received from friends and locals. If you’ve been to Positano before and have suggestions for other places to stay/eat/visit, please let everyone know in the comments!

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