Learn how to plan a trip to Positano in this post!
I’ve dreamt about going to Italy for most of my life – and when I had those dreams, Positano was always a part of the itinerary. My Nana and Papa went years ago and raved about it so much that my Mom and Dad went for one of their milestone anniversaries and also fell in love with it. I’ve watched movies and read books that take place there, I’ve pinned images, I’ve followed travel accounts on Instagram and been jealous of my friends’ trips. But nothing was quite like experiencing it in real life. It truly was a dream come true.
How To Plan A Trip To Positano
If you’ve never heard of Positano, it is an idyllic coastal town located on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. The view of the colorful buildings built along the coastline and up into the mountain is iconic at this point. It’s likely you’ve seen a photo of it (like the one above) before, even if you didn’t know it was Positano. The Amalfi Coast stretches south of Naples and north of Salerno, with other towns along the way like Amalfi, Ravello, Praiano, and more.
While a lot of other destinations in Italy can be busy bustling cities with tons to see, Positano is small – with only one (one way!) street running through it. Because of that, you should be prepared to walk up and down a lot of stairs, but they’re so worth the workout. It feels like you can wrap your arms around this little town, and it wraps it’s arms right back around you with the unreal views, fresh food, beautiful beaches, and a generally slow pace. It will instantly put you in vacation mode – ready for that “la dolce vita” lifestyle.
That being said, if you are planning a trip, it’s important to be prepared! Positano has gone from a hidden gem to a major tourist destination. Here’s what you should know before you go.
How To Get To Positano
If you’re wondering how to plan a trip to Positano, figuring out how to get there is the first step. Unfortunately, you cannot fly directly into Positano. The closest place to fly to is Naples Airport. But if you are visiting other major cities in Italy, you can fly there first and then take a train down to Naples and get to Positano from there. I’ll explain more below!
This trip taught me that trains are the best way to get around Italy. They are SO FAST! While Positano doesn’t have it’s own train station, you can easily take a high speed train from most major cities in Italy down to Naples. Our train from Florence to Naples was very easy to navigate and only 3 hours long! I recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time. There are also upgraded options if you have a lot of luggage.
I have read that once you get to Naples, you can also take another train to Sorrento to get closer to Positano, but just keep in mind that you still need to get from Sorrento to Positano.
Once you get to Naples, hiring a private transfer is THE MOVE. Of course you might not want to if you’re on a tight budget, but I thought it was worth every penny. Depending on traffic, it usually takes about an hour. My friend Whitney (check out her travel planning services!) told me to reach out to Tomoving Drivers and I cannot recommend them enough!!
Tommy was waiting for us when we arrived at the train station, drove us in a beautiful car, and was so lovely and informative the whole drive. We hugged after he dropped us off at the Naples train station at the end of our stay in Positano and talked about plans to see him again when we come back one day. Such a gem!
If your plan is to rent a car, I would rethink that. The roads to get to Positano are very curvy and there’s also no real need for a car once you’re there. I don’t think it would be worth the cost!
If a private car is out of your budget, you can also take the bus for just 2 Euro. This is when you will want to take the train all the way to Sorrento instead of getting off at Naples, which adds another hour and 10 minutes to your journey. Once you get to Sorrento, you can take the SITA bus to Positano. That should take another 45 minutes.
If you are traveling in the spring, summer, or fall, you can also take a ferry from Naples. This takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. Also note that you might have to pay extra to bring your luggage on board.
Best Time To Visit Positano
We really just hoped for the best when we booked our trip, but I actually think we were there at the PERFECT time. We visited from May 21st – May 25th and it was busy but not overwhelmingly crowded. It was also warm but not stifling hot, which was really nice. We had some clouds over the mountains a few of the mornings but I don’t know if that’s a spring thing or just our weather that week. I have heard that peak season is from the end of June through the end of August, so keep that in mind if you don’t like crowds!
Where To Stay In Positano
We stayed at Villa Rosa (another great recommendation from my friend Whitney!) and we absolutely LOVED IT. I really wanted to stay in Positano instead of a neighboring town, and I really wanted a view… so when I realized that Villa Rosa checked off both of those boxes without blowing our budget, I booked it SO FAST.
We got a “Sea View Standard” room which was small but plenty of room for us with Wi-Fi, air conditioning, a mini fridge, bathroom, and TERRACE. My heart exploded for the terrace and the view. I’ll never get over it. This is where we ate breakfast every morning… WHAT?!
The location was also absolutely PERFECT. It’s directly across the street from Le Sirenuse, so you get the same views for a fraction of the cost. That also means you’re across the street from the famous appertivo spot, Franco’s Bar 😉 The beach was a short walk down some stairs, and there were tons of other shops and restaurants within walking distance. It was ideal!
Le Sirenuse is one of the most famous hotels on the Amalfi Coast. This 5-star hotel is Positano luxury. My Nana and Papa stayed here many many years ago and then my parents also stayed for a few nights while celebrating one of their milestone anniversaries. Both raved about it, but it was just a tad out of our budget for this trip 😂 That being said, if YOU can swing it, you’ll enjoy amazing views, beautiful suites, a stunning pool agains the striking red color of the hotel, and even a Michelin-star restaurant!
I actually googled Hotel Poseidon after reading the book One Italian Summer! We had already booked our hotel and I couldn’t get us in for dinner at their restaurant, Il Tridente, but the photos of this hotel look absolutely STUNNING. It’s on the opposite side of Villa Rosa and Le Sirenuse, so you get a different view, but still gorgeous nonetheless. They have a cocktail bar and restaurant on the roof, along with a pool and a spa!
I personally didn’t want to stay at an AirBNB just because you never know the exact location until after you book… and I didn’t want to end up on the very top the mountain 😂 That being said, there are some beautiful options available, especially if you are going with a group or family.
Best Things To Do In Positano Italy
Go to a beach
Positano is right on the water, which means you should absolutely enjoy some time on the beach while you’re there! I’ll dive more into the individual beach options in the next section – but just be aware that Amalfi Coast/Positano beaches are rocky, not sandy. The pebbles can be hot and uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet, but they’re also less messy than sand! (We did not think water shoes were necessary but thats up to you!)
Regardless if you prefer sand or rocks, there’s no denying that the views from the beaches in Positano are absolutely gorgeous. Plus, there’s nothing like swimming in the Mediterranean!
Enjoy a boat ride to Capri
We decided to splurge on a private boat ride around Capri and it ended up being our favorite day of the ENTIRE trip! Capri is about a 40 minute boat ride away, and there is so much to see once you get there! We opted for the full day trip/private boat tour with Gianni’s Boats which picked us up from the Positano port.
We got a gorgeous view of the Amalfi Coast as we pulled away and passed the Galli Isles and Nerano Bay on our way over. Then we got a tour of all of Capri’s grottoes and coves. (Apparently the line to get into the Blue Grotto can be very long during the high season, so just keep that in mind!)
After taking us to the perfect spot for a swim, Antonio (our driver and travel guide for the day!) helped us get a table at a seaside restaurant called Torre Saracena for lunch. At the end of our trou, we were dropped off at Capri port around 4pm, so we didn’t have a ton of time to explore before we needed to hop on the last ferry back to Positano. That being said, we did have time to get some INCREDIBLE gelato at Buonocore. A can’t miss if you go to Capri! See more from our boat day here.
There are so many beautiful shops in Positano to peruse! We particularly loved Ceramica Assunta for ceramics like an oil dispenser, a spoon rest, ornaments, and espresso cups. I also bought myself two beautiful linen dresses at a little boutique called Idillio. I recommend just going for a walk and wandering into whatever hidden gems catch your eye!
Have appertivo at Franco’s Bar
Franco’s Bar is probably the most famous bar in all of Positano. It is an extension of Le Sirenuse, so you can expect the same breathtaking views – with craft cocktails! This bar is extremely popular, which means that you should be prepared to wait for a table. Our hotel looked down at Franco’s, so we were able to pay attention to the line that started forming around 4:25pm. We went down around 4:40pm and were able to get the last 2 seats in the front row when they opened at 5:00pm.
The front row is desirable because it has the best view, but it also has a 40 euro minimum per person. That isn’t hard to meet since the cocktails are pricey, but just keep that in mind if you weren’t prepared to splurge a little. I joked that it was a very expensive photo opp… but I’d also 1000% do it again. The setting is stunning, they gave us popcorn and the best olives OF MY LIFE, and the Franco’s Fizz is one of the most refreshing cocktails I’ve ever had. Definitely recommend.
Have a drink on your balcony
If you don’t want to splurge on fancy cocktails, there are a lot of places to pick up a bottle of wine or limoncello. We even found Pistacello, a liquor made from pistachios! Ask your hotel for glasses, bring the bottle up to your balcony, and just relax and enjoy!
Hike the Path of the Gods
We didn’t end up doing this because we decided to go to a beach club instead (more on that below!), but I hear it’s AMAZING!! The trail is about 4.7 miles stretching from the tiny town of Bomerano through Nocelle and down to Positano. Everyone who has done it says that there are stunning views the whole way. I would just make sure you do your research beforehand because if you start in Positano, you have to take a lot of stairs UP to get to the trail. I’ve heard that starting in Bomerano is better, but obviously you need to have a plan for how to get there via taxi or bus.
We ate the majority of my favorite meals of the trip in Positano! The cuisine is light and fresh with a LOT of seafood. I recommend ordering dishes with mussels, clams, lemon, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, or any other fish you like best. Keep reading for our favorite restaurants!
Best Beaches In Positano Italy
If you are in Positano, you cannot miss the Spiaggia beach. All stairs lead down to the beach, where you’ll find a stretch of restaurants and the port for boats. The beach has a public area where anyone can bring a towel and hang out. It also has a stretch of colorful umbrellas and sun beds. Even if you aren’t going to hang out there, don’t miss the colorful view from that vantage point. It’s a blogger favorite for a reason!
Arienzo Beach Club
I found Arienzo Beach Club while researching for our trip, but I didn’t book it until our driver highly recommended it on the way from Naples to Positano. Once he mentioned that the food was amazing, I was sold – and WOW was he right!! We got the “Couple Basic Experience” which included 2 sunbeds in the 5th row from the water, 2 towels, 1 umbrella, 2 bottles of water, 1 bottle of champagne, 1 fruit plate, 2 starters, and 2 main courses for 160 euro!
I believe this price changes based on the season, but I think this tier is always pretty affordable. This reservation also included a complimentary boat shuttle (about 5 minutes) to and from the Positano port.
We stayed for multiple hours, going in and out of the water, reading under the umbrella, and enjoying the most spectacular lunch right from our sunbeds. We started with the tuna tartare and salmon ceviche, followed by spaghetti alle vongole. OH MY GOD. I cannot express to you how fresh the fish was, how perfect the pasta was, how sweet the clams were. Straight out of my DREAMS!
We didn’t go to Fornillo Beach but it is another smaller/less crowded option. It is located on the other side of Spiaggia Beach from Arienzo, where we went. You can get there by walking about 10-15 minutes from the main port.
Where To Eat in Positano
Arienzo Beach Club
I can’t talk about food in Positano without including Arienzo! Scroll back up to read more about this awesome experience.
Besides our lunch on the beach, Da Vincenzo was 100% our favorite restaurant in Positano. I’m pretty sure we will be dreaming about the mussels we had there for the rest of our lives! Everything we had was perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, and better than I could ever attempt to make myself – which is my favorite kind of dining experience. Just be sure to make a reservation ahead of time because it’s a very popular spot!
Some people say that the restaurants right on the beach aren’t the best… but we LOVED them. We went to Chez Black on our first night and had the loveliest experience. As soon as I saw Spaghetti Alla Nerano on the menu I knew that’s what I wanted because we saw Stanley Tucci eat it at another Amalfi Coast restaurant on his Italy show. I’m happy to report that was FANTASTIC.
Le Tre Sorelle
Le Tre Sorelle was another beachside restaurant we loved! There’s just something about eating fresh seafood and Italian delights while looking out over the mediterranean. Bliss! Don’t skip their pizza con cippola e pancetta… it’s basically a pizza with sweet caramelized onions and crispy pancetta. So. Good.
Along with this post How To Plan A Trip To Positano, I am also writing guides to Florence and Rome. Stay tuned!
PS. You might also like What I Packed For Italy!