The Ultimate Positano Travel Guide

Positano is a town on the Amalfi coast in southern Italy. It is a top-rated tourist destination with pebble beaches and narrow, steep streets full of shops and cafes. Developed mainly vertically, the town of Positano is famous above all for shopping; in fact, here there are really numerous boutiques and craft shops. It is also characterized by “stairways” that connect the upper part of Positano to the beach, so much so that it appears as a vertical town, which stretches with its colorful houses along a rocky ridge of the Lattari mountains.

Positano is also called the pearl of the Amalfi Coast, not only for the many terraces, stairways, and colorful houses but also for the emotions it can transmit to those who visit it. The town is popular with people from all over the world, and it’s not uncommon to meet movie stars on vacation or see the yachts of wealthy tycoons.

Things to do and see in Positano

How to Get to Positano

Positano is the first town on the Amalfi Coast for those who proceed from west to east or for those coming from Sorrento. Positano is a 45-minute drive from Naples and just 20 minutes from Sorrento and Amalfi. Once in Positano, the advice is to move on foot, aware that you often have to go up and down many steps and climbs. However, some buses connect the higher streets to the non-pedestrian point closest to the town center.

Climate and Wheather  in Positano

The climate is characterized for most of the year by a pleasant and refreshing sea breeze, which allows you to visit Positano for a period ranging from March to October. July and August are the hottest months.

Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption

Santa Maria Teresa dell'Assunta

The Church of Santa Maria Teresa dell’Assunta, dating back to the X century, is practically the symbol of Positano: its majolica dome welcomes visitors and is the town’s center. It is stunning with its yellow and green tiles that recall the sun and the vegetation of Positano. Inside there is a Byzantine icon of a black Madonna with a Child. The icon, according to legend, was part of the cargo of a ship from the East.

Under the church, the remains of a Roman villa were found, probably dating back to the I century BC, buried by ash during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD (the same that buried Pompeii). A large room with a precious mosaic and marine-themed frescoes was also found. In 2018 the Roman Archaeological Museum of Positano opened where it is possible to visit the archaeological site and the crypts of the Church. Located 11 meters deep, the tour includes a richly frescoed environment, belonging to the Roman villa, the crypts, and some rooms annexed to Santa Maria Assunta’s church, where the finds found during the excavations are exhibited. The excavation is partial, but the number of decorative objects and furnishings found is already considerable.

Shopping in Positano

Shopping in Positano, Italy

Positano, unlike many other places, does not offer many sites of cultural interest. But the essence of this town is certainly its alleys that climb or descend along the mountain among pebbles, pergolas, shops, cafè, stairs, and ladders. Walking through its narrow streets, without haste, enjoying the beauty of the place, will also allow you to relax in the name of less hectic tourism. There are really many luxury boutiques and shops where you can buy some small souvenirs or maybe one of the many clothing items. Linen is certainly one of the things to be bought in Positano. The quality of Positano linen is undisputed, but also the innovation and colors that vary from season to season each year create ever new and innovative geometries and designs. Other typical products of Positano are handmade sandals: always different and unique designs that allow you to make particular combinations according to your personal taste. And finally, among the things to buy in Positano, Limoncello and ceramics cannot be missing.

Visit Art Galleries in Positano

There is no shortage of well-kept art galleries in Positano, where the latest trends in contemporary art are exhibited. Positano is, therefore a town that must be experienced to be truly appreciated.

If by day Positano attracts an incredible crowd of people and fascinates with the breathtaking scenery, it is at nightfall, when the lights begin to come on, that the magic begins, and it almost seems to be in a completely different place.

Spiaggia Grande

Positano Beach

But among the most famous places in Positano, there are certainly the beaches and its fabulous sea. The main beach of Positano is Spiaggia Grande. On one side, you have a view of the Li Galli islets (where according to legend, the sirens who tried to enchant Ulysses took refuge), on the other side, a view of the colorful houses perched on the mountain. Within walking distance, there are restaurants, ice cream parlors, bars, places to enjoy aperitifs, lunches, or dinners. Fornillo is the other beach in the town, smaller but fully equipped and quieter. Other beaches are La Porta, Arienzo, Laurito. It is also possible for kayak lovers to rent one at the Grande or Fornillo beach and experience the sea in an alternative way.

Saracen Towers

Near Positano, it is also possible to visit the Saracen Towers. Many were built along the coast in the 16th century to defend against pirate raids by sea. The most important were: Sponda, Trasita, and Fornillo. Received the main tower’s alert, the sentries warned the population to take refuge by climbing the mountain towards the very high villages or in the woods. Today they remain as important evidence of the past.

Positano foods

In Positano, the cuisine and the territory are indissolubly linked. Among the most famous recipes of this area, we remember the anchovies of Cetara (from the name of the small fishing town on the Amalfi Coast, where it is possible to eat the traditional Anchovy Colatura). The anchovies, rigorously fished in spring, are cleaned, washed, and put in salt pressed with different weights. The liquid produced by the pressure and fermentation is filtered, exposed to the sun, and finally bottled. Anchovy Colatura is used to season spaghetti or as part of other recipes of Amalfi cuisine. In Cetara, as in any other town on the Amalfi Coast, you can enjoy the delicious typical dish of Spaghetti with Anchovy Colatura and buy fresh fish at a good price.

Limoncello

The Amalfi Coast lemons represent one of the symbols of the area, so much so that even the landscape is dotted with lemon groves, jealously kept and cared for by the owners of the land. The famous liqueur “Limoncello” is obtained from the maceration of the lemon peels. After tasting one or more of the many typical dishes of the local gastronomy, especially fish-based, limoncello is proposed as an excellent digestive.

Ndunderi

The “Ndunderi” is a kind of gnocchi originating from the town of Minori and considered one of the oldest pasta in the world. The original recipes of the “ndunderi” probably date back to Roman times and were made with spelled flour and rennet; today, on the other hand, we prefer to mix them with fresh ricotta cheese and season them with just a fresh tomato sauce.

Scialatielli allo Scoglio

In the typical restaurants of the coast, it is also a must to eat a Scialatielli allo Scoglio, one of the typical dishes of the Amalfi Coast. Shorter than spaghetti, they are irregular in shape and blend perfectly with the fish sauce.

Ricotta cheese

Ricotta cheese is also found in numerous recipes from Campania and can also be enjoyed only accompanied by a simple slice of bread and a little extra virgin olive oil. In the mountains around Positano, the herds graze in a semi-wild way and excellent ricotta cheese is produced from the milk.

Caprese Cake

Among the area’s specialties, we also remember the Caprese Cake, a fragrant delight of almonds and chocolate made without flour or yeast. The Caprese cake can be tasted everywhere, in the restaurants and pastry shops in Positano.

Cooking Classes in Positano

During a stay in Positano, a local cooking lesson is absolutely an experience to try. Numerous restaurants offer this unique experience. You can also learn how to make the real Limoncello.

Hiking the Path of the Gods

Hiking the Path of the Gods

After visiting the town, you could walk along one of the paths that lead to the small mountain villages above Positano. Amalfi Coast is famous worldwide for its natural beauty, and taking an excursion on the “Path of the Gods” is certainly an experience to do. It is a nature trail on the Lattari mountains, suitable for walking and hiking, which runs along the entire coastal strip for 7 km. It is possible to admire this corner of paradise in all its splendor on clear days, which day after day enchants numerous tourists and visitors. In the hamlet of Positano, Nocelle, there is perhaps the most interesting stretch of the Path of the Gods; in fact, it is precisely here that the landscape becomes suggestive thanks to pine forests’ alternation, caves to explore, and above all spectacular views of Amalfi Coast.

Montepertuso and Nocelle

Montepertuso

Exactly above Positano rise the two hamlets Montepertuso and Nocelle. Especially at the first light of day, many tourists walk the stairs used as a link between the two hamlets and the center of Positano. The beauty of these places lies in their simplicity and the distance from the chaos of the town center. Small grocery stores, a few restaurants, and a few houses. Ideal for a morning walk.

Valle delle Ferriere

Valle delle Ferriere Amalfi

For lovers of natural landscapes, a visit to the unspoiled natural oasis of the Valle delle Ferriere, one of the most suggestive natural areas in Italy, cannot be missed. It starts from the ancient medieval village of Atrani. It crosses the valley of the Dragone stream, until reaching the locality of Pontone, where you enter the Valle delle Ferriere reserve. Here you will see lush tropical vegetation, as well as waterfalls and springs, which are the natural habitat of rare plants and amphibians.

Taking a boat ride in Positano

boat ride in Positano
Photo by Louise Krause on Unsplash

An equally suggestive alternative is certainly to take a boat trip. Taking a boat ride in Positano is the best solution to live an unforgettable experience and to discover the area from a different perspective, the one seen from the sea. The Amalfi Coast boat tour will allow you to get to know the most beautiful corners of the coast and visit some of the Amalfi Coast cities, including Amalfi.

 

Among lemon groves, history, boat trips, churches, beaches, and trails, Positano really doesn’t lack for anything.

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