Travel - July 18, 2016

Positano City Guide

Positano Travel Guide - Rounding up all the best places to eat, drink, sleep and what to do in the fabulous city of Positano!

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post ever since the moment I got back to the states from visiting the Amalfi Coast. I’m so excited to tell you all about my experience in Positano specifically, and spill all the details on all the things to see and do in Positano, Italy. It only takes ONE photo of the BEAUTIFUL city to get the city on your bucket list because let’s face it, the place is irresistible. It’s so pretty and when you’re there, it literally doesn’t even feel real – it feels straight out of a movie!

Positano coast view

Where To Stay in Positano

Depending on what time of year you go, the prices will fluctuate a bit. During the high season (usually May – August), prices will be at the highest so you might want to consider going in September or even October if you’re fine with chillier temps (but the upside is that it would be less crowded!).

off the shoulder top at villa franca hotel positano

ABOVE: Wearing chambray off the shoulder top + statement earrings + AG White Legging Jeans at Villa Franca Hotel (review blog post here)

Like any beautiful, touristy city, there are some fabulous hotels to stay at with exceptional views, food and pool-side situations. If you didn’t know, Positano is build on a hill, which you can tell from all the beautiful photos of the city and there’s really only ONE main road winding through the city and it’s ONE way. To name a few of the nicest, best hotels located in the middle of everything, there’s Villa Franca at the top of the hill (see Villa Franca Hotel Hotel Review), Hotel Poseidon halfway down and then Le Sirenuse at the bottom (only steps away from the beach). Aside from hotels though, many of the popular cities in Italy (especially along the coast) have a variety of B&B options or smaller hotels that are more intimate and not as crazy expensive.

In total, I spent 6 nights in Positano on my last trip, but they were split up by a trip to Ischia and Capri so I stayed at different places. During my first 3 nights, I stayed at Hotel Villa Franca and wrote ALL about it in this blog post. When I went back to Positano the next week, I had a completely different experience (yet just as amazing!) and stayed at an apartment called Villa Casa A’Scalinatella, which is similar to something you’d find on Airbnb.

positano view with ocean and flowers

Top Or Bottom of The Hill?

This is a great question and my initial response would be that it depends on what you’re looking for. I’ve stayed at both the top and bottom of the hill and enjoyed both experiences. The view from my room while stayed at the top was pretty hard to beat, but I suppose you could always venture for drinks up there if you’d rather stay at the bottom. Most of the restaurants and “life” of the city is closer to the beach (at the bottom), so if you can help it, I would suggest staying near the bottom. Plus, that’s less steps you’ve got to hike up and down each day. But either way, you REALLY can’t go wrong because it’s all so beautiful and I guarantee you’ll be happy regardless :)

Before closing the book on this question though I want to mention that if you are staying UP the hill, then please know that it’s possible for you to hire a porter to carry your luggage (when you get off the ferry). Honestly, even if you’re at the bottom (or near) of the hill, you’ll want to get some help with your bags. If you’re arriving via ferry, just look for the guys with the porter carts and ask they if you could get your bags delivered. They might have signs that say different hotels no them, but you can hire them even so. It will cost you 10 euros a bag, but it’s money well spent. TRUST ME.

Super Jet Ferry from Capri to Positano

How to Get to Positano

The best airport to fly into is probably going to be Rome or Naples depending on which airline you’re flying. If can book your airfare all the way to Naples, that’s great. But if not, you can easily catch the train from Rome to Naples if you need to. And once you get to Naples, your best option for getting to Positano is hiring a private driver (which should be anywhere between 110-160 euros). You should be able to contact the place you’re staying and ask them to book it for you or find something online. I think the company that I used was called Positano Limousine service maybe? I meant to keep the card, but I lost it (sorry friends!).

If you’re traveling from Sorrento (the other side of the peninsula), you can either take the “SITA” bus (8 euros) or get a private car if you’ve got too much luggage to mess with (70 euros). Either way, the drive is only about 35 minutes – it’s SUPER close! But warning, it’s a VERY windy ride and so if you get car sick easily, I would just make sure you bring water and eat before.

How to get to Positano - taking the ferry from capri to positano

ABOVE: taking the ferry from Capri to Positano (it’s only 3o minutes and by far the easiest way to arrive with luggage and everything (assuming you get a Porter like I talked about below)

Oh and if you’re coming from Capri, you can take a ferry directly to Positano! It’s so easy and convenient! But just a heads up, be sure to buy tickets for your luggage if you have more than one big suitcase per person (its 2 euros per extra bag).

views from the path of gods hike

Things To Do in Positano

I’m sure any touristy website will give you the rundown of all the BEST things to do in Positano – all of which will probably say something similar that I’m about to. I’m going to simply suggest slash talk about the things I actually did myself and then mention a few other things I’ve got on my list for next time.

views from the path of gods hike brighton keller in outdoor voices

Above: views from the Path of Gods hike wearing Outdoor Voices top and bottom

Hike the Path of Gods – I’m sure you’ve heard about this hike as it’s probably one of the most popular thigns to do while visiting the Amalfi coast. But unlike the Chinque Terre hike, it’s not super crowded or touristy. I went in June and only ran into 3 people during the entire 4 hour hike so that was REALLY nice! There’s a few different ways you can do it and options when it comes to where you start and how you finish. But I would make sure you block off an entire morning or afternoon for this and be sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen! For reference, this blog post has a lot of useful, helpful information pertaining to the hike if you need more details.

Go To D’alfonso (entire afternoon) – take a water taxi to this hip and fun little island where you can have lunch and hang out on a private beach for the afternoon. I’ve never been but I’ve heard SO MANY good things. I’m FOR SURE going to do this during the first few days of my next trip back!

black plunge front one piece capri italy 6

ABOVE: Private boat ride in Positano, Italy wearing Karla Colletto plunge front swimsuit (wearing size 6) and oversized hat

Private Boat Ride – I went on one with my hotel, but you can walk down there anytime and check availability. They’ll take you all along the coast and point out all the cities, giving you a little history on each – I LOVED getting to see everything from the water and take note of what I wanted to visit later!

chardonnay at da gabrisa

Grab a drink at one of the bars/restaurants I recommended in this post

positano beach

Spend an afternoon at the beach – The beach at Positano (there’s more than one!) is world famous for a reason! If crowds don’t bother you, then grab some wine and friends and spend a few hours soaking up the sun!

positano buildings

Walk around the town and peek into all the cute little local shops. I was surprised by how much shopping there was in Positano. It’s different than Capri in that it’s not all designer or overpriced – there’s much more of a local feel to it which I enjoyed!

dinner at da vincenzo

Where to Eat (and where NOT to eat) in Positano

As I’m sure you can imagine based on it’s sheer beauty and breath-taking views, Positano is a HUGE tourist attraction. And aside from relaxing at your hotel pool, odds are you’ll probably be fighting a bit of a crowd just about anywhere you venture. I’m probably going to catch some slack for saying this, but I just want to be honest and give you guys the most transparent feedback possible (like I would if my best friend were asking for travel tips – you know?).

From my experience, most of the restaurants along the beach (or at least the ones that are asking for attention) are going to be somewhat of touristy traps with overpriced not-so-great food and subpar service. For instance, I went to the highly-recommended (by famous tourist websites AND my hotel concierge!) restaurant the first night it and it was pretty awful – I’ll start with that one since I just mentioned it and then continue in NO particular order.

1. La Cambusa (Thumbs Down)

Trip Advisor Rating: #27 of Restaurants in Positano
Star Rating: 4 Stars
My Rating: AVOID this place

Thoughts/Experience: the first night and to be honest, I thought it was AWFUL. Haha like I said, I’m not holding back on the honesty front! And even though I had a pretty sub-par experience, I ended up paying 70 euros for MY (aka 1 person) meal, which is a pretty insane price for a not-so-extravagant meal if you ask me! And I think the same goes for any of the flashy spots along the beach. But again, I could be wrong – this was just my experience.

2. Restaurant Max’s (Thumbs Up)

Trip Advisor Rating: #15 of Restaurants in Positano
Star Rating: 4.5 Star Rating
My Rating: Loved it! GREAT location and the food was amaze for me!

Thoughts/Experience: I tried a few different restaurants that were in the middle of town and this was the only one that didn’t feel (and taste) overrated and super touristy. I was pleasantly surprised by how great it was and I loved the outside environment. I went with my mom and two friends while in Positano and it was delightful – highly recommend!

3. Da Vincenzo (Thumbs Up)

Trip Advisor Rating: #8 of Restaurants in Positano
Star Rating: 4.5 Stars
My Rating: LOVED this spot – the food and atmosphere were lovely!
Insider Tip: Make a reservation for this spot at least 3 days in advance and ask to sit outside on the OTHER side of the street (so you’ll have a view of the town and ocean)

Thoughts/Experience: If you take a stroll up the main road and past a few curves (yes, you’re calves are burning by now), you’ll run into this little spot and quickly realize it’s worth checking out since it’s always packed with people. I got a recommendation to go here from the cab driver that drove me to the start of the Path of Gods hike. We actually had reservations at another restaurant (La Tragliata) and he told me to cancel those and try and get in with Da Vincenzo. Unfortunately, they were booked for a solid week, BUT I was able to get a table for the next week (since I knew I was coming back!). And of course, it did NOT disappoint.

4. Da Gabrisa (Thumbs Up)

Trip Advisor Rating: #11 of Restaurants in Positano with a 4.5 Star Rating
My Rating: FABULOUS!
Insider Tip: Go before it gets dark so you can watch the sun set from your dinner table! And be sure you’re able to sit at one of the tables outside if possible!

Thoughts/Experience: Loved everything about this place and this view was amazing, but the best part is that it’s a little out of the way of all the chaos so it’s got a more intimate and less-touristy setting (but still has a view). I talked about how much I LOVED this place and showed y’all the fabulous view in my blog post about where to grab a glass of wine in Positano. But obvi, it’s a FAB place to eat dinner as well – the food was amazing AND the locals recommended it!

5. Ristorante La Sponda (Thumbs Down…too expensive)

Trip Advisor Rating: #6 of Restaurants in Positano
My Rating/Thoughts: Although fabulous, I think this place is way too over-priced, experience the setting and view from Le Sirenuse hotel (where the hotel is located) by grabbing a drink at the Champagne & Oyster bar as I mentioned in my where to grab wine in Positano blog post.

6. De Constantino (Thumbs Down)

Trip Advisor Rating: #7 of Restaurants in Positano
My Rating: meh…not impressed
Insider Tip: heads up, this is one of those places where THEY come and pick you up! It’s pretty common in Positano since the hill is so intense and there aren’t two-way streets. It’s actually really neat how they do that!

Thoughts/Experience: We went to this place one of the nights while there and I have to admit, I wasn’t too impressed. I have a feeling there are probably a ton of people who would disagree with me, BUT I’m just sayin’…I didn’t think it was that special! And plus, the food wasn’t that great – and I tried what my two friends got too! This is one of those places where they come and pick you up (like La La Tagliata – also up the hill and come to pick you up – which the locals told me to avoid haha although it has amazing reviews on Trip Advisor and is #8 of Restaurants in Positano!)

view from hotel le sirenuse champagne bar in positano // best places to grab a glass of wine with a view via brighton the day blog

Other Restaurants

I didn’t get a chance to try these, but I’ve heard great reviews about these three spots! Please comment below if you’ve been and let us know about your experience so others can read :)

Chez Black – heard a lot of great things about this place, but unfortunately, I never got the chance to try it out! Have you been? What did you think and did you have a good experience?

Next2 – I met some honeymooners who only have 2 nights in Positano and this is where they were going on their 2nd night, so I figured it must be good! Anyone been?

Bruno – never got to try this place, but one of the local cab drivers told me it was yummy and worth giving a shot!

Buca di Bacco – went here for lunch and it was decent. It’s one of the spots on the beach…idk, we were desperate and starving so that’s sort of all I have to say about that place! ha!

And that’s all I’ve got for y’all!! Unless you have any specific questions?! Please do let me know!