Winding along the serpentine Amalfi highway, it's as if the Sirens themselves are calling out, beckoning you toward this land of intoxicating beauty. Caught in their grasp, unsure if they'll ever let go, you realize you don't mind, where else would you rather be? Majestic and tranquil, enchanting and surprising, whimsical and romantic, Positano is a place unlike any other. Stepping off the bus, there's a certain out of body experience that occurs, almost as if you're walking into a hi-resolution photograph or painting - for an instant transplanted in another world, helpless to do anything but sit back and enjoy the view. For anyone who has been there, the memorable quote by John Steinbeck sums things up best. "It is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone." Here's how to make the most of your precious little time with one of Earth's most precious jewels.
You've traveled far and wide to enjoy Positano's world class coast, and you'll find it here. Walled-in on all sides by soaring cliffs, Il Fornillo is the cheaper, quainter, less-crowded alternative to the freneticism of its larger, more recognizable cousin Spiaggia Grande.
Beach | Spiaggia del Fornillo
A chef-picked, four-course lesson in family-style Italian fare, handmade pastas, locally sourced meats and produce grown on premise are brought to your table on the fly, prepared using minimal seasoning to let the delicious, unique flavors of the region shine through. Oh, and there's a view.
Restaurant | La Tagliata
Via Tagliata n. 32b
Suffice it to say Positano is not the kind of place you vacation if you're looking for a cheap weekend getaway. While accommodations skew toward the extravagant, both in comfort and in cost, there are still options for travelers on a budget. Enter Casa Celeste. A true matriachal Italian household, responsibility trickles down the family ladder as Celeste delegates responsibility for the Inn between her son and grandchildren. Each morning she serves breakfast on a cloud-like terrace overlooking the waking town, and from her front door, a zig-zagging stairway leads you on a 10-minute descent toward Spiaggia del Fornillo. At the chairs on the small balcony a few steps from your bed lies the perfect vantage point to revel in Positano’s cascading silhouette as it plunges calmly toward the misty sea. Casa Celeste is close enough to the center of town to easily enjoy its perks, but far enough away to feel like a local.
Bed & Breakfast | Casa Celeste
Via Fornillo, 10
Lunch in Positano is designed to be a tasty, efficient way to minimize your time spent away from the sun. The array of conveniently located beachside restaurants serve up Italian basics from fresh anchovies to pizza, and Hotel Puppetto is the best of the bunch. Its pristine, cloud-white dining room overlooks Spiaggia del Fornillo while a glass-encased pizza station at the end of the dining room rolls out my favorite pie of the trip.
Restaurant | Hotel Puppetto
Via Fornillo, 37
Likely the first part of Positano you'll stumble upon before wearily finding your hotel, Positano Centro is home to the vast majority of the restaurants and shops in town. Pass under the arborway of purple flowers and poke around the warren of alleys leading toward Spiaggia Grande. Between the art galleries, boutiques and small mercatos, you never know what treasure you might dig up.
Shop | Piazza dei Mulini
Via dei Mulini
Even if you don’t play tennis, it's worth checking out for the ambiance alone. Wedged at the pit of Positano’s cliffs, the stone-faced tennis centre makes for an epic scene. If you are planning to play, stick to early morning or late afternoon hours as the middle of the day can be stiflingly hot.
Play | Tennis al Settimo Piano
Viale Pasitea, 82
While most of town is quiet after dark, Le Sirenuse, which seems to have been plucked straight from the set of a Wes Anderson film, with its spiraling staircases, ornate decor and vibrant color scheme, keeps late night cocktail cravers satiated with a decadent champagne and oyster menu and, from its perch above Spiaggia Grande, some of the best views in Positano.
Hotel | Le Sirenuse
Via Cristoforo Colombo, 30
The Path of the Gods takes at least half a day to complete, but the soaring views from this ancient Mediterranean highway, running atop the jagged Amalfi coastline, can't be beat.
Hike | Il Sentiero degli Dei
Don't just walk by. Pop into Positano’s iconic golden dome. You'll get some historical perspective and plenty of world class photo ops.
Church | Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta
Via Marina Grande
Whether it’s a taxi to a nearby beach, a ferry to Capri, or a paddle board along the shallows, don’t miss out on seeing Positano from the water. Truly breathtaking.
Ride | Boat
Via Positanesi D'America
Positano underscores the breadth of Europe's vibrant nightlife, showing even a small coastal town won't pass up the opportunity to install strobe lights and a dance floor, even if it means carving them into their iconic Amalfi cliffs.
Disco | Music on the Rocks
Via Grotte dell'Incanto, 51
Restaurant | Chez Black | Via del Brigantino, 19 | www.chezblack.it
Hotel | La Casa di Peppe | Via Fornillo, 24 | www.lacasadipeppe.com
Beach Bar | Da Ferdinando Bar Bagni | www.casaceleste.net
Restaurant | Da Adolfo | Via Laurito, 40 | www.daadolfo.com
Beach | Spiaggia Grande | Via Marina Grande
Pizza | Il Fornillo | Via Pasitea, 266 | www.ilfornillo.it/eng
Beach | Bagni d'Arienzo | Via Arienzo, 16 | www.bagnidarienzo.com
Restaurant | Saraceno d'Oro | Viale Pasitea, 254 | www.saracenodoro.it