Positano, Italy Travel Guide

Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Positano is one of Italy's most romantic vacation spots and one of the top towns to visit on the Amalfi Coast. Built vertically on the face of a cliff, it started out as a fishing village and became popular with writers and artists in the 1950s. Today it's a fashionable resort yet still retains its historic charm. Positano is a pedestrian town (with many stairs) and its pretty pastel-colored houses and abundant flowers make it very picturesque. Because of its mild climate, it can be visited year-round, although the high season is April to October.

Positano Location

Positano is at the center of the famous Amalfi Coast south of Naples. Just across from the town are Le Galli islands, three islets believed to be the residence of the mythical Sirens from Homer's Odyssey.

Getting to Positano

The closest airport to Positano is Naples. The best ways to get to Positano are by boat or by bus. The famously curvy, cliff-hugging Amalfi Coast road leading to Positano requires that drivers have nerves of steel and parking, available above the town, is very limited, although some hotels offer private parking. Positano can be reached by bus from either Sorrento or Salerno, both of which can be reached by train from Naples.

Ferries to Positano leave from Sorrento, Amalfi, Salerno, and Naples (Napoli), although less frequently outside the summer season. Positano.com posts current bus and ferry schedules.

Positano Orientation

The best way to get around is by foot as most of the town is a pedestrian zone. If you arrive by bus, you'll be near Chiesa Nuova at the top of Positano. Winding stairs called the Thousand Steps, and the main street lead down through town to the beach. There's a bus along the one main street that you can take up or down the hill. Porters are available at the start of the pedestrian zone to help with luggage. From Positano, it's possible to visit some villages, beaches, and countryside on foot. There are also car and water taxis for transport to nearby villages and beaches.

What to See and Do

  • Swimming in the crystal clear waters and catching some sun on the beaches, both pebble and sand, are tops on the Positano to-do list.
  • By the seaside, you can shop or have a fantastic seafood meal along the Spiaggia Grande.
  • Stroll along Via Cristoforo Colombo and enjoy the shops, luxury hotels, cafes, and fantastic views. The Scalinatella stairs connect Punta Reginella on the shore with the highest part of Positano.
  • The Church of Santa Maria Assunta has a beautiful majolica dome, visible from many places. Inside is an icon of the Black Madonna, painted in the 13th century in Byzantine style. Positano has many beautiful villas and palatial buildings and eight defense towers built in the 16th century.
  • Visit the island of Capri by ferry or on a tour boat.
  • The Grotta la Porta cave where prehistoric remains were found is near Positano.
  • There are good hiking opportunities from Positano, both along the coast and inland.
  • From Positano, you can visit other towns along the Amalfi Coast on the narrow but very scenic Amalfi Drive. Take a bus or taxi. Or take a boat ride along the coast if you prefer to travel by water.
  • Positano is a good starting point for many Amalfi Coast guided tours including boat excursions, driving tours, and visits to archaeological sites.

Where to Stay in Positano

  • Palazzo Murat Hotel, one of Positano's most romantic hotels, is a 4-star hotel in a historic building in the center of town with views of the town and the sea.
  • Villa Mary Suites, a bed and breakfast in a restored 19th-century building, offers rooms with views and breakfast served outside in nice weather.
  • Villa Rosa Inn is in a 150-year-old villa with sea views built into the cliff, a 10-minute walk down the hill from the Sponda bus stop.


Positano has many high-end fashion boutiques and Moda Positano is a recognized fashion label. It's also a great place to buy sandals and footwear. Shoemakers can make shoes on request while you wait. Limoncello, a lemon alcoholic drink, is popular all over the Amalfi Coast. As there are many lemon trees on the Amalfi Coast, you'll find lots of things with lemons, including pottery decorated with lemons.