Reasons Why You Should Visit Positano, Italy

The stunning Amalfi Coast views aren't the only reason to visit Positano
The stunning Amalfi Coast views aren't the only reason to visit Positano | © Kess16 / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lucie Grace
27 July 2021

One of the most iconic towns on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Positano is a sunbaked slice of craggy cliffs, pastel facades, uber-fresh seafood and ice-cold limoncello – all in close proximity to Pompeii and Capri.

When you picture the Amalfi Coast, you might think of Positano, whose pale pink and yellow houses, capped with terracotta roofs, seemingly grip onto the side of a vertiginous cliff that plunges right into the deep blue sea. The rolling hills of Positano have been welcoming guests since the times of the ancient Romans, who first built their villas here. Like the rolling waves on its shores, Positano’s prosperity rose and fell many times over the centuries, but the cliffside village became a firm tourist favourite in the mid-20th century. It has continued to flourish ever since. Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Positano, Italy.

The views are breathtaking

Architectural Landmark
Map View
© Rickson Liebano / Getty Images

Whether you’re gazing across the pastel-fronted town from a hilltop terrace or lazing on the lounger-dotted beach, Positano has some of the most recognisable and stunning views on the Amalfi Coast. You’re never far from a great photo opportunity, whether it’s of the colourful umbrellas that line Marina Grande beach or the striped beach huts and rolling hills behind. But the real money shot can be snapped aboard a boat, as Positano’s tumble of peach-and-pink houses, right down the cliffside to the water’s edge, is arguably best viewed from the sea.

The seafood is fresh as can be

Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
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Fishing boats at beach of the village Positano, Amalfi coast, Unesco World Heritage site, Campania, Italy, Mediterranean sea, Europe
© Helmut Corneli / Alamy Stock Photo

Head for some top-quality, traditional seafood at the oldest restaurant on the beachfront: Osteria le Tre Sorelle. The family-run spot has been a firm favourite with locals and tourists since three sisters opened it – with just a wood-fired pizza oven and a few bottles of wine – in the 1950s. Positano also has excellent fine-dining options, such as Palazzo Murat Restaurant, where chef Giuseppe Forte’s refined meat and fish dishes will delight your taste buds. For street food, Cafe Latteria is worth the uphill hike, serving risotto balls to die for and fresh sandwiches to eat in or take away.

Positano has world-famous hotels

Hotel, Luxury
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Le Sireneuse
Courtesy of Le Sireneuse / Expedia

Positano’s famous local institution, Le Sireneuse, is one of the Mediterranean’s most iconic hotels. The former villa has been welcoming guests to its homely but chic rooms since 1951 and notoriously has the best views in town. If the nightly price tag isn’t within your budget, you can visit the lobby bar for cocktails or their Michelin-starred restaurant, La Sponda, to dine on seasonal specialties on the undeniably romantic terrace.

It’s one of the best Italian towns for boutique shops

Shop
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Positano shop, Positano, Amalfi coast, Salerno, Campania, Italy, Europe
© REDA &CO srl / Alamy Stock Photo

Positano’s boutique shopping scene is strong, as you’d expect from a spot that’s been on the high-end tourist trail for a century. The good folks at Mastro Sandals Positano on Viale Pasitea sell beautiful footwear made from 100-percent Italian leather. A few doors down is Positaneries, a colourful womenswear store with vibrant patterns across their range of clothes and accessories.

You can find beautiful, secluded beaches

Natural Feature
Map View
Amalfi coastline between Amalfi and Positano via Praiano, Laurito, Arienzo, San Michele, Furore and Smeraldo. Image shot 2013. Exact date unknown.
© QEDimages / Alamy Stock Photo

Spiaggia Grande, Positano’s main beach, is an iconic spot for snapping photos of the town and offers incredibly clear waters. It’s also generally packed, but you’ll be rewarded by venturing a little further to one of the more secluded bays. Laurito Beach is a short bus ride away and accessible by steps that start in a small piazza opposite Hotel San Pietro. The tiny cove is surrounded by craggy rocks and cliffs, and it’s home to the elegant Treville Beach Club, whose restaurant and hotel rooms provide some quiet respite from the bustling streets of Positano. A little way along the coast is pretty Arienzo, a small pebbly beach at the base of 300 steps, where you can join the private or public bathing areas. Book for an aperitivo at Arienzo Beach Club, and the staff can arrange a shuttle boat back to Positano’s main pier.

Positano has amazing hiking trails

Hiking Trail
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Man with backpack at Path of Gods, Amalfi coast, Italy
© Roman Babakin / Alamy Stock Photo

The Amalfi Coast is crisscrossed with hiking trails, all with stunning views from the ridge of its limestone cliffs. The nearest trail to Positano is the 2.5mi (4km) Path of the Gods, which you can join at the neighbouring village of Nocelle and follow to Bomerano in Agerola. The hike can be done in three to five hours, depending on your pace, and is of moderate difficulty. A range of other hikes can be done at Riserva Statale Valle delle Ferriere – a nature reserve in the Salerno region. The entry fee is well worth it for the waterfalls, interesting ruins and scenic paths around the expansive park. And if you’re up to it, it’s an hour’s walk back to Positano.

There’s a boat tour for every budget

Sports Center
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Tourists gather at a boat marina for boat tours along the Amalfi Coastline in Italy.
© Ruth Peterkin / Alamy Stock Photo

Your visit to the Amalfi Coast wouldn’t be complete without a boat trip of some description, and with an array of options from experienced nautical tour companies operating out of Positano, you can take your pick. Choose from luxury speed boats to more humble vehicles, and go out for the whole day or just a couple of hours. One tour company is the long-running Noleggio Barche Lucibello, whose captains run a fleet of 40+ boats and will tailor tours to your needs – from private tours of sea caves and hidden coves to multi-day yacht cruises.

You can buy a lifetime supply of limoncello

Shop
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Europe, Italy, Positano. Bottles of limoncello, a lemon liqueur made in southern Italy.
© Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo

The southwest of Italy is a sunbaked haven for growing lemon trees, and the general attitude around these parts is: when life gives you lemons, make limoncello. The sunflower-yellow aperitif is a famous export of the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento region and is Italy’s second-most popular liqueur after Campari. Positano celebrates limoncello as much as its neighbours do and offers limoncello lemon farm tours as well as themed shops selling all things lemon and limoncello, like Sapori e Profumi di Positano.

You can take a day trip to Pompeii

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
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2BEM7D7 Pompeii ruins, Pompeii Forum - Centauro, bronze statue by Igor Motoraj, Mount Vesuvius on background, ancient city of Pompeii, Italy, Europe.
© Rubens Alarcon / Alamy Stock Photo

There’s so much to explore in southern Italy, and if you’re based in Positano, some of the most famous sites in the country are practically on your doorstep. The world-famous Roman ruins of Pompeii, preserved beneath lava and ash in 79CE, are two hours away to the north and unmissable. The splendid ancient Greek ruins of Paestum are two hours south of Positano and well worth the visit for their three colonnaded temples. But if there’s one day trip to end all day trips, it’s a boat trip to the glamorous island of Capri, just a short journey off the Amalfi Coast.

Positano's great for watersports

Natural Feature
Map View
High-angle view to a balcony with a pine tree and two women stand up paddling in the clear blue sea
© Miemo Penttinen - miemo.net / Getty Images

Seaside Positano isn’t short of aquatic activities to get the adrenaline pumping. Put your thighs to the test by doing stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP) alongside the craggy coastline, or if upper-body strength is your forte, hire out a kayak for the morning and glide by the sunbathers and swimmers. The clear, aquamarine water means that snorkelers get great views of the marine life here too.

Why not make a weekend of it? Discover the best hotels in Positano and book your next stay right here on Culture Trip. To keep you busy, we’ve also narrowed down the best things to do.

These recommendations were updated on July 27, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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