Once you’ve zipped along southern Italy’s scenic switchback roads, settle in and study the views from a cliff-edge cafe or an oceanside drinking den.
Italy’s Amalfi Coast is high on any romantic’s hit list, whether you’re heading there with your amore – or not. Many road-trip through the area, stopping in lovely Positano for its dramatic tumble of low-rise, pastel houses down the cliffside to the sea, dining in its glorious terrace restaurants – scented with lemon trees – while watching yachts linger offshore. Enjoy your nightcap at one of our favourite bars to visit in Positano.
Sitting out under sail-like canopies, your view is filled with the royal blue Mediterranean, puffy pine trees and scented frangipani. This bar, beside the volcanic sands of Positano’s beach, is early-evening bliss. Families and middle-aged cruisers in sunhats perch at speckled terrazzo-style counters to drink cocktails and eat the bar’s homemade Magnum-esque ice creams – dipped in chocolate or pistachio coating. The vibe is mellow and unpretentious at any time of day.
Just one of the view-blessed bar terraces cut into the hill here, poolside Il Tridente sits next to a swish restaurant of the same name. Low, comfy cushioned seating looks out to the ocean, and flowering vines trained around a pergola frame the horizon. Boards of nibbles come in traditional, fishy, fried or vegetarian versions – think hummus, fried courgette and cannellini-bean nuggets. Be sure to wear your best outfit for the inevitable photo shoot.
Bamboo thatch, hand-painted blue and white signs and tasselled parasols have a tropical, bohemian feel at this seasonal beach bar. Many drop in for a light seafood lunch on the signature glazed, painted ceramics, looking out from a wooden pavilion draped with fishing nets. You can stick to a limoncello slushy – whizzed up with ice, mint and rum – or a frothy draught beer before heading off for a paddle. It’s such a local favourite that you can quite literally buy the t-shirt.
An expansive terrace open to the night sky, with white beams overhead supporting soft-glowing white lanterns – there’s a flash, Ibiza-esque feel to this late-night bar. Live pianists and saxophonists play lounge music beside the stone-built bar, and big-spending groups chain-order huge wooden boat-shaped platters of sushi rolls to share with their cocktails. Try a berry-infused mojito as you sink into the cushioned sofas nearest the view.
Part of the legendary five-star hotel, Le Sirenuse, this palatial terrace is trimmed with stone sculptures, huge earthenware pots of Mediterranean herbs, and honeysuckle climbing the terracotta-coloured walls. It’s a sultry, fragrant spot for its two specialities – champagne and oysters – the latter served from a wow-factor mosaic-tiled bar, loaded with crushed ice, and all kinds of frutti di mare. A millionaire crowd comes here for a golden-era, sixties Amalfi Coast feel – join them by splashing out on a glass of bubbles or two.
Also owned by La Sirenuse – but more informal than Aldo’s – is Franco’s: a no reservations hotspot that even A-listers wait in line for. Everything is white and azure, all the way from glassware to cushions and chairs. It’s oddly fabulous to see supermodel-types snaffling burgers and fries from the bar’s signature striped cardboard boxes. It’s comfy, buzzy, and there’s a killer view of the Positano hillside meeting the Med. Be sure to bring your most resilient credit card to handle the martini prices, though.
Along the seafront at Positano’s Spiaggia Grande, whitewashed La Brezza is the choice for something more a little more low key – a pause, while wandering from the beach to town. More affordable and friendlier than the more sought-after spots, it serves enormous Aperol spritzes and zesty margaritas on its informal canopied balcony and pretty terrace – with a stunning view of the sea. Get there early evening to bag a stool at the beach-facing balcony counter.
It’s easy to stroll past this tiny powder-blue kiosk at the back of Positano’s pier, but it’s a local go-to for its Amalfi-lemon sorbets – served inside the fruit’s hollowed-out husk. Don’t stop there, though, when there’s also prosecco, beers and affordable fruity cocktails siphoned into plastic cups. You’ll never escape without trying an Albertissimo, created by – you guessed it – Alberto, the owner. It’s even livelier by night when a largely LGBTQ crowd gathers on the pavement beside it to drink cheap limoncello and mingle amid the music.
Looking for more? Discover the top reasons why you should visit Positano right now and book a stay at one of the city’s best hotels – all bookable on Culture Trip. To keep you busy – whether you’re looking for a scenic hiking trail or a delicious meal with locally sourced ingredients – we’ve also narrowed down the best things to do in Positano and the best restaurants the city has to offer.
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