“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.“
This is what John Steinbeck wrote back in 1953 for the May edition of Harper’s Bazaar, some nine years before he was awarded a Nobel Prize for literature. He further wrote:
“Its houses climb a hill so steep it would be a cliff except that stairs are cut in it... The small curving bay of unbelievably blue and green water lips gently on a beach of small pebbles. There is only one narrow street and it does not come down to the water. Everything else is stairs, some of them as steep as ladders. You do not walk to visit a friend, you either climb or slide.”
More than half a century after Steinbeck’s visit, the appeal of Positano remains...
How to get to Positano?
Following our two-day magical stay in Ravello we headed down to the picturesque Amalfi. For the purposes of this journey we choose the Sita bus option, which took around 30 mins due to heavy traffic. Hence, it is important to consider your travel arrangements and timing in advance and accordance to the season in case you are chasing a ferry transfer like we were. The price for a single ticket was €2.20, which was a relief. A private hire car took us €50 for the 10 minute journey between Amalfi and Ravello when we first arrived.
Luckily, despite the heavy traffic we were able to purchase our ferry tickets and just about make it. In fact, we were the last to board the ferry. Operated by Travelmar our boat transfer was really enjoyable despite the volume of passengers and took less than 30 mins. The price was also reasonable as it was no more than €40 for two single tickets.
The International Airport of Naples is less than 60 kms away from Positano and affordable regular bus and shuttle links service the line in case you are flying in.
A brief history of Positano and as the legend tells…
A quick research query shows that originally the town was founded in the 9th century and grew considerably following the arrival of people from Paestum, fleeing Saracen pirate invasions. A local legend tells of a Turkish boat stuck next to the shores of nowadays Positano. Aboard the ship was a painting of Virgin Mary. The captain of the ship overheard the painting whisper “Posa, Posa”, meaning “Set me down, set me down” and obediently threw the painting into the sea. The ship then floated again and the locals erected a Church on the spot where the painting washed ashore and choosing Positano as final resting place. Should you wish to learn more about the history of Positano and if you are planning a visit, then do check the official web site, where you can also find other bits of useful information.
It is hard to resist the lush of Positano. In fact, it carries you away the moment you catch a glimpse of this cliffside village, blurring the boundaries between reality and a dreamlike vibrant vertical panorama of colours. The colour blend of delicate pink, melon yellow and sun-kissed peach is a mouth-watering eye-candy even for a well-seasoned wanderlust.
However, reality does kick-in fairly quickly and after you start climbing those stairs. Positano is a living example of why you shouldn’t skip a leg day in the gym! Equipped with two plane cabin-size suitcases and a backpack, we courageously started climbing the steep sets of stairs. Getting all the way up to the villa was enjoyable challenge and our intense footwork got rewarded with the spectacular view available from our terrace. In case you want to spare yourself the joy of climbing those steep stairs, you may choose to utilise the available bus service. The traffic is one way and it also adds to the charm of Positano and boutique feeling.
Where to stay in Positano?
We booked our stay through Booking.com and choose Villa Anfitrite. The main reason for the choice was the panoramic terrace as well as the good reviews of those who had stayed there previously. Our host, Simone was extremely welcoming and did over and beyond to answer any questions and make us feel at home.
Where to eat in Positano?
Simone endorsed Caffè Positano restaurant and we were extremely pleased by his recommendation and the indulging lovely late lunch, which felt like a real treat. Our stay at Villa Anfitrite included continental style breakfast and I thoroughly enjoyed every drop of espresso whilst soaking up the lush views.
Things to do in Positano
Take your time to enjoy the marvellous views and capture some great shots to remind you of those great moments. A whole photo session is not out of the question!
450 steps were separating our spectacular panoramic view from Fornillo beach. Fornillo beach is more secluded and calmer than the busy Marina Grande beach. It also offers great value as the sunbeds, which I must say were extremely comfy were reasonably priced at €12.50 each.
“Sentiero degli Dei” meaning the “Path of the Gods” is mountain path that traverses between the tiny village of Nocelle, overlooking Positano and Agerola. Walking the Path of the Gods was integral to our original plan, but instead we chose to enjoy our beach time and admire our villa views. However, I am still enthusiastic about it and perhaps will be back very soon to appreciate Positano once more as well as the surrounding area.
If you are staying for longer, then a day trip to Capri should be part of your list of things to do in Positano. Within that same day you should be able to visit Montesolaro too. It is worth it as you can see from the view above!
How much time should I spend in Positano?
You may be asking yourself this question. To me it seems that 3-5 days would allow you to get the most out of Positano and the area. This should be enough to enjoy the great views, walk the path of the Gods and spend some quality beach time in case you are visiting in the summer.
When is the best time to visit?
Despite that our visit was in the high-season, our whole campaign around the Amalfi Coast was thoroughly enjoyable and contrary to what I had previously read in guides and blogs. A spring visit may offer great value and smaller crowds, but in my humble opinion a visit in late August and early September should also be considered. Moreover, the latter won’t come at the expense of having some quality beach time.
Would you include Positano in your bucket list?
By now I hope that you might have gained some inspiration and you consider visiting too. I often measure the quality of a destination by asking myself whether I would like to visit again. In the case of Positano, this is a firm “Yes” and I look forward to being a guest to these lush breath-taking views again.