Amalfi Coast, these two words themselves create dreams about winding roads, stunning landscapes, waters in all shades of blue and green, eating cocktails at a bar overlooking the Gulf of Salerno, elegant ladies strolling around steep and charming little roads, and so much more.
It surely brings back memories of me dreaming awake while reading novels and watching movies that had the Amalfi Coast as the setting for wonderful stories, romance and history.
And guess what? It definitely is all of that and more. But it can also be a nightmare, overcrowded, unbearably hot, when one fails to plan carefully and chose the best time of the year to go there, the best cities to be based at, the right means of transport and the right duration of the trip.
In this series of posts about the Amalfi Coast I will be sharing tips that I find useful for everyone planning a trip there.
If you want your dream trip to come true without losing weeks trying to plan, and getting overwhelmed, I am here to help design it, either in a 1 hour consultancy sessions or a full plan, just contact me.
So, lets start with this post’s theme: Positano
The vertical city. The iconic city that is as beautiful as the photos make it look.
Seen from the sea, Positano takes your breath away. Its setting in a dramatic vertical panorama, with Monti Lattari, the pebble beaches, the steep slopes, with houses in pastel colors, restaurants overlooking the stunning blue and turquoise waters, luxury hotels, shops selling home made sandals, ceramics, and linen dresses, arriving there by ferry is a unique experience.
History of Positano
It is believed that Positano dates back from the 9th century. In the 14th century Positano was destroyed by a tsunami. During the 18th century Positano bloomed as a major port, but after the unification of Italy its importance gradually declined.
With the construction of the road that links Sorrento to Napoli, Positano regained importance as a tourist destination for Artists and people linked to culture such as Escher, Liz Taylor and Picasso.
The history of Positano can be seen in the Roman Archaeological Museum in Positano.
What do do and see in Positano?
I like to walk around Positano at a slow pace, admiring all the views, the small alleys, stopping at a restaurant for a drink or a meal, stop at the shops and take a look at the beautiful ceramics, tailor made sandals, the small markets with the typical lemons of Amalfi, and other colorful fruits and products, enjoying a limoncello at sunset, simply strolling around town and absorbing every single detail.
Spiaggia Grande and spiaggia Fornillo
Spiaggia Grande is the iconic image of Positano. The long beach with dark grey sand, overlooking the cliffs and pastel colors of the buildings.
A bit more on the low profile side, Fornillo beach is close yet less crowded and more relaxed.
The Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta
The bell tower, dating back from the 18th century is separated from the main church building. The church is beautiful inside and it contains a Byzantine Black Madonna and Child that dates back to the 13th century.
Walk around enjoying every minute
I mean, slow travel is the way to travel. Enjoying every single minute, with time, with care, looking at a destination not for ticking boxes, but for making it a memorable experience. That is why I say: Do not do the Amalfi Coast as a one day trip, please.
There are cute boutiques all over Positano, as well as ceramic shops, souvenir shops, art galleries, small markets, delicatessens, etc. Do me a favor and buy Limoncello. Seriously, buy it.
Italian food is just amazing. Period. And it can be healthy yes, and delicious. My favorite spot for healthy food is Casa e Bottega, that has a variety of options to suit all tastes; and if looking for a Romantic place, try Rada. If for a traditional restaurant, try Da Vicenzo. For a fantastic Michelin experience with one of the best views of Positano, La Sponda at Le Sirenuse.
And do not forget to have a Limoncello with a Delizia di Limone, a typical dessert of the region. And another, and another. And a glass of wine at sunset, overlooking the sea. And a lemon gelato.
And fall in love with Positano. Forever.
Where to stay
I do not like to stay in Positano. I enjoy staying in quieter, less touristy areas of the coast such as Salerno or Praiano.
If you are not concerned with the crowds and price you have fairy tale places to stay in Positano, with breathtaking views, wonderful restaurants and amenities, such as Palazzo Murat, Villa La Trasita, San Pietro di Positano, and the most well known, stunning, instagrammable and expensive Le Sirenuse.
How to get to Positano
Coming from Naples/Rome Positano is the first town on the Amalfi Coast, as Sorrento is actually on the Gulf of Napoli, approximately 80 minutes driving from Napoli and approximately 20 to 30 minutes (depending on season/traffic) driving from Sorrento.
Warning: driving a car in the Amalfi Coast can be a nightmare during the high season as well as public holidays. Driving in those roads is not for the fainthearted, although it is one of the most beautiful roads I have ever been to.
From Rome, get the Italo or Frecciarossa to Napoli Centrale, and from there find Napoli Garibaldi and take the circumvesiana train to Sorrento, and then the Sita bus to Positano.
From Rome, take Fiumiccino express (or another bus like Flixbus), to Piazza Garibaldi, and from there the bus to Sorrento. From Sorrento take the Sita bus to Positano.
From Napoli, take the bus to Sorrento and then the Sita bus to Positano.
From Salerno, take the Sita bus (which can be really tricky as often schedules are not met and buses are crowded).
From Salerno or from Sorrento, during summer months (they operate from April, during the whole summer). It is my favorite way of moving around.
Not only is it a stunning trip, but also faster and more comfortable (although more expensive).
Another option, more pricey but safe and comfy is to hire a private driver, that can take you to the Amalfi Coast and also drive you around (send me a message for details on my trusted driver).