Positano is a pretty, picturesque, posh, precipitous village of 4,000 people 30 minutes drive west of Amalfi along the breathtaking Amalfi Coast.
Thanks to its Mediterranean climate and its scenic beauty, Positano has been a resort since the time of the Roman Empire, as confirmed by a Roman villa and other remains.
Positano is carved on a mountainside. It is made up of many flights of steps going from the top of the village on the hill all the way down to the beaches. The main beaches are Fornillo and Spiaggia Grande, both accessible by walking. Other beaches include Arienzo, La Porta, San Pietro Laurito, accessible mainly from the sea. The beaches are lined with shops, cafes and elegant boutiques.
Positano can be reached from the sea by public transport, such as the hydrofoil Metrò del mare available during the summer.
Villas in pastel colours cling to the hillside. Elements of the traditional architectural style of Positano villas are graceful archways, grand terraces adorned with grapevines, geraniums and bougainvilleas with stunning sea views looking out to the horizon, ceramic tiled floors, French doors.
There is a main shopping centre, fashionable and exclusive. Interesting are the Medieval Saracen Watchtowers, built to protect the population from the many raids of the Saracens. These were ferocious raiders, so much so that the term “razzia” (raid), both in Italian and in English, is derived from the Arabic language.
Once warned from the towers, the people of Positano and all the Costiera Amalfitana could retreat on the mountains. This was the origin of the hamlets of Nocelle and Montepertuso. If you walk from Positano up through the lemon and olive groves, along the aptly named Trail of the Gods – Sentiero degli Dei – you’ll get to Nocelle, unspoilt, not much touched by tourism, from which you can have spectacular views of the coast and where restaurants are cheap. Montepertuso is on the way down, another lovely hilltop hamlet.
Off the Positano coast is the archipelago of the three Li Galli Islands, visible from Positano, few kilometres south of the Sorrento Peninsula.
From Positano drive west towards the end of the Sorrentine Peninsula and you’ll get to Sant’Agata Sui Due Golfi (literally “St Agatha on the Two Gulfs”), straddling the Sorrento Peninsula and affording unparalleled views of both the Bay of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno. Here are several famous restaurants, including some considered as the best in southern Italy.
Getting to Positano by Air
The closest airport to Positano is Naples International Airport Napoli Capodichino. From Naples Airport, you can either take the train or the Alibus shuttles to central Naples and then from Naples Porto Immacolatella take the SITA coach service that goes directly to Positano. Or in the summer, once in central Naples – Piazza Municipio, from Molo Beverello take the Metro del Mare hydrofoil to Positano and Amalfi, which is more expensive.
The other options of going from Naples Airport to Positano are by car. Hiring a taxi is more costly. Hiring a car has the advantage that you can then travel around the stunning Amalfi Coast without missing any of the views, since a major highlight of this trip is the coastal road itself, the famous Amalfi Drive.
The simplest thing to do is to rent a car for your stay. It makes more sense to hire your car in Naples rather than in a coastal town like Sorrento, because when you have reached along the coast your final destination of Salerno you can go straight to the motorway (autostrada) and return to Naples Airport in an hour, without having to do the whole trip again. You can sometimes pick up your car in Sorrento and leave it in Naples but not always.
Traveling by air, you can choose between booking with an airline and an aggregator.
From the UK, the only direct non-stop flights to Naples are from London. The exception is TUI Airways (the new name of Thomson) which flies non-stop to Naples Airport from London Gatwick, Birmingham, East Midlands, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle, Doncaster Sheffield, Manchester, Glasgow. The prices are reasonably low, with some return tickets around or just above £100, and there are special offers.
An alternative to booking with an airline is to reserve your flight with an aggregator. Travel and flight aggregators have information on many companies and operators and search the best flight for you. With aggregators you save money when you book flight and hotel, and possibly car hire, together rather than reserving them separately.
From the USA, one of the best known and most popular aggregators is Expedia (USA) .
You can also check a price comparison site like Kelkoo (UK) for the cheapest flight.
Getting to Positano by Train, Car & Coach
BY TRAIN. There is no railway station in Positano or along the Amalfi Coast. The main train station closest to Positano is, from the south, the Stazione of Salerno, which has direct Eurostar and other fast train connections to Naples, Rome and northern Italian cities like Milan. From Salerno there are regular and frequent SITA coach services to Amalfi almost every hour; from Amalfi you can then take another bus to Positano. In summer months, there are many ferries and the Metro del Mare hydrofoil from Salerno to Positano.
From the north, the other major rail station near Positano is Napoli Centrale, Piazza Garibaldi. In the summer there are direct daily coaches from Naples to Positano. The rest of the year, from Napoli Centrale take the Circumvesuviana train line to Sorrento and from here take a SITA coach to Positano.
BY CAR. Coming from the north by car: from Rome or the north take the motorway Al (also called “autostrada del sole”, the most important Italian motorway, which connects the north to the south going through all the length of Italy) towards Napoli (Naples), past Napoli after the Caserta Sud exit take the motorway A3 to Salerno. After the exit of Pompei leave the motorway at Castellammare di Stabia, follow the signs for Sorrento and then follow the signs for Positano – Costiera Amalfitana.
Coming from the south by car: on the A3 motorway from Salerno to Naples, take the exit of Vietri sul Mare, and follow the signs for route S.S. 163 Amalfitana, Cetara-Maiori-Minori-Amalfi. Or take the exit of Salerno Centro on the A30 Motorway.
BY COACH. In the summer there are direct daily bus services from Rome Stazione Tiburtina to Positano.
Find a Hotel in Positano
View a wide range of over 30 hotels and apartments in Positano for all budgets, from luxury to inexpensive and Bed&Breakfasts.
Plus, you can find Positano hotels by the beach and on the sea.
For hotels in stunning Mediterranean promontory, coast and island resorts near Positano, see: