Travel isn’t an option for us right now, but it is never far from my mind and one can continue to dream. Several years ago, while on a cruise, we spent a short day in Positano, Italy. Unless you really enjoy torturing yourself, don’t do that. Below, our daughter, Morgan shares her four day adventure to the Amalfi Coast in July, 2019. She accomplished a lot in that short period, but admits that even 4 days isn’t enough to fully explore this amazing destination. If you missed Morgan’s first guest post about her visit to Iceland you can find it here.
Four Days in Positano
Written by: Morgan Vosbikian
In the early 1950’s, author Jon Steinbeck helped popularize Positano as a luxury travel destination by describing it as “a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone”. This sentiment rings true to this day. I had the privilege of traveling to Positano in July 2019. It was like a dream I hoped would never end. If Positano isn’t already on your bucket list, it should be.
Planning Your Trip
Positano is a quaint, small town nestled along Italy’s Amalfi Coast. You will not find a Marriott, Hilton or any other chain hotel here. Instead, Positano offers charming boutique hotels with a limited number of rooms that fill up quickly. We booked our flights, hotel, and most dinner reservations 6 months ahead of our stay. Even with this amount of lead-time, many hotels were already booked or had non-view rooms available.
Lunch and dinner reservations are a must. If there are specific restaurants you want to try, do book ahead. Many of the restaurants are fairly small and cannot accommodate walk-ins.
Getting to Positano
Naples is the closest airport to Positano. From Naples, there are train, bus, ferry, private car and rental car options; with pluses and minuses to all of those. You can take the Circumvesuviana train from Naples to Sorrento, but you will need to transfer to a CITA bus or ferry once you arrive in Sorrento. Note that Positano is built on a hill, so if you are dropped off at the bottom of the hill by a ferry or if you take a bus and the stop is not close to your hotel, you will be hauling your luggage up or down what could seemingly be endless stairs and alleyways. I would not recommend a rental car as parking in Positano is very limited.
We opted for a private car to pick us up at the airport and take us directly to our hotel. After a long day of travel from Miami to Naples by way of Milan, the convenience of this option was well worth the 120 Euro price tag. Our hotel arranged the transfer for us in advance, so our driver was there waiting for us upon landing. The best part – our hotel was located on the main road, so no up-hill luggage hauling was required.
When to Visit Positano
My boyfriend and I were both born on the same day in July. Since the date often coincides with at least one day off from work, it has become our tradition to take advantage of the time and go on a “birthday adventure” each year during the first week of July. While we had an incredible vacation, I would not recommend traveling to the Amalfi Coast in July or August. Tourism, prices, and temperatures all peak at that time. We were incredibly lucky with temperatures in the 80’s, but one week prior to our vacation temperatures soared to 100f.
Season on the Amalfi Coast is April through October. In the winter months many businesses are not open and ferry transportation between towns is shut down. To me, the optimal time to visit would be in May- it’s still summer so you can play all day in the sun, but temperatures are significantly more comfortable, the crowds thinner, and the cost of accommodations is considerably less expensive.
(1) Villa Rosa ****
We stayed at the lovely Villa Rosa. This boutique property is located directly behind Le Sirenuse (see below) and boasts the same fantastic view, but with a much smaller price tag. The hotel offers well appointed rooms with oversized balconies. Breakfast is included and is served on your balcony each morning. I highly recommend opting for a suite with a sea view. The added space in the room and balcony will be greatly appreciated.
The location of the property could not have been better. While researching Positano, one of the things we kept reading was complaints about the “never-ending stairs”. For the majority of our stay, I kept thinking “where are all these stairs”? Our taxi driver was able to drop us off right at the hotel entrance. The walk to the beach was also much more leisurely than anticipated. There were some stairs, but only a couple of short flights with gradually sloping alley paths in between. Most of our dinner reservations were on our side of the “hill” or were accessible by walking around the main road (a pretty flat <1 mile walk). It wasn’t until the last night when we walked from the beach to a restaurant on the side of the hill opposite our hotel did we encounter the endless stairs other travelers always describe.
We visited the following hotels for dinner, lunch, or drinks and noted them for future accommodations
(2) Le Sirenuse *****
- If you’ve seen a picture of any Positano hotel, it was likely a picture of Le Sirenuse. Unfortunately, for July 4th week, this hotel was around $3,000/per night (who knew hotels could be this expensive?) one week prior and the cost was in the $500-600 range for a balcony room. We opted to have a beautiful lunch at their restaurant, La Sponda and enjoy the view.
(3) Hotel Posiden ****
(4) Hotel Palazzo Murat ****
(5) Villa TreVille *****
- Villa TreVille is the ultimate in luxury. Rooms were sold out by the time we booked, but we were able to have lunch at their restaurant (Maestro’s). The view here is so gorgeous it does not feel real. The property is also very private and secluded, with the staff making every effort to maintain their guests’ privacy and tranquility. If you’re looking for pure relaxation, this is your hotel.
- Trendy and sophisticated. Perfect for a date night in Positano. (outdoors, no water view)
(2) Palazzo Murat
- Great for dinner and/or drinks on their beautiful outdoor terrace. (outdoors, no water view)
(3) La Sponda
- Located in Le Sirenuse. This Michelin star restaurant has a casual lunch menu served on their terrace overlooking the Mediterranean and a formal dinner menu served in their elegant dining room.
(4) La Tagliata
- This restaurant is a must in Positano! Located high above Positano, the restaurant is accessed via a complimentary shuttle bus that will pick you up at your hotel and drop you back off after dinner. There is no menu at this family run institution- instead, patrons feast on whatever mamma is cooking that night. With seemingly unlimited courses of bread, appetizers, caprese, pasta, meat, and dessert, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
(5) Il Tridente
- Located in the Posiden Hotel. An innovative menu served on a bougainvillea covered terrace overlooking all of Positano. They have an entire vegetarian menu as well!
- See above in “Hotels”
(7) Casa e Bottega
- Great spot along the beach for smoothies and light bites!
(8) Il Riccio
- On the island of Capri. Our boat tour (see activities below) dropped us off here for lunch
(1) Capri Boat Tour – Gianni’s Boats
- To inquire about booking: https://www.giannisboat.com/. We opted for a private, half-day boat tour that picked us up in Positano at 9 AM and dropped us off in Capri for a 2 PM lunch reservation at Il Riccio. Our boat captain took us through all of the beautiful grottos and anchored so that we could swim among the caves in the beautiful Mediterranean sea. If you only book one tour during your Amalfi Coast vacation, make it this one!
(2) Fiat Jolly Tour with Salvatore
- To inquire about booking: Salvatore@farace.it. After a leisurely lunch at Villa Treville, Salvatore picked us up in the cutest vintage Fiat Jolly and we spent the afternoon touring the many towns along the Amalfi Coast. Salvatore is an Amalfi Coast native and could not have been sweeter or more knowledgeable. I recommend this tour for 2-3 people and anyone looking to feel like Jackie O’ for the day!
(3) Archeology Tour
- Looking for a way to get out of the sun, we stumbled upon an archeology tour just off the main Positano beach. Tickets are sold next to the Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption. Our tour guide led us through a medieval crypt and Roman villa that lay underneath the famous church. It was fascinating to learn about the history of Positano as a travel destination for Roman senators and the effect the Mount Vesuvius eruption had on the town. This unexpected activity was the little slice of Italian history we had been missing from the trip.
- Positano is filled with small boutiques, most notably stores that will make custom leather sandals. These make the perfect souvenir since every time you wear them, you will remember your time in Positano.
(5) Villa Cimbrone
- Villa Cimbrone is an 11th century villa in Ravello with stunning mediteranean views. We stopped here during our tour with Salvatore in the Fiat Jolly to tour the gardens and visit their famed infinity terrace. The hour we spent there made us wish we had another 2-3 days to spend solely in Ravello – saving that for the next trip!
(6) Other Activities
- No amount of time would be enough in the Amalfi Coast. While there is nothing we would change about our trip, we would love to go back with a few extra days to explore. When we return, we’ll incorporate these activities into the trip:
- Spend a few days in Amalfi and Ravello
- Path of the Gods – Work off some of those pasta calories with this breathtaking hike.
- Cooking class
- Lemon grove tour
- Sunset cruise
- Beach clubs – the Villa TreVille beach club looked like so much fun!
- Day trip to Pompei
4-Day Positano Itinerary
Photo Credit: Morgan Vosbikian