Top 10 Things to Do in Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Positano is an essential town to visit on the Amalfi Coast. The most popular way to visit Positano is to spend a few hours here, while touring the Amalfi Coast by car, bus, or boat. If you are like us, those few hours may be all you need to fall in love with this town, and plan a return visit in the future.
That’s exactly what we did.
We first visited Positano in 2014. The four of us were traveling on a budget, so from Sorrento, we hopped from town to town on the public bus. The few hours that we spent in Positano were the highlight of the day for our entire family. The beautiful beaches, kayaking, and exploring the narrow streets was wonderful. We vowed to come back some day.
It took us eight years, but in 2022, Tim and I returned to the Amalfi Coast. We spent six glorious days in Positano, using it as a home base to explore the area.
During that time, we not only learned quite a bit about Positano, but we discovered some gorgeous places to visit along the Amalfi Coast.
In this guide, we share with you what we have learned, including the best things to do in Positano, whether you have just a few hours or longer.
Table of Contents
Interesting Facts about Positano
Positano is a village in the Campania region of Italy. With its colorful buildings, multiple beaches, luxury villas and resorts, and rooftop bars and restaurants, Positano is one of the most popular towns to visit on the Amalfi Coast.
This town now attracts the celebrities and a slew of tourists from May through October.
But Positano wasn’t always a destination for the rich and famous. Until 1950, this town was a quiet fishing village. John Steinbeck put Positano on the map when he published an essay for Harper’s Bazaar where he stated “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.”
Since that essay was written, Positano has exploded as a popular tourist destination. It also has been used as a filming site for movies such as Under the Tuscan Sun and Only You and attracts a long list of celebrities. During our visit to Positano in 2022, both Denzel Washington and Jeff Goldblum were in town.
Geography of Positano
It might sound odd to be getting a geography lesson, but it helps to understand the layout of Positano.
This town is built on two steep hills. Walking through Positano is like getting a stairclimber workout. Since the shops, restaurants, and hotels are all built on these hills, you will walk up and down quite a few hills and staircases.
Of course, the beaches sit at the bottom, along with the marina. There are a few restaurants that line the beach, but from that point, everything else requires at least a short stair climb or hill walk to get to.
The main road that runs along the Amalfi Coast (Amalfi Drive, also called SS163) cuts across the top of Positano. The only road through Positano runs in a one-way direction down the west hillside (called Viale Pasitea) and then back up the east hillside (the name changes to Via Cristoforo Colombo). Both ends connect to SS163, forming one big loop. It can take 15 to 30 minutes to drive this loop, depending on traffic.
This road that runs through Positano is lined with hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, boutique shops, and a few parking areas. The road does not descend all the way to the main beach and marina area. There is a main pedestrian path that connects the road to the sea, which is also lined with restaurants and shops.
If you take the bus to Positano, you will get on or off at Amalfi Drive on the west side of town or the east side of town. From both bus stops, it is a downhill walk into town.
All of this is important when it comes to planning your time in Positano, as you could end up walking up and down these hillsides quite a bit. Don’t let this discourage you…Positano is amazing and absolutely worth a bit of walking up and down some stairs.
How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (places to go, restaurants, and hotels). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
Best Things to Do in Positano
1. Spend Some Time at the Beach
In Positano, there are several different beaches to choose from.
Sitting next to Marina Grande (the harbor and ferry port) is the main beach of Positano, Spiaggia Grande.
On the side closest to the marina there is a small public beach area that is free to use. This beach tends to be very crowded.
Sitting next to the free beach is a private beach club where you pay to rent sun loungers and can order food and drinks. This beach tends to be less crowded but it comes with a small fee (about €30 per person).
Spiaggia Grande | Best Things to Do in Positano
The beach club at Spiaggia Grande | Best Things to Do in Positano
If you want to spend a day at the beach while in Positano, this is a great place to go, since it is easy to walk to, less crowded than the main beach, and has food, drinks, and bathrooms.
Fornillo Beach | Best Things to Do in Positano
Not visible from the heart of Positano, Fornillo Beach is connected to Marina Grande via a cliffside path. To get here, it is a 5 to 10-minute walk from Marina Grande.
Spend the day Pupetto Beach Club, paying roughly 20€ per person, depending on the season. Along the beach there are a few great restaurants, such as Pupetto and Da Ferdinando.
Arienzo Beach Club
Arienzo Beach Club is located a short distance from the heart of Positano. The best way to get here is by boat (they offer a shuttle), but you can walk along Amalfi Drive and then descend down 300 steps to the beach.
This is one of the most exclusive beach clubs in Positano. Prices range from €90 to €200 per person, depending on the location of your lounge chair and included beverages. Make your reservation in advance and learn more here.
Arienzo Beach | Best Things to Do in Positano
PRO TRAVEL TIP: The beaches in Positano are made of small, gray pebbles. Consider bringing a pair of water shoes or wear a pair of flip flops that you don’t mind getting wet.
La Scogliera is Positano’s VIP beach. This small beach is located on a rocky outcropping that juts into the sea. It is located to the east of Spiaggia Grande.
Prices here range from €100 to €500 for a sun lounger for the day, depending on season and location of the lounger. This is another beach club where you must make your reservation far in advance.
La Scogliera Beach is located on rocky outcropping on the bottom right side of this photo.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: Beach clubs tend to close by mid-October. Our visit to Positano was in the second half of October and both Arienzo Beach Club and La Scogliera had just closed for the season.
2. Go Kayaking
We did this on our first visit to Positano and it was a blast. If you are traveling with kids, this is the #1 thing to do in Positano. It’s also great if you are traveling by bus or car along the Amalfi Coast and won’t get to see Positano from the sea. To look up at the cliffs and the cascading colorful buildings from Positano is a beautiful sight, and a kayak is an affordable way to get this view.
Kayaks can be rented right from Spiaggia Grande, the main beach in Positano. They can be rented by the hour (roughly €20 per hour for a two-seater) or you can take a kayaking tour along the coast.
3. Go Shopping
Shops selling clothing, perfume, limoncello, sandals, and ceramics line the road that runs through Positano and the main pedestrian path to Marina Grande.
Limoncello | Best Things to Do in Positano
4. Have Dinner or Drinks with a View
There are numerous restaurants and bars offering beautiful views of Positano.
La Sponda is a fine dining, Michelin-starred restaurant in the hotel Le Sirenuse. With an outdoor terrace and candlelit indoor dining area, this is one of the most romantic restaurants in Positano. It also has a beautiful view over the town. We had one of our best meals in the Amalfi Coast at this restaurant.
Il Tridente is another restaurant that comes up on lists of Positano restaurants and we have to agree. From the lovely outdoor terrace, you get one of the best views of the town. However, in terms of food, this was our least favorite restaurant in Positano, but I do think it is worth coming here for an aperitif with a view.
More restaurants with a view include Ristorante Adamo ed Eva, Panoramic Restaurant (of Hotel l’Ancora), RADA Ristorante Rooftop, Le Galli Bistrot, and Bar Franco. You can read more about these restaurants later in this guide, under our section Where to Eat in Positano.
La Sponda, Courtesy of Le Sirenuse | Photographer Credit: Brechenmacher & Baumann
5. Explore the Amalfi Coast Towns
It may be hard to tear yourself away from Positano, but there are many other beautiful towns to visit along the Amalfi Coast.
Amalfi, Ravello, Atrani, and Nerano are some of our favorites, but you can see the full list in our article Best Towns on the Amalfi Coast.
If you want an off the beaten path experience on the Amalfi Coast, visit Tramonti. This Amalfi Coast town is located high in the mountains and the main thing to do here is to visit the vineyards. We spent a memorable afternoon at Tenuta San Francesco, eating grapes right off the wine, eating a home cooked lunch with wine pairings, and having a few glasses of wine with the owners.
The Amalfi Duomo
6. Take a Boat Tour of the Amalfi Coast
One of the best things to do in Positano is to take a boat tour of the Amalfi Coast. Nothing beats seeing the coastal cliffs, colorful towns, beaches, and sea caves from the water. And there are several different ways to do it.
The most budget friendly way to cruise the Amalfi Coast is by ferry. It’s also the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast in the summertime, to avoid the traffic jams along Amalfi Drive. You can learn more about traveling by ferry in our guide to How to Get Around the Amalfi Coast.
Small Group Boat Tour
If you want to cruise along the coast, not spend a fortune, and avoid the ferry, take a small group boat tour. These boat tours can range from full day tours of the Amalfi Coast, where you visit a few towns and sea caves, to shorter tours, such as this tour of the Amalfi Coast.
For the ultimate experience, take a private boat tour from Positano. If you are going to splurge on one experience during your trip to Italy, this gets our vote. Relax on a private boat, sip on prosecco, visit small coves and caves that are inaccessible by ferry and difficult or impossible to get to by car or bus, and zip up and down the coastline faster than any car or ferry out there.
We took a private 8-hour boat cruise from Positano, visiting the Smeraldo Cave, Fiordo di Furore, Amalfi, Maiori, Minori, Atrani, and Nerano. This 8-hour boat tour with Luxury Boats Positano was one of our best and most memorable experiences in Italy.
Prices for a full day cruise range from €800 to as high as €3000, depending on the boat and company you choose. If you are traveling as a group of four to six people, splitting the cost of a €800 or €1300 boat is not as crazy as it first seems, especially given the advantages that come with having a private boat.
And if you want the private boat experience, without spending a crazy out of money, Luxury Boats Positano and other companies have shorter tours. How about a 2-hour sunset cruise along the Amalfi Coast?
Other companies to consider are Lucibello Positano, Sorrento Dream Charter, and Mar Amar.
A view of Positano from the sea
7. Watch the Sunset
Sunsets are gorgeous in Positano, as the setting sun bathes the town in warm hues of gold, orange, and pink, that complement the colors of the buildings.
Sunset in Positano | Best Things to Do in Positano
One of the best places to watch the sunset is from a rooftop bar or restaurant mentioned above, but you can also do so from the beach, one of the viewpoints in town, or your hotel.
One of the best “free” spots in town to get a good sunset view of Positano is on Via Cristoforo Colombo, just down the street from Li Galli Bistrot. For the exact location, here are the GPS coordinates: 40.628102, 14.489243
8. Hike the Path of the Gods
The Path of the Gods is one of the most beautiful walks in Italy. This hiking trail is located high in the mountains of the Amalfi Coast, connecting Bomerano with Nocelle.
Path of the Gods hike
If you are staying in Positano, you can get to the starting point by taking the bus or hiring a driver to get to Bomerano. From Bomerano, walk back to Positano, a mostly downhill hike with endless jaw-dropping views of the Amalfi Coast.
You can get the full details on how to do this in our Path of the Gods Hiking Guide.
9. Day Trip to Capri from Positano
One of the best things to do in Positano is to take a day trip to Capri. Like Positano, Capri is another Italian destination popular among both tourists and the rich and famous. On the to-do list in Capri are a boat tour of the island, a visit to the Blue Grotto, a ride on the chairlift to Monte Solaro for panoramic views, and a bit of shopping in lovely Capri town.
To day trip to Capri from Positano, you can either take the ferry, join a tour, or hire a private boat. Learn how to do this in our guide How to Spend One Perfect Day in Capri.
Via Krupp, Capri
10. Splurge on a 5-Star Hotel
Positano is a romantic getaway destination, making it a perfect place to splurge on a hotel, especially if you are traveling for a honeymoon or special occasion.
We stayed at Villa Bohème, a luxury boutique property that offers three suites. From our wide, private terrace of the Puccini Suite, we began and ended each day with one of the best views in all of Positano. Breakfast was served to our terrace each morning. Our room had a living area, small kitchen, luxurious bathroom, and spacious bedroom.
With breathtaking views of Positano, exceptional service, and beautifully decorated rooms, this should be the first hotel you consider in Positano. Villa Bohème is the best place we have stayed in, from anywhere around the world.
The Villa Bohème | Best Things to Do in Positano
Another fantastic option is Le Sirenuse. This 5-star hotel is centrally located in town, is home to the restaurant La Sponda, is a popular hotel for celebrities.
Il San Pietro di Positano is located outside of town, along Amalfi Drive, but it offers a private beach (Laurito Beach) and the Michelin-starred restaurant Zass.
For more recommendations on where to stay along the Amalfi Coast, including budget, mid-range, and luxury properties, take a look at our Amalfi Coast Hotel Guide.
How to Get Around Positano
The road through Positano can get congested, especially in the summer season. So, the best way to get around Positano is by walking. Since Positano is spread out over two hillsides that face towards each other, expect to do a lot of walking up and down these hills and stairs.
Hiring a driver to take you from one part of Positano to another can cost 30 euros or more. We didn’t see a place where you can just hail a driver, so it is best to call and arrange a pickup. You can have your hotel or restaurant call for a pickup. Or you can contact the company Positano Car Service. Just make sure you are standing at the pickup point ready to go because the driver will be blocking traffic until you get into the vehicle.
The Sita bus only makes two stops on SS163, at Chiesa Nuova on the west side of town and Sponda, on the east side of town. The orange Positano town bus follows the main road through Positano with various stops along the way.
Where to Eat in Positano
Here are some of our favorite restaurants in Positano.
This casual restaurant is just a few steps from the beach. It’s a busy restaurant that serves great seafood and pasta dishes. Celebrity sightings are possible and Denzel Washington dined here twice during our visit to the Amalfi Coast.
Chez Black | Best Things to Do in Positano
This was our favorite dining experience on the Amalfi Coast, and one of the best in all of Italy. This fine dining, Michelin-starred restaurant is truly top notch. The hospitality is impeccable, the wine list is extensive, the views of Positano are breathtaking, and the food is delicious. We dined on seared tuna, autumn vegetables, lamb, and veal entrecôte, along with an amazing bottle of 2016 Brunello di Montalcino.
Throw in a celebrity sighting (Jeff Goldblum was just a few tables from where we were sitting) and sunset views of Positano, and you have one incredible dining experience in Positano.
Courtesy of Le Sirenuse | Photographer Credit: Brechenmacher & Baumann
Adamo ed Eva
This seafood restaurant boasts beautiful views of Positano. There are three levels of seating, ranging from first come first served tables to tables where you must make a reservation in advance to tables where you are required to dine on their tasting menu. The tasting menu tables have the best view, but you pay more for this dining experience. We ate at the first come first served tables; the food was very good and we enjoyed the sunset views of Positano.
Adamo ed Eva | Best Things to Do in Positano
Seafood pasta at Adamo ed Eva
In terms of views and setting, the outdoor dining area of Il Tridente is beautiful. The views across Positano are also some of the best out of any restaurant we visited, making this one of the most popular restaurants to visit in Positano for an amazing view. However, the food was mediocre, as were the drinks. Maybe we were here on an off night, but overall, this was our least favorite dining experience in Positano.
Il Tridente | Best Things to Do in Positano
This casual restaurant was always filled with people, whether we passed it while walking or driving through town, and during the night we dined here. Very good seafood and pasta dishes are what are on the menu. The service is fast, friendly, and efficient and this is an all-around great choice if you simply want a good meal in Positano, without having a view of the town.
Da Vincenzo | Best Things to Do in Positano
Panoramic Restaurant at Hotel l’Ancora
This covered, outdoor terrace has a wonderful view over Positano. They are open for lunch and dinner, serve pasta and seafood dishes, and a long list of creative cocktails.
Panoramic Restaurant | Best Things to Do in Positano
Best Time to Visit Positano
Positano is a wonderful place to visit from mid-April through the end of October.
June, July, August, and September are the busiest months, with peak season being July and August. Expect huge crowds and frequent traffic jams during these months.
The best time to visit the Amalfi Coast is mid-April through May and mid-September through October. Crowds are lower and the weather is fantastic. Just be aware that beach clubs close around mid-October, so if this is something you want to do, plan your visit for early October.
Places start shutting down in late October but that doesn’t mean everything closes. According to a local that we spoke with, you can expect 50% of the hotels and restaurants to close during the winter season. And expect some of the boutique shops to close as well.
If you don’t mind slightly cooler weather, a slightly increased chance of a rainy day, and fewer options for restaurants and hotels, November is also a very nice time to visit Positano and the Amalfi Coast.
Positano at sunset
Where to Stay in Positano
When choosing where to stay in Positano, it’s important to pay attention to the location of the hotel. Since Positano is built onto the hillsides, you will do some stair and hill climbing while here. The higher the hotel on the hillside, the more stairs you will climb. To minimize the amount of climbing you do, pick a hotel closer to the beach.
BUDGET: La Mammola. This is one of the cheapest properties in Positano that still gets good reviews. In fact, it gets excellent reviews. It’s just a short walk to the beach and rooms can accommodate two people.
MID-RANGE: Hotel Bougainville. Centrally located, it is a short walk to the beach and ferry port. This highly rated hotel has rooms that can accommodate two the three people. Some rooms have a sea view.
MID-RANGE: Exclusive Apartments Positano. This two bedroom apartment can accommodate up to 4 people, making it a great choice for families. The view from the terrace is amazing and it is a short walk to the beach.
UPSCALE: Albergo Miramare Positano. Located on the hillside, but still just a few steps from the beach, this property offers everything from single rooms to two bedroom apartments. Some rooms have a balcony with breathtaking views of Positano.
UPSCALE: Villa Dani. Just a few steps from Spiaggia Grande, the main beach in Positano, this vacation home has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a patio with views of the sea. It can accommodate up to six people and it’s a great choice for families.
UPSCALE: Hotel Palazzo Murat. This hotel is located almost at sea level in Positano. It’s a short, mostly flat walk to the beach and ferry port. Plus, it’s just a short walk to some of the best restaurants in town. Take your pick from standard hotel rooms to suites that can accommodate up to 5 people.
LUXURY: Villa Bohème. Villa Bohème is small property that has just three suites. Each suite has a spectacular view of Positano. The views are incredible, the service is top notch, and the location is excellent. It’s a splurge, but what a fantastic experience. We stayed in the Puccini Suite, which looks to be the most private of the three suites at Villa Bohème.
Villa Bohème pool
LUXURY: Le Sirenuse. This is not only one of the top luxury hotels in Positano, it’s also one of the top luxury hotels on all of the Amalfi Coast. With its central location, gorgeous views, outdoor terrace and bar, and Michelin-starred restaurant, La Sponda, it’s worth at least having dinner or drink here.
LUXURY: Il San Pietro di Positano. This 5-star hotel sits just outside of Positano. It boasts big views of the coastline, has a Michelin-starred restaurant, has onsite parking, and offers a free shuttle service to and from Positano. It’s one of the highest rated luxury hotels on the Amalfi Coast.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get to Positano?
Since Positano is one of the main towns on the Amalfi Coast, you can easily get here by bus, car, driver, and ferry.
How much time do you need in Positano?
If all you want to do is spend some time on the beach and do a little shopping, about a half day is all you need. However, if you want to have dinner with a sunset view and spend more time at one of the beach clubs, plan on spending one full day in Positano. For the best experience, plan on spending several days in Positano, so you can enjoy the views of town from your hotel room and day trip to other towns along the Amalfi Coast.
When is the best time to visit Positano?
The best time to visit Positano is from mid-April through May and mid-September through October, when the weather is pleasant and crowds are manageable. The busiest months to visit Positano are July and August and during this time, traffic jams along the Amalfi Coast common and crowds are huge in the Amalfi Coast towns.
More Information for Your Trip to the Amalfi Coast
AMALFI COAST TOWNS: For an overview of where to go, check out our article 17 Beautiful Towns to Visit on the Amalfi Coast. We also have detailed guides about the Best Things to Do on the Amalfi Coast and how to visit Ravello. Learn how to plan your time with our Amalfi Coast Itinerary.
GETTING AROUND: Learn how to travel from Rome to Sorrento, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast and how to visit Pompeii when traveling between Rome and Sorrento. We also have a guide to the Best Way to Get around the Amalfi Coast and what it is like to drive the Amalfi Coast.
PATH OF THE GODS: The Path of the Gods is a gorgeous hike on the Amalfi Coast.
SORRENTO & CAPRI: Learn about the best things to do in Sorrento, how to spend 3 days in Sorrento, learn how to plan your day trip to Capri, and find out whether or not the Blue Grotto is worth it.
VISITING IN OCTOBER: Learn what it is like to visit Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast in October and November.
WHERE TO STAY: For recommendations of where to stay, including Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello, take a look at our Amalfi Coast Hotel Guide.
ITALY ITINERARY: On this 10 day southern Italy itinerary, visit the Amalfi Coast, Castelmezzano, Matera, Alberobello, and more towns in Puglia.
If you have any questions about the best things to do in Positano, or if you want to share your experience, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Italy
FLORENCE: If you are planning your first visit to Florence, don’t miss our guide to the 10 Best Things to Do in Florence and how to spend two days in Florence. We also have guides about the best rooftop bars in Florence, the best viewpoints in Florence, and how to visit the Florence Cathedral.
PUGLIA: Read about 15 beautiful places to visit in Puglia and the best things to do in Alberobello. We also have a guide to the best things to do on the Gargano Peninsula and how to spend one day in Vieste.
MATERA: Matera is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy. Here is a list of the best things to do in Matera.
ROME: For a list of the top experiences in Rome, read our article Best Things to Do in Rome. Learn how to put these together in our 2 Day Rome Itinerary, where to eat in our Rome Restaurant Guide, how to visit the Colosseum, and where to stay in our Rome Hotel Guide.
CINQUE TERRE: One of the best experiences in the Cinque Terre is to hike between all five towns. If you are traveling on a budget, get our money saving tips for the Cinque Terre.
We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, and Puglia.
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