The colorful seaside town of Positano is known around the globe for its picture-perfect landscape, luxurious feel, and alluring vacation atmosphere. So, if you’re looking for a glamorous Italian getaway by the sea, you really can’t get much better than this stunning cliffside town! Positano is located along Italy’s Amalfi Coast in the southern region of Campania. Though getting here can be a bit difficult as the only ways to arrive are by sea or narrow, windy roads- it is definitely worth the journey. Plus, you’ll also be able to take in some incredible views along the way!
Once you arrive in Positano, there are a ton of extraordinary things to do and see that will surely keep you entertained, relaxed, and happy during your dream holiday to the Amalfi Coast. Whether you desire to get a taste for the region’s local cuisine, observe magnificent artworks, or set sail on the open sea, this gorgeous destination has all that you are looking for and more. Read on to find out our picks for the top 10 things to do in Positano so that you can start planning your trip to one of Italy’s most iconic seaside towns!
1) Lay Out on the Beach & Go For a Swim in the Sea
After you explore the cliffside town of Positano, head to the beach for a refreshing swim in the water!
It can get hot if you are visiting Positano during the summer months, so one of the best feelings is jumping in the Tyrrhenian Sea to cool off! While there are private areas along Marina Grande Beach (the main beach in Positano) where you can pay to rent lounge chairs and umbrellas, there is also a free area sectioned off so that you can bring your own towels to lay out on. This rocky shore is truly mesmerizing because there are unbelievable views of the water and radiant architecture from everywhere you look! During the busy season, the free part of the beach can get quite crowded, so we recommend you claim your spot as early in the day as possible.
When you are not tanning on the beach or snorkeling just off the shore in Positano, you can opt to partake in a variety of water sports such as paddle boarding and kayaking. Don’t worry if you couldn’t bring your own equipment all the way to the Amalfi Coast because there are several stands along the beach where you can rent them by the hour. If you want to explore the coastline on your own, you can even rent a boat for the day for a surprisingly decent cost. If you do choose to go with boat rental, be sure to check out the surrounding coastline and grottos for wonderful views and pristine swimming spots!
2) Hike Up the Nearby Trails for Scenic Views
Travelers from all over the world make their way to Positano to hike along the stunning coastline trails
With lush trees, sparkling water, and dazzling towns dotting the landscape, the Amalfi Coast is a dream for hikers hunting for that perfect view. The Path of The Gods trail, also known as Il Sentiero Degli Dei in Italian, begins near Positano in Nocelle and ends in Bomerano. This relatively easy 7 km hike takes about 1.5- 2 hours to complete each way and features breathtaking views of the surrounding nature and sea. If you don’t have enough time to complete the walk of the gods, simply opt to make your way up some of the windy streets in Positano for a birds eye view of the town before heading back down. Trust me, the upwards incline is worth it for the wonderful viewpoint you’ll have over the city- just don’t forget to bring your camera!
3) Visit the Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption
Take a breather in Positano’s most prominent church that is home to historical paintings and beautiful sculptures
The Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption, located just above the beach in Positano, is well known for its multi-colored tile dome which brings a unique character to the city skyline. According to legend, pirate ships once dominated this area and brought back stolen treasures from around the globe, including one work of art that now calls this church home. This famous piece of loot was a Byzantine painting of the Black Madonna which was thrown safely overboard during a storm after pirates claimed she was crying out to them saying “posa, posa,” which translates to “lay me down.” Interestingly enough, this is how Positano received its name! Though the interior of the Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption is quite simple, it is still worth visiting for its significant cultural importance to the town and the historical artworks within.
4) Take a Short Boat Ride to Discover the Nearby Island of Capri
Feel like a celebrity as you arrive at the luxurious island of Capri by boat and explore the grottos!
Located just a quick boat ride away from Positano (25-50 minutes depending on your boat and the weather,) you’ll find the stunning island of Capri which is known for being the vacation destination of the rich and famous. However, you don’t have to be a celebrity to see this marvelous place for yourself! From Positano, you can choose to hire a private boat, join a group tour, or opt for the less expensive ferry to reach the island (ferry schedules can be found in advance online.) Once you arrive, head on shore to check out the charming port town of Capri, and the mountain top town of Anacapri that boasts awe-inspiring views. With plenty of churches, museums, shops, and restaurants to choose from, a day trip to Capri island makes for a dreamy getaway in paradise.
While there are plenty of treasures to discover on land in Capri, the best way to get a feel for the island as a whole is by taking a boat tour. It truly feels as if you have entered paradise when you are sailing through the open waters and taking in sights such as the iconic glowing Blue Grotto cave (expect to pay €14 to enter the Blue Grotto in a small row boat) and the Faraglioni, the world famous rock formations jetting out of the Mediterrean Sea. If you have the opportunity, we also recommend that you dive into the crystal clear waters of Capri to soak in the unforgettable experience before heading back to base in Positano.
5) Party the Night Away
If you are lucky enough to stay the night in Positano, be sure to check out the glamorous nightlife scene!
While the Amalfi Coast is known for its daytime sunshine, there are still plenty of things to do in Positano after the sun goes down. With an abundant number of posh hotel bars, quaint cafes and beachside cabanas that are open late, you’ll easily be able to find somewhere that suits your fancy for a delicious post-dinner cocktail or glass of wine. If you feel like dancing the night away, Positano even has its very own nightclub! Music On The Rocks is the only disco within miles, but it really is all you need to have a memorable night out in Positano. Besides hosting various DJs throughout the evening that keep the upbeat mood alive, it also has an incredibly cool atmosphere- and that’s because it is built right inside a cave overlooking the sea!
6) Enjoy the Many Flavors of Positano
Whether you are in the mood to eat at a traditional Neapolitan pizzeria or a Michelin-starred restaurant, Positano will surely satisfy your cravings
Undeniably, one of the best parts about visiting Italy is the food. From caprese salad to fresh fish and gourmet pastas, Positano has it all. I mean seriously, you can find everything you are looking for here in terms of Italian cuisine. Of course, being located on the sea, Positano specializes in seafood, but there are also many other special ingredients that are common in the local cuisine. Mozzarella, ricotta, fiordilatte, and provolone cheeses are popular Amalfi Coast favorites along with dishes or desserts incorporating the region’s famous lemons. Positano’s close proximity to Naples also makes it a great place to try out traditional Neapolitan pizza!
While you can order a pizza or panino for a somewhat affordable cost (note that Positano prices are still generally higher than most other places in Italy,) you can also opt to dine in one of the town’s many Michelin-starred restaurants. Besides offering spectacular views and a fantastic atmosphere, these top rated eateries serve up tasty creations made by world famous chefs that will surely leave you wanting more. If you are looking to book a table at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Positano, you can try out Da Vincenzo, Al Palazzo, La Sponda, Bucca di Bacco or Rada. Though you probably won’t be able to eat at one of these elegant restaurants for every meal, you won’t regret splurging on one night out!
7) Indulge in a Tasting of the Region’s Famous Limoncello
Before you leave this beautiful cliffside city, be sure to get a taste of the delicious, locally produced limoncello!
Though Positano does offer terrific wines, the town is more famous for a different alcoholic beverage- limoncello! This tasty liqueur has been around for over 100 years and is made with locally grown lemons (usually from Sorrento or Capri), vodka, sugar, and water. Traditionally, limoncello is served chilled in a shooter glass after a meal and is intended to be sipped slowly so that you can enjoy the delectable flavor. While you can find bottles of classic limoncello throughout nearly every store and menu in Positano, you may even find spin-offs of this tasty beverage in town such as the limoncello Spritz! Eager to make your own limoncello at home? Check out our insider’s guide to limoncello that includes a do-it-yourself recipe!
8) Shop for Something New in the Local Boutiques
Don’t worry if you forgot to pack something for your trip to Positano because there are plenty of cute shops in the city to buy what you are looking for and more!
As you walk down the long winding street of Viale Pasitea and the adorable path down to the beach, you’ll notice the plentiful amount of adorable shops and boutiques lining the walkways. So, if you are looking for a gorgeous beaded swimsuit, a luxurious beach sundress, or literally anything with lemon print on it, you’re in luck! In Positano’s shopping district, you’ll find shops specializing in everything from fine linen, jewelry, and custom sandals to lemon scented soaps, handmade kitchen utensils, and souvenirs. If you are looking to bring back a larger piece of the Amalfi Coast home with you, you can even purchase an iconic tiled table top or a beautiful painting of Positano. Even if you don’t purchase anything, peering in the various shops is a great way to spend the afternoon and escape the blazing sun!
9) Glance Inside Positano’s Fine Art & Ceramic Galleries
Within Positano, you’ll find a ton of impressive galleries featuring incredible artists from near and far!
Another amazing way to pass time during your trip to Positano is by visiting the town’s many art and ceramic galleries that line the picturesque streets. Some of the top galleries to check out include Franco Senesi Fine Art, Liquid Art System, and the Italian Fine Art Gallery which are all free to enter. For those fascinated with history, there is also the MAR Positano Villa Romano, an archeological museum within an ancient Roman villa that was preserved following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Interested in stopping by the MAR during your trip? Tickets to the museum cost €15 and can be bought online or at the door.
As you explore the scenic streets of Positano, you are bound to find other mesmerizing galleries and art studios that will spark your interest as well, so don’t be afraid to peek your head inside! While a lot of the art in Positano follows similar themes of depicting the region’s colorful landscape and traditional patterns, you’ll also find some interesting works that stray away from the norm to portray something more abstract. If you find a piece you really love, you may even have the chance to purchase it and have it shipped to your home, no matter what country or continent you are from!
10) Day Trip to Surrounding Towns
Staying in Positano for more than a couple days? Why not venture to the surrounding towns for a day trip!
Though there is absolutely no need to leave Positano to have a good time during your stay, you may have the urge to experience some of the other unique cities in the Amalfi Coast as well. Thankfully, each Amalfi Coast town has their own special characteristics that make them stand out from the next proving them worthwhile to visit. Amalfi for example, is one of the larger cities along the coast and was an important maritime power in the 6th century. In contrast, the smaller and almost “nonexistent” town of Furore is famous for its picturesque fiord and rocky gorge that leads into a seaside beach. The last glorious town that I will mention here is Ravello, a hilltop city complete with historic villas and panoramic views of the Gulf of Salerno. For a more detailed description of these sensational Amalfi Coast towns along with the top attractions in each destination, check out our blog post that uncovers the Best Amalfi Coast Towns to Explore.
By now, you must be wondering how to get from one town to another in the Amalfi Coast for day trips from Positano. To answer your question, you can reach these towns by boat, local bus, or by car / scooter if you choose to rent one for your journey. Be prepared however, because there are a lot of steep drop off points along the windy roads in the Amalfi Coast. If you choose to arrive by bus, this can be especially heart racing as you are able to see straight to the bottom of the steep cliffs from your seat. While this may scare some with a fear of heights, it definitely makes for an unforgettable ride with unbeatable views!
Explore Positano & the Rest of Italy on a Tour With Us!
Thanks for reading our Positano travel guide! We hope that you will find it helpful while planning your trip to Italy. If you are staying in Rome but still want a chance to visit the Amalfi Coast, check out our Semi-Private Pompeii Day Trip from Rome or our Private Pompeii Day Trip from Rome which feature a guided tour of the ancient city of Pompeii along with a scenic drive along the Amalfi Coast, free time in Positano, and a limoncello tasting!
Besides offering tours in Positano, we also offer top rated experiences in various cities across the rest of Italy! For more information or to arrange a tour, check out What a Life Tours or contact us by phone +39 06 88975757/+39 334 7273299 (WhatsApp), or email at [email protected]!