Built into the Lattari Mountains, Positano’s pastel colored buildings appear to be suspended in air above the blue sea as cliffs climb behind them. You’re enveloped in the postcard perfect beauty the moment you enter town. We just returned from our second trip to Positano on the Amalfi Coast, Italy and were quickly reminded of why we love it so much!

Positano is southeast of Naples by a 90 minute drive and a 3 hour drive south from Rome.  The Amalfi Coast is 30 miles of cliffy coast line above the Bay of Naples and Gulf of Salerno in the Mediterranean Sea. The famous winding Amalfi Coast road was carved out of the cliffs in 1852 extending from Meta near Sorrento around to Vietri sul Mare near Salerno.  The breath taking ride, from the views to the hairpin turns on roads barely two cars wide, is one of legend and worth the experience.

It is said that the Li Galli Islands, also known as the “Sirenuse,” sitting just off the coast of Positano, are where Homer’s Ulysses went astray on his homeward voyage listening to the song of the Sirens.

Often called the playground of the rich and famous (don’t be put off by this… its laid back and prices are reasonable), Positano is loved not only for its beauty but for its winding lanes, steep steps, leisurely shopping, dining and sunning.

This quintessential Italian resort town is one of my favorite spots in all my travels. There’s so much to see and do in Positano and surrounds that its hard to make a MUST GO’s List.  I’ll start with Stroll the Lanes and Soak up the Beauty.  Tomorrow I’ll cover Wine & Dine and Explore the Coast.

MUST GO’s:

* Stroll the Lanes

One of my favorite ways to spend a day in Positano is simply strolling… the lanes, the alleyways, and even the myriad of steps.  Stop into the town’s beautiful landmark, Church of Santa Maria Assunta, in the center of town. Enjoy lots of great shopping specializing in ceramics (visit Ceramica Assunta), handmade sandals (try Paulo’s tiny shop on the steps down from Via C. Colombo to Via die Mulini) and linen (visit Boutique Rino for gorgeous clothes at a great price). Lemons rule the coast so you’ll see them on everything… don’t miss the local limoncello (lemon liqueur) for an after dinner digestif.

* Soak up the Beauty

This is easy to do no matter what your activity of choice…

  • Beaches: Spiaggia Grande (spiaggia means beach in Italian) is Positano’s main beach at the bottom of town, all paths lead to it. I love renting a chair from L’Incanto, the main club on the beach (€12 for the day, €2 for a towel).  Spiaggia Fornillo, a lovely walk down the seaside walkway Via Positanesi d’America (named for thousands of locals that left Positano for a better life in America after WWII) carved into the rocks, is a less crowded beach but still has restaurants and beach clubs.  One spot I didn’t make it to but will on my next visit is Da Adolfo, a 5 minute boat ride from the beach for a day on a private beach with great restaurant, chairs and changing rooms.

  • Lunch on the Beach: L’Incanto is also a great place for lunch on the beach… nothing beats a sunny day, Caponata Salad and glass of local Greco di Tufo white wine.  Another good spot close to beach side is nautical themed Chez Black serving up great seafood and pizzas.
  • Boat the Coast: Rent your own boat from Lucibello Boats or splurge on a private charter. They’re located right on Spiaggia Grande. We’ve rented little speed boats for €70/hour both visits and zipped down the coast line enjoying sun and incredible views.
  • Gelato & Cappuccino: Bar Buca di Bacco, at the bottom of town’s main stairs, is the perfect afternoon stop … our last trip we spent 6 hours here one afternoon waiting out torrential rain but loving every minute of afternoon gelato (yummiest sfogliatelle gelato…versioned after the heavenly pastry of the same name), aperitifs then dinner.
  • Sunset Cocktail: my favorite spot is Le Sirenuse… this gorgeous 5 star hotel is perfectly situated on the cliffs to sip a sunset champagne and enjoy the luxury that surrounds you.

Coming tomorrow more Positano MUST GO’s : Wine & Dine and Explore the Coast.