Positano – Amalfi

Welcome to Positano

Positano – Amalfi coast is one of the most visited cities along the Mediterranean in Italy. From famed Influencers to Sophia Loren, this shoreline captures the imagination and natural beauty that was cut out centuries ago. Here’s a little bit of information from my first visit this past spring to Positano and Amalfi.

First Impressions

My first impression sailing into Positano was WOW! It does look like every Pinterest/Instagram post I’ve seen. Candy and I had just taken a water ferry from Salerno to Positano after our stay in Vietri sul Mar. We made our way to Positano to visit friends flying in from Germany for a weekend adventure.

This city built along the cliffs of the Mediterranean Sea was really gorgeous. We were greeted from the dock to the Positano Spiaggia (or beach) lined with umbrellas and buildings tiered along the mountainside.

We had a wonderfully sunny day on our arrival and the hustle and bustle of the city were already alive and noisy at 10 a.m. Tour and travel guide kiosks lined the entrance to the boat dock, where you could rent a boat for the day, and take a tour to Capri or the Blue Grotto.

It was very busy for April which threw me off guard as a huge travel tip is “travel during the swing seasons in Europe” which are spring and fall.

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When to visit Positano

Beach at Positano

The Amalfi coast is one of the visited spots in Italy. According to USNews & World Report, about 5 million tourists visit annually. That’s a lot of people! I would still recommend visiting during the swing season. As you could imagine prices for accommodations, transportation, etc. would be higher in the summer for beaches.

TRAVEL TIP: Traveling in Italy in the summer can have challenges, make sure your accommodations have air-conditioning prior to booking. This is not standard, but becoming more popular in this destination.

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I will be visiting Positano again in September 2022 with a group and anticipate having more information to add to this article as well. Also, the swing season and we booked our accommodations this past February so our rates were reasonable prior to the inflation crunch.

Places to Stay

We stayed in two different places in Positano. Kelly and Heidi stayed at Hotel Marincanto on an upper tier in Positano and Candy and I stayed in Villa Flavio Gioia.

The Hotel Marincanto had amazing upper views of the beach, a balcony, a swimming pool, and excellent dining available. We did have to take an elevator up and down to the different levels and a few stairs but it was lovely to capture the views as we walked.

We enjoyed cocktails and light snacks in the afternoon with incredible views of the sea. The service was spectacular and they also had a piano player on the terrace (or the Terrazza Celé) for our dinner meal as well. I would recommend making dinner reservations while you are on the Amalfi coast. It is very difficult to just “walk in” for any seating without one. The breakfast buffet is quite good and has a variety of different food and coffees.

Kelly and Heidi’s room had high ceilings, elegant decorations, and plenty of space. Suites are available as well and are considered to be one of the more romantic properties hosting many honeymooners. They offer beach chairs on an exclusive private beach and host weddings as well.

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A Villa in Positano
Villa Flavio - Positano

The Villa Flavio Gioia is located in the heart of Positano and our small balcony overlooked Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta piazza. In the morning we were delighted with church bells echoing around the city and the bustling of the businesses opening up.

After arriving off our ferry, Candy and I made our way to the Villa. This enchanting hotel is tucked along one of the narrow pedestrian walkways, so you will need to roll your luggage a bit before getting there. However, I think that is part of the charm of these Amalfi cities. The private courtyard is enchanting before you check in and is a quiet little respite area to relax in the afternoon.

Our room was designed just like I would imagine an Italian Villa along the coast would be. Also, our balcony was so cute and the room was very clean. Additionally, we had modern bathroom features, as well as a mini-kitchen available with a mini-refrigerator and stove.

Villa Flavio Gioia stays busy most times and do require longer stays in the fall. You will want to call prior to reserving during this time period.

TRAVEL TIP: Some hotels in Italy NOW require a deposit when making the initial reservation. Additionally, sometimes this “deposit” is non-refundable.

LET’s TRAVEL AGAIN!

Ravello

Next, so when traveling with this crew, we rarely let any dust settle under our feet. So on our second day in Positano, we decided to take a taxi to Ravello to explore this iconic resort town filled with medieval terraced gardens, architecture, and shopping!

We hired a driver (taxi service) from Positano to Ravello as the buses were filled every time we saw them. The service began at €250 for a one-hour drive, this is a very strenuous, difficult drive along the coast and I DO NOT RECOMMEND driving it yourself. EVER!

For a full-day tour including a stop at the Blue Grotto and introducing us to Ravello, the day price increased to €550 for six hours. This took us a little bit by surprise, but I think in the end we thought the safety was worth it.

Another caution: BE CAREFUL where locals “recommend” a stop. Whether it is a touristy, expensive restaurant or shops, there is typically an arrangement you may not be aware of. This practice is quite common in touristy places and considered normal or “normale” just be aware and be on your guard and do a little research prior to exploring.

Since this adventure, I have found a wonderful driving service along the Amalfi coast that I completely trust and is professional. Book an adventure with me and I’ll take care of it for you.

Villa Cimbrone

Ravello was an incredible town to visit. It is filled with ceramic shops, enoteca’s (wine tasting shops), jewelry, and the famous Villa Cimbrone. These majestic gardens with views of the Amalfi coast that stretch for miles were highlights of our visit to Ravello.

As we walked the cobblestone streets from the center of town to this hillside garden and hotel we were amazed at all the original architecture, stonework, and art on all the buildings.

TRAVEL TIP: Schedule 45 minutes to an hour to tour the Villa Cimbrone and enjoy the relaxation and peacefulness.

Good Eats!

Napolese Pizza - Positano

The Amalfi is the most visited place along the Mediterranean coast and you might expect all the restaurants to be fantastic. Well, we did find quite a few that were spectacular. However, being a truth teller, I have to share the good and the bad. Here are some of my favorite and not-so-favorite good eats in Positano and Ravello.

Chez Black

Just off the beach in Positano is this waterfront restaurant that is super popular. Definitely, you will want to make reservations. We didn’t and had a bit of a wait, however, we did enjoy some Prosecco while we waited. Its location is superb and the service was fun. The menu is quite extensive and tasty with an open kitchen concept so we enjoyed watching the Chef do their thing.

There are unique seafood items on the menu from Black Ink Squid Pasta to Spaghetti with Sea Urchins. You can also have spaghetti and meatballs BUT this is an American-Italian dish, not a Napolese Italian.

The restaurant was bustling most of the night and had a fun, festive environment. We had pizza, the Black Squid Pasta, fried calamari and prosciutto, and melon. Yum!

Terrazza Celé

Terrazza Celé is located on the main street of Positano and is a part of the Hotel Marincanto. Kelly had been to this hotel and restaurant on a previous visit to Positano and was excited to share it with us. Here’s a look at their menu.

TRAVEL TIP: Italians typically take a break from work between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00/6:00 p.m. this is called “Reposa.” Some restaurants will serve light appetizers and wine/beer.

On our last night in Positano, we decided to head back to the Terrazza for dinner. Kelly also told us they would be having soft piano music while we were dining, it was super romantic. Ahhh, where were the husbands?

Wine – Dark House

Wine-Dark House was tucked away in an alley at the foot of the stairs from Villa Flavio Gioia and the Church. It was a great place to grab some lovely wine and small bites of food. On our first culinary stop in Positano, Candy and I were starving and enjoyed some eggplant parmigiana and a melted cheese sandwich.

The owner is personable, and gave us great suggestions and we stayed for a while to catch up on visiting too. A great location to people/tourists watch as well.

Trattoria Cumpá Cosimo

The Trattoria Cumpá Cosimo is in Ravello and from the appearance, it seems like this would be a fantastic choice for lunch. However, this was the most disappointing restaurant of our visit. The restaurant was almost “theater show” style and was most definitely a tourist attraction.

Stories from the servers who regaled that the “Nonna/Owner” of the restaurant is supposed to be hard as nails and demanding to her staff. It all seemed staged. Additionally, the food was very bland, not what I have come to expect in Italy. Until this visit, I could honestly say I had never had a bad meal in Italy. After almost twenty visits I can sadly say I have.

It might not be entirely the fault of this restaurant, they might be playing into what Americans believe rustic Italy is like, but this is not it. Also, it was very expensive. I stand with my original travel dining tip, if a restaurant has a menu laminated out front or in a stand that is old, just keep walking. Why did we go? Our driver recommended it to us, definitely not a keeper.

Be Careful!

So realistically, I like to share the good and the bad so as a traveler, you are informed. Again, these are my experiences, you may have different impressions yourself.

The Amalfi Coast and super touristy, therefore the most expensive. From the meals and drinks be prepared to pay more than you would to say visit Rome, Perugia or Tuscany. It is more in line with Venice.

In the End, Positano

So overall, I would say, YES! Definitely visit Positano, especially if it is on your bucket list. It’s beautiful beaches, shoreline, and architecture are truly amazing. Just keep in mind a few of these travel tips. When you are traveling buddies are amazing every place is practically perfect!

It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!

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