Fair warning: this is one very ..honest destination post.
Alright, Positano Italy. I’ll give you a clue on how this is going to go, Business Insider is most defiantly correct. We will get into my honest thoughts, tips on how to do this if you do want to visit the dreamy Amalfi Coast and absolutely money saver recommendations because this was the most expensive part of my Europe trip in May.
This is a very beautiful destination, don’t get me wrong-however, I don’t like how extremely expensive it is, also very difficult to get to actual Positano and the way social media makes it out to be.
This is my second time to Italy and I decided to explore the more Southern Part of Italy and I had 4 1/2 days. After a lot of traveling and knowing Italy from my previous experience, I defiantly still recommend if you are going out of your way to Italy (from another nearby country) make a minimum of 4 full days per part (Other than maybe Rome & Pisa).
Personally, I only wanted to do this part of Italy this time and 4 days was defiantly enough if you do your desired spots wisely. There is a lot more beautiful gem spots that Positano but are near Positano to really consider too, and yes other than Capri as well.
Before you have your heart completely set on Positano or consider staying here only 2-3 days total and off for other parts, I highly advice you to look up Procida (I’ve been reading recommend 3-4 days here). Ischia is also defiantly worth seeing.
I stayed in Naples for 1 night and it is true what you have been told, I would recommend skipping it or just doing for a quick night due to flights. This part of Italy, I would also suggest doing possibly a cooking class and/or day excursions, but they are pricey..Boat tour is a must *company listed below in depth.
Despite the beautiful pictures and huge social media following destination-Getting to Positano is NOT easy. It was the single hardest destination I have ever got to, truly.
The nearest major city is Naples, and from there, you would either need to rent a car for an hour and a half drive (which I do not recommend my gosh, those coasts are HARD) or take a coach bus with crowds, or you take a train from Naples to Sorrento and then get on a bus or taxi. OR if your flight lands late/you do not want to deal with a terrible 2+ commute to Positano.. hire a driver ahead of time.
Tip: Hire a private driver ahead of time to pick you up at airport. *book online/call before trip to confirm too.
Biggest tip to save money learning from my mistake: Because this was the most expensive taxi/ride fair I have ever had. At the end of my trip, my taxis was over $300-$400 USD…..
How to avoid this? Do anything I said above but, that is if you land and its day light. You need to research before hand the schedule so you know when things are running. My flight got in at 8pm, it was already dark out and the bus, train was not in my favor- 9+ travel day and was exhausted. I caved and ended with a $160 USD taxi ride..I got into the hotel at 11pm and the most exhausted I felt on the whole trip.
A big top tip of traveling to South of Italy: You need to have cash at all times. A LOT OF PLACES ONLY ACCEPT CASH including TAXIS. TAXIS LITERALLY ONLY TAKE CASH- get cash in advance and do not get from ATM they will rip you (..like they did to me $40-$50 fee..because I realized right when I landed in Naples.. everywhere really did only accept cash)
However, of corse the food never disappoints in Italy.. especially South of Italy.
Food… oh the FOOD.. I mean everything is INCREDIBLE
I actually (maybe you can tell) didn’t take a ton of pictures being here in Positano because I was busy just enjoying the moment, enjoying food like this amazing pizza (top 3 best pizzas of my life)
Places I missed that looked amazing & with an insane view:
Villa Fiorentino, La Scogliera, II Capitano, Terrazza Cele, & more Mediterranean vs so much Italian food everywhere, Chez Black looked awesome.
Extremely unique experience: 2019 Michelin Star awarded, Ristorante Al Palazzo. I had the pleasure of dining here and was truly incredible, it was 5 courses, defiantly couldn’t finish it with the pasta. I would love to show pictures but we ate in outside at night after our big engagement session (sorry!)
Didn’t go to but looked out of this world unique as well; Li Galli Gourmet
Positano // Amalfi Coast is very expensive, and its becoming overrun with tourists in many opinions. I made it a point to go during non busy season but nice enough to sit on the beach, mid May. And guess what, it was PACKED on the streets, these side walks are unlike anything I have ever seen. @heatherandersonphotography and I joked “alright here we go risking our lives walking down to the beach” *our hotel was a bit up on the coastline. We will get into detail on exactly hotel location wise suggested.
I did actually get to talk in depth with a lot of local people from Positano and went into such detail how much Amalfi Coast has drastically changed. Amalfi Coast, even to me.. was thought to be a gem, it’s really changed with it being SO busy. It’s great for local businesses, but apparently there was a drastic tourism change a little less than 5 years ago and every year- gets busier most had said and goes on for longer (until end of October now).
If you don’t like crowds, well this might not be the place for you- I feel this is exactly how Santorini is going to be and I will confirm this post once I come back (Aug 18th-Sept 12th away and SO excited!).
You absolutely have to book everything really in advance visiting Amalfi Coast, even off season 5+ months in advance. Summer months, wow.. I mean if you can 9-1 yr in advance especially staying for a couple nights.
You want to be in PRIME location area in Positano to really experience it fully. I did book our hotel 3 months in advance and it was $350USD a night which was the cost of Ibiza but I’d rather have that hotel room any day over this hotel. Clearly stick to far in advance strategy!
Again- straight honest option, it’s become ‘instagram famous’ and I am not too sure if it was worth it. It’s very expensive.. I mean even the little boutique shops, minimum $200 USD dresses, I only bought 1 thing in Positano and it was the famous original Lemonchello.
I would defiantly recommend looking around at different stores if you are getting lemonchello, I LOVED the place I found mine, it was truly painted so beautifully- no place had something like this and very easy to travel with, it made it back to California no problem!
Hotel wise: I stayed at Hotel Royal Positano, I was fairly happy with the choice, just pricey but it was one of the better rates I found for this exact location. It was a 20 minute.. not walk but hike down. At night, had to bring out cell phone flash lights because there is a ton of stairs, like a ton.. to get back up to this hotel.
The pool was really nice and it was along the colorful coastline but further up towards the right. Again, defiantly a haul coming down. If you book in advance, better luck with location wise. There was a breakfast buffet every morning as well and hotel was really kind to us! I would just recommend requesting a higher level room before hand, we got in late and took this room- it is a lot more private higher levels and nicer rooms.
When to book hotel in prime Positano area? As mentioned above, if you plan Positano during busy season and want top choice on hotel wise especially prime location/good rates is booking 9-1 yr in advance. During non busy time, 5+ months in advance, I did 3 months and was defiantly short on options. Keep in mind.. Italian hotels so some of the room options are..very interesting’ to put it lightly.
There is a BIG difference in price range with the hotels I found as well, in the sense of the luxury hotels along Positano coastline, are well over $600+ a night not peak season thats for 4 star, 5 star over $800 a night (trust me I looked and tried some of the ‘instaknown’ hotels and …wow.*
Average hotel price, i’d say $250USD a night not during peak season and in Positano, 4 star hotel + booking big time in advance. You can go cheaper route and stay further from Positano, in Arienzo was the other option but would have had to of rented a car staying in that area.
Side note I bet you wouldn’t of guessed:
Positano & actual Amalfi is actually over 40 minutes from each other,
without traffic by the way which there always is so plan for an hour+ trip each way.
Above is a picture of the *private beach part in Positano. It’s the very well known blue umbrellas and I captured them down (just after some rain is why!) And this beach was the most.. hilarious “wow I can’t believe this isn’t talked about/no where said online at all about this.”
First off, the beach has no..sand.. its the most uncomfortable beach with rocks- like large rocks (i’m not kidding). A lot of European beaches are like this mind you but wow.. that wasn’t all. The actual public part of the beach is SO small. It is the smallest.. ‘public’ beach iv’e ever laid on..I really was at a laughing awe at this, Thankfully when I went to Positano, I was told a week to even the day I arrived in- it had been raining a ton, the sun had just started to peak out and remained sunny while I was there. With that said all those days, go in the morning to the beach for a bit and leave, no one was really down there, perfect time for pictures too.
Secondly, the private beach above; these chairs are 60+ USD a day each. If you try and take a picture on this beach they will say something to you- the only reason I got my perfect shot on the beach with this coastline was walking straight into this on the beach *on a cloudy day and was watching the clouds slowly move away bit by bit and grabbed a shots fast. You would likely not be able to get away with this most days considering how much a chair costs but FYI!
How much time should you spend here?
Depends on if you only want Positano, if you wanted to add on Capri, actual Amalfi. Amalfi you could do a day trip to, Capri a day trip as well and rent a boat. Positano was great for 4 days and didn’t feel the need to add on more for that part. I wished could have seen Pompei, looks amazing!!
Procida: Dare you to google it and you’ll likely fall in love with this dreamy place. I would very much suggest taking the time to get out here, its really unbelievable. A minimum of 4 days because it takes a bit to get out here, I follow @nicoleisaacs and I would go straight to here and you can leave right from Naples!
I did go to Naples for 1 day/overnight due to flight and best recommendation is to stay very close to the airport, I stayed at Holiday Inn and it was actually really nice and less than 10 minutes from the airport.
*I did book an airbnb and I was traveling alone, I decided the day before.. changed this and did a really comfortable super Americanized corporate hotel room- let me tell you all; was never so damn happy to see the Holiday Inn sign. Again, I ran out of cash and walked from the train to this hotel and took 25 minutes with my luggage.
Boat Tour: From Positano to Capri* or to Ischia* or to Procida*
I would like to add, we did have a boat tour booked (The Blue Star Positano company) to Capri. Along with an engagement was going to happen; myself/photographer would have taken care of the finance to be and surprise engage on the boat but.. all 3 days were cancelled of the boat- it was really rough with the waves.
What would I do differently next time?
Next time, I would absolutely do all 3 above (Capri, Ischia, Procida) and even just 1-2 days max in Positano already staying there before. I would likely skip Naples again, its a beast of a city and defiantly look into it if it’s a destination interesting to you- I went and if you only go for 1-2 days, don’t expect to see much/fully understand real Naples. The size reminded me of Sydney, Australia.. SO big.
If you end up staying in Naples: Before booking any hotels in really look at the map where location is/surroundings defiantly, could take you a lot longer than you think to get to places. Keep in mind the Naples train station is really massive and arrive far ahead of your train leave time if your following a crisp schedule. Lastly, check to make sure you are on the right train. In the 2 times of North and then South Italy.. I managed to get very lost both times, so lost I went opposite direction trains on BOTH- so ask, double check, triple check!