The first time I went to Positano was about thirteen years ago. My friend and I were in Rome and had a couple of days to go anywhere in Italy- we bought a map of the country and decided we'd close our eyes and point to any place on the map and go there. I cannot remember what city we ended up pointing to, but the server at the restaurant we were eating at absolutely forbid us from going. He suggested Sorrento and made it sound like heaven on earth, so an hour later we were on a train to Naples. We arrived in Sorrento and it was indeed beautiful and full of the biggest lemons I've ever seen in my life (the size of cantaloupes!). A lady at our hotel suggested we go to Positano and it was there that we found heaven on earth (or close to it at least).
I had never seen any place like it. It's one of those sights that just takes your breath away. Since that visit, I had been back to Positano several times and each time, I discover better food than the last (I'll admit that my first visit was subject to touristic restaurants with overpriced mediocre food, but I did not know any better!). If you plan on visiting the Amalfi Coast, make sure you go to Positano, even if just for dinner.
If you're going with kids, be aware of the hundreds of steps you may have to walk up or down to get anywhere. Strollers are out of the question. Our kids are great walkers, but sometimes their little legs would get tired (I don't blame them- my bigger legs would get tired, too) and they'd want to be carried (I, too, wanted to be carried but my husband is only capable of so much).
When booking a place to stay in Positano, we always face the dilemma of either staying higher up the hill with great views or down below closer to the beach with less walking. Every time, we have opted to stay up higher. We prefer the Liparlati area, which is in the heart of the historical area. It's not too far from the beach/main square and you can easily get to the other towns along the Amalfi Coast.
Here are some of my bests in Positano:
I cannot say enough amazing things about Antonio and Tiziana who manage both of these properties. They are so warm and welcoming and met our every need. When I was pregnant a few years ago, I felt like I couldn't walk or get out of bed. Tiziana made a delicious caprese salad with fresh mozzarella for me. I will never forget her hospitality during that trip. Breakfast out on the balcony overlooking Positano is truly the perfect way to start each day. Antonio and Tiziana have the best suggestions for restaurants- all of which will pick you up and drop you off, so you don't have to worry about walking or public transportation. They truly go above and beyond and this year, they helped us to make very detail of our ten year anniversary celebration perfect.
Il Ritrovo We had a very large group and sat out on the beautiful terrace. As soon as we sat down, they just started bringing us food and everything was fantastic from the appetizers to the entrees to the desserts. If you don't have allergies and aren't a picky eater (even if you are a picky eater, maybe it's time to branch out!), this is the way to do it! End your meal with some meloncello (yes, melon) and the semifreddo! Salvatore is amazing!
La Terra A few years ago, we got an awesome tour of their gardens (there are donkeys down there!), spent a lovely afternoon learning how to cook traditional dishes, and then were serenaded whilst eating the delicious meal that we made. It was as if nothing else in the world existed! This past summer, we chose La Terra to host our post wedding vow renewal reception. They pulled out all the stops- we spent about 4 hours eating a 10 course meal and were all ready to take a nap afterward. The best!
Da Constantino The view here at dinnertime is absolutely breathtaking- the way the moon reflects off of the water and is framed by the coast looks like a painting. Everything is delicious from the pizza to the pasta to the seafood (yes, I ate it all because when you're in a big group, you can taste everybody's food). We finished off our meal with the lemon cake- delicious!
Rent a Boat to Capri. We wanted to rent a boat and jet off on our own, but they looked at us like we were nuts. After experiencing the super choppy waters and almost losing a couple of children along the way, we understood why. Even if you think you can man your own boat (I grew up on a boat), it may be better to have a skipper come along. It's particularly a good idea because he will know where all of the hidden grottoes and secret places to swim are. When you get to Capri, take a bus or taxi to the top and take the chairlift up Mount Solaro (don't fall off trying to take pics). The views are out of this world.
Spiaggia Grande. It's that backdrop that you see on Instagram over and over and wonder, "is it really that great?" Why, yes, it is. If you're not used to beaches with pebbles (rather than sand), bring some water shoes (my kids would have complained the entire time if we didn't have them). The pebbles are not only painful to walk on, but they can get so hot that your feet will burn. This is a great beach to enjoy the beautiful view and get some rest from all of the walking you've done. The kids loved it here.
Ravello. Spend a day in Ravello- there is less hustle and bustle than Positano and I know I keep talking about the views, but hey... the views are fantastic! I think Ravello sometimes gets ignored because it's right next to Positano, but it is so charming here. Ravello has also been named The City of Music. In the summertime, I would recommend going to one of their open air concerts.
Wander Spend a day wandering through the tiny alleys eating gelato and window shopping (or shopping for real). Positano is known for ceramics and leather sandals (this place has the best sandals in my opinion. Buy some limoncello to bring home to your friends and family, so they can have a taste of Positano.
I am a California girl who doesn't like to walk anywhere, but take me to Positano and I will walk up and down hundreds of steps and through tiny alleys or on windy dangerous streets all day everyday. Yes, that's how much I love it. Next up, Venice!
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