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The best things to do in postcard pretty Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Positano is a little fishing village teetering on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast between Sorrento and Praiano. 

The houses are built on terraces, precariously stacked upon one another, cascading down the steep cliffs towards the small beach below. Small alleyways weave between the houses lined with galleries, shops, restaurants and cafes.

See the Moorish dome of Church of Santa Maria Assunta and the beach studded with colourful parasols. A backdrop of verdant covered hills against a cobalt blue sky completes this picture postcard of a town.

Pretty as a Picture Positano

To call Positano picturesque would be an understatement. The pastel-painted houses – primrose, pink, peach and terracotta peep out from flowers and foliage. Lemon groves to give the town a dreamy feel and you’d almost expect to see a young Audrey Hepburn drive past in an ice-cream coloured sports car, chiffon headscarf billowing as ‘Moon River’ floats on the breeze behind her.

Because there’s no room in Positano for tourist buses or major development it has retained a charming fifties feeling. Positano is a Roman Holiday in glorious Technicolor. So now you’ve got an idea of what the small town is like you’ll want to discover the best things to do in Positano? Read on…

Things to do in Positano, Italy

Head to the beach

Head down to Spiaggia Grande where the fishermen launch their boats. Sunshine-coloured parasols spike the sand like cocktail umbrellas and ferries drop off straw-hatted day-trippers.

Restaurants and bars line the walkway and artists replicate the beautiful Positano views on their canvases. 

Wander along to the far end of the beach and look back for one the best views you’ll see of Positano.  When you done all that hire yourself a sunbed and a parasol and soak up the sunshine.

Positano Shopping – what to buy

Colourful shops line the stepped and sloping alleyways of Positano. You’ll find beautiful ceramics, art, jewellery and hand-made leather sandals. These are made to order while you wait and handy if your heels can’t hack the inclines. 

The hundreds of steps can be hard work and there are no lifts but every other building is a bar or restaurant so there’s no shortage of places to catch your breath and besides you’ll know you’ve burnt off the calories from that gelato before you’ve got back to the top.

Positano, Italy
Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast

Visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta

The Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta, founded in the 13th century is topped with a gorgeous majolica dome encrusted with vibrant yellow, blue and green tiles; yellow for the sunshine, blue for the sea and green for the lush foliage. 

The softly rounded dome contrasts beautifully against the pastel coloured cubes clambering down the hills.  Inside the church you’ll find the icon Tavola of the Madonna Nera or Black Madonna.

Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Positano
Church of Santa Maria Assunta

Positano  makes for a dream of a day-trip during your stay in Sorrento or Amalfi. The views on the drive to the town are stunning and there are many lookout points dotted along the coast with wonderful views of the town, La Galli islands and the Costiera Amalfitana.  So, stroll awhile, shop awhile and indulge in an amazing lunch at ‘La Tagliata’ in the hills as you gaze down on picture postcard Positano and a perfect day.

There are so many things to do in Positano and nearby so think about spending a few days there and take day trips to Pompeii, Paestum, Amalfi and Sorrento.

Positano, Italy
View of Positano

How to get to Positano

The SITA bus departs twice-hourly from the front of the Sorrento train station to Positano, continuing on to Amalfi. You can purchase individual tickets or a UnicoCostiera pass for unlimited travel all along the Amalfi Coast – valid for 24 hours or 3 days.

The bus can get very busy in high season and a seat is not guaranteed. For the best views when travelling from Sorrento to Amalfi sit on the right-hand side of the bus (as you face the front) and swap to the left for the return journey.

For a different perspective on the return journey, a ferry is a good option giving beautiful views of the coastline from the water. Frequency varies seasonally and there are roughly six daily trips between Amalfi and Positano (20 minutes) and four daily between Amalfi and Sorrento (60 minutess).

If you’re feeling reckless/brave you could hire a car and drive yourself – although that’s not something I’d recommend if you really want to take in the views because your eye will be on the oncoming traffic – out of season would be less crowded but still not for the faint-hearted.  Parking is extremely limited in Positano.

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