What are the five best things to see and do in Positano?

You won’t have much idle time on your hands in Positano, where you can take a swim in crystal-clear water, shop fashionable boutiques, dine on excellent cuisine and climb seemingly never-ending steep, winding stairwells – the walkways alone can consume you for hours with their secret gardens and undiscovered porticoes. To help prioritize your time, here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ five top recommendations for activities in Positano:
 
1. Rent a boat. Many independent and established “taxi services” line the Spiaggia Grande and offer deals on private sea excursions. You can rent a private boat, then cruise around Capri Island to discover the many secluded beaches and grottoes, head to a secluded beach or see the Sirenuse islands, where according to legend sirens from Homer’s Odyssey sang songs to lure ships to crash into the islands.
 
2. Hike the trails. You’ll get a full workout in simply walking the streets of Positano. Filled with steep steps, one of the city’s most historic trails will take you into the town of Santa Maria di Castello, where an unparalleled view of the bay awaits. A more accessible hike will take you up roughly 1,300 feet through citrus groves to the charming town of Montepertuso.
 
3. Soak up the sun. Positano’s sparkling turquoise waters are clean, clear and perfect for a quick dip or a long day at the beach. The city has two main beaches: Spiaggia Grande, the main beach located alongside the ferry terminal, and Fornillo, a smaller, more secluded beach with a handful of bars that’s accessed via a path from Spiaggia Grande.
 
4. Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. This 100-year-old church is one of the city’s most famous attractions. It’s highlighted by a breathtaking dome, and is also home to a 13th-century Byzantine icon of a black Madonna.

5. Stroll Via Cristoforo Colombo. Whether you’re shopping or you simply want to get a feel for everyday life in Positano, a romantic pre- or post-dinner stroll along this charming street will lead you to local boutiques and splendid Moorish-style architecture.

  • On July 3, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best day trip from Positano?

    You could spend months slowing working your way through the Amalfi Coast and exploring its many picturesque towns, but if you only have time for one day trip from Positano, our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend heading to Pompeii, the city that was buried in lava when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.
     
    Considered one of the world’s most important archaeological discoveries, Pompeii’s well-preserved condition exudes an eerie ambience as you walk through this ancient Roman city. The vast ruins of the Amphitheatre of Pompeii, the Odeon and the Stabian Baths are quite impressive and worth lingering over, and if you have time and are physically capable of making the trek, hike up to the summit of Mount Vesuvius for awesome panoramic views of the area.
     
    Word of caution: the open fields in and around Pompeii can heat up very quickly, so be sure to slather on plenty of sunscreen; a hat, sunglasses and plenty of water are a good idea, too.
  • On July 3, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best thing to bring home from Positano?

    When you’re looking for the best thing to bring home from Positano, look past the touristy T-shirts and grab a bottle of limoncello. Like many others, our Forbes Travel Guide editors think it’s the perfect nightcap and a great way to share your Mediterranean experience with your friends stuck at home – just one sip after dinner will transport you back to that fresh air and breezy Italian lifestyle you fell in love with during your visit. Serve it icy cold, with sugar around the rim and garnished with strawberry and mint.
     
    If you’d rather have a souvenir that will last longer than a bottle of  liqueur, order a custom-made pair of leather sandals from a local boutique. Every step in your perfect-fitting sandals will remind you of the laid-back Mediterranean way of life.
  • On July 3, 2012
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    What are the five best Positano food experiences?

    Positano’s breezy, outdoor dining experiences add something special to even the simplest of dishes. From crispy margherita pizzas to freshly caught frutti di mare (mixed seafood), here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the top five things to eat in this seaside paradise:
     
    1. Zuppe di mare. Originally a simple favorite of fisherman, this seafood soup is a historic favorite in Positano and making a comeback among locals and tourists alike.

    2. Limoncello. This neon-yellow, lemon-flavored liquor is served ice cold and made with more than just its namesake fruit. Mixed with a hint of strawberry, walnuts and even rose petals, this famous local drink makes for the perfect after-dinner cocktail or a mid-day refreshment.
     
    3. Margherita pizza. Pizza crust in southern Italy is baked thin and crispy and topped with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. Don’t be surprised if you breeze through an entire pizza by yourself – and consider ordering another. It’s that delicious.
     
    4. Grilled fish in lemon sauce. Whether it’s a nice piece sole or squid, definitely try this fresh, simple staple that’s on the menu at just about every restaurant in Positano.
     
    5. Lemon granita. Lemon granita is an old-time favorite that’s sort of like a lemonade-flavored slushy. Try it with limoncello for a refreshing cocktail.
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  • On July 3, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where is the best nightlife in Positano?

    In Positano you’ll find upscale bars with stunning terraces overlooking the ocean as well as breezy, casual beach bars near the water. Try the Champagne & Oyster Bar at the Le Sirenuse hotel for excellent aperitivo and fashionable clientele. There’s also La Buca di Bacco, which is on Spiaggia Grande beach and was originally a social hub for local celebrities. Today, you can enjoy a casual coffee at La Buca or check out the tavern for a glass of wine and impromptu art exhibit.
     
    For live music our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend heading to ConWinum, where jazz blasts all weekend long among a mostly local crowd. If dancing is more your thing, don’t miss Music on the Rocks, a two-level club nuzzled in a grotto alongside the main beach.
  • On July 3, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Positano in one day?

    If you only have one day to spend in Positano, be sure to wake up early enough to have time to explore both the surf and the turf.
     
    Our Forbes Travel Guide editors love starting the day off with a warm croissant from any hole-in-the-wall bakery, though a favorite is La Zagara, a historic bakery famous for its almond cake, lemon cream puffs and other sweets. While it’s still cool in the morning, hike up the Thousand Steps, where you’ll pass porticoes and terraces covered in vines, fuchsia flowers and citrus trees. Once you reach the top, gaze down upon Capri and the Sirenuse islands, home to the mythical sirens from Homer’s Odyssey. While you’re up there, treat yourself to some thin pizza, housemade pasta or gnocchi at La Tagliata, one of Positano’s best restaurants..
     
    After climbing back down or taking the restaurant’s complimentary shuttle to your hotel, pull on your bathing suit and spend the afternoon at the beach. For a quieter day, walk past the main beach, Spiaggia Grande, and head to Fornillo, where you can enjoy a cocktail or two while soaking up the sun for a few hours. When you’ve had your fill grab a lemon slushy and head back to your hotel to freshen up.
     
    After resting for awhile next make your way to Next2 for one of the city’s best cocktail and appetizer buffets, but don’t fill up too much because we suggest splurging on dinner at La Sponda, located at the Le Sirenuse hotel. This lovely restaurant offers one of the finest dining experiences in Positano, with its incredible views from the dining room only rivaled by its award-winning cuisine.
     
    Finally, finish the day off with a nightcap of limoncello, the local lemon liqueur, and a cup of gelato.
  • On July 3, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best places to eat at in Positano?

    A mix of traditional Italian flavors and fresh seafood will make dining in Positano one of the highlights of your visit. Beyond the simple, local favorites, Positano also has a number of award-winning restaurants, which made it difficult for our Forbes Travel Guide editors to name just five as the best places to eat in the city – but here they are. Wherever you go, remember that dinner rarely starts before 9 p.m.
     
    1. La Sponda at Le Sirenuse. The incredible views of the water at this fine-dining restaurant are a perfect backdrop to the award-winning cuisine. Inspired by southern Italy’s traditional foods, chef Matteo Temperini prepares meals with the freshest fish, cheese, lemons and herbs. We find the front of the house, where 400 candles light up the restaurant in the evening, particularly enchanting.
     
    2. La Tagliata. With its orange-accented décor, this family-run restaurant fits right in with the surrounding citrus groves. A matching orange shuttle offers round-trip service up the mountainside, where you’ll dine on a terrace with amazing views of the Galli Isles and Capri. You can’t go wrong with the chili-pepper spaghetti or homemade sausage, nor can you beat its hilltop location.
     
    3. Il Grottino Azzurro. A local’s favorite serving inexpensive cuisine, Il Grottino Azzurro is a wonderful place to enjoy a casual meal away from other tourists. While the older couple that runs the place spouts rapid-fire Italian, you’ll slurp up housemade pasta and enjoy dishes so good they can only have been perfected over multiple generations.
     
    4. Next2. This boisterous restaurant is popular among locals and tourists alike – the elegant white dining room and vine-lined courtyard are always hopping. Try the Italian sushi, made with freshly caught fish, and after dinner head to the bar for a nightcap and to join the buzzing crowd.
     
    5. Ristorante al Palazzo. Follow the row of candles past the colorful gardens until you come upon an enchanting dome — you’ve arrived at Ristorante al Palazzo’s torch-lit courtyard. Part of Hotel Palazzo Murat, this small restaurant uses herbs and spices from the gardens to create modern twists on timeless Amalfi cuisine.
  • On July 3, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best places to stay in Positano?

    From quaint bed and breakfasts to expansive private villas, Positano is famous for its stylish accommodations. Whether you’re on a romantic getaway or taking a family vacation, you can’t go wrong with these five picks from our Forbes Travel Guide editors for the best places to stay in this scenic city:
     
    1. Le Sirenuse. Featured in the film Only You starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei, Le Sirenuse was built in the 18th century and today is one of the most luxurious hotels in Positano. With its vaulted ceilings, antique furniture and private terraces with unforgettable views this red- and white-colored villa feels like a palace. During your stay you can also stay in shape in the hotel’s Aveda spa, its recently refurbished health club and swimming pool, but even the most health-conscious travelers shouldn’t skip a meal at La Sponda, the hotel’s award-winning restaurant.
     
    2. Hotel Buca di Bacco. Born from artists who fell in love with Positano in the 1950s, Buca di Bacco began as a candle-lit wine cellar that artists and celebrities gravitated to for more than 20 years. Today this family-owned hotel still sits in the same location — with the Spiaggia Grande beach to the front and the Chiesa Madre Cathedral to the back — but has evolved into a favored vacation destination. Its stark white walls, marble-finished bathrooms and arched doorways evoke luxury and natural beauty without forsaking the creative charms of its artistic past.
     
    3. Il San Pietro di Positano. Carved out among the cliffs is this well-known Positano hotel. Celebrities hide out here, likely because it has the only private beach in Positano, but we love it for the seaside tennis court, free boat rides along the coast (six days a week), pool, spa and one-of-a-kind white rooms with bright, bold features, like a sea-blue arched headboard with a curved, ornate gold border.
     
    4. Hotel Palazzo Murat. This luxury Positano hotel, tucked away in a botanical garden, is a palace reincarnate. Formerly the summer residence of the King of Naples, Gioacchino Murat, and his wife Carolina Bonaparte (Napoleon’s sister), this centrally located boutique hotel is highlighted by its ancient architecture and vivid fuchsia flowers at every turn. You won’t be disappointed.
     
    5. Hotel Miramare. A romantic hideaway where you’ll be lulled to sleep by waves splashing on the shore, Hotel Miramare looks like an Italian fantasy. From the welcoming warmth of Rosita, the hotel’s practically famous concierge, to the spectacular views and big balconies, you’ll be at total peace during your stay at this relaxing escape.
  • On July 3, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where is the best shopping in Positano?

    A popular hideaway for intellectuals, writers and artists in the 1950s, modern-day Positano has now become quite well known for its abundance of shopping opportunities, with its cobbled streets lined with high-fashion boutiques and shops selling hand-decorated ceramics and freshly bottled limoncello, the region’s staple liqueur.
     
    Our Forbes Travel Guide editors feel the best place to experience Positano’s retail glory is Via dei Mulini, the city’s main shopping street where you’ll get a first-hand look at the region’s breezy style. You’ll find an outlet for Moda Positano, the city’s most famous fashion brand, as well as 1960s-era tailors and Mediterranean artisans who will make you custom-fitted, free-flowing dresses, leather sandals and swimsuits. You can also, of course, pick up a bottle of limoncello after enjoying a complimentary tasting.
  • On July 3, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best things to do with kids in Positano?

    This charming Italian town is not just for couples on a romantic getaway: Its outdoor attractions and ample day-trip opportunities also make Positano a family-friendly destination offering plenty of things to do with kids. Here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the top-five activities for traveling families with children:
     
    1. Take the ferry to Capri. The 40-minute trip to Capri is an exciting adventure for kids as they watch the colorful hill town emerge beyond vast turquoise waters. Once you’re there, you can stop for a seaside lunch, let the kids take a dip in the water, and stroll through the colorful streets before heading back for dinner. Ferries depart from the Marina Grande, usually three times a day.
     
    2. Explore Grotta la Porta. Grotta la Porta gapes invitingly at the city’s entrance. Adventurous families will love exploring this ancient cave, which is home to remnants of the Paleolithic era.
     
    3. Play in the sun. Kids will have a blast whether you stick around the main beach, Spiaggia Grande, where you can rent snorkels from nearby vendors, or head to the more secluded Fornillo.
     
    4. Head to Herculaneum. Pompeii is a justifiably popular day trip, but the historic city offers little to no coverage from the sun, making it hard to protect kids from the heat. Instead, consider visiting Herculaneum, the holiday resort of the Romans that was swamped by a landslide of mud in 79 A.D. after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. There you can explore Roman villas and gaze at colorful 2,000-year-old frescoes.
     
    5. Walk the Thousand Steps. Need a way to tire out the kids while exploring the town? If your children are old enough for some serious exercise, take them up the Thousand Steps to the highest points of the city. The kids will be in awe of the views while you’re up there – and you’ll have secured a good night’s sleep later on.
  • On July 3, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best things to see and do in Positano?

    You won’t have much idle time on your hands in Positano, where you can take a swim in crystal-clear water, shop fashionable boutiques, dine on excellent cuisine and climb seemingly never-ending steep, winding stairwells – the walkways alone can consume you for hours with their secret gardens and undiscovered porticoes. To help prioritize your time, here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ five top recommendations for activities in Positano:
     
    1. Rent a boat. Many independent and established “taxi services” line the Spiaggia Grande and offer deals on private sea excursions. You can rent a private boat, then cruise around Capri Island to discover the many secluded beaches and grottoes, head to a secluded beach or see the Sirenuse islands, where according to legend sirens from Homer’s Odyssey sang songs to lure ships to crash into the islands.
     
    2. Hike the trails. You’ll get a full workout in simply walking the streets of Positano. Filled with steep steps, one of the city’s most historic trails will take you into the town of Santa Maria di Castello, where an unparalleled view of the bay awaits. A more accessible hike will take you up roughly 1,300 feet through citrus groves to the charming town of Montepertuso.
     
    3. Soak up the sun. Positano’s sparkling turquoise waters are clean, clear and perfect for a quick dip or a long day at the beach. The city has two main beaches: Spiaggia Grande, the main beach located alongside the ferry terminal, and Fornillo, a smaller, more secluded beach with a handful of bars that’s accessed via a path from Spiaggia Grande.
     
    4. Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. This 100-year-old church is one of the city’s most famous attractions. It’s highlighted by a breathtaking dome, and is also home to a 13th-century Byzantine icon of a black Madonna.

    5. Stroll Via Cristoforo Colombo. Whether you’re shopping or you simply want to get a feel for everyday life in Positano, a romantic pre- or post-dinner stroll along this charming street will lead you to local boutiques and splendid Moorish-style architecture.