Of the Amalfi Coast’s many beautiful villages, Positano has a special way of capturing the heart of travelers from around the world. Even before setting foot on the Amalfi Coast, Positano is a dream destination for so many. Certainly for good reason! Its pastel buildings stacked up one on top of another up the mountainside, dotted with bougainvillea, and kissed by the sun make it a captivating sight. Here’s our list of Positano things to see and do to make the most of your Amalfi Coast experience!
The best of Positano is just moments from the town’s main beach, which is called Spiaggia Grande, or large beach. If you arrive by boat, you’ll be right at the Spiaggia Grande, which means you’ll have fewer stairs to navigate in the famous Vertical City. The Amalfi Coast Road weaves through Positano at the upper part of town, so if you’re arriving by bus or car you’ll need to walk down steps and the inclined walkway to reach the heart of the town near the beach. Positano’s maze of narrow streets and steps are fun to explore as nearly all of them are lined with boutiques that show of one of the best things to do in Positano: shopping!
Positano is famous for its unique fashion, which features linen in those same pastel hues of its many buildings, crisp white, and Mediterranean blues. The traditional style also features lace detailing and a relaxed, flowing style. The perfect addition to a Positano outfit is a pair of handmade leather loafers or custom made sandals. There are plenty of options to choose from as you stroll through the streets of Positano. Along with fashion boutiques, you’ll find ceramic shops packed to the brim with colorful ceramics, shops selling lemon scented products, a Carthusia perfume store, and much much more.
Located just steps from the beach, Positano’s largest church is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta and holds a surprising amount of history to explore. Inside the church above the altar is a Byzantine icon of the Madonna that is much loved by the town’s locals. It is said to be the origin of Positano’s name. As the legend goes, the icon was aboard a ship sailing past the village when the wind suddenly stopped. The ship’s captain heard a voice calling out, “Posa, posa!” This means “Put me down!” and so the captain took it as a sign that the icon was to stay in the nearby village.
After admiring the icon and the church’s neoclassical interior, stop outside below the bell tower to buy a ticket to visit the medieval crypt and ancient Roman ruins below the church. While small compared to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other archaeological sites in the area, it is a unique look at Roman frescoes and a seaside villa that helps bring the fascinating history of Positano to life.
While Positano’s Spiaggia Grande is one of the most photogenic spots in town, there are more beautiful beaches to discover. Walking along the Via Positanesi d’America walkway carved into the rocks leads past a watchtower and down to Fornillo beach. A bit quieter and with a pretty view framed by another historic watchtower, this beach is an excellent spot to swim and spend some time soaking up the sun. Nearby Positano there are other small beaches that are best reached by boat, including the popular Arienzo beach and further east along the coastline the tiny Laurito beach.
Planning your holiday in Positano? If you book an Amalfi Coast cruise with us, you can enjoy some free time in Positano and then hop back aboard to continue your excursion down the coastline. It’s an ideal way to see the city if you’re staying in another village on the coastline. Or if you’re staying in a Positano hotel or vacation rental, we can pick you up right on the main beach of Positano for a romantic Amalfi Coast sunset cruise, a relaxing full day Amalfi Coast cruise, or a Capri private boat cruise to explore the island away from the crowds. Just contact us to find out more!