24 hours in Positano

I kinda hate myself for saying this, but I adore Positano; Positano ha il mio cuore.

view behind with duomo

Impossibly stacked Positano

I know how travellers are always trying to distinguish ourselves from the tourist, so naturally a glamorous resort town where a panino and a beer will set you back more than €10 is probably the last place you’d consider. However, despite Positano’s in-your-face-tourism and getting constantly ripped off wherever you go, I found my one night’s stay to be nothing but delightful.

view from cafe

Ironically, we weren’t actually intending on visiting Positano at all. I thought it would be too touristy, too expensive, and a bit of a waste of time, having already visited nearby town Amalfi. We had our plans set on Praino, a small town just the next stop on the SITA bus from Positano. However, P and I couldn’t take the travel sickness anymore. I’m not usually one for it, but the bus was so over-crowded and we didn’t have seats- meaning we had to cling onto something for dear life as it swerved around cliff-edges; I thought I’d pass out. Arriving at Positano, we threw ourselves off the bus and stood for a few minutes, exhausted and icky, and slowly breathed in the wonderful, mountainous air. From up here, Positano seemed more like a welcoming village, bustling with friendly locals getting on with their day-to-days. I couldn’t wait to explore.

little man statue

pretty town

view

From the bus stop there are different ways you can walk down to arrive at the town centro, so take your pick. We followed a sign and not after long we found ourselves mesmerised by how perfectly wonderful this little town is, and after passing by a local school, wishing I had found work here instead.

But what I loved most about Positano were all the ways you could get lost, I mean, not really lost, but away from the hustle and bustle. P and I found little side-way alleys, we walked up and down hundreds upon hundreds of tiny steps that passed people’s actual homes. You could hear the sound of families sitting down to eat, the clinking, the laughing, the aroma of whatever mamma’s cooked up. You could see the laundry hanging out to dry, the lines sweeping out in front of you like a trail of breadcrumbs. I kept wishing over and over that we were here visiting friends or family who lived here, that there’d be a plate of something delizioso waiting around the corner for me, arms wide open, calling “Ciao bella!” “Come stai?” And we’d eat and eat and drink until we eventually grew tired and took to a well-earned siesta. 

a cafe

a mini spanish steps

shops

stairs to the beach

walking around quiet

We’d also not actually planned to stay the night, since Positano is known for being notoriously expensive. But here’s something you should know: occasionally the SITA bus that you’re relying on to take you back to Sorrento and back home, either won’t turn up (a girl I’d met said she’d been waiting over an hour and a half, another guy was screaming down the phone in Italian to the SITA bus company office), or won’t stop and let you on. Drives right past you, too full to stop. Not just once, but the one after too. In which case you’ll need a plan B.

Plan B: Staying the night

me and balcony

As I started to chain-smoke and moan and sigh about the situation, P noticed a “HOSTEL” sign not too far from the bus stop. He suggested we go and take a look. The hostel wasn’t far away at all and inside it was fresh and clean and very well decorated. The receptionist was extremely helpful and we booked ourselves in for the night at once. A single bed in the shared dorm was around €30 each, while a private room was just €70, so we went with that. The room itself was perfect for what we needed, in fact, it was better than what we had at home (in Naples); a hot shower that lasted longer than 3 minutes, a comfortable bed, no mould on the walls, no cars driving by constantly- and having to breath in exhaust fumes, no Napolitani yobs shouting around outside; and if all that wasn’t enough, we were rewarded with a balcony which possessed the most breath-taking vista.

view fom balcony1

Positano at night, although relaxing and romantic, is very expensive. Still, we managed to find a negozietto which sold all kinds of books, English ones too (where I grabbed Just One Evil Act), as well as magazines, stationary, football stickers, and most importantly, wine. Why sit at a fancy restaurant and pay up to €300 for a bottle of wine when you can waltz into a shop and get one for a fiver?! We took our bottle and made our way back through the narrow streets, past smiling waiters inviting you in, past street sellers and shop vendors huddled together smoking, even past a whopping EIGHT cats all sat together on the pavement. Then we mounted the thousand odd steps back to the top, which wasn’t particularly favourable, until we reached a little alley-way and a wall which was perfectly positioned. We slipped off our shoes and sat on this wall which looked down on most of Positano, it’s duomo, kids playing in the piazza, couples dining, groups of friends on the beach, and we were just us, happy. Discovering a particular spot which resonates with you in some way becomes the first thing you think of when you’re reminded of the place. That feeling.

view from the wall night

Tell me about a special place you’ve visited or sat down, and why you’ll never forget it!

Hi! I'm Sarah. I dropped out of university tired with the mundane life I was living in England. Now I'm an aspiring ex-pat of the world, having already lived and worked in Vietnam, Italy and Maldives. I'm using this blog to document my experiences and hopefully inspire others!

39 Comments

  1. Your recount of your experience staying in Positano was really helpful as it showed how beautiful it was but also honestly stated how expensive it was. The tip regarding the SITA bus is definitely something I’ll keep in mind when visiting. Amazing photographs too! The architecture is amazing but the homes and shops look like they’re quite steep – time to practice those lunges for the stairs haha!

  2. Have not been on that bus but surely some like it. The town of Positano seems to have been a delightful place to visit and you did seem to like yours. I know that the photos in article would lead me to visit for nothing more than a photo shoot alone. The price however would probably keep me well away from a visit. 30 Euros for a dorm bed WOW!. I have only had that experience in Australia but, we slow travel and usually book by the month then day trip to place such as this so I am keeping it on my list for sure. Look forward to more from you.

    1. Thanks John and Laura! I actually thought €30 for the room in glamorous Positano was an excellent deal! To stay in a hotel there you’d be looking at around £100-£500 a night 🙂

    1. Luckily I was living close to Naples at the time, so I had lots of amazing adventures exploring other parts of the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Sorrento and so much more– I would recommend Campania to anyone planning a trip to Italy! One thing I didn’t get a chance to do was hiking around the Amalfi Coast, I’ve heard it’s stunning.

  3. Positano is one of those city I really want to visit and it’s so helpful that you let us know how pricey it can be at night. I’ve heard so many good things about it, and I’ve always wanted to check this up. I’ve had so many experiences with the buses that I’m not surprised haha! But yes 30€ is not that pricey so that’s a good point, and even if it’s a shared room! x

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  4. I love your story! Sometimes you find the best places when you’re “lost” or your travel plans get interrupted. I can imagine how frustrating it was to watch the buses just drive on by. Positano looks beautiful, though! I would love to walk down those streets and just take in the scenery.

    1. Thanks Evanne- I’m so happy my story resonated with you! I do hope you get a chance to see Positano, or anywhere along the Amalfi Coast really! It’s just glorious. 🙂

  5. It looks so romantic and the flair of those pictures really took me into your post! I like that you stated how expensive it is so at least we know what to expect but come on people … lets save up where we can and see this beautiful place! 🙂 I am pretty sure you had such a good time over there … what was your favourite dish for dinning out there?

  6. Wow your story telling is amazing and really makes me feel like I need to go there! I love all the photos with the beautiful views! It always seems best to wander off and find somewhere off the beaten path I think!

  7. What a pleasant surprise! Sometimes it is nice to just stumble into a new city and go for it, even if only one night. Looks lovely.

  8. What a beautiful city. The houses along the cliff look so picturesque and just straight out of a movie! I guess some places are well known for a reason. I really like how you said you could get lost there. Sometimes when I travel, even when its to a different city, I just want to feel “lost”. Perhaps not necessarily having a set itinerary or just seeing where the day takes you.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more there Ann, that’s what was so lovely about my trip to Positano– initially it was a day trip but then I stayed the night which opened up so much more. Sometimes having an itinerary (start here, end there) takes all the fun out of exploring.

  9. This looks so cute 🙂 I can see why you loved it… Who cares if everyone else does too 😉 the cat scene is funny! Though the room was pricey, it does look like you scored a stellar view!

    1. Even if Positano and the Amalfi Coast are pretty touristy, they are wonderfully charming and quaint insights into Italian coastal life! Hope to get another glimpse of more coastal towns this summer. 🙂

  10. I love how you captured the atmosphere with your photographs! Looks so amazing. Such an idyllic place 🙂 It makes me want to go there just now 🙂

  11. Positano is so unbelievably charming! (actually my fam and I started considering is as a vacation destination). With all my love to Italy I have just fallen in love with what you’re saying.
    I can imagine drinking my fave cappuccino and wandering through the narrow streets.
    The city I can’t help thinking about is Milan. Quite modern, elegant and so gorgeous. I have just felt this mental connection with this city.
    Thanks for sharing such a pretty story of yours.

  12. Such an inspiring and insightful post, I definitely need to add this to my bucket list! The photographs are wonderful too, you can definitely tell what an incredible atmosphere this place evokes. Great work!

  13. Honestly, I dont have any idea about this place called Positano. But Im pretty sure this is somewhere in Europe. I will need to google
    More about this place because it seem interesting. I love this kind of Architecture and you mentioned that though ita touristy its worth vising and we can find cheap place to stay.

    How I wish it would be easy to fly there from Asia 🙂

  14. Judging by the photos, Positano is one of those very touristy destinations you just have to brave. Some of the popular ones are just too beautiful to miss out on. I agree with you on getting lost on narrow side streets, it’s wonderful, and I miss my times wondering about narrow alleys going up and down in Sardinia. It was an amazing afternoon!

  15. You post couldn’t have come in a better time Sarah! Visiting Italy this month end and Amalfi coast is on the itinerary. Thanks for your tip about SITA bus, will keep that in mind. Positano looks like a gorgeous bride in the night!

  16. Oh my Sarah, it sounds like you experienced La Dolce Vita! I’ve traveled to Positano – Amalfi – Napoli, too long time ago, so long and so young I was I can’t remember anything else than the beautiful coast I see in your pictures as well. I love everything with Italy, and Positano was one of my most meaningful travel experiences, your pictures are so gorgeous and the post so useful, it makes me wanna go there asap!

    Another place I visited and sat down and drank wine and ate homemade pasta on the terrace of a small vila we’ve rented out on the cliffs of Santa Margherita Liguria, close to Portofino, watching over the amazing view over the town and sea, listening to italian music with the love of my life, planning a life in Italy.
    We’re still living in Sweden, but hey, we’re young, let’s hope the dream will come true! I still owe that story on my blog.

    Lovely blog, lovely stories, I’ll be watching for more! 🙂

  17. Yes, it is beautiful and it is expensive, but it is also mobbed by tourist, and has to be one of the
    most uncomfortable places on the Amalfi Coast to explore. This demands constant climbing or
    descending, at very steep angles. Just exhausting and crowded. Try Ravello for a far more
    civilized, relaxing, and interesting travel experience. Priced about the same.

    1. I don’t agree that it was uncomfortable, but I certainly wouldn’t base myself in Positano. A day visit like I had was lovely, and I’d also recommend going in the Spring as it was still warm but much less crowded. Ravello is gorgeous!

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