Mini Guide to Positano

Getting There

The quickest way to get to Positano is to rent a car in Naples and drive. The car gives you freedom and the drive takes around 90 minutes. The downside of this is that you will have to drive in Naples. There is no simple way to put this…driving in Naples is nothing like driving in a typical city. You’ll encounter intersections without traffic signals or stop signs, dogs and babies on Vespas, and drivers who break every traffic law. Also parking in Positano is hard to find and it costs around 30€/day.

Another way to get to Positano is by train. There is no direct train to Positano so if you want to take a train, you can only travel from Napoli Centrale to Sorrento, and then you need to travel from Sorrento to Positano by SITA bus. The Circumvesuviana train heads to Sorrento every half hour from 6 AM to 11 PM in the high season, and a bit less frequently in off seasons. A one way trip takes an hour and ten minutes; you can purchase your ticket at the station for 4€. Keep in mind that these tickets can’t be purchased in advance, so trains tend to be overcrowded or sold out. It’s worth spending the extra 4€ for the Campania Express, which makes the trip from Naples to Sorrento in under an hour and is generally considered more comfortable.

As we wanted to get to Positano as early as possible we took the Circumvesuviana train. We read so many bad expirences online that we honestly expected this train would be full of criminals and mugging would be the best case scenario. In our experience there is nothing wrong with this train. Of course, you have to be vigiliant and use common sense but for anyone who’s ever been on the public transport there shouldn’t be a problem.

Once you reach Sorrento, you’re halfway done with your trip! Now you’re just a short bus or ferry ride away! The Sita bus company runs from Sorrento Railway Station along the coast, all the way to Amalfi with stops in Positano. The bus runs daily, in the peak season leaving every 30 minutes from 6:30 AM until 7:30 PM and takes about 45 minutes. Tickets cost between 10€ and 12€ and can be purchased at local cigarette shops, newspaper stands, or the Circumvesuviana station. However, a ticket doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a seat as these busses are often oversold. Get there as early as possible to secure your seat.

Where to Eat

Tagliata

Settled in the hills above Positano, this charming restaurant is something you can’t miss. This family run restaurant doesn’t have a menu but instead you are offered a set meal of antipasti, first course (selection of pasta), second course (selection of barbequed meats), dessert and a bottle of wine for a fixed price of 45€ per person. The view makes the dining experience so enjoyable, but the food was truly the highlight. With many of their ingredients grown right on the property, even the simple vegetable dishes had an amazing flavor. After lunch we had a walk around their vegetable and lemon gardenwhere they also keep chickens, rabbits and donkeys.

Bar Buca di Bacco

 Casual spot right on the main beach! In the morning you can get your coffee & croissant fix, and during lunch a pizza and a glass of wine! A more affordable option amongst the other sit-down restaurants on the main beach.

Where to take pictures

Spaggia Grande

What is a visit to Positano without a visit to its famous beach? We didn’t have a chance to swim because it was very windy but did manage to wander around the beach until it got too busy. The Spaggia Grande is actually a private beach. To rent a beach chair you are looking at 22€ per chair, while the front row chairs are 25€. If that’s not your jam, you can bring your own towel and lay in a small section just next to the chairs for free.

Shops in Positano

Head to the Church in Positano and you will find the perfect little shop selling ceramics. They don’t allow photos inside but the outside is just perfect.

Chez Black and Beach Promenade

Chez Black is a restaurant right on the main beach in Positano. I loved the charm it had, and it felt like a perfect photo opportunity! If you keep walking along the beach promenade you’ll find pretty spots to shoot like this beach entrance!

The Deli

At the crossroad between two main walking streets Piazza dei Mulini and Via Cristoforo Colombo lies The Delicatessen and the stairs that lead to the street where famous La Sirenus Hotel is located. It’s a bit hard to get a good picture here during the day for the obvious reasons so try mornings.

Hotel Poseidon

Well not the actual hotel but actually down the road from it. The hotel is amazing for photos as well but I acidentally found this spot which turned out to be my favourite view of Positano. And guess what, it’s not busy so you can have it to yourself.

Le Sirenuse Hotel

Most of the photos you find online while searching for Positano are probably taken from this hotel. Some lucky people have the opportunity to stay there but for those less lucky you can book a lunch or a dinner or go for a drink at Franco’s bar. Franco’s don’t take bookings so make sure you arrive as soon it opens, at 5pm. In case you were wondering, this famous balcony is located at the hotel’s lobby.

What to do

Unlike Rome where there’s a plenty of historical sights to see, the Amalfi coast is reserved for relaxation (except the many stairs that you have to walk everyday).

Spend your days at the beach. There are two beaches in Positano. Spaggia Grande is the main beach that acts as the center of town! If you are looking for something quieter head to Fornillo, just a 5-10 minute walk along the coastal pathway.

Take a ride around the Amalfi Coast on a private boat.

Enjoy fresh Italian food and have more than one Aperol during aperitivo.

Take a day trip to Capri.

Capture the views from every angle.

How to spend 4 days in Rome

You know what they say : “All Roads Lead to Rome” and that’s why you just have to visit it at least once in your life. I don’t know why it took me so long to visit but I have to say it’s now one of the top 5 places i’ve ever been to. Here are my top tips about what to do and how to get around.

How to get around Rome

The best way to get from place to place in Rome is on your own two feet. Rome is a highly walkable city, assuming you’re not trying to walk all the way from Vatican City to the Colosseum in one go. We were staying very close to the Colosseum so we were two metro stops (5minutes) from the main Roma Termini station and around 17 minutes walk from Trevi Fountain.

If you’re not up for walking or simply can’t, the local bus system in Rome is easy to use and cheap. Buses are frequent, but not necessarily always on time or reliable. I suggest using an app like Citymapper to plan your route. One-way bus tickets or all-day passes can be bought at most newspaper kiosks,convenience shops or metro stations in Rome, just be careful though, most shopkeepers we spoke to wanted cash and wouldn’t let us pay for tickets with our debit cards.

What to eat & drink in Rome

Grazia & Graziella

Grazia & Graziella

This vintage-style restaurant, located in Trastevere relies on tradition and creativity, with their 60s and 70s inspired decor . The name comes from Grazia, the name of the owner’s grandmother (who is also to thank for the unique recipes) and from Graziella, the traditional Italian bicycle.

Largo M.D. Fumasoni Biondi, 5,Rome

Tonarello

Just across the street from Grazia & Graziella is this very popular and very busy restaurant so come early or be prepared to wait in a queue. It’s a classic italian restaurant but with very tasty food and amazing service.

Via della Paglia, 1,Rome

Mr. 100 Tiramisu/Two Sizes

These two tiramisu places couldn’t be more different but hey are both delicious.

As the name says, Mr. 100 Tiramisu is the place where you can choose from 100 different types of tiramisu. Unexpectedly, the place is very small and serves tiramisu at the bar because the tables are reserved for food and wine (you can have tiramisu for dessert), the food mainly consisted of chacuterie (cheese and dried meat). Because it’s a bit off the tourist track, it doesn’t get overly busy. After a long debate and looking at the menu, we chose banana, dulce de leche and cinnamon and dark chocolate with orange, it was great watching them create our tiramisu for us right in front of our eyes whist we sat at the bar!

Via dei Sediari 11/12,Rome

Two sizes is a much more touristy and straightforward tiramisu place, classic tiramisu in mini and normal size. It’s ideal if you want to grab something quick and not hang about.

Via del Governo Vecchio 88, Rome

Salotto42

Known as one of the coolest bars in Rome (and one of the most instagrammable because of pink flowers on the facade) with its cool rotating art on the walls, magazines and vinyls scattered around,plush chairs and beautifluly made cocktails. The €10-12 cocktails always come with a simple side of olives and chips and mini sendwiches at end so make sure to pop by and sample one of the signature Spritzes. Yes,that’s right Spritzes. The trendy bar has a cocktail menu dedicated entirely to the spritz!

Piazza di Pietra, 42, Rome

Bar del Cinque

Another gem in the Trastavere neighborhood. With a beautiful facade often seen on Instagram. I felt this was the most authentic place we visited as we were the only tourists inside.

Vicolo de’ Cinque, 5, Roma

Les Etoiles

This is the hotel which I chose only because of the amazing view of the Rome. Coffee or anything else is a bit pricey so we paid €5 for coffee, €5 for water and 5€ for selection of biscuits but it was worth it, don’t you think?

What to see in Rome

The ancient city of Rome is literally an open air museum, and tracks back to 753 BC. There are certain sights everyone will see but here are my top picks and advice how to beat the crowd, take the best pictures and generally enjoy stress free sightseeing!

Colosseum and Roman Forum

It’s not surprising that the Colosseum hosts 4 million tourists a year being one of the 7 Wonders of the World. That means you can expect the queues to be very long any day of the week. Add the hot sun and humidity to the mix and you are asking for a recipe for disaster.

When you google tickets, you will get dozens of different websites and tours, many of them very expensive. Also we didn’t want to take a guided tour, they take too long and we wanted to go and see things at our own pace, so I was very happy when I discovered the perfect ticket for us on the tickets website Headout. Our ticket was a skip-the-line with escorted entry which included the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and cost only €28. So how does this work? We (and lots of other people) meet the guide down the street from Colosseum at an agreed meeting spot and he accompanies us through a special tour groups entrance where we jumped the queue and got inside within minutes without needing to queue. The only thing you can’t skip is the security bit (same as the airport) but that was quick as well because we took the earliest ticket we could find which was 8:30am and there weren’t as many groups.

If you want to capture a good picture of Colosseum or Roman Forum you actually have to be outside of it. The street Via Nicola Salvi, just above the metro station Colosseum is the perfect spot to capture an iconic Colosseum photo. You won’t be alone there but it’s doable as people move fast.

We got to spend around 2 hours in the Coloseum, which was more than enough to see the entire thing and read all of the information about the building and it’s history, and we then went back to the meeting point to meet our guide and be escorted to the Forum.

To get great a Roman Forum picture head behind Museu Capitolina to Via di S.Pietro in Carcere.

Trevi Fountain & Spanish Steps

Trevi fountain is the fountain of all fountains, one of the most iconic spots in Rome and literally the most crowded spot of all time. One of the reasons is the legend about throwing coins into it. The legend claims that you should throw three coins into the fountain. The first coin guarantees your return to Rome, the second will ensure a new romance, and the third will ensure marriage. It’s no surprise that around €3,000 is collected from the fountain every evening! That money is donated to a non-profit organisation providing food to the homeless in Rome.

This fountain is a real masterpiece but in order to see it you have to get up early. And by early I mean 5am. We got there at 6am thinking we had the jump on the other visitors and dozens of people were already there! It was mainly bloggers and newly weds trying to get that perfect photo but there were also regular tourists. From my experience, in the afternoon you can’t even see the fountain,it’s that crowded and sections of it are closed off by the police so you can’t even access them.

The Spanish Steps are another place which you have to visit early. We got there at 7:30am and it was okay but I think that’s due to the fact you are not allowed to sit (or eat or write) on the stairs any more. In fact, you can be fined €200 or even €400 if you damage the stairs in any way.

Trastevere neighborhood

Trastevere, my favorite neighborhood in Rome, and from the looks of it- it’s everyone else’s favorite too! This neighborhood has such a local vibe and tons of character! I’d walk around the narrow cobblestone streets and find place for an aperitivo and soak in the energy! (I included my favourite spots in the Eat & Drink section)

Also this area has some of the best and the most popular restaurants so don’t think it’s any less busy than central Rome.

Because we stayed near the Colosseum, we took a bus there which took us around 20 minutes but we walked on the way back.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved building of ancient Rome. The former temple now converted into a church has a massive dome on top with an opening that allows natural light to light the entire building. The beam of sunlight creates a magical feeling inside the dome. How about rain? A draining system makes sure the Pantheon doesn’t flood. Outside the Pantheon at Piazza Della Rotonda there are lots of terraces where you can sit for breakfast or cappuccino.

Altare Della Patria

In front of Piazza Venezia is a gigantic pure-white marble moment that has a panoramic view of the entire city. To honor the first king of Italy, the Italians built the Altare Della Patria (also known as Vittorio Emanuele II Monument).

The first part is free to visit but to visit the top,an entrance ticket is required. Sitting on the monument or stair steps is not allowed.

Borghese Gardens & Piazza del Poppolo

The Borghese Gardens are Rome’s version of Central Park and stretch for 226 acres from Piazza del Poppolo to the top of Via Veneto. The lush, green Borghese Gardens have it all: bust-lined paths, statues, a carousel for the kids, an artificial lake that you can rent a row boat on, and even a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.

We spent one whole afternoon wandering around and enjoying gelato and much needed shade.

Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

The famous spiral staircase, the papal throne, the Gallery of Maps, the Sistine Chapel. If the opportunity to take in the beauty of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, possibly the most famous work of art ever doesn’t convince you to visit the Vatican Museums (or Rome for that matter), nothing will!

There are 54 different galleries and several courtyards within the Vatican Museums, featuring chosen paintings and sculptures collected over the centuries. Like the Louvre in Paris, the Vatican Museums contain more works of art than can be seen in a day, but if you give yourself around three hours, you’ll still be able to see the museums’ most famous bits.

Once again we chose Escorted skip-the-line ticket on Headout and explored the museum at our own pace.

We spent a while looking for the new Bramante spiral staircase. We’ve were even told that it wasn’t open to the public! But this is the big disadvantage of taking a guided tour, if you are part of a guided tour, you won’t pass the staircase because you will end up going straight to the St Peter’s Basilica but if you’re not part of a tour, it’s most likely you will exit the museum and pass the staircase. It is located in the main entrance hall of the Museum.

Unfortunately, we missed the chance to visit St Peter’s Basilica and to see the iconic view of St Peter’s Square but the queues were just too long and it was far too hot. I suggest going there as soon it opens in the morning, or look into buying a ticket which lets you jump the queues. Tickets for St Peter’s Basilica are available on Headout and start from around €19.50 (at the time of writing).