In the 1950s, when John Steinbeck visited this gem along the Italian coastline he wrote an essay for Harper's Bazaar. "Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone. Its houses climb a hill so steep it would be a cliff except that stairs are cut in it," he wrote. Nearly 64 years later, not much seems to have changed. It is still a place of magic, where houses in gorgeous shades of sunset-sky are piled on top of each other, all with enviable views of the ocean.
Positano at dusk
1. Take a boat trip
The waters along the Amalfi are gorgeous, and quite possibly the best way to navigate the coastline is via boat. Visit the island of Capri, for the best pizza at Aurora and to check out the town's famed hand-made sandals. Take a boat from the lemon-kissed island and visit the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto).
2. Dig into sweet treats
Take some time out to enjoy an espresso with a traditional Italian pastry (I'd recommend the cannolis) at the legendary La Zagara, or a cooling gelato at the Covo Dei Saraceni along the beach; try their lemon sorbet served inside a whole lemon.
3. Dine on a private beach
Make an adventure out of your meal by spending the day at Da Adolfo, which is situated on a private beach. Not for the seasick, this place can only be accessed via boat (they offer free boat transfers: at the water's edge by the port, between 10am and 4pm, look out for a wooden boat with a red fish on its mast and with the restaurant's name). Getting there is rather thrilling and will make you feel like quite the pirate.
Tip: Make a reservation ahead of time for lunch and a sunbed to soak in the rays, and sample the seafood.
Boat taxi to Da Adolfo
4. Have an aperitivo at Le Sirenuse
The Sirenuse bar is an essential part of the Positano experience. Filled with honeymooning couples from across the globe, this hotel -- which was once home to the aristocratic Sersale family -- stands statuesque, coloured in red and white, and hugged by veins of crimson bougainvillea. As the sun sets along the coast, the bar here offers a beautiful view that is perfectly complemented by their delectable list of cocktails based on local and fresh produce.
Cocktail garnished with fresh cranberries at La Sirenuse bar
5. Enjoy a romantic dinner at Zass, Il San Pietro
Indulge in a romantic dinner at luxury hotel Il San Pietro di Positano, a Relais & Chateau property built into a cliff along the coastline, which boasts of a private rock beach. The Michelin-starred restaurant, Zass, is a culinary haven with local delights like lemon pasta and beautifully cooked fish. Must try: Strawberry mille-feuille. Food enthusiasts can request a table with a view of the kitchen (and the coast!) to watch the masterchefs plating the gorgeous food.
Homemade taglitatelle with fresh lemons and fennel
6. Explore the mountains along the coastline
The hike up to the village of Nocelle: A hike between the towns of Positano and Praiano that involves climbing about 1700 steps will take you to this quaint village along the coast, nestled on the slopes of Monte Peruso. The hike will take you approximately 1.5 hours each way, taking you past lemon trees and gorgeous flowers native to the terrain. There's also the added benefit that climbing down the stairs is significantly easier. Don't forget water, and your camera.
The Path of the Gods The Path of the Gods or Il Sentiero degli Dei is the hiking trail that connects the towns of Nocelle and Agerola. The name draws from the spectacular views. This trail can be accessed from either town, but to avoid the 1700 steps up to Nocelle you can take a bus up to Agerola with the bonus of the route running downhill in this direction. Every time you stop to catch your breath, the view offers some gentle respite.
Fly from Naples airport to access Positano; there is only one main access road to the Amalfi. Try and negotiate a car beforehand to avoid hiked fares. Transportation between towns in the Amalfi is best via boat (taxis can be expensive); reserve ferry tickets in advance to make the most of your time.
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