If you know anyone who has travelled around Europe then chances are you have heard of Positano. And like us, heard tales of amazement & awe. Well we are here to offer you an exaggeration free, more realistic version so you can make a properly informed decision.
We visited Positano during mid-September, when the peak season is supposedly waning. If possible, we would advise leaving a two day space to visit – hopefully ensuring you get at least one day of perfect mediterranean summer weather.
The town of Positano, despite being one of the larger towns along the Amalfi Coast, was surprisingly small. First up, there is almost no parking in the town, so whether you came by coach or drove yourself, expect a long walk along the side of the road. Hopefully the coach drivers can drop you off closer to the town. Like everywhere else, the earlier you can get up, the closer you can park close to the town. Our late rise on our first attempt to visit Positano beach meant we were a 3 kilometre walk from the beach… On a 35 degree day!
Once you actually reach the town of Positano you quickly realise a few things. Firstly, it seems there are 100,000 tourists in a town for 3,000. And where there are tourists there are overpriced restaurants & vendors.
The second, and most disappointing realisation, is that the beaches are very average. Coming from Australia where we have an abundance of pristine white sand beaches really made us wonder what all the fuss was about here. The beaches are wholly pebble and private beaches dominate the waterfront. You’ll see hundreds of metres of umbrellas with deckchairs sitting empty whilst the minimum public beach is filled with beachgoers.
If you are interested in the private beaches, you can use the umbrellas and deckchairs for 10€ per person per half day.
We really were astounded at how little of the waterfront was designated as public beach. And if you stray across the designated boundaries you will be shouted at by one of the many 60 year old walruses that guard their territory like a wild animal… Whilst there are a few more secluded beaches further from the town you’re looking at more walking or even hiking to get to them.
But despite all the negatives described above it was still difficult to not enjoy ourselves in Positano. The weather was amazing & the beach was clean. The water was warm, about 25 degrees for the time we spent here. We managed to find a reasonably priced cafe close to the waterfront to enjoy some food & a few beers.
It really is a postcard perfect town. Everywhere you look are amazing photo opportunities, even as you walk along the side of the road. Whether you’re looking back up the cliffs from the beach front or out to sea. Make sure you take your good camera along regardless of how far you have to carry it – you will certainly regret it if you don’t.
Whilst accommodation is very expensive in the area, we found that staying in nearby Sorrento was much cheaper and only a 20-30 minute drive to Positano. Ultimately, all to see & do in Positano can easily be done in a day and for us, the overwhelming numbers of tourists certainly diminish the experience. We had planned to come back for a second day but opted not to, and frankly, I don’t think we missed out on much at all.