Insider’s Guide to Picture Perfect Positano

By Amira Ashish

When it comes to the world’s most picturesque vistas it is hard to beat Positano. The jewel in the Amalfi Coast’s crown is home to pastel coloured buildings perched on winding cliffs, overlooking the glistening sea. Its hillside location means you have to brace yourself for some rigorous workouts up and down the village steps but it’s a great way of justifying those delectable pasta dishes. Such beauty attracts many visitors but if you plan a trip in the off-peak season, starting from spring, you will be blessed with quieter streets and a higher chance of booking a table at one of the many coveted restaurants. Hotel reservations are more feasible too. Here is a guide to some of the loveliest places to visit in this alluring destination.

WHERE TO STAY

The Icon: Le Sirenuse

For an iconic hotel that is the epitome of chic it’s Le Sirenuse. The passion project of Carla and Antonio Sersale, with their sons Francesco and Aldo at the helm, it is a true family affair and the epitome of laid-back glamour. The hotel is frequented by loyal fans, creatives and the A-List. John Steinbeck, who visited in 1953, wrote “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.” Rooms with terraces and balconies overlook the blue sea and at night the gentle sounds of the lapping waves can be heard. 

Dinner at La Sponda is a dream. Positano’s colourful stack of houses and its iridescent church dome are almost within touching distance from the indoor or al fresco setting. Candles take three hours to light every evening, a testament to the family’s commitment to splendour. Head chef Gennaro Russo specialises in simple Italian food using delicious local ingredients. The Italian wines are only the best and dinner is accompanied by the sound of live mandolin and guitar. A trip to Positano isn’t complete without aperitivo time on the hotel’s twinkling terrace. Dress up, drape soft linen over your shoulders and soak up the ambience. There are intimate indoor bar options in the form of Aldo’s, named after Antonio’s beloved father who opened the hotel, or the Don’t Worry Bar which is famed for its cocktails, sirenuse.it.

The Secret Hideaway: Casa Caprile

Newly redesigned Casa Caprile comprises just a few rooms, each individually styled by the warm and cheery wife of the owner Lucia. It’s a low key but lovely B&B with breakfast served on your terrace every morning. The views of the sea are quite something.

Ask for The Orange Room for a pop of colour or for ultimate privacy the rooftop suite has its own floor, a kitchen and a sprawling terrace overlooking the city. Everything from the headboard fabrics to the crockery are sourced from local artisans and many of the property’s original tiles remain. It sits higher up on the cliffside which means the scenery is phenomenal and it is away from the main tourist strip. 

There is a great restaurant, practically on the doorstep, called Da Gabrisa and the charming Gargiulo deli is ideal for homemade food and a strong wine selection. You will be given a very warm welcome by the team, who are born and raised in Positano, booking.com.

WHERE TO EAT

Da Adolfo: The beach club of dreams. Rustic and relaxing with incredible seafood and jugs of sangria. Rock up for lunch then lounge on the chairs before taking a dip. Booking is essential – ask a local for help. This place is a must, daadolfo.com.

Il Tridente: Hotel Poseidon’s terrace is a personal favourite – and there’s so much competition in the area so it’s quite the accolade, iltridentepositano.com

Da Vincenzo: For traditional dishes and a buzzy ambience. It’s worth the queue round the block, davincenzo.it.

Next2: Excellent contemporary twists on classics in a pretty patio setting with a good wine list, next2.it

Saraceno d’Oro: The best pizza in Positano with great limoncello spritz to boot, saracenodoro.com.

Chez Black: A vibrant and fun, celebrity pictures sprawled across the wall, kind of place. In the hub of the main beach promenade, it is the place for a night out with sister club Music on the Rocks. The more refined option, a couple of minutes stroll away is Rada, which is also part of the collection, chezblack.it.

Il Ritrovo: high up in the hills of Positano, with a free shuttle service to get there, is this calm and romantic retreat with authentic dishes and a cookery school, ilritrovo.com

Lo Guarracino: next to a quieter beach with gorgeous sea views and an inviting menu. Prepare yourself for a little hike to get there though, loguarracinopositano.it.

Carlino Restaurant: the super exclusive beach club of Il San Pietro hotel is meant to be for guests only but if you give them a call and ask for a table you may strike lucky. The views at every turn are breathtaking, from the gardens to the oceanfront or the interior design, ilsanpietro.com.

WHERE TO SHOP

Linomania: linen clothing made by hand on site. If you ask nicely the owner will even show you her workshop upstairs. 

Theodora: for colourful dresses sewn by mamma and styling by her daughters, theodorapositano.it.

Gocce di colore di De Simone Michela: an unassuming pottery workshop where the owner will personalise everything for you if you give her a few days. All crafted on site. It’s where some of the big name restaurants go to get their tableware made but don’t tell anyone.

Ceramiche Casola: ceramics heaven with the most fabulously bright, bold homeware, ceramichecasola.com.

Emporio Sirenuse: wonderful Carla and her niece have started their own collection and you will want everything in store, emporiosirenuse.com.

Casa e Bottega: tastefully curated homeware and organic food shop with its very own cookbook, casaebottegapositano.it

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