Last updated: 13 May 2019
After ten years living in Rome and Vatican City, and traveling around Italy and Europe every spare minute, it's finally time to share some travel love! My favourite destination this summer was Positano and I'm going to hand you the keys, or rather the key... named Rosita. Rosita is the guest services manager at Hotel Miramare and she lives and breathes to help others. So whether you're staying there or not, go and say hello (mention I sent you) and she will make your stay in Positano extra special. It’s worth battling the steps to find her! Anyone who has ever been to Positano knows that there are steps at every turn.
5-star: If your budget is unlimited then don’t pass up the opportunity to stay at Villa Tre Ville. It is nothing short of divine. I had the luxury of a few cocktails on the terrace and delighted in wandering the corridors where every finishing detail was chosen with such care and attention. It made me want to build another home, just to use these tiles and colour palettes. It will take your interior decorating goals to another level. And don't even get me started on their private beach or exclusive taxi-boat service. Love love love!
4-star: If you're more '5-star taste on 3-star budget', the star of the show is Hotel Miramare where Rosita and all the staff will look after you like family. Rosita can make all your wishes come true, especially if it's getting into that exclusive beach club or restaurant. Many of the rooms have private terraces overlooking the sea. You almost feel like you could dive in from there! The hotel is spotless and beautifully decorated. You will want to souvenir the large hotel-branded shampoo and shower-gel as a reminder of Positano. If the Miramare is a little above your budget, ask Rosita if the hotel's dependance is available. It's a beautifully furnished studio with ensuite, separate to the hotel, overlooking the bay of Positano and it's actually easier on your legs (less stairs) and closer to my favourite eating and drinking spots. The beauty of this option is that you still have access to the hotel’s glorious breakfast room and generous buffet, as well as their private two-hour small boat tour along the coastline with a stop for a swim through some caves! This is only open to eight guests daily so book early.
3-star: I stayed a few nights in Positano over the extremely busy Italian ‘Ferragosto’ (15 August) holiday and tried out the well-reviewed and ‘Rosita-recommended’ Hotel Casa Albertina. Their two large terraces overlooking the sea and Positano (one for breakfast and one for sunbaking) are already enough reason to stay here. Added to that, the staff are lovely and I could have stayed at breakfast all morning. The room and ensuite were super-clean, pretty and large for Italian standards, and we were upgraded to a seaview terrace. It’s just a few extra steps up from Da Vincenzo and Bar Faro. Life is good!
I have Rosita to thank for starting my love affair with Da Vincenzo. Luckily she rang ahead and booked for us, otherwise we would have been waiting outside with many others, glass of rosè in hand. For three days in a row I ate one of their starters, a large local tomato stuffed with diced fresh prawns, sitting in a generous serving of burrata (a mix of mozzarella and cream). Heaven on a plate, served with fresh bread and olive oil. All you need afterwards is a plate of figs, or if you’re lucky Vincenzo’s wife will have made a fresh fig pie. This restaurant (and Rosita of course) are the main reasons I travelled to Positano twice this summer. Do book. And do go at the start of your holiday, so that after you’ve tried elsewhere you’ll still have time to come back here before you leave. I also highly recommend their fresh fish and pasta with mixed seafood. The classic ravioli with tomato and basil was beyond words. Enjoy!
Usually I would recommend staying clear of the tourist traps, which in Positano are at the seashore. Break this rule and go and see Luigi at Le Tre Sorelle, historically known for being a pizzeria and now more so for its fresh catch. Don’t miss the selection of raw seafood and I also loved the whole sea bass baked in salt. We were treated to mini heart-shaped pizzas stuffed with tomato, basil and mozzarella! Ticks all the boxes and you’re well-placed to go next door for a cocktail until the local clubs open.
If you’re staying up the hill in Positano and have ideally just dined at Da Vincenzo, walk up the hill one minute and you’ll find Bar Faro with a long terrace wrapped around the cliff, open to the sea. You’re guaranteed to find a spot to sit or stand and enjoy the view and an amazing cocktail. Here’s the spot to take an iconic Positano photo.
From Le Tre Sorelle, you can see the outdoor seating at Buca di Bacco bar at La Pergola, a restaurant, pizzeria, bar and gelateria all-in-one. It’s fabulous because the cocktails are cheap (and strong) and you can buy them at the bar and carry them to an outside table overlooking the beach. It’s not glamorous but refreshingly easy and perfect for a pre- or post-dinner aperitif.
At midnight, finally, Music on the Rocks opens! Time and time again this place is proof that Positano needs only one disco. It’s a great night out regardless of whether you’re 20 or 50 - everyone is having the time of their lives. If you like more glam surroundings for your pre-disco cocktail, then head upstairs from Music to the Fly Lounge Bar.
Instead of the Main Beach, walk around the headland a few minutes to Il Fornillo Beach. It’s cleaner water and a sun bed and umbrella are only 10 euros a day. Like every beach in this part of the world, you’ll want flip-flops to navigate the stones.
The beauty of Positano can only be appreciated by boat and it’s also the only way to reach the best beach clubs. You’ll see the beach clubs’ boats come in and out of the Positano marina. With a booking at a particular beach club, you can take one of their boats there for FREE! This seems to be a little-known fact. I have two favourites with very different vibes:
Party vibe - Book a couple of days in advance for One Fire Beach. They pick up twice daily, at 11.00am and 1:30pm and drop you back at Positano at about 7.00pm. One Fire is famous for its long tradition of ‘Melon Time’ at 4:30pm daily. A sun bed and umbrella is only 15 euros for the day. We loved the local rosé (San Francesco) and giant Caprese salads. After you’ve enjoyed a day of sunshine, broken up by regular dips in the sparkling sea, you’ll want that glass of rosé while Piccoletto and the team crank up the music. You’ll be clapping before you know it for Piccoletto to cut those giant watermelons. I don’t know if it’s the rosé, the sunshine or Piccoletto’s cheeky moves but it’s the best-tasting melon ever and everyone will be diving for it. Don’t worry there’s enough to go around. We naturally returned the next day for more fun and frivolity.
Relaxed vibe - You either need to book Da Adolfo a month in advance or like us, just boldly tell the driver on the Da Adolfo boat that of course you have a lunch booking. If when you arrive, there are no sun beds left to hire, you’re in luck because there is a lovely little free beach where we hung out our towels for the day. We had to work our charms (think four women in bikinis) to get a table for lunch at the restaurant but it was worth begging. We really enjoyed the daily fish and pasta specials to break up the carafes of sangria made on white or rosé wine with slices of local peaches. This place is a dream.
The beauty of small Italian towns is their fervent faith. Every Sunday, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta (visible from all parts of Positano) is standing room only for Mass. It’s a beautiful church dating back to the 10th century, fully restored in the early 17th century. In mid-August there are week-long celebrations for the Feast of Mary, Queen of Positano. This summer there were a couple of African priests assisting the parish priest and one of them heard my confession in English before Mass and then went on to deliver a great homily (short and poignant) in Italian. Impressive!