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One of the most picturesque towns on Italy’s famous Amalfi coast, Positano clings to the side of a steep hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Narrow alleyways and near-vertical staircases wind their way between the colourful houses, down to the town’s pretty pebble beach. Independent shops, excellent restaurants and cafés dot the hillside, giving you plenty to explore during your stay.
During Medieval times, Positano prospered as a major port in the Amalfi Republic. However, by the mid-19th century, the town had fallen on hard times and more than half the population emigrated to the US. In the 1950s, however, the town began attracting large numbers of visitors, partly due to John Steinbeck’s rhapsodic ode to the village in Harper’s Bazaar.
Since then, it’s gone from strength to strength and these days thousands of visitors are drawn to the town by its spectacular setting, photogenic architecture, great beaches and stylish feel. What’s more, with some of the Amalfi coast’s most beautiful coves, islands and islets within easy reach of Positano, it’s the perfect base for exploring this breathtaking region.
Don’t let Positano’s compact size fool you – variety is the name of the game when it comes to accommodation in the area. Positano hotels are dotted across the hillside, offering guests sweeping views of the Mediterranean and the surrounding countryside. If you’re planning on visiting the town’s beach every day of your trip, or if you want to take regular boat trips to neighbouring towns and islands, a Positano hotel at the bottom of the hill will make life a little easier. These options place the pebble shore on your doorstep, and are also a convenient option for holidaymakers with limited mobility. Alternatively, if you’re energetic, or want to work off all that Italian pasta, why not opt for hotels further up the slopes and take advantage of the awe-inspiring panoramas. Many of these hotels are also within easy reach of the picturesque footpaths that pass through the town and take walkers high up into the surrounding hills. If you can’t find a hotel in Positano, you could look for hotels in Sorrento instead and visit the town on a day trip.
If you’re looking for a small, stylish and elegant hotel, Positano’s got you covered. Thanks to its location on a near-vertical hill, development has been restricted and so most of the accommodation options in the town are small and independently run. The result? Wonderfully rustic properties dripping with authentic Italian charm and original furnishings. Most are set in beautiful period buildings and converted homes, giving you the chance to experience the town’s unique architecture for yourself. Private balconies and hillside terraces are ideal for soaking up sweeping vistas of the bay, the Amalfi Coast and the glittering Mediterranean. Well-appointed options like the Hotel Eden Roc or the Poseidon Hotel are ideal – they supply the views and all you have to do is kick back with a refreshing glass of limoncello and enjoy them.
As well as sumptuous scenery and eye-catching architecture, many of Positano’s finest establishments provide gorgeously planted gardens and outdoor swimming pools, often set overlooking the sea. If you feel like experiencing the village from different angles, you could try living like a local and opt for a self-catering apartment or a private cottage, where you can live la dolce vita on your terms.
The main attraction of Positano is the town itself. One of the most famous settlements on the Amalfi coast, it attracts thousands of visitors throughout the year. It’s easy to while away your days exploring its winding streets, browsing locally made crafts in its charming shops and enjoying alfresco dining with a view from its world-famous eateries. Once you’ve got the blood pumping with a few energetic walks, the warm waters of the Mediterranean provide a refreshing way to unwind.
During your time in Positano, a visit to the Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta is an absolute must. Built in the 1920s, this iconic church is crowned with a majestic dome and is home to a black Madonna that’s thought to date from the 13th century.
A great way to see more of Positano and the surrounding area is by boat. There are regular ferries to nearby islands, including Capri and Ischia, and the Greek ruins in Paestum. You can also take in the scenic coastline from a different vantage point with a coastal cruise at sunset.
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