Man on a mission - the human mule
This tip probably should have been in "Things (not) To Do" or "(Stubborn) Tourist Traps".
Both times I've stayed in Positano I've been at the Best Western. Sadlly, my point of entry has not been adjacent to the motel. The first time it was a jag, we hadn't pre-booked and were taking a chance on finding something and got lucky.
The second time we had booked in but started out the wrong way from the ferry wharf with one of us towing the two heavy bags and the other, at times, gleefully taking snaps of the human mule.
As you are probably well aware, Positano is not built on a flat flood plain and wherever you place your foot you're either going uphill or downhill.
So it was that he of the miserly intent both times chose to drag the luggage around. The second time I vividly recall because at one stage we passed by someone who made a remark suggesting alternate modes of travel to which Rosemarie succinctly replied, "To catch a cab would be to admit defeat". The party who made the original remark fully understood.
So, should you choose to do what I do, make sure you're fit and don't have a heart condition.
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I visit this town every few years as I have family here. They always warn me not to talk to the local men which I have always shrugged off as their over-conservatism and Positano is so subdued but last time I went, a guy approached me on the beach and was friendly enough, not sleazy and said he was studying law in London...Okay. I saw him again the next afternoon and he asked where I was staying. I didn't make it too clear but I guess he worked it out because he left a message at my Aunt's house asking if I wanted to have a drink with him and friends later. Why not? But went he picked me up I was the only woman, he paraded me about like a prize pooch and then tried leading me off behind The Rocks. He actually tried to blackmail me into having sex on the beach, grabbed my hand and stuck it down his trousers! Off course I walked off to the town and got in a taxi where he caught up with me and apologised and said he'd take the taxi with me and put it on his account. Fine. Naturally, he jumped out first and landed me with a 30 euro taxi fair.
I got up the guts to tell my aunty and she shook her head and said 'I told you so'. It turns out he's a local policeman...
You need to fairly mobile to stay in Positano, unless you are lucky enough to afford a hotel at the bottom of the hill. It is very steep, with tiny little steps up and down the hill.
There is a bus service but it stops at a certain time.
Warnings of theft justified?
We came to Positano from Rome by train. We read several warnings of pickpockets/thieves at the train stations in Naples. In our 2 week stay in Italy never did we feel these warnings were justified. Perhaps we were lucky or just didn't appear as easy targets. If one watches their bags and does not wear fancy jewelry, I believe the risk is no greater than in most large cities of the world. Use common sense and everything will be OK.
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The Amalfi Drive follows limestone cliffs along the Bay of Salerno in a spectacular feat of engineering that rivals roads to be found in the Alps. From Salerno to Sorrento, this panoramic drive encompasses both sun-drenched precipices and glittering sea. But be careful, busses have right of way, the locals drive like idiots and if you have a driving misfortune you may end up in the glittering sea!
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- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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If you are going to drive. Be very careful the roads are very narrow and windy. I reccommend taking the bus that way you can look at the beautiful view and let the drivers do all the hard work. The buses we took all the drivers were very skillful.
If you are afraid of heights or driving on precarious roads then be careful on the Amalfi coast. The roads are winding and you cannot see around the sides of the cliffs. People have driven off the cliffs. We took the bus between Positano and Amalfi which was great.
- Road Trip
Stairmaster not needed here!
Not a danger, just an alert - Positano has A LOT of stairs. In fact, going up and down many sets of stairs is the only way to get between many locations here. I found that this greatly added to the charm of the place, and undoubtedly helped with all the Gelato I ate while there!
By the second day though, your calves really let you know if they're not used to excessive stairclimbing!
I strongly recommend taking the 'local' Positano bus as close to your hotel as possible when you arrive, because it's tricky doing all those stairs with all your luggage, I can tell you! Some places actually have elevators that go from the hotel to the beach, so if you're mobility impaired, I recommend you find one of those to stay in :)
Don't swim here!
Positano is a picturesque town and has a fairly nice beach where you can hire sunbeds...but I wouldn't fancy swimming in the water here - especially as the boat service for the Amalfi coast is just nearby. Just look at the rubbish in the water here :-S
- Water Sports
If you take the bus here be warned that the bus stop is at the top of the hill and the beach at the bottom! It may not seem to take long to get there but its a long way up to run for the bus!
Likewise if you walk from the village way above Positano there are thousands of steps down...and believe me your legs will complain!
Horrible prices of anything
The only drawback of Positano is Horrible prices of anything.
Even some hundred grams of the very common - in Italy - prociutto crudo and parmesan reggio in local shop will make tight hole onto your travel budget. Decent italian four-venue meal for one person - without wines will cost to you easily some 25 euros.
Price level in the slope is highest down in the village centre and goes down both upward and to the west. So the cheapest hotels are some five hundred meter above sea and one kilometer and a half to the west from the village centre.
If you have tight travel budget, check in advange where your accommodation will be in Positano. Normally it is very easy to go to the another side of the town for cheaper things. But in Positano three hundred meter to nearest affordable pizzeria can mean healthy three hundred meters of healthy climbing in steep steps upward or half hour bus trip.
And same thing with changing accommodation. Positano is not the place to walk around for asking prices for staying overnight with backpack or luggages. In summer, whole town is full-booked and there is not such a thing like sleeping in the park or cheap camping. If you have to search accommodation, go to the bottom of the bottom of the slope to the village centre and Positano tourist office. But easier is to book your accommodation in advance via net and email.
Prices are high due to very difficult transporting of goodies and also American tourists. Positano is very popular among American-Italian immigrants, their perils and honeymooners. In restaurants you can hear more english than italian.
Person with phobia of heights
Person with phobia of heights may not enjoy Positano all the time. It is possible to avoid straight contact to cliffs by using bus and taxi, but still the serpentine road has opening the the level below. I have personally height phobia, but somehow the beautifulness of the village got me to stand the steepness of Positano.
- Road Trip
Steer clear of "New Age Music Video Shoots!"
Positano has such an unbelievably gorgeous backdrop that I am sure tons of video and film production companies frequent the location. While we were there, we happened to come across a video shoot that John Tesh was doing (seen in the white shirt in the pic).......formerly of "Entertainment Tonight" fame and now master of the New Age groove.......
Obviously, none of the locals knew who the heck he was and it was only us frivolous Americans who knew the trivia. He was filming his Christmas Special so hearing "Joy to the World" on a hot coastal day didn't quite set the right ambience.
Then when John dropped to all fours and started doing push ups on his piano bench...well, that's when we decided to close up shop and call it a day!
Wait! Before you decide to go "Au Naturel"
Unlike the French Riviera, beachcombers in Positano tend not to go topless (or bottomless) while sunbathing. We thought FER SURE we would come back with "no tan lines" but once we hit the beach, we all felt a little out of place to be revealing all!
Your best bet would be to take the boat out to a secluded cove area.....there you can sunbathe and swim in your "birthday suit" to your heart's content!
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