Surprisingly, I didn’t have high expectations for Positano and the Amalfi Coast. Sure, I knew they would be beautiful. After all, many a photo of winding Bougainvillea filled alleyways and colourful houses nestled amongst a rugged coastline had graced my Instagram feed for years. However, I thought that its popularity would eclipse the experience – weighed down by the lofty expectations of traveller’s tales. Let’s just say that I was completely wrong. Yes, touristy it was (even though we went in off-season). But beautiful? Truly. In case, Positano is on your travel bucket list, I’ve left a little Positano itinerary of what we got up to below.
How we got there
We visited Positano in March as part of a five week trip of Paris, Spain and the South of Italy we took before moving to the UK. While Naples is the closest airport to the Amalfi Coast, we flew into Rome and spent a few days there before driving down by car (which we had hired to see other parts of Italy’s South). However, if we were to visit the Amalfi Coast again we would probably choose to arrive by public transport or a transfer service. The roads in and out were winding and narrow and we had a few hair raising moments of buses missing our small hire car by inches. Once we arrived, our car just sat unused in a paid parking bay as it was easier to traverse the city by foot.
Where we stayed
One of the biggest benefits of visiting the Amalfi Coast during off-peak season (aside from avoiding the crowds) was that we had more choice of apartments, hotels and airbnbs which would usually be either booked out, or outside of our budget, during peak season. Casa Victoria, where we stayed was a beautiful, spacious and comfortable apartment with stunning vistas of Positano and the coast. It was well presented but had all the comfortable homely vibes that you often miss when traveling. It’s a place I can definitely recommend and several of the photos above are taken from its little courtyard.
We arrived about 5pm on a Wednesday evening. As we hadn’t stopped for lunch or groceries we thought it easier to eat out the first evening and I randomly booked a restaurant on our way there. While travelling off-season has a lot of benefits, it did mean that a lot of restaurants were temporarily closed for the winter season. I’m sure there are some amazing places to eat, but the restaurant that I booked left us feeling disappointed. The food was nice but very overpriced and we felt we had had better meals elsewhere during our travels. However, we still had a fun evening soaking up the lights of Positano winking into the gathering dusk.
Day two, was a slow day spent meandering Positano’s picturesque alleyways, dipping our toes in the water at Fornillo Beach and Positano Spiaggia (although it was too cold still to swim), getting a work out from the many, many stairs which link the town together and watching the sun go down from the balcony. We chose to cook in (Casa Victoria had great cooking facilities) the remaining two nights. We enjoy cooking and this was good way to save some money and enjoy the views from our apartment which rivalled many of the restaurants. However, we did have an amazing lunch from Gargiulo Bread and Wine. It’s a little deli which sells freshly made pasta and other take away food, wine and other bits and pieces. We picked up a delicious homemade bolognese, which we enjoyed from our balcony, and some limoncello to have with dinner (and which we took with us to enjoy for the remainder of our trip).
Day three I slept terribly – waking up in the early hours of the morning and unable to get back to sleep. As fate would have it, the same morning we had planned to walk Path of the Gods – an 7km hike (each way) high up in the mountains of the Amalfi coastline. However, hidden blessing in amongst this sleepless night was seeing the most amazing sunrise (the last photo). I still managed the almost 1500 steps up to the little town of Nocello which only took us to the starting point of the walk – but the hike was undoubtably worth it. It was one of the most beautiful walks I’ve been on, with unparalleled views of the coastline and adorable mountain goats to boot. Perfect if you like a good outdoor adventure. Once, back in Positano, Rob braved a (very, very short) 5 minute swim before we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and packing to leave for our next adventure early the next morning.
OTHER THINGS TO Do
It was a short but sweet stay – just enough to get a taste of this beautiful part of the world. Hopefully we’ll be back as there was a lot more to see. I would love to see the coastline from a boat, enjoy the pristine water in the warmer months and visit some of the other towns and see the church of Santa Maria Assunta. Sadly, the renowned Franco’s Bar wasn’t open this time of year but you’ve got to leave somethings to look forward to in the future, right?
Off-Season v Peak Season
Here are some of the pros that we experienced in visiting Positano and the Amalfi coast in off-peak season:
- Fewer crowds – quieter.
- More availability and more budget friendly accommodation options available.
- March was good for walking (not too hot when hiking Path of the Gods).
Here are some of the cons:
- Not warm enough to swim (at least the end of March wasn’t).
- Some restaurants were temporarily closed until peak season.
- The majority of flowers weren’t yet in bloom. Positano was still beautiful, to be sure, but if you’re looking for that Instagram shot with a spray of Bougainvillea in the background you’ll be sorely disappointed.