A Penny Pincher's Guide to Positano, Italy

3:05 PM

On a hill speckled in houses, trattorias and lemon trees, lies the coastal town of Positano. I recently returned from a weekend trip to this gem on the Amalfi Coast in Southern, Italy. Positano boasts clear, deep blue water, an artsy flair and a small town feel. John Steinbeck loved it so much, he wrote a book about it (who doesn't love John Steinbeck?)! It was a breath of fresh air from city life & surprisingly affordable. Here, I have mapped out a budget friendly guide to pretty Positano, in hopes that you experience the beauty for yourself!

How to get there:
We began in Rome, a popular starting destination for the Amalfi Coast.

Rome to Naples
From Roma Termini Central Station —-> Napoli Centrale Railway Station (Garibaldi)
via Trenitalia train (ranges from 11-50 euros) and takes 1-2 hours.
You can purchase your ticket online at http://www.trenitalia.com/ or at the kiosks at the station.

Naples to Pompei 
(We decided to make a pit stop in Pompei, but if you want to forfeit this, the same train will take you straight to Sorrento)
From Garibaldi Station to Pompei Station, takes around 30 minutes
via Circumvesuviana train (around 3 euros, or buy a day pass for 4.50 euros). Tickets can be bought at the ticket booth in the Centrale station.
*My tip is to buy a day pass for 4.50 euros, it should save you about 1.50 euros for your journey, and if you’re a budget traveler like me, you know that every euro counts!

I highly recommend a pit stop through Pompei. The first Sunday of every month, tickets are FREE. The ancient city of ruins is massive and could take you a full day to experience. We barely scratched the surface after a few hours, but were pretty ruin-ed out by the end of it.

From Pompei Station to Sorrento Station
via Circumvesuviana train, takes around 30-45 minutes

Sorrento to Positano
Right outside of the Sorrento train station is the SITA bus. You can buy tickets directly in front of the bus stop for about 4 euros. They run fairly frequently and take you directly into Positano town centre in around 45 minutes.

*My tip is to invest in some Dramamine (with ginger for the stomach) and prepare for a curvy ride with some of the most insane views of the Amalfi Coast. Rule #1 is trust the bus driver as he whips around blind corners atop rocky cliffs. If you have trust issues, I will pray that you can sleep. 

Once you’ve made it to Positano, head down to town and get lost in the cute alleyway shops. Say hello to our friend, Mario, at La Zagara’s Garden Bar. We came for the Limoncello but stayed for Mario’s hilarious introduction to the town.

Where to stay: 
I’m a huge advocate for airbnb. My friends and I found a charming bed and breakfast with a sea view to die for. Most places ranged from 70 - 200 a night. We paid around 130$ a night for ours and couldn’t have been happier.

Pensione Il Canneto: The SITA bus driver was able to drop us off directly in front of our hotel, which you will find is a knee saver (there are an abundance of steep steps in Positano). Once we arrived, we didn’t have to lift a finger. Our bags were whisked up by an electric pulley (a zip-line for luggage, brilliant) and placed down near our room. It included breakfast & the staff could not have been more helpful or informative. I highly recommend it!

Public Transportation in Positano: 
There are white busses that take off from the center of town and head up the hill. You can buy a bus ticket for 1.20 euro at any Tabacchi shop. Since Positano isn’t big, it comes quite frequently. There are busses that take you through the interior of Positano as well as the outskirts.

Where to eat: 
The best part about Italian food is that almost everywhere you go, you can get a whole pizza for 6-8 euros, a glass of wine for 3 and espresso for under 2. Pizza & wine & espresso (and repeat). While in Positano, take advantage of their sweet, football sized lemons. They are famous for their Limoncello, and Lemon Delight cake, both delizioso.

Collina Positano Bakery & Restaurant: The homemade ravioli & bruschetta the size of my face was enough to sell me on Collina. Not to mention, the outdoor terrace seating was bellisimo! It’s situated right next to the Piazza dei Mulin. Average dish was 8-14 euros.

La Pergola Restaurant at Bucca di Bacco: We were told to steer clear of the restaurants directly on the beach, as they charge high covers and don’t always have the best food. However, we quickly changed our minds as the perfect table opened up right in front of the water. I will admit that it wasn’t the best food we ate in Positano, but the scenery was priceless. Dishes start at around 8 euro.

Trattoria Capricci Pizzeria: We came here twice because the pizza was CHEAP and so dang good. We avoided the more expensive menu they offered by getting the pizza to go and eating it on the beach. Spring the extra few dollars for the Bufala mozzarella (it’s the cheese of dreams). The cook even made our pizza heart-shaped, I mean, c’mon!

What to do: 
My favourite part of traveling is simply walking (mostly because it’s always the cheapest option). You can usually find me taking pictures of every brightly coloured door, street and panorama in sight (I haven't grasped yet that I live in Europe). Positano is full of snap-able moments & walkable streets

Window shopping (also cheap if you have self control) is a must in the small coastal town. Italian leather shoes, handbags and lemon-scented candles line the storefronts. 

Although the beach is rocky, you can still find a relaxing spot to sun tan and maybe take a dip in the mediterranean. The clear water could not be more inviting.

If you’re interested in seeing Positano from the sea, there are boat tours throughout the day. But if you’re tour-wary like I am, you might opt for your OWN private boat. Who needs a license? Who needs boating experience? They let you take these things out anyway… 10 minutes in, and a pod of 3 dolphins came within 5 feet of our boat, sending us screaming and urgently grabbing our phones to document. One hour cost us 60 euros and the chance to see Positano from a whole new perspective.

Finally, the best part about Positano is that it provides you an invitation to relax. It’s a quaint little place. There is no strip of nightclubs or spring break crowds, or big city lights. So take your time, share a bottle of wine, and load up on those good Italian starches.

The budget breakdown:
Breakfast: FREE
Lunch: 8-10 euros
Dinner: 10-15 euros
Housing: around 45-50 euros/night per person
Transportation: around 45 euros roundtrip
Activities: 20 euro/person

Price for a weekend stay in Positano: around 200-250 euros, not bad for a luxurious Italian vacation. 

Hopefully, this has inspired you to include Positano in your upcoming European adventure!

When life gives you a budget, and lemons, drink 3 euro Limoncello and make your way to Positano. 

Ciao for now! 

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