If you like lazy holidays and want to visit Positano, then arrive and leave by boat and stay at a hotel next to the beach. But you’ll be missing out on a lovely aspect of the town on the Amalfi Coast if you do. The winding roads leading up the hill.
On both times we’ve stayed in Positano, we’ve stayed in hotels up and away from the busy seafront: in 2008 at the Hotel Reginella and this year at the Hotel Villa delle Palme. We loved the former, but prices have almost doubled there over the past six years and so we chose the latter via Tripadvisor. (Not least, thanks to availability at short notice and a high number of good reviews; since extended by my own review after a lovely stay.)
To get to the seafront (and many of the best restaurants), staying at a hotel higher up the town means a fifteen minute walk down to the main town and square. The walk is along a narrow one-way road, lined with hotels, shops, bars and restaurants which are in keeping with the picturesque style of the rest of the town. There is a reasonable amount of village traffic, which spoils the walk a little, but it’s always slow-moving and not dangerous.
If you can’t be bothered walking all the way down the hill, then there are plenty of restaurants with sea views higher up the town, such as the Albergo Montemare and Caffè Positano, but walking all the way down to the picturesque lanes leading to the beach is worth your while. Views down from the Viale Pasitena to the famous church and beach will tempt you onwards, and draw your camera’s eye most of the way down.
It’s a steep walk back up and the lanes in the lower town can be busy, but take your time and enjoy the shops. There are plenty of things to see, although there is a distinctive lemon theme: from pottery to bug-repellent citronella candles and Limoncello.
Lace and linen are also popular here, as is art: both expensive in the galleries and less so from lane-side vendors. By the time you get back to the main road for the walk up the hill, I can recommend stopping off next to the church and bus stop for an ice cream and to watch the world go by. If you’ve had enough of walking, this is the point at which to hop on the Interno (local bus), which does a circuit of the town on a regular basis and will take you back to your hotel.