Positano and Amalfi are considered the two jewels of the Amalfi Coast and no trip to the area is complete without a day spent exploring these picturesque seaside towns.
Ideally, you would have time to dedicate a full day to each one of these historic highlights to be able to really soak in their distinct atmospheres, explore their sights and shops, and even take a dip in the sea off their coastlines, weather permitting.
With a bit of planning and some insider tips, however, you can fit in a visit to Positano and Amalfi in a single day if you have limited time on the coast, taking in the top sights in just hours between sightseeing and downtime.
How you plan your day in Positano and Amalfi in part depends on where you are staying and how you are getting around the coastline. If you are staying in Naples, Salerno, or Sorrento, the fastest and most scenic way of exploring the towns along the Amalfi Coast is by sea, avoiding the heavy traffic that can clog the coastal road in the summer months or on the weekends and skipping the hassle and stress of driving and parking.
Getting Around the Amalfi Coast by Sea
You can take one of the public ferries, either hydrofoil or traditional ferry, that run frequently between the towns along the coastline in high season (Easter through the end of summer) or opt for a boat transfer, a fun option that affords more flexibility with less crowds.
Book a ferry
Book a private boat transfer or tour
If you prefer getting around on land or if you are visiting in low season and sea conditions are not ideal but there is less traffic, you can also choose one of these options for visiting Positano and Amalfi:
- Rental car: Keep in mind that it can be a challenge to drive along the Amalfi Coast as the roads are narrow and winding and skirt the coastline directly above the sea. Parking can be hard to find and is often expensive, as well.
- Rental scooter: Renting a scooter can be less expensive than renting a car and it's definitely easier to navigate heavy traffic and find parking. That said, if you don't have a lot of experience on a scooter, the winding roads of the Amalfi Coast are not where you want to practice! ,
- Sita public bus: This is by far the least expensive option, but also the slowest and most crowded. If you are trying to visit both Positano and Amalfi in one day, you may find yourself rushing to fit everything in if you are getting around by bus.
- Car service with driver: The most stess-free and flexible option is booking a private driver so you can skip the hassle of driving and parking and instead enjoy the spectacular views along the coastal road. This is the most expensive option, but if you are traveling with a small group of friends or relatives, you may find that this is a relatively cost-effective way to get around.
Visiting Positano and Amalfi from Capri
If you are vacationing on Capri and you want to explore Positano and Amalfi in one day, we suggest you book a private boat with skipper. Private boat tours are an excellent way to explore the Amalfi Coast by sea with stops in both towns to sightsee and dine, making the most of your time and taking advantage of the flexible schedule and itinerary to take a break to swim and snorkel along the coast.
Amalfi is perhaps the most interesting town along the Amalfi Coast from a historic point of view, having once been a powerful Maritime Republic. Traces of its glorious past can still be found in its bustling historic center set between the seaside and coastal peaks, and visitors have been admiring its cultural highlights for centuries. Be sure to enjoy the authentic atmosphere here that combines Mediterranean culture with architectural treasures influenced by waves of invaders from the Normans to the Saracens.
In the half day you have to explore the highlights in Amalfi, we suggest you begin with the Duomo di Sant'Andrea, making sure to take in the excellent museum and dazzling Cloister of Paradise. Afterwards, lose yourself in the warren of narrow lanes in Amalfi's historic center, strolling uphill until you reach the Rione Vagliendola neighborhood, home to the Paper Museum dedicated to Amalfi's long tradition of papermaking. Otherwise, you can relax and sunbathe at one of Amalfi's beaches before continuing on to Positano.
Regardless of how you spend your time in Amalfi, be sure to browse the local artisan workshops lining the streets in the town center and stop to taste one of the local delicacies in the pastry shops (delizia al limone is a local favorite!).
Whether you decide to stop for lunch in Positano or Amalfi, you'll find endless excellent options. The Amalfi Coast is famous for its high-quality restaurants that serve the freshest local ingredients prepared by trained Italian chefs.
Dining on the Amalfi Coast
We suggest you reserve a table in advance for lunch in Positano or Amalfi, especially during the weekend. Local specialties that you should search out focus on fish and seafood dishes (be sure to try the "colatura di alici di Cetara"!), many of which are traditional favorites updated with a fusion or gourmet twist. Those who don't enjoy fish will easily find salads, ravioli and gnocchi, and vegetarian options.
For a fast and inexpensive meal, there are a number of street food options in the center of Amalfi, including “cuoppi”, or paper cones of fried fish and seafood, and "pizza a portafoglio”, or fresh pizza folded to eat on the go.
After pausing to refuel over lunch, it's time to explore Positano, a magical fishing village set on the coastal cliffs famed for its steep, narrow lanes and lush, colorful flowers and lemon trees.
Be sure to stop by the local Church of Santa Maria Assunta (its colorful tiled dome can be seen from anywhere in town) and the archaeological remains of the Villa Romana di Positano, known as the “Pompeii of the Amalfi Coast”.
Shopping in Positano
A stop in Positano must include at least a bit of time to browse the artisan shops and unique boutiques that crowd the town center. Among the most popular local crafts, you'll find handmade leather sandals, ceramics from nearby Vietri sul Mare, and the famed pezze di Positano, or traditional resort wear known for its comfort and easy elegance.
If you have a bit of time at the end of your day, take a break on Positano's Spiaggia Grande beach right in the center of town. Rent a lounger to sunbathe or swim and sip a cool cocktail before heading back to your hotel.