The cliffside city of Positano attracts millions of visitors each year, making it one of the most popular travel destinations in Italy.
Positano offers a little bit of everything, but thanks to its dramatic surroundings, it’s mostly known as a romantic getaway. Part of the Amalfi coast, the city offers not only breathtaking views but world-class restaurants, boutique shops, and a charming atmosphere as well.
Visitors love the vertiginous houses in pastels and terra cottas. Streets are draped romantically in wisteria, and everything seems to have a southern holiday feel to it, making it an excellent destination for couples looking for a relaxing escape.
Of course, it’s also a great destination for any traveller, even if you’ve only got one day in Positano. Stroll the pebble beachfront and narrow streets as you explore the shops and historic sites.
Not sure where to go? Start planning your trip with this complete 1-day Positano itinerary…
What to do in Positano in 24 hours: A complete one-day itinerary
Positano is a popular day trip and a common stop for a well-rounded Italy itinerary. It’s a small village that you can cover in just a few hours on foot.
As with all our city travel plans, this tour of Positano in 24 hours includes stops at the main attractions and provides time for food and entertainment. You’ll get to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere for a single day as you check out the shops and a couple of historic sites.
You’ll even have time for a trip around the sea on a kayak or guided boat tour.
Stretch your legs with a hike through Vallone Porto
24 hours in Positano gives you plenty of time to hit the hiking trails. Start early to see more of the village and its sites. The trails that begin at Vallone Porto aren’t too intense and provide sweeping views of the sea as the sun rises.
The trails reach several kilometres into the forested land behind the coastline, but you won’t have time to explore it all in just one day. Plan on several days for a full hiking trip around the Positano landscape.
For now, spend 30 to 60 minutes ascending the steps and winding trails until you get a good view of the coast and parts of the village.
This nature walk gives you the chance to see local wildlife. Keep an eye out for falcons, eagles, owls, and salamanders as you push further into the lush green vegetation. You’ll also come across waterfalls and rock pools that remain mostly untouched by humans.
It’s a scenic journey, but after a little while, you’ll likely want to head back to get some food.
Walk to central Positano to grab a filling breakfast
After climbing back down to the coast, travel on Amalfi Drive to find somewhere to eat. It’s the main drive cutting through Positano.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to travel further inland. The area near the sea mostly contains bars and late-night restaurants.
Travel on Amalfi Drive to Via Cristoforo Colombo to reach the centre of the village. It’s a 25-minute walk from Vallone Porto to central Positano and has a great selection of cafes and bakeries. Hop on a bus if you want to save your legs the trip.
For fast service and authentic gelato, visit Collina Positano Bakery across from the central parking ramp in the heart of the village. The top-rated bakery also serves coffee, ricotta cake, lemon sorbet, and dozens of other treats.
There are also a few coffee shops on the same street if you just want a quick jolt of energy.
No matter where you go, the cafes and bakeries get busier throughout the day. If you arrive after 11 am, prepare yourself for a bit of a wait.
Get your history fix with a trip to the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
With a belly full of food or coffee, walk back down to the coast to visit the historic Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Positano doesn’t have a lot of historic attractions to tour. The church is one of the only slices of history in the village, other than the older residential and commercial buildings lining the streets.
Built in the 12th century, the church honours a Byzantine icon that represents the Virgin Mary. While the church was built in the 12th century, most of the current structures date back to the 18th century. The nave, aisles, and chapels all came later.
The church contains numerous historic and religious artifacts. If you want to know more about what you see, take a guided tour.
During a tour of the church, you’ll hear the interesting history of how the Byzantine icon arrived and gaze up at interesting medieval artwork and stained-glass windows. You’ll also get to see the medieval crypt below the church.
Walk the forested paths to Montepertuso Il Buco
After a tour of the church, it’s time to stretch your legs again with a hike through the forests behind Positano. The paths take you past a winery and another historic church before eventually reaching a large clearing in the mountains with panoramic views.
The best lookout point is Montepertuso, Italian for “hole in the mountain.” It’s one of the more impressive things to do & see in Positano. It’s also the longest trip, taking about 30 minutes to reach from the church.
If you don’t want to walk, there’s a bus that travels from the centre of Positano to Monterpertuso village. The village sits at the top of the mountain range, named after the hole in the mountain that you’re travelling to see.
You’ll need to travel several small paths to reach the arched rock. On the way, you’ll pass a variety of local plant life, including olives and grapes. It’s a secluded area that doesn’t receive a lot of visitors.
When you reach the rock, you’ll have a panoramic view of the surrounding area, from a completely different perspective compared to the lookout points on the Vallone Porto trails.
Shop for souvenirs and trinkets near the beach
When you get back from the forested paths behind the village, add shopping to your Positano itinerary. Most of the shops are found near the beach and the narrow streets located within a few blocks of the water.
The Amalfi Coast has lots of shopping to offer. Along with quaint little shops, you’ll find clothing boutiques, ceramic shops, and various locally made goods.
As you walk around the village, you’ll likely see women wearing flowing fabrics and long skirts in various pastel colours. These designs often come from local shops. Whether you’re shopping for clothes or ceramics, you’ll take something completely original home.
This is also a good time for another food break. Many of the restaurants near the beach don’t open until after lunch. By the time you arrive, they should be opening their doors.
Take a guided tour of kayak around the sea
With shopping out of the way, enjoy the sea with a boat tour or rented kayak. The boat tours provide a relaxing way to see the Amalfi Coast. You’ll pass a few of the other small, scenic towns that dot the coastline.
The entire coastline contains several more villages and towns that almost mirror Positano.
Unfortunately, the boat tours don’t stop at the villages. If you end up spending several days in the area, try hopping from one village to the next each day.
Instead of a guided tour, adventurous travellers may prefer to navigate the waters on their own. Rent a kayak and take it out into the sea for a trip up and down the coast.
As this is the last stop on the itinerary before heading in for food and drinks, spend as much time as you want exploring the coastline.
For those that tend to get seasick, skip the boat or kayak and spend more time wandering the streets of Positano. The narrow streets and alleys tend to hide various treasures, such as little art galleries, museums, and fashion-forward shops.
Enjoy food and live music at Music on the Rocks
After getting back to land, stay on the coast to find the village’s best restaurants and bars, including Music on the Rocks. It’s the most popular disco in Positano and a must-see destination for the younger crowd. As you approach the club, you’ll hear the live music and rowdy patrons.
If you’re not into loud music and heavy drinking, the area also has many restaurants and casual bars. There’s something for everyone near the waterfront, providing multiple options for finishing off your tour of Positano in one day.
Many of the restaurants serve the local cuisine, often consisting of fresh seafood or pizza. Shrimp, crab, and other crustaceans are common options. You’ll also typically find a wide selection of locally made wines from the mountain vineyards.
Order lemon sorbet for dessert. Another local favourite, it’s often served between courses to help cleanse the palate.
Along with the restaurants and bars near the beach, the areas further inland also provide a few tasty options. As Positano is so tiny, don’t be afraid to walk around and explore different restaurants or bars. It’s almost impossible to get lost.
Where to stay: The best hotels for 24 hours in Positano
Thanks to its small stature, figuring out where to stay in Positano is usually quite straightforward for travellers. The biggest challenge is finding availability as the selection of places to stay here is relatively small. Be sure to book your accommodations well in advance to get your pick at some of these top hotels in Positano…
- Hotel Conca d’Oro: This top-rated 4-star hotel features large elegant rooms, most with lovely sea views. Chilling out in the hot tub on the panoramic terrace is a brilliant way to end the day.
- Residence Villa Yiara: Housed in an 18th-century building, this boutique-style bed and breakfast offers bright and spacious rooms with private terraces overlooking the bay.
- Hotel Eden Roc Suites: If you’re looking to add a little luxury to your Positano layover, nothing beats this luxury hotel. Splurge on one of the suites with a private terrace hot tub with incredible bay views for an extra special stay in Positano.