All the things you should see, do and eat if you’re heading to Naples, Capri, or Positano this summer! My Positano travel diary includes restaurant recommendations and things to keep in mind when you’re visiting!
Continuing with the theme of travel guides for Italy, today I’d like to share our Naples, Capri, and Positano travel diary. Last year, I spent the better part of two months researching for our 14 day trip to Italy, so everything you see below took tons of research, reading reviews, and finding ways to solve problems with a language barrier!
I hope you find my Positano travel diary helpful if you’re planning a trip there!
NAPLES, CAPRI, AND POSITANO TRAVEL DIARY| WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- Hotels and Airbnb’s have a mandatory city tax (usually in the ballpark of 3.5-7 euros depending on the city.) Tax is due in cash at the time of check-in if you’re staying in an Airbnb (I believe our hotel just charged our credit card if I’m not mistaken.)
- For summer travel, I suggest booking train rides to other cities in Italy or beyond at least a month in advance. We routed our entire trip and even purchased train tickets before leaving the U.S. Trenitalia.com has an English site, and it makes it super easy to get tickets before you leave.
- Italy is HOT in the summertime! Constant water breaks are very necessary. I suggest taking a reusable water bottle with you every day when you go out so that you have plenty of water to drink and a replace for refills.
- HEADS UP: If you’re planning a trip to Pompeii be sure to bring a water bottle PER person, preferably one that is refillable. There are locations to refill your water bottle inside the ruins. so you just need to make sure you have a place to put it!
Locals generally don’t tip. Gratuities are sometimes expected from tourists though. Try to avoid excess tipping, and you certainly do not have to calculate a percentage the way we do here in America. I suggest tipping ~1-4 Euros if you’re at a sit-down restaurant if you liked the service. Most sit down restaurants already have a built-in “dine-in” fee, this is MOST definitely true for almost every sit-down restaurant in Positano. If they brought bread to your table, chances are they charged you for that too!
- TIP: Taxi fares can be round up to the full Euro if you’d like to tip.
- Italians don’t do coffee (or other beverages on the go) so expect a few looks if you ask for a latte or cappuccino in a takeaway cup… that’s if they actually have them! Most coffee shops don’t (I’ll point out one that does in Positano!)
- Also, upwards of 10,000 steps a day should be expected! Positano has long winding roads on a slope, especially if you’re staying in a more modest hotel or in an Airbnb. So make sure you wear really comfortable walking shoes because chances are, you’re going to be clocking in a lot of miles on those babies!
- If you don’t plan on having data or a wifi hot spot (affiliate link) with you on the trip, consider downloading a map for the cities you’re going to on your Google Maps app that you can access even when you’re offline. Though we took our hot spot with us, Anees downloaded the maps which came in handy when our hotspot was running out of juice or when we were out of range (this did happen in some parts of Positano, when we were further up)
- Dress in layers! Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, it can be a bit chilly in the mornings (this is coming from a Texan, so make of it what you wish.) When we were there, it was unseasonably cold one morning, so I wore a denim jacket for the first half of the day and then removed it before lunchtime, and carried it with me. If you’re staying closer to the top, as we did, there really isn’t an option to come back just to grab a sweater!
NAPLES, CAPRI, AND POSITANO TRAVEL DIARY | WORDS TO KNOW
- Ciao – Hello
- Buongiorno – Good morning
- Prego – You are welcome (sometimes they greet you this way.. as in go ahead)
- Lei Parla Inglese – Do you speak English?
- Grazie – Thank you
- Grazie Mille – Thank you so much
- Mi scusi – Excuse me
- Quanto costa – How much is this?
- Questo ha carne – Does this have meat? (super important if you’re vegetarian/pescatarian because a lot of stuff does)
TIP: If you have wifi or a hotspot (affiliate link), be sure to download Google Translate on your phone! It’s helpful when two people are trying to communicate in different languages — we did have this as a backup but found that post people in Positano spoke enough English to communicate with us, but always good as a backup option, just in case!
NAPLES, CAPRI, AND POSITANO TRAVEL DIARY | WHERE TO EAT
As a tourist, we’re conditioned to think that when we’re in a foreign country, every restaurant has something delicious to offer; however, this isn’t always the case. As a rule of thumb, most restaurants on the same street as the main attraction, offer average/subpar food with big price tags. Often, a restaurant that’s more economical and has way more authentic (and delicious!) food is just around the corner or a couple of blocks over. For this reason, I suggest doing some preliminary research and having a rough plan for every meal of the day. I have MAJOR FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to food, so I didn’t want to waste even a single meal on average food!
- HEADS UP: If you’re used to having a classic American breakfast, brace yourself, there aren’t many places that serve it. Anees was in for the shock. He’s not one for sweet pastries first thing in the morning but made the best of the situation with croissants, so let’s just say, Italy’s breakfast scene wasn’t his favorite. We found one restaurant in Positano that serves traditional American breakfast and guess who flocked to it like a moth to a flame? If you’re staying at a hotel, such as Le Sirenuse, or any of the larger hotels in the main area, you may want to give them a call or check the website to see if they offer a traditional breakfast option, if breakfast is big on your list!
Sadly, we weren’t in Naples for more than a couple of hours, so I don’t have much of a city guide to offer. What I do have is a Pizza guide! We took the train from Rome to Positano, and when we found out we had a stopover in Naples, we found the most extended stopover and decided to venture out into the city to grab lunch there. I’ve had a TON of pizza on this trip, but both Anees and I agree that the best pizza we had was in Naples!
- HEADS UP: Naples train station does have a luggage storing facility where you can pay a few euros per bag and have them stow your bags for an hour or more. That way you don’t have to drag your bags around the city with you!
There are two options close to Napoli Centrale (Naples Train Station) that have amazing reviews that we considered. I researched and found a place, but ultimately, Anees found another place, and we ended up there for one reason or another. I’m not mad about it; we LOVED the pizza there.
L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele (18,266 reviews)
- Via Cesare Sersale, 1, 80139 Napoli NA, Italy
- A 13-minute walk from the Napoli Centrale
- A very small shop that has very minimal seating, you might have to share a table with someone else. They do offer takeaway as well.
Sorbillo (17,252 reviews) (this is the one we ended up at)
- Via Dei Tribunali, 32, 80138, Naples, Italy
- A 26-minute walk from the Napoli Centrale
- They have a sit-down restaurant as well as a takeaway location, right next door. We ended up getting take away and eating it outside. From what I understand, the takeaway place also gets busy, but of course, they pop out food much much faster. My best tip is to get there early. We went around 11:30 and there was no line at all!
GETTING TO POSITANO | POSITANO TRAVEL GUIDE
There are several ways to get to Positano, depending on where you’re coming from.
- Private boat/ferry
- Private car
If you’re coming from Naples:
- You have the option of coming via ferry, boat, direct bus from Naples, or private car if you want to come directly. I find that a direct ferry or a private car/ direct bus are the most hassle-free way to arrive in town but may not be the most cost-effective.
- You can also take a train from Naples to Sorrento (this town does have a train station, Positano doesn’t.) Then take the bus that runs between the towns from Sorrento to Positano. It’s much more economical to do it this way but keep in mind that it’s also a little more time-consuming. Let me just say that if you’re going during the busier months (i.e., summer) don’t take this option — unless you have a super early morning arrival. If it’s anytime from 9am-9pm — it’s nearly impossible to squeeze on to the bus yourself much less with luggage in hand.
This was the part that we went back and forth on for almost a month. The frugal girl in me wanted to take the train to Sorrento after doing some research; I found that both the bus and the direct boat option can sometimes be a little unsafe. There are pickpockets on these boats/buses sometimes. And we were there in August making it the busiest time of the year. Looking back, I’m not sure I’d say the boats were unsafe (that’s just what I read.) We decided it was best for us not to take the risk, and ended up hiring a private car (which ended up being a shared van with another couple) to take us up to our location.
With the boat, you have to keep in mind that the boat docks at the very bottom of the town, and if you’re staying at a hotel that’s further up or an Airbnb, walking uphill with luggage isn’t really an option. Chances are, you’ll need to find a taxi or again, take the local bus up to your stop. With adding these costs to the boat ride, it ended up being maybe a few more euros to take a private car that picked us up from the train station and was theoretically to drop us off at the foot of our Airbnb. That’s a story for another day! Same with traveling out of Positano.
If you’re coming from smaller towns on the Amalfi coast, your best way of travel would be bus, taxi, or private car. Boats do run between the towns as well but note that they run on a fixed schedule. Some run only a few times a day (and the time table states in which direction) which may not always work out according to your travel schedule.
WHERE TO EAT IN POSITANO | POSITANO TRAVEL DIARY:
Ristorante C’era Una Volta (4.5 stars. 1,290 reviews): This was our first dinner in Positano. I had heard a lot of great things about this restaurant. They offer outdoor seating, so it’s great for an early dinner. I tried the linguine with jumbo shrimp, which was in a rich tomato sauce – divine! The Caprese salad was also a yummy treat.
- ADDRESS: Via G. Marconi, 127, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
- TIP: This place does have a cover charge, or at least it did when we were there. It was only a few euros, but it’s something you may want to know before you go!
Casa E Bottega Positano (4.5 stars. 939 reviews): This place offers healthier options breakfast or lunch. You’ll find eggs for breakfast, oatmeal, and even smoothies! They are a bit pricey (but again, what place isn’t in Positano) but it’s a nice change of pace if you’re looking for a more traditional American breakfast item. They also have lunch options, sadly we couldn’t fit in a second meal at this restaurant but the lunch options also looked yummy!
- ADDRESS: Viale Pasitea, 100, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
Chez Black (4 stars. 3,963 reviews): This place is at the foot of Positano, hard to miss in Positano because it’s located down by the beach along the main walkway. There is almost always a line here. They do take reservations so if you’re looking forward to eating here; I do suggest calling ahead and booking a table. Especially if it’s a special occasion or you’re wanting a seat outside!
- ADDRESS: Via del Brigantino, 19, 84017 Positano, NA Italy
- HEADS UP: They make heart-shaped pizza here! They usually make them on their own for women, but if you’re particular like you want a picture for Instagram, or you just want a pie in the shape of a heart, chances are if you ask nicely, they’ll make you one! 🙂
Collina Positano Bakery (4 stars. 480 reviews): This place is great for a grab and go coffee! They also have takeaway cups, which made my American heart so so happy. They offer pastries (both sweet and savory) for breakfast as well as take away pizza for lunch or dinner. There is also a gelato shop located inside. So you could say it’s a one-stop-shop for any time of the day. One night when we were too tired to venture out anywhere after our trip to Pompeii, we ordered pizza and took it back to the Airbnb and enjoyed every bite of it! It’s great for when you want a meal in your PJs!
- ADDRESS: Via Cristoforo Colombo, 1/3, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
Ristorante Il Capitano (4 stars. 957 reviews): This place is a real gem! It’s situated in a building where you’re overlooking both the sea and the city of Positano. It’s perfect for a sunset dinner with a view.
- ADDRESS: Viale Pasitea, 119, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
- HEADS UP: If you’re wanting a good view near the edge, call the restaurant a few days in advance and book a table requesting a good view. We called them the day of, and they told us if we came early (before sunset) and promised to be gone just passed, they’d give us the best table that offered both a water and a city view! Let me tell you; it was breathtaking!
Ristorante Bruno (4 stars. 1,418 reviews) : This place is open to the outside. It’s pretty close to where all the main action is and is one that is on almost all Positano food guides!
- ADDRESS: Via Cristoforo Colombo, 157, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
- HEADS UP: This place takes reservations! You can book online or give them a call to book.
Gelateria Buca di Bacco: Really delicious gelato flavors, very close to the sea just up the right steps near Chez Black. Across from Bar Bucca.
- ADDRESS: 84017 Positano, SA, Italy
Lemon Granita: This might be a little bit of a goose chase, but if you follow my directions, you’ll see it! If you look just across the street from the Collina Positano Bakery, where the bus stop is, and you walk down the path (towards the beach) just about 100 steps in on your left is a little lemon granita stand. They only accept cash but this place has the BEST lemon granita! Crushed ice, Amalfi lemon juice and zest with a sweet note. They are so refreshing!
DAY TRIPS FROM POSITANO | POSITANO TRAVEL DIARY
We ended up taking a day trip to Capri from Positano on a whim on our last day. The ferries are located and the right side (past Chez Black.) You can purchase tickets in advance or in-person and book a return trip from Capri.
There are a ton of things to do in Capri, but unfortunately, on the day we went, we weren’t able to do what we’d gone for, visit the Blue Grotto (if it rains even a little bit, they close it off for the day.) But one thing I do recommend is taking a boat trip around Capri once you arrive. The tour guide will show you the green grotto, blue grotto (entrance tickets are separate), and the white grotto. It’s fun and if it’s hot, it’s a nice way to cool off!
Other things to do in Capri:
- Take the Funicular to Capri Town
- Grab a gelato at Gelataria Buonocore
- Garden of Augustus: There’s apparently a Citrus granita stand near the garden that everyone raves about (near Piazza Umberto)
The number one thing not to be missed in Capri is the Torta Caprese or the Caprese chocolate cake. It’s been almost a year and I can still taste that deliciousness in my mouth. I ended up sharing a homemade version with you guys and both of us think it comes pretty close to what we had in Capri.
The easiest way to get to Pompeii from Positano is:
- take the SITA bus from Positano to Sorrento (the La Sponda stop is about a 4-5 minute walk from the iconic Le Sirenuse hotel.)
- When you get to Sorrento, the stop you get off at is the Circumvesuviana. This is a train that runs every 30ish minutes and the journey to Pompeii takes roughly 30 minutes on this train.
- The entrance to Pompeii is very easy to find once you get there and isn’t very far from where the train lets out.
I do suggest booking your tickets for a tour in advance so you can really do your research and pick a tour that you’re interested in.
As always, BRING PLENTY OF WATER. There are free faucets to fill up your bottle throughout the ruins and also, WEAR PLENTY OF SUNSCREEN and BRING A HAT. All caps because it’s that necessary!
And that brings me to the end of our Positano Travel Diary. If you have any other questions or suggestions on what to do or where to eat, feel free to leave them below so others can benefit from this too! I hope this post was helpful if you’re planning a trip to the Amalfi coast at some point!