Panoramic view of Positano, Italy

My No B.S. Guide to Positano

The Real Truth About the Italian Village’s Hotels and Restaurants

I probably get a dozen or more DMs a week from people asking me for Positano recs, so this post is a long time coming. Like all of my recommendations, this is not a comprehensive guide, but that being said, I did a ton of research before my husband Matt and I went. This represents a good overview of places we experienced, as well as things we didn’t have time for (aka things I would have done if we were there for longer.

Lindsay Silberman and her husband Matt
Lindsay Silberman and her husband Matt 

POSITANO HOTELS

 Hotels here are expensive… like, really expensive. If you plan on visiting during peak season, you need to be OK with forking over a good chunk of change for a room…especially if you want a room with a view. I would imagine that renting something through Airbnb or VRBO would be a more budget-friendly option.

Villa Franca, Positano
Villa Franca Room

Anyway, we stayed at a boutique hotel called Villa Franca, which was gorgeous and chic and perfect for what we were looking for. Considering how pricey it was, I did think the room was small, but that’s pretty standard for Positano, and we were fine with it since we didn’t spend much time indoors. Location-wise it was ideal, and it had a stunning restaurant called Li Galli, which I would recommend for breakfast or dinner even if you’re not staying there. As far as other properties: Le Sirenuse is the grande dame and with good reason. You should go for dinner or drinks even if you’re not staying here. Go for the experience. And even though it is one of the most expensive hotels, like Il San Pietro and Villa TreVille, I would stay at one of these three luxury hotels for my honeymoon or if I was really looking to splurge. (NOTE: Italy also made Vacation.com's list of Top 6 Honeymoon Destinations!)

Le Sirenuse Restaurant
le sirenuse restaurant

POSITANO RESTAURANTS & BARS

People who have been to Positano have strong opinions about the restaurants.  If you need proof, check out the comments on this Instagram post when I asked for Positano restaurant recommendations. Below is a list of places we went as well as a few restaurants and bars that we didn’t make it to, but they came highly recommended. 

Chez Black: People will either tell you it’s the most amazing place ever, or that they think it’s totally overhyped. I’m part of the latter camp. I personally don’t think it lives up to the buzz, and I’m glad we didn’t go here for dinner, but we did stop by for some pizza, appetizers, and Rosé one afternoon—which in my opinion, is really the move. It’s located right on the main drag on the beach, so you can sit outside in front and people watch for hours. The food was OK. To be honest, I’ve had better pizza in New York, but I think it’s worth going for the experience. I wouldn’t recommend spending a full-blown dinner here.

Chez Black
CHez Black - Our meal at Chez Black. It was good, not mind-blowing. Try the pizza for lunch.

Next2: This restaurant serves Italian-Mediterranean fusion. Several people recommended it and we had a fab meal. It has a chic, modern vibe and lots of pretty people.

La Tagliata: We highly recommend this unique restaurant. It’s located up in the mountains in an area called Montepertuso, and it’s a 20-minute drive or so from town, but the restaurant sends a van to pick you up. There’s no menu. They bring out whatever they decide to cook that day, but from what I’ve heard, it tends to be the same for the most part. You get an insane amount of food and unlimited wine for around 40 euros per person (tip included). My only piece of advice is that it’s not great for vegetarians or non-meat eaters. Most of the main courses are meat, and they don’t do substitutions. Reservations can be made via a form on their website or through your hotel.

Aperol Spritz
Franco's - Make sure you order an Aperol spritz here.

Franco’s: I cannot say enough good things about Franco’s—it was probably the highlight of our trip. It’s the outdoor bar at Le Sireneuse, the luxe hotel mentioned above. You absolutely must go for sunset. They open at 6pm, but if you start hovering outside of the entrance a bit before they open, you’ll be one of the first people in. Snag a table by the ledge, which is crucial. Also, it’s fairly small, so the space fills up fast, and there’s usually a decent wait on most nights. Order an Aperol spritz and eat as many giant green olives (truly the best I’ve ever had) and almonds as you can.

On the Rocks: I may not be a partier like I was in my early 20s, but you better believe I’m all about going to a club to check out the local scene when I’m visiting a new place for the first time. Enter: On the Rocks. As far as I know, it’s really the only club in Positano. And it’s sick! Basically, it’s a club carved into the side of the mountain – hence its name. In true European fashion, it doesn’t get going until super late. I think we went on a Saturday after midnight – between 12:30 and 12:45 – and we had so much fun. Things got slightly blurry for me toward the end, but I do recall confetti, smoke machines, tequila, and an amazing DJ. I’ll leave it at that. I read a bunch of reviews before we went and heard that the bouncers aren’t exact warm greeters, but I think if you look presentable and you’re polite… you should be fine. And I can’t remember if we paid a cover or not. But if we did, it was worth it!

Places that we didn’t visit, but several people recommended: Da Vincenzo, Max, Cogno del Sogno and La Sponda.

Cafe Positano
Cafe Positano -  I was drooling over this bowl of spaghetti! 

RANDOM TIPS

For women, don’t wear heels unless you’re taking a cab directly to or from dinner. The streets are cobblestone and there are a million steps. My thighs were literally so sore and after three days I could barely walk. On the bright side, you’ll burn off all of the carbs you eat by walking so much.

Expect it to be touristy. I think it’s important to realize before you go that Positano is an extremely popular destination for tourists. Don’t expect a super authentic local experience. The majority of the people around you aren’t locals—and that’s fine because it’s so gorgeous and chic! But just be mindful of the tourist factor ahead of time.

Inspired by this article and want to speak with an expert travel agent about how you can plan an unforgettable vacation in Positano? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with an expert travel agent, who can customize a dream trip itinerary that includes the best hotel, restaurants and immersive experiences that you deserve.

Lindsay Silberman authorized Vacation.com the right to repurpose this article. The original article appears on her blog, A Luxury Lifestyle Blog by Lindsay Silberman.

Positano at night - View from the Beach
Positano at Night