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Positano Or Amalfi: Where To Stay & Which Is Better?

Positano beach, Amalfi Coast

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Italy’s Amalfi Coast is a magical place and one of the most breathtaking coastlines in the world! It was undoubtedly the highlight of our trip to Italy and I am already planning my next trip to this slice of heaven. If you have started planning your itinerary to the Amalfi Coast, you may have noticed that the coastline is dotted with vibrant coastal towns like Amalfi, Ravello, Positano, Capri, Sorrento, Vietri Sul Mare with Positano and Amalfi being the most popular choices. Deciding between Positano or Amalfi and where to stay can be quite daunting. In this detailed post, I have covered everything you need to consider before deciding between Amalfi and Positano and which is better based on your preferences.

During our trip, we stayed in Positano and loved every moment of it. The amazing views, romantic ambiance, and upscale amenities made our stay unforgettable. Positano was the perfect base for us to take a private day trip to Amalfi and other towns and a private tour of Capri directly from Positano. Amalfi is a good option to stay if you are traveling with families or looking for budget friendly options.

Table of Contents

POSITANO VS AMALFI: A COMPARISON

Positano or Amalfi? It is a difficult choice to make. Positano is glamorous, dreamy and charming while the town of Amalfi is more laid back, affordable and practical. Here’s a comparison to help you decide between the two towns.

Positano Vs Amalfi –

Which is better?

Honeymoon & romantic stay: POSITANO
Families & kids: AMALFI
More Budget-Friendly: AMALFI
Instagram worthy photos: POSITANO
Girl’s trip: POSITANO
History buffs: AMALFI

Central to public transportation & towns: AMALFI

Upscale and luxurious: POSITANO

A MAP OF AMALFI COAST

Graphic of the Bay of Naples showing different towns in Amalfi Coast

For you to better understand the geography and locations, here is a map of the Amalfi Coast.

Positano or Amalfi coast: Which is better?

This is the question I see coming up a lot and I can understand why it is confusing. So let me clear it up before we dig in further.

Amalfi coast is a coastline in Southern Italy and the towns of Positano and Amalfi are part of the Amalfi coast. Both Positano and Amalfi are considered to be part of Amalfi coast. So the better question is: which town is better – Positano or the town of Amalfi? And I have provided all the details about that below.

Is Positano on the Amalfi Coast?

Yes. As shown in the map illustration above, Positano is on the Amalfi Coast. The main towns of Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento, Ravello, Island of Capri along with smaller towns of Atrani, Conca dei Marini, Vietri Sul Mare constitute the Amalfi Coast.

Deciding between Positano or Amalfi depends several factors including your personal preferences. Here are a few things to consider that can make your decision easier.

ACCESSIBILITY & TRANSPORTATION

Graphic of the Bay of Naples showing different towns in Amalfi Coast

Getting to the Amalfi Coast from Naples requires some planning but once you reach the Amalfi Coast, it does not matter whether your destination is Amalfi or Positano. Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy and there are many transportation options available within the coast and to and from Naples.

Most transportation options like private taxi, ferry, buses stop at Positano and Amalfi. The best way to navigate the narrow, windy coastal road of the Amalfi Coast is through private taxi.

BEST Private tour of Amalfi Coast

Full day, private tour of the towns of Amalfi Coast in a luxury car.

POSITANO

  • Getting around the veritcal village of Positano involves a lot of stairs. It can be challenging for families with kids, stroller and people with accessibility issues. Most hotels and Airbnbs are usually located on the cliff and getting to restaurants and the main beach of Spiaggia Grande involves taking stairs up and down.
  • Public transport and parking in Positano can also be a challenge.

AMALFI

  • Amalfi, on the other hand, is slightly easier to navigate and relatively flat compared to Positano.
  • Amalfi is also a transportation hub on the coast, making it easier to explore neighboring towns by bus or ferry. It is the best place to base if you prefer public transport access. Do note that the public buses can be crowded during peak season.

BUDGET

  • Positano is one of the most expensive towns on the Amalfi Coast. It is more upscale and exclusive.
  • Amalfi is generally more budget-friendly than Positano. The accommodations can range from luxurious 5-star hotels to budget friendly guest houses and boutique hotels. Dining and shopping in Amalfi is also more affordable than Positano.
A panoramic view of Amalfi, featuring colorful buildings nestled on a lush hillside overlooking a serene blue sea with boats anchored in the bay.

ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation are a big part of the budget and experience you are seeking for your trip and here is some information to make it easier for you.

  • Positano is known for its luxurious hotels and exclusive villas with stunning sea views. Accommodations here are pricier and tend to book up quickly. Positano is where the most exclusive hotels in the Amalfi Coast are are located.
  • The town of Amalfi offers a wider range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hotels to upscale luxury stays, generally at lower price points than Positano.
  • Positano is known for its exclusive beaches, some of the best beach clubs in Amalfi Coast and more upscale vibes with boutique shopping. While there are a few historic sights like the church of Santa Maria Assunta, Positano is not very well known for its historical sites. It is a great place to take Instagram worthy photos of the Amalfi Coast. Positano is a perfect place to enjoy a relaxing Italian holiday.
  • Amalfi, on the other hand, was once the capital of the Maritime Republic with rich history. If you love history and culture, Amalfi is a better option. It is more laid back with classic Mediterranean lifestyle.

DINING

Fruit stand, Positano
Fruit stand, Positano

Being so close to each other, Positano and Amalfi both offer similar Italian cuisine focused on local seafood and authentic Italian fare. Both have great restaurants to indulge in the local cuisine. However, the dining experience and ambience as well as price points differ between the two towns.

  • Positano is known for its high-end restaurants and upscale dining that focus on fresh seafood with incredible panoramic views under lemon groves. The restaurants in Positano are perfect for a romantic dining with beautiful views.
  • Dining in Amalfi is more authentic and less touristy. Amalfi offers a range of dining experiences, from casual trattorias and pizzerias to upscale restaurants. If you love authentic, family style cooking, you’ll love the casual spots in Amalfi.

DURATION OF STAY

If you plan to stay longer than 5 days, I suggest splitting your time between Positano and Amalfi so you get a feel of staying in both the towns.

SHOPPING

  • Positano is filled with boutiques that sell high-fashion clothing, handmade shoes, and exclusive artisan products. It is a great place to find unique things and souvenirs like hand painted ceramics and custom shoes.
  • Amalfi’s shops are more diverse, offering everything from souvenir shops to local artisan stores. Prices are generally more affordable compared to Positano. You can find local specialities like limoncello and handmade paper.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS AND THINGS TO DO

Sunset from La Tagliata, Positano

Positano is famous for the dramatic cliffside homes, beaches and beach clubs and best views of the coast. It is a more luxurious town compared to Amalfi with more beaches, beach clubs and dining.

Amalfi is the main town on the coast and is more historic, with rich culture and central to other towns. It is close to the nearby towns of Atrani, Ravello and Positano. Both the towns have hiking trail nearby.

Whether you stay in Positano or Amalfi, a private boat tour to the Island of Capri is a must. It is one of the best towns on the Amalfi Coast and worth visiting.

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POSITANO OR AMALFI: Which is better?

Positano Vs Amalfi for couples: Best honeymoon destination?

Sunrise, Positano

POSITANO

Positano is handsdown the best destination for honeymoon and special occasion compared to the town of Amalfi. The beautiful beaches and luxurious accommodations are perfect for that special occasion. You might also enjoy the island of Capri and Ravello as a romantic destination.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Best nightlife

POSITANO

Positano is a great place to enjoy nightlife whether it is dancing on the beach, live music or enjoy cocktails at a bar. The night vibe in Positano is just different and hits right compared to the other towns in Amalfi Coast.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Which is better for families?

A relaxed scene showing Amalfi's lifestyle, with potted plants and a palm tree in front of an old building with pastel walls, where people sit and chat.

AMALFI

The steep stairs up and down the town of Positano may not be ideal for families. Amalfi is a better town to stay in if you are visiting with family and small children.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Which is cheaper?

AMALFI

Amalfi is relatively cheaper than Positano. It is the best option for budget friendly travel as hotels, food and transportation is cheaper in Amalfi town compared to Positano.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Which is better for nature lovers?

POSITANO

This is a close call but Positano is closer to nature hikes and scenic trails.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Which has better restaurants?

BOTH AMALFI AND POSITANO

You will find good restaurants in both Positano and Amalfi. Positano’s restaurants may be on the expensive side and more upsacale. In Amalfi, you will find many casual trattorias and pizzerias.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Which is better for shopping?

Ceramics in Positano

POSITANO

Positano’s boutique stores make it a better town to shop in compared to Amalfi.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Which has the best beaches and beach clubs?

POSITANO

If you love chilling at a beach club or one of the beaches, Positano is a great spot! Fornillo Beach, Da Adolfo are some great beaches and several luxury hotels offer private beach access.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Which is better for a girls’ trip?

POSITANO

Positano with its cliffside views, great nightlife and stunning beachs is the perfect girls’ trip destination.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Which is better for history buffs?

Amalfi town cathedral steps

AMALFI

The town of Amalfi has a rich and diverse history and several UNESCO world heritage sites nearby to explore. It is worth visiting if you love history and culture.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Which is better? My personal recommendation

POSITANO

If you have to choose between Positano or Amalfi, my recommendation is Positano. While access to transportation may be challenging and it is more expensive with steep stairs, I still think Positano is one of the most stunning and unique places in Amalfi Coast and a must visit and stay. Even with a kid, I would still choose Positano over Amalfi.

Choosing between Positano or Amalfi depends on your personal preferences and the kind of experience you are looking for. Here is more information to help you decide.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Best things to do and places to see

Positano beach, Amalfi Coast

POSITANO

Things to do in Positano

  • Relax on the main beach of Spiaggia Grande. Rent a few beach chairs and enjoy the incredible views of the Sorrentine Peninsula.
  • Getaway from the main beach and spend a relaxing day at the small beach of Marina Piccola.
  • Stroll narrow streets and wander through charming alleys lined with boutiques and cafes.
  • Visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta and admire the beautiful dome and Byzantine icon.
  • Hike the Path of the Gods to enjoy breathtaking views. This scenic trail is a must if you visit Positano.
  • Shop for local artisans and unique finds like linen clothing and handmade sandals.
  • Dine at one of the cliffside restaurants with incredible views and enjoy fresh seafood and Italian cuisine.
  • Take a private boat tour to the beautiful island of Capri.
  • Visit Fornillo Beach or one of the beach clubs in Positano and quieter alternatives to Spiaggia Grande with stunning scenery
  • Enjoy the nightlife of Positano with cocktails and live music at local bars.

AMALFI

Things to do in Amalfi

  • Visit the Amalfi Cathedral with its stunning architecture and beautiful interiors.
  • Explore the Cloister of Paradise with peaceful gardens and ancient columns.
  • Walk along the Amalfi Marina Grande and relax on the beach.
  • Discover the Paper Museum and learn about Amalfi’s rich paper-making history.
  • Stroll through Piazza del Duomo. Explore the lively atmosphere and cafes.
  • Taste local limoncello. Many shops provide samples of famous Amalfi liqueur. One of the best limoncello we have tried is the pistachio limoncello. We bought a bottle back home and enjoyed this delicious liqueur!
  • Enjoy fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants with scenic views.
  • For a change of scenry, hike the Valle delle Ferriere full of lush greenery and waterfalls.
  • Shop for handmade ceramics and find unique souvenirs and local crafts.
  • Explore the coastline on a boat and visit nearby grottoes.
  • Visit the nearby small town of Atrani or take a day trip to Ravello and explore the beautiful gardens of Villa Cimbrone.
Amalfi as seen from Marina Grande, showcasing vibrant buildings cascading down the rugged hillside to the waterfront, with boats and people along the pier.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Where to stay?

POSITANO

You will find some of the best luxury resorts exclusive hotels in Positano. If you really want to experience the grand luxury of the Amalfi Coast, choose one of the luxury hotels from the list below. Some of these hotels also have exclusive private beach access. Most hotels during high season get booked pretty fast. Make sure you book early.

Le Sirenuse, Positano

The most iconic hotel in Positano, Le Sirenuse is known for its breathtaking views over the bay of Positano, elegant interiors, and exceptional service. This family-run hotel offers a charming and intimate experience, with beautifully decorated rooms and an on-site Michelin-starred restaurant, La Sponda. Franco’s Bar is a must visit instagram spots in Positano for stunning views and vibes.

Hotel Il San Pietro di Positano

This stunning hotel is carved into the cliffs just outside the main part of Positano, offering guests a bit more privacy while still providing spectacular views of the Mediterranean. It features a private beach, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and tennis courts, making it a perfect retreat for luxury seekers.

Palazzo Murat

Located in the heart of Positano, Palazzo Murat is a historic hotel that combines 18th-century elegance with modern luxury. The hotel is set in a beautifully restored palace surrounded by lush botanical gardens. Its central location makes it perfect for exploring Positano’s shops and beaches.

AMALFI

Amalfi, though less flashy than Positano, still offers a selection of luxury hotels that provide comfort, excellent service, and beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea. Here are some of the top luxury hotels in Amalfi:

Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi

Hotel Santa Caterina stands out as one of the best in Amalfi with its elegant architecture and panoramic views of the Amalfi Coast. It offers a private beach club, a sea-water swimming pool set in the rocks, and beautifully landscaped gardens.

Anantara Convento di Amalfi Grand Hotel

This hotel is housed in a beautifully restored 13th-century monastery perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. It offers a unique blend of historical architecture and contemporary luxury with a stunning infinity pool.

Hotel Marina Riviera

Hotel Marina Riviera features a terrace overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea and a rooftop pool. It is known for its Mediterranean décor and vibrant atmosphere. The hotel is conveniently located just a few steps from Amalfi’s main square, making it a great base for exploring the town.

Positano Vs Amalfi: Vibe and ambience

Positano and Amalfi, while geographically close, have distinctly different vibes appealing to different types of travelers.

POSITANO

Positano is chic, glamorous and exclusive with high end vibes. It is known for its dramatic cliffside setting with pastel-colored buildings cascading down to the sea. This town has a romantic and stylish flair and is perfect for honeymooners.

The streets are often busy with activity, from upscale dining venues to trendy boutiques. Nights are lively with people enjoying al fresco dining and cocktails at stylish bars.

AMALFI

Amalfi is more laid-back with authentic Italian coastal town vibes. It has a mix of locals and tourists making it a more welcoming atmosphere. The ambience is more casual compared to Positano with more emphasis on its rich history and culture.

Positano vs Amalfi Coast: Restaurants & Dining

POSITANO

Lunch at Le Tre Sorelle, Positano

In Positano, the restaurants tend to be more upscale and innovative, with a strong emphasis on seafood and Mediterranean flavors. Restaurants often boast stunning views and dining al fresco under lemon groves. Some of the best restaurants in Amalfi Coast are in Positano.

Le Tre Sorelle

Da Adolfo

Da Vincenzo

Franco Bar & La Sponda in Le Sirenuse

Casa e Bottega

La Tagliata

AMALFI

The restaurants in Amalfi tend to be more laid-back and more authentic. You will find classic Amalfitano dishes like scialatielli pasta and limoncello and more casual restaurants in the Piazzas. The center of town is full of tratorrias and pizzerias for you to sit and dine.

Lido Azzurro

La Caravella

Da Gemma

Ristorante Da Teresa

FAQs: Positano Vs Amalfi

Is it better to stay in Positano or Amalfi?

If you prefer to have a more upscale, glamourous experiences with beach clubs and don’t mind the stairs, stay in Positano. We stayed in Positano and loved it so much. Even with a toddler now, I’d still choose Positano over Amalfi but that is just my vibe.

If you prefer more authentic, laid back experience that is budget friendly and with abudant public transit options, choose Amalfi.

How far are Amalfi and Positano?

Amalfi and Positano are approximately 17 kilometers (about 10.5 miles) apart by road along the Amalfi Coast. There are different transportation options available like taxi, private car, SITA bus and by sea via ferry ride.

Which is cheaper – Positano or Amalfi?

Amalfi is relatively cheaper than Positano. The accommodations, dining, private transport can quickly add up if you stay in Positano.

What is the prettiest town in the Amalfi Coast?

Most definitely Positano with its colorful cliffside towns and stunning beaches.

Ravello and the island of Capri are a close second.

Is Positano or Amalfi bigger?

The town of Amalfi is bigger, slightly more populous and expansive than Positano. Positano is laid out vertically while Amalfi is more flat.

What is the best time to visit Amalfi Coast?

The best time to visit is May – September with shoulder months of May and September being the best. Amalfi Coast is a popular destination. Note that summer months can get super busy and crowded.

Positano vs Amalfi vs Capri: Which is better to visit in Italy?

Amazing Capri, Amalfi Coast
  • Choose Positano if you’re looking for a picturesque, romantic getaway with luxury accommodations and stunning views. It’s perfect for couples and those seeking a chic, upscale experience.
  • Choose Amalfi if you prefer a more relaxed, authentic Italian coastal town with historical sites and easier accessibility. It is ideal for families, history enthusiasts, and those looking for a less touristy atmosphere.
  • Choose Capri if you want a luxurious island experience with unique natural attractions and upscale shopping and dining. It’s best for travelers seeking exclusivity and natural beauty.

Positano vs Amalfi vs Sorrento: Which is better to stay?

  • Choose Positano if you want a picturesque, romantic, and luxurious stay with stunning views and a chic atmosphere.
  • Choose Amalfi if you’re looking for a more relaxed, authentic Italian experience with historical sites and easier navigation, public access.
  • Choose Sorrento if you prefer a convenient base with different amenities and easy access to other destinations like Capri, Pompeii, and Naples. It is one of the main towns and one of the larger towns on the Amalfi Coast.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Amalfi Coast is a dream place and visiting its picturesque towns should be on everyone’s bucketlist. Choosing between Positano and Amalfi for your stay on the Amalfi Coast depends on what you’re seeking in your Italian getaway. Positano offers a glamorous, picturesque setting with stunning cliffside views, luxurious accommodations, and a chic, vibrant atmosphere. It is probably the most famous and best Amalfi Coast towns.

Amalfi, on the other hand, provides a more relaxed and authentic experience with its rich history, cultural landmarks, and easier accessibility.

Ultimately, both Positano and Amalfi have their unique charms and advantages, making either choice a wonderful option for your visit to the Amalfi Coast. Whether you prefer the luxury and allure of Positano or the historic center of Amalfi, you’re sure to have an incredible experience.

*****

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A comparison of Positano and Amalfi with vibrant images of each town's colorful hillside buildings overlooking the sea, and text reading "Positano vs Amalfi: Which is better?"

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Hi there!

I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.

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