Let’s Talk About All Those Stairs in Positano!


snakes-and-laddersWhat’s With All the Stairs in Positano?


When I was a kid I used to play a game called “Snakes and Ladders”. Did you play it?

It was a game where you had to go along a number of squares to eventually reach the last square and win the game.

But if you ended up on a square with a ladder, you could skip the longer pathway and zip up a shortcut to land further along the path and closer to your goal.

Alternatively, if you landed on a square with a snake you had to go back several squares on your journey (and usually way behind other players too).

Well, I often call Positano a “Snakes and Ladders” town – except that there are no snakes. There are just ladders – in the form of stairs.


positano stairs


The roads are your long, winding path of squares that you travel up to your hotel (or restaurant or bus stop or wherever you’re going). The stairs are your ladders or shortcuts.

Positano is basically a vertical town set into the Southern Italian cliffs – which is what makes it so breathtakingly beautiful.

However, because of the layout, you get a lot of winding, uphill roads you have to walk in order to get back and forth from your hotel to the beach.

This can take a while, especially if you’re staying at a hotel high up in the hills. Every once in a while though, you’ll find a set of stairs that can give you a “shortcut” up the hill.



This is a great way to save time. And when going down to the beach, the stairs are super-easy and much faster to take than walking down the main road.

However these stairs can be quite challenging. For example, one couple told me they counted the stairs from their hotel (Posa Posa) down to the beach and literally counted 500 stairs! That may be ok going down – but going up – yikes!


Not all hotels are that high and if you get a hotel that is closer to the main area of town (like Palazzo Murat or Hotel Poseidon) – you won’t have to climb that many stairs – or walk that much of the road. But it is something to be aware of.

Alternatively, if you stay right on the beach (like at the Covo Dei Saraceni for example or another beach hotel), you really won’t have to climb stairs at all (unless you’re coming from the road down to the hotel and back up again).


positano stairs


Personally I find the first few days with the stairs in Positano to be challenging. As much as I like the shortcuts that the stairs give me – I’d rather take the road those first few days. It may be longer – but it’s easier.

But by my 3rd or 4th day there, I find the stairs are getting much easier and it doesn’t bother me so much.

And as much as I’d like to claim that I’m super in-shape, the truth is I’m not. My personal-trainer, black-belt-martial-artist husband sails by me and then waits patiently at the top of the stairs – just to rub it in.


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So if you’re a regular exerciser like him, you’ll probably have no issues with the stairs at all. If you’re like me – well give it a few days. It will get easier.

Another plus to the stairs?

I never gain weight on vacation in Positano – even though I eat like a horse. In fact the last time we went, I lost weight. So my advice is to look at the stairs like they’re your friend (if you can).



They can get you where you want to go faster than the road – and you won’t have to worry about putting on weight from all that AMAZING food you find in Positano.

Plus, I find that the stairs are part of the charm of Positano – you get to travel past cute houses and nooks and crannies of the town that you wouldn’t otherwise get to see.



Don’t want to take the stairs?

No worries – there is an internal bus that will take you around Positano for only a few Euros. Most of the higher up hotels have an internal bus stops right outside their doors which you can jump on every half hour or so.

There’s also my other favorite method for getting to a high-up hotel: walk up the hill a bit, then stop for a cappuccino for an hour and enjoy the view.

Then walk up a bit more and stop for some prosciutto and mozzarella at a road-side cafe. Then walk a bit more – and stop for a gelato. Then…you get the picture!



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