Pros and Cons of Both
Trying to decide where to stay – Positano vs Amalfi?
This is a popular question as the two towns are next to each other along the Amalfi coast (with Praiano in between).
Positano and Amalfi (the town – not the coast) are two of the top towns to visit if you’re touring the Amalfi coast – so it’s natural to wonder which is the best place to stay.
While I tend to be partial to Positano (hence this website), I’ll admit that there are advantages to both.
Here are some of the things you should know about the benefits of staying in both Amalfi and Positano to help you decide which is right for you:
Positano vs Amalfi: Benefits and Drawbacks of Amalfi
Amalfi is a small town along the Amalfi coast and is the place from which the famous coast got it’s name. In it’s heyday Amalfi was an 11th century maritime superpower.
The town today is packed with some stunning art and architecture from that era. There’s also the lovely Cattedrale di Sant’ Andrea that sits at the heart of the town.
You can often sit in the main square opposite the church and enjoy a coffee or gelato as you watch a wedding party take pictures on the stairs.
Amalfi also has a lovely shopping area where you can meander around and visit shops or get a gelato, etc.
Just outside the town there’s a short seafront promenade where you can stay to relax and enjoy the heat of the sun. There’s also a beach area there as well – although similar to the beach at Positano, it’s more of a pebble beach – not a sand beach.
Amalfi is closer to Ravello and you can easily get a hop-on, hop-off bus to take you up there (although they seem to be few and far between when you’re ready to go down – so you might get stuck paying a taxi to get down – beware!)
As far as crowds go, while some say Positano is crowded, I personally think Amalfi is more crowded.
Why? Because first of all, Amalfi is a main bus hub (Positano is not). It also has a large ferry area as well.
Plus, because it’s easier to get into road-wise, a lot of the large tour buses from the cruise ships tend to skip Positano and go on to Amalfi – hence more crowds.
I also don’t think you get the views in Amalfi that you get with Positano – just because Amalfi is more spread out on land instead of built straight up into the cliffs like Positano.
Still, it is charming and quite beautiful. And it does tend to have more hotel options – which means prices can be lower than the hotels in Positano.
Positano vs Amalfi: Benefits and Drawbacks Positano
Positano as stated above, is unique in that it is built up and down into the cliffs instead of horizontally.
Because of this you get the most beautiful views of any town along the Amalfi coast. If it is possible to cry from sheer beauty of a place, you’ll do it in Positano.
Positano started out as a sleepy fishing village but has since evolved into a hot spot for jet setters and even celebrities.
However despite this (and a fact that I love), it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s still very casual with an emphasis on excellent food and great service (tourism is the main industry in Positano).
Because of the layout of the town most of the most popular Positano hotels have balcony views of the water that are breath-taking and you usually don’t have to pay extra for this as you do in other Italian vacation hotspots.
As far as places to visit there are several beaches and the 13th century Church of the Santa Maria Assunta. There’s also the Green Grotto and the beachfront cafes where you can while the day away sipping cappuccino and eating gelato.
As stated above, I don’t think the crowds are as bad in Positano as in Amalfi (although both towns can get very busy during peak season). And just as Amalfi is closer to Ravello, Positano is closer to Sorrento. You can easily get to Sorrento by ferry (during the main season) or by SITA bus from Positano.
So depending on where you’re planning to visit, this can also impact your decision on where to stay.
One last benefit of Positano: more beaches. There are actually 2 beaches here (plus a few private ones you can only reach by boat). So if you’re a beach lover, you’ll have more choice in Positano.
Positano does have a few drawbacks. First of all, because of the layout of the town, you will be climbing a lot of stairs. So if you’re not in the best shape, this might not be appealing to you.
Also, the ferry area is not as open as in Amalfi. So when there is a storm or the waters are a bit rough, they seem to be the first to stop running. Also, the ferries stop running completely around mid-October to about mid-May.
Despite all of this, I still think that overall, Positano is the better bet. Why? Well, because at the end of the day most people agree that Positano is the more stunning and uniquely beautiful of the two towns.
So those are some of the things you should consider when thinking about Positano Vs Amalfi. They both have their pros and cons. But really, you’re on the Amalfi coast so if you’re looking for beauty and La Dolce Vita you can’t go wrong!