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Beaches & Boating

Positano is blessed with four delightful beaches besides the central Spiaggia Grande by the marina: Fornillo (linked by boat service from the marina) to the west of town and La Porta, Ciumicello, and Arienzo to the east. The sand is rather gray and pebbly, but the views are idyllic and the sea is clear and refreshing. You can rent two chairs and an umbrella at the reserved areas for about 25€ per day, or use the free but crowded public beach. Another beach, Laurito, is also a bit out of town, but you can easily reach it with the boat service offered by the restaurants Le Sirene and Da Adolfo, which both also rent chairs and umbrellas.

For a quieter swim, locals like to take a boat to one of the small coves accessible only by sea. You can rent a boat at Spiaggia Grande from Lucibella (tel. 089-875032) for between 35€ and 60€ per hour, without skipper, depending on the kind of boat and the duration of the rental. One popular destination is the archipelago of Li Galli (The Roosters), the four small islands visible to the west of Marina Grande. Named Gallo Lungo, Castelluccio, Gallo dei Briganti, and La Rotonda, these are the islands where -- according to Homer -- the Sirens lived. Indeed, the archipelago is also known as Sirenuse, from the Latin Sirenusae (Sirens). According to legend, these creatures attracted mariners with their enchanted songs, causing their ships to run aground on the rocks. In Greek mythology, sirens were represented as birds with human faces and the bodies of fish (hence the name Li Galli, "The Roosters"). Once you skirt past the Sirens and arrive safely on Gallo Lungo, you'll spot a watchtower and the remains of a Roman villa. In more modern times, Rodolf Nureyev spent the last years of his life in a villa on these islands.

Hiking & Trekking

Hiking the local trails is one of the best ways to enjoy the area's incomparable natural beauty as well as its historic and artistic monuments. Many of these trails start right in the outskirts of the town and most are historic footpaths that were the only land links in the area before the SS 163 was opened in 1840. Still used for bringing animals to pasture, most are well maintained and well marked. If you are a serious hiker, we recommend the map published by the CAI (Club Alpino Italiano), Monti Lattari Penisola Sorrentina, Costiera Amalfitana: Carta dei sentieri, sold for 10€ at the best newsstands and bookstores in Ravello, Amalfi, and Tramonti (Positano may have it, but they often run out). The Comunità Montana Penisola Amalfitana, Via Municipio, 84010 Tramonti (tel. 089-876354), also has guides and trail information. Giovanni Visetti (tel. 339-6942911; www.giovis.com) is an experienced local guide who organizes some of the best treks on the peninsula.

Trails are steep and progress can be hampered by rocks and gravel. To tackle most of the paths you need to be moderately fit and have basic equipment: good shoes, a backpack, a sunhat and a good supply of water (especially in the summer), and a jacket for the rain and cold (all times of year). You also need a head for heights.

One of the more demanding hikes is the path to Santa Maria di Castello (marked no. 33 on the CAI map), with its spectacular natural terrace overlooking Positano. This town straddles the pass between the Sorrento and Positano sides of the peninsula, and it is basically straight up from Positano, through Corvo. You can also cheat and drive yourself to Santa Maria di Castello (the road approaches from Vico Equense, on the Sorrento side of the peninsula). An easier hike is the ascent 400m (1,312 ft.) to Montepertuso. This is the first part of a longer trek which winds through the citrus terraces between Positano and Amalfi. The going is relatively easy in this direction, but the best views are to be found on the more demanding ascent from Amalfi. Another scenic trail is the climb to Nocelle, at an altitude of 443m (1,453 ft.). In this little paradise, where cars are not allowed, you can have an excellent lunch (or dinner) at Ristorante Santa Croce (make reservations in advance by calling tel. 089-811260). The trail starts from the SS 163, between Arienzo and Laurito, about 3km (1 3/4 miles) east of Positano. From Montepertuso and Nocelle you can also continue on the Sentiero degli Dei.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.