Amalfi Coast Travel Positano Beach Spiagga Grande

A Guide to the Beaches of Positano

Amalfi Coast Travel Best Beaches in Positano

After receiving such a great response about my Guide to the Beaches of Amalfi, I’ve decided to expand the series to cover another favorite spot on the Amalfi Coast. Of course, I’m talking about Positano! Now these aren’t your usual top beaches of the entire Amalfi Coast type guides. These narrow down to the beaches you can easily reach in or nearby a specific village and provide the sort of tips you’d expect from an insider.

What lovelier insider could you ask for than Eleonora Baldwin? You likely know her from the popular website Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino. Eleonora is also co-founder of Casa Mia – a cultural association that provides food and wine experiences in Rome, Florence, Sicily, Naples & Amalfi Coast. She also happens to love Positano just as much as I do. Ready to hit the beach in Positano? Let’s go!

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Guide to the Beaches of Positano

Whether for its unique architecture, crystal coves, stellar food or the small alleys and stairs that snake up its sensational vertical village, Positano is one of the Amalfi Coast’s most loved destinations. Portrayed in novels, in art and sponsored by an entire movement in the 1970s, Positano is a magnet for anyone enamored of the Mediterranean and the local Italian joie de vivre.

The majority of beaches on the Amalfi Coast are for the most part rocky. Forget long sandy stretches: shores in this part of Italy are pebbly coves pulled from towering cliffs, with rapidly plunging deep blue sea underfoot.

Positano is often known for its main central beach, but the “natural crèche village” boasts on the other hand several beaches to choose from. For a soak in Positano’s azure waters, you can pick one of the ones listed, and lounge there all day, or hop from one to the other, chasing the sun as it starts to dip behind the mountains as the evening approaches.

 

Spiaggia Grande

Amalfi Coast Travel Positano Beach Spiagga Grande
This is Positano’s main beach, easily recognizable thanks to its colorful rows of umbrellas. Stretching east from the town for about 300 meters, part of this beach is managed by one lido called L’Incanto, which rents out sun beds, chairs and umbrellas and provides guests with changing rooms, showers and a fine restaurant. At the end of the beach is the “Scogliera” a rocky terrace that accommodates topless sunning and the night club Music On the Rocks.

In the middle of the beach, in the “spiaggia libera” – the free beach of Positano, where you can just throw down your beach towel without paying rental fees – there is a small jetty from which boat excursions and rented boats depart to and from Capri and small coves nearby; while at the far west end is the actual dock for larger boats and ferries.

 

Fornillo

Amalfi Coast Travel Positano Beach Fornillo

Legend has it that in this smaller, more secluded beach, at the time of Emperor Tiberius, were a series of furnaces for bread baking (hence the name “fornillo” which is a dialectal shift of the word “forno,” Italian for oven). By way of a romantic path that climbs west, away from the Positano dock, you can reach the neighborhood of Fornillo, and its lovely beach. If you’re looking for a more quiet day, away from the crowds, but don’t want to travel outside of Positano, this is your best bet.

If you’re not staying in Positano proper but driving there, you can choose to reach Fornillo by way of either the Strada Statale, and then negotiate the climb down (and then eventually back up). The best thing to do in that case is park your car at the Pupetto lot which is owned by the same people who run the namesake lido on Fornillo beach.

 

Laurito

Amalfi Coast Travel Positano Beach Laurito

Laurito is Positano’s best kept secret. Small and wild, Laurito for decades has been the place where locals escape the noise and crowds of summer. The name derives from the abundance of laurel shrubs that grow wild in this small cove.
The small stretch of pebble beach is managed by two businesses: a small non-descript hotel and a fabulous restaurant. Da Adolfo is a fantastic, family-run informal eatery that serves super-fresh fish on a deck just a few steps from the shore. Throw on a sarong and order your meal and a carafe of white house wine with peach slices.

You can reach Laurito via a steep ramp of stairs that plunge down from Hotel San Pietro, connected with public Sita and Flavio Gioia bus lines. But the best way to get to Laurito is by boat. From the Positano dock, Da Adolfo runs a shuttle gozzo (local fishing boat), which departs every half hour, and which is easily recognizable by the red fish sign on the mast. Making a reservation is smart, especially if you want to relax on a sunbed after lunch.

 

Arienzo


The Arienzo beach is also known as the “300-steps beach,” because that’s the number you’ll be counting down (and back up!) to reach it from the Strada Statale main road. The walk down is fantastic, since the switchback ramps are immersed in perfumy greenery, and from here you can peek into some of the Amalfi Coast’s most luxurious villas hidden in the verdant corners of the mountain.

The beach has a free section, as well as a lido that rents out beach chairs, sunbeds and brightly colored umbrellas. Given its southwest exposition, Arienzo is also the one Positano beach that enjoys the longest amount of sunlight past 6 p.m.

Driving out of Positano headed towards Amalfi, pass Hotel San Pietro and keep going for another 800 yards until you reach the stairs down to Arienzo beach. If stairs are not your thing, there is also a nifty boat shuttle service from Positano and Praiano.

 

Discovering Hidden Beaches by Boat

Amalfi Coast Travel Positano by Boat Eleonora Baldwin

In addition to these fabulous Positano beaches, you can always rent a small power boat and reach secluded coves and inlets to enjoy the pleasure of having tiny, secret beaches – that are only accessible by sea – all to yourself!

West of Positano, along the coast, you can moor your gozzo or gommone (rubber dinghy) in beautiful and secluded swimming spots, where the crystal waters and cicada song carry you into Homeric dreamland. One is La Cattedrale – a sheer rock wall that descends into the blue Mediterranean sea from 200 meters above, with flat rock formations surfacing from the water that appear to have been designed purposely for sunbathing – the other is Il Germano, a protruding rock that resembles the profile of what legend has it was a German officer. Both places are perfect for snorkeling and diving off the side of your vessel, or just to lazily relax, floating away from beach crowds.

Insider tip: start your day early. On most of Amalfi Coast beaches the sun sets behind the mountain in the mid-afternoon. In order to enjoy the full day of swimming and sunning, wake up early and hit the spiaggia!

 

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ELEONORA BALDWIN
Food and lifestyle writer and Italian culinary/travel show host, Eleonora Baldwin provides insight on the Rome dining scene, as well as private culinary tours of Rome and other cities, for small groups through her co-owned company Casa Mia Italy Food & Wine.

She is the author, editor, photographer of popular blog Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino. She has contributed to numerous travel and lifestyle publications, and her writing appears regularly in several online food columns. Her first cookbook-memoir is due for publication in 2016.

Positano’s Laurito Beach

Boat to the Laurito Beach

Small boat that goes to the Da Adolfo restaurant

While I never need an excuse to hop on a boat and head to Positano, what lured me there on a stunning October day last weekend was an invitation from Eleonora from Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino to join her at Positano’s Laurito beach for the afternoon. Eleonora had already tempted me to discover this secluded and tiny beach near Positano in an article she wrote about the Laurito Beach over at The Travel Belles. Peaceful, local and gorgeous – the best of the Amalfi Coast!

Laurito Beach on the Amalfi Coast

On the way to the tiny Laurito beach ahead

Following Eleonora’s great instructions, I waited at Positano’s main pier for the little boat with the red fish marked Da Adolfo, one of the two restaurants at the Laurito Beach. In the distance I spotted a tiny cove with two buildings. Could that be it? As the boat approached the shore, I could see the red sign for Ristorante Da Adolfo and Eleonora and her son waving from the beach. A magical beach experience was about to begin!

Restaurants at Laurito Beach Positano

The secluded Laurito beach near Positano

The beach space is very limited, so you’ll want to arrive early in the day to get the best spots. The view looking down the Amalfi coastline is spectacular, with the Li Galli islands and even the Faraglioni off of Capri in the distance. I love this view, which isn’t visible from Amalfi.

View of Amalfi Coast from Positano

Inspiring view from Positano's Laurito beach

After playing in the sun and talking and talking, it was time for lunch! The Ristorante Da Adolfo is just a short flight of steps up from the beach, but with a pebbly floor and the seabreeze it feels as if you’re eating right on the beach.

Ristorante da Adolfo Laurito Beach

Ristorante Da Adolfo at Laurito

Boy was I lucky to be with Eleonora, because she knew just what to order! We started with one of her favorites, mozzarella grilled on lemon leaves. Delicious! After that there was a zuppa di cozze (mussels) that we just had to order after catching the tantalizing aroma wafting over from the next table. Yum! They were so good that neither of us even thought to take a photo – practically a miracle with two bloggers at one table!

Lunch at da Adolfo in Positano

Mozzarella on lemon leaves ... heavenly!

It was such a pleasure to meet Eleonora after years of emailing, writing together and following each other’s blogs. Meeting in such a beautiful setting was perfection. It felt a little unreal—the company, the wonderful conversation, the sunshine—all too good to be true! After a very busy summer, it was the moment of  inspiration, connection and grounding that I had been searching for.

Peaceful beach on the Amalfi Coast

Tranquility in the Amalfi Coast sunshine

The faded color of these buoys scattered across the rocks caught my eye. They look as worn and rough as the rocks.

Amalfi Coast colors and contrast

Colors & contrast at Laurito

An absolutely amazing day. That’s the only way to put it! Many thanks to Eleonora for inviting me to join her at the Laurito beach in Positano. I’m already looking forward to the next time!

Sunshine on the sea in Positano

Soaking up the sunshine at the Laurito beach

While you’re dreaming of a beach day on the Amalfi Coast, head over to Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino and check out Eleonora’s gorgeous photos of her escape to Positano for the Weekend!