STAY IN NOCELLE – OR ANOTHER VILLAGE ABOVE POSITANO
Positano is a magical place with cute alleyways and winding stairs everywhere you turn. And it possesses a certain charm that few places do but like all wonderful destinations, Positano is crowded, especially if you go during the summer months. If you’re like us and you prefer to stay in quieter places, opt for one of the towns above Positano. Towns like Nocelle have all the charm and none of the crazy tourism that Positano has. Nocelle is about a 25 minute bus ride to Positano – very convenient – and is a super quaint village that sits on the edge of the Amalfi Coast and overlooks the beautiful Mediterranean. Once the bus drops you off, you climb a few sets of stairs to the top where the idyllic town sits. If you choose Nocelle as your residence, I would highly recommend Casa Cuccaro, a beautiful bed and breakfast with everything you could ever hope for. The breakfast was our favorite, a feast of coffee, fruit, and pastries that we fully enjoyed every morning before heading out to explore Positano and the Amalfi Coast.
PLAN YOUR BUS SCHEDULE WELL (…OR TAKE THE STAIRS)
Unfortunately, the bus system of the Amalfi Coast is well, crazy. There are A LOT of people which use it because that’s the easiest way to get around so if you miss your bus, you will have to wait quite a while to catch the second. We waited about 2-3 hours in Praiano to catch a bus to Ravello because the buses were all packed. Be sure to pay attention to the bus timetables and arrive early if you plan on actually following a schedule. And even then, you may wait some more. If you’re claustrophobic, you may want to pay a taxi for transport but be warned, taxis are expensive in the Amalfi Coast.
If you’re adventurous and want a bit of a work out (and you happen to be staying in Nocelle), take the stairs (2000-ish) down from Nocelle to Positano. It’s a great way to get some exercise in and see sights you normally wouldn’t if you just stuck to the road. You’ll pass a few people along the way but for the most part, the crowds opt for the bus.
Warning: if you decide to take the stairs up, plan to sweat buckets. This is something the Stair Master at the gym will never prepare you for.
CHOOSE LESS TRAFFICKED RESTAURANTS
Our bed & breakfast owners suggested a few less touristy restaurants to eat at and each one was a hit with the family. Our two favorites were Ristorante da Costantino and Santa Croce. Da Costantino is located closer to Positano and sits on the edge of the Mediterranean and provides Casa Cuccaro guests with free pickup and drop off service. We enjoyed delicious pizza and fish from their kitchen. Santa Croce is a small restaurant about a 5 minute walk from Casa Cuccaro – it featured some of the best homemade pasta we ate on our trip. There are plenty more restaurants to choose from (Italy is FULL of good food) – these are just two that we happened to try so if you’re looking for less touristy spots, ask locals for recommendations.
HIKE PATH OF THE GODS
Path of the Gods gets you away from the crowds and into nature to enjoy views of the Amalfi Coast. Though not exactly a Positano experience, you do get breathtaking views of Positano in the distance throughout the hike. This hike is a must do for anyone that loves outdoor activity. It’s a long hike but worth every step. We hiked it from Nocelle to Praiano which I would suggest (the reverse direction is all uphill and in parts, a climb) and took the bus from Praiano to Ravello. It’s not an easy hike but it’s not terribly strenuous either. It goes without saying that you need to hike this in appropriate footwear – there are many loose stones and steps throughout the hike.
VISIT POSITANO EARLY IN THE MORNING
We have trouble getting up in the morning (and we had a grand breakfast to treat ourselves to) so I’m sure you can already guess that we did NOT go down to Positano very early in the morning. However, we did notice a marked difference in the number of people from early-ish morning (around 9/10 am) to noon. The crowds seemed to double in size. Make sure you go early if you want to enjoy capturing Positano in its quieter charm.