Positano vs. Sorrento

With sunshine-yellow houses on towering cliffs and winding paths of citrus groves, Sorrento is a photogenic town. Positano's eye-catching landscape is similar, with pastel houses cascading down cliffs onto the bay. Both are stunning cities with tons to offer, but it's never an easy choice to choose between the two.
Positano vs. Sorrento

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Sorrento is the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, a breathtaking citrus wonderland on the Sorrentine Peninsula. It’s a well-connected town, easily accessible from Naples and other towns on the coast. And because of this, you can never go wrong in choosing Sorrento as your base.

But with its draws, you’ll quickly realize that it’s more than an entrance to the famous Amalfi Coast. Sorrento has impeccable views, a food scene that leaves reaching for seconds, and a collection of natural wonders to explore.

Meanwhile, Positano has a well-known reputation for being a tourist powerhouse. Widely considered the best town on the coast, Positano offers a complete tourist experience.

It’s a relaxing town by day, with bougainvillea-clad pastel houses being the star of the town. But at night, it transforms into a charming party town, with painted cave walls in neon colors.

Positano

Positano draws its undeniable charm from its magical and idyllic setting. Picture pastel-fronted houses on cliffs, bougainvillea-laced terraces, and lush greenery growing everywhere. Its rustic charm, mixed with the right amount of luxury, makes it an irresistible sunbaked slice of the Amalfi Coast.

But all is not about looks in Positano. It’s a summer paradise that’s perfect for water sports, packing tons of restaurants that indulge you with hearty dishes. To top it off, Positano is arguably the best party town on the Amalfi Coast for its cultured, varied, and exciting nightlife!

What Makes Positano Unique?

An Incredibly Photogenic Town

Positano doesn’t seem to have a bad angle. In fact, its landscape is what most would think of when they think of the Amalfi Coast. Picture pastel houses of all colors sitting on cliffs, sloping down to the blue waters of the sea.

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Especially during the sunset, Positano is an iconic spot for a dreamy Italian summer. And anywhere in the city, you’ll find a perfect, Instagram-worthy spot as your backdrop.

On the pebbly shore, you can enjoy the shade of a colorful umbrella while soaking in the glistening waters of the sea. Behind you are layers and layers of peach and yellow houses that pop amid the green-clad limestone cliffs. And from a cliffside vista, you can surround yourself with thriving flora of all sorts along with the best views of the Tyrrhenian sea.

Though seeing Positano from the mainland is stunning, the best views of the city are from the sea. Hop on a boat or kayak and venture of into the blue waters for Positano’s money shot. Only then can you truly soak in the beauty of this postcard-worthy town.

Fascinating Landmarks

Apart from the breathtaking sights, Positano also packs a ton of history that flows through its winding streets. The town is an eclectic mix of the old with the new. Amid the rusting houses and historic piazzas are trendy cafes, upscale restaurants, and more, that put the city on the map.

Remnants of the city’s history, though few, are stunning.

You may know of the world-famous ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. But you may not be aware that the eruption of Mount Vesuvius has reached as far as the Amalfi Coast. And in Positano, you can enter an ancient Roman villa that got buried under the ashes.

The villa is full of frescoes, decorated with griffins, gilded columns, and more. You’d also get to see bronze cups, vases, and jugs of the time period.

If you’re planning to take a historic tour of Positano, you’ll be glad to find that the villa is only below the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. This church is the most famous landmark in Positano.

With its stylish dome dominating the skyline, you can see this church from every corner of the town. It’s the finest example of Medieval art in the city, but it’s as beautiful on the inside too.

Within its walls are towering pillars, stunning archways, and innumerable stone cherubs. The Church of Santa Maria Assunta is also home to the city’s Byzantine Black Madonna.

Plunge Into the Deep Blue Waters

Positano’s intoxicating charm extends beyond its pastel-clad buildings on lush cliffs. Being a coastal town, its beaches are what make it one of the dream summer destinations on the Amalfi Coast. And with its idyllic charm and inviting waters, it’s impossible not to spend a day on the beach in Positano.

Positano’s pebbly beaches have your convenience in mind. Anything you need for a great beach day is here, from umbrellas, sunbeds, changing rooms, and showers. Lining the beach are also a variety of cafes, bars, and restaurants to fuel you for the day.

Positano, being a small town, has a total of four beaches. These are the Spiaggia Grande, Fornillo Beach, Arienzo Beach, and Laurito Beach. And among the four, the town’s crowning glory is the Spiaggia Grande.

Spiaggia Grande is the largest beach in town and is the go-to spot for sun-loving locals. While it has other draws, the most enticing aspect of visiting this beach is its incredible sights. With views of the classic pastel houses on the hill, it’s popular among tourists for the perfect photo backdrop.

Another thing that makes Spiaggia Grande special is that, unlike others, this beach has tons of restaurants on its shore. Others only have one or two, leaving you with fewer options to fill your tummy. And because of this, Spiaggia Grande is also a popular nightlife spot!

Indulging Every Foodie

Tourists flock to Italy partly due to its scrumptious and hearty food. But it’s the rugged Amalfi coast that’s the mecca for impeccable Cucina Povera favorites. And in the charming town of Positano, there’s more to the dining experience than the delicious meals.

Some of the best views in the city are right at the dinner table. Most restaurants in town offer incredible views. So you’re sure to have a stunning backdrop as Positano wins your heart through your stomach.

Adding to Positano’s exciting food scene is the variety of restaurants to choose from. Choose from Michelin-stared fine dining to charming, family-run restaurants to rustic nonna-run taverns.

For a lavish and upscale dining experience, the fashionable La Sponda is the best pick. Enjoy a candle-lit dinner here at a bougainvillea-laced terrace. Make it here in time for a sunset aperitivo, as this restaurant has the best 360 views over the Tyrrhenian Sea.

How about a warm meal of regional dishes made with a mother’s lover? At La Tagliata, this is exactly what you’d get. It’s a family-run restaurant that boasts mamma’s genuine home cooking.

Each day, she wakes up early in the morning to make handmade pasta and figure out the best dish to prepare based on the freshest ingredients of the day. And while the menu changes daily, you’re sure to leave the restaurant with a full stomach. You’ll get a four-course meal here, with each plate holding generous portions.

If you love seafood, then Positano is perfect for you as this is the star of almost every regional dish! Not every seafood restaurant is top-notch though. So you’d wanna go to one that locals always come back to, such as Da Adolfo.

Most restaurants in Positano want locally grown ingredients and hearty dishes to be the star of the plate. But Casa E Bottega is rare as it focuses on a health-conscious menu to offer a more clean diet on the coast. Thus, gourmet salads, smoothie bowls, and fresh juices are the heroes here. But you’ll also find some indulgent eats here, such as cakes and natural gelato.

Charming Seaside Nightlife

The fun and excitement in Positano aren’t bound to the daytime. At sunset, locals begin to cap off their day with an aperitivo in hand while soaking up the beauty from a cliffside spot. As the night progresses, so does the electrifying vibe of the night, and this ends with a full-blown party in the hottest clubs of the town.

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The nightlife in Positano starts late and goes full swing only after midnight. Upbeat music and the multicolored neon lights continue to brighten up the nightlife until 4 AM. But while there’s a long wait time, Positano has tons of scenic pregame spots to chill in.

Prepare for a fun-filled night at Paradise Lounge Bar. This bar is close to the beach, so you have a sweeping view of the Tyrrhenian sea as you sip some cocktails. You can do the same at the famous Il Tridente Cocktail Bar, where you can get a better view of Positano from the top.

Once Positano’s bars and clubs get more lively, unleash your inner party animal at the Music on the Rock. What’s special about this spot is that it’s located inside a cliff. Its interiors sport naked rocks, making it feel like you’re in a cave.

Though small, it’s a trendy club with a mix of fun music and colorful lights to complete the atmosphere. You can even hear the crashing of the waves within the bar, a unique experience to any nightlife.

Sorrento

Sorrento’s often overlooked in favor of other popular towns on the nearby Amalfi Coast. But this picturesque town demands a second look, as it packs a ton of allure to draw you in.

Located on top of limestone cliffs, Sorrento gives you a breathtaking view of the Bay of Naples year-round. With charming cobblestone streets, lush greenery everywhere, and the scent of citrus in the air, it’s a serene spot for unwinding.

Top that off with a rich culture, sublime cuisine, and tons of things to do, Sorrento will drive you to stay longer.

What Makes Sorrento Unique?

An Undeniably Picturesque Town

Perched on a high cliff, Sorrento is no stranger to astonishing and dramatic views. Picture a gorgeous sunset from the hilltop, with small boats bobbing on glistening water from below. And among the colorful buildings sprinkled around the city, you’ll find tons of lush green pockets to add to the town’s rustic charm.

From the high cliffs too, you’ll see an unmatched view of the bay of Naples and the Sorrentine Peninsula. The best vista in Sorrento is the Villa Communale.This is a well-manicured garden filled with colorful flowers. But the real treat here lies way beyond the garden.

Look beyond and get a view of the towering Mount Vesuvius from the town. And on a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of another charming town, Capri. The best time to visit Villa Communale is during the sunset when the sun filters the town with an amber hue for a more magical sight.

A 15-minute walk away from Villa Communale is the picturesque Marina Grande. This is one of Sorrento’s most photographed sites, with a charming village vibe to boot. Stroll around the water’s edge and pass by colorful boats and restaurants that overlook the sea.

Another highlight of Sorrento’s landscape is the majestic Regina Giovanna. This is a natural swimming pool tucked between towering rock cliffs. With its vibrant blue waters and emerald surroundings, it’s one of the most romantic and tranquil spots in town.

You can either walk to Regina Giovanna or take a quick bus ride to get there. There’s a cobblestone path that guides you to this natural wonder. There’s also a charming cafe nearby if you need a refreshing drink or light meal to fuel you after your trip.

A Town Brimming With Culture and History

Settled by both the ancient Greeks and Romans at some point, Sorrento has a long, fascinating history. And with it comes some interesting museums, ruins, and other landmarks to discover. So while in Sorrento, there are many ways to enrich your trip by peeling the town’s layers of history.

Start your historical tour with a visit to one of the town’s oldest churches, Basilica di Sant’Antonio. Built in memory of Saint Antonio, this church is also his final resting place. But the church holds more allure for the culture buff, as it houses Sorrento’s most impressive artworks.

Another church to explore is the Church of San Francesco. In particular, it’s the church’s romantic cloisters that reel tourists in. The church features a whimsical 14th-century garden, backed by baroque arches and lush greenery.

The church also has temporary exhibits on the second floor during summertime. But no matter what time of the year, it offers a glorious view of the Bay of Naples.

You can also visit several stunning views in one short stroll from Via Fuorimura.

From there, make your way to Vallone dei Mulini, a 13th-century flour mill that’s cradled in a ravine. Nearby, you can stroll along the Via degli Aranci, a road fringed with colorful orange trees. Keep walking until you reach Porta di Parsano, an old gate where remnants of Antica Mura di Sorrento lie.

If timeless art is more your speed, the Correale Museum is your paradise. It boasts an impressive collection of the town’s artifacts. This includes Neapolitan statues and paintings, and intarsia, which is Sorrento’s woodwork. The museum is set in a charming villa surrounded by luscious lemon groves, so it’s also a beauty in itself.

Enjoy the Sparkling Azure Waters

Situated on the stunning Sorrentine Peninsula, a day full of beach fun is the norm when visiting Sorrento. Its beaches may be pebbly, but its waters are still clear, blue, and inviting. The best part is that there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the town’s beaches!

Relaxing by the shore is one of the best things to do in Sorrento. You’re always within walking distance from a beach club or bathing spot in town. Just a short walk away from Piazza Tasso is Marina Piccola, which is full of beach clubs to choose from.

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Hang out at Bagni Salvatore for its natural pool and delectable seafood dishes. But if you want a more photogenic spot, head to Marameo Beach. This spot has an elegant pier bar and restaurant so you can sunbathe with a cocktail in hand.

The best way to admire Sorrento’s azure waters, though, is it to dive in and get wet!

A boat tour is a staple in any tourist’s itinerary when visiting one of Italy’s most beautiful coastlines. It’s the best way to marvel at the splendor of one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines! From Marina Grande, you can hop on a boat and explore the coast to your heart’s content.

Visit other nearby destinations such as Capri. Discover natural wonders that you can only reach by boat, such as the Blue Grotto. Boat tours will take you to the most stunning spots on the coast, from caves to historic spots to charming towns.

You may want to take advantage of Sorrento’s clear waters and explore what lies under the water. Vervece island is the most popular diving spot in town, as it’s abundant in colorful corals and various other marine life. An iconic sight here is a submerged statue of the Madonna, who’s said to protect its visiting divers.

If you’re tired of sightseeing, get a boost of an adrenaline rush by parasailing! From Marina Grande, you’ll head out into the sea for 90 minutes and glide in the air. All while enjoying the breathtaking view of the coast.

Endless Shopaholic Delights

Sorrento may not hold a candle to Milan’s shopping scene, but even devout shoppers will be more than satisfied in this charming town. From high fashion designer stores to the eclectic offers in local markets, you can find everything you’ll need in Sorrento.

At the heart of Sorrento’s retail scene are the small local businesses that sell unique goods. You’ll find them everywhere, along the coast or tucked away in small alleyways.

These stores offer a wide array of goods, from high-quality Italian leather goods to beautiful trinkets. Get your hands on some intricate woodwork, lemon goods, and hand-crafted ceramics.

If you don’t know where to start your shopping spree, Corso Italia is the best spot. It’s the main shopping street in town where you can find countless locally crafted goods.

Corso Italia’s lined with souvenir shops, cafes, and even old cathedrals. So it’s perfect for window shopping, too, with some gelato in hand.

Continue spoiling yourself in the old town, Via San Cesareo. This area’s full of small boutiques that display the local’s fine craftsmanship.

Here you can take home some intricate wooden intarsia and artisan-made ceramics to remember Sorrento by. You can also get your hands on trendy, locally made pieces from Moda Positano. Or walk away with high-quality sandals tailored to your liking at Sandali Siniscalchi.

Pick up some household items and linen at weekly local markets at Piano di Sorrento. Stock up on some delicious lemon souvenirs and limoncello. With everything that’s going on in Sorrento’s shopping scene, you’ll never know what gem you get to take home on a bargain.

A Hearty Taste of Sorrento

Thanks to its lush surroundings, Sorrento has abundant local produce. Combine that with the local’s culinary mastery and inbuilt passion for food, the Sorrento has such an exciting food scene.

Because Sorrento lies on the coast, seafood is the star of any local dish. Marina Grande’s where you’d find busy fishermen working on the catch of the day. But this port is also home to excellent seafood restaurants to indulge your tastebuds.

If you’re not a fan of seafood, then a serving of delicious pizza may entice you. Being so close to Naples, the birthplace of pizza, Sorrento also knows how to make excellent pizza. Couple that with a zesty limoncello on the side, and you’re dining like a local!

Sorrento still has many other tasty dishes to try. So it can be mind-boggling figuring out how to best get a taste of Sorrento. Thankfully, the town has several food tours to show you the ropes!

Let a local foodie expert guide you through the best of Sorrento’s food scene. Munch your way through traditional dishes and see why Sorrento is also a foodie’s paradise.

Among the town’s local produce, it’s lemons and citrus fruits that Sorrento’s known for. When you stroll around town, watch out for lemon groves tucked among the buildings. You may be looking at a hidden gem to dine at.

One of the best lemon groves in town is the I Giardini di Cataldo. Sip on some limoncello under the shade of the lemon trees and take home some yummy lemon jam!

For a lavish lemon grove dining experience though, there’s no better place to visit than the O Parrucchiano La Favourita. This is a historic restaurant that’s been serving delectable food in its lemon garden since 1868.

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10 SNEAKY TRAVEL MISTAKES YOU'RE PROBABLY MAKING RIGHT NOW

This guide highlights the most common mistakes many travelers make – so you can easily avoid them.

You will also get tips and travel “hacks” that will help you save time and money so you can enjoy an adventure of a lifetime without sweating the small stuff.

Get the guide and checklists now so you can avoid the travel mistakes that can ruin your precious vacation.

Take your culinary tour up a notch and immerse yourself in the town’s food scene by taking a cooking class! Knowing how to make Sorrento’s local dishes is arguably the best souvenir you can take home.

Learn how to make pasta and Italian desserts while sipping a glass of wine or two. You’ll have a respected chef to show you the ropes and maybe give you some secrets too.

There are various cooking classes in town, varying in the venue, menu, and more. But don’t miss the chance of cooking within a citrus grove for some breathtaking views too!

Should I Stay in Sorrento or Positano?

The quick answer is that Sorrento is the best choice for you if you want to travel on a budget. Sorrento is not a part of the Amalfi Coast, so you won’t pay VIP prices to have a fun time. And because it’s a larger town, you have tons of accommodation choices, bars, restaurants, and tours to choose from.

Being the cheaper destination doesn’t make Sorrento a bad one though. Sorrento is a breathtaking town that offers rich culture and history, an exciting food scene, a glorious shopping scene, and more.

Still, Sorrento doesn’t have as dramatic of a view as Positano. Given that it’s a major tourist hub, Sorrento may feel touristy for some people. It’s alive during the day and the night, so the ambiance here may not be to your liking.

It’s not as walkable as Positano too, so wandering through the city is not as enjoyable.

Meanwhile, Positano is better for you if you want the quintessential Amalfi Coast experience. Think of colorful cliffside houses, boat tours, a small-town feel, and more. Positano is also a quieter and more tranquil town, as it’s smaller and harder to get to.

The downside is that Positano, being so popular, gets so packed with tourists. This is especially true in the summer when traffic jams are a common occurrence.

To add, a trip to Positano also comes with a high price due to the large crowd of tourists coming in. And because it’s a small town, you’re going to have a hard time finding a stay in Positano.

FAQ

Is Positano in Sorrento?

Positano and Sorrento are two different towns that are close to each other. Positano is a famous town located on the Amalfi Coast. While Sorrento is on the Sorrentine Peninsula.

Sorrento to Positano Distance

The straight line distance between Sorrento and Positano is only around 5.6 miles (9 kilometers). The driving distance is longer since the road to Positano has a lot of curves to go through. So when traveling from Sorrento to Positano, you’re covering around 9 miles (15 kilometers).

Sorrento to Positano

There are three ways to get to Positano from Sorrento. You can take a bus, private transfer, or ferry.

Taking a bus is the cheapest option, though it’s not the most convenient or comfortable choice. A private transfer is convenient and comfy, but it comes with a high price tag. A ferry is a middle ground for speed, price, and comfort, so it’s the most popular option.

Ferry From Sorrento to Positano

Taking the ferry from Sorrento to Positano is the most scenic way to travel. The ferry tickets only cost around 15 USD per head. And the travel time can take anywhere between 40 to 90 minutes.

These ferry services between Sorrento and Positano are available all year round. The downside is that there are only three departures on this route per day. So if you’re planning to take this, make sure to plan in advance.

You’ll start your journey from the Sorrento Ferry Terminal, which is right in the heart of the city. From most hotels, you can walk to the terminal. You’ll dock at the Positano Ferry Terminal at the end, which is also conveniently located.

High-Speed Ferry From Sorrento to Positano

Several ferry companies offer high-speed boats from Sorrento to Positano. And you’ll find both at the Sorrento Ferry Terminal.

One option is Seremar, which takes you to Positano in around an hour and a half. The other is the speedier Positano Jet, which cuts down the travel time to only 40 minutes. The fastest option is Alilauro Gruson, which completes the journey in just around 20 minutes.

Seremar travels between the two destinations seven times per week. Positano Jet offers 14 sailings each week. While Alilauro Gruson runs between the two cities 25 times weekly.

Take note that these travel times can vary depending on the weather conditions.

Best Ferry From Sorrento to Positano

Depending on your budget, the best ferries to choose from on this route are Seremar, Positano Jet, and Alilauro Gruson. Alilauro Gruson is arguably the best of the three as it’s the fastest service from Sorrento to Positano. And because it travels more frequently between the two towns.

How Much Is the Ferry From Sorrento to Positano?

Ferry ticket prices from Sorrento to Positano start at 15 USD. Though prices vary between ferry companies, the difference is often minimal.

There’s an extra cost if you’re taking luggage, strollers, bikes, and animals with you. You’ll pay anywhere between 2 to 7 USD for these.

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Sorrento to Positano Ferry Schedule

The earliest ferry leaving Sorrento to Positano departs at 8:55 AM. While the last ferry leaves at around 7:40 PM. If you want a more accurate schedule, make sure to check online where you can also book tickets in advance.

Last Ferry From Positano to Sorrento

The last ferry traveling from Positano to Sorrento leaves at around 6:40 PM.

How Long Is the Ferry Ride From Sorrento to Positano?

The ferry ride from Sorrento to Positano is anywhere between 20 to 90 minutes. And your travel time will depend on the service you choose.

With Seremar, your travel time can be around an hour and a half. If you choose Positano Jet, your travel time will be around 40 minutes. And while Alilauro Gruson, your journey can be as fast as 20 minutes.

Private Boat From Sorrento to Positano

From the Sorrento Ferry Terminal, you can rent a private boat to take you to Positano. While this is a comfortable and efficient option, it does come with a high cost. Prices vary from one company to another, but you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars on this trip.

Train From Sorrento to Positano

While Sorrento has a train station, Positano doesn’t have one. In fact, the Amalfi Coast doesn’t have a train station. With this, you can’t ride a train to travel between the two cities.

Sorrento to Positano Train Price

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to ride a train from Sorrento to Positano. Your only transportation options are a bus, ferry, or private transfer.

Sorrento to Positano by Bus

Taking the bus is the most affordable way to travel from Sorrento to Positano. Ticket prices cost around 2 USD, and this journey only takes around one hour to complete.

Buses leave Sorrento for Positano daily. The earliest bus departs at 6:30 AM, while the last bus leaves at 7:00 PM. These buses leave every hour, so you’re sure to catch one.

Take note that this isn’t the most comfortable transportation option. Buses can get overcrowded, and you may need to wait longer to ride one due to the long lines. You may even have to stand during the whole journey on the way to Positano.

How Much Is the Bus From Sorrento to Positano?

Bus ticket prices from Sorrento to Positano cost around 2 USD.

Last Bus From Positano to Sorrento

The last bus to leave Positano for Sorrento leaves at around 3:00 PM.

Taxi From Sorrento to Positano

A taxi ride from Sorrento to Positano is comfortable, convenient, and fast. You can arrive at Positano in only around 45 minutes. You also don’t have to worry about schedules as you can hit the road any time.

The downside to this option is its high prices. Taxis on this route can cost around 46 USD or higher, depending on your preferences.

How Much Is a Taxi From Sorrento to Positano?

Taxis from Sorrento to Positano cost around 46 USD. But if you’re traveling with a bigger group, you need to get a bigger car that costs around 57 USD or higher.

Driving From Sorrento to Positano

Driving from Sorrento to Positano is a scenic way to travel. And because you’re in charge of your time, you can make stops for breathtaking views along the way.

From Sorrento, you can go to Positano via SS163. You’ll be covering a distance of around 10 miles (16 kilometers) on this route.

You can also take Via Nastro D’Argento and SS163 for some scenic spots. This route is longer though, covering a distance of 10.6 miles (17 kilometers).

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