Discover Positano: Italy's Enchanting Coastal Village

Take a photographic tour of one of the country's most picturesque destinations.

By: Ryan Reed
Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Panorama of Positano.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/mikolajn

©iStockphoto.com/mikolajn

There's no shortage of beautiful places to visit in Italy. From the sprawling fields of Tuscany to the capital city of Rome, travelers can experience it all in a country known for amazing food, world class museums and historic architecture.

One destination that should definitely be on your bucket list is located along the Amalfi Coast and combines old-Italian charm with plenty of Instagram-worthy vignettes. Or, as John Steinbeck wrote in a Harper's Bazaar essay in 1953, "It is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone."

Approximately 4,000 people call Positano home, but tourists flock to the area every summer for its postcard views, high-end shopping (famous for their made-to-measure sandals) and world-class beaches. For those thinking about booking a trip, do so well in advance and consider visiting during late spring when the air is full with the aroma of fresh flowers and wisteria sprouts from seemingly every colorful villa in town.

Positano: Where Linen is the Look 05:30

Linen is the look and Courtney shows you how to work it here in Positano.

The history of Positano is an interesting one. It was once a proud trading hub in the 18th century and flourished until other trade routes opened around Italy. With fewer ships coming to its shores and the town's importance dwindling, many locals emigrated to the United States. When Steinbeck wrote his essay, Positano was simply a small fishing village frequented by elite tourists, including M. C. Escher, Liz Taylor and Steinbeck, of course.

The coastal village has come a long way since those days. No longer a hidden hotspot for the select few, Positano is now home to a booming tourism industry while still maintaining its unique characteristics. Photographer Olivia Rae James Suarez recently traveled to the region to experience the allure of Positano, and as you can see from her images below, it's as dreamy as ever.

Italy's Best Beaches

See All Photos

Amalfi Coast

Positano on the Amalfi Coast has been a welcome beach retreat since the days of Roman nobility and the ancient Greeks.

Photo By: Karl Blackwell/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Puglia

Most tourists don't make it all the way down the spur and heel of this boot-shaped country, but they're missing out. Southern Italy's Puglia region has not only over 400 miles of stunning coastline, but seafood specialities that alone are worth a trip. 

Photo By: Peter Adams/AWL Images/Getty Images

Cinque Terre

Visitors flock to Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera for great hiking, pretty beaches and romantic cliffside villages.

Photo By: Poike/iStock/Getty Images

Capri

Located off the Sorrento peninsula, Capri is a rocky, mountainous island beloved by starlets and jet-setters.

Photo By: David Soanes Photography/Moment Open/Getty Images

Sardinia

Sunbathers and fancy yachts compete with the beach's natural beauty along Sardinia's Costa Smeralda, or Emerald Coast.

Photo By: iStockphoto.com/Matteo_Parma

Tuscany

Tuscany is known for its rolling hills, great wine and superb scuba diving in Monte Argentario's coves and bays.

Photo By: iStockphoto.com/Romaoslo

Sicily

Sicily's many beaches include sandy white shores and exotic black sands, making for a unique island getaway.

Photo By: Federico Scotto/Moment/Getty Images

Lido

The best beaches in Venice are found on Lido, a 7-mile long sandbar sitting in the Venice Lagoon and Adriatic Sea.

Photo By: Holger Leue/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

The Tremiti Islands

The Tremiti Islands, often called the pearls of the Adriatic Sea, are a string of islands including San Domino, San Nicola and Caprara. San Domino is the largest and most developed of the 3 and is known as the "green pearl" with its lush vegetation.

Photo By: iStockphoto.com/Simone

Viareggio

Tuscany's largest beach town, Viareggio is one of the farthest points south on the Italian Riviera. Viareggio is a classic resort town with art nouveau buildings, bustling nightlife and endless food, but it's best known for its wild Carnival festival, a tradition since 1873.

Photo By: iStockphoto.com/Wjarek

Keep Reading

Next Up

5 Ways to Conquer Europe’s Most Active Volcano

Mount Etna towers over the island of Sicily, spewing fumes, ash and lava in a constant reminder that our planet is still untamed. Here’s how you can visit it.

Southern Europe

Cruising the Mediterranean is like embarking on a romantic odyssey.

Northern Europe

Sailing through Northern Europe offers an amazing opportunity to experience extremely diverse cultures in the matter of a week or so.

Europe's Beaches

Some of the world's most gleaming sands, sparkling waters and glamorous coastal getaways line the edges of Europe.

Europe's Earth Wonders

Visit Iceland and Norway to experience Europe's natural wonders with glaciers, volcanoes and fjords galore.

Europe's Best Hostels

We've compiled a list of the best European hostels to meet fellow backpackers and get a restful night of sleep.