Positano, the Amalfi Coast and the National Park of Mons Lactarius

Positano is a small picturesque town on the Amalfi coast of Italy – basically halfway down the shin of the Italian boot. It is about an hour and a half drive south of Naples, past the sleeping form of Mount Vesuvius and the rich, lava-fed lands that surround it and down, around the Parco Regionale dei Monti Lattari, more of which later.

It is also the most popular town along the Amalfi Coast and can be quite expensive – especially the nearer you get to the bottom of the hill on which it clings and the closer to the beautiful azure sea. So, if you are on a budget, that hill will become your friend: although, wherever you go in Positano you will find a hill involved – Positano has more steps per capita than anywhere else in Italy… well probably! So look for Positano hotels with pools when you book your accommodation so that you can reward yourself with a refreshing dip when you get back to your base each day!

Positano Beaches

The town itself is full of narrow winding streets, picturesque buildings and fabulous restaurants so you will find plenty to explore. But it is down on the shoreline that Positano really comes to life. The picture-postcard-perfect  Marina Grande beach is where the rich and famous (and those wishing to hang out with the rich and famous) do their sun worshiping: either along the 300m long beach or behind it in one of the front’s many bars and restaurants that sit at the foot of the hotel clad cliffs. It is also here that you will find Positano’s famous “Music on the Rocks” bar and nightclub where you can dance the night away.

If you prefer your beach to be slightly quieter then head to Positano’s other beach, Fornillo, although truth be told nothing in the town in holiday season is truly quiet! For that, hop on the boat with the red fish and head along the coast to Laurito – a rather well kept secret that will reward you with an escape from the crowds and some excellent food provided by the two restaurants at the back of the tiny beach. Expect locals, savvy tourists and guests from the hotel that keeps part of the beach private, only.

Top Tip: Book a table for lunch when you first arrive!

Another great place to visit by taking a boat from the beach is the Grotta di Smeraldo. Find a man with a boat and let him row you inside to experience the emerald green glow that comes from the sun outside.

National Park of Mons Lactarius

Further afield there is the afore mentioned Mount Vesuvius and its cowering neighbours, Pompeii and Herculaneum, but the Amalfi peninsula also holds another treasure: the Parco Regionale dei Monti Lattari or, in English, Regional Park of Mons Lactarius. This 160km² national park covering mountains and coastlines boasts a wide range of rare European flora and fauna and the most extensive trails of the Apennine mountains.

Highlights for hikers include the Path of the Gods, the Valley of the Mills, Ieranto Bay, Mount Faito and Mount Molar.

When doing some research on the park for a recent trip I was surprised at how little information there was in English. So here is my second Top Tip for visiting this region

Top Tip:  find the official website for Parco Regionale dei Monti Lattari which is written in Italian and then get Google to translate it. It is not perfect and even this website has some ommissions (like the empty news section and, as at time of writing, only the 2013 calender of events) but it will give you an excellent starter for getting information on your trip.

So the only two links you need for your holiday in Positano are, the one for finding a place to stay and the other for finding out what to do in this fascinating park… and here they are!

http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=it&tl=en&u=http://www.parcoregionaledeimontilattari.it/index.php

http://www.wheretostayinpositano.com

Enjoy your holiday!