Positano is part of Italy’s world-famous Amalfi Coast, a region of Italy well-known for its natural beauty. The whole region sees about 5 million annual visitors, and many of these visitors pass through Positano or stay there overnight.
Positano is the most famous of the 13 villages that dot the Amalfi Coast and used to be the glitzy getaway for Hollywood stars (and wealthy ancient Roman nobles).
The town’s thousands of years of history can be seen at landmarks such as the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta and the Museo Archeologico Romano.
However, the main charms of Positano are less educational and more hedonistic. Relax on the spectacular beaches, such as the world-famous Spiaggia Grande, or take a water taxi to remote beaches and islands.
Shop for souvenirs in the colorful boutiques and relax with some fine food and limoncello in one of the many restaurants.
As you can see, Positano has a lot to offer visitors, but does it offer a safe vacation spot? We put together this travel guide to prepare you for your vacation in Positano so you can have a fun, safe time.
Is Positano Safe to Visit in 2023?
Yes, Positano is very safe to visit! In general, the Amalfi Coast is a very safe area for tourists, with very little crime.
You may encounter the types of crime that plague tourist areas around the world, such as petty theft, but even rates of these crimes are fairly low. It helps that Positano is located in Italy, a country that most people agree is fairly safe.
Most world governments, such as Australia, just advise their citizens to exercise normal precautions in Italy, issuing the lowest possible travel advisory for the Mediterranean country.
If Italy is safe, then it stands to reason that a town located in the country will probably be safe. Most of these travel advisories include warnings for crimes that are popular in tourist destinations around Italy, including Positano and the rest of the Amalfi Coast.
Common problems include:
- Bag snatching
- Tourist scams
- Catcalling and verbal harassment
Positano is a small town with a population of only 3,747 people, according to the last census. That means crime rates overall, especially violent crime rates, tend to be lower.
Positano’s small size also means that it avoids the dangers that some countries, such as the United States, include in their travel advisories for Italy, such as terrorism and civil unrest.
While these problems may occur in Italy’s larger cities, Positano is a small town with little economic or political significance. It is an extremely unlikely target for both terrorist attacks and violent protests.
Positano is a beautiful place to visit, but not all is as it seems in the beautiful images. Although the town isn’t dangerous to visit, it can be inconvenient.
One common problem that tourists run into is the steep landscape. Positano’s hillside location makes for great views, but it makes it hard to get around! You will have to climb down steep hills and staircases to get from the main road to the beach and probably your accommodations.
If you can, avoid bringing big rolling suitcases. Unfortunately, Positano isn’t very accessible for the elderly, families with small children, and people with disabilities.
Another problem is the crowds. Poor Positano is a victim of its own popularity. It doesn’t have the infrastructure to support the millions of people who traverse through the village every year. Expect crowds everywhere you go, from the streets to the beach.
The crowds often mean there are long lines for the ferries and buses, making it hard to get around the Amalfi Coast.
Positano and other Amalfi Coast towns have tried to take measures to limit crowding, such as an odd day-even day policy for car license plates to prevent snarls of traffic on the narrow road.
However, these measures haven’t been very effective at curbing the crowds. If you are visiting during the summer, prepare to be surrounded by plenty of other travelers.
Another thing you should be prepared for is the weather. Summers in Positano are dry and very hot. Visitors should take precautions to avoid heatstroke, such as drinking plenty of water.
Sometimes, the hot summers cause wildfires. In the summer of 2017, there were extreme wildfires along the Amalfi Coast that burned for a month, sometimes coming near Positano.
If you visit in the summer, stay alert to any government advisories regarding wildfires in Italy, especially in the Campania region. You can avoid most of these problems by visiting during the shoulder season.
The weather is still beautiful for swimming, but you lower your risk of dangers such as natural disasters and extreme heat, as well as annoyances such as crowds.
Positano isn’t a dangerous place to visit, but there are some challenges when visiting that may damage your idea of the perfect vacation. As long as you prepare for these headaches before you go, you can save yourself a lot of grief when you get there.
Crime in Positano
The crime rate in Positano is fairly low. This means that visitors can relax, knowing that they are mostly safe.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should completely abandon common sense precautions such as zipping your bags and locking your doors, as crimes such as theft can still happen.
The crime rate for all of the Amalfi Coast is fairly low, so we can assume that the crime rate in Positano is very low as well. The region scores 16.67 out of 100 on the Numbeo crime index, which is a very low value.
When they do worry about crime, people are mostly worried about petty crimes such as verbal insults, drug abuse, and discrimination.
The most common crimes in Positano are crimes that tend not to affect tourists. For example, the town, like many other parts of Italy, struggles with corruption.
Corruption leads to problems such as a spate of illegal building that produces structures that are unsafe and have led to deadly accidents. Most of these affect private homes, not hotels or rental villas, so you should be safe.
Still, it is a good idea to check reviews from previous guests to make sure that your accommodations are safe before booking. Overall, crime in Positano is not a major concern for visitors or locals.
There are a few reasons why the town has such a low crime rate. One is the low population and tight-knit community, which discourage crime.
Although crime increases during the high tourist season, when most crowds pour in, Positano has a reputation as an upscale destination, which tends to discourage (and price out) traveling criminals.
While you should still take some precautions while you are in Positano, you don’t have to be on your guard completely as it is a very safe town.
The most common form of crime in Positano is petty theft. The rate of petty theft is fairly low in Positano, much lower than in Italy’s other popular tourist destinations.
However, it still occurs, so it’s a good idea to protect yourself from this possibility. The Canadian government warns about the frequency of petty theft affecting tourists in Italy in its travel advisory for the country.
The travel advisory states that thefts are common in popular tourist destinations, which certainly includes Positano given its massive tourist arrival numbers.
Pickpockets tend to operate in the crowded streets of the town center, around the ferry terminal, in the buses taking you from town to town on the Amalfi Coast, and on the beaches.
Basically, wherever there are crowds and tourists, you should keep an eye on your possessions. One of your “fellow travelers” may be looking at more than just the view — an opportunity for theft.
Luckily, Positano’s thieves tend to be fairly easy to deter. As long as you take basic precautions, you will most likely prevent theft.
Don’t leave your things unattended, not even when you go swimming on the beach — at least close your bag or put a towel over it to hide your valuables from view. As you go through crowded areas, make sure that you keep a firm grasp on your bag.
Some people say that you’re at the most risk of theft when trying to get to Positano, not when you’re actually in the town itself.
Many people take the Circumvesuviana railroad from Naples to Sorrento, then a bus or ferry to Positano. The public transportation along this route is riddled with pickpockets, so make sure that your bag is closed and your wallet isn’t in your back pocket as you travel.
Tourist scams can happen in any place where the economy depends so much on travel and tourism. Although scams are not that common in Positano, they can still occur.
The most common scam in Positano is the accommodation scam. Scammers will post a listing of a spectacular villa on common accommodation booking sites, luring travelers in with gorgeous photos.
Then, once the unfortunate tourist shows up in Positano, they realize that the listing doesn’t actually exist, and the scammer has run off with their deposit—and they have nowhere to stay in Positano, where accommodations book up fast.
To try and prevent this scam from happening to you, be sure to read the reviews on the site you are using to book the accommodation before reserving it. If it is very new to the internet, has almost no reviews, or most of the reviews are negative, avoid booking there.
Another trick is to reverse search the photos from the listing on Google to see if they come up for any other property. When you sit down for dinner in Positano and get the bill, you may think you are being scammed.
Prices in this town are some of the highest in Italy, so budget more money than you would elsewhere for a beach chair or meal. Always make sure the business you are patronizing has a clear, transparent price list out front.
Avoiding Bad Areas
Positano has no areas that are so dangerous that you should avoid them. The entire town is fairly safe.
Things to Consider
Here are a few additional safety tips for Positano:
- Budget extra for Positano. It is one of the most expensive vacation spots in Italy. You will even need a two euro coin to use the beach showers!
- Wear flat, comfortable shoes. The streets are steep, and the town has plenty of stairs. It is very easy to fall down and injure yourself if you are wearing heels or other uncomfortable shoes.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Apply plenty of sunscreen and stay indoors during the hottest part of the day. The sun can get very strong in Positano.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have questions about Positano? We can address any lingering concerns with the frequently asked questions below:
Is Positano safe to walk at night?
Yes, Positano is safe to walk at night. The crime rate is very low, and violent crime almost never happens, even after dark.
Is it safe to go to the beach in Positano?
Yes, the beaches in Positano are safe. Most of them have lifeguards, although you should still make sure not to swim too far out. Just be careful to protect your stuff from thieves while you are swimming.
Is the Amalfi Coast safe for tourists?
The Amalfi Coast is very safe for tourists. All of the towns, including Positano, are very safe and have low crime rates.
Is it safe to travel to Positano alone?
Yes, it is safe to travel to Positano alone. The low crime rate means that it is safe to walk around at any time, even by yourself.
How many days is enough in Positano?
Two to three days are usually enough in Positano. However, you can stay longer and then use Positano as a base to explore other parts of the Amalfi Coast.
So, Is Positano Safe to Visit?
Positano is very safe to visit, as long as you are willing to brave the crowds if you visit in the summer. The town has a very low crime rate and is a welcoming place for all guests.
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Positano has to offer. Happy travels!