Why You Should Visit Positano in the Winter
Did anyone else watch, "Under the Tuscan Sun", and quickly put Italy at the top of their bucket list of places to visit? I was only 11 years old when this film was released, but I remember watching it over and over, never getting tired of the cheesy lines and beautiful scenery. I dreamed of visiting this lovely country, eating way too much cheese and bread, and getting lost in the small streets. Little did I know, that I would indeed do just that.
In 2013, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Tuscany for a summer semester. It was just as I imagined, fields of sunflowers, wineries nestled in the rolling hills, and friendly Italians that never judged you for ordering a second gelato. It was pure bliss. After traveling around that summer through Tuscany, Rome, Venice, and finally Cinque Terre, I had fallen in love with the food, people, and culture. I mean, who doesn't go to Italy and fall in love?
Fast forward to 2016. We were planning a New Year's Trip with my brother and we all agreed that somewhere warm and relaxing would be ideal. On a whim, we booked a flight to Naples from Amsterdam with KLM Royal Airlines (highly recommend them for inexpensive flights out of the Netherlands). It was one of the best travel decisions of 2016. Visiting Southern Italy during the winter is an entirely different experience. So, today I am sharing with you why I would recommend traveling to Southern Italy, Positano specifically, during the winter a thousand times over. Hope you enjoy!
1. Less Expensive Accommodations
Traveling anywhere during off season is typically going to be less expensive, but I was still shocked by the price difference of accommodations in Southern Italy from summer to winter. You can easily save as much as 50% on hotels, Airbnbs, and holiday flats simply by going when it is less crowded. Supply and demand at its best! Granted, because the demand is a lot less in the colder months, many hotels do close from December - March, but fortunately, there are still an abundance of options. Just think, European breakfast buffet without the crowded lines and loud hotel lobbies -- yes, please!
Just to give you an idea... you can book this space for $250 less a week, simply by going during the cooler months. Think about all of the pizza and gelato you could by with $250!
Coming from cold, wet Germany, really anything above freezing with a bit of sun was going to seem like paradise for us. Even if you're coming from the Southern United States, taking a break from the rainy, winter months to sit on a warm, Italian patio is always a good idea. During our time in Italy, the temperatures were in the low 60s during the day and high 40s at night -- perfection. We did have one rainy day while visiting Pompeii, but once we purchased some super trendy ponchos, everything was okay. It wasn't until after we arrived back to Germany and spoke with a few friends about their time in Positano during the summer, did I realize how great the weather was during the colder months. Our friends said it was 100 degrees every day and other than going to the beach, it was too hot to do much more. I mean, gelato might be refreshing in boiling, hot tempertures, but not when it's melting down your hand before you can finish it. Right?
Italians are the wildest drivers I have ever witnessed.
The most stressful part of our vacation, for me, was the driving. Michael on the other hand, loved it (he said it was exhilarating?). Nope. Guys, I am talking 6 cars in one lane trying to make it through a roundabout, while 20 more cars attempt to pile in. I am shocked that we didn't get in a wreck or at least side swiped. Pro tip: buy the rental car insurance, at least for the peace of mind while driving around, it's worth it for your sanity.
We were driving through Italy during the "calm", "slow season" and it was stressful enough, I cannot imagine what it would be like driving during the summer when it's packed. Perhaps it's just so busy that you're going super slow and it's less stressful, but parking becomes that much more difficult and navigating to the other towns would seem nearly impossible. We were able to travel from Positano, to Sorrento, to Pompeii, then to Naples and finally Salerno with ease, however, during the summer that would have been nearly impossible.
4. Smaller Crowds, Shorter lines, & quicker service
Okay, this is a no brainer. But really, being able to experience the beaches and watch the sunset with just a few people and the locals, is a much better experience than having your views blocked by all the iPhones, cameras, and selfie-taking tourist. Also, when you've been walking all day and exploring the last thing you want to do is wait for 1-2 hours for a table at a restaurant. Yes, some of the restaurants are closed during the slow season, but we still had so many options. Walking through Positano during this time is magical, you hear people speaking Italian everywhere, young families playing on the beach, and the restaurant owners have time to talk with you and give you a true, Italian experience.
Don't get me wrong, there are wonderful things about visiting Southern Italy in the summer. Swimming in the Tyrrhenian Sea, taking a boat ride to Capri, and getting a killer tan while sipping on Lemon Cello. Yes, yes, these are all lovely. However, if you're looking to save money, beat the crowds and heat, and have a relaxing stay, then I cannot recommend visiting Positano in the winter months enough.