When planning our Positano visit, we knew exploring the gorgeous coast via boat was an activity we definitely wanted to do. I was debating between a private sunset rental or a small group boat tour for me and Nick, but after learning that my family would also be in town, we went with a private all-day rental, which turned out to be a blast. I got a lot of questions about our experience, so will try to answer some of them here!
When to Book
If you want to do a boat tour, I’d recommend booking in advance for the first few days of your trip. That way if the weather is poor, you have a few backup days to reschedule.
Boat Tour Company
I emailed a couple different companies, and Blue Star Positano was the most responsive with the best reviews on Tripadvisor. It’s run by a husband & wife team – Elisabeth was warm and helpful leading up to and during our visit! In disclosure, after I completed our booking, I mentioned that I’d be writing about the experience, and we ended up receiving a discounted rental. You can also get a discount on private rentals if you book direct and pay in cash. I’d highly recommend them, as my family loved the whole day from start to finish (and my aunts took a few hundred too many photos to show for it)!
Excursion Options (Group vs Private)
Small group tour:
9AM to 5PM, 80 Euros per person, max 12 guests on the tour
Private boat rental:
10AM to 5PM, starts at 900 Euros depending on the boat, max 12 guests on the boat
You can read more about group vs private tour options here, but if you’re traveling with less people, I thought the small group tour was a great price for a daytrip (for reference, a speed ferry ticket to Capri is over 20 Euros per person, one way). For a private rental, you get the freedom of choosing your own path and stops. The two popular routes are the same as what’s offered for the group tour: either to Capri Island or along the Amalfi Coast. We ended up choosing Capri, but I’m sure you also can’t go wrong exploring the little nooks and beaches along the Amalfi Coast.
Our Trip Itinerary
Our private boat had a bathroom, a nook downstairs with a bed for resting, and came stocked with cold beverages (including water, prosecco, beer) and snacks for us. Here are some of the stops & highlights from our day trip between Positano and Capri:
Stopped at Capri Island
Because my family had never been to Capri, we chose to dock and disembark for about 2 hours on the island. From the marina, you can either take the funicular cable car (2 Euros) or a taxi (~30 Euros) into Capri town center. It was very crowded with tourists by late morning, and for a short visit, there wasn’t much to do other than browse upscale designer shops and eat gelato (they make the cones at this place right in front of you!). In hindsight, I could’ve done without this stop and spent more time either on the boat or at a coastal beach!
Right – one of the little grottos we stopped by for a peek
Sailed around Capri island
After getting back on our boat, we leisurely sailed around the island hitting up some popular sights like the Faraglioni rock formation (below) and a little green grotto (above). Based on reviews, it seems like each of the captains are very knowledgeable about the area, and can talk to you as little or as much as you want about the history and different sights. We opted not to do the blue grotto, as it was 14 Euros per person with a long line of boats waiting.
Docked for lunch at a small fishing village
Elisabeth of Blue Star recommended stopping by Nerano, a small fishing village on the route back (between Sorrento and Positano) to get their local specialty dish Spaghetti alla Nerano. Our captain helped coordinate with Il Cantuccio, a restaurant right on the water, and a little boat came to shuttle us from our boat to the restaurant dock.
The chewy texture of the fresh noodles with lots of parmesan, fresh basil, and zucchini chunks was a hit with my whole family (half portions pictured above)! Be sure to ask for the menu there and order off of it (or stick to the delicious zucchini noodles), because we had a little misunderstanding. Upon arrival, the waiter asked if we liked fish – I said yes, not realizing that would count as ordering! We never saw a menu and he ended up bringing everyone the same fish that turned out to be quite pricey (albeit good).
Cooled off with an ocean swim
My cousin wanted to swim, so our captain sailed us to a quiet little area with calm waters (and lots of little fish) to jump into. Our boat had plenty of floatation devices and pool noodles for guest use. The water was cool in late May, but should be better to swim in June – August.
Spotted dolphins while watching sunset
We extended our day rental (150 Euros for 2 additional hours) so that we could enjoy sunset with my (photo-obsessed) family! You won’t see a full out sunset on that side of the coast, but the colors do get pretty and the lighting became soft for iconic photos between 6 to 7PM. A completely unexpected surprise was getting to see dozens of dolphins swimming and jumping alongside our boat on the ride back to Positano – couldn’t have asked for a better end to the trip!
This post is part of my main Amalfi Coast itinerary & travel guide.