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Self Guided Walking Holidays in Europe

Alta Via: Amalfi and Sorrento Coast to Coast

Overview for Alta Via: Amalfi and Sorrento Coast to Coast


On this tour you will discover that the Amalfi Coast has become Italy’s most famous coastline for a good reason, but also that there are still places where you can be all by yourself, surrounded by nature. The Alta Via is a must for the avid hiker (just like the GR20 in Corsica). It is the long-distance trail which runs high above the Amalfi Coast, from Cava dei Tirreni in the very East, to Punta Campanella, the tip of the Sorrento Peninsula. It roughly follows the ridge of the Lattari mountains, the backbone of the Peninsula.

The Amalfi Coast offers a stunning combination of sea, picturesque coastal towns and mountains, an abundance of both culture and nature. The landscape is varied and offers ever-changing views. It can be typically Mediterranean, intoxicating with its wild perfumed herbs, with myrtle shrubs, thyme, rosemary and mastic trees, or almost alpine with meadows and bare rocks.

Going from the sea to the mountains, you’ll walk through little villages, vineyards and olive groves, Mediterranean scrub and woods, living rocks and chestnut woods. Beautiful small churches, ruins of castles and old farmhouses are found all over the place.

Walking in this area lets you enjoy some of the most splendid views on the Amalfi Coast and the Bay of Naples, while immersed in an almost alpine landscape. You will surely enjoy the rural scenery as well, which makes you feel like you’re far away from the glamour of some of the fashionable places along the coast.

And there are thousands of other footpaths here too, some of which famous, such as the “Sentiero degli Dei” (the “Footpath of the Gods”), or are at least a thousand years old, like the “Maestra dei Villaggi” – the ‘main road’ of the Republic of Amalfi. During this tour, we offer you the possibility to include some extra days to visit also include these and pay a short visit to the famous coastal villages which are must-see attractions: Amalfi, Ravello and of course the scenic Positano.

Highlights

  • Amalfi Coast
  • Alta Via
  • Sentiero degli Dei (Footpath of the Gods)
  • Maestra dei Villagi
  • Mt Vesuvuis and Pompeii (optional)


Itinerary for Alta Via: Amalfi and Sorrento Coast to Coast

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Day 1: Arrival Salerno / Cava de’ Tirreni

Arrival in Salerno. You are met by our local representative and transferred to your beautiful hotel in the charming hamlet of Corpo di Cava, located just above the picturesque small town of Vietri sul Mare (famous for its ceramics). If you arrive early, you can go for a walk down to the amazing Abbey close to your hotel.

Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Cava de’ Tirreni

Day 2: Tramonti

Today’s walk will take you straight from your hotel, along one of the most famous pilgrim routes in the area, to the Madonna dell’Avvocata, situated on a panoramic balcony high above the Amalfi Coast. From the Benedictine Abbey of Corpo di Cava, you first walk up through the golden chestnut woods to the little clearing of Cappella Vecchia or Old Chapel. From here, you enjoy a fantastic view over Vietri sul Mare and Salerno to the south, and the ridge of Monte Avvocata to the west.

A well-trodden and relatively easy footpath then takes you to the Avvocata Sanctuary. From here, you can see as far as Paestum and the mountains of Calabria to the south, while views of the Amalfi Coast reach as far as Ravello and Conca dei Marini. This is one of the most beautiful ‘belvederes’ of the entire coast, unknown to most, if not all foreign tourists!

After visiting the sanctuary, you will walk back on your route along impressive rock cliffs of the first part of ‘Alta Via dei Monti Lattari’, to finish in your hotel located just on the ridge of the Lattari Mountains, from where you can enjoy the view of both sides, north and south, of the area.

Walking for the day: 18 km, 7 hours ↑700m ↓400m

Accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Tramonti (Valico di Chiunzi)

Day 3: Agerola

Today you start your walk along the second part of the ridge of Lattari Mountains, now in south-western direction, high above the valley of Tramonti. You will reach the first peak of your route, Cerreto Mountain, the second highest peak of the area (1,313 m), from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Amalfi Coast, Ravello on one side, Mt. Vesuvius and Naples on the other.

The last part of the walk brings you down to the village of San Lazzaro, on the high plain of Agerola, a charming and rustic village located in the middle of the Lattari Mountains. It is recommended to walk to the castle and the ‘Punta Panoramica’, for some of the best views over the whole Amalfi Coast. For the keen hikers a short detour to the convent of Cospiti, presumably founded by St. Francis is an absolute must. Tonight you’ll try the local specialities in one of Agerola’s first (and best) agriturismos.

Walking for the day: 16 km, 6 hours ↓650m

Accommodation: agriturismo in Agerola

Day 4: Monte Sant’ Angelo

From Agerola today you will walk into the highest mountains of the Sorrento Peninsula. This central massive, known as the Monte Sant’Angelo a Tre Pizzi’ (the mountain with the three peaks) offers some stunning scenery, with sheer cliffs, caverns and lush beech forests.

First, you walk back up to the ridge, and then, along gentle paths through the chestnut forests, you’ll walk all around the valley of Agerola. Upon reaching the crest, the views open up on the bay of Naples & Mt. Vesuvius again. The ‘Alta Via’ then brings you through the highest mountains of the area. You follow a beautiful path along the northern cliffs of the Monte Sant’Angelo and then start to climb up towards the small church of San Michele, on the edge of the high plain of the ‘Faito’.

The name ‘Faito’ refers to the extensive beech forests. The area is known for its ‘neviere’, where snow was stocked to supply the court in Naples with sorbets during summer. Along the edge of the plateau, you walk down to the area known as ‘Belvedere’, offering great views to the Bay of Naples. Here you settle in a welcoming mountain inn. In the evening you will dine on local specialities at the hotel.

Walking for the day: 14 km, 5 hours ↑600m ↓300m

Accommodation: 3-star Sant’ Angelo Hotel – Monte Faito (Vico Equense)

Day 5: Santa Maria al Castello

From the plain of Monte Faito, you walk to the mountains above Positano today. There are several options to do this: you can, of course, follow the ‘Alta Via’, but you can also opt to take in a section of the famous ‘Sentiero degli Dei’ (‘Footpath of the Gods’), with equally beautiful views.

The ‘Alta Via’ today brings you onto the highest mountain of the area. You start with a gentle walk through the beech forests and begin to climb up towards the highest peak of the area, Mt. San Michele (1,444 m. above sea level – at only a mile from the seashore). After spending some time enjoying the best view that one could take in the Amalfi Coast (and perhaps have lunch here), you continue in a western direction, along one of the most scenic paths of the area, with views ranging from the Cilento National Park, Capri & the Bay of Naples.

Then you descend into a lovely wooded area, a park-like landscape with cypresses and olive groves, and an easy last stretch brings you to your agriturismo in Santa Maria al Castello, the old fortress defending the narrow valley between the Amalfi and Sorrento sides of the peninsula. From here you can admire both the Gulf of Salerno and the Bay of Naples. You should make the short walk to one of the most stunning viewpoints in the area: with Positano literally at your feet. Dinner is on the premises of the agriturismo, based on homegrown specialities again.

Walking for the day: 12 km, 5 hours ↑500m ↓850m

Accommodation: agriturismo – Santa Maria al Castello (Vico Equense)

Day 6: Massa Lubrense

Today your trail starts again directly from the door of your agriturismo. A first easy stretch, along the edge of the plateau, overlooking Positano, brings you to some of the most beautiful pastures in the area, green and covered with wild orchids, the plateau of Monte Comune di Fontanelle. Then you continue to the ‘beacon’ of Monte Vico Alvano, after which a long descent brings you to Colli di San Pietro and Colli di Fontanelle.

From here you take a narrow path along the southern side of the ridge, now fully immersed in the Mediterranean colours and the lovely smells of the herbs. The trail runs parallel to the seashore with spectacular views over the ‘Islands of the Sirens’. Then the path descends quite steeply and continues through olive groves towards the little hamlets of Monticelli and Torca.

From here you walk up along well-maintained paths to your lovely agriturismo in the middle of the orchards, where you will have a pleasant dinner made from local organic produce.

Walking for the day: 15 km, 6 hours ↑300m ↓450m

Accommodation: agriturismo in Massa Lubrense

Day 7: Massa Lubrense Circular Walk

Today you’ll make a circular walk over the ridge dividing the Bay of Naples from the Gulf of Salerno, discovering the very different landscapes and some charming small hamlets. Through pine woods, olive groves and orchards you walk down to the picturesque inlet of Marina di Crapolla (where Saint Peter is alleged to have disembarked on his way to Rome) where you are free to swim.

Then continue along well-maintained paths to the charming little seashore village of Marina del Cantone, on the south side of the Sorrento Peninsula. The landscape is spectacular, you walk in a beautiful scenery, dominated by dry-stone walls and olive groves, all the time overlooking the sea.

A spectacular path, running along the impressive cliffs then brings you to the tip of the peninsula, where, according to legend, Ulysses erected a temple in honour of Athena. In some parts, the path can be a bit demanding, though never too difficult. The return, between Punta Campanella and Termini, is on an easy trail, the old Roman Via Minerva, with great views of Capri and many medieval watchtowers, which once protected the coast.

From Termini you then take the local bus back to Sant’ Agata sui Due Golfi, to have another night in your agriturismo.

Walking for the day: 14 km, 6 hours ↑800m ↓950m

Accommodation: agriturismo in Massa Lubrense

Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel

After breakfast, you can easily return by boat or by bus and train to Naples, and then by shuttle bus to the airport. An extra night in a Naples hotel can be booked upon request.

Hotels for Alta Via: Amalfi and Sorrento Coast to Coast

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3 and 4-star hotels and quality agriturismi** as indicated in the itinerary. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Sample hotels: Scapolatiello Hotel, Agriturismo Agerola, Sant’ Angelo, Farfalle e Gabbiani, Le Tore

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

**What is an agriturismo? A combination of the words for “agriculture” and “tourism” in ItalianIt is a farm-stay, but it’s also much, much more. Typically, an agriturismo is an independently-owned farm that the owners have decided to use partially for accommodation purposes, in a way similar to English or American bed and breakfasts. One of the best parts of staying in a traditional agriturismo? The food. An Italian agriturismo will usually serve guests food that was prepared from raw materials – vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, and often wine and olive oil – produced on the farm or from other local merchants.

Meals

Breakfast is always included, as well as dinners based on locally sourced food in most agriturismi. No picnic lunches are included in the tour price but these can be prepared for you by the accommodation owners, or products for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you’ll be staying. On some occasions, you have the option of having your lunch in a restaurant along the way.

Travel for Alta Via: Amalfi and Sorrento Coast to Coast

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Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Naples. Other Italian airports are also well connected to Salerno and Sorrento.

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking. 

Transfers to/from Airports

The tour starts in Salerno. Regular (high speed) trains run between this town and most major Italian cities (Naples, Rome, Milan). Visit the Italia Rail website for up-to-date timetables and fares, or check the rome2rio link below.

The tour ends after breakfast in Massa Lubrense on Day 8. A frequent bus service can bring you to Sorrento, where you travel on to your next destination (Naples or Rome can both be easily reached by high-speed train). Taxi services are available to bring you directly to your next destination.


Private Transfers

Airport transfers by public transport are recommended for this trip, as they are much cheaper and faster compared to car transfers. You can also book a private airport transfer with us. In this case, please note that only one airport transfer per party is included, though additional transfers can be arranged. It is advisable therefore that all party members arrive on the same flight or at least at a similar time. Night transfer extra charges may apply to private transfers in case of late night arrivals.

Baggage Transfers

All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included.

Country Info

Language: Italian. In big cities and resorts many people speak English, but in remote areas, this might not be the case. However, most of the hotel personnel where we stay speak English and are ready to help you. You can always call our 24/7 helpline if there are any problems.

Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50hZ, two-pin round plugs.

Currency: We strongly advise taking sufficient cash for your daily requirements. Banks and ATMs are available, and credit/debit card payments are widely accepted in towns and cities and big petrol station chains but might be limited at some of the villages we visit.

Up-to-date travel advice on Italy is available here.

Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info for Alta Via: Amalfi and Sorrento Coast to Coast

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate

This is a moderate tour which is suitable for those who have some experience of walking in the mountains and a good general physical condition. Mostly moderate walks, on well-maintained paths. Some steep sections, both uphill and downhill, sometimes on paths with rough surfaces. On some days alternative longer or shorter walks are possible.

Fitness: reasonable level of fitness is necessary. You should be able to walk for up to 6-7 hours a day – partly in the hot sun on dusty or stony tracks. Average walking time: 5-6 hours per walking day (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

Most of the walks are on good paths, some of them just recently restored by the local authorities. Parts of the trails are waymarked. Elsewhere you have to follow the route notes provided together with the maps.

Most paths are relatively well maintained, but during the season some paths can get overgrown, especially the lesser used paths. We are in continuous contact with local authorities to keep the trails clean – please help us by providing your feedback on the quality of the paths.

We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available from March until November.

Late spring, the whole summer and early autumn are beautiful on the Amalfi coast. It may become very hot in July and August, and some of the resort towns may become overcrowded in these months, although the trails along the mountain slopes above the coast are far from the tourist crush.

Without a doubt the best time to see the Amalfi Coast is from April to June, when the spring flowers are in bloom, the weather is just warm enough, and the temperature of the Mediterranean allows for the first dips of the season.

The months of September and October are also an excellent time to visit the Amalfi Coast, while the temperatures are still mild.

In November the Amalfi Coast has a particularly dramatic feel with big waves washing against the shore with such force that the spray reaches the balconies of the cliffside homes, and the villages empty out almost entirely. Remember that many cafés and restaurants will be closed, and that you will probably encounter wet weather.

The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 25 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included for Alta Via: Amalfi and Sorrento Coast to Coast

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  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps (electronic copy + one printed copy per party)
  • 7 breakfasts and 6 dinners
  • 1 night Hotel in Croce di Cava **** – HB
  • 1 night Hotel in Tramonti *** – BB
  • 1 night Agriturismo in Agerola – HB
  • 1 night Hotel on Mt. Faito ***– HB
  • 1 night Agriturismo in Santa Maria del Castello – HB
  • 2 nights Agriturismo in Sant’Agata – HB
  • Private transfer from Salerno to Croce di Cava (day 1)
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days
  • 24/7 assistance by phone

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  • Single room supplement: add 20% to the standard trip price. Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost.

Options and Extras

  • Private airport transfers

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Airport train and bus fares
  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums

Excluded

  • Flights and airport transfers
  • All lunches and dinner in Tramonti on Day 2
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the program

Extensions and Upgrades

  • Optional extra day after Day 1 – Private transfer and walk to Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii, including one extra night in Cava de’ Tirreni (4-star hotel)
  • Optional extra day after Day 3 – Walk to Amalfi including one extra night in Agerola
  • Optional extra day after Day 5 – Walk to Positano including one extra night in Santa Maria al Castello
  • Optional hotel upgrade: Stay at a 4-star hotel in Sant’Agata instead of agriturismo on Days 6 and 7

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