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Hidden Gems
Alta Via: Amalfi and Sorrento Coast to Coast 1

Alta Via: Amalfi and Sorrento Coast to Coast Trek

Overview

On our demanding but rewarding Amalfi and Sorrento Coast to Coast trek 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 Sorrentinian Peninsula. It roughly follows the ridge of the Lattari mountains, the backbone of the peninsula.

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 pay a short visit to the famous coastal villages, which are must-see attractions: Amalfi, Ravello and of course the scenic Positano.

If you do not have eight days available, you may consider the shorter (and a bit easier) 5-day version of this trek.

Highlights

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

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Salerno/Cava de’ Tirreni

Arrival in Salerno. Our local representative will meet you and transfer you 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: 3-star hotel in Cava de’ Tirreni (Scapolatiello or similar)

Day 2: Tramonti I 18 km

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 or a guesthouse in Tramonti (Farfalle e Gabbiani or similar)

Day 3: Agerola I 16 km

Today you start your walk along the second part of the ridge of Lattari Mountains, now in a 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 (1313 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 agriturismos.

  • Walking for the day: 16 km, 6 hours ↓650m
  • Accommodation: agriturismo in Agerola (Il Castagno or similar)

Day 4: Monte Sant’ Angelo I 14 km

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 in 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 I 12 km

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 (1444 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 (La Ginestra or similar) – Santa Maria al Castello (Vico Equense)

Day 6: Sant’Agata sue Due Golfi I 15 km

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 Sant’Agata (Le Tore or similar)

Day 7: Punta Campanella Circular Walk I 14 km

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 the 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 Sant’Agata (Le Tore or similar)

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.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Country inns, simple but comfortable 3-star hotels and agriturismi** as indicated in the itinerary. All rooms have en-suite facilities. 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.

Click to view default hotels

*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 6 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.

Difficulty & terrain

This is not the typical Amalfi walk – it is a demanding trek which is suitable for those who have solid experience in hiking in the mountains, excellent general physical condition and ability to read maps and GPS tracks. There are some sheer drops and steep sections, both uphill and downhill, sometimes on paths with rough surfaces. Mind that along the Amalfi Coast there are sections involving long and steep series of stone steps (stairs); climbing them can be quite tiresome, especially in hot weather. A very good level of fitness is mandatory. You should be able to walk for up to 6-8 hours a day – partly in the hot sun on dusty or stony, sometimes steep, tracks (read more about difficulty grades). Most of the walks are on good paths, some of them recently restored by the local authorities. Parts of the trails are waymarked. Elsewhere you have to follow the route notes. 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 April until October; you can start on any day of the week. Late spring, the whole summer and early autumn are beautiful on the Amalfi coast. It may become scorching 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. 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 Mediterranean temperature allows for the first dips of the season. September and October are also an excellent time to visit the Amalfi Coast, while the temperatures are still mild.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Naples. Other Italian airports are also well connected to the area.

By train or bus

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 use the Omio planner below.

The tour ends after breakfast in Sant’Agata sui Due Golfe 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.

Inclusions

Included

  • 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 Cava di’Terreni 3*** – HB
  • 1 night Hotel in Tramonti 3*** – BB
  • 1 night Agriturismo in Agerola – HB
  • 1 night Hotel on Mt. Faito 3***– HB
  • 1 night Agriturismo in Santa Maria del Castello – HB
  • 2 nights Agriturismo in Sant’Agata – HB
  • Private transfer from Salerno to Cava (day 1)
  • Luggage transfers on all walking days
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local representative in Salerno

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, 1 dinner (in Tramonti), drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
  • This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers unless you can prove that you have solid hiking experience
  • Private airport transfers are bookable at an extra cost
  • Luggage transfers opt-out: please note that luggage transfers are relatively costly here as while on foot the distance from village to village is very short, by car one has to drive a long way around. So if you wish you can opt out of the luggage transfer service and get a price reduction.
  • Optional extra day after Day 1 – Private transfer and walk to Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii, including one extra night in Cava de’ Tirreni
  • 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

Gallery

Reviews

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Rating

     

Peter S

We enjoyed the combination of walks and the characterful accommodation. Take the difficulty grade seriously!

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