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Amalfi Coast Off the Beaten Path

Amalfi and Sorrento Highlights on Foot

Overview

This walking tour is a wonderful discovery of the western part of the Sorrento Peninsula, taking in some amazing stretches of unspoilt coastline, Punta Campanella, the Land’s End, and of course Sorrento and its surroundings. And it includes also the best parts of the Amalfi Coast, probably Italy’s most beautiful coastline, like the historical towns of Amalfi and Positano and the famous “Sentiero degli Dei”- the “Pathway of the Gods”. You will walk through wonderful terraced lemon groves, vineyards and visit cultural treasures like rural chapels, ancient farmhouses, old water mills and wonderful villa’s and villages, where you can sit down and relax over a drink. And you will also have the opportunity to do some optional excursions, like visiting the world-famous excavations at Pompeii, or the island of Capri.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Amalfi

You’ll spend the first two nights in the town of Amalfi, the ancient capital of the Amalfi Coast. All hotels are centrally located at a walking distance from the seashore and all main monuments of the medieval town centre. Amalfi is connected with Salerno by a frequent bus (and boat) service and with Naples by a less frequent bus service. In summer there are direct boats from Naples. A taxi pick-up service can be arranged either from Naples (airport or train station) or from Salerno.

Day 2: Amalfi – Pontone – Amalfi | 10 km

Today you make an initial easy walk, which will introduce the amazing cultural and natural heritage of the Amalfi Coast. First, you walk along the quiet narrow back alleys of Amalfi, then an ancient flight of steps takes you up underneath the impressive limestone cliffs, towards the little village of Pontone, part of the medieval defence system of the town of Amalfi. The main point of interest is the marvellous Torre dello Ziro, located on a narrow ridge with unforgettable views of Amalfi and Atrani. This area also offers a number of marvellous picnic spots with great views. Then, through the charming village of Pontone, you walk into the ‘Valle dei Mulini’ (the valley of the mills) with the ruins of Europe’s most ancient paper mills, dating back to the 11th century. The comfortable footpath runs alongside the course of the river, in an abundant, green, almost un-Italian landscape. Those who feel like it can penetrate deep into the valley, through spectacular scenery, underneath the towering cliffs, through an almost fairytale-like landscape. Here you can admire a number of beautiful waterfalls. Then you return back down to Amalfi. Along the last stretch the scenery changes to lemon groves and maquis. In Amalfi, you can visit the paper museum, before returning to your hotel. As the walk is relatively short you still have some time to wander around Amalfi or go for a swim.

  • Walking for the day: 10 km, 4-5 hours
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Amalfi (Hotel Lidomare or similar)

Day 3: Amalfi – Sentiero degli Dei – Positano | 9 km

Today you take a local bus up to the small village of Bomerano, on the Agerola high plain. Here is the beginning of the Sentiero degli Dei (Footpath of the Gods), one of Italy’s most famous footpaths offering unforgettable views. After a panoramic stretch with views over the whole Amalfi Coast as far as the island of Capri, you reach the junction for the monastery of San Domenico, set in stupendous scenery, dominating the coast from its hilltop (optional detour along a medieval pilgrim route). You then continue on a more or less level path, through spectacular scenery with bizarre rock formations and luscious vegetation, and reach the hamlet of Nocelle. Passing another spectacular valley you arrive at the little village of Montepertuso. Then it’s only a short walk down to Positano, but it will take you a bit of time as there are so many photo opportunities along the route. Positano itself is considered to be one of Italy’s most beautiful towns, and certainly one of the pearls of the Amalfi Coast. Take your time for a stroll through its alleys and down to the beach. Overnight in Positano.

  • Walking for the day: 9 km, 4-5 hours
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Positano (Hotel Pupetto or similar)

Day 4: Positano Circular Walk | 11 km

Today you take the local bus up to Montepertuso, from where you start a scenic walk, around the upper valley of Positano. Following ancient footpaths, through the forest and along marvellous viewpoints you climb up towards Santa Maria al Castello, the old fortress defending the narrow valley in the middle of the peninsula. From here you can admire both the Gulf of Salerno and the Bay of Naples. Through a nice wooded area in a park-like landscape, you then descend to the Caserma Forestale (the forestry service’s house). From here you can optionally climb to Monte Sant’Angelo, the highest mountain of the peninsula, a very demanding but rewarding ascent. The standard route though continues through the forest and zigzags back down to Montepertuso. Along another medieval mule track, you then return to Positano

  • Walking for the day: 11 km, 4-5 hours
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Positano (Hotel Pupetto or similar)

Day 5: Positano – Sant’Agata sui due Golfi | 9 km

After breakfast, you can either choose to take a local bus (or taxi) or make the walk from Positano to the Colli di Fontanelle. This route partly follows the long-distance trail Alta Via dei Monti Lattari, and passes by the fortified church of Santa Maria al Castello, Monte Comune,  the “sailors’ beacon” Monte Vico Alvano and the Colli of San Pietro. From the Colli di Fontanelle, you take a narrow path which runs parallel to the seashore with spectacular views. After a while, the path descends quite steeply and then continues through olive groves towards the little hamlet of Torca. From here along well-maintained paths you descend to Marina di Crapolla (where Saint Peter landed) where you can have a swim. Then climb back up and settle in your beautiful agriturismo in the middle of the orchards, where you will have a great dinner of local organic produce.

  • Walking for the day: 9 km, 4-5 hours
  • Accommodation: agriturismo in Sant’ Agata sui due Golfi (Agriturismo La Torre or similar)

Day 6: Punta Campanella – the Finis Terrae | 12 km

Today’s walk brings you to Punta Campanella, the Finis Terrae or Land’s End of the Sorrento peninsula, where you will enjoy great views of the island of Capri. You can either opt to follow the Alta Via dei Monti Lattari all the way to there, right from your agriturismo, or you can opt to take a local bus to Termini, the last village before the headland. From here you follow the medieval stairs up to the small church of San Costanzo, from where you have views of 360°, over both the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. A spectacular path, running along the impressive cliffs of the headland, then brings you to the tip of the peninsula, where according to the legend Ulysses erected a temple in the honour of Athena. In some parts, the path is a bit demanding, but never too tough. The return between Punta Campanella and Termini is on a very comfortable path, the old Roman Via Minerva, with great views on Capri and a number of medieval watchtowers, which once protected the coast. From Termini, you then take the local bus back to Sant’Agata dei due Golfi for another night in your agriturismo.

  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 5-6 hours
  • Accommodation: agriturismo in Sant’ Agata sui due Golfi (Agriturismo La Torre or similar)

Day 7: Sant’ Agata – Sorrento | 6 km

Today you have several options to walk down to Sorrento, depending on your desire to walk and the time you want to dedicate to shopping and sightseeing in Sorrento. A beautiful route goes to the nice historic village of Massa Lubrense, and through several charming small hamlets within the same municipality, all surrounded by wonderful olive and lemon groves. An optional detour brings you to the castle from where Napoleon’s general followed the siege of Capri. A shorter route brings you along the village of Sant’ Agata directly down to Sorrento. Whatever way you choose, you will enter Sorrento from a great viewpoint. There is some time to stroll through the centre and perhaps admire the Bay of Naples from one of the great panoramic terraces before you settle in your centrally located hotel.

  • Walking for the day: 6 km, 4 hours
  • Accommodation: 3-star or 4-star hotel in Sorrento (Hotel Astoria or similar)

Day 8: Free Day in Sorrento / Island of Capri / Pompeii / Vesuvius

From Sorrento, you can undertake several interesting excursions: a day-trip to the island of Capri, or a visit to Pompeii and/or Vesuvius (you have to take the local train). There are also several nice options for an easy round walk, and perhaps a swim. A pleasant walk brings you to Capo di Sorrento, and from there down to the great Roman Villa on the headland. This was also the favourite bathing place of Queen Giovanna, a beautiful small bay. You can extend the walk to the small fishing village of Marina di Puolo, before returning to Sorrento. 

  • Walking for the day: 4 km, 3 hours
  • Accommodation: 3 or 4-star hotel in in Sorrento (Hotel Astoria or similar)

Day 9: Departure or Onward Travel

Return to Naples by taxi, boat or bus. 

What to Expect

Accommodation

The accommodation is in charming 3-star hotels and agriturismo** (farmhouse) as listed in the itinerary. All rooms are private with en-suite facilities.

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*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 Italian — It 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

All accommodations are on a B&B basis, there are 2 dinners included in Sant’ Agata. There are plenty of options where you can have your dinners in Amalfi, Positano and Sorrento. On some occasions, you can also choose to eat at the premises of the hotel. On some days you have the option of having your lunch in a restaurant along the way.

Difficulty & terrain

This tour is suitable for those who have some walking experience, not necessarily in the mountains, and a good general physical condition. Mostly easy to moderate walks. 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. You should be able to walk for up to 5 hours a day – partly in the hot sun on dusty or stony 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 March until November; 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 and early November, are also an excellent time to visit the Amalfi Coast, while the temperatures are still mild.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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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 Amalfi, connected to Naples and Salerno by frequent bus service and by boat. You can also use the Omio planner above.

The tour ends after breakfast in Sorrento on Day 9. A train or boat service can bring you to your next destination (Naples or Rome can both be easily reached by high-speed train).

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)
  • 8 overnights in 3 and 4-star hotels and agriturismo as listed in the itinerary
  • 8 breakfasts
  • 2 dinners on Days 5 & 6
  • Luggage transfer on the walking days (one piece of luggage per person, max 15 kg)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative in Salerno

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, 6 dinners, 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 available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Private airport transfers can be arranged upon request
  • Extra nights can be booked on request

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