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Hidden Gems
Amalfi Coast Off the Beaten Path

Exploring the Amalfi Coast Off the Beaten Path

Overview

There are many footpaths on the Amalfi Coast, some are famous, such as the Sentiero degli Dei, or are a thousand years old, like the Maestra dei Villaggi – the ‘main road’ of the Republic of Amalfi. But there are also many lesser-known trails which are just as beautiful and not so crowded. This is a unique tour that will show you the hidden secrets of the Amalfi Coast and Tramonti, away from the crowds.

The tour starts from Salerno, a beautiful small city at the entrance of the Amalfi Coast. It once was a powerful city which boasted Europe’s first medical university. Its historical centre is full of interesting sights, including its amazing Duomo (cathedral).

You will enjoy some spectacular coastal scenery, some of the most picturesque hamlets of the Amalfi Coast, just above the well-known Vietri sul Mare, the charming fishing village of Cetara and the great Abbey of Cava dei Tirreni, once one of the most powerful abbeys of southern Italy. You’ll walk across a variety of landscapes, between real mountainous scenery, through chestnut forests, mountain meadows and bare rocky wilderness, terraced lemon groves and broad sandy beaches.

Along the eastern coastline, like elsewhere on the Amalfi Coast, man has created a beautiful mosaic terraced landscape, with vineyards and lemon groves. But also will you find here large areas of forest, both chestnut and evergreen oak forests. And also here, everything can be discovered on foot! The footpaths here are perhaps not as famous as elsewhere on the Amalfi coast, but just as beautiful! There are always impressive views going from the sea to the mountains or vice versa, and you will walk through little villages, vineyards and olive groves, Mediterranean scrubs and chestnut woods. This special tour shows you the paths most guides don’t know about, and most books don’t write about!

Highlights

  • Salerno
  • Amalfi
  • Cetara
  • Tramonti
  • Minori

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Salerno

Arrival in Salerno, which is easily reachable from Naples by train. Your hotel is only a short bus ride away (optional taxi). After settling in at your hotel you can take your time to discover the beautiful town centre of Salerno and stroll along the lungomare (promenade) with views of both the Amalfi Coast and the Cilento National Park. 

Day 2: Salerno to Cava de’ Tirreni I 7-12 km

Today’s walk takes you from the charming town of Vietri sul Mare, the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, to the little hamlet of Corpo di Cava situated on the mountain slopes high above the valley of Cava de’ Tirreni, on the other side of the Lattari Mountains. Today, as well as during the next few days of your tour, you will be walking on paths largely unknown to the crowds. After strolling through the old town of Vietri sul Mare, you will walk down its little alleys to the marina, before heading up towards splendid Raito with its wonderful views of the coast.

After a coffee break at Raito, you then continue uphill to yet another charming little village – Albori. From here the path takes you inland towards the valley of Cava de’ Tirreni. After passing the church of San Vincenzo you will walk through shaded chestnut woods to your day’s destination near the millennium-old Benedictine Abbey of Corpo di Cava. On your way, you could have a look at one of the hidden marvels of this area, the remains of a Roman aqueduct still standing 20m tall! Finally, you arrive at the hotel and have the time to freshen up and get ready for a hearty dinner on the hotel’s premises. Those who feel like it can extend this walk with an optional loop through the wooded valleys beneath Monte Finestra.

  • Walking for the day: 7/12 km, 4/6 hours
  • Accommodation: 3 or 4-star hotel in Cava de’ Tirreni (Scapolatiello or similar)

Optional Extra Day: Monte Finestra I 7 km

After a hearty breakfast, you begin your walk into the mountains dominating the hamlet of Corpo di Cava and the 1000-years-old Benedictine Abbey. You could take your time to visit the abbey as well before starting your walk. Your aim for the day is the looming limestone mass of Monte Finestra, or ‘Window Mountain’. This mountain takes its name from the hole piercing the saddle between its two peaks. Through thick chestnut woods, slowly making way for fragrant Mediterranean maquis, you climb up to the saddle of Foce di Tramonti. From here you will follow the mountain’s crest towards its main peaks, admiring wonderful views of both the Amalfi Coast and the rolling valleys split between the steep mountains of the Lattari Mountain Massif on the one side, and the valley of Cava dei Tirreni, with its backdrop of the Picentini Mountains, on the other. Climbing up to Monte Finestra you will also be able to see Monte Sant’Angelo a Tre Pizzi, the highest peak of the Monti Lattari, and Mount Vesuvius dominating the Bay of Naples. On reaching the ‘window’ in the mountain, you start descending again towards the town of Cava dei Tirreni. Your route takes you down the steep slopes of the mountain to the hamlet of Sant’Arcangelo, where you then walk down the town’s little alleys to its historical centre. After visiting the town you then take a public bus (not included) back up to your hotel in Corpo di Cava.

Walking for the day: 7 km, 4 hours; Accommodation: 3 or 4-star hotel in Cava de’ Tirreni (Scapolatiello or similar)

Day 3: Cava de’ Tirreni to Cetara I 12 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 spectacularly 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 the ‘Old Chapel’. From here you enjoy a wonderful view of Vietri sul Mare and Salerno to the south, and the crest of Monte Avvocata to the west. A well-trodden and relatively easy footpath leading through the maquis then takes you to the hermitage of the Avvocata. From here one 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 definitely one of the most beautiful belvederes on the entire coast, unknown to most, if not all foreign visitors.

After visiting the convent, you start walking down along a beautiful scenic path down towards Cetara, one of the most charming villages of the Amalfi Coast. You will pass through grass and shrubland dotted with numerous wildflowers. Towards the end of the walk, you will enjoy a wonderful view of the little fishing village of Cetara. You’ll end up in the heart of the village and have the choice to settle right away in your room, or you can go for a swim first. In the evening you will have dinner in a nice local restaurant (included).

  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 5-6 hours
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel or guesthouse in Cetara (Ce Tour or similar)

Day 4: Cetara to Maiori/Tramonti I 11 km

This morning, you will take a public bus (not included) from the bus stop in front of your hotel to the little hamlet of Erchie near Cetara (optional walk). From here you will follow a beautiful panoramic track, high above the coast, first to the tiny hamlet of Badia, with the stunning church of Santa Maria dell’Olearia and then further on to Maiori. All along the first part of your route you will enjoy beautiful views of the Amalfi Coast and have many surprising views of the little valleys and bizarre rock formations of this part of the coast – including the so-called Capo d’Orso (Bear Cape), and the ‘Uomo a Cavallo’ (Man on a Horse).

Shortly before arriving at Maiori, you will climb up again from the hamlet of Salicerchie towards the castle of San Nicolo de’ Thoro Plano. Your path now follows one of the ancient pilgrim routes leading up from Maiori to the Avvocata Sanctuary. From here you can see into the valley of the Reginna Maior leading up to Tramonti, and you will understand why this castle has been so important for the defence of the coastal area. After heading down to the town centre, you could relax for a bit on Maiori’s broad sandy beach, one of the area’s finest. From here you are being picked up by a private taxi and brought to Tramonti.

  • Walking for the day (from Erchie): 11 km, 4-5 hours
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel or guesthouse in Tramonti (Farfalle e Gabbiani or similar)

Day 5: Tramonti Circular Walk / Alta Via dei Monti Lattari I 10-20 km

Today you start a circular walk right from your hotel, that will give you the opportunity to discover an area relatively unknown to most travellers. Enjoy your breakfast and get ready to experience a walk in an area where virtually no other hikers go. You will pass through several small rural hamlets, all with their own charm. The area of Tramonti also boasts a production of excellent local wines, made from autochthonous grapes, grown on centuries-old grapevines.

You will be walking through impressive ancient vineyards, typical of this area (on request we can arrange a wine tasting for you). And finally, you will have the chance to walk an incredibly scenic part of the ‘Alta Via dei Monti Lattari’, the long-distance trail that follows the backbone ridge of the Sorrento Peninsula, high above the Amalfi Coast. Last-but-not-least: Tramonti is also famous for being the place where – according to many – the pizza was invented. The pizzas are simply delicious here.

  • Walking for the day: 10 to 20 km, 4 to 7 hours depending on the route chosen
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel or guesthouse in Tramonti (Farfalle e Gabbiani or similar)

Day 6: Down to the Amalfi Coast I 10-13 km

Today you have several options for a shorter or longer walk.

The longer walk brings you first through several charming hamlets belonging to the Comune of Tramonti, all with their own identity. Then you climb gradually up into the mountains through a beautiful mountain landscape, with great views over the valley of Tramonti and Maiori, on a trail with virtually no other tourists.

For the shorter option, you first go down into the valley, after which you start climbing up into the mountains. After a beautiful stretch uphill, you reach the saddle between the valley of Maiori and that of Minori. Along the ridge, you walk to the beautifully located church of San Nicola, a nice spot for a short break. Then you start descending, first through lemon groves and after through a wonderful terraced landscape. You reach Minori, passing through the hamlet of Torre, and with a series of steps, you walk down to the village centre. The walk is relatively short so you have ample time to discover the village and possibly visit the remains of the luxurious Roman villa, or go for a swim.

Alternatively, you could opt to walk down to Maiori along the ‘Path of the Lemons’ and then walk to Minori along the coast. In the evening you have the choice to eat on the premises of the hotel, or go out and pick your own restaurant.

  • Walking for the day: 10 (13) km, 5 (6) hours, ↑600m ↓600m
  • Accommodation: 3 or 4-star hotel in Minori (Santa Lucia or similar)

Optional Extra Day: Ravello, Atrani and Amalfi I 14 km

This morning you walk from Minori along ancient footpaths and stepped alleys up to Ravello, one of the highlights of the ‘classic’ Amalfi Coast. You will follow a very scenic path past a number of medieval churches, climbing up to the small hamlet of Torello and then to Ravello itself. When you arrive at Ravello, once described by the French novelist André Gide as being ‘closer to the sky than the seashore’, you have to visit its two magnificent villas – the superb 11th-century Villa Rufolo, which once was a papal residence and later the home of Wagner, and Villa Cimbrone, a sumptuous 19th-century mansion with fabulous gardens and unequalled views over the Gulf of Salerno. Indeed Ravello’s lofty position and sunny, dry climate have made it an appealing place for writers, artists, musicians and travellers. Boccaccio, DH Lawrence and Richard Wagner are among the more notable guests who have succumbed to its spells. Wagner composed parts of his opera ‘Parsifal’ while staying here. After visiting Ravello you have the choice of several different, but all equally beautiful paths leading down to the medieval town of Amalfi, once a powerful maritime republic and still the crown of the Amalfi Coast. You can opt to follow the Dragone Valley down to Atrani and then climb up again over the headland separating it from Amalfi, or you can choose to first walk to the hamlet of Pontone, with the magnificent Torre dello Ziro watchtower dominating both Atrani and Amalfi from above, before heading down into the centre of Amalfi. From Amalfi, you then take a public bus back to Minori (not included) and your hotel.

Walking for the day: 14 km, 4-6 hours; Accommodation: 3 or 4-star hotel in Minori (Santa Lucia or similar)

Day 7: Departure or Onward Travel

Return to Naples/Salerno by taxi, boat or bus. 

What to Expect

Accommodation

All nights are spent in charming 3 and 4-star hotels and guesthouses as listed in the itinerary. All rooms are private with en-suite facilities.

  • Day 1: The first night you stay in a beautifully located 3-star hotel or guesthouse near Salerno’s historical centre. All main monuments of the city can be easily reached from your accommodation.
  • Day 2: This night is spent in a comfortable 4-star hotel in the hamlet of Corpo di Cava, high above the little town of Cava de’ Tirreni. From the hotel, it is only a short stroll to the millennium-old Benedictine Abbey.
  • Day 3: Tonight you stay in a nice and welcoming ‘Albergo diffuso’ in the fishing village of Cetara
  • Days 4 and 5: These nights you’ll spend in a nice family-run hotel in the heart of the valley of Tramonti. 
  • Day 6: The last night is spent in a comfortable 3 or 4-star hotel in the charming seaside village of Minori.

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.

Meals

All accommodations are on a B&B basis. Dinners are included on Days 2 and 3; on the other days you are free to choose from the wide choice of restaurants in the area. Your accommodation operator can give you good tips. On some occasions, you can also choose to eat at the premises of the hotel. No picnic lunches are included in the tour price but these can be prepared for you by the accommodation holders, or products for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you’ll be staying. 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 experience of walking, not necessarily in the mountains, and a good general physical condition. Mostly easy to moderate walks. Most of the trails are well maintained. Parts of the walks can be shortened and some longer options are available. In the extended programme (adding extra Days after Day 2 and/or 6) there are some more difficult walks, which include longer uphill sections, 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. 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 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. 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.

When to go

This trip is available from mid-March until early 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

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, connected to Naples by frequent train service. Visit the Italia Rail website for up-to-date train timetables and fares or check the Omio planner above.
  • The tour ends after breakfast in Minori on Day 7. A frequent bus, train or boat service can bring you to Amalfi/Salerno, from where you travel on 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)
  • 6 overnights in nice guesthouses, 3 and 4-star hotels as listed in the itinerary
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 2 dinners on Days 2 and 3
  • Luggage transfers on all walking days / when changing hotels (one piece of luggage per person, max 15 kg)
  • People transfer to Tramonti after the walk on Day 4
  • 24/7 assistance phone assistance by our local office/representative in Salerno

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, 4 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)
  • Optional extra days after Day 2 – Monte Finestra, and Day 6 – Ravello, Amalfi and Atrani
  • Extra nights
  • Private airport transfers

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