The Amalfi Coast in Italy is definitely Europe’s most scenic and dramatic stretch of coastline!
It is a stunning combination of sea, picturesque coastal towns and mountains, an abundance of both culture and nature. A large part of this tour is along the coast, and of course it touches all the famous coastal villages, which are a must-see: Amalfi itself, but also Ravello, Atrani, Praiano and of course the scenic Positano. But you will walk as well through real mountainous scenery, along amazing sheer drops, through chestnut forests and attractive countryside, with wonderful terraced lemon groves, vineyards. Walking in this area you will enjoy some of the most splendid views of the Amalfi Coast and the Bay of Naples, while being immersed in an almost Alpine landscape.
Highlights of the tour:
♦ Amalfi - first mentioned in the 6th century, and soon acquired importance as a maritime power, trading grain of its neighbors, salt from Sardiniaand slaves from the interior, and even timber, for the gold dinars minted in Egypt and Syria, in order to buy the Byzantine silks that it resold in the West.
♦ Positano - used to be a port of the Amalfi Republic in medieval times, and prospered in the 16th and 17th centuries.
♦ Ravello - was founded in the 5th century as a shelter place against the barbarian invasions which marked the end of the Western Roman Empire. In the 9th century Ravello was an important town of the maritime republic of Amalfi.
Day 1. Amalfi
Arrival in Amalfi. Short visit to the town centre and maybe a swim to wash off the tiredness of the journey. Overnight in Amalfi.
Day 2. Amalfi - Pontone - Amalfi
Today you make a first easy walk, which gives you a good idea of the amazing cultural and natural heritage of the Amalfi Coast. First you walk into the quiet little back alleys of Amalfi. An ancient staircase takes you up underneath the impressive limestone cliffs, towards the little village of Pontone with the marvellous Torre dello Zirro. Then you walk into the ‘Valle dei Mulini’, the valley of the watermills, with the ruins of Europe’s most ancient paper mills, dating back to the 11th century. The footpath runs along the river course. Return back down to Amalfi, where you can stop at the paper museum, before returning to your hotel. As the walk is relatively short you still have some time to wander around in Amalfi or take your time for a swim.
Walking: 4-5 h, 9-10 km
Day 3. Amalfi - Ravello - Atrani - Amalfi
You can walk or you can take a local (open) bus (not included) up to the charming historic village of Ravello, one of the most exclusive villages of the area that offers beautiful views over the Amalfi Coast. Ravello boasts two magnificent villas – the superb 11th century Villa Rufolo, once a papal residence and later, the home of Wagner, and Villa Cimbrone, a sumptuous 19th century mansion with fabulous gardens and superb views over the Gulf of Salerno. You can take your time to your time to stroll through the village, before starting the walk back down to the coast. Along Villa Cimbrone and the hamlet of Castiglione you walk first through vineyards and lemon groves, then along a medieval flight of stairs down the beautiful little town of Atrani. The last short stretch to Amalfi is very scenic and has beautiful viewpoints on the city centre. Overnight in Amalfi
Walking: 4 - 5 h, 12 km
Day 4. Amalfi - Conca dei Marini - Praiano
From Amalfi you walk along one of the oldest pathways of the medieval Amalfi Maritime Republic, the ‘Maestra dei Villaggi’, or ‘main road of the villages’. You pass the little villages of Lone and Vettica, before arriving at the imposing monastery of Santa Rosa (there is also the possibility to take a local bus to here, avoid a 300-m. ascent!). The walk from here first goes to the charming little village of Conca dei Marini, from where you’ll have wonderful views both on Amalfi and towards the western tip of the peninsula. The route then descends to the coast again along some charming churches beautifully located above the rocky shore. You descend into the spectacular fjord of Furore with its charming fishing village. From here you walk uphill again, and past the hamlet and church of Sant’Elia, you take the ‘Via dell’Amore’, into the Valley of Praia. A great last stretch through forest, vineyards and Mediterranean scrubland, then brings you to the coastal village of Praiano, where you’ll stay for the next two nights.
Walking: 5 - 6 h, 13 km
Day 5. Praiano - Valley of Praia - Praiano
From your hotel you walk through the streets of Praiano, up towards the little church of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli. From here on a comfortable path above the village itself, you walk into the Valley of Praia, then climb up to the little church of Sant’Alfonso and from here the very scenic caves of Santa Barbara: another short section uphill brings you to the beginning of the famous ‘Sentiero degli Dei’ (Footpath of the Gods), a walk with beautiful views. Then you start the descend back to Praiano, passing over a centuries old staircase. Overnight in Praiano.
Walking: 5 h, 11 km
Day 6. Praiano - Montepertuso - Positano
Along a medieval pilgrims’ route you walk uphill towards the monastery of San Domenico. Here you can have a little rest before continuing the climb uphill, through spectacular scenery with bizarre rock formations and luxurious vegetation. Shortly you then reach ‘Sentiero degli Dei’, or ‘Footpath of the Gods’. Following the path you reach the hamlet of Nocelle and then the little village of Montepertuso. After Montepertuso it’s only a short walk downstairs to Positano - considered to be one of Italy’s most beautiful towns. Overnight in Positano.
Walking: 4,5 h, 9 km
Day 7. Positano - Santa Maria al Castello - Montepertuso - Positano
First you take the local bus up to Montepertuso, from where you start a very scenic walk, around the upper valley of Positano. You climb up towards the fortress Santa Maria al Castello. From here you can admire both the Gulf of Salerno and the Bay of Naples. You then descend to the Caserma Forestale (the forestry service’s house). For those who want there is the possibility to climb up from here to the Monte Sant’Angelo, the highest mountain of the peninsula, a very demanding ascent. The standard walk continues through the forest and zigzags back down to Montepertuso. Along another medieval mule track you then return to Positano again for overnight.
Walking: 4 h, 10 km
Day 8. Departure
After breakfast you return by boat or bus and train to Naples and by shuttle bus to the airport. Extra nights in Positano can be booked upon request.
Practical information: ►This is a moderately easy tour which is suitable for those who have some experience with walking and a good general physical condition - some of the sections are uphill and with rough surface. ►Part of the paths is waymarked. Elsewhere it is necessary to follow the route notes provided together with the maps. ►Extra nights can be arranged on request in each town along the route ►The tour can be prolonged with a stay and walking on Capri - there are direct boats from Positano to Capri. ►From January 2012 there has been a city tax in many Italian cities, approx. 2-4 Euro per person per day, which has to be paid directly in the hotel.
How to get there: We recommend a flight to Naples (Rome is also an option). From Napoli Capodichino airport, there is shuttle to the city, from where you can take a bus or boat (in the summer) to Amalfi. The tour ends after breakfast on day 8 in Positano. A frequent bus service can bring you to either Sorrento or Amalfi/Salerno, from where you travel to your next destination (Naples, Salerno or Rome can all be easily reached).
Recommended period of travelling: April - October
Necessary equipment: sturdy walking boots and walking socks, a small rucksack, a water bottle with at least 1 litre capacity, sunglasses, sunhat, sun cream, rainwear, insect repellent.