Cilento and Amalfi Highlights

Cilento and Amalfi Highlights

Trip Highlights

  • Discover rarely visited Cilento National Park
  • Visit the amazingly well preserved Greek colony of Paestum
  • Great rural Italian cooking in Rocca de Cilento
  • Enjoyu the famous vistas on the ‘Footpath of the Gods’
  • Visit the beautiful village of Positano

Trip Summary

This beautiful itinerary combines the highlights of both Cilento and Amalfi. The Amalfi and Sorrento coast is very well known, but one of Campania’s secrets is located South of Salerno and immediately south of the wonderful Greek temples of Paestum. Here the coastline of Italy bulges out into an expanse of mountainous landmass known as Cilento, now a National Park with World Heritage listing. Cilento trekking covers both coast and inland walking across low mountains, through pristine natural areas and attractive countryside, with all its cultural treasures like rural chapels, ancient farm houses, old water mills and charming medieval villages. From Cilento travel to Salerno and onto Amalfi to take in the sights of this stunning region; a land where the mountains, marquis pastures, lemon groves, vineyards and villages meet the sea. A place where you could be strolling on a rugged trail for one moment and then in the next be winding down through a citrus grove then through a pleasant village towards the blue waters of the Mediterranean. The towns, villages and towers that cling to the cliffs, can be a riotous mix of vibrant colours and tempered pastel shades.

Itinerary

Paestum can be easily accessed by train from Salerno taking around 40 mins, which means that it is handy if travelling from Naples. We strongly suggest you visit the archaeological site with its World famous Greek temples (UNESCO World Heritage), as well as the museum, which preserves the unique Diver’s Tomb, a prime example of Greek funerary painting. You will need at least two hours to do it justice, the site with museum is huge and closes around one hour before sunset, so opening and closing times are dependent on the time of year. Accommodation: Stay one night in an attractive small hotel in the countryside just outside the walls of Paestum, on a property of two hectares. It's an ideal, tranquil setting. The hotel has its own restaurant and for those who love the sun and swimming, their pool is situated in an oasis of trees and lawn area with an outdoor bar, tables, umbrellas and deck-chairs. The hotel is also 900 metres from the beach and just 1.5km from the railway station.

Meals:  D

You will be transferred to Paestum train station to take the train to Agropoli. Today you start your walk from the train station at Agropoli. First you walk to the charming harbour with its wonderful view towards the fortified medieval town centre. You then continue to Trentova Bay from where you commence a beautiful walk along and around the headland of Punta Tresino, one of the last remaining stretches of pristine coast in this area. The coastal route passes along an inlet called ‘Vallone,’ an ancient Roman harbour. This is not far from the ruins of the tower of Punta Tresino, and near some beautiful vineyards dropping sheer to the sea. Punta Tresino is a headland with a real Mediterranean flavour and great views over the Gulf of Salerno as far as Capri. The area is also famous for its high quality wines. You walk through an unspoilt Mediterranean landscape, through forests and scrubland, beside beaches with beautiful views over the sea. Eventually you descend to the large sandy beach of Castellabate. It's worth continuing the walk along the beach until you reach the charming little fishing harbour of Santa Maria maybe for a swim and a nice gelato on the beach. You will be collected from here and taken to Rocca Cilento and your next hotel. Accommodation: For the next three nights in Rocca Cilento you will stay in an ancient convent. The nuns may have disappeared years ago, but the place is hardly lacking in charm. Many of the peaceful rooms have panoramic views out over the countryside. The place is centred around the dining room and lounge, a great big stone chamber. Paulo, his wife and friends provide the most sumptuous banquets for you sourced from local ingredients. The wines and cheeses are all locally sourced including Parmesans and Mozerellas. Pasta is homemade, the wines tend to be from the very amenable and quite unusual Aglianico Grape. They also love to use a lot of local olive oil. Paulo speaks very little English, although his stepson Cosimo may be there to help.

Meals:  B,D

Today’s circular walk from your accommodation in Rocca Cilento takes you through some of the most interesting villages in the area and into the so-called ‘Valle dei Mulini’ (Valley of the Mills, named after the many medieval watermills in this valley). Part of the path runs along the old mule track that used to connect this valley to the Greek cities of Paestum and Velia. Walk to the tiny little village of Lustra, then start to descend into the Valley of the Mills along a restored but rough footpath. Here there are remains of around 17 mills, although you won’t notice that many.These are spread along the course of the stream which, though being short, had enough water to supply all these mills before flowing into the Fiumara River, which you will cross further on. Then you will climb up to the charming little hamlet of Valle Cilento, with its beautiful bell tower. The path then descends into the valley again, fords the stream and ascends steeply to the intriguing abandoned village of Massacanina. Another short but steep climb leads you onto the ridge and past the monastery of Mercato Cilento. From here a quiet panoramic road will lead you back to Rocca Cilento, dominated by its fine castle, from where views over the area are unrivalled. In the evening, you may take some time to relax on your panoramic terrace before your dinner based on local specialties.

Meals:  B,D

This is a beautiful panoramic walk along the Monte Stella ridge, the geographical and cultural centre of this part of the Cilento. The 'Alta Via' ('High Way') is the main mountain path of the area: it follows the whole ridge of the mountain, passing through chestnut woods to the historical site of Castelluccio: an abandoned fortress, probably dating back to the pre-Roman period and past the Chapel of Monte Stella. If it is clear the walk offers you superb views of the Amalfi Coast and Capri as far as the peninsular of Palinuro and sometimes even Sicily and the inland areas of Alburni and Monte Cervati. The long descent towards the coast will bring you through several beautiful historical villages. The first one is the tiny medieval village of Galdo, overlooking the valley. Then comes Celso, Pollica and Cannicchio with their charming medieval centres, all beautifully located on the hills. At the end of the walk you reach Acciaroli, a characteristic fishing village, where Ernest Hemingway once spent a holiday. You will be collected and taken back to your accommodation.

Meals:  B,D

After breakfast, transfer with your luggage from Rocca Cilento to Agropoli Train Station. Make your own way to Amalfi by train to Selerno and then the ferry or bus to Amalfi. This afternoon stroll around the town centre or take a dip in the ocean. Visit St. Andrew’s Cathedral, which claims to also be the eponymous saint’s resting place, and the interesting Arabesque cloister. You could also visit the Paper museum where there are still 14th century water driven presses and hammers that produce parchment paper from cloth fragments. Accommodation: Two nights are spent in a welcoming and comfortable 2-3 star hotel.

Meals:  B

The first part of the walk takes you into the “Valle dei Mulini”, the valley of the watermills, with its ruins of Europe’s oldest paper factories, dating back to the 11th century. The path then takes you up to the little village of Pontone and there is an optional walk to the Torre dello Zirro, which is a marvelous picnic area, with spectacular views of Amalfi to one side and Atrani to the other. From here it’s about an hour’s walk to Ravello, another highlight of the Amalfi Coast, with its beautiful Romanesque church and two sets of gardens you could visit. These are the Villa Rufolo, whose gardens were developed by a Scot and just down the way Villa Cimbrone, developed by an English Lord. Both have views from their terraces that have been described as the most beautiful in the World. From Cimbrone walk steeply back down to Amalfi, passing through the beautiful town of Atrani, with the chance to look around the narrow white little streets of the town centre. The last short stretch to Amalfi is very scenic and has beautiful viewpoints of the city centre. Ascent/ Descent: 640 metres approx.

Meals:  B

This is the most strenuous day and is quite exposed if it is hot. You can shorten the walk by taking the bus at the lunch spot, around half way into the day. From Amalfi start walking along one of the oldest streets of the area the “Maestra dei villaggi,” or highway of the villages, an old paved mule track dating back to the 9th century. Pass the little villages of Lone and Vettica, before arriving at the imposing monastery of Santa Rosa, now converted into a hotel. The route descends to the coast again passing some charming churches beautifully located above the rocky shore. You then descend steeply to the spectacular fjord of Furore, which is the ideal spot for lunch. Luigi runs a tiny restaurant down here and will prepare for you whatever his catch has been that day should you want a sit down meal. This is also the place where you could take the bus to your hotel as the rest of the day is strenuous, but no less beautiful. From Furore there is a steep stepped ascent above this natural inlet. From here walk past the church of Sant’Elia into the Valley of Praia. The path threads its way into the wild terraces, uncultivated for decades, and there is some walking close to cliffs. After passing a house once occupied by a locally known wizard, it is time to drop into the coastal town Praiano, with an optional descent to the very picturesque inlet of Marina di Praia, the tiny old harbour of Praiano. Praiano is spread out over about 3 km with upper and lower parts. Ascent / Descent: Approx: 820 metres. Praiano has a couple of tiny beaches in natural inlets. Accommodation: We use several accommodations, but our usual one has great sea views above the old coastal watchtower and marina.

Meals:  B

Along an old pilgrims’ path, twist uphill to the monastery of San Domenico, set in stupendous scenery, dominating the coast from its hillside terrace. Stop to admire the view before continuing uphill for another stretch, through spectacular scenery with bizarre rock formations and luxurious vegetation. Then follow the last stretch of the “Footpath of Gods”, which really lives up to its name, through unique scenery to the hamlet of Nocelle. On the way there are some high cliff side trails overlooking the sea, and views down to Praiano and onto Positano and Capri. Passing another attractive valley arrive in the little village of Montepertuso from where a choice of stair ways takes you down to Positano itself, one of the most charming villages of the coast. Ascent/descents: 645m Accommodation: Two nights are spent in either a 2-3 star property depending on availability.

Meals:  B

Catch the local bus up to Montepertuso, where you start the walk above the valley of Positano. Following ancient footpaths through the forest and along marvelous viewpoints (some cliff top walking) climb towards Santa Maria al Castello, the old fortress defending the narrow valley between the Amalfi and Sorrentine side of the peninsula. On the way up there is a beautifully engineered section of steps known as the ‘Tse-Tse.’ From here oversee both the Gulf of Salerno and the Gulf of Naples. Through a nice wooded area in a park like landscape take an easy trail to the ‘Caserna Forestale’, a foresters’ house, from where the walk continues through the forest and with a number of zigzags descends down to Montepertuso. Along another medieval mule track we then descend back down to Positano. Ascent / descent: 450m.

Meals:  B

After breakfast, return to Naples by ferry, bus and train, or taxi for your onward journey.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 9 breakfasts, 4 dinners
  • 6 nights in 2 - 3 star hotels & 3 nights in a village albergo on a twin share basis
  • Luggage transfer (except between Agropolis and Amalfi)
  • Transfers back to the hotel from two of the walks in Cilento
  • Transfer from Rocca Cilento to Agropolis train station on day 5
  • Emergency contact
  • Information pack including route notes & maps

What's Not Included

  • Meals not listed
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel to the start and end point of the tour
  • Travel between Agropolis and Amalfi
  • Unscheduled transfers during the trip

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:10 Days
Countries:Italy
Starting Point:Paestum
Finishing Point:Positano
Activities:Self-Guided Walking
Grade:moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:JAH
Prices From:GBP£1290 Per Person
Single Supplement:GBP£300  Click for more information
Solo Traveller:GBP£370  Click for more information
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.