The 'unknown' Amalfi Coast - Hiking off-the-beaten-track - AMA4
Salerno, Vietri sul Mare, Cava dei Tirreni, ‘Madonna dell’Avvocata’, Maiori & Minori
This is a new exclusive tour along the eastern part of the well-known Amalfi Coast. A tour which only Genius Loci Travel, the specialist on the Amalfi Coast can offer you. This tour brings you along some real highlights, yet virtually undiscovered by foreign tourism, although (too) many tour operators worldwide now offer walking holidays along the Amalfi Coast.
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.
The tour starts from Salerno, a beautiful small city at the entrance of the Amalfi Coast. It once was a powerful city, proved by the fact that it boasted Europe’s first medical university. But also many other traces from its glorious past remain visible today. Its historical centre is full of interest, starting from its amazing Duomo.
Also 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 ever green 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! Going from the sea to the mountains or vice versa, there are always stupendous views, and you’ll walk through little villages, vineyards and olive groves, Mediterranean scrubs and woods, living rocks and chestnut woods. This special tour shows you the paths most guides don’t know about and most books don’t write about!
This walking tour can be considered an extra treat for those who already did the ‘classic’ tours along the Amalfi Coast, and have visited already all the famous coastal villages.
If you have never been there you can as well consider this tour as a good introduction and extend the tour with one of our other tours along the coast. On this tour you will discover that with reason the Amalfi Coast has become Italy’s most famous coastline, but as well that it takes only a small effort to get ‘off the beaten track’ and discover real hidden treasures or find yourself surrounded by nature.
Please note: this is a moderately easy tour which is suitable for those who have experience with walking and a good general physical condition. Most of the walks are on good paths, some of them recently restored by the local authorities, but part of the trail might be overgrown (but feasible), as they are not often used. Be prepared to walk by yourself – without many others hiking the same trails. Only part of the paths is way marked – elsewhere it is necessary to follow the route notes provided together with the maps.
Average walking times: approx. from 5 to 6 hours each day.
Arrival in Salerno (train station). Your hotel or B&B is only a short bus ride away, in the heart of the historical centre (optional taxi). After settling in your room you can take your time to discover the beautiful town centre of Salerno and stroll along the Lungomare with views on both the Amalfi Coast and the Cilento National Park.
Accommodation: Hotel or B&B *** – Salerno
Today’s walk takes you from the charming little town of Vietri sul Mare at the beginning of the Amalfi Coast to the little hamlet of Corpo di Cava situated on the mountains slopes high above the valley of Cava dei Tirreni, on the ‘other’ side of the Lattari Mountains. Indeed today as well as during the next few days of your tour you will be walking on paths largely unknown to the ‘trekking’ crowd. After strolling through the old centre of Vietri sul Mare, and extensively browsing its many ceramic shops, you will walk down its little alleys to its marina before starting 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 dei Tirreni. After passing Iaconti and the church of San Vincenzo you will walk through shady chestnut woods to your day’s destination near the millennium old Benedictine Abbey of Corpo di Cava. On your way you may have a look at one of the hidden marvels of this area, the remains of a Roman aqueduct still standing 20 m. high! After arriving you have the time to freshen up and get ready for a hearty dinner on the hotel’s premises. For those who want there is the possibility to extend this walk with an optional loop through the wooded valleys under Monte Finestra.
Accommodation: Hotel **** – Cava dei Tirreni
Extra Days in Cava dei Tirreni and or Tramonti
It is possible to include an extra night in Cava dei Tirreni. Extra walking or sightseeing options will be provided as indicated in the day-to-day programme.
Today’s walk will take you straight from your hotel along one of the most famous pilgrim’s routes of 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 Capella Vecchia or Old Chapel. From here you enjoy a wonderful view on Vietri sul Mare and Salerno to the south, and the crest of Monte Avvocata to the west. A well-trodden and relatively easy foot path 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 on the Amalfi Coast reach as far as Ravello and Conca dei Marini. This is definitely one of the most beautiful belvederes of the entire coast, unknown to most if not all foreign tourists! After visiting the hermitage you will then start walking down towards Cetara on the Amalfi Coast proper. Here you will pass through grass and shrub land coloured by numerous wildflowers. Along the winding footpath you will also see some nice examples of local rural architecture. Towards the end of the path you will then enjoy the most wonderful view on the little fishermen’s village of Cetara. When arriving in the village you may take your time to visit its nicely preserved centre and pleasant beach, and halt for a cup of coffee or an ice cream seated in the warm afternoon sun. A 10 minutes’ walk along the main coastal road then takes you to your nicely located hotel where you will have dinner seated in the restaurant overlooking the sun setting in the glorious Mediterranean.
Accommodation: Hotel **** Cetara
This morning you will take a public bus from the bus stop in front of your hotel to the little hamlet of Erchie near Cetara. From here you will follow a large undulating dirt road first to the tiny rural hamlet of Badia, and then further on to Maiori. All along the first part of your route you will enjoy beautiful views on the Amalfi Coast and have many surprising views on 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 or 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 pilgrims’ routes leading up from Maiori to the Avvocata Sanctuary. From here you can see into the valley of the Regina Maior Torrent leading up to Tramonti and you will understand why this castle has been so important for the defense of the coastal area. After descending to the centre of town, you could enjoy some relax on Maiori’s broad sandy beach, one of the area’s finest, before walking the last short stretch to the charming sea side village of Minori. In the evening you could go for a stroll through the village and possibly visit the remains of the luxurious Roman villa preserved under the modern town.
Accommodation: Hotel **** Minori
This morning you walk from Minori along ancient foot paths and stepped alleys up to Ravello, one of the highlights of the ‘classic’ Amalfi Coast. You will follow a very scenic path along a number of medieval churches, climbing up to the small hamlet of Torello and then to Ravello itself. While walking up do not forget to turn around every once in a while to admire the suggestive views on Minori and its little beach. When arriving at Ravello, once described by the French novelist, André Gide, as being ‘closer to the sky than the seashore’, you definitely must 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 has made it an appealing place to writers, artists, musicians and travellers. Boccaccio, DH Lawrence and Richard Wagner are among the more notable guests who have succumbed to its spells. While staying her, Wagner composed parts of his opera ‘Parsifal’. 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 valley of the Dragone Torrent 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 its magnificent Torre dello Zirro watch tower dominating both Atrani and Amalfi from above, before descending into the centre of Amalfi. From Amalfi you then take a public bus back to Minori and your hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel **** Minori
End of the tour. Return to Naples/Salerno by taxi, boat or bus. It is also possible to book an extension to your tour (see below).
Especially recommended is the 2-day extension which brings you into the green valley of Tramonti, ‘inbetween the mountains’, where you can taste the best wines of the area, walk through virtually untouched landscapes and stay in unique accomodations, completely ‘off-the-beaten-track’. In case you book that extension you will be picked up from Minori on day 4 by aprivate taxi and brought to Tramonti. The tour then continues as follows:
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 the pleasure of being a real traveller, in an area where virtually no other hikers go. You will pass through several small hamlets, all with their own charm. You will be walking also through ancient vineyards.
The area of Tramonti boasts a production of excellent local wines, made with autochthonous grapes, enriched by the scents and the aromas typical of this area (On request we can arrange a wine tasting for you). And finally you will walk an incredibly scenic part of the ‘Alta Via dei Monti Lattari’, the long distance trail that follows the whole ridge of the Sorrento Peninsula, high above the Amalfi Coast. Not to forget is that Tramonti is also famous for being the place where the pizza was invented, thanks to the natural vocation of its inhabitants for this delicious dish, cooked in their own oven together with bread and toasted bread. Dinner is free for you tonight, so you have the option to taste and experience a delicious pizza! Accommodation: Hotel in Tramonti
For today you have several options for a shorter or longer walk. The longer walk brings you first through several charming hamlets belonging to the Commune 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 that 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 In the evening you have to time for a swim and to go for a stroll through the village and possibly visit the remains of the luxurious Roman villa.
End of the tour. Return to Naples/Salerno by taxi, boat or bus. It is also possible to book an extension to your tour.
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
Accommodation in Salerno is either in a 3-star hotel or nice B&B, in Cava, Cetara & Minori in 3 to 4-star hotels. All rooms have en-suite facilities. Dinners are included except on the first day when you have a wide choice of little restaurants and pizzerias in the historical centre of Salerno. No picnic lunches are included in the tour price. Materials for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you stay or you can ask your accommodation holder to prepare a lunch packet for you.
Night 1: The night you are staying in a nicely located B&B or 3-star hotel in the historical centre of Salerno. All main monuments of the town are easily reached from your hotel.
Night 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 dei Tirreni. From the hotel it is only a short stroll to the millennium-old Bendictine Abbey.
Night 3: Tonight you stay in room with a wide sea view in a modern and welcoming hotel on the Amalfi Coast, near the fishermen’s village of Cetara (at walking distance).
Night 4:The last night is spent in a comfortable hotel in the heart of the charming sea side village of Minori
- 1 night Hotel or B&B in Salerno *** – BB
- 1 night Hotel in Cava dei Tirreni **** – HB
- 1 night Hotel in Cetara **** – HB
- 1 night Hotel in Minori **** – HB
- 1 Luggage transfer from Salerno to Corpo di Cava (day 2)
- 1 Luggage transfer from Corpo di Cava to Cetara (day 3)
- 1 Luggage transfer from Cetara to Minori (day 4)
- Extensive route notes, with description of the route & tourist information
- Maps at 1 : 25.000 scale (or better)
- 24/24 h local assistance
- Departure taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Drinks and meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Optional additional tours or activities
- Items of personal nature
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
Moderate: In the extended programme there are some more difficult walks, which include some longer sections uphill, sometimes on paths with rough surfaces. Most of the trails are well maintained. Part of the walks can be shortened and some longer options are available.
Fitness: High standard of fitness is not necessary but clients should be able to walk for up to 5 hours a day, also in hot and dry conditions. Some shorter and longer options are available.
Way marking: Most (but not all!) trails are way marked and can easily be found using your route descriptions and maps.
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE
Arrival: The tour starts in Salerno/Vietri sul Mare. Regular trains run between the town and most major Italian metropolises (Naples, Rome, Milan).
Departure: The tour ends after breakfast on day 5 in Minori. From here you can travel by bus to Salerno again. A taxi transfer from Minori can be arranged on request.
|You can book this tour with a minimum of 1 person.|
|There are a very limited number of available places on these dates. Immediate booking is recommended.|
|Availability and prices on request.|
- Prices are per person and based on the season within which the first night of the tour falls.
- Prices are based on 2 people sharing double or twin accommodation. Single rooms (double rooms – single) are available on most trips however the supplements listed apply.
- If you are travelling alone then on some trips (which include taxi transfers) a ‘Solo Traveller Supplement’ will be applied instead of the normal single supplement.
- Prices are expressed in Euro’s. There will never be a currency surcharge.
- Actual exchange rates: GB £ - US $ - CAN $ - CHF - DKK - SEK - NOK - Other currencies.
It is possible to include extra nights in any of the towns en route. Extra walking or sightseeing options can be provided as indicated in the day-to-day programme.
Especially recommended is the 2-day extension which brings you into the green valley of Tramonti, ‘inbetween the mountains’, where you can taste the best wines of the area, walk through virtually untouched landscapes and stay in unique accomodations, completely ‘off-the-beaten-track’.
Extra Days in Tramonti
After a visit of the hamlet of Corpo di Cava and the 1000 years old Benedictine Abbey, you start to walk up towards the Monte Finestra (‘Window Mountain’). This mountain takes its name from the hole piercing the saddle between its two peaks. Through thick chestnut woods, slowly making way to fragrant Mediterranean maquis you climb up to the mountain’s crest. For a beautiful stretch you will then follow the ‘Alta Via’ along the ridge, admiring wonderful views both on the Amalfi Coast and the rolling valleys punctuated by 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 side. 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 saddle of Foce di Tramonti, you’ll start to descend along a beautiful well maintained centuries old muletrack. Past very scenic abandoned farmhouses and a 10th century cave church, you’ll arrive in Tramonti, one of the most authentic villages of the entire peninsula. Here you’ll have a full day to wander around the several charming hamlets, which belong to the area of Tramonti. You’ll be wandering in a beautiful terraced landscape, in the middle of orchards, olive groves and centuries old vineyards (in fact, Tramonti boost one of the highest numbers of authoctonous grape varieties). You’ll come across stunning mansions (in one of which you’ll sleep), beautiful churches and chapels, a stunning botanical garden and many more. Enjoy a few days ‘off-the-beaten-track’ in a n area where tourism has not yet cancelled the authentic sense of hospitality.
Accommodation: Hotel **** – Tramonti
Also is it possible to book just one extra night in Corpo di Cava, and make a great roundwalk through stunning mountain scenery from there.
Extra Days in Cava dei Tirreni
After a hearty breakfast you start your walk into the mountains dominating the hamlet of Corpo di Cava and the 1000 years old Benedictine Abbey. Possibly you take your time to visit the abbey as well before starting your walk. Your aim of 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 to 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 both on the Amalfi Coast and the rolling valleys punctuated by 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 side. 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 from where you then walk down the towns little alleys to its historical centre. Here you may visit the small but beautiful public gardens and the charming town square and main street lined by medieval porticos. After visiting the town you then take a public bus up to your hotel in Corpo di Cava again.
Accommodation: Hotel **** – Cava dei Tirreni
It is possible to extend the tour with one or more nights in Amalfi or any other town along the Amalfi Coast. This tour can be extended with one of our existing tours along the heart of the Amalfi Coast.
It is possible to book an upgrade in some of the places en route. Details and prices on request.