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Paestum & the pristine coast of the Cilento National Park - CIL 3

 
Paestum & the pristine coast of the Cilento National Park - CIL 3
Grade
Comfort level
9 days - great accommodations in special places
Starting from: € 650
 

Overview

The region of Campania marks the real beginnings of southern Italy. It has been sought-after since Roman times when it was tagged the Campania Felix or ‘happy land’. Understandably when there is the great city of Naples, beautiful countryside, Roman sites, small islands and stretches of spectacular coast. On the southern side of the Sorrento Peninsula, the Costiera Amalfitana is probably one of Europe’s most well-known and dramatic stretches of coastline, with its towering cliffs and picturesque coves.

But Campania’s real secret is located South of Salerno, and immediately south of the wonderful Greek temples of Paestum. Here the coastline bulges out into an expanse of mountainous landmass known as Cilento, now a National Park with World Heritage listing. The Cilento coast is fairly rocky territory, with the shoreline lapped by a crystal sea. There is a wild kind of beauty here; rocky ridges set between small picturesque inlets and richly scented pinewoods backing onto wide sandy beaches. Aleppo pines loom over multicoloured undergrowth of myrtle and prickly pear; whilst huge, centuries old, olive trees grow right down to the shore. Inland the Cilento is largely undisturbed by the 21st century and we enjoy visiting mediaeval and quaint fishing villages where the traditional way of life is still evident.

A large part of the tour is along the coast, but you walk as well 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. During the tour you also visit some of the nicest old fishing villages, like Santa Maria and San Marco di Castellabate, Marina di Camerota and Acciaroli.

Please note: this is a moderately easy tour which is suitable for those who have some experience with walking and a good general physical condition. Most of the walks are on good paths, some of them just recently restored by the local authorities. Part of the paths is waymarked. Elsewhere it is necessary to follow the route notes provided together with the maps.

Average walking times:  approx from 4 to 6 hours each day.

         

Day-to-Day

Day 1
Arrival at Paestum by train and reach the hotel, located only a few hundred meters from the temples area, which are amongst the best preserved in Europe. Leave your luggage in the hotel and take your time to pay a visit to the archaeological site with its amazing Greek temples and the museum. Then walk back to the hotel to enjoy a typical dinner of local cuisine.
Hotel *** Paestum – HB

Day 2
Today you first make a short train ride to Agropoli, from where you start a wonderful walk along the headland of Punta Tresino, one of the last remaining stretches of pristine coast. You walk through a genuine Mediterranean landscape, through forests and scrubland, along wonderful beaches and an ancient roman harbour, with beautiful views over the sea. You reach the abandoned village of San Giovanni, where still some very good white wine is being produced (optional tasting possible). Then you descend to the large sandy beach of Castellabate. It’s worth it to continue the walk along the beach until you reach the charming little fishing harbour of Santa Maria. From here you are being picked up – perhaps after a swim and a nice gelato on the beach, and you are brought to your charming hotel in the fortified village of Rocca Cilento.
Country House in Rocca Cilento – HB

Day 3
From Rocca Cilento you make a circular walk today. This walk brings you along some of the most interesting villages in the area and into the so-called ‘Valle dei Mulini’ (the Valley of the mills). Part of the walks follows the old route that used to connect this valley to the Greek cities of Paestum and Velia. First you walk down along the ridge, with wonderful views to both sides, to the tiny village of Lustra, with its very well preserved medieval town centre. Then you start to descend into the Valley of the mills, along a beautiful recently restored footpath. Here you’ll notice the remains of at least 17 mills! 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’ll cross. Then you’ll climb up to the charming little hamlet of Valle Cilento, with its beautiful bell towers. The path then descends into the valley again and passes along the intriguing abandoned village of Massacanina. A short but steep climb leads you onto the ridge again and past the monastery of Mercato Cilento you take a panoramic dirt road, which will then lead you back to Rocca Cilento, dominated by its fine castle, from where views over the area are unrivalled. Take some time to relax on your panoramic terrace before your dinner based on local specialties.
Country House in Rocca Cilento – HB

Day 4
Today you will make a very panoramic walk along the ridge of Mt. Stella, which still is the geographical and cultural centre of the area, surrounded by a ring of charming medieval villages. A short transfer brings you to Perdifumo, where you start the walk in the chestnut forest. Once you reach the ridge, views range from the island of Capri and the Amalfi Coast, to Capo Palinuro and sometimes even the island of Stromboli in Sicily! Part of the walk leads through the maquis and bare rocks, part through thick chestnut forests. You pass the historical ‘Castelluccio’, an abandoned fortress, probably dating back to the pre-Roman period. Then, still following the ridge, you reach the chapel of the Virgin of Mount Stella, spiritual centre of the area, and still worshipped. Then you make a long descend towards the coast, and you’ll pass through several beautiful historic villages. The first one is the tiny medieval Galdo. Follow Celso, Pollica and Cannicchio, all beautifully located on the hills, with a charming medieval centre, and nice views over the sea. Then it goes down to Acciaroli, a characteristic fishing village, with a beautiful sandy beach, one of Ernest Hemingway’s favourite places. Here you can enjoy a swim before you take the public bus to the small village of San Marco di Castellabate, where you stay in a comfortable family- run hotel.
Hotel***  in San Marco di Castellabate – BB

Day 5
Directly from the hotel you start a circular walk passing through typical Mediterranean maquis into the area of Monte Licosa. The headland of Licosa is the point where Cilento mostly reaches out to sea, like a miniature reproduction of Monte Stella peninsula. It is full of marine charm, a place where the sea-breeze makes the trees ‘dance’, bound to Ulysses’ myth: people say that the siren Leucosia drowned herself here for the sake of Ulysses. This myth and the marvellous landscape make this area a really enchanting place to visit in every season of the year. In wintertime the clear sky offers you superb views over the Amalfi Coast and Palinuro, in springtime the flowering brooms cover the hill with golden yellow and during the summer you can swim in a very clean sea. In autumn the sea-temperature is still warm and on clear days you can take relaxing walks. You first walk up through the pine forest, until you come to the ridge. Along the ridge there are several watchtowers, from where you can observe the whole area, both the coast and inland. With a bit of luck you might be able to have superb views over the whole bay of Salerno and even Calabria! Through a pleasant agricultural landscape you descend to the coast at Ogliastro Marina, and from here you follow a coastal trail to the very point of the headland. Also here along the coast you see the ruins of several watchtowers and you will be caught by the magic of the dancing trees. Of course there are several possibilities for a swim. From Punta Licosa you then continue along the coast, and a beautiful path brings you back to the nice harbour of San Marco. In the evening you are free to arrange your own dinner from a wide choice of restaurants in the near surroundings.
Hotel***  in San Marco di Castellabate – BB

Day 6
From San Marco you’ll be picked up by your private taxi for the transfer to Palinuro, where you can leave your luggage at your hotel and then start a great roundwalk. This walk starts directly from your accommodation, and brings you onto the mythical promontory of Cape Palinuro, named after one of the mates of Aeneas who drowned here. From the little fishermen’s harbour you walk up to the light house on top of Capo Palinuro. You will walk through shady pine woods and fragrant Mediterranean shrub lands along well maintained paths and gravel roads. From the light house you enjoy a magnificent view on the village of Palinuro and the Cilento Coast and part of the inland, with views reaching as far as the headland of Punta Licosa and Monte Stella. You then descend to the beautiful sandy beach of Marinella, a favourite among locals, where you can have lunch and a swim. Strong walkers may consider extending the Capo Palinuro walk to include the Molpa Hill, on which you’ll come across the ruins of a medieval castle, from where the view over the surrounding area is stunning. Also could you continue to the Arco Naturale, making this into a whole day excursion. But of course you should also consider to take a boat tour to the beautiful ‘Grotta Azzurra’, perhaps not as famous as the one in Capri, but arguably more beautiful (and definitely less costly & less touristy!).
Hotel*** in Palinuro – BB.

N.B. In case you want to visit the excavations of the Greek city of Velia and do a beautiful roundwalk there, you can do this today – and travel on to Palinuro in the afternoon. Then we’ll book an extra night for you in Palinuro.

Day 7
Today you’ll head for your next accommodation, in the charming seaside village of Marina di Camerota. Straight from your accommodation you first walk a short stretch through olive groves and along the river, then you start climbing up into the first hills above the coast between Palinuro and Marina di Camerota. This is a beautiful walk, with great views over the blue Mediterranean. You’ll walk partly through forest and Mediterranean scrubland, partly through farmland. You walk along the ruins of old farmsteads and past the medieval chapel of Sant’Iconio. Along a stunning trail you descend back to the coast again. The last stretch to the charming village of Marina di Camerota is along the coast again. There are several nice beaches in isolated inlets, so perhaps there is the option for a swim. Or you can opt to go for a stroll in the village itself, with its clear South American influence.
Hotel*** in Marina di Camerota – HB

N.B. For those who want to enjoy some more of the stunning scenery of Capo Palinuro – and perhaps want to visit the famous ‘Blue Grotto’ (Grotta Azzurra) and take the time for a swim on one of the great beaches – it is recommended to integrate this tour with an extra night in Palinuro. Prices on request.

Day 8
Today you’ll enjoy a coastal walk along one of the most unspoilt stretches of coastline in southern Italy, with the cleanest seawater (Blue Flag). This is the so-called Costa degli Infreschi, named after the Roman harbour of Porto degli Infreschi, where there is a freshwater spring in a grotto. Easy and absolutely superb sightseeing on the ancient footpath which connects the village of Camerota to the ancient Roman harbour. The walk starts directly from your hotel in Marina di Camerota. First you walk along its harbour then along a series of grottos and beaches you reach the first medieval watchtower. Now you have to climb a short stretch and continue through olive groves and scrubland. Then you descend to a next little inlet, which reminds the desolate beaches of a tropical island. Another hour along a beautiful trail brings you to the Porto degli Infreschi. Upon arrival on the beach here a lunch can be cooked by local fishermen(optional). Return either on foot or by boat (optional) to Marina di Camerota. In the evening you are free to arrange your own dinner.
Hotel***in Marina di Camerota – BB

Day 9
After breakfast you are brought to the train station. From here you return by train to Naples (centre or airport), Salerno or Rome.

Tour details

ACCOMMODATION & MEALS

Accommodation is mostly on half board basis (only one day on a bed and breakfast basis – see inclusions) in very good 3-star hotels and a comfortable guesthouse (comparable to a 3-star hotel). All rooms have en-suite facilities.

You will have most dinners included, on one evening you will be free to organise your dinner from the wide choice of restaurants in the area.

No picnic lunches are included in the tour price, but these can be prepared for you by the accommodation holders, or materials for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you stay.

Night 1: The first night is spent in Paestum, in a nice 3-star hotel with a big garden & pool, just outside the Greek town walls, at walking distance from the temples.

Night 2 & 3:
You stay in the small village of Rocca Cilento, in a beautiful and comfortable ‘village hotel’, recently opened, in the pretty medieval setting of an old monastery, at walking distance from the town square and castle.

Night 4 & 5: For two nights you stay in the small coastal village town of San Marco, at the south side of a large sandy beach, and at the edge of the beautiful promontory of Punta Licosa.

Night 6: For one night you’ll stay in Palinuro, in a nice 3-star hotel right in the centre of town or (on request) in a beautiful 4-star sea side hotel with a private beach.

Night 7 & 8: The last nights are spent in a comfortable ‘B&B’, or good 3-star hotel in the small coastal town of Marina di Camerota, gateway to the unspoilt ‘Costa degli Infreschi’.

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

Moderately easy (2-3): Mostly easy walks, but with nonetheless some walking uphill, sometimes on paths with rough surfaces. On some days extensions or shortcuts are possible.

Fitness: High standard of fitness is not necessary but clients should be able to walk for up to 5 hours a day in hot sun on dusty or stony tracks

FOOT PATHS & WAYMARKING

Most paths are well maintained, but during the season some paths can get overgrown (we are in continuous contact with local authorities to keep the paths clean – please help us by providing you feedback on the quality of the paths).

Waymarking: Only a small part of the route is waymarked; elsewhere it is necessary to follow the route descriptions provided together with the maps. With these it is always possible to find your route. In case you don’t feel confident a local guide can be provided for some trails.

INCLUSIONS :

  • 1 night Hotel in Paestum*** – HB
  • 2 nights B&B in Rocca Cilento*** – HB
  • 2 nights in Hotel San Marco di Castellabate*** –2 BB
  • 1 night Hotel in Palinuro***/**** – BB
  • 2 nights in Hotel in Marina di Camerota*** – 1 HB + 1 BB
  • 1 transfer Santa Maria di Castellabate – Rocca Cilento (day 2)
  • 1 transfer from Rocca Cilento to Perdifumo (day 4)
  • 1 transfer from San Marco di Castellabate to Palinuro (day 6)
  • 1 transfer from M. di Camerota to the train station (day 8 )
  • Extensive route notes, with description of the route & tourist information
  • Maps at 1 : 25.000 scale
  • 24/24 h local assistance
  • Luggage transport

 

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Departure taxes
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Drinks and meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Optional additional tours or activities
  • Tips
  • Items of personal nature

 

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE

Arrival: The tour starts in PAESTUM; a pick-up service (included) can be arranged from Capaccio train station, which is easily reached from Naples, the nearest city with an international airport. The train ride takes about an hour.

Departure: The tour ends after breakfast on day 9 in Marina di Camerota. A short transfer brings you to the station (included), from where you travel to your next destination (Naples, Salerno or Rome can all be easily reached. Several taxi services are available to bring you directly to your next destination.

EXTRA NIGHTS

It is possible to include extra nights in any of the accommodations en route. As well is it possible to extend your tour with a few days In Salerno, Naples, or along the Amalfi Coast. Details and prices on request.

UPGRADE

It is possible to book an upgrade in some of the places en route. Details and prices on request.

Dates & Prices
9 days prices
  Trip season Tour
price
Single
suppl.
Solo
traveller
 
15 March - 31 May 2019 € 650 € 150 € 265
RESERVE YOUR PLACE
01 June - 30 June 2019 € 675 € 150 € 265
RESERVE YOUR PLACE
01 July - 31 July 2019 € 750 € 150 € 265
RESERVE YOUR PLACE
01 August - 31 August 2019 € 990 € 225 € 340
RESERVE YOUR PLACE
01 September - 30 September 2019 € 675 € 150 € 265
RESERVE YOUR PLACE
01 October - 05 November 2019 € 650 € 150 € 265
RESERVE YOUR PLACE
AVAILABILITY & CONDITIONS
GuaranteedYou can book this tour with a minimum of 1 person.
LimitedThere are a very limited number of available places on these dates. Immediate booking is recommended.
On RequestAvailability 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.

Tour variations

CONTINUOUS COASTAL CILENTO WALKING ROUTE

This tour shows you the best parts of the Cilento Coast – those parts which are actually accessible on foot. There are plans for a continuous walking route all along the coast of the Cilento National Park, starting in Paestum/Agropoli and ending in Sapri, but unfortunately there are still many ‘missing links’.

If you are interested in walking this coastal route already in 2019 (a first part of this route, already described in the Monte Stella Walking Guide is mostly feasible), please contact us. We will be happy to advise.

SHORT TOURS

It is also possible to do only a part of this tour – or do the whole tour in two times:

Paestum & the Coast of Monte Stella – which brings you along the northern coast, with Paestum,  beautiful Castellabate and Acciaroli.

Southern Cilento Explorer – which provides you with a full immersion in the beautiful southern part of the Cilento. This tour includes not only the coastal walking, but also some great hikes through the charming villages, olive groves and mountains more inland.

EXTRA NIGHTS

It is possible to include extra nights in any of the accommodations en route. As well is it possible to extend your tour with a few days In Salerno, Naples, or along the Amalfi Coast. Details and prices on request.

UPGRADE

It is possible to book an upgrade in some of the places en route. Details and prices on request.

 

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Paestum & the pristine coast of the Cilento National Park – CIL 3
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9 days - great accommodations in special places Starting from: € 650,00
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