Discovering the Amalfi Coast and the Cilento National Park - DHAM2
Amalfi Coast & Cilento Walking tour
The Coast of the Sirens: Amalfi Coast & Cilento National Park
Along the ‘back roads’ of the Amalfi Coast and the mountainous inland of the Cilento
8-day Fly & Drive Tour with 4 different bases in beautiful hotels and agriturismo’s
The regions of Amalfi and the Cilento have been known as a paradise on earth from ancient times on. The Greeks built some of their most impressive temples here and under the Romans they formed part of ‘Campania Felix’ or the Happy Land. When travelling here, one easily becomes overwhelmed by the well-known cultural and natural attractions of the famous ‘Costiera Amalfitana’ with its towering cliffs and picturesque coves. However also the Cilento region south of Salerno, now one of Italy’s biggest National Parks where the coastline bulges out into an expanse of mountainous landmass, is well worth a visit.
The Amalfi Coast hardly needs an introduction and has been described by many authors and artists as the world’s most beautiful coast. The landscape is immensely varied and surrounded by infinite ever changing views. It can be typical Mediterranean, intoxicated by wild perfumed herbs, with myrtle shrubs, thyme, rosemary and mastic trees, or almost alpine with meadows and bare rocks. And there’s cultural heritage abound! Man has created a stunning mosaic terraced landscape, which nothing can compare with. And beautiful little churches, ruins of castles and old farmhouses are found all over… The ‘Costiera Amalfitana’ is definitely Europe’s most dramatic stretch of coastline!
During your stay you’ll have the time to visit the villages which are a must to see: Amalfi itself, but also Atrani, wonderfully preserved through the centuries, Ravello with its magnificent villa’s, the quiet Praiano and of course the scenic and fashionable Positano. You will have the opportunity to walk along well maintained footpaths, often paved alleyways, through attractive countryside, with wonderful terraced lemon groves, vineyards and cultural treasures like rural chapels, ancient farm houses, old water mills and wonderful villa’s and villages, where you can sit down and relax with a drink.
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 multi-coloured 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 you will enjoy visiting medieval and quaint fishing villages where the traditional way of life is still evident. You will have the opportunity to walk or cycle through pristine natural areas, like beech and oak forests and mountain meadows, beautiful river valleys, impressive canyons and great mountain scenery. But as well you may enjoy attractive countryside, with vineyards and olive groves and all its cultural treasures like rural chapels, ancient farm houses, old water mills and charming medieval villages.
During your stay you’ll not only visit the Cilento’s main cultural highlight such as the world famous Greek temples of Paestum, the Greek town of Velia and the Certosa-abbey at Padula, but you will also have the opportunity to see some of the nicest mediaeval villages of the area, where the traditional way of life is still evident. And you’ll enjoy visiting some of the Cilento’s most unknown cultural treasures, like the rock churches of Magliano, St. Michael’s cave church in Sant’Angelo a Fasanella, the ruins of Roscigno Vecchia and the castles of Laurino and Sicignano.
For this tour we offer several different options in which you can decide independently the skill level of your excursions. Walks and bicycle rides follow easy routes without any real technical difficulties and are feasible for all with some walking or cycling experience and in a good physical condition.
Walking and cycling times: approx. 2 to 5 hours a day.
Amalfi Coast Walking tour
During this tour you have the choice of several different options, as well as being able to opt for a possible extension either in the Cilento region or along the Amalfi Coast. For culture and nature lovers who have never before visited the Amalfi Coast, we warmly suggest some more days in one of the many beautiful hotels or agriturismo’s along the coast, to better discover the uncountable natural and cultural treasures of this beautiful part of Italy.
Along the ‘back roads’ of the Amalfi Coast and the mountainous inland of the Cilento
Day 1 & 2 The Southern Cilento
Agriturismo in Morigerati
During the first two days of your tour you will stay in a charming country house at Morigerati, situated in the mountains high above the Gulf of Policastro From here you will have ample opportunity to explore both the inland and the coast of this largely unknown, but pristine part of the Cilento region.
From Morigerati you can walk to the local WWF oasis where the waters of the River Bussento re-emerge noisily from a deep burrow. You may go for a long walk through the beech forests and alpine meadows of the Cervati Mountains, the highest peak of the Cilento, coloured in spring by many fragrant alpine flowers and wild orchids. Or you walk along the giant sink hole of Vallivona and discover the canyon of the Calore River near Laurino. Along the coast you have the opportunity to walk along the unspoilt rocky coast to the very scenic ‘Porto degli Infreschi ‘ Bay. Or you may enjoy the wide panoramic view from the Ciolandrea Plateau before walking down to the Marcellino Valley.
For the average cyclist the rolling country around Morigerati can be quite taxing, but this is easily forgotten when admiring the wonderful views you will find along your way. Easier cycling trips are possible along the coast near Marina di Camerota and in the Mingardo Valley, or around Mount Bulgheria. Here you can visit the abandoned village of San Severino, and the archaeological site of Roccagloriosa. Trained mountain bikers can tour the Cervati Mountains, climbing up to the very top, and enjoy the exhilarating descent from Pruno to the isolated hamlet of Rofrano.
Culture lovers can easily reach the Certosa Abbey at Padula, one of the biggest and richest of southern Europe. Also the coastal town of Maratea in nearby Basilicata is only a one hour car journey away. Of course you can simply wander along the quiet country roads passing through the many charming medieval villages and stopping frequently to admire their many ancient churches, old ‘palazzi’ and narrow back alleys.
Day 3 Velia, Monte Gelbison and Monte Stella
Agriturismo in Pollica/Casalvelino
Today you have a wide choice of walking or cycling excursions, and cultural options. Also during your day’s trip do not forget to stop for lunch in one of the many ‘trattorie’ along your way and taste the many local food and drink specialties. Before going out for dinner again in the evening, you should take a refreshing dip in the crystal clear water of the Mediterranean and enjoy an hours’ sunbathing on the white sandy beach.
Well trained lovers of long walks can head for Mount Gelbison in the wild mountainous inland of the Cilento. Here you can start out from Novi Velia where a century old pilgrim’s path takes you up to the Sanctuary situated on the top of the mountain. An easier walk near Moio della Civitella takes you to the remains of a pre-Greek fortified hamlet, situated on top of a low hill.
Cyclists will enjoy the panoramic ride around Mount Stella, passing through the many tiny villages dotting its slopes. Here you will discover the real Cilento, untouched by the coasts’ mass tourism. In these villages time seems to have stood still and the locals are sure to greet you as a welcome guest.
Culture lovers should make sure to pay a visit to Velia. This archaeological site preserves the remains of the 6th century BC Greek town of Elea, birth place of the philosophers Zeno and Parmenide, and origin of one of the oldest medical schools in Europe. Here you can admire the ruins of the ancient harbour, of the Greek and Roman bath houses, of several temples and public buildings, and of the so called ‘Porta Rosa’ or Pink Gate, one of the oldest examples of the use of the arch in Greek architecture.
Day 4 & 5 The Alburni Mountains and the Calore Valley
Agriturismo in Felitto/Bellosguardo/Corleto Monforte
The next two days you will stay in a charming agriturismo in the Calore Valley, where your hosts will do their best to make you feel more than welcome. Indeed staying in an agriturismo in the inland of the Cilento means being part of the household more than a simple guest. You will enjoy copious meals based on local honest cuisine, accompanied by robust red wines.
In this part of the Cilento, the convinced hiker will find himself in paradise. You can opt for a long walk through the thick beech woods and along bizarre rock formations and deep underground limestone caves and sink holes of the high plateau of the Alburni Mountains, climbing up to its very top at Mount Panormo. Or you can explore the valleys underneath the mountain’s slopes, walking through the spectacular canyon of the Calore River near Felitto. You may wander from the abandoned village of Roscigno Vecchia, the ‘Pompeii of the 20th century’ to the spectacular Sammaro Canyon and further on to the medieval village of Sacco, situated under the high limestone rock faces of the Cervati Mountains. From your agriturismo you can as well walk to the spring of the Auso River near Sant’Angelo a Fasanella, and visit the nearby church of St. Michael, built into a cave.
The quiet country roads of the Calore Valley and the roads around the Alburni Mountains form a spectacular back drop for several short or longer cycling trips. The trained cyclist may descend into the Diano Valley and visit the limestone caves of Pertosa, before turning back to the agriturismo by circling the Alburni Mountains, while the enthusiast mountain biker will immediately feel at home on the many dirt tracks crisscrossing the Alburni Plateau. The average cyclist may well set out for a trip along several of the charming little village dotting the Calore Valley, admiring the historical centres of Roscigno, Sacco, Felitto, Magliano, Ottati and Aquara.
Of course you are free to discover this beautiful part of the Cilento by car as well. You can wander freely along the many little hamlets of the Calore Valley and the Alburni Mountains, stopping whenever you fancy to admire the tiny charming medieval hamlets and their many ancient churches, old ‘palazzi’, ruined castles and twisting back alleys. At lunch time you can drive up to an agriturismo for a copious meal of delicious ‘antipasti della casa’ and feast on ‘mozarella di bufala’, handmade pasta en tasteful grilled meat dishes. A short drive through the valley takes you to the archaeological site of Paestum, where you will visit the Cilento’s main cultural attraction, the world famous Greek temples and the archaeological museum (UNESCO World Heritage).
Day 6 & 7 The ‘back roads’ of the Amalfi Coast
Agriturismo in Agerola
The last two days of your tour you will stay in a nice family run agriturismo in Agerola, high above the Amalfi Coast. From your agriturismo you will have plenty opportunity to visit this authentic Italian paradise. In case you never visited the ‘Costiera Amalfitana’ before, we warmly suggest you extend your stay here with a couple of days to better explore the many cultural and natural treasures of this part of the region.
Those interested in exploring by foot, will find a dramatic landscape made of vertical rock cliffs rising from the sea, and high mountain peaks overlooking deep lush valleys. From Agerola you can walk along highly panoramic paths over Mount Murillo through the ‘Valle delle Ferriere’ (Iron Valley) and the ‘Valle dei Mulini’ (Mill Valley) to Amalfi. You will have the opportunity to walk over the ‘Sentiero degli Dei’ (Path of the Gods), easily the most famous of the many paths along the Amalfi Coast and without doubt one of Italy’s finest, with its breath taking views on the ‘Costiera’ and on the isle of Capri. You could also follow the century old mule track of the ‘Via Maestra dei Villagi’, which connected the 10th century Sea Republic of Amalfi with its many hamlets. Here you will walk through colourful lemon groves and along old churches and lofty palaces. Or you can head for the highest peak of the Sorrentine Peninsula and admire Positano from the top Mount Sant’Angelo a Tre Pizzi at 1500m.
To admire the dramatic cliffs rising from the sea, interspersed with tiny inlets and wonderfully located, often partly hidden fishermen’s villages, there is no better way than by boat. You can choose from a guided excursion leaving from one of the main towns along the coast, or you can enjoy the view from the ferry boat when turning back to your hotel after your day’s trip. For those who feel like it, it is possible to glide along part of the coast by sea kayak, admiring the most bizarre rock formations and pausing for a refreshing dive or a lazy picnic lunch on a small beach in one of the many tiny hidden inlets along the coast.
Culture lovers, city trippers and shoppers will find many a suitable spot along the Amalfi Coast. You will have the opportunity to visit splendid medieval Amalfi with its ‘duomo’ and many ‘palazzi’ with clear Arabic influences. You may wander through the back alleys of Ravello, dramatically situated on a vertical limestone cliff high above the coast, and visit its wonderful villa’s and their beautiful gardens. Or you walk down the many stairs to the wide beach of mundane Positano, famous for its many VIP visitors, where you enjoy a ‘gelato’ while lounging in the sun. You can as well take the ferry boat from Amalfi for a visit to Capri, the favourite holiday resort of the Roman emperor Tiberius. From Agerola you also easily reach the other side of the peninsula, where you can visit the seaside resort town of Sorrento, built on high vertical cliffs above the sea, as well as driving on to the charming villages of Massa Lubrense and Termini on the very tip of the peninsula.
Day 8 End of your tour
Your tour finishes this morning after breakfast.
Amalfi Coast Walking Tour
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
All nights are spent in beautiful agriturismo’s. All rooms have en-suite facilities.
All Dinners are included in the tour price. 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 will be passing through.
Nights 1 & 2: The first two nights are spent in a beautifully located country house at Morigerati in the mountains above the Gulf of Policastro.
Night 3: This night you’ll stay in a nice agriturismo near Casalvelino.
Nights 4 & 5: The next two nights are spent in a charming agriturismo in Felitto/Bellosguardo/Corleto Monforte in the Calore Valley.
Nights 6 & 7: The last two nights you stay in a beautiful agriturismo in Agerola, high above the Amalfi Coast.
ON THIS INDIVIDUAL FLY & DRIVE TOUR WE PROVIDE YOU WITH:
• Accommodation: 2 nights Morigerati, 1 night Pioppi/Casalvelino,
2 nights Felitto/Bellosguardo/ Corleto Monforte, 2 nights Agerola;
all nights in good 3-star hotels or agriturismo’s.
• Meals: 7 breakfasts, 7 dinners
• Extensive route notes, with description of the route & tourist information
• Topographical Maps for walking and cycling excursions
• 24/24 h local assistance
• Departure taxes & Visas
• Travel Insurance
• Drinks and meals not mentioned in the itinerary
• Optional additional tours or activities
• Items of personal nature
• Car rental
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
Easy/moderate (2/3): Easy to moderate walks and cycling/kayaking trips without any real technical difficulties. Remember you decide yourself the level of difficulty of your excursions.
Fitness: All walks and bicycle/kayaking trips are feasible for all with some walking or cycling/kayaking experience and in a good physical condition. You should be able to walk or cycle for some hours a day also in hot dry weather conditions.
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE
Arrival: The tour starts in MORIGERATI. By car you reach the South Coast of the Cilento from Rome (daily flights, also low-cost, from all major European cities) in around 4 hours. From Naples (daily flights, also low-cost, from all major European cities) it will take you around 2,5 hours.
Departure: The tour ends in AGEROLA. From here you can reach Naples in 1 hour, Rome in 3 hours.
N.B. Prices as indicated are for the standard 8-day programme, based in 3-star hotels & agriturismo’s. Upon request we can book different accommodations, and of course, according to your interests we can adapt the programme to your demands. You decide!
|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.
One of the main characteristics of a Genius Loci Travel ‘Drive & Hike, Walk & Discover’ Tour is the freedom you have in putting together not only your own daily programme, but also the length of the tour and the places to visit. The above programme is only an example of what is possible. It is a well-balanced programme, which shows you the great variety of this part of southern Italy, both the authentic inland areas, as well as the stupendous coastline. However, according to your interests we can easily adapt the programme to your demands. More mountains, more sea, more culture, more relax…. You decide!
WITHOUT A CAR?
Perhaps you found this tour because you were looking for some great hiking in Sardinia, but you don’t feel like driving a car. In this case we can also offer several ‘traditional’ individual walking tours, both through the southern Cilento, as well as through the inland areas, the ‘Heart of the Cilento‘, and the Monte Stella, and of course we offer several tours along the Amalfi Coast. On all these tours we’ll take care of the transport of your luggage and the occasional transfer.
It is possible to include extra nights in any of the towns en route. We strongly recommend an extra day in Agerola to explore the Amalfi Coast, as well as an extra day in the southern Cilento, to walk to some of the splendid beaches and enjoy some relax. Details and prices on request.
Extra walking or sightseeing options can be provided as indicated in the day-to-day programme.
It is possible to extend your tour with a few days at Salerno, along the beautiful Amalfi Coast or in Naples. Details and prices on request.
It is possible to book an upgrade in some of the places en route. Details and prices on request.