The authentic '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
Optional extra day – Salerno & its castle
Directly from your accommodation right in the heart of the city, you start a great and rewarding round walk through the city centre, touching of course – but not only!- the most interesting ‘highlights’, such as the Duomo, the theatre, the narrow alleys of the medieval town centre, with its many noble palaces and churches with IX and X century fresco’s. The literal highlight of today is the amazing Arechi castle, named after the Longobard prince who established his capital at Salerno in the 8th century. Views over the Amalfi Coast and the whole bay are stunning from here. Back down in town you’ll discover the beautiful gardens of Minerva and the roots of the ‘Scuola Medica Salernitana’, Europe’s most important medical ‘university’ in medieval times. The walk also brings you through quiet parks and the ideal end of the day is a stroll along the sea shore boulevard with a drink at the harbour.
Accommodation: Hotel or B&B *** – Salerno
Today’s walk takes you from the charming town of Vietri sul Mare, the gateway to the Amalfi Coast to the little hamlet of Corpo di Cava situated on the mountain 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 oldtown centre of Vietri sul Mare, and extensively browsing its many ceramics shops, you will walk down its little alleys to its marina, before heading 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 shaded chestnut woods to your day’s destination near the millennium-old Benedictine Abbey of Corpo di Cava. On your way you could have a look at one of the hidden marvels of this area, the remains of a Roman aqueduct still standing 20m tall! Finally you arrive at the hotel and have the time to freshen up and get ready for a hearty dinner on the hotel’s premises. Those who feel like it can extend this walk with an optional loop through the wooded valleys beneath Monte Finestra.
Accommodation: Hotel ***/**** – Cava dei Tirreni
Optional extra day – around Cava dei Tirreni
After a hearty breakfast you begin your walk into the mountains dominating the hamlet of Corpo di Cava and the 1000-years-old Benedictine Abbey. You could take your time to visit the abbey as well before starting your walk. Your aim for 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 for 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 of both the Amalfi Coast and the rolling valleys split between the 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. 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 deiTirreni. Your route takes you down the steep slopes of the mountain to the hamlet of Sant’Arcangelo, where you then walk down the town’s little alleys to its historical centre. After visiting the town you then take a public bus back up to your hotel in Corpo di Cava.
Accommodation: Hotel ***/**** – Cava dei Tirreni
Today’s walk will take you straight from your hotel along one of the most famous pilgrim routes in 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 Cappella Vecchia, or the ‘Old Chapel’. From here you enjoy a wonderful view of Vietri sul Mare and Salerno to the south, and the crest of Monte Avvocata to the west. A well-trodden and relatively easy footpath 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 of the Amalfi Coast reach as far as Ravello and Conca dei Marini. This is definitely one of the most beautiful belvederes on the entire coast, unknown to most, if not all foreign tourists! After visiting the convent you start walking down along a beautiful scenic path down towards Cetara, one of the most charming villages of the Amalfi Coast. You will pass through grass and shrub land dotted with numerous wildflowers. Along the winding footpath you will also see some nice examples of local rural architecture. Towards the end of the walk you will enjoy the most wonderful view of the little fishing village of Cetara. You’ll end up in the heart of the village and have the choice to settle right away in your room or you can go for a swim first. At night you will have dinner in a nice restaurant (included). N.B. In case you booked an upgrade: you’ll stay in a beautiful hotel, just outside Cetara. You’ll have dinner in their own restaurant, overlooking the glorious Mediterranean.
Accommodation: Hotel ***/**** or B&B – 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 (optional walk). From here you will follow a beautiful panoramic track, high above the coast, first to the tiny hamlet of Badia, with the stunning church of Santa Maria dell’Olearia and then further on to Maiori. All along the first part of your route you will enjoy beautiful views of the Amalfi Coast and have many surprising views of 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’ (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 pilgrim routes leading up from Maiori to the Avvocata Sanctuary. From here you can see into the valley of the Reginna Maior leading up to Tramonti, and you will understand why this castle has been so important for the defence of the coastal area. After heading down to the town centre, you could relax for a bit on Maiori’s broad sandy beach, one of the area’s finest. From here you are being picked up by your private taxi and brought to Tramonti.
Accommodation: Hotel or B&B – Tramonti
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 rural hamlets, all with their own charm. The area of Tramonti also boasts a production of excellent local wines, made with autochthonous grapes, grown on centuries old grapevines. You will be therefore be walking through impressive ancient vineyards, typical of this area (on request we can arrange a wine tasting for you). And finally you will have the chance to 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. Last-but-not-least: Tramonti is also famous for being the place where – according to many – the pizza was invented. What is sure, is that the local people still bake their own bread in a wood oven – and the pizza’s are simply delicious here. Dinner is free for you tonight, so you have the option to taste and experience a delicious pizza!
Accommodation: Hotel or B&B – Tramonti
Today you have several options for a shorter or longer walk. The longer walk brings you first through several charming hamlets belonging to the Comune 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 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 you have ample time to discover the village and possibly visit the remains of the luxurious Roman villa, or go for a swim. In alternative you could opt to walk down to Maiori along the ‘Path of the Lemons’ and then walk to Minori along the coast. In the evening you have the choice to eat on the premises of the hotel, or go out and pick your own restaurant
Accommodation: Hotel ***/**** – Minori
Optional extra day – up to Ravello
This morning you walk from Minori along ancient footpaths and stepped alleys up to Ravello, one of the highlights of the ‘classic’ Amalfi Coast. You will follow a very scenic path past a number of medieval churches, climbing up to the small hamlet of Torello and then to Ravello itself. When you arrive at Ravello, once described by the French novelist André Gide as being ‘closer to the sky than the seashore’, you have to 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 for writers, artists, musicians and travellers. Boccaccio, DH Lawrence and Richard Wagner are among the more notable guests who have succumbed to its spells. Wagner composed parts of his opera ‘Parsifal’ while staying here. 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 Dragone Valley 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 the magnificent Torre dello Ziro watchtower dominating both Atrani and Amalfi from above, before heading down 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.
You are also able to book an extension to your tour!
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
Accommodation is mainly on bed and breakfast basis in 3/4-star accommodations. All rooms have en-suite facilities. Dinners are included on day 2 and day 3. On the other days you have a wide choice of little restaurants. No picnic lunches are included in the tour price. Materials for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you’ll be staying or you can ask your accommodation holder to prepare a lunch packet for you.
Night 1: The first night you stay in a beautifully located Bed&Breakfast, or 3-star hotel near the historical centre of Salerno. All main monuments of the city can be easily reached from your accommodation.
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 Benedictine Abbey.
Night 3: Tonight you stay in a nice and welcoming ‘albergo diffuso’ in the fishing village of Cetara, In alternative you’ll stay in a beautifully located 4-star hotel (at walking distance from the centre).
Nights 4 & 5: These nights you’ll spend in a nice family-run hotel in the heart of the valley of Tramonti.
Night 6: The last night is spent in a comfortable hotel in the charming seaside village of Minori.
- 1night Hotel in Salerno *** – BB
- 1 night Hotel in Cava dei Tirreni **** – HB
- 1 night Hotel in Cetara ***/**** – HB
- 2 nights Hotel in Tramonti*** – BB
- 1 night Hotel in Minori ***/**** – BB
- Extensive route notes, with description of the route & tourist information
- Maps at 1 : 25.000 scale or more detailed.
- GPS tracks of each walk.
- 24/7 assistance
- Luggage transfer
- Private transfers as specified
- Departure taxes & Visas
- 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. Parts 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, even in hot and dry conditions. Some shorter and longer options are available.
Most paths are relatively 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 your feedback on the quality of the paths).
Part of the route is waymarked; elsewhere you have to follow the route descriptions provided together with the maps. With these you will always be able to find your route.
N.B In case you don’t feel confident a local guide can be provided for some of the trails.
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE
Arrival: The tour starts in SALERNO/VIETRI SUL MARE. Regular trains run between the town and most major Italian cities (Naples, Rome, Milan).
Departure: The tour ends in MINORI. From here you can travel by bus to Salerno again. A taxi transfer from Minorican be arranged on request.
THE PRICES BELOW ARE FOR THE ‘STANDARD’ 7-DAY TOUR. PLEASE CONTACT US FOR THE VARIOUS POSSIBILITIES TO EXPLORE THIS AMAZING AREA.
|15 March - 31 March 2020||€ 570||€ 150||€ 240||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 April - 04 April 2020||€ 580||€ 150||€ 240||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|05 April - 12 April 2020||€ 625||€ 170||€ 260||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|13 April - 30 April 2020||€ 580||€ 150||€ 240||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 May - 31 May 2020||€ 595||€ 150||€ 240||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 June - 31 July 2020||€ 625||€ 170||€ 260||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 August - 31 August 2020||€ 675||€ 180||€ 270||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 September - 30 September 2020||€ 595||€ 150||€ 240||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 October - 05 November 2020||€ 570||€ 150||€ 240||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|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.
Especially recommended is an extra night (only a 1-day extension) in Salerno, for a beautiful ‘City Trek’, which brings you up to the dramatic Arechi castle, in a stunning position high above the Gulf of Salerno, overlooking both the city, the Amalfi Coast and the Cilento National Park.
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.
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 also be extended with one of our more famous tours in the ‘Heart of the Amalfi Coast’ (Amalfi, Ravello, Positano & the famous ‘Path of the Gods’).
It is possible to book an upgrade in some of the places en route. Details and prices on request.