Paestum & the Cilento National Park - Best Value Tour - BCILBV
Paestum & the Cilento National Park. Cycling through one of Italy’s last unspoilt landscapes
7-day cycling tour with 4 different bases in beautiful hotels and agriturismo’s
The region of Campania has 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 it became known as ‘Campania Felix’ or the ‘Happy Land’. When travelling the region, one becomes overwhelmed by its wealth of cultural and natural attractions, from the great city of Naples to the well-known Costiera Amalfitana, with its towering cliffs and picturesque coves.
But Campania’s real secret is located south of Salerno. Here the coastline bulges out into an expanse of mountainous landmass known as the Cilento, now one of Italy’s biggest National Parks, with World Heritage listing. This is an area of amazing natural beauty, of uncontaminated rocky coasts lapped at by crystal clear water, and wild untamed forests covering high mountain peaks.
This tour brings you into the real ‘Heart of the Cilento’, from ancient Paestum up to the impressive Alburni Mountains and down to the pristine coast near Mount Stella again. Inland the Cilento is largely undisturbed by the 21st century and you will encounter few other tourists along your way. You will cycle along world famous cultural sites, through pristine natural areas and along dreamy coastal scenery. Your trip will take you on small country roads passing through rough mountain scenery as well as through attractive countryside, with vineyards and olive groves.
At the beginning of your tour you will pass through the archaeological site of Paestum on your way to a genuine mozzarella farm, and climb up to some nice view points on the coastal plain. You will then cycle on through the Calore Valley, located in the very heart of the Cilento National Park. Here you’ll visit some of the nicest medieval villages of the area, where the traditional way of life is still evident. And you’ll enjoy visiting some of the Cilento’s greatest (but unknown) cultural treasures, like the St. Michael’s cave church in Sant’Angelo a Fasanella, the ruins of Roscigno Vecchia and the castle of Laurino.
You then turn towards the coast again, passing through the rolling foot hills around lovely Ceraso, where you visit the Greek city of Velia. You then continue along the coast of Mount Stella, dotted by several typical medieval hamlets and tiny fisherman’s villages such as Acciaroli and Pioppi, on your way to San Marco di Castellabate. Here you have the time to explore the peninsula of Punta Licosa, and you can climb up to the medieval village of Castellabate with its imposing castle, offering wonderful views over the coast.
We are sure that during this tour you will learn to know and love the Cilento area, discovering its many natural and cultural treasures. Even more so you will be pleasantly surprised by the hospitality of its people, who will make you feel like a welcome guest.
Please note: this is a moderate tour which is suitable for all those who have some experience with bicycle touring and are in a good general physical condition. On some of the inland stretches you may encounter some steeper climbs.
Average cycling times: approx. 3-5 hours each day.
Italy Cycling Holidays
Day 0 Naples (or Salerno)
Arrival in Naples (or Salerno) in case you arrive a day earlier.
Naples has an international airport. From Rome (and many other cities) Naples and Salerno can easily be reached. There are regular AV (High-Speed), Eurostar and Intercity trains: travel time by High-Speed train: about one hour; cost around € 40,00, by IC-train: about two hours; cost around € 20,00; by normal, regional trains the cost is about 11 euro, and it takes almost 3 hours. Several hotels can be booked in Naples and Salerno, according to your wish (either ‘downtown’ centrally located, or near the harbour or train station, ranging from 3 to 5-star). Paestum is then easily reached by train from either Naples or Salerno.
N.B. If you arrive one day earlier you have the possibility to pay a visit to the world famous archaeological museum in Naples, where all the artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum are exposed, and/or the equally wonderful Capodimonte museum. Also is it possible to make a day trip to Pompeii.
Day 1 Arrival at Paestum
After your arrival at Capaccio train station you will go pick up your rental bike. The short trip to your hotel takes you along the temples and city walls of Greek Paestum. In case you have arrived early you can already visit the archaeological site, leaving more time for a longer trip tomorrow or you may take your bikes down to the beach for a quick dip before turning in and getting settled in the hotel immediately near the temples. Your luggage will be transported for you to the hotel.
Hotel *** – Paestum
Distance: 6,5 km. – Cycling time: 0,5 h. – Ascent & descent: +/- 30 m.
In case you haven’t visited the archaeological site of Paestum (UNESCO World Heritage) yet the day before, you best take your time to do so before leaving for the Calore Valley. Make sure to visit the museum as well to have a look at the so called ‘Tomba del Tuffatore’ (Divers Tomb), a unique example of Greek funeral painting. After your visit you will cycle through the Paestum Plain in direction of Capaccio, passing by several mozzarella farms where you can see grazing buffalo’s and taste delicious fresh buffalo mozarella. After a first climb up to Capaccio, you continue underneath the slopes of Mount Soprano to the charming village of Trentinara, spectacularly situated on top of a high near vertical cliff, making this an amazing view point on the plain and coast. After a short break for a cup of coffee or a cappuccino, you pedal on over quiet roads snaking through the lush countryside arriving at medieval Monteforte Cilento, and the sister towns of Magliano Vetere and Magliano Nuovo. You now descend into the Calore Valley until arriving at your agriturismo near the hamlet of Felitto. Possibly you halt near the medieval bridge over the river shortly before, from where you can walk through the impressive gorge. In the evening you eat a hearty dinner based on local specialities.
Agriturismo – Felitto
Distance: 66 km. – Cycling time: 5 h. – Ascent & descent: + 600 m./- 500 m.
Today you have the choice of several different round trips exploring the Calore River Valley. You can cycle to Castelcività for a visit to the impressive 5 km long limestone caves. Or you may visit the church of St. Michael at Sant’Angelo a Fasanella, built inside a cave. You could wander through the abandoned village of Roscigno Vecchia, named “The Pompeii of the 20th century” and visit its small museum. You can as well cycle to Sacco, situated underneath the high rock cliffs of the Cervati Mountains and descend into the spectacular Sammaro Canyon. Possibly you may halt at the Calore River and with a bit of luck see rare otters swimming about in the water. Here you cycle over quiet peaceful roads in the middle of fragrant ‘maquis’ and tall chestnut and beech woods, along olive groves and vine yards. In the evening you turn back to your agriturismo and enjoy a glass of robust red wine and la mamma’s traditional, honest cuisine.
Agriturismo – Felitto
Distance: 56 km. – Cycling time: 4 h. – Ascent & descent: +/- 600 m.
Today you will cycle from the Calore Valley to a cosy agriturismo in the rolling hills above the Alento Plain in the central part of the Cilento. From Felitto you first head for Laurino, where during a stroll through the historical centre you can admire several small churches, old ‘palazzi’ and the village’s castle. From here a quiet country road running through thick woods takes you to the tiny hamlet of Campora, situated high above a deeply incised gorge. You then continue through the woods to Moio della Civitella, where you can visit the remains of a pre-Greek fortified town. Possibly you climb up to the little church on the very top of the hill from where you admire a beautiful panorama on this part of the Cilento. This is an ideal spot for a picnic lunch. From Moio you continue to Vallo della Lucania, the largest town of the Central Cilento. A small detour brings you to the 10th century Greek-orthodox abbey of Pattano, more than worth a visit. From here you then head for Massascusa and Ceraso. This nicely preserved medieval village certainly begs for a short visit before continuing to your agriturismo where you will enjoy a nice dinner.
Agriturismo – Ceraso
Distance: 65/70 km. – Cycling time: 4-5,5 h. – Ascent & descent: + 600 m./- 750 m. / + 800 m./- 950 m.
During your ride today from Ceraso to the fishermen’s village of San Marco di Castellabate you will enjoy splendid views on the pristine Cilento coast along Mount Stella. From the agriturismo you descend towards the coast where you first visit the remains of the Greek town of Velia, place of birth of the philosophers Zeno and Parmenides and origin of one of Europe’s most ancient medical schools. During your visit you will admire the old sea port, the Greek and Roman baths, different temples and the famous ‘Porta Rosa’, or Pink gate, one of the earliest examples of the use of the arch in Greek architecture. After your visit you cycle through the plain of the Alento River to Marina di Casalvelino. From here you start following the coastal road along the charming coastal fishermen’s villages of Pioppi, home of the American doctor Ancel Keys, father of the so-called ‘Mediterranean Diet’, and Acciaroli, where once Ernest Hemmingway spent his holidays. Possibly you halt for a refreshing swim and you eat your lunch on a deserted beach. From Ogliastra Marina you can visit the peninsula of Punta Licosa with its grotesquely curved pine trees, before turning in at your hotel at San Marco di Castellabate. The fitter cyclist can opt for a detour along the hamlets of Celso and Galdo, nicely situated in the hills underneath Mount Stella. After a refreshing shower in the evening you have the time for a stroll through the little village of San Marco looking for a nice restaurant to eat dinner.
Hotel *** – San Marco di Castellabate
Distance: 57 km. – Cycling time: 4 h. – Ascent & descent: + 350 m./- 400 m.
Today a short ride takes you back to Paestum. If you did not visit the peninsula of Punta Licosa the day before, you can cycle over the small paved path from San Marco to the small light house on its very tip. After your visit to the peninsula you climb up to the medieval village of Castellabate, situated on a hill slightly inland. From here you enjoy a wonderful view on the coast. Take your time to visit the nicely preserved historical centre of the little town. You then continue to the hamlet of San Pietro from where a quiet country road takes you to the magnificent Bay of Trentova near Agropoli. Here you can make a short walk on the paths leading through the fragrant ‘maquis’, high above the crystal clear sea of Punta Tresino. Your next stop is the town of Agropoli, where the acropolis with its ancient city gates and imposing remains of the castle are well worth a visit. After a cup of coffee, you then cycle back to Paestum, where after a hot shower in the hotel, you can enjoy an ‘aperitivo’ with view of the Greek temples. For dinner tonight you are free to choose one of the restaurants near the temples.
Hotel *** – Paestum
Distance: 50 km – Cycling time: 4,5 h. – Ascent & descent: + 500 m./- 550 m.
Your tour ends after breakfast at Paestum.
Walking tours in Italy
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
All nights are spent in beautiful, characteristic hotels and agriturismo’s (generally 3-star). All rooms have en-suite facilities.
Dinners are not included on the last two nights, when you are free to organize your own dinner in one of the restaurants at San Marco di Castellabate and Paestum.
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.
• 1 night in Hotel *** in Paestum – HB
• 2 nights in Agriturismo in Felitto – HB
• 1 night in Agriturismo in Ceraso – HB
• 1 night in B&B in San Marco di Castellabate – BB
• 1 night in Hotel *** in Paestum – BB
• Meals: 6 breakfasts, 4 dinners
• Extensive route notes, with description of the route & tourist information
• Maps at 1 : 50.000 scale (or better) ; GPS waypoints and tracks (optional)
• 24/24 h local assistance
• Luggage transport
• 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
• Bicycle rental (available on request)
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
Easy to Moderate (2-3): Mostly moderate rides but with some longer climbs. All roads are well paved and mostly quiet with limited traffic except for some periods during summer and holidays near the coast. Extensions are possible on some days.
Fitness: Some experience with bicycle touring and a good general physical condition will certainly make your travel experience more enjoyable. You should be able to cycle for several hours a day also in hot dry weather conditions.
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE
Arrival: The tour starts in PAESTUM which can easily be reached by train from either Naples or Salerno. Naples has an international airport. From Rome (and many other cities) Naples and Salerno, and thus Paestum, can easily be reached.
Departure: The tour ends after breakfast on day 7 in PAESTUM. A short transfer can bring you to the local train station from where Salerno and Naples are easily reachable.
|01 November 2022 - 14 March 2023||- - -||- - -||- - -||CONTACT US|
|01 April - 31 May 2023||€ 640||€ 110||€ 220||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 June - 30 June 2023||€ 660||€ 110||€ 220||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 July - 31 July 2023||€ 680||€ 110||€ 220||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 August - 18 August 2023||- - -||- - -||- - -|
|19 August - 31 August 2023||€ 780||€ 190||€ 300||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 September - 30 September 2023||€ 660||€ 110||€ 220||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 October - 31 October 2023||€ 640||€ 110||€ 220||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 November 2023 - 31 March 2024||- - -||- - -||- - -||CONTACT US|
A DISCOUNT of € 100 applies for those carrying their own luggage. Please contact us for terms & conditions.
Please note that bike rental is not included in our tour prices, offering you the possibility to bring your own bicycles. For those who wish to rent a bike we offer good quality bicycles at the best prices for the duration of the tour. Both hybrid or E-Bikes, as well as road bikes are available on request. You can have a look at our rental bikes here.
|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.
Cycling tours in Italy
It is possible to extend your tour with a few days at Salerno, along the beautiful Amalfi Coast or at Naples. Details and prices on request. Extra cycling and/or sightseeing options can be provided!
It is possible to book an upgrade in some of the places en route. Details and prices on request.