The 'Cilento Antico' & Coast of the Sirens - BCILC69
Paestum & the stunning coast & hills of the Cilento National Park
From the Greek temples of Paestum into the amazing landscapes of the Cilento, both along the coast and Monte Stella, into the heartland: Pisciotta & Ceraso, Monte Bulgheria & Camerota
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 tour brings you all along the coast from Paestum to the Gulf of Policastro, but als in some bits of the ‘real’ rural Cilent’, made of olive groves and ancient villages. 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.
Most of the tour you will keep close to the coast, occasionally reaching some small hamlets on the foothills further inland. 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. Further on you will cycle around Mount Stella dotted by several typical medieval hamlets and continue along the coast along the tiny fisherman’s villages of Acciaroli and Pioppi to the Greek site of Velia.
During the whole tour you will stay close to the coast, so you’ll have many occasions to alternate the cycling with a swim or relax on an empty beach. You will cycle past the archaeological site of Paestum on your way to a genuine mozzarella farm, and climb up to some nice viewpoints on the coastal plain. Further on you will cycle around Monte Stella, dotted with several typical medieval hamlets, and continue along the coast towards the tiny fishing villages of Acciaroli and Pioppi to the Greek site of Velia. From here the coastal route goes a bit higher up, passing through the charming medieval towns of Ascea and Pisciotta.
From Pisciotta you cycle inland again, towards the medieval villages of Ceraso and Rodio, before descending to the see close to Cape Palinuro again.
The last part of your route takes you along the stunning coast to one of the pearls of the southern coast, Marina di Camerota. A great panoramic ride along the lower slopes around the impressive Bulgheria Mountain – and perhaps a last swim on one of the wonderful beaches is the superb ending to this great cycling tour.
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 5-6 hours each day.
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 by train. In case 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 – Paestum (Capaccio)
After your arrival at Capaccio 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 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 site. Your luggage will be transported for you to the hotel.
Distance : 6,5 km – Cycling time : 0,5 hours
Hotel in Paestum – HB
Day 2 Over the plain and through the foot hills of Paestum
Your first trip takes you on a ride through the ancient territory of the Greek town of Paestum. You may opt for a relaxed ride through the plain, or a longer and harder one taking you to some nice medieval hamlets in the foot hills and offering some amazing views. Before taking off you can visit the temples and the museum of the Unesco World Heritage site of Paestum and its world famous Doric temples. Here you will admire not only the three temples, but also other monuments including the amphitheatre, the ‘Heroon’ tomb, several Greek and Roman houses and one of the towns’ impressive gates. In the local museum you can see the exemplary collection of prehistoric utensils, Greek vases and Roman sculpture. Absolutely not to miss is the so-called ‘Tomba del Tuffatore’ (Diver’s Tomb), rare example of Greek funeral painting. Lunch can be taken at a local buffalo farm where you can taste delicious genuine fresh mozzarella. Your cycling trip will take you through the plain to the Sele river and along the ‘Capo di Fiume’ carsic springs to the villages of Giugnano and Cicerale (optional) and back down again to your hotel. Dinner is on the premises of our hotel tonight. After dinner we can opt to make another short stroll along the temples and perhaps grab a gelato.
Distance : 25/33/65 km – Cycling time : 2,5/5,5 hours
Hotel in Paestum – HB
Day 3 From Paestum to San Marco di Castellabate
Today you will leave the Paestum plain for a first taste of the real Cilento. Your trip takes you on quiet roads through fragrant Mediterranean maquis and shady olive groves up into the coastal hills above the town of Agropoli along some dreamy medieval hamlets and down again to the coastal village of San Marco di Castellabate. From your hotel you head for the villages of Prignano and Torchiara, beautifully situated on the lush green slopes overlooking the Cilentan coast. Here you can take your time for a stroll or pause to fill up your water bottles and observe the peaceful village life. From Torchiara you then continue to the villages of Laureana and Vatolla where a visit of the 16th century Palazzo Vargas is a must. The road now starts dipping down, taking you to the seaside resort of Santa Maria di Castellabate. Along this stretch you will enjoy some wonderful views of the Tresino peninsula to your right and Castellabate to your left. A short stretch of road along the coast brings you to San Marco di Castellabate, renowned for its tiny port where able craftsmen continue a century old tradition of hand building wooden boats. After arriving at your hotel and settling in, you can either cycle or walk the short way along the coast to the wonderful tiny islet of Leucosia, situated in the marine reserve of Punta Licosa, or take a stroll through the centre of town for a pre-dinner aperitif at one of the local bars.
Distance : 40,5 km – Cycling time : 4 hours
Agriturismo in San Marco di Castellabate – BB
Day 4 Around Mount Stella: round trip from San Marco di Castellabate
Today’s trip starts with a long and winding climb up to the beautifully located town of Castellabate, once a fortified stronghold offering refuge to the local peasants. Here you can take your time to rest and visit the medieval castle from which you enjoy a splendid view of the coastal hamlets of San Marco and Santa Maria. You then climb further up to Perdifumo and Mercato Cilento after which starts your circumnavigation of Mount Stella. Along your route your eyes reach as far as the Amalfi Coast and Capri, while on clear days it may be even possible to see all the way to Sicily! During this part of your trip you will pass through the exquisite medieval hamlets of Celso, Galdo, Stella Cilento, San Mauro and Rocca Cilento. Each of them merits a stop over to sample their honest simplicity and quiet peace, best savoured seated at the local bar sipping an Italian coffee. The easy roads here pass through chestnut forests, opening up now and then to wonderful views of the inland Cilento, reaching as far as the Alburni and Cervati mountain ranges. At the end of the day you have the choice of turning back again to San Marco by Castellabate, or opt for a slightly longer route that takes you down to the fishermen’s village of Agnone and then along the coast to San Marco. After arriving at your hotel again, it is only a short walk down to the beach for a well deserved relaxing swim. After dinner there is nothing better than a gelato at the port or in the town’s centre to end the day.
Distance : 65 km – Cycling time : 5,5 hours
Agriturismo in San Marco di Castellabate – BB
Day 5 From San Marco di Castellabate to Pisciotta
After leaving San Marco you will head south on the coastal road towards the Alento river plain. A short climb takes you up through Mediterranean maquis and pine woods to the ‘Ripe Rosse’ or Red Rocks. You then whizz down to the coastal hamlet of Acciaroli, where back in 1952 Ernest Hemingway spent some holidays and – some say – was inspired to write ‘The Old Man and the Sea’. Some of the village’s elders still remember having met the great author and may be willing to tell you an interesting tale or two. In any case Acciaroli fully merits a stop and a quiet stroll around its little port and town centre. Slightly further along the coast you pass through the fishing village of Pioppi, another delightful little town. Here you will find a small Sea Life Museum dedicated to the local marine fauna and flora. Pioppi is also famous as the second home of the American professor Ancel Keys, father of the so-called Mediterranean Diet. After visiting the museum you have time for a quick coffee at the seafront before cycling on. The coastal road then takes you to Casalvelino Marina, and through the plain of the Alento River to the Greek and Roman site of Velia, home to the philosophers Zenon and Parmenides, and cradle of one of Europe’s most ancient schools of medicine. You can leave your bikes at the entrance and explore the amazing site. Alternatively you can visit the site during tomorrow’s roundtrip and now opt for a swim at the beautiful sandy beach, before leaving the coast and heading inland. From Velia you’ll have a last steep climb to go: up to the old village of Ascea, dominating the coast from above. From Ascea you’ll follow a stunning coastal route the hilltop village of Pisciotta, one of the best preserved medieval villages of the area, where you settle for the night.
Distance : 57,5 km – Cycling time : 5 hours
Hotel in in Pisciotta- BB
Day 6 Round trip from Pisciotta: Ceraso, Santa Barbara and Rodioscea
During today’s roundtrip you will discover the largely unspoilt and often rough landscape between Ceraso, Pisciotta and Ascea. Here few tourists ever set foot, even during the busy summer season, and you are certain to have the quiet roads and peaceful villages all to yourself. From Pisciotta you return in a northern direction, first to Ascea and then down in the direction of Velia. If you didn’t visit the archaeological site the day before now is the time to explore it. Amongst its remains one finds the celebrated ‘Porta Rosa’, one of the first examples of the use of the vault in Greek architecture. Other monuments worth exploring are the port, the Greek and Roman baths and the agora. The town’s acropolis in medieval times has been reused as a local stronghold and preserves a magnificent medieval bastion. From Velia you will then head inland to the medieval hamlet of Ceraso with its characteristic ‘palazzi’ a little further inland. After visiting Ceraso – maybe you can take some time to have a cappuccino at the local bar – you continue through shady oak and chestnut forests to the tiny, wonderfully located villages of Santa Barbara, Mandia and Rodio high above the Cilento coast. From Rodio you start descending back towards the coast, passing through groves of the enormous local olive trees, with views reaching from Monte Stella to the north and Capo Palinuro to the south. If you still feel fit you might go for a short extra loop to Marina di Pisciotta (and back up), otherwise you can ride directly back to Pisciotta and enjoy in drink in the village.
Distance : 45,5 km – Cycling time : 4 hours
Hotel in in Pisciotta- BB
Day 7 From Pisciotta along Palinuro to Marina di Camerota
Today is a relatively easy day, which will bring you along the panoramic coastal road to the southern part of the Cilento. The first few km. are like a warm-up ride with a gentle downhill bias all the way to the mythical headland of Capo Palinuro. This promontory, named after one of the helmsmen of the mythical hero Aeneas, is one of the most famous spots in the Cilento National Park. Its unique topography, made up of dazzlingly high rock cliffs full of sea grottos, amongst which is the stunning ‘Grotta Azzurra’, makes for a wonderful sight. You can cycle all the way through the village of Palinuro – make a scenic loop over the top of the cape and stop at the tiny port. Those who feel like it can make a short boat tour of the cape here, visiting the caves. Or you can opt to have a drink or go for a swim at the beautiful little beach. Then you’ll cycle on in eastern direction, a wonderful stretch along the southern coast of the Cilento National Park. Upon arrival in the lovely coastal town of Marina di Camerota, you can have a drink at the harbour and then settle in your hotel. At night you can go out for dinner in one of the nice (fish) restaurants.
Distance : 54 km – Cycling time : 4,5 hours
Hotel in Marina di Camerota- BB
Day 8 Marina di Camerota and Monte Bulgheria roundtrip
After an early breakfast, you can start your cycling day with a short level stretch along the coast. But then you will have to start climbing! During this very scenic climb you’ll enjoy an unparalleled view of one of the most unspoilt stretches of coastline in southern Italy, the ‘Costa degli Infreschi’, one of the most unspoilt stretch of coastline in southern Italy. You pass through the little hamlet of Lentiscosa, and continue to the amazingly located village of San Giovanni a Piro, beautifully located with spectacular views of the Gulf of Policastro on the one side and the impressive sheer cliffs of the mountain on the other. Here you can have lunch, either a picnic lunch at one of the most stunning places you’ve ever been to, or in a cosy little restaurant. Then you continue the tour all around the impressive Mt. Bulgheria. First with a short downhill section, and then ‘levelish’ through the villages of Bosco and Acquavena, keeping the impressive limestone crags of Monte Bulgheria to your left. After reaching the valley of the Mingardo River you can continue for a short visit to the charming village of Roccagloriosa, nestled on a rocky hill high above the valley floor. After a stroll and perhaps a drink in the village square, you then continue downhill, towards the entrance of the impressive Mingardo canyon, dominated by the abandoned medieval village of San Severino. Through the Mingardo canyon you’ll return to the coast and then cycle back the coastal route to your hotel. For those who still have some energy there is the option to take one of the most scenic roads of the area, a challenging climb up to Lentiscosa. Through the nice village of Camerota, worth a visit, if alone for its castle and medieval town centre, you cycle back down to Marina.
Distance : 71 km – Cycling time : 6 hours
Hotel in Marina di Camerota – BB
Day 9 End of the tour
The tour ends in Marina di Camerota after breakfast today. A short transfer can bring you to the local train station, from where Salerno and Naples are easily reachable. A taxi transfer to other destinations can be arranged on request.
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
All nights are spent in beautiful, characteristic hotels or agriturismo’s (generally 3-star). All rooms have en-suite facilities.
Dinners are included on day 2 and 3.
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.
Nights 1 & 2: The first two nights are spent in a perfectly located 3-star hotel, just outside the archaeological area of Paestum, at walking distance of the Greek temples. The hotel has its own park – with swimming pool.
Nights 3 & 4: These nights are spent San Marco di Castellabate in either a nice centrally located hotel, just a few steps from the shore, or a great agriturismo.
Nights 5 & 6: The next two nights you stay in a hotel in the historical heart of Pisciotta, with stunning views on the Cilento Coast. At night you’ll eat in one of the nice restaurants in the village.
Night 7 & 8: The last two nights you’ll stay in a nice hotel in the coastal village of Marina di Camerota, a charming little town with a few beautiful beaches to relax at the end of your tour.
• Accommodation: 2 nights Paestum, 2 nights San Marco di Castellabate, 2 nights Pisciotta, 2 nights Marina di Camerota; all nights in good *** hotels and agriturismo
• Meals: 8 breakfasts, 2 dinners (good restaurants!)
• 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 (hybrid or E-Bikes available on request)
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. You can have a look at our rental bikes here.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
Moderate (3): Mostly moderate rides but with inevitably several climbs, only few of which are really strenuous. All roads are well paved and mostly quiet with little traffic except for some stretches near Paestum during the first two and the last day. Extensions or shortcuts 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 as well in MARINA DI CAMEROTA. A short transfer can bring you to the local train station, from where Salerno and Naples are easily reachable.
|01 November 2020 - 31 March 2021||- - -||- - -||- - -||CONTACT US|
|01 April - 31 May 2021||€ 740||€ 190||€ 295||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 June - 30 June 2021||€ 790||€ 200||€ 305||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 July - 31 July 2021||€ 880||€ 210||€ 315||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 August - 31 August 2021||€ 1040||€ 260||€ 365||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 September - 30 September 2021||€ 810||€ 200||€ 305||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 October - 31 October 2021||€ 740||€ 190||€ 295||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 November 2021 - 31 March 2022||- - -||- - -||- - -||CONTACT US|
A DISCOUNT of € 110 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.
It is possible to include extra nights in any of the accommodations ‘en route’. Extra cycling and/or sightseeing options can be provided ! As well is it possible to extend your tour with a few days in the Cilento or at Salerno, along the beautiful Costiera Amalfitana or at Naples. Details & prices on request.
It is possible to book an upgrade in some of the places en route. Details & prices on request.