The Amalfi Coast

  • Afternoon Sun From Ravello
  • View From Ravello - © By Flickr user Us
  • Along the Amalfi Coast

Key information: The Amalfi Coast

  • Stunning stretch of rugged World Heritage coastline, south of Naples, which commands constantly breathtaking views of both Mediterranean and mountains.
  • Wonderful selection of well-made foot and mule paths connects ancient settlements in an area not accessible by road until the 19th Century. The 'crown jewel' is probably the Sentiero degli Dei.
  • This is an area of antiquity, culture, architecture, religious art, inventive farming and ferocious natural beauty. It is also a tourist hot-spot with prices that are often as breathtaking as the landscape. Be prepared to hear your credit card squeal.

Walkopedia rating

(Top 100)
  • Walkopedia rating90.5
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest14.5
  • Human interest15
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points3
  • Total rating90.5

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable
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View From Ravello - © By Flickr user Us

WALK SUMMARY

The Amalfi Coast has long been inhabited, but only became accessible by road when the famous Nastro Azzuro was begun in 1815. Until then, even the wealthy city of Amalfi was only reachable by sea, and the towns, farms and villages strung along this shockingly beautiful coastline's limestone cliffs were joined by a series of interminable rock-hewn staircases leading to mule tracks across the upper reaches of the mountains. Fortunately, the efficient local SITA bus service has removed the necessity to top and tail most walks with a steep slog up and down. The tracks form a wonderful network of high, rural, day and half-day walks collectively known as the Sentieri Degli Dei (also the official name of an individual, celebrated path) whose views over farms, vineyards, rock-hugging towns and cities and the vast, ever-changing Mediterranean are hard to beat.

As rewarding as the natural features of this outstanding landscape is one's simple astonishment at human ingenuity and perseverance, not only in carving out these paths, often from bare cliff-faces, but in creating the farmhouses, hermitages and terraces that cling like eagles' nests to the dizzy heights.

A plethora of writers, poets, artists and musicians have visited and been inspired by this rugged, beautiful coastline: among them the poet Longfellow who, though more commonly associated with America, was a huge Italophile with a special feel for this area, writing fulsomely about the local landscape in his idyll, Amalfi.

Best walks include:

 

 

We would love to hear of any outstanding walks we have missed let us know.

Excellent local bus services now make it possible to experience the high paths without the knee-strain of huge flights of stone stairs connecting them to the sea.

NOTE: while well-maintained, some paths are both narrow and little more than ledges carved into cliffs. Anyone of a nervous disposition would be well-advised to go as far as they feel comfortable with, and no further.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

See also expedition planning, including our universal expedition checklist. Walkopedia encourages responsible travel.

Books and Maps

Suggest books and maps

Books on this walk

 
Sorrento, Amalfi Coast and Capri– Julian Tippett/Sunflower Landscapes: excellent walking guide with a useful map and suggestions for car tours thrown in. Also includes bus timetables.

Walking on the Amalfi Coast – Gillian Price/Cicerone: always-reliable guide lists 30 routes

Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast– Christian Bonnetto/Lonely Planet – has a section on this walk

The Rough Guide to Naples and the Amalfi Coast – Martin Dunford/Rough Guides – has dedicated walks sections


Other books

Naples and Pompeii: Vesuvius, Herculaneum and the Amalfi Coast - Ezio Rendo/Bonechi Edizioni: Italian guidebook translated

Italy Baedeker Guide– MairDumont/Baedeker

My Amalfi Coast– Amanda Tabberer/Michael Joseph – former journalist and fashion designer’s memoir of the eighteen years she lived in Positano

Poems of Places, Volume 1, Italy – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow/BiblioBazaar – anthology collected by the poet, who had an intense enthusiasm for the country, includes his own poem, Amalfi.

Maps

Google map

 

Kompass Italy hiking map Sorrento Peninsula-Amalfi coast

Touring club ItalianoCampania road map

 

Stanfords: www.stanfords.co.uk.An excellent (and user-friendly) online specialist source of worldwide maps (it is also good for guidebooks).


Best times to walk/weather

Best times to walk

April-June, September-November

Weather

Very hot in high Summer.

For detailed weather information, have a look at: www.worldweather.org or www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/country-guides


Getting there/transport/permits/fees

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Airports: Naples; Salerno Costa Amalfi.

 

Train: Salerno has a direct Eurostar connection (for the UK), and is part of the local network running up to Naples.

 

Boat: In some ways the most appropriate way to approach this wonderful coast, which had no road below the Sorrento peninsula until the mid-19th Century. The Metro del Mare commuter service plies frequently between Naples, Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi, and Coop Sant'Andrea connects the coastal towns between Salerno and Positano.

 

Bus: the SITA bus service runs up and down the coast, linking all the cities. In many ways it is the best way to get around.

 

Car: plenteous car hire available, but parking is both hard to find and egregiously expensive. Nervous drivers might find the combination of hairpin bends and lorries a bit hard to take.

 

No permits are needed to do these walks.

 


Route(s)

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See Walk Summary above, and the guidebooks for a multitude of ideas and detailed route information.

 

Interactive Map


 

 

 

 

 


Possible problems, health, other warnings

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  • Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
  • Heights: can be dangerous; not for those who have difficulties with heights.
  • Harmful animalssnakes, stinging/biting insects. Take all appropriate precautions.

 

See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.

 

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

 

Make sure you have appropriate insurance.

 


Guided or independent?

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Independent

You can do this walk independently

Guided/supported

Can be done as part of an organised walking holiday. Organisers include:


Accommodation

This is a hugely popular holiday destination and suppurates with (generally not the cheapest) accommodation. Steer clear of Positano, though, which is a giant cash till. Search “Amalfi/ Amalfi Coast accommodation” or try:


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Other information and tips

This is a beautiful piece of country, but, being almost entirely dependent on tourism, is close to Venetian in its pricing. Be prepared to take some deep breaths.

 

Suitable footwear, with good ankle support and a good tread is a must. Steps and stone paving can become slippery with the first hint of rain.

 

Though a car can be a nice liberty, parking is hard to find and shockingly expensive. Local buses, however, are frequent and go to pretty much everywhere.

 

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Useful websites and information

There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.

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Other things to do in the area

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Other walks

Yes. Lots. See the various guide books as well as our suggestions at Walk Summary above. See also our Pompeii page.

Other activities

Ancient things: If you’re anywhere within a hundred miles, you have to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum; these volcanically-mummified cities will remain with you forever. If you have to choose one, choose Herculaneum, which is better preserved, less crowded and so atmospheric it makes you want to weep.

 

The well-preserved Greek temples at Paestum are also well worth the trip. Tiberius’s Villa Jovis (scene of much orgiastic defenestration) on Capri is more impressive for its views than its preservation.

 

Less ancient, but still pretty ancient, things: Nearly every town from Sorrento south deserves at least a moment’s pause. Particularly recommended: Ravello, Amalfi, Salerno. Positano is a bit of a Disney version of an Italian resort, but it’s okay if you like shopping and £20 bowls of spaghetti.

 

An island: There are lots of boat trips to Capri, from where the ringing of cash tills will follow you all the way to Naples. Shorter, but satisfying, boat trips go from Amalfi to the Emerald Grotto and Positano.

 

A nice beach with relatively cheap eats: the Marina del Cantone, isolated at the bottom ofthe Sorrento peninsula, is a lovely little concatenation of fishing boats and fish restaurants on a lovely pebbly beach.

 

Do not leave the area without having at least one of the local versions of the sublime sfogliatelle pastries.

 

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS AND PHOTOS

Name: PeterF
Posted on: 28/01/2015
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Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

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OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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