Key information: Sorrento Peninsula
- Churches, long sea views to Capri and ancient remains in a popular Roman imperial holiday spot.
- Long-established footpaths lead through delightful villages and scenery, with a choice of lengths and the option to drop down to the sea.
- Sorrento and its peninsula, though not officially part of the Amalfi coast, suffer from the same congestion in their tourist hotspots. This footpath furnishes a lovely opportunity to get away from the crowds.
- Walkopedia rating93
- Natural interest15
- Human interest14
- Negative points0
- Total rating93
- Length: Variable
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Less rugged than the Amalfi Coast to which it leads, the Sorrento peninsula, which lolls out to form the southern edge of the Tyrrenhian sea and the Bay of Naples, is also rather more built-up. Nonetheless, this a tongue of land still has its share of wide-open spaces and stunning views, particularly when you reach its eastern coast with its outlook towards the island of Capri, off whose magnificent cliffs the Emperor Tiberius used to chuck inconvenient houseguests from his various villas. This and the Bay of Naples in general, are the scene of a good deal of Italy's more modern international history, fought over by Brits and Spaniards and Turks in the age of colonisation; Capri was briefly British territory until they were besieged and driven out by the King of Naples in 1808. Sorrento is a fine medieval city more recently suburbanised and turned into a Mediterranean leisure resort; but it absolutely validates a decent visit and is an excellent jumping-off point for the vast range of must-see walks and sites that crowd this area.
Like the Amalfi coast, much of the peninsula was criss-crossed until relatively recent times with paths and mules-tracks that formed its main means of communication, and, despite the area's increased population, a good number of these paths remain intact. Well-maintained paths lead from village to village, with new, dreamy vistas of the azure Mediterranean opening up at every turn.
You can walk round the peninsula, from Sorrento to (say) Fontanelle or futher, via Marina del Cantone near the end the end of the Peninsula, or vice versa. This is a beyond-fabulous couple of days.
We also have two particular suggestions (described in more detail under "Routes" below): a semi-urban circuit (2h 30m) through and around the elegant old town of Massa Lubrense and its coast, and a two-hour extension which winds out and back through gorgeous, unmechanised farmland to the village of Termini. Both are easy, and both afford a series of spectacular views out over the Mediterranean to the island of Capri.
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.
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
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.
Kompass Italy hiking map Sorrento Peninsula-Amalfi coast
Touring club Italiano Campania road map
An excellent colour-coded walking map can be picked up at the Sorrento, Massa Lubrense and Sant’Agata tourist offices.
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
Very hot in high Summer.
See our Amalfi Coast page for long-distance connections.
Two buses go from Sorrento to Massa Lubrense: one every 40-50 minutes then goes on to Sant’Agata; the other, five times a day, goes on to Termini and Marina del Cantone. Another, again five times a day, goes to Sant’Agata, Termini and Marina del Cantone.
No permits are needed to do this walk.
Massa Lubrense coastal circuit: 2h 30 with an option to add another two easy hours with spectacular views.
A fairly urban route with some lovely views. From the information centre (just down the road from the cathedral), take right-hand fork, then the via Guglielmo Marconiand via 4 Novembre south, turning left onto via Sant’Aniello Vecchio. Follow this (it becomes a path) to a junction of paths by a small chapel. Take the small path beside the chapel, which reaches the little Sta Maria road after about 300m. Turn left, arriving at Sta Maria church about 30mins after you began. Facing the church, go right (via Annunziata). After 150m, bear right, then take stairs up to the right (salita Castello) to the castle, which then leads down to Annunziata’s main square. Check out the little park with its great views of Capri, then carry on past it down to the Villa Rossi, where the British signed the surrender of the island. From here, steps lead down through olive groves, bearing right at a minor road junction, then turning right on the main road to the San Liberatore church. Then follow via san Liberatore for nearly 1km to a t-junction. The left-hand option takes you on a 15-minute detour down to the fishing village of Marina della Lobra, where there are bars and a seasonal restaurant, all with lovely outlooks; or simply look at the lovely view, then go uphill and turn left on to Via Pipiano and via del Canetto. After 100m, steps will carry you up across via 5 Maggio, then up to via Sirignano: turn right. Turn left at the end, then left again onto Via Roma. Another left-hand turn onto Via Palma will take you back to your start point.
Optional addition to Termini (2 hours, moderate):
This path affords almost unbroken views, many of them the best on the Peninsula, in wildish farmland. At Santa Maria church, take the road up the left-hand side, then turn right and follow the road down the a stream. A path on the other side leads up to the village of Schiazzano. Rightish out of the square, a narrow stone-paved road will take you to a right-hand turn up via Tore di Casa. When you hit the road at the end, turn right, then left up a concrete track 100m further on. This becomes an idyllic path, crossing a hill with wild rural views of Capri. When you reach a road, turn left for Termini and more fantastic views of the island. Return by the same route.
Possible problems, health, other warnings
- 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?
You can do this walk independently
Can be done as part of an organised walking holiday. Organisers include:
- Mac’s Adventures
- Wilderness Travel
- Sherpa Expeditions
- Alternative Travel Group
- Custom Walks
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:
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.
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.
- Local hotel’s guide to the walk
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalfi_Coast As usual, a good starting place.
- Fodor’s online guide
- Lonely Planet Amalfi coast guide
- Try www.flickr.com for pictures of this walk.
Other things to do in the area
Endless. See our Amalfi Coast page.
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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