Walking the Amalfi Coast (Moderate)
Moderate Walking from £998
8-15 September 2013
Eight days on the Amalfi Coast, one of the world’s most celebrated landscapes, a land renowned for its bright azure skies, white limestone cliffs, dizzying terraces of green lemon groves, all lit by a dazzling Mediterranean sun. With its wild mountain scenery, vertical pastel towns and sub-tropical cliff-top gardens that seem to fall into the sea, the Amalfi coast is a walkers’ paradise. The views of this coastline are unforgettable – where an expansive sea melts into azure skies and sparkling bays shelter lapis lazuli lagoons.
- a choice of either moderate or easy walks each day in some of southern Italy’s most stunningly beautiful areas, personally guided by Aubrey and June
- all the creature comforts of a small, elegant 4-star hotel situated in the heart of Amalfi, minutes from the beach and from the lively cathedral square with its many pavement cafes
- dining at carefully-selected local restaurants for lunch on most days; in the evenings dining out in a variety of local restaurants offering excellent locally-sourced ingredients
- the thrill of a spectacular return boat trip to Capri with some guided walking on this most beautiful island
- exploring the picturesque small towns of Amalfi, Positano and Ravello
- visiting the world-famous archeological sites of Sorrento, Pompeii, Herculaneum or Paestum
- swimming in the sea, a stone’s throw from the hotel, and at Positano, Atrani and Capri
What to Expect
Climate: September is one of the best times to enjoy the Amalfi coast, when days and nights are warm and meals can be enjoyed sitting out under the stars. The Amalfi coast has a typical Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers tempered by sea breezes. The average temperature in September is 22 C and 8 hours of daily sunshine can be expected. Sea temperatures at 23 C are comfortably warm, ideal for swimming. Some rain can be expected only on 7 days during the month of September.
Our base: We have selected the historic centre of Amalfi as an ideal base for our guided walking holiday for several reasons: it is sited at sea level enabling us to take the bus up to higher ground to descend at the end of the walk, perhaps for a dip in the sea. The comprehensive bus system based in Amalfi provides easy transport links to the start of numerous walks and generally a bus can be found to shorten walks if required. And, finally, Amalfi itself is a delight, an amazingly attractive town with a fabulous history.
Grading of Walks: The walks in our programme are flexible, allowing on occasion some options for shortening or lengthening the walks. Many routes include stone staircases with a number of ascents and descents; these should however be well within the capacity of any normally fit person.
Hotel: The Hotel Residence is located right in the heart of Amalfi between the beach and the duomo. It has recently been refurbished to a high standard and awarded 4-star status. Whilst retaining its authentic character as a former 18th century palazzo furnished with antiques and works of art, the hotel boasts modern-day comforts and particularly friendly staff. All rooms have balconies and views, either of the sea or towards the Piazza Duomo. Many bathrooms feature luxury facilities. Breakfasts are taken on the sea-facing hotel terrace. For further details see www.residencehotel-amalfi.it
Accommodation: Double rooms or twin rooms only, all en-suite with balconies. There are 6 double rooms available for single occupancy.
Price: £998 per person for 2 people sharing a twin room; £64 per night supplement for single occupancy of spacious double room with balcony (6 only).
Included in your holiday:
- Coach transfers to and from Naples Airport
- A choice of guided walks on 5 days – either short walks of up to 5 miles or more challenging walks of up to 8 miles
- Bus fares and one return boat journey
- Excursion by boat to Capri
- 4-star hotel accommodation as described above
- Buffet breakfasts
- 6 dinners (2-3 courses, depending on menu choices)
- Services of two guide/hosts throughout
- Flights (see below)
- Lunches in local restaurants and bars (allow €10-15, €25 on the last day for a particularly authentic lunch in the hills)
- Optional excursion on free day; dinner on free day
- Any extra bus fares for journeys not included in the itinerary
- Drinks and items of a personal nature
- Admission fees for Ravello villas (approximately €10 euros)
The best available times from London Gatwick are currently provided by British Airways but fares have increased considerably in recent weeks (May 2013) to £600 return! We therefore recommend EasyJet flights as follows:
Sunday 8 September depart London Gatwick 0610, arrive Naples 0945, Flight No 8529; fare mid-May £67.99
Sunday 15 September depart Naples 1020, arrive London Gatwick 1205, Flight No 8530; fare mid-May £147.51
Please see http://www.skyscanner.net for all available flights from different airports world-wide.
Please note that two transfers to the hotel have been arranged, one for the above EasyJet flights, a second set of transfers corresponding with the British Airways flights arriving Naples 1135 and departing Naples at 1925. (Or you could fly one way with EasyJet and another way with BA). We can advise on alternative transport arrangements from Naples to Amalfi by public transport if your flight arrival times do not correspond with the flight times shown above.
We leave Naples airport by coach for a drive of just over one hour to Amalfi, the jewel of the Costiera Amalfitana, nestled between the green Valle dei Mulini and the impossibly-blue Gulf of Salerno.
Valle del Mulini and Pontone (6-7 miles)
Starting straight from our hotel, we thread our way through Amalfi’s winding streets to visit the town museum housing splendid mosaics and the ‘Tavola Amalfitana’, an ancient code of maritime law. Then on to Amalfi’s former paper mill and a romantic magical valley of sylvan glades and cascading streams. Along ancient mule tracks and panoramic balcony paths to sun-soaked Pontone for lunch.
Here you can opt to rest in the piazza or follow a spectacular promontory walk, an enchanting mix of woodlands, wild flowers and superb viewpoints to an ancient watchtower, Torre del Ziro. Back in Pontone, we descend on a memorable path through terraces of lemons and figs to the picturesque fishing village of Atrani before following its sinuous alleys back to Amalfi
Capri (3-4 miles)
We take the boat to picture-postcard perfect Capri, once named the ‘City of Sweet Idleness’ by the Emperor Augustus. It’s a “must see” when visiting the Bay of Napoli with breathtaking scenery at every turn. Soaring cliffs of limestone overlook turquoise coves; pastel-stuccoed houses nestle amid twisting narrow streets and colourful gardens overflowing with luxurious plants. We explore its network of narrow paved lanes and stepped alleys, passing the famous “Piazzetta” of Capri and the impressive Roman ruins of the Villa Jovis, once Tiberius’ pleasure palace.
We continue along the Arco Naturale coastal path to reach the spectacular Faraglioni, rocks jutting out of the sea. Later there are several options for exploring Capri at your own pace. You may choose to relax in the island’s chic shops or take a walk to visit the Convent of San Giacomo, dated back to the 14th century, and the Gardens of August. Return to Amalfi by boat.
Valle delle Ferriere (7-8 miles)
Today we take the bus to Scala in the heart of the Lattari Mountains, where we start by visiting the Duomo to see 13th century sculptures. Our walk takes us to a different world, through a rugged hinterland of high pastures, remote woodlands and magnificent wild mountains that rise to 3,300 feet. This is a more energetic walk and perhaps the most beautiful of all, a wonderful day’s outing.
At Bosco Grande, we enjoy fantastic views to Amalfi before entering the renowned Valle delle Ferriere Nature Reserve, waterfalls and woodlands lining our route until we reach the hill-top village of Pogerola. You may then elect to walk back down to Amalfi through lovely woodlands on well-made steps cut into the hillside, or, if you prefer, take the bus back from Pogerola’s tiny piazza after enjoying magnificent views while sipping the very best cappuccino and wonderfully-bitter chocolate!
Today you may elect to visit one of Campania’s ancient sites such as Pompeii, Herculaneum or Paestum. All are accessible by public transport or, alternatively, you can join an excursion whereby you will be picked up by coach from the hotel. Another popular choice would be to visit Sorrento for shopping.
For beach lovers, this is your opportunity to sunbathe and swim in the still-warm sea or simply spend the day exploring Amalfi itself. Tonight dinner is not included so you can take full advantage of your day off or ‘go light’ or try out yet another restaurant with new-found friends. You are also most welcome to join your hosts for dinner if you prefer.
Ravello (7-8 miles)
The bus takes us up to Ravello – ‘Where poets go to die’ – frequented by writers and artists, by D H Lawrence, E M Forster Virginia Woolf, not to mention Wagner, Grieg and Verdi. At 1,000 feet above the Bay of Salerno, where the sun shines faithfully and serenity reigns, Ravello is arguably one of the wonders of the world, not for its churches, or for its spectacular gardens, but for its vistas, which are among the most sublime in Italy.
We’ll visit the Duomo, a treasure chest of precious works of art, then, the famous villas, nestling radiantly in colourful gardens: Rufolo, immortalised by Wagner, an Cimbrone, Garbos ‘Shangri-la. From the Belvedere of Infinity we marvel at prospects across the Gulf of Salerno all the way to the Cilento mountains and the distant temples of Paestum. We lunch in the villa gardens before making a foray into wild countryside, contouring in and out of the head of the valley to Minuta and Scala where there is the option of either walking down to Amalfi or taking the bus.
Sentero degli Dei (7-8 miles)
A bus ride to Bomerano for the famous ‘Sentiero degli Dei’ or ‘Pathway of the Gods’ walk where whizzing clouds pace your approach into the highest reaches of the Lattari mountains, clumps of myrtle and rosemary tickle your ankles, trees rise above you and craggy volcanic cliffs tower in the distance. The views walking between the sea and the sky along this stretch of coast are unsurpassed.
We continue via the charming villages of Nocelle and Monte Pertuso where we enjoy an authentic lunch until, later, a stone alley, a scattering of houses and stairways, a miniscule piazza, a church, and then, far below, our final goal, Positano itself comes into view. Time to explore this famous town, a natural amphitheatre of villas and Moorish-style houses painted in every hue, colourful patios set with statues and cascades of bougainvillea, stepped pathways taking you past fashionable boutiques to a delightful little beach. Time to explore, shop or swim before we return to Amalfi by boat.
Our final day together. Farewell to Amalfi and a scenic drive by coach to Naples airport.
Please note that we reserve the right to change the above itinerary if circumstances dictate.
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Thank you for organising such a wonderful week in Amalfi. It is truly a most beautiful place, and I enjoyed all the various visits, but especially Ravello. I hope to return there one day! The walks were varied and challenging, and the final walk high above Positano absolutely wonderful!—
I really enjoyed my week with you. I can see how VERY hard you and Aubrey work on making everything just perfect for us all… Your attention to detail and the thought you put into arranging all the meals, walks, etc. is just wonderful, and it’s why you obviously have so many regular, loyal ‘walkers’! I thought those two meals up high in the mountains were just fantastic… just what eating in Italy should be all about … masses of fabulous fresh food, and Mama cooking up a storm in the kitchen! BLISS!—
What a wonderful week we all had in Amalfi – thank you so much for all your efficient organization and of course very good company! It was all so enjoyable and as a group we all got on so well which was a bonus.—
Thank you for all you did to make out walking week so so brilliant . . . We enjoyed visiting the area for the first time and the company, scenery and walking were all absolutely outstanding.—
Thank you so much for a great great (10 times great !) holiday. Everything was perfect. How you managed a string quartet up a mountain we will never know !! Can’t wait ‘til next year – Portugal here we come. Many, many thanks again from us both.—