Day One – Arrival
Leave Naples airport by coach for a drive of one-and-a-half hours to Amalfi, the jewel of the Costiera Amalfitana, nestled between the green Valle dei Mulini and the impossibly-blue Gulf of Salerno.
Day Two – Amalfi
Following an informal Welcome Meeting, you’ll thread your way through Amalfi’s winding streets to the cathedral of Sant’Andrea with its brilliant facade. For an easy day we include a three-hour ‘Lemon Tour’ where you will be taken to the lemon terraces owned by one of Amalfi’s oldest families, whose origins date back to the 11th century. Here you will learn about the cultivation and production of lemons, an important part of the economic life on the Amalfi Coast. The tour ends at the family’s farm with a Limoncello tasting. Lunch nearby at our favourite restaurant and spend the afternoon exploring Amalfi’s many attractions such as the paper mill, museum, cathedral and its beautiful cloisters.
For a more demanding day, you enter a romantic magical valley of sylvan glades and cascading streams. Along ancient mule tracks and panoramic balcony paths you reach sun-soaked Pontone for lunch. Here either 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, descend on a memorable path back to Amalfi for a delicious icecream in one of Amalfi’s famous gelaterias! Time to relax or take a swim before meeting for dinner at one of our favourite restaurants to sample the local cuisine. (6-7 miles/10-11 km or 3-4 miles/5-6.5 km)
Day Three – Ravello
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. It’s renowned not only for its churches, or for its spectacular gardens, but for its vistas, which are among the most sublime in Italy. Visit the Duomo, a treasure chest of precious works of art, then, the famous villas, nestling radiantly in colourful gardens: Rufolo, immortalised by Wagner, and Cimbrone, Garbos ‘Shangri-la’. From the Belvedere of Infinity marvel at prospects across the Gulf of Salerno all the way to the Cilento mountains and the distant temples of Paestum. You’ll lunch at The Garden, enjoying more stunning views across the Gulf of Salerno. After some free time to further explore this enchanting place, the bus takes us back down to Amalfi with a chance to swim.
For more walking, you can make a foray into wild countryside, contouring in and out of the head of the valley, traversing remote woodlands, crossing a stream. On the way enjoy panoramic views back to Ravello across the other side of the valley. Admire terraces of locally-grown produce: lemons, beans, figs, carob to name but a few. You can then continue gradually winding up to the hill-top village of Minuta where, with luck, you will encounter the burros, still used to transport all sorts of goods and materials up and down the mountains. Or you can finish down at ancient Scala, an historic village in the heart of the Lattari mountains, where you can visit the cathedral and sip a cappuccino in the square before taking the bus back to Amalfi. (3-4 miles/5-6.5 km or 7-8 miles/11-13 km)
Day Four – Capri
We take the jet 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 exploring the impressive Roman ruins of the Villa Jovis, once Tiberius’ pleasure palace. There is the option to continue along the Arco Naturale coastal path to reach the spectacular Faraglioni, rocks jutting out of the sea. Later there are further options for exploring Capri at your own pace. You may choose to explore the island’s chic shops or simply relax by the harbour enjoying a drink. A spectacular return along the coast back to Amalfi by boat. (3-4 miles/5-6.5 km or 6-7 miles/10-11 km)
Day Five – Free Day Today you may elect to visit one of Campania’s ancient sites such as Pompeii, Herculaneum or Paestum. We can arrange a private vehicle and our own guide for visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum. Another popular choice would be to join an excursion to Paestum. For beach lovers, this is your opportunity to sunbathe and swim in the still-warm sea or simply spend the day exploring Amalfi itself and relaxing on the hotel’s terrace. Another option would be to take a boat trip, even if it’s just a short one to a secluded beach a little further along the coast.
Day Six – Valle delle Ferriere
Today we take the bus up 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. After an initial ascent up stone steps, the walk follows more or less the same contour throughout and is perhaps the most beautiful of all the walks, 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, lunching beside a sparkling stream, 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!
An easier option allows you to make your own way back to Scala with no fear of getting lost! (6-8 miles/10-13 km or 5 miles/8 km)
Day Seven – Sentero degli Dei
A spectacular bus ride up to the heights of 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. The walking is mostly easy with just a few rocks to negotiate on one occasion.
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. For an easier afternoon, after lunch, take the bus from Montepertuso back down to Positano.
This is the classic walk of the Amalfi Coast and we encourage everyone to participate. There is a very enjoyable easy option involving a boat to Positano and making one’s own way via a bus with our notes to meet up with the rest of the group at Nocelle. (6-7 miles/10-13 km or 3 miles/5 km)
Day Eight – Departure
Farewell to your guided walking holiday in Amalfi and a scenic drive by coach, stunning panoramas unfolding at every turn as we make our way to Naples Airport. Depending on your departure time, we will, if possible, include a short walk on your final morning.