After visiting Naples, we rented a Fiat 500 and drove southward. The destination for our next stop was the stunningly beautiful Amalfi Coast. We stayed in a village called San Lazzaro which was about a 1,5-hour drive away from Naples. It is located up on the cliffs of the coast and provides amazing views. We were staying with an Airbnb host who also had an agricultural farm. He invited us over at his restaurant and we had a really healthy and tasty dinner.
The whole Amalfi Coast is perfect for hiking. Trails are scattered and lead from town to town. From our village, San Lazzaro were 3 trails leading to both sides along the coast. After arriving, we decided to quickly explore the area. We took a trail called Cospita Convent which lead us up the mountains. The path looked fairly short and easy enough to walk in 3 hours. It looped around so we didn’t have to walk the same route back, perfect. There was one sign on the map that told us there was some danger of falling on one small part, but we waved that away. Once we started our hike, this changed immediately. We heavily underestimated how tough this hike would be. The path led straight up but still on asphalt. After leaving the road, we were met with a steep staircase. We climbed it and on arriving at the top were blown away.
The coastline and rocky cliffs contrast beautifully with the quiet sea behind it. Be sure to stop often to take in the beautiful environment, and to rest. The temperatures can go up to 30 degrees Celsius even in May, so be sure to drink enough water. The path could have been indicated a bit more clear because it was sometimes difficult to navigate. Once we were on the far part of the trails, we started to descend. Halfway our descent, we met a couple who were heading in our direction. They told us that further along the path was a very dangerous part and that they didn’t dare climb further. We had to find this out for ourselves of course. Hiking down further, we saw an abandoned castle and the dangerous path the couple told us about. It seemed very steep down and to disappear behind the rocks. The sign warning us for falling was right, there was a very narrow trail with a sheer drop down next to it. We were debating whether to continue. Eventually, we decided that we would just hike back the same trail. Though I am still curious if we could have completed the lap.
Path of the Gods
The most famous of the Amalfi Coast is the Path of the Gods (Il Sentiero Degli Dei), this is not without reason. This 3,5-hour hike takes you from Bomerano up in the hills, to Nocelle next to Positano. We started our hike in Bomerano around 10:30 am. You go through the village and cross a small stream to start the route. Once you arrive at the top of the hill, you will see a sign indicating the start of the path.
The path takes you along the coastline while you enjoy spectacular views. Most of the route you will be open and exposed, so be sure to take enough sunscreen and water. After about one hour of hiking, you will come up to a T-shaped crossing. The route of the right will take you on a higher part of the cliffs while the left part descends further. We took the higher part. This takes you up on a higher part of the cliff where you are able to see more of the coastline. One guide of the many groups that were also hiking here told us that the higher part is more difficult. However, we had no problems with it. The lower part takes you a bit closer to the water.
After about one hour, the paths join again and you will resume the last part walking through half-shaded areas. The path ends in Nocello, which is about 400 meters above sea-level. From here, there is a 1700 steps staircase that leads you to a road just before Positano. After walking the Path of the Gods, be sure to take a long break before attempting to ascend the stairs as it is very tiring. Overall the path is not too difficult and offers beautiful views of the cliffs, the sea and Positano. If you like hiking, this is a must see.
There are plenty of small cities and towns that are worth visiting, each of them has their charm. We visited Ravello and Positano during our short stay. Most of the cities can be reached by the coastal road. This road winds along the fjords, beaches, and trough the cities. It is one of the busiest roads there and overflowing with cars. The roads are small and a lot of cornering was involved here. We drove here with our rented car and caused us to break sweat multiple times. We recommend only driving here when you are very secure about your driving ability and avoid summer at all. In summer the coast is flooded with touring buses which make driving almost impossible.
One of the cities that is at the coast and definitely worth visiting. Ravello lies 350 meters above the sea and has many charming gardens. One of those gardens is the Garden of Villa Cimbrone. This beautiful garden is home to the Terrace of Infinity, a terrace that overlooks the sea. From the terrace, you will have a breathtaking view, and if you look down, feel a rush of adrenaline. Of course, there is much more to this Villa. This is a place to relax after driving along the busy coastline. There are many shops with artistic work spread out trough the village. Many of them focused around the Amalfi, the Napoli area or their famous limoncello.
This city is iconic for the Amalfi coast with its’ colorful houses on the cliffs and is one of the most visited cities here. We arrived in Positano after our long and tiring hike on the Path of the Gods. Ready for lunch, we were looking around for a nice and cheap place to grab a bite. However, finding a cheap place in Positano is not possible. We had 2 times a chicken fillet with potatoes and 2 cokes for about 40 euros?! (any other dishes were even more expensive). The food was pretty plain and unimpressive. Aside from that, the city was incredibly busy and tourists flooding the streets and shops. So after our lunch, we went to relax on the rocky beach. This was like heaven after our rough hike. It was about 4 pm when we decided to leave. The bus ride was, after all, going to take about 2 hours.
Another big reason to visit the Amalfi Coast is for relaxation. There are gorgeous beaches spread out along the coast. Most of them lay in fjords, small inlets from the sea where sand and rock has formed land. One of the most famous and beautiful is the Fjord of Furore. It can be reached by climbing a flight of stairs from the road that crosses this fjord. Be wary though that parking here is next to impossible. But if you manage, it is definitely worth the view.
In San Lazzaro, up in the mountains, we relaxed in a different way. There was a nice spot from where you could see the sunset along the coastline. Every night we bought a beer from the local supermarket and sat here with our Kindles as we relaxed from our tiring day. This was one of the most beautiful moments of our holiday.
Click here to see the full album of our days at the Amalfi Coast.
Are you visiting Italy? Go to have a look at our post about Naples, the city next to the Vesuvius.