The park has 15 listed nature trails that vary from 1km to 8km in length. But this isn't the Amalfi. Don't expect abundant signage, well-trodden paths and a surfeit of trail-side cafes selling cappuccinos or lemonade.
The countryside in the park can be dramatic, and in spring you’ll experience real flower power: delicate narcissi, wild orchids and tulips hold their own among blowsier summer drifts of brilliant yellow ox-eye daisies and scarlet poppies.
Thickets of silver firs, wild chestnuts and beech trees add to the sumptuous landscape, as do the dramatic cliffs, pine-clad mountains and fauna, including wild boars, badgers and wolves and, for bird-watchers, the increasingly rare golden eagle.
Even during the busier summer season, the sheer size of the park means that hikers are unlikely to meet others on the trail to swap tales and muesli bars – so getting lost could become a lonely, not to mention dangerous, experience if you haven’t done some essential planning before striding out. In theory, the tourist offices should be able to supply you with a guide to the trails. In reality, they frequently seem to have run out of copies. Failing this, you can buy the Parco Nazionale del Cilento, Vallo di Diano e Alburni: Carta Turistica e dei Sentieri (Tourist and Footpath Map; €7) or the excellent Monte Stella: Walks & Rambles in Ancient Cilento, published by the Comunita’ Montana Alento Monte Stella (€3). Most of the agriturismi (farm stays) in the park can also organise guided treks.
A popular self-guided hike, where you are rewarded with spectacular views, is a climb of Monte Alburno (1742m). There’s a choice of two trails, both of which are clearly marked from the centre of the small town of Sicignano degli Alburni and finish at the mountain’s peak. Allow approximately four hours for either route. The less experienced may prefer to opt for a guide.
Another good access area for hikers is the Trentova-Tresino nature reserve just south of Agropoli, which has four well-marked coastal walks and a visitor centre.
There are some excellent agriturismi (farm-stay accommodation) here that offer additional activities, including guided hikes, painting courses and horse-riding.