The Amalfi Coast in detail

Activities

A Maze of Trails

The Amalfi Coast is laced with ancient footpaths, many of them dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries and the era of the ducato (independent city state). Until the coastal road was built in the 1850s, the trails were the primary means of getting around. Today, they’re still frequented by a mix of hikers on holiday and locals who use them to access their terraced lemon groves and outlying farm buildings.

Italy’s main hiking body, the CAI (Club Alpino Italiano) maintains a list of 124 numbered trails in the region, all marked with distinctive red-and-white paint. Between them, they measure out a total distance of 530km. The longest trail is the arterial Via dei Monti Lattari (#300), a 70km west–east romp that’s rarely done in its entirety. The most popular by far is #327, aka the Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods), a lofty cliffside traverse between the villages of Bomerano and Nocelle with unbroken coastal views. Other well-trodden courses include the Valle delle Ferriere, which threads its way through a forested river valley behind Amalfi town, and the Valle del Sambuco behind Minori, which takes in lemon groves, pine forests, a 13th-century convent and old paper mills.

With the coastline mainly made up of plunging cliffs and craggy mountains, the paths are notorious for their steps (there is little flat ground in these parts). Additionally, some of the narrower, higher trails are mildly exposed. If you’re out of shape and/or acrophobic, plan your route carefully before setting out.

Spring and autumn are the best times to go walking in the Amalfi, with blossoming flora and bearable temperatures. Although the area is heavily populated and the paths well-used, it’s wise to take a map. The complexity of the trail network and often erratic signage can hinder navigation. While you’ll rarely be lost for long, needlessly adding 500 steps to the 1000 you’ve already scaled can be a frustrating experience. Cart&guide (www.carteguide.com) publish a series of six excellent Amalfi maps with marked routes and written descriptions in English and Italian. Most local bookshops or newsagents sell them for €5 each.