The Amalfi Coast is a picture-perfect stretch of coastline in southern Italy that has everything from colourful cliffside towns to green mountains that plunge down into the Mediterranean sea.
Popular with tourists from around the world, including Hollywood celebrities and royalty, the region brings together the very best of Italy in terms of sights, sea, vibrant culture and outstanding food. One of the best ways to soak it all in is by completing one or many of the various walks along the coast.
The Amalfi to Sorrento route is the most popular, working around the crescent-shaped Bay of Naples and Sorrentine Peninsula.
Highlights include traversing through romantic Ravello, dubbed the place ‘Where poets go to die’, with its stunning views and magnificent ‘duomo’, pretty Positano, with stairways winding down the rocks to picturesque beaches, as well as various olive groves, villages and of course, the famous Path of the Gods.
The Path of the Gods is probably the most well-known walk in the area – running between the small villages of Bomerano (in Agerola) and Nocelle (above Positano) – and can be completed as part of this longer route or by itself.
The name derives from Roman temples that once stood here and the cliff-top trail offers unmatched views of the sea and coastal towns below.
- One of the most picturesque coastal stretches in Europe.
- The perfect long-distance trail and holiday combination.
The closest international airport to the Amalfi coast is Naples Capodichino but with cheaper flights available, many prefer to fly into Rome and then train or drive down.
To reach the key coastal towns of Amalfi, Positano, Praiano or Ravello, you can continue on a regular train from Naples and then take a bus from Salerno. In the peak summer season, regular ferries run from Salerno to Amalfi, Minori and Positano.
For anyone brave enough to tackle the Italian roads, renting a car is by far the most convenient way to get around.
Note that the coastal roads are windy and very busy in the summer, making parking everywhere along the route competitive. As there are no trains along the Amalfi Coast, most people take the SITA bus from town to town which is inexpensive and regular (if not a little slow at times).
If walking Amalfi to Sorrento, the route is around 38 kilometres, depending on how far you divert for accommodation and beach trips. You should expect to walk four to six hours (10 to 13 kilometres) each day.
Thanks to the close proximity of the coastal towns, it’s also easy to do sub-sections of the route and stay wherever you please. The Path of the Gods is just under 10 kilometres long and can be completed as a short day trip from various towns nearby.
Grade and difficulty of the walk
On the whole, the Amalfi-Sorrento trail is of moderate difficulty and is achievable by anyone with a relative level of fitness.
The Path of the Gods is one of the most demanding sections, purely due to the steps involved.
If you start or finish in Praiano (below Bomerano) or Positano (below Nocelle), the towns are connected to the trail by steep staircases of over 1,500 steps, which will take up to one hour.
It is possible to skip these sections using transport to access the middle part only.
No trekking experience is needed as the terrain is primarily paved walkways or well-trodden paths, with no technical sections.
No permits are needed for any of the coastal paths.
Guided or Self-Guided
The Path of the Gods trail is easy to follow and you don’t need a guide. If you opt for the full route along the coast you can decide either way.
Going with a tour group will remove the hassle of planning your stops and booking accommodation or transfers but the route is easy enough to navigate self-guided.
Equally, the worst thing that can happen if you head off route is you’ll end up in a picturesque town or on the beach!
The Amalfi Coast can be hiked at any time of year but is most pleasant in shoulder season (spring and autumn). In early June you will just beat the crowds and sunny days of around 30ºC are perfect for swimming, but you’ll really notice the heat when walking around midday.
July and August are the busiest times in all coastal towns so spring (April and May) and autumn (September and October) are the best times to hike. In winter most hotels and restaurants close due to low demand and the weather tends to be cool and rainy.
The most direct route from Amalfi to Sorrento is around 36 kilometres and can be completed in a few days.
However, by opting for a longer itinerary of four to six days, you will get to see more of the area, hiking along the coast’s ancient pathways via lesser-known villages hidden deep in the valleys and forested peaks.
There are plenty of day hikes but if you have time and want to see it all, we would recommend the following itinerary:
Bus from Amalfi to Ravello and explore local citrus groves, walk to Torre dello Ziro then along panoramic terraces and on to Valley of the Mills – 10km
Amalfi/Bomerano to Positano – 11km
Explore Positano including the short walk to Fornillo Bay – <5km
Positano to Marina del Cantone – 12km
Marina del Cantone – Jeranto Bay – Montalto Tower – Marina del Cantone – 6km
Marina del Cantone to Sorrento – 7km
There are various additions if you want to change up your itinerary to make it longer or more challenging.
From Faito, a village en route, you can climb up through coniferous and beech forests towards the highest peak of the Lattari Mountains at 1,444 metres high. This optional walk to the top of the Molar will give you a unique panorama with views over the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento Peninsula, and Capri.
If you’re just wanting to do the Path of the Gods, and depending on your choice of direction, start from either Bomerano or Nocelle, or the coastal towns of Praiano or Positano (but be prepared for lots of stairs).
Follow the signs from Bomerano piazza to the start of the trail. The trail is easy to follow with red and white lines marking the way. From Bomerano to Nocelle it is a little over 6.5 kilometres each way, meaning you can do the round trip in four or so hours.
Top tip – get an early start to avoid the heat and crowds.
The Amalfi Coast is notoriously not a cheap destination and you’ll be lucky to do this one on a shoestring. If you are on a strict budget consider staying outside of the main touristy towns and book as far ahead as possible.
If you’re doing the full route you will start in Amalfi, a coastal town with options spanning from Airbnbs and authentic Italian guesthouses to stunning hotels. If you are only doing day trips, you can be more flexible with your choices.
Not sure which town to opt for? Sorrento has plenty to do throughout the day and night, Salerno is slightly better for those on a budget, Maiori is great for families and Positano is said to have the best nightlife.
There are plenty of restaurants and shops in all towns along the route, so you don’t need to worry about stocking up on supplies before setting off.
The finish point of Sorrento is worth hanging around in, with views over Vesuvius and serving as a great place from which to visit Pompeii or Herculaneum by train.
If you’re going in summer, consider going island hopping in the Bay of Naples as the islands are truly breathtaking. Take the bus into Capri town to wander the narrow winding lanes past designer boutiques or enjoy the laid-back charm, lemon groves and vibrant Marina Corricella on the tiny island of Procida.
Once you’re done with the coast, catch a train up to Rome, Italy’s capital. Here you can experience the sprawling, cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display.
Take in the ancient ruins of the Forum and the Colosseum then head to Vatican City, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.
Wherever you visit there will definitely be no shortage of trattorias and fresh local produce to tuck into!
|Difficulty||2/5 - 3/5|
|Starts at||Amalfi, SA, Italy|
|Finishes at||Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy|
|Length of route||35 - 40Km|
|Average time to complete||4 - 5 Days|
|Possible to complete sub-sections||No|
|Highest point||1444 metres|