Day 1 - Naples
Arrive in Naples, the capital of the region of Campania. Please make your own way to the joining hotel, which is located in the historic centre of the city. In the evening you will meet your trip leader and fellow travellers at a welcome meeting. This is usually at 6 pm, but you will be advised as to the exact time and place in a notice near the reception at your hotel. In this meeting, your leader will give you a brief description of what lies ahead on the trip. If you arrive early, use your free time during the day to discover some of Naples' impressive architecture and grandiose monuments, many of which date back to the Spanish rule of the 16th and 17th centuries. Naples is a major European cultural capital since the time of the Greeks. Perhaps seek out an authentic Neapolitan pizza for dinner.
Notes: Arriving/departing by train is recommended, as this is a relatively low-carbon mode of transport.
Day 2 - Naples / Pompeii / Vesuvius / Agerola
After a leisurely breakfast, embark on a short local train ride to the Pompeii archaeological site. Here, without question, lie some of the world’s most fascinating and preeminent ruins. Finely preserved, they give you an extraordinarily real image of daily life in a Roman city with villas, temples, theatres and bustling markets. Walk along the chariot-marked streets that were nestled under the shadow of Vesuvius until the fatal eruption in 79 AD. Visit the magnificent amphitheatre and the ‘Villa of Mysteries’. You will also visit the Roman Forum and basilica, temples, public baths, and the tiny Odeon created for music recitals. After lunch your private minibus will pick you up for our next destination: Vesuvius. Take a walk around the very rim of Vesuvius' crater, with sulphuric gases and steam still emerging from the gravel. A scenic drive (approximately 1 hour) will then take you to the Agerola high plain. Along the way, you'll be dazzled by views over the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast.
Walking time: approximately 3 hours (4 km)
Day 3 - Agerola
Today is a free day for you to relax or enjoy some of the area's walking trails. Perhaps walk to the viewpoint of ‘Punto Panoramico’ for great views of the Amalfi Coast. From here descend through a spectacular landscape, which overlooks the Isle of Capri and the densely forested mountains of Cilento National Park. Your path leads you through an archetypical Mediterranean landscape with vineyards, chestnut trees, oaks and pretty sections of shrubs and flowers. You will spot many old ruins speckling the hillsides. In spring, you can smell the Italian herbs and you will walk past steeples of limestone rocks, through lush vineyards, chestnut trees and aromatic flora, and beside ruins speckled on the hillsides. Alternatively visit the village of Bomerano where you will have the opportunity to sit down for lunch or taste some of the local limoncello.
Day 4 - Positano / Amalfi
This morning perhaps enjoy a coffee before embarking on what has become one of Italy's most famous hiking trails, the 'Sentiero degli Dei' (Footpath of the Gods) which will bring you all the way to Positano. This path winds its way through unique scenery and boasts unrivalled views along the coast. Walk through forests and fields of wildflowers, past ancient stone huts and beside sheer walls of granite. Glimpse local farmers tending their crops by hoe and elbow grease, herds of goats feeding beside the trail beside their shepherds, and teams of workmen commuting by mule. By late morning you will reach Vallone di Grarelle, then continue to the hamlet of Nocelle, a picturesque village situated above Positano. A walk through the village leads to what’s known as the Montepertuso Crossing – a deep gorge with limestone walls. From Montepertuso it's just a short walk down the old steps, through olive groves and vineyards, to beautiful Positano (though you can take a bus instead if you like). From Positano continue to Amalfi by boat and enjoy the scenery from a different view point.
Walking time: approximately 6 hours (7 km). Your luggage will be transferred for you between Agerola and Amalfi, so all you need to take with you today is your day pack.
Day 5 - Isle of Capri / Amalfi
Today is dedicated to the rightly famous Isle of Capri, a place where Roman emperors used to come as tourists. You will sail from Amalfi to Capri by boat, following the beautiful coastline and passing the islands of the mythical sirens that were mentioned in Homer's Iliadand Odyssey. As you approach, witness Capri’s coastline in all its glory: mighty cliffs, shard-like rock formations, crashing blue seas. Have your camera at the ready on this short cruise. When you arrive in Capri, you will see the popular sights, then take a beautiful circuit walk. During this walk you will pass Villa Jovis (the ruins of the most impressive Roman villa on the island, once home to Emperor Tiberius), see a historic monastery and explore the winding alleyways of the village of Capri. Part of your walk follows untouched coastline and passes many impressive grottoes, and there's time to dip your feet in the water. Your walk can be extended or shortened in many ways today, depending on the wishes of the group. Late in the afternoon you will travel by boat back to Amalfi.
Walking time: approximately 4 hours (3 km)
Day 6 - Amalfi (Kayaking)
Get ready for a magical day of walking. Start in the quiet backstreets of Amalfi, heading up to the village of Pontone. Walk on the narrow ridge and then beneath shady pine trees and through fields of wildflowers. This brings you to a viewpoint from which you can see across the Valle del Dragone (Valley of the Dragon) and the luxurious gardens and villas of Ravello. A series of ups and downs takes you to the ruins of the famous watchtower (Torre dello Zirro). After retracing your steps to pretty Pontone, you can enjoy a drink under the shade of lemon trees and gaze down upon the town of Amalfi. Then walk down into the shaded Valle dei Mulini (Valley of the Watermills). Here you will find remnants of Europe’s earliest paper mills, strewn among thick foliage fed by the valley's streams. You may pass locals collecting wild mushrooms and stout men carrying half their body weight in lemons on their heads. The path takes you deep into the valley and the entrance of the nature reserve ‘Valle delle Ferriere’. This is one of the most interesting nature reserves of the area and an ideal place for lunch. From here it's an hour back down to Amalfi, past the Museo della Carta (paper museum). We then gather on the beach of Amalfi for another unique experience: paddling along the stunning coastline. After a brief introduction, we will outfit everyone with paddle and offer some basic kayaking instruction (if needed!), and then embark on our trip along the coast towards the amazing small little beach of Santacroce. Here we have our relaxed ‘aperitivo’ on the beach and then slowly paddle back to Amalfi.
Walking time: approximately 4 hours (5 km)
Day 7 - Ravello / Amalfi
From your hotel you will follow the Valley of the Dragon up to Ravello – another highlight of the coast. The French novelist André Gide once described this town as being ‘closer to the sky than the seashore’. For centuries, its lofty position and sunny, dry climate has made it an appealing place for writers, artists, musicians and travellers. Ravello also boasts two magnificent villas – the superb 11th Century Villa Rufolo which was once a papal residence and later the home of Wagner, and Villa Cimbrone, a sumptuous 19th Century mansion with fabulous gardens and unequalled views over the Gulf of Salerno. Retrace your steps along a rather steep mule track down again to Amalfi. Sweeping panoramas will reward your efforts.
Walking time: approximately 4 hours (5.5 km)
Day 8 - Amalfi
Your journey comes to an end this morning after breakfast in Amalfi. From here it is easy to arrange onward connections. There are local SITA buses that run to Sorrento, Salerno or Naples for onward travel by rail. You may even wish to take a ferry to Salerno or Naples. Your leader will be able to assist.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
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