AMALFI COAST | SORRENTO PENINSULA
A walking and hiking tour, suspended between the sky and the Earth, on Amalfi’s spectacular coastal trails, immerse in the Mediterranean atmosphere. Hike on Vesuvius, and descend into its caldera. Guided tours of Herculaneum, the Greek Temples of Paestum, Pompeii. Visit Positano, noble Amalfi, Sorrento, Isle of Capri. Superb gastronomy and divine local wine.
The Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Peninsula have been celebrated throughout the centuries for their divine beauty, rich history and culture!
The coastline is a harmonious palette of colours. Yellow broom covers the slopes of Vesuvius, creating a sharp contrast with the dark lava. Visits to Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento, the Isle of Capri are more relaxed, as the masses have yet to arrive. Perfect weather! Warm but not too hot, making walks and hikes enjoyable. Cool, emerald green water makes for a refreshing swim in a secluded small bay (we won’t tell you which quite yet).
This splendid region is one of the most sought-after holiday destinations not only in Italy, but also in the whole world. A spectacular, dramatic coastline, dotted by beautiful towns and hamlets miraculously clinging to the cliffs, beckon the visitors from afar. In 1997, the Amalfi Coast was inscribed as a [UNESCO World Heritage Site] as “an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, with exceptional cultural and natural scenic values resulting from its dramatic topography and historical evolution”.
On our walking tour of the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Peninsula, wonderful trails lead to magnificent vantage points, from which the views are simply breathtaking. Our daily escapades introduce us to beautiful iconic sites as well as lovely locations tucked away from the main tourist map. We will learn the history, culture and authentic characteristics of this popular region. On exclusive, guided walking tours we re-live the sumptuous past of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and feel the magical atmosphere of the Greek temples of Paestum. In the company of a volcanologist, we reach the upper rim of Vesuvius (Vesuvio), where the 360-degree view of the Gulf of Naples (Napoli), the Sorrento Peninsula, and the Isle of Capri is simply superb.
The gastronomy is superb and the wines divine! Of course, the famous limoncello will make your Amalfi Coast vacation complete.
DAY BY DAY
Day 1 Naples – Herculaneum – Paestum
Upon arrival in Naples, we transfer by private vehicle to the extraordianry archeological site of Herculaneum (Ercolano), at the feet of Vesuvius. In 79 A.D, the devastating flow of lava, mud and ashes erupting from the volcano buried Herculaneum, along with Pompeii. Ironically, this flow of mud and lava is what preserved the remains of the town throughout the centuries and millenniums. In fact, the intact, complete wooden structures of Herculaneum’s sumptuous homes, furniture and objects of daily use make it a unique example of ancient city in the whole world. With the expertise of a licensed tour guide, we visit this extraordinary archaeological site, whose excavations started in 1738. We then transfer to Paestum, where you have the rest of the afternoon to relax by the pool of the hotel or to take a walk on the beach, along the Mediterranean Sea. Lunch will be in Herculaneum, either before or after the tour, at a restaurant recognized by Slowfood for its commitment to sustainable farming and agriculture. Dinner will be at the hotel in its exquisite restaurant mentioned in the “Michelin”, “Gambero Rosso” and “Espresso” guides for best restaurants in Italy.
Day 2 Cilento: Buffalos – Mozzarella Cheese – Greek Temples of Paestum
Cilento is a truly unique and special area, with the spectacular Greek temples, of Paestum and the renowned buffalo farms. This is where real buffalo mozzarella comes from. The hills yield some fantastic wines. A visit the buffalo farm shows us the process for making fresh mozzarella cheese, while a visit to wine-producer and a wine tasting introduce us to the wonderful local wine. Naturally, lunch will consist of all these special products. Late afternoon is a magic time to visit the Greek Temples of Paestum, when the sun starts its descent into the Mediterranean Sea. A sacred city dedicated to Poseidon (Neptune), God of the sea, and founded around 600 B.C., Paestum is the most important Greek archaeological site south of Naples, displaying imposing and almost intact temples. In fact, the temple dedicated to Neptune/Poseidon is considered the most complete architectural example of Doric temples both in Italy and in Greece. The museum, houses outstanding archaeological findings, amongst which the painted slabs of stone of the “Tomb of the Diver”, the sole example of painting of the Greek age of Magna Grecia. The Temples, at night, have an evocative appeal.
Day 3 Hiking above Amalfi
“Noble” Amalfi, set between the Lattari Mountains and the Tyrrenian Sea, was originally founded by a group of Romans as a small fishing village. Amalfi reached political autonomy and economic prosperity in the 10th century, when it became one of the powerful maritime republics along with Genova, Pisa and Venice. Walking through the historical center, past the Duomo, we venture into an unknown world in the heart of Amalfi. An environment of exceptional beauty surrounds us, alternating tropical plant life with Mediterranean vegetation. Inviting waterfalls and a richness of water in general allows very rare plants to grow. The ruins of paper mills along the way will remind of the ancient tradition and hard work of making paper by hand. We enter a Natural Reserve, home to the [Woodwardia Radicans], a rare fern and a plant of exceptional beauty, considered a “living fossil”. We will pass the iron mill that gave the valley its name. Here, iron was extracted from raw mineral brought in from other areas, such as Isola d’Elba, off the coast of Tuscany, and used for local workmanship. From a small hamlet, perched in a strategical position, we enjoy great views of the harbour of Amalfi. We have an exclusive tour of the fascinating Museo della Carta (paper museum), displaying the equipment used in the old days, and have a demonstration on how paper was made.
Day 4 Hiking the Amalfi Coast
A spectacular hike takes us along a stretch of the Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage sites due its extraordinary geographic beauty. We start from one of the hamlets of the ancient Amalfi republic, during medieval times. The nucleus was divided into two entities, characterized by the activities: the agricultural village, higher up, and the fishing village by the water. Unlike most people, we follow the Sentiero degli Dei (The trail of the Gods) along its most enthralling, panoramic stretch, and the most apt to give it its well-deserved name. We pass a monastery, located in a lovely position at 400 m/1200 ft above the water. All along there is no lack of open panoramic views and we can observe the typical cultivations of the area. We reach the “tourist” stretch of the trail of the Gods. We cross Mediterranean vegetation, oak forests, pass secluded coves and caves, hiking along a trail suspended between the ski and the sea. We reach a small hamlet that has maintained its authentic character. We descend in Positano, where we have some free time to enjoy the town and have lunch on our own.
Day 5 Hiking above Sorrento
We bid farewell to the Amalfi Coast and head to the Sorrento Peninsula. We walk on an ancient Roman road, with flagstone that follow the contour of the Sorrento Peninsula. We are engulfed in a magical atmosphere, thinking back to the times when Ulysses visited this place and had to resist the seducing sirens call. Many different cultures have settled since 200 B.C. in this area of the promontory, where probably a temple was dedicated to Athena, the Goddess of wisdom. In the ancient past, the area also housed commerce stations, defensive structures and patrician villas. Today, all that remains is the medieval Angioin tower, built where the temple to Athena presumably stood. From the top of the hill, the 360° degree view is simply breathtaking: the Amalfi Coast and the gulf of Salerno to the south; Vesuvius and the gulf of Naples to the north; the Isle of Capri and, at our feet, the Gulf of Ieranto with the tower of Montalto, built in medieval times to fend off attacks from pirates.
Day 6 Vesuvius – Pompeii
We explore Vesuvius, an active, explosive volcano, particularly interesting because of its history and the frequency of its eruptions. The most famous of these eruptions, which caused the complete destruction of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabia, was in 79 A.D., and the latest one took place in 1944. We approach Vesuvius from the least frequented side, and take an exclusive walking tour of the crater. In fact, accompanied by our licensed volcanologist (mandatory) we reach the highest point of the crater, where we can observe the lava flow of 1944. Here, the 360° view spans over the entire volcanic system of Somma and Vesuvius, and from the Lattari Mountains to the Gulf of Naples. Volcanologists believe that Somma and Vesuvius are jut two craters of a same volcano, which, before the eruption of 79 A.D, reached an altitude of at least 3000 m/4500 ft. We visit the archeological site of Pompeii with a licensed tour guide. A town of about 20’000 people, and extending on almost 64 hectares/160 acres of land, Pompeii suffered a devastating earthquake in 62 A.D. The following years saw major reconstruction efforts, which were suddenly halted by Vesuvius’ fatal eruption. Thanks to the optimal preservation of its buildings, Pompeii today can be considered the only archeological site able to give us an image of a Roman city in its entirety.
Day 7 Isle of Capri
We spend the day exploring on foot the hidden corners of the famous Isle of Capri. We’ll keep away from the tourist hub-hub of the island, and enjoy it under a more human dimension. Hiking along the coastline, in the shade of pine and oak trees, we’ll reach the top of Monte Solaro, the highest point on the island. There is no lack of panoramic points along the way: below us, the lighthouse, the Faraglioni, a birds-eye view of Anacapri and the villas on the southern part of the island. We explore Anacapri (upper Capri), a true jewel with a charming historical centre, sought after by many European artists as a place of retreat where they could find inspiration. We visit the small town of Capri. On your own you walk through the characteristic passageways that skirt exquisite, private homes and colourful gardens. Many are also the shops that dot the centre of town. We descend on foot to Marina Grande and return to Sorrento by boat.
Day 8 Departure
After breakfast, group transfer to Naples Capodichino Airport.
From Euros 3250 per person (11-12 participants).
Single Supplement upon request
Prices are quoted in Euros and based on double occupancy.
What Is Included:
Airport transfers on Day 1 and Day 8.
English-speaking local guide for the duration of the trip.
Guide’s expenses (hotels and meals) while with the group.
Licensed volcanologist for hike to Vesuvius’ rim.
Clients’ accommodations in double rooms, in four-star hotels.
All tourist taxes and VAT.
Seven breakfasts, five lunches, five dinners.
Water and coffee/tea with your group meals at hotel or restaurants.
Spacious rental vehicle with river for all private transfers as specified in the itinerary.
Public transportation (buses, boats, etc.) as specified in the itinerary.
Private guided tour of Herculaneum.
Private guided tour of Paestum.
Private guided tour of Pompeii.
Visit to buffalo farm and cheese making facility.
Visit to wine making facility and wine tasting.
Licensed volcanologist for Vesuvius.
Entrance fee to Park of Vesuvius and four-wheel drive transfer.
Gratuities to porters, drivers, and at restaurants.
Entrance fees to museums, archeological sites and other points of interest as specified in the itinerary.
What Is Not Included:
Any insurance (cancellation and medical/evacuation insurance, etc.).
Two lunches, two dinners.
Personal expenses (sodas/alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, etc.).
Additional expenses due to unexpected changes to the itinerary or added activities.
Anything else not mentioned in “What’s Included in the Price of the Trip”.
Unused transportation during the tour will not be reimbursed.
TRIP DATES & DETAILS
03 – 10 September
Trip Length: 8 days
Trip Activity [more details]:
Walking | Hiking
History | Culture
Scenery | Flora | Fauna
Gastronomy | Wine
Traditions | Art | Artisans
Trip Rating [more details]: moderate.
The Guide [more details]:
The guide(s) will be confirmed about thirty days prior to the beginning of the trip.
ACCOMODATIONS & MEAL
Our accommodations are in beautiful superior four-star hotels. With the exception of Day 01, when the hotel is immersed in verdant vegetation, all rooms have open views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Day 1, 2 - Luxury four-star hotel, located near the excavations of Paestum, walking distance to the beach and the Mediterranean Sea. The grounds include a garden, rich in typical Mediterranean and sub-tropical vegetation, a wellness center equipped with heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, Turkish bath and fitness equipment.
Day 3, 4 – The hotel is strategically located over the Mediterranean, in Amalfi. A Francescan convent converted into an exquisite four-star hotel. Each unique room, enjoys a spectacular view over the Sea of the Ancient Maritime Republic. The decorations and the furnishings, in Mediterranean style, contribute to create a warm atmosphere. The hotel has two restaurants with unparalleled views and a swimming pool, perched on the cliffs above the Mediterranean Sea
Day 5, 6, 7 – Refined, luxurious and elegant superior four-star hotel, in a quiet area, in the centre of Sorrento. Splendid views of the Gulf of Naples, large terrace with exotic plants, swimming pool and direct access to the sea. The rooms, with view of the Mediterranean, are spacious and finely decorated with famous wood inlay of Sorrento and ceramic tiles from the area.
Participants booked on the trip will receive a complete list and detailed descripion of the hotels.
Menus offer a wonderful variety of dishes prepared with freshly caught fish and seafood. Some meat dishes are present, but not they are not the main focus along the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Peninsula.
Breakfasts – They consist of a generous spread of meats, cheeses, fruit, yogurt, juice, cereal, fresh bread, and other baked goods, accompanied by coffee or tea.
Lunches – Some consist of elaborate picnics with local meats, cheeses, chutneys, olives or dried tomatoes, at least one vegetable, fruit, and freshly baked bread. Others consist in a light lunch at a simple, traditional, family-run restaurant. Generally, they entail a set menu refleting the local specialities.
Dinners – With the exception of Day 1, we dine at exquisite, traditional restaurants. Meals consist of outstanding three- or four-course meals reflecting the traditional cuisine of the areas we visit.