This self-guided cycling tour takes you into the real heart of Cilento National Park and then on to the iconic Amalfi coastline. Starting at ancient Paestum youll discover landscapes, towns and villages that are largely undisturbed by the 21st century. You will encounter few other tourists along your way and will pedal past world-famous cultural sites, through pristine natural areas and dreamy coastal scenery. Your tour will take you on small country roads passing through rough mountain scenery, as well as attractive countryside, with vineyards and olive groves.
Day 1 | Arrival in Paestum (Capaccio)
After arriving at the Paestum train station you will be picked up for your private transfer to your hotel near the world famous Temples of Paestum. Your bicycles will be waiting for you at the hotel.
Day 2 | Round trip through the foothills of Paestum
Your ride is through the ancient territory of the Greek town of Paestum. You can opt for a relaxed ride through the plain, or a longer and harder tour taking you to some charming medieval hamlets in the foothills offering some amazing views. Before setting off you can visit the temples and the museum of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Paestum and its world-famous Doric temples. Here you will admire not only the three temples, but also other monuments including the amphitheatre, the Heroon tomb, several Greek and Roman houses and one of the towns impressive gates. Lunch can be taken at a local buffalo farm where you can taste delicious and genuine fresh mozzarella. Your cycling trip will take you through the plain to the Sele River and past the Capo di Fiume karst springs to the villages of Giugnano and Cicerale (optional) and back down again to your hotel. Dinner is on the premises of your hotel tonight. After dinner you can opt to make another short stroll past the temples and perhaps grab a gelato.
Day 3 | From Paestum to San Marco di Castellabate
Today you will leave the Paestum plain for a first taste of the real Cilento. The cycle route takes you on quiet roads through fragrant Mediterranean maquis and shady olive groves up into the coastal hills above the town of Agropoli, and down again to the coastal village of San Marco di Castellabate. From your hotel you head for the villages of Prignano and Torchiara, beautifully situated on the lush green slopes overlooking the Cilento coast. Here you can take your time for a stroll or pause to fill up your water bottles and observe peaceful village life. From Torchiara continue to the villages of Laureana and Vatolla where a visit of the 16th-century Palazzo Vargas is a must. The road now dips down, taking you to the seaside resort of Santa Maria di Castellabate. Along this stretch you will enjoy some wonderful views of the Tresino peninsula to your right and Castellabate to your left. A short stretch of road along the coast brings you to San Marco di Castellabate, renowned for its tiny port where able craftsmen continue a centuries-old tradition of building wooden boats by hand. After arriving at your hotel and settling in, you can either cycle or walk the short path along the coast to the wonderful little islet of Leucosia, situated in the marine reserve of Punta Licosa, or take a stroll through the centre of town for a pre-dinner aperitif at one of the local bars.
Day 4 | From San Marco di Castellabate to Pisciotta
After leaving San Marco you will head south on the coastal road towards the Alento river plain. A short ascent takes you through Mediterranean maquis and pine woods to the Ripe Rosse or Red Rocks. You then whizz down to the coastal hamlet of Acciaroli, where back in 1952 Ernest Hemingway spent his holidays and (some say) was inspired to write The Old Man and the Sea. Some of the villages elders still remember having met the great author and may be willing to tell you an interesting tale or two. In any case Acciaroli fully merits a stop and a quiet stroll around its little port and town centre. Slightly further along the coast you pass through the fishing village of Pioppi, another delightful little town. Here you will find a small Sea Life Museum dedicated to the local marine fauna and flora. Pioppi is also famous as the second home of the American professor Ancel Keys, father of the so-called Mediterranean Diet. After visiting the museum you have time for a quick coffee at the seafront before cycling on. The coastal road then takes you to Casalvelino Marina, and through the plain of the Alento River to the Greek and Roman site of Velia, home to the philosophers Zenon and Parmenides, and cradle of one of Europes most ancient schools of medicine. You can leave your bikes at the entrance and explore the amazing site. From Velia youll have a last steep climb to go: up to the old village of Ascea, dominating the coast from above. From Ascea youll follow a stunning coastal route the hilltop village of Pisciotta, one of the best preserved medieval villages of the area, where you settle for the night. Ifyou would prefer to end today on the coast, you can opt to ride on a few miles all downhill to the beautiful harbour of Palinuro.
Day 5 | From Pisciotta to the Southern Coast
Today is a relatively easy day, which will bring you along the panoramic coastal road to the southern part of the Cilento. The first few kilometres are like a warm-up ride with a gentle downhill bias all the way to the mythical headland of Capo Palinuro. This promontory, named after one of the helmsmen of the mythical hero Aeneas, is one of the most famous spots in the Cilento National Park. Its unique topography, made up of dazzlingly high rock cliffs full of sea grottos, amongst which is the stunning Grotta Azzurra, makes for a wonderful sight. You can cycle all the way through the village of Palinuro make a scenic loop over the top of the cape and stop at the tiny port. Those who feel like it can make a short boat tour of the cape here, visiting the caves. Or you can opt to have a drink or go for a swim at the beautiful little beach. Then youll cycle on in eastern direction, a wonderful stretch along the southern coast of the Cilento National Park. Upon arrival in the lovely coastal town of Marina di Camerota, you can have a drink at the harbour and settle in your hotel.
Day 6 | Cilento to Amalfi
The Cilento part of your tour ends in Marina di Camerota after breakfast today. A private transfer (included) takes you to the train station, from where you travel back to Salerno. You will take the boat to Amalfi (the harbour of Salerno is very close to the train station) and enjoy great views of the Amalfi Coast. The famous coastal resort of Amalfi is the capital city of the Coast, and located in its very heart, so everything can easily be discovered from here. You may wish to explore the charming town centre or to enjoy a refreshing swim to wash off the weariness of the journey.
Day 7 | Amalfi Coast Round Trip
The landscape of the Costiera Amalfitana is immensely varied and surrounded by infinite ever-changing views. Along the coast it can be typically Mediterranean, with numerous species of wild perfumed herbs, myrtle shrubs, thyme, rosemary and mastic trees. Head out on a local bus up to the charming historic village of Ravello. The village boasts a very interesting history, and many medieval monuments, but also offers beautiful views over the Amalfi Coast. The French novelist Andr Gide once described the village as being closer to the sky than the sea. Take your time to stroll through the village, before starting the walk back down to the coast. Your path will pass the hamlet of Castiglione, through vineyards and lemon groves, then down medieval steps to the beautiful little village of Atrani. This is one of the best preserved villages on the coast, where you have the chance to look around the narrow little white streets of the village centre. The last short stretch to Amalfi is very scenic and has beautiful viewpoints over the town centre.
Day 8 | Amalfi Coast 'Path of the Gods' Round Trip
The Costiera Amalfitana has the reputation as Europes most dramatic stretch of coastline! Youll take a local bus up to the small village of Bomerano, on the Agerola high plain. This is the of the famous Sentiero degli Dei Footpath of the Gods, one of Italys most famous footpaths, and certainly a walk with unrivalled views. After a very panoramic stretch with views over the whole Amalfi Coast, stretching out as far as the island of Capri, you reach the junction for the monastery of San Domenico, set in stupendous scenery, dominating the coast from its hilltop (optional detour along a medieval pilgrim route). You then continue on a more or less level path through spectacular scenery with bizarre rock formations and luxurious vegetation. Here the Sentiero degli Dei really lives up to its name as you enjoy more stunning and spectacular views. You arrive in the little village of Montepertuso, from where it is a short walk down to Positano, considered to be one of Italys most beautiful villages, and certainly one of the pearls of the Amalfi Coast. Stroll through its alleys, relax in a cafe or enjoy a swim at the large beach, before taking the boat back to Amalfi in the evening.
Day 8 Alternative | 'Pontone and Valley of Mills' Walk
Today you can enjoy a beautiful walk setting out directly from your hotel in Amalfi town. Explore the quiet little back alleys of Amalfi, where you can still sense the Moorish influences. An ancient flight of steps then takes you up towards the impressive limestone cliffs and to the little village of Pontone, part of the medieval defence system of the town of Amalfi. Head to the marvellous Torre dello Ziro, located on a narrow ridge with unforgettable views of Amalfi to one side and Atrani to the other. Then find yourself a picnic spot and enjoy the views. Your trail winds on through the charming village of Pontone and into the Valle dei Mulini Valley of the Mills. Discover the ruins of Europes most ancient paper mills, dating back to the 11th century. The footpath then runs alongside the course of a river. If you feel energetic you can take a detour deeper into the valley underneath towering cliffs and admire a number of beautiful waterfalls. Then you walk back down to Amalfi and the scenery will change from the verdant green of the valley to lemon groves and maquis. Depending what time you return youll have time in the afternoon to simply relax.
Day 9 | Departure from Amalfi Coast
After breakfast we say arrivederci and you return by train, bus or boat to Naples (airport).
- Fully serviced bikes water bottle and accessories
- Bed & breakfast basis as standard
- 3 & 4 star accommodation (unless otherwise stated)
- Tour information pack upon arrival
- Detailed navigational material often including GPS maps
- Local support whenever needed
- E-bikes available on request
- Flights and transfers not included as standard but available on request
- Full financial protection through ABTA and ATOL