Hiking the Amalfi Coast: Path of the Gods

After a rocky path past some stone houses, we were greeted with our first stunning panoramic view of the coast. While a gentle mist sat on the distant land, we had a clear look at the Tyrrhenian Sea over 2,000 feet below.

By: Maggie Donohoo + Save to a List

Italy seems to be the destination of choice this summer. International tourism is on the rise and Italy is the perfect mix of beach and city, culture and cuisine. While touring the Amalfi Coast, I was determined to find a unique and picturesque location for a morning hike. After doing some research, the infamous Sentiero degli Dei, or the Path of the Gods, seemed like the perfect choice.

My family and I were spending the week in the cliffside village of Positano, the actual ending point to the hike. Public transportation didn’t start running until after seven each morning so, due to the summer heat, I decided the best choice was to hire a private transport vehicle to Bomerano around five. While the hike was only four miles, the road between the two villages wound and wove between the rocky coast, so the drive took almost 45 minutes.

The trail began in Bomerano, a quaint local village with shops, restaurants and, our personal favorite, a family-owned sheep farm. After a rocky path past some stone houses, we were greeted with our first stunning panoramic view of the coast. While a gentle mist sat on the distant land, we had a clear look at the Tyrrhenian Sea over 2,000 feet below.

The trail continued through steep limestone mountains, quiet grassy meadows, and historic abandoned houses. About two miles in, we passed by a beautiful farm with grapevines and a vegetable garden. A group of locals was releasing vibrant colored Chinese fire lanterns into the sky at daybreak. It was a uniquely beautiful sight to witness the reds and oranges of the lanterns among the otherwise earthy landscape. We watched from below as the lanterns gracefully climbed up a couple of hundred feet before burning up and returning its bones to the sender.

On a side note, while the trail was well-marked, there is limited maintenance; much of the upkeep is done by locals and donkeys on their regular commute. The meadows were blooming with wildflowers and natural vegetation, but the grasses were long and itchy. If attempting this hike, I recommend you wear long pants and reliable shoes. Near Bomerano, the trail is rather rocky and near Nocelle, the village above Positano, the ground was covered in tree roots, which means those with injury-prone ankles should take extra precautions.

As we passed mile three, the trail led us through a dense, shady forest. To the right side, there was what appeared to be a sort of shrine or cemetery with hundreds of stacks of smooth stones. There was a creek that ran down to the sea, but due to a lack of rain, it was mostly dry, void of any underwater creatures. The path twisted and turned with several up and downhills. As we neared Nocelle, we passed our first group of fellow hikers, a large group of backpackers eager to witness the incredible views we had just left behind. We wished them well and continued on our way, climbing around our last ridge before gaining sight of our final destination.

The staircase down to Positano was no easy feat; nearly 2,000 steps and 45 minutes later we arrived at the base; our sore knees and photographs would remind us of our time above the clouds. As we made our way back to our apartment, the village was just waking up. Delivery trucks were making their rounds, stocking the markets and restaurants with fresh supplies for the day. Several locals were out walking their dogs, chatting with neighbors and enjoying a cornetto, an Italian variation of the croissant. It had been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness Italy’s southern coast and we were both grateful and exhausted, ready to enjoy our final days at the beach.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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