Antarctica & Arctic
On this active adventure through Campania cycle the dramatic coastline, fishing villages and rugged interior of Cilento National Park and trek on the Amalfi Coast.
a Destinations d > Italy > Cycling in Italy - Cilento to the Amalfi Coast
Five nights standard hotel accommodation, two nights premium hotel accommodation, breakfast daily, two dinners, use of high quality bikes, luggage transfer between hotels, services of an English-speaking Explore tour leader/cycle guide, transportation by bus and boat. Trip code CAC
Selected Saturdays; 27 Apr - 5 Oct '19
Riding off the beaten track, along secondary roads towards mountain hamlets, discover the unspoilt nature and beauty of Cilento. Visit Greek archaeological sites at Velia and Paestum and sample local delicacies including mozzarella di bufala and Cilento wines. Discover the dramatic beauty of the Amalfi Coast on the 'Walk of the Gods' and a cruise to Amalfi.
Back to Italy Tours
Cilento National Park - Discover unspoilt nature, traditions and beautiful scenery
Amalfi Coast - Walk the 'Path of the Gods' with breath-taking views
Food and Drink - Sample local delicacies including mozzarella di bufala and Cilento wines
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Arriving at Naples Airport, drive for around 2.5 hours to the hotel in San Severino, a small village located in Cilento National Park at the foot of Monte Bulgheria. Still largely off the tourist radar Cilento NP is the second largest in Italy and its isolated location has left the beautiful countryside unspoilt and local traditions preserved. Over the next few days you'll explore by bike the rugged coastline and pine-forested mountainous interior dotted with historic villages. There will be time for an introductory briefing either before or after you settle into your room.
After breakfast, spend some time getting comfortable with your bikes and making any necessary adjustments. The first ride starts off by heading around the foot of Mt. Bulgheria, towards the village of San Giovanni a Piro. Climb up to the grassy plateau of Ciolandrea where you'll gain terrific coastal views looking south. A very scenic downhill section then leads to picturesque fishing village of Marina di Camerota. After a break for ice cream, cycle inland again, climbing up to Camerota village. Known locally for terracotta and 'libano' rope, learn more about the ancient local art of braiding to make this rope that still continues to this day. The final part of today's ride is along the Mingardo river canyon back to San Severino. Please note that there is the option to ride in a support vehicle today for 6km of the climb, thus avoiding 300 m of ascent from Marina di Camerota to Camerota. (B)
Total cycling distance today is approximately 54 kilometres (1100 metres total accumulated ascent and descent).
Today, leave San Severino behind and ride north through this land of myth and legend. The route leads firstly to the coastal village of Palinuro, named after the helmsman of Virgil's Aeneid who fell overboard. Continue along the jagged coastline to the medieval village of Pisciotta, picturesquely situated with commanding views along the coast. The tiny port of Marina di Pisciotta has kept centuries-old fishing techniques alive, using the moon and the stars to determine where the anchovies will surface. Break here for lunch before continuing along the coastal road past olive groves and Mediterranean macchia or shrubland. In Ascea, stop to learn about another traditional local delicacy - dried white figs. Their protected DOP status is thanks to an especially sweet flesh and fine seeds. Finally, descend to the tranquil coastal village of Marina di Ascea and the hotel where you'll spend the next two nights. (B)
Total cycling distance today is approximately 40 kilometres (700 metres total accumulated ascent and 800 metres descent).
Start the day firstly riding uphill along the slopes of Monte Stella past vineyards and olive groves to reach Pollica village. From here the undulating road passes inland through chestnut forests and wide-open areas with superb views over the surrounding mountains and the bay below. Pass through a number of charming villages, stopping in one or two for a rest, lunch and perhaps a coffee. The last part of the ride descends to the coastal plains where you'll find the archaeological site of Velia. The ancient ruins of the Hellenistic town of Elea, founded in 540 BC, are much less intact than Paestum and this port town was once home to one of the Eleatic school of philosophy. An entrance ticket is included, but for those who prefer to relax at the hotel it is short ride back. (B)
Total cycling distance today is approximately 48 kilometres (720 metres total accumulated ascent and descent).
Leave Marina di Ascea this morning and continue your cycle journey north following the coast to Agropoli. Pass through the small fishing village of Pioppi and later visit Acciaroli - a favourite of Ernest Hemmingway who came here in 1952 after he'd completed "The Old Man and the Sea", passing time in the café-bars along the seafront promenade. Later, ride along Punta Licosa peninsula through more Mediterranean shrub lands and often on gravel tracks, where you'll end up at a local vineyard to learn about local wine production and to sample some wines. The local grapes of Fiano (white) and Aglianico (red) were originally introduced by the Greeks and are still used today to produce some of the excellent Cilento wines. Finally we cycle around Punta Tresino to reach your final stop, and base for the next two nights, in Agropoli overlooking the Gulf of Salerno.
Total cycling distance today is approximately 60 kilometres (850 metres total accumulated ascent and 780 metres descent).
After breakfast this morning start your final cycle ride. Cycle north from Agropoli through a slightly more built up environment outside of the National Park and after 12 kilometres you'll reach Paestum. Ancient Paestum (originally founded as Poseidonia in the 7th century BC) boasts some of the best-preserved Greek temples in Europe and a guided visit is planned to make the most of this wonderful UNESCO site and museum. It was colonised by the Romans in 273 BC but later abandoned for centuries, which helped its preservation, and rediscovered in the 1740 amid thick forest, after which it was firmly established on the Grand Tour and writers, poets and artists from Goethe to Shelley flocked here for inspiration. Highlights include the 'Diver Tomb' fresco - a rare example of Greek funeral painting. After your visit, cycle south back through the Piana del Sele - a vast plain south of Salerno where most of the region's buffalo graze. Stop at a local mozzarella di bufala farm to learn about the cheese and have a taste before cycling back to the hotel. The afternoon is left free for you to explore the old town of Agropoli, relax on the beach or cycle into the hills for an optional self-guided loop ride (25km, +/-500m). (B)
Total cycling distance today is approximately 25 kilometres (150 metres total accumulated ascent and descent) with a further optional 25 km.
Leaving Agropoli after breakfast, drive 2 hours north and along the stunningly beautiful Amalfi Coast corniche road to Bomerano. The Walk of the Gods is justifiably regarded as one of the greatest coastal walks in the world. Follow the high path from Bomerano as it contours west, under huge limestone cliffs with magnificent panoramas. From the village of Nocelle, descend an ancient stairway into Positano. A poor fishing village until the 1950s, Positano has grown into a chic town and understandably a tourist hot spot. There is time to explore and have a swim before catching the public ferry back to Amalfi, allowing us to appreciate the natural beauty of the Amalfi Coast from the water. The stunning harbour town of Amalfi reached its pinnacle during the Middle Ages, when it vied with Venice, Pisa and Genoa as an one of Italy's great Maritime Republics. You may choose to look around the impressive Duomo di Sant Andrea (St Andrew's cathedral), with its remarkable bronze doors and baroque interior dating back to the 11th century. The beautifully restored ancient Roman basilica is another highlight. Finally we continue by boat the short distance to Minori where we spend our final evening. (B)
No cycling. Today's moderately-graded walk will take approximately five hours and will cover a distance of 11 kilometres with a total ascent of 330 metres and 900 metres descent.
Today you can spend the day at leisure or take part in an optional visit to the historic town of Ravello. This tranquil spot, located high on a rocky promontory overlooking azure waters, has attracted musicians, artists and writers to its enchanting streets for generations. Later this afternoon, transfer back to Naples Airport, where the trip ends. (B)
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