Euro Surf 'n' Turf

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Sep 12, 2001
Outside Magazine

The mountainous Amalfi Coast, an hour and a half from Naples, is better known for hosting vacationing Roman emperors, film starlets, and Ferrari rallies than for rigorous hiking, But gaze upward from a chic resort like Positano and you'll see an impossibly steep coastline that plunges straight into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Hikers go for the Amalfi because it offers some of the most rugged coastal terain in the world: The peaks may be only 3,000 to 4,500 feet high, but they're unrelentingly vertical.

You ascend through well-tended lemon groves and fragrant fields of wild roses and rosemary. Wandering through chestnut groves, you tread on dirt tracks and foot trails that once formed the only connection between the region's still-remote villages. Up the rocky flanks of Monte Lattari or through the Valle delle Ferriere, your rewards are the most stunning views in all of coastal Italy.
By sunset, you've earned a cafe table in the hilltop aerie of Ravello or in labyrinthine Amalfi, a town that looks more Moroccan than it does Neapolitan. Try limoncello, the local lemon-based liqueur—it's the antidote for any pain caused by this alfresco Stairmaster.

Summer is high season here, with rates to match; check out Amalfi's luxurious Hotel Santa Caterina ($191-491 for two to four people, including breakfast), with a seaside pool 500 sheer feet below the hotel, or a charmer like the family-run Hotel Lidomare (doubles, $55-65, including breakfast).

Filed To: Italy

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