Cilento Walking Holidays
The Cilento area to the south of the city of Salerno is a fairly under-visited and remote part of the Italy's Campania province. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, It was for centuries a Greek colony whose main manifestation was the ancient city of Paestum, with its huge temples that have survived wars and earthquakes for well over 2,000 years. Away from the busy destinations around Naples and Sorrrento, leaving from Paestum you are into an area of farming and viticulture. The area is famous for buffalo mozzarella, a healthy cheese which goes so well with salads. Some of the advanced farms nowadays have self milking machines, the cows just know where to go to get milked automatically! Further south Cilento is punctuated by a series of limestone escarpments and peaks, forests and scrub. There are sightings of wolves, wild boar and vultures. Wildflowers such as orchids grow prolifically in some places in the spring. There are interesting fishing villages, some with ancient histories and small sandy beaches. The region also boasts some interesting wines using the unusual Aglianico grape with low key production.
An introduction to walking in Cilento
Walks in the Cilento can follow ancient tracks that go deep into the mountains, which can make for quite long expeditions. The Sherpa trips however offer a series of walks close to the coast, or going from inland areas to the coast along hilly ridges or circling around the village where you stay. Very different from the Amalfi Coast, it is generally unlikely that you will see more than a few walkers out each day. Even Paestum, for such an important archaeological site, does not get the tourist numbers one might expect. Walkers on the trails should be fairly self sufficient in terms of navigating and most of the walks have no or few refreshment stops before the end.
Best time of year to walk in Cilento
In the winter season many villages close down and seem to turn in on themselves! This time of year the weather can be quite severe, but especially from Easter, spring is quick in coming to the Cilento and flowers are soon in full bloom. April to June and September to October are some of the best months to go walking in the Cilento, when the temperatures are not too excessive.
Highlights of walking in the Cilento region
Paestum has some of the best preserved Greek remains in the world, and the museum which preserves the unique Diver’s Tomb, a prime example of Greek funerary painting. A whole day can be spent walking around and through the site and visiting the museum there. You can even walk down to the beach which is not far from the remains.
Agropolis - another Greek colonial town that was developed at about the same tome as Paestum. Today it is a pleasant harbour town with fortifications on a rocky promontary.
Santa Maria di Castellabate is an old fishing village, normally with some quaint views of fishermen fixing their nets. There is an attractive white church and virgin statuette by the sea, and the beautiful arcaded building called Porta delle Gatte.
Rocca Cilento - a quiet village near to Paestum, where there is a small, private fortess and the old monastery which serves as accommodation on our trips.
A highlight is the panoramic walk along the Monte Stella ridge along the 'Alta Via', the main mountain path of the area. It follows the whole ridge of the mountain, passing through chestnut woods. In clear conditions there are views of the Amalfi Coast and Capri - and sometimes even Sicily.
Acciaroli is a pretty fishing village with its small castle and great bars and restaurants.
Food and drink in Cilento
One of the main features of our tours in Cilento are the dinners which are included. Especially at Rocca Cilento, where your patron is eager to aqcuaint you with some of the great flavours of the region. These include forest-sourced mushrooms, rocket salad with mozzarella, asparagus, olives, grilled aubergines and home-cured hams and sausages. Often cheeses are grilled on bread over an open fire. It is all good rustic eating. If you get the chance to visit the coastal towns for a meal, you will note the use of anchovies, octopus and sardines.
Italians start the day with a 'colazione' of a quick espresso and a croissant, although such breakfasts are usually a bit more elaborate for tourists.Typically the main meal of the day is taken at lunch time, called pranzo, followed in the evening by a lighter cena (meal). However as you are walking during the day, you will be having quite a filling dinner often served buffet style.
How to get to and from Cilento
The Cilento is typically accessed via Naples airport and then a bus or train to Salerno, and onwards to Paestum. Return trains to Naples Centrale from Agropoli – Castellabate can take less than an hour.
BROWSE Our Walking Holidays in Cilento