The Path of the Gods, or “Sentiero degli Dei” in Italian, is a clifftop trail running between Bomerano (in Agerola) and Nocelle (near Positano) along Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Situated halfway up Mount Sant’Angelo a Tre Pizzi, the trail averages at about 1640 feet (500m) above sea level. It is often referred to as the best hike in the world for its breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The trail once acted as the only means of communication between the Amalfi Coast’s villages. Interestingly, it was named the “Path of the Gods” by Italian politician and historian Giustino Fortunato in the late 19th century for its mythological roots in the tale of The Odyssey (Legend has it that the gods once rushed to save Ulysses from the singing Sirens of Capri, stamping out this path in the process.)
When I visited the Amalfi Coast this May, I knew I wanted to work in some exercise and amazing views in between all of the eating and chilling (and more eating and more chilling). It ended up being a gorgeous trail with spectacular views of Positano the whole way, and it’s pretty easy to walk. Here’s what you need to know about walking the Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coast.
Some helpful tips for walking the Path of the Gods:
The trail is fairly easy to follow, as it is only about 4 miles (6.5km) long and is clearly marked with signs. It takes around 2 to 2.5 hours to complete in each direction.
While the trail can be hiked in either direction, it is recommended that the trail be followed east to west, from Bomerano to Nocelle, rather than vice versa. This allows for the best views and for an easier hike, as the path runs slightly downhill from this direction.
I began my hike from where I was staying in Praiano, which meant a lot of stairs to climb to the top. As anyone who has spent time on the Amalfi Coast knows, there will be stairs involved. From Praiano, I was able to join the Path of the Gods trail and make my way back to Bomerano, which was only slightly backwards to get to the beginning.
There’s also the option of taking the lower or upper trail. You’ll know when they branch because you’ll come to a fountain with ‘Positano’ and ‘Praiano’ etched into the stone pointing in opposing directions. Head away from the sea when you see this and it’ll bring you to the upper trail, which is, trust me, more spectacular and not that much more difficult.
Whichever way you choose, the trail is fairly uneven and rocky, so wear good shoes.
If you want to experience the hike without a lot of other people, get an early start. By mid-morning the crowds will begin appearing, though it wasn’t all that bad when I was there in May. I imagine it’s worse in the summer, and hotter too!
Getting to the Path of the Gods trailhead:
If you choose to get a rental car, there is free parking in Bomerano at the intersection of Via Casalone and the main road SS366. In Bomerano, there are signs leading from Bomerano piazza to the start of the trail.
By public transportation, you can take a SITA bus (SITA being the local bus company) to or from several locations on the coast. You can find the SITA bus schedules here (It is important to note that the bus schedule is updated every few months, so make sure that you are always referring to the most recent timetable.) Bus tickets can be purchased at most bars or tabacchi shops and you must buy them in advance.
To get to Bomerano from Agerola or Amalfi, take the SITA bus running between Amalfi, Agerola, and Naples and get off at the stop for Bomerano. From there, follow the signs toward the trail. This should take about 40 minutes from Amalfi and 10 minutes or less from any of the stops in Agerola.
If you are staying in Positano, it is a bit more difficult to get up to Bomerano. Perhaps the best way is to take the SITA bus which runs between Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi. Get off at Amalfi, and take the bus mentioned above from Amalfi to Bomerano. This will take about 90 minutes. Unfortunately, it is a bit out of the way to go all the way to Amalfi and then backtrack to Bomerano, but there is no direct bus route between Positano and Bomerano.
Another option is to take a ferry from Positano to Amalfi and then take the bus to Bomerano. The ferry ride is about 30 minutes long (approximately 20 minutes shorter than the bus ride) and costs between $9-$11 (€8-€10). Weekly ferry schedules and ticket prices are available here.
If you are coming from Praiano, you have two options. Praiano is connected to the trail through a long staircase of over 1,000 stone steps, so you can add an hour or more to your hike and follow the stairs to the trail. However, if you want to start at the head of the trail, you can take a combination of buses to the very beginning in Bomerano. The Sorrento-Positano-Amalfi bus makes a stop at Praiano, so ride this bus to Amalfi. Then, take the second bus from Amalfi to Bomerano.
From Sorrento, you can once again take the SITA bus which runs between Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi, and then take the bus previously mentioned from Amalfi to Bomerano. This takes on average a little over 2 hours.
At the end of the trail:
Once you arrive at the end of the trail in Nocelle, you have the option of continuing on to Positano. There are three ways to do this:
- Follow the signs to continue down the steep set of 1700 stairs ending in Positano (which will take about another hour).
- Take the bus from Nocelle to Positano (This bus is not affiliated with SITA; it is the Mobility Amalfi Coast bus, running between Positano, Nocelle, and Praiano.) Tickets can be purchased either in advance or on board the bus. Although it is slightly outdated, you can view the bus timetable here. Alternatively, keep walking along the path and you’ll see bus stops. Hang out until the bus shows up.
- Walk along the road all the way down to Positano. This is what I did, as it’s a more gradual descent.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can simply walk the trail back to Bomerano; however, remember that the trail will be going slightly uphill this time and that it will take another couple of hours to get back to where you started.
If you would prefer to only do the hike one-way down to Nocelle, you will need to take the bus from Nocelle to Positano, and from Positano take the appropriate SITA bus (or buses) back to Amalfi, Agerola, Bomerano, Praiano, or Sorrento. You can also just take a taxi, which I did when the sky opened up and started pouring.
That said, prepare for any kind of weather if you’re hiking it in the shoulder seasons. I experienced 3 seasons in one day!
Overall, though, rain, sweat, and sunshine, it was a gorgeous trail that can be made easier or more difficult depending on how many stairs and buses you involve. The Path of the Gods is a must-do when on the Amalfi Coast and the perfect way to offset all of that pasta and gelato!