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On a trail from Bomerano to Nocelle that stretches along the ridges of the Lattari mountain range, the Path of the Gods hike, locally known as Sentiero degli Dei, is not only one of the most spectacular things to do on the Amalfi coast but one of the most beautiful hikes in the world.
The good news is that it’s not a multi-day, arduous expedition. The half-day journey is an accessible pathway over-looking the Gulf of Salerno in southern Italy. One that makes you feel closer to the sky at 500 metres above sea level than the coastal, cliff stacked towns of Sorrento, Ravello, Amalfi and Positano below. The heavens of Amalfi.
Beyond its natural beauty, its name also references the mythological tale in the story of Homer’s ‘The Odyssey‘. Ulysses, seduced by the winged Sirens of Capri who lured sailors to shipwreck, called upon the Greek gods to save him. The path was forged in this act of divine intervention.
As avid trekkers, who factor in a long hike everywhere we go, we can now say from experience that this hike’s scenic beauty is not just a fable. Here’s how to set out hiking the Path of the Gods – where to go and what to expect – including the extra 1500 steps down to Positano.
- Things to Know About the Path of the Gods Hike
- The Sentiero degli Dei Experience
- Tips for a Successful Trek on the Path of the Gods
- Further Hiking and Trekking Inspiration
Things to Know About the Path of the Gods Hike
Touted as a core attraction, knowing where to start, when to go, and how to get to the Path of the Gods trailhead can still be confusing when choosing where to stop along the more than 50km stretch of scenic Amalfi coastline.
The trail is a public hiking path, free to access and remains open unless closed due to extreme weather conditions that can make the course dangerous for hikers and walkers.
Where Does the Path of Gods Start and End?
The Path of the Gods starts in Bomerano, in the region of Agerola in the Amalfi hills and ends in the hilltop hamlet of Nocelle, located above Positano.
This typically takes 3-4 hours to complete, depending on your speed and if you stop for breaks.
While most people take the bus down to Positano, there is an option to ascend via 1500 steps to Arienzo Beach, and from there, you can walk around 1.7 kilometres along the SS163 road to Positano.
This adds an extra hour to your hike on this steep descent.
How Difficult Is the Path of the Gods Hike?
Path of the Gods is a moderate hike. While having some hiking experience helps, it’s certainly not off-limits to first time or new hikers.
It’s not hard to find your way, with painted tile signs, alongside the official red and white signage on wooden posts. Just follow the direction of Sentiero degli Dei.
The first section of the trail is mostly flat and winding, and the second half of the hike gets steeper and rockier. This requires a little clambering, and there is a small section of back-to-back inclines and descents.
Those who fear heights and suffer from vertigo might struggle as this hike is along open ridges and narrow paths overlooking the coastline.
The stairs down to Positano are not for the fainthearted or those with joint sensitivity on steep descents.
When Is the Best Time to Hike the Path of the Gods?
We hiked in August, at the end of summer. The views were glorious, but the heat was raging.
The best time to hike the Path of the Gods is in the milder weather seasons: Spring (April/May) and Autumn (September/October), when it’s neither too hot nor with the risk of heavy rains that can cause the trail to be treacherous and at risk of landslides.
Start walking in the morning, ideally, around 8 or 9 am, to get to Nocelle in time to beat the midday heat.
Starting Path of the Gods – Getting to the Trail
Travelling from Amalfi to Bomerano
You can reach Bomerano by the SITA buses (towards San Lazzaro and Agerola) departing from Amalfi. Ask the driver to let you off at the Bomerano stop – they are used to emptying the hikers out here.
When in Bomerano, aim for the square. There is a cluster of cafes, bakeries and stores and the signs to the starting gate and trailhead.
Travelling from Sorrento to Bomerano
Take a ferry or the SITA Bus to Amalfi that passes through Positano (1 hour 30 minutes), then change to the SITA Bus to Agerola (50 minutes – 1 hour).
Travelling from Positano to Bomerano
Take a ferry or the SITA Bus to Amalfi (1 hour), then change to the SITA Bus to Agerola (50 minutes – 1 hour).
Buying SITA Bus Tickets
You must buy in advance from travel kiosks and tobacco stores that display the SITA logo. There is no way to purchase tickets on board, and it is worth purchasing a few to last for the days you are in the area.
- A single journey Corsa Singola ticket costs €2.40.
- Validate your ticket on the bus if the driver doesn’t rip your ticket upon boarding.
The Sentiero degli Dei Experience
The Sentiero degli Dei is a 7-kilometre trail that softly twists and turns along mountain ridges with coastal cliff-drop views, round narrow cliff-top trails and through patches of forest.
The path almost immediately opens to a terraced valley with a sea view, past the ruins of stone houses – the relics of old settlements. When you reach the drinking tap, fill up and follow the sign in the direction of Nocelle-Positano. The other points to the path that leads to Praiano – a tiny coastal village with another Path of the Gods trailhead. Some hikers start here and walk up to the ridge.
Soon, the paths get narrower, and the bay views get wider. As the jagged coastline cliffs stretch out before you, you can almost see the entire journey ahead. You’ll approach the artsy hideaway of Ulisse’s house cafe. You’ll notice it from the boat sticking out from the cliff-face – a nod to the mythological story.
Beyond this point, the hike gets trickier, with uneven stones and no rails on the descent, merged with manmade steps with wooden bannisters and dusty pathways trodden through the shrubbery. Always find a safer ground to admire the Amalfi panoramas in front of you and the stacked high rock cliffs you left behind.
In the final section, rounding a tight corner, you’ll stop in your tracks at the final showcase of this hike and all its scenic views. You’ll know because other hikers gather in this layby on a higher path, admiring the picture-perfect view of Positano and Capri from this ultimate vantage point. The last enchantment, the pinnacle of this journey, before you scramble through a short forest section, gaining some incline before the downhill into Nocelle.
Entering Nocelle, it’s a rite of passage to end your hike with spremute (juice) or a granita (crushed ice) at Lemon Point. I guarantee it will be (and feel like) one of the best Amalfi lemon refreshments of your life.
Eager to continue? Nocelle is where you can take the 1500 steps down to Positano – part of an ancient path that was the only connection between the two hamlets. They say only the crazy continue down this route, so we did. I still can’t decide if we regretted it or not, but we got some strange looks in Positano when we rocked up looking beaten. You’ve been warned.
Path of the Gods End – Getting Back to Amalfi Coast Towns
Nocelle is the official trail end, and many continue to Positano by taking a SITA BUS down. Positano is not only a must-see coastal village but an ideal basecamp to get back to where you are staying.
Getting back to Sorrento and Amalfi
Take the ferry. From Positano to Amalfi (€9, 15 minutes). From Positano to Sorrento (€16.00, 30 minutes).
Getting back to Agerola
The buses to Agerola are rammed every evening, so here’s a tip. Before starting the hike, find the Travelamar travel office in Bomerano Square and book a combo ticket that includes the ferry from Positano to Amalfi and a private bus back to Agerola for €15. It saves the hassle of the bus scrum at the end of a tiring day.
Tips for a Successful Trek on the Path of the Gods
You are going to be thirsty, hungry, hot, and exhausted. Here’s how to make the hike as comfortable as possible.
What to Pack for the Day Hike
A reusable water bottle. Not only to limit single-use plastics, which is already a considerable problem in this touristic region but because there are a handful of public water taps to refill your bottle along the way.
Food and Snacks. Start by grabbing breakfast in Bomerano square. This hike requires some stamina, so fuel is vital. I recommend Panificio Manna Antonio bakery or stop for a coffee and pastry at Chéri Café or Caffetteria il Ritrovo.
Sun protection. Have plenty of sun cream to hand and a hat. The sun comes beating down on these mountain tops, and only small sections of the path are forested or partially shaded.
Camera / phone. Remember, the Path of the Gods is one of the best hikes in the world, and you will want to capture it.
What to Wear / Best Hiking Gear
Proper, sturdy hiking shoes. This is an actual hiking trail with a combination of light gravel and rocky pathways. You’ll need boots or trail runners with good terrain grip and ankle support.
Layers, such as a lightweight jacket. Earlier starts will be chilly, and you’ll need to easily strip down as the heat comes.
Path of the Gods Walking Tours
While the trek is easy enough to do solo, well-marked and well-versed by other trekkers, you might want to join a walking tour for some camaraderie. Those with less hiking experience might feel better being with a guide who knows the route and terrain better.
Ask your accommodation hosts for recommendations of guides available in the area you are staying in.
Where to Stay for Amalfi Coast Hiking
The Path of the Gods was a core part of our Amalfi Coast itinerary, and we structured our visit so we would be up in the hills with easier access to the trail.
We stayed in Albachiara – a family-run house in the Amalfi hills in the village of Agerola. Situated a little higher than Bomerano, it was a short 15-minute bus ride down to Bomerano and the start of the hike and saved the long journey up from Amalfi.
Further Hiking and Trekking Inspiration
Day hikes and multi-day trekking expeditions are a huge part of my travels all over the world. If Italy’s Path of the Gods sets your mind to bigger challenges, check out these trek guides to get you started on planning global mountain adventures.