The Sentieri Degli Dei is one of the most popular trails on the Amalfi Coast for its continuous breathtaking views (and the fact it only has one flight of stairs). Known as ‘Path of the Gods’ in English, this trail offers a eye-boggling array of vineyards perched perilously close to cliffs; weird and wonderful rock formations; antiquated stone houses disguised into the mountain faces, and of course those turquoise coves famed in the Amalfi Coast.
This trail is a good day trip for families, small groups and travellers looking for small-dosage adventure. Most of the trail is flat, and there are plenty of beautiful rest stops along the Sentieri Degli Dei (in fact, you’ll frequently find yourself stopping regardless of whether you’re tired). Intrepid explorers wanting to make a day of it can walk both of the Sentieri Degli Dei’s alternate routes, and even take a side hike to a hidden abandoned grotto, church and village – if you can brave the climb.
The Sentieri Degli Dei Trail
The trail measures approximately 10 km in length, starting in Bomerano and ending in the colourful mountain village of Nocelle. While the trail can be completed in 3 hours, most snap-happy hikers take their time and make a day of it. After reaching Nocelle, there’s an option to walk 3 km to picture-perfect Positano, where well-polished tourists rub shoulders with hikers and locals alike in bustling streetside cafes and gelato stands.
Upon reaching Bomerano, the Sentieri Degli Dei starts on Piazzo Paolo Compasso, which then merges onto Via Pennino. Roughly 300 metres later the trail forks. Veer right and the trail continues past a cafe and a sign announcing the trail’s starting line. Continuing straight leads hikers onto a different trail to the Chiesa e Grotta di Santa Barbara.
Only one other set of hikers ventured down this trail when we visited, and given its steepness, with good reason. About 20 minutes or so of hiking we arrived at a series of caves etched into the cliff, along with a hidden cave. With the sun high in the sky we ventured inside, and marvelled at the otherworldly formations stretching from the ground and ceiling. Evidence of the area’s religious importance lay scattered and partially ruined. Seeing it in its present-day state gave a somber atmosphere to the place, and we eventually climbed back up the path.
With several hours of hiking ahead of us we decided to fuel up on hearty bowls of pasta (when in Rome Amalfi, am I right?). The cafe near the starting point, Punto Ristoro, offered steaming bowls of Sorrentine gnocchi with fat, thirst-quenching glasses of lemonade. The phrase ‘la vida es bella’ sprang to mind.
Upon reaching the tiled sign denoting the trailhead, we simply followed the painted logo to keep along the Sentieri Degli Dei. The markers are placed every 5-10 feet, and were easy enough to follow. Despite the trail’s popularity, the hikers we encountered were few and far between. Like us, most were lost in the rugged beauty of the landscape.
After an hour or so the Sentieri Degli Dei reaches a fork. The first option edges further down the slope, offering views of the sea and a stop at a monastery. The second follows the ridge along more caves and rock formations, with panoramic views of the surrounding cliffs and vineyards. Never one to pass an opportunity of discovering more rock to climb, we took the ridge path.
Along here the route narrows somewhat and can become more ‘wild’ in some parts. With fewer people around, take the chance to stop and admire the nature of Amalfi. While the big cliffs are the showstopper, its short trees and shrubs burst with flowers, butterflies and a chorus of insects that offer a calm respite from the noise and bustle of Italy’s cities. The painted markers also become more worn around this section, so ensure you keep a keen eye out, although the vision of Nocelle directly ahead also offers a handy directional feature.
In the final hour or so of the hike signposts appear offering directions to Nocelle. While we found their measurements should be taken with a pinch of salt, they were a helpful reassurance we hadn’t strayed off the path. Around this point the two alternate routes of the Sentieri Degli Dei converge and the trail widens again. Energetic hikers should turn onto the new route and complete a loop of the two routes at this point.
The trail ends abruptly, where the shaded path turns a corner and meets a street in Nocelle. Here the bustling-yet-relaxed cafe Il Chiosco serves ice-cold drinks and scoops of ice cream.
Many hikers choose to end their hike here, but we continued on, eager to see Positano. Close-packed houses in clashing pastel shades; sandy beaches; narrow, winding streets – Positano is quite possibly the archetype of Amalfi coastal towns, making it a big draw for tourists. While our sweat-soaked bodies were in no state to do any designer shopping in Positano, we wandered its streets with teetering ice cream cones, admiring the beautiful architecture that stands in stark contrast to the rugged cliffs of the area.
Food and Drink on the Sentieri Degli Dei
Pack your bags (or stomachs) with food before hiking; there are no food or drink stops along the trail. Bomerano has several cafes and convenience stores where you can buy pastries, pizzas, gelato and drinks before embarking on the hike. At the start and finish marks however there are two cafes.
The starting-line cafe, Punto Ristoro Il Caffe Degli Dei, can quickly whip up fresh bowls of pasta alongside ice-cold lemonade. It’s a perfect option when you want to take a more leisure pace along the trail. If you’re racing to reach the finish line, then rest up and appreciate the narrow, colourful streets of Nocelle at Il Chiosco Del Sentieri Degli Dei with glasses of Amalfi lemonade and ice cream.
The Sentieri Degli Dei can be tricky, but not impossible to reach, from Sorrento. Most tourist information centres recommend taking a Sita bus from Sorrento to Amalfi, and then another bus to Amalfi-Agerola. This journey takes 3 hours, and bus services are limited. A shorter option (2 hours) is to take a train to Castellammare di Stabia, and then the 5080 bus to Bomerano, the village where the Sentieri Degli Dei begins. Arrive in Castellammare with plenty of time however, as you must find a tobacchi (tobaccoist/newsagent) to buy a bus ticket, and walk to the stop. The bus can sometimes leave a little early too, so be at the stop ahead of schedule!
To return to Sorrento from Positano, take the 5070 bus. Arrive with plenty of time; the buses are usually busy before they reach Positano and it might take 2-3 buses passing before one with space arrives.
The journey normally takes an hour and follows the winding coastal roads, offering more sun-soaked scenery.
What to Wear
- Comfortable walking shoes and socks
- Breathable top
Depending on when you visit, it can grow very hot on the Sentieri Degli Dei! Avoid jeans, and anything that would constrict movement.
What to Bring on Sentieri Degli Dei
- A hat
- Two litres of water
Want to extend your stay in Amalfi? Then check out my recommendations of adventurous activities in the area!