Hiking the Path of the Gods: Complete Guide & Maps

Hike in Amalfi Coast

The Path Of The Gods
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Jack45

Situated atop the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea, hiking the Path of the Gods is a premier and picturesque adventure along Italy’s Amalfi Coast. This guide provides all the essential planning details and what to anticipate on the trail.

The Path of the Gods, or Sentiero degli Dei in Italian, truly lives up to its grand name. According to myth, it was the route the gods would take from the heavens to the sea, enticed by the sirens. Winding along cliffs high above the Tyrrhenian Sea, it’s easy to see why this hike is a must-do on the Amalfi Coast.

Offering uninterrupted views of the ocean and the majestic Lattari Mountains, the trail also presents a breathtaking aerial perspective of Positano. This hike uniquely begins and ends in the quaint hillside villages of Bomerano and Nocelle, making it not only a spectacular journey but also conveniently accessible by public transport.

Let’s explore all you need to know about embarking on the unforgettable experience of hiking the Path of the Gods!

Path of the Gods hike at a glance

While the Path of the Gods is a well-traveled route, it’s important to note that it features rocky dirt paths and numerous steep stairs, making it a genuine hiking challenge. Certain sections of the trail run close to the cliff edge, offering dramatic drop-offs. However, for someone like me with vertigo and a fear of heights, I found the paths sufficiently wide and the cliffs gradual enough to navigate comfortably without issues—contrary to some cautionary tales I had read on other blogs.

This scenic trail can be approached from either direction, or even combined as an out-and-back adventure, depending on your preference and endurance. The most favored and suggested start is from Bomerano in the morning, which strategically positions the sun behind you for a more pleasant hike. Additionally, while many hikers choose to travel between Bomerano and Positano, an alternative route exists that leads to or from Praiano, providing even more ways to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Amalfi Coast’s famed Path of the Gods.

Path of the Gods trail map

The map illustrates the official Path of the Gods trail connecting Bomerano and Nocelle. The dotted line extending from Nocelle to Positano isn’t officially part of the trail, but it remains a favored route for those wishing to start or conclude their hike in Positano.

It’s important to note that the walk from Nocelle to Positano involves descending more than 1,700 steps. Conversely, if you decide to begin your hike in Positano, be prepared for a strenuous climb up those same steps to reach the starting point of the trail in Nocelle. This segment can be quite demanding, so it’s worth considering your fitness level and hiking experience when planning your journey.

Things to know before you go

The Path of the Gods is renowned for its well-trodden yet challenging terrain, consisting of rocky dirt paths and numerous steep stairs. Notably, parts of the trail skirt close to the cliff edge, presenting dramatic vistas and sheer drop-offs. Despite my own issues with vertigo and a fear of heights, I was pleasantly surprised to find the paths sufficiently wide and the cliff edges gradual enough to navigate comfortably, which was a reassuring contrast to some of the cautionary accounts I had read.

This picturesque trail can be traversed from either direction, or even tackled as an out-and-back journey, depending on personal preference and stamina. The recommended starting point is Bomerano in the morning. This strategic choice helps keep the sun at your back, making for a more enjoyable hike. Many opt to hike from Bomerano to Positano, but there is also an alternative route that extends to or from Praiano, offering diverse experiences and views on the stunning Amalfi Coast. This variety allows hikers to choose their own adventure, experiencing the breathtaking beauty of the Path of the Gods in a way that best suits their hiking desires and capabilities.

Best time of year for hiking the Path of the Gods

The Path of the Gods is open year-round, as the Amalfi Coast typically does not experience snow, allowing the trail to remain accessible during winter. However, hiking immediately after rainfall is not recommended due to the slippery nature of the rocky terrain. Particularly, it is wise to avoid the trail in November, which is the wettest month, to enhance safety and enjoyment.

Aside from weather considerations, the volume of tourists and the climate are other important factors. The trail becomes particularly crowded in July and August when the Amalfi Coast attracts a large number of visitors. Even in May, the path is often busy with fellow hikers.

Summer temperatures can soar into the high 80s (°F), making the hike challenging due to the lack of shade along the mostly exposed trail.

For the best overall experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April/May or September/October. These months typically offer more moderate weather and fewer crowds, providing a more enjoyable hiking experience with stunning views of the sparkling blue sea below.

How long does it take to hike the Path of the Gods?

Hiking the Path of the Gods typically ranges from three to five hours, depending on your chosen route and personal pace and fitness level.

However, it’s important to consider that when you add the travel time to and from the trail, the infrequent bus schedules, and stops for capturing photos, this excursion will likely occupy a significant portion of your day. For example, we departed Positano on the 9:05 a.m. ferry to Amalfi, hiked at a steady pace from Bomerano to Nocelle, descended the stairs from Nocelle, and returned to Positano by around 2:00 p.m.

For those pressed for time, opting for a taxi to and from the trailheads is a feasible alternative. The segment of the trail between Bomerano and Nocelle took us about two hours. However, keep in mind the additional expense, as taxi fares can be quite high.

How difficult is the Path of the Gods hike?

The Path of the Gods, while not exceptionally challenging, is considered a moderate hike. This is due to several factors:

  1. Terrain: The path consists of rocky trails and includes some steep stairs, which can be demanding for those not accustomed to hiking on uneven surfaces.
  2. Length: The trail runs about 7.8 kilometers (approximately 4.8 miles) from Bomerano to Nocelle. Depending on your pace, this can take between three to five hours to complete.
  3. Elevation Changes: While there are some elevation gains and losses along the route, they are generally gradual and not excessively steep, making them manageable for most hikers with a reasonable level of fitness.
  4. Exposure: Much of the trail is exposed to the sun, which can add to the difficulty during the hotter months of the year. It’s important to prepare for sun exposure and carry sufficient water.
  5. Vertigo: For those with a fear of heights, certain sections of the trail run close to cliff edges. However, these areas typically have wide paths, which many find manageable.

Overall, while it’s accessible to those with moderate hiking experience, it’s advisable to wear appropriate footwear, carry water, use sun protection, and pace yourself according to your fitness level. Additionally, consider the season and start early in the day to avoid the hottest temperatures and to experience the trail in more tranquil conditions before the crowds arrive.

How to get to the Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi town to get to Bomerano

To start your hike along the Path of the Gods, you’ll need to reach the small village of Bomerano. While driving there is an option, it is generally not recommended due to the limited parking availability and the challenging nature of the narrow, winding roads.

Public transportation is a much more viable alternative. No matter where you’re staying along the Amalfi Coast, you’ll likely need to connect through the town of Amalfi to get to Bomerano. From Positano, you can take a ferry to Amalfi and then catch a bus, or directly use the bus services if you’re coming from Sorrento or other locations on the coast. The specific bus to Bomerano, numbered 5080 and operated by the SITA network, departs from Piazza Flavio Gioia in Amalfi and the journey takes about 40 minutes. Bus tickets cost 2.20€ for a one-way trip and can be purchased at the Tabacchi shop located on the corner of the square; they are not available for purchase on the bus.

Be aware that buses do not run very frequently and their schedules can vary with the seasons. It’s wise to double-check the timetable before you set out, and there’s also an app available that provides real-time updates.

Knowing exactly where to get off for the Path of the Gods can be tricky. It’s helpful to use GPS for guidance or ask for the “Sentiero degli Dei” stop. During the high season, many passengers will be hikers like yourself, which can make it easier to know when and where to disembark.

From Positano to Amalfi 

To travel from Positano to Amalfi, you have two main options: by ferry or by the SITA bus.

Taking the ferry is often the preferred choice for its scenic views and efficiency, as it can get you to Amalfi in as little as 15 minutes. However, this convenience comes at a higher cost with tickets priced at 10€. You can purchase these tickets from the Lucibello transportation booth located on Spiaggia Grande Beach in Positano.

Alternatively, buses from Positano to Amalfi offer a more economical option. The journey takes about 50 minutes and, similar to the route to Bomerano, tickets must be bought before boarding. You can catch the bus at the Positano Sponda bus stop. Tickets are priced at 2.20€ and are available at any Tabacchi shop in town.

It’s important to note that during the summer months, this bus route can become extremely busy, often resulting in buses that are full to capacity and require standing room only. Therefore, planning ahead and considering your comfort preferences is advisable, especially during peak tourist season.

From Sorrento to Amalfi

Traveling from Sorrento to Amalfi offers similar transport options as those from Positano, though the journey is slightly longer. The bus route that connects Sorrento to Amalfi passes through Positano, beginning in Sorrento. By bus, the trip takes about 1.5 hours and typically costs 2.90€. It’s a good idea to check the schedule online beforehand to plan your trip accordingly.

Alternatively, taking the ferry provides a quicker and more comfortable journey, albeit at a higher cost. A one-way ferry ticket costs 17€. The duration of the ferry ride varies; the fastest ferries complete the journey in just under an hour, while the slower ones can take over 1.5 hours. Tickets for the ferry can be booked directly at the port in Sorrento or through online platforms like Ferry Hopper. This option, while more expensive, offers scenic sea views and a more relaxed travel experience compared to the bus.

Group Tour from Sorrento

If you’re not keen on navigating public transportation, I completely understand! An excellent alternative is to join a group tour from Sorrento, accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide.

While group hiking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it offers a fantastic opportunity to connect with fellow travelers. Additionally, the convenience of having all transportation logistics handled for you can provide significant peace of mind. For many, this ease of travel and the chance to enjoy a structured exploration with expert insights about the area might well justify the trade-off.

Path of the Gods route: Bomerano to Locelle

Once you arrive in Bomerano, make your way to Piazza Paola Capasso, the main town square, where you can pick up any water, snacks, or last-minute supplies before starting your hike. From the square, locate trail sign #327, Sentiero degli Dei, in the plaza’s southwest corner.

Begin your hike by heading up a narrow alleyway; after about 15 minutes, you’ll reach the trailhead of the Path of the Gods. The stunning vistas begin almost immediately, featuring spectacular cliffs, traditional terraced farms, and rugged rocky outcrops. Soon into your trek, you’ll come across an intersection marked by a freshwater tap. Here, it’s crucial to continue on trail 327, not 327A, if you’re seeking the most scenic views.

However, trail 327A, being less exposed, might be preferable for those seeking some shade or a less crowded path. Regardless of your choice, both trails eventually converge, leading you to the same destination.

Be sure to avoid straying onto the path that leads towards Praiano, which diverges just further up from the intersection.

Overall, the trail is well-marked. Simply follow the signs pointing towards Nocelle, and you should have no trouble finding your way along this remarkable and scenic route.

As you continue along the Path of the Gods, the trail narrows, enhancing the scenic experience as it seems to soar high above the ocean. Despite prior warnings about steep drop-offs and precarious ledges, the path is considerably less intimidating than anticipated. While the dirt trail becomes rocky and somewhat uneven in patches, it remains quite navigable, even along the hillside.

Along the trail, there are several spots where you can refill your water bottle with clean drinking water—tap water in Italy is famously pure. Additionally, there’s a charming and quirky café known as Ulisse’s House located midway, where you can pause for a refreshing cold drink.

The hike from west to east, starting from Bomerano and heading towards Nocelle, is predominantly downhill in the first half, with more variations in elevation as you approach the end. Near the conclusion of the hike, you’ll be rewarded with the most stunning views of the journey—a breathtaking panorama over Positano and the coastline.

The trail eventually leads into the cool shade of the forest, veering away from the coast as it winds down towards Nocelle. Here, take the opportunity to enjoy a snack, a cup of coffee, or an ice-cold lemon granita. After refreshing yourself, you can either take on the challenge of descending over 1,700 steps to Positano or opt for a more leisurely return by bus.

The Hiking the Path of the Gods: Complete Guide & Maps appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Amalfi Coast!

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Visiting Hiking the Path of the Gods: Complete Guide & Maps

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