Sure, I knew that the Path of the Gods — also known as Il Sentiero degli Dei — technically led to Positano; however, I had no idea what adventure truly lay ahead.
A lot of people tout the pathway as one of the top active Italy adventures and a must-do when hiking the Amalfi Coast.
And there is a good reason for this. If you’re researching things to do in the Amalfi Coast, I will tell you, as someone who has now experienced the Path of the Gods trail for herself, it is definitely NOT overrated.
In fact, I’d go as far as to call it one of the most beautiful trails in the world!
Psst, don’t forget to pin this Path of the Gods guide for later!
While trying to research how to hike the Path of the Gods, my husband Andy and I found a plethora of information on available tours, but not really a step-by-step guide with a personal account of the experience.
So, I decided to create one myself. Trust me; you won’t want to miss adding this to your Amalfi Coast itinerary — or even a longer Italy road trip route.
Table of Contents
- What Type Of Hiker Are You? [Free Quiz!]
- Path Of The Gods Map
- How To Get To The Path Of The Gods
- Hiking Path Of The Gods: Trail Beginning
- Path Of The Gods History
- Hiking The Amalfi Coast: From Lush Green To Sparkling Blue
- Path Of The Gods Amalfi Coast Is Not Easy
- A Seaside Showcase Of Resilient Humans
- Unexpected Amalfi Coast Views Along The Way
- A Spritz Stop Along The Trail
- A Long Way Down The Path Of The Gods
- Leaving Positano: A New View
- Booking A Public Or Private Tour For The Path Of The Gods
- How To Hike The Path Of The Gods: Frequently Asked Questions
- Italy Travel Insurance
- Places To Stay In The Amalfi Coast
- Dive Deeper Into Our Epic Italy Road Trip!
What Type Of Hiker Are You? [Free Quiz!]
But first, before we get into everything you need to know before hiking the Path of the Gods, I want to share a free personality quiz I think you’ll love:
Click here to take the free quiz!
It’s called “What type of hiker are you?” and it will help you discover your hiking personality.
Your results also share trail suggestions based on your results!
On that note, let’s dive into our incredible Amalfi Coast hike!
Path Of The Gods Map
To help give you a lay of the land and understand where you’ll be hiking when doing the Path of the Gods, here is a map:
You can also click here for an interactive map.
How To Get To The Path Of The Gods
You’ll find the Path of the Gods trailhead in Bomerano, not far from the bus stop.
What’s important to know if you’re taking the bus is it’ll say “Agerola” or “Agerola (Bomerano).” I recommend either staying in the town of Amalfi or taking the scenic ferry there.
Once in Amalfi, grab the 25-minute bus to Bomerano.
Note for clarification: The Amalfi Coast is made up of various coastal towns, with Amalfi being one of these towns. Amalfi Coast is the region; Amalfi is a town within the region.
If you’re driving you can simply plug Path of the Gods into Google Maps and it comes up. Click here to grab a pin of the free parking lot right near the trailhead.
Once you park, walk and follow Google Maps — and the signs for “Il Sentiero degli Dei” that begin appearing.
Signage tells you where to find the trail
Hiking Path Of The Gods: Trail Beginning
At first, this 5-mile hike feels very residential, as you pass terraced farmland dotted with homes growing wine grapes, tomatoes, wheat and more.
The landscape takes me back to years before when I’d hiked the Longji Rice Terraces in China, with sloped hillside winding like a vibrant green snake.
Beginning of the Path of the Gods trail Wine grapes along the trail
In this beginning section, it’s easy to forget we’re on the coast, as it feels more like Ecuadorian cloud forest than the Italian coast.
As we move farther along the trail though, the view becomes more layered, multiple hillsides saying hello along with pockets of the sparkling Gulf of Salerno and of Naples.
Path Of The Gods History
We also pass through the “Grotta del Biscotto,” where abandoned centuries-old stone houses sit embedded into the cliff.
Scents of thyme, laurel and rosemary waft through the air — typical plants of Agerola you’ll even find in the local food.
According to the New York Times, the Path of the Gods in Italy was “carved out by Greek settlers in the eighth century B.C. and later used by those living in secluded monasteries.”
In terms of the name, the Star Tribute notes the Path was given its title by Italian historian and politician Giustino Fortunato in the mid-1800s.
It stems from the gorgeous views of the sparkling waters and the island of Capri, not to mention the mythological history.
Actually, the story goes that gods came down from heaven to the Path to reach the sea and its “sirens” that sang in an attempt to seduce Ulysses, the king of a small island in the Ionian sea (Ithaca).
Hiking The Amalfi Coast: From Lush Green To Sparkling Blue
Walking the Path of the Gods, it’s easy to see why the gods may have chosen it to visit.
A steep roadway soon leads to another ascent, Via Santa Domenica, with multiple religious odes like crosses and nativity scenes.
Lush trees along the Path of the Gods hike The landscape is constantly changing An eerie view along the Path of the Gods
I went into the trek knowing I’d see the water, though I had no idea just how often the landscape and views would change; sometimes slightly, other times dramatically.
While one moment I’m looking out over gnarled brush, the next the sea is sparkling with hillside rippling beyond it.
Then there would be lush green and delicious plants, followed by a covered forest with a floor coated in leaves or a shady cave.
Suddenly, the Path turns cavernous
Turning another corner, I might be standing beside a monolith five times my size, gazing out at a random tree that reminds me of the Dragons Bloods of Yemen.
I’m no botanist, but this reminded me of Yemen’s Dragon Blood Trees Wildlife on the Path of the Gods trail
Of course, when near anything with height my rock climber boyfriend Andy feels the need to ascend it. Actually, there are rock climbing routes.
I tried rock climbing in Croatia and loved it, though looking at the rocky ground and steep drop-offs here makes my palms sweat. Which reminds me:
Whenever you’re going on a trip, and especially when you’re weaving in adventure, it’s vital to purchase travel insurance. Soon the highlight of the vista becomes the sea, our endpoint of Positano in view.
So close but so far, as we still have a few hours — and many stairs — to go.
There are lots of stairs along the trek Positano in the distance
Still, Positano’s gorgeous pastel-colored homes embedded into the terraced cliffside are gorgeous, and are enough motivation to propel us past the uphill climbs.
There are also tiles with uplifting panels mounted onto the rock face.
Additionally, numbers count down letting us know when we’ve completed another kilometer; which is great, because there are 7.8 in total! Or, if you prefer miles, the Path of the Gods distance is about 4.9 miles.
Signs counting down the kilometers Back into the woods
Path Of The Gods Amalfi Coast Is Not Easy
To be honest, most of the trail is flat, with sections of uneven stone steps. At no point am I gasping for breath, though I wouldn’t call it easy either.
What might make you gasp are some of the viewpoints located precariously close to sheer drop-offs extending a half-mile down (read: this is not for the vertigo-prone!).
I go out onto a few but stay far back enough to keep vertigo at bay.
We see precariously placed homes that seem like the small edge of earth should not hold them, and that the ledge should tumble down, but it stays strong.
I believe I can fly (don’t worry; not really!)
A Seaside Showcase Of Resilient Humans
Constantly, Andy and I wonder if we’d be able to live the way these cliffside-dwellers lived — and still do.
Rounding every corner a new, more beautiful Amalfi Coast view appears, which I can’t imagine ever getting old.
Houses on the hillside
However, there’s no denying this was — and is — a resilient culture.
Despite rough, uneven terrain, centuries of people have pushed forward to make the land habitable.
Not only that; but prosperous too with vineyards, lemon groves and vegetable gardens seeming to dangle over the gulf. When they need to travel, mules are used for transport.
Unexpected Amalfi Coast Views Along The Way
But not all the homes are occupied.
While we knew we’d see gorgeous sea views on this Italy adventure, we didn’t expect to find ruins with doors that ominously invite us in.
Inside, looking at piles of broken wood, I try to imagine who may have inhabited these structures and what they did inside.
What was obvious: whoever spent time in this space had an insane vista. I mean, just look at this:
Would you live on a precarious-looking cliff edge if you had a stunning view? Hiking The Path Of The Gods In Italy
Up and up we climb, getting to closer to the sky as we’re sometimes scrambling over boulders, other times taking small steps up tree trunks-turned-stairs.
The higher we go toward the mushroom clouds, the more patterns I see; not just in the heavens, but in the winding paths below.
Wild shapes take form with outstretched branches and trees meeting the anchored yachts and day boats leisurely floating.
Vertigo-inducing viewpoint (there are many of these!) Stopping for a little trail yoga on the Path of the Gods
While for a while we walk under the sun, there are times when we’re completely shaded under trees, leaves covering ground once gowned in dust and rock.
Then, a bird’s-eye view of Capri would appear.
As I take it all in, I wonder if there any other Amalfi Coast things to do that even remotely compare to this trek.
A Spritz Stop Along The Trail
Back through the forest we climb, and back down the stone steps we descend.
Finally, we come to a shaded area where an adorable orange cat walks in front of what must be 100+ cairns.
Cairns along the Path of the Gods trail Cute kitty along the trail
While I know you shouldn’t make cairns — remember when hiking to always leave no trace — I do snap a photo to capture the awe-inspiring feeling.
In the still quiet, it’s abundantly clear others have come before me, some today, some centuries ago.
Interestingly, in late August we’re practically the only ones on the trail.
At 463 meters high we reach the “Grotte,” where we swap dirt path for the rocky climb. Even better, it’s only 0.15 kilometers to Nocelle, which many hikers treat as the end of the trek.
At two hours in I’m starving and needing energy.
Signs directing us to Nocelle Rough terrain along the Path of the Gods hike
Luckily, as we reach Nocelle a small restaurant built into the hillside — a gorgeous terrace jutting out over the emptiness — comes into view.
There’s no name on the door (I find out through Facebook check-in it’s called Il Chiosco), but a chalkboard sign boasts mojitos, homemade limoncello and, most importantly, Aperol Spritz.
Our sweaty bodies and tired limbs don’t need coaxing. We walk right in, through a dark room with three locals hanging out as if in their living room.
They point to the terrace, and as we step out onto it our jaws literally drop.
A Spritz + a view along the Path of the Gods!
It helps that the Spritz’ and paninis we order are delicious; though, even if they hadn’t been this restaurant would have been a worthy stop.
Sitting on the edge, practically dangling off the mountain, we sip and snack in silence, in awe of how small we feel as the valley seems to swallow us up.
A Long Way Down The Path Of The Gods
I’m so thankful to have stopped for the Spritz, as Andy and I soon find ourselves walking down around 1500 steps (it’s somewhere between 1000 and 1700, depending on who you ask).
If you’re thinking “at least it wasn’t up 1,000 steps,” I wish I had a video of how shaky my legs were with each forward descent.
Just a leisurely walk down about 1500 steps. No biggie! Hiking along the Path of the Gods in Italy
Soon, we find ourselves jogging down, just wanting to get this last stretch finished with.
Suddenly, though, we notice the signs to Positano have disappeared, and we spill out into the town of Arienzo.
After asking a few locals, we realize the path doesn’t continue as a trek, per say, but by walking down the winding coastal Amalfi Drive.
You just have to walk down this beautiful but precarious highway to reach Positano The lovely but slender Amalfi Drive
Picture a coastal region full of NASCAR drivers with a death wish, bounding around hairpin turns. The sidewalks during this leg are super skinny, so we must stay alert.
While slightly harrowing, it’s the way of the coast, and the drivers, while seemingly crazy, are also seemingly aware of pedestrians.
We breathe a sigh of relief as we stroll onto a winding road lined with upscale shops and gluten-free cafes.
Posh Positano is gorgeous, and I love window shopping the unique garments here. Realistically, however, it’s almost all out of my budget.
Isn’t Positano beautiful?
One spot we fall in love with is Liquid Art, a gallery with uber-inspiring pieces that trick your vision.
Paper flowers poke out from the wall, airbrushed hues of purple transforming to green as I tilt my head to the right in front of them.
Three ballerinas begin dancing as I walk by, and a man crafted from marble appears to be breaking through a gallery wall, only select limbs in motion visible.
Next door, their sculpture garden offers an al fresco experience, and we continue enjoying the sun by strolling to the beach.
Now, an afternoon at Arienzo Beach Club is always welcome; but imagine how good the Tyrrhenian Sea waters feel on skin that’s just trekked up and down a mountain for three hours.
We aren’t simply enjoying a beach; we earned this beach, and we savor every minute of the swim. It’s definitely a highlight of our time traveling in Italy.
Leaving Positano: A New View
We skip the bus and instead choose to take the scenic ferry for 8 Euros back to Amalfi.
Conveniently, a takeaway cocktail stand sits just in front of the ferry dock.
Aperol Spritz’ in hand, we board the ferry and sit on its upper deck during the 25-minute ride to the town of Amalfi.
Spritz iPhone selfie on the ferry after hiking the Path of the Gods
While the Path of the Gods offered a gorgeous view looking out onto the sea and down the cliffside, the ferry allows us to really take in the challenge we’ve just accomplished.
My tired muscles tell what I’d achieved walking the Path of the Gods, but gazing out over the mountain, the elevated terraced slopes in view, I feel both proud of myself for my accomplishment and thankful for the opportunity to accomplish it.
If you love active adventure on a budget — we spent about $20 USD for a large salami and cheese panini and two cocktails + about $18 USD for two ferry tickets — then you won’t want to miss this incredible hike.
Booking A Public Or Private Tour For The Path Of The Gods
Whether you’re a solo female traveler who’d prefer to hike in a group or you simply enjoying exploring with a local guide, there are a number of private and public tour options, like:
- Path of the Gods Hiking Tour from Sorrento
- Pompeii Amalfi and Positano Private Tour
- Climbing Experience – The Path Of The Gods
- Private Amalfi Coast ‘Path of the Gods’ Hike from Agerola
- Half-Day Private Amalfi Coast Path of the Gods Hike with Lunch from Pianillo
Click here for a full list of Path of the Gods tours.
How To Hike The Path Of The Gods: Frequently Asked Questions
1) How long does it take to walk the Path of the Gods?
The Path of the Gods hike is about five miles long. It will take you about one-and-a-half to two hours, and potentially a bit longer if you stop for lunch or a drink. It can easily be hiked in half a day. Just make sure to wear proper hiking apparel!
2) Why is it called the Path of the Gods?
The Path of the Gods was named by Italian historian and politician Giustino Fortunato in the mid-19th century, who was inspired by the hike’s beautiful views and mythological history.
It is said that gods came down from heaven to the Path to reach the sea and its “sirens” that sang in an attempt to seduce Ulysses, the king of a small island in the Ionian sea (Ithaca).
3) Is the Path of the Gods worth it?
The Path of the Gods is definitely worth it if you’re visiting the Amalfi Coast. In fact, if you like hiking and active adventures it’s recommended to put this at the very top of your itinerary.
4) How do I get to the Path of the Gods from Praiano?
From Praiano, it is about an hour drive to Bomerano, where you can start the hike.
You can also take the bus to Agerola-Bomerano, which has a transfer in Roma and takes about one hour and 47 minutes total.
5) How do I get from Naples to the Path of the Gods?
From Naples, the drive to Bomerano takes about one hour. You can also take a bus from Porta Nolana station in Naples. You’ll then get off at Napoli Garibaldi and walk less than five minutes to Ferraris Galileo for the bus to Agerola-Bomerano.
The trip takes about two hours in total.
6) What are the top things to do in the Amalfi Coast?
Hiking the Amalfi Coast, specifically doing the Path of the Gods, will introduce you to some of the destination’s most spectacular views.
Additionally, don’t miss enjoying the beaches, wandering the charming towns, and visiting nearby islands — like Ischia, where there are many things to do.
Click here to get travel insurance for your Italy trip!
Italy Travel Insurance
While you hope everything runs smoothly, sometimes travel just doesn’t go according to plan.
This is why I recommend always purchasing travel insurance. The scary truth is it only takes one bad accident to lose everything — or be thankful you were covered.
Personally, I use SafetyWing, as they’ve got a large network, offer both short-term and long-term coverage (including limited coverage in your home country), are budget-friendly, and offer $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.
Click here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.
Places To Stay In The Amalfi Coast
Looking for accommodation?
Click here for a list of Amalfi Coast hotels!
Prefer self-contained stays?
Click here to check out unique local rentals!
You can also use this map to search for local stays:
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Things To Do In Ischia
Pricing: The hike is free. No tour is needed, though they are available.
Physical Fitness: The Path of the Gods is a moderate hike. Anyone in relatively good shape can complete it. There are certainly challenging sections due to the rough terrain and many steps, but if you love being active you’ll be fine.
Packing: For this hike, make sure to pack:
- Backpack — I recommend one of these high-quality yet affordable backpacks for under $100
- 2 liters of water
- Face wipes (optional; but it’s refreshing to wipe your sweaty face with them during the hike, especially with these coconut wipes)
- A bathing suit (I love Unique Vintage)
- A camera
- Sunscreen / SPF chapstick
- Sunglasses / Hat
- Cash (for transportation and food along the way)
Getting To The Amalfi Coast: We rented a car in Florence and drove to Tuscany, Umbria and the Amalfi Coast. It was pretty much all an easy, enjoyable drive until the Amalfi Coast, which is scenic yet harrowing with the crazy traffic circles and fast-paced hairpin turns. Some of the roads are so narrow we would burst out laughing while also freaking out about how we’d realistically go through them (watch this clip from Master of None at minute 4:15 for a similar experience).
Otherwise, you can get there by using Italy’s reliable train system. For train travel in Europe I love GoEuro, which is often less expensive and less confusing than booking through the actual train companies. Book in advance for cheaper rates.
- Understand that in many places there will be an extra charge for sitting at a table.
- Note that you do not need to tip — service is typically included — though you can leave 5-10% if you wish
- While in the US if a restaurant serves a snack that was not asked for, like bread or peanuts, it’s safe to assume it’s complimentary. In Italy though we often charged a few Euros for these. If you don’t want them, say so.