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Hiking trail

Footpath of the Gods - Hotel La Perla in Praiano to Positano

Hiking trail · Salerno
Responsible for this content
Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Positano
    / Positano
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • View to Praiano
    / View to Praiano
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • Gulf of Salerno
    / Gulf of Salerno
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • Picnic Bench with a View
    / Picnic Bench with a View
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • Church of Santa Domenico
    / Church of Santa Domenico
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • Shrine to Mary Tucked in a Cave
    / Shrine to Mary Tucked in a Cave
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Carvings Alongside the Footpath of the Gods
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Church of Santa Maria Assunta
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
200 400 600 800 m km 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

From Praiano to Positano, the Footpath of the Gods tackles a rocky and unforgiving section of mountain, with a demanding climb, an equally demanding descent, and spectacular views throughout.

moderate
9.4 km
6:00 h
1489 m
1545 m

A relentless climb ensues straight out of Positano, offering little chance for a warm-up. Is it named The Footpath of the Gods because you’ll be praying for divine intervention halfway up, or because it feels like the stairway to heaven?

Once you’ve gained enough height, the path flattens out, and offers spectacular views stretching along the jagged coastline. It’s impossible to miss the iconic village of Positano cascading up the cliff, looking like giant ‘Jenga’ game that got out of hand, which will have you reaching for the camera with great regularity, but be sure to look beyond Positano; on a clear day, you might spot the Isle of Capri.

From Nocelle, there’s a sign saying it is 1,500 steps to Positano - Try not to look too smug when you see walkers coming up them! By the bottom your legs will be burning, but the warren of narrow streets in Positano are perfect to get lost in, crammed-full of intrigue and with art galleries and shops galore, along with some of the best food on the Amalfi Coast.

Author’s recommendation

With 1,500 steps to descend to Positano, allow a refreshing lemon slushie to rejuvenate you in Nocelle, before you set off.

outdooractive.com User
Author
Josiah Skeats
Updated: June 28, 2019

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
586 m
Lowest point
21 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

There are some exposed and unfenced edges throughout the walk; be careful and keep walking on the path.

There are several stretches where you must walk on the road as there is no pavement. Walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic, unless there is a verge separated by line-markings that provides space to walk on.

Much of the path is rocky. Bear in mind these may be slippery when wet, place your feet with care, and use the handrail, where one is provided.

Equipment

Sturdy hiking boots and a waterproof/wind-break layer are required. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.

Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.

Make sure you bring enough water. It is recommended to drink 0.75 litres per 1 hour of hiking.

Tips, hints and links

Points of Interest

Convento Di San Domenico

The path passes right beside – under, even – the Convent of Saint Domenico situated in its serene mountain setting. It has been customary, on the evening of the 4th August, to light a candle on your windowsill or balcony. On this night Saint Domenico would pass, and those who had left this mark of fire would be preserved from the devil for another year.

More information available here: https://www.summerinitaly.com/guide/the-convent-of-san-domenico

 

Church of Santa Maria Assunta

In Positano, almost every staircase appears to eventually bring you back to the piazza outside the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, which must demonstrate the historical significance it has been for the locals of Positano. The church was dedicated in the 10th century to San Vito, the patron saint of Positano, though when a Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary arrived nearly 200 years later, the Archbishop of Amalfi was quick to cast Vito aside and rededicate the church in her honour. What you see today is a restoration, maintaining its neo-classical style, from the late-1700’s.

More information available here: https://www.charmingitaly.com/article/positano-santa-maria-assunta

 

Food and Drink

There is a large section throughout this walk, from Praiano to Nocelle with limited opportunities to buy food or drink. Be sure to carry enough provisions for the entire hike.

There is a basic snack bar after 2.7 kilometres, near the Church di San Domenico, and another after 5.9 kilometres.

Nocelle has a few restaurants and cafes, and Positano, where you finish the hike, has a wide selection.

There are taps to fill your water bottles after 0.8, 1.9 and 7.4 kilometres.

Start

Hotel La Perla, Praiano (77 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
40.612113, 14.537266
UTM
33T 460856 4495802

Destination

Positano, Church of Santa Maria Assunta

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km - Start at Hotel La Perla. With your back to the entrance and facing the sea, TURN RIGHT to walk along the cobbled path and steps. After 40 metres ignore two sets of steps on your left, and one on your right, then CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON ignore a further four sets on your left and one on your right.

0.23km – BEAR RIGHT up a set of steps to remain no the path as it curves around. At the top of these steps, after 10 metres, TURN LEFT as you reach a T-junction with Via S. Giovanni. There are ceramic sea creatures along the wall. After 140 metres TURN RIGHT to climb a winding set of steps towards a road.

0.37km – TURN RIGHT along the road to walk towards a Tabacchi and a Bistro. After 30 metres BEAR LEFT to remain on the road, then after 50 metres TURN RIGHT sharply to head up a footpath with a slope on the left and steps on the right.

0.41km – At the top of the slope the footpath will open into a courtyard with a Bistro. TURN LEFT to head up the steps and onto Via Duomo. Walk along Via Duomo ignoring four sets of steps on your right and three on your left.

0.70km – After passing a covered archway, with the belltower on your left and the church on your right, you will enter Piazza San Luca; CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON across the piazza and onto the wide footpath ahead. After 140 metres, ignore the steps on your left and BEAR RIGHT to continue through a covered alleyway.

0.86km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON as the path joins the road, ignoring all side paths. On your right is a water machine where you can pay 10 euro cents to refill your water, and on your left is a viewpoint over Praiano. After 250 metres TURN RIGHT at the T-junction, to head uphill on Via Constantinopoli.

1.20km – BEAR LEFT as the road forks, following the sign for Convento S. Domenico. After 100 metres BEAR RIGHT at the road ends to head along the footpath.

1.50km – As the path forks, BEAR LEFT onto the set of steps heading downhill, and ignoring the steps on your right heading uphill.

1.80km – As the path forks, BEAR RIGHT to head uphill with the dry stone wall on your right. There might be a sign on the wall directing you this way for the artwork of Patrizia Marchi. This is the start of a tough climb.

2.00km – After the path makes a right turn, BEAR LEFT along the flat, paved path, following the Sentiero Degli Dei (path of the gods) sign and ignoring the steps immediately on your right. There is also a water tap here where you can refill your bottles. After 100 metres the path forks near a bench and an old, disused water tap; BEAR RIGHT onto the steep steps heading uphill.

2.20km –CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON along the steps ahead that wind their way uphill. Ignore the mud path on your left, and the steep stone steps turning sharply on your right. After 100 metres ignore the mud path that bears off the steps as they make a left turn. Remain on the steps admiring the many carved faces and figures along the way.

2.60km – 100 metres after passing a shrine to Mary the path will fork, BEAR RIGHT to keep heading uphill on the stone steps, and ignore a mud path bearing left through a gap in the wooden barricade.

2.70km – On your right, you will pass the Convento di San Domenico. After 100 metres CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON through an archway under a building.

2.80km - CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to pass a snack bar and the church on your right, and then pass just to the right of a shrine to Mary to continue along a gravel path. After the gravel path leads through an old entrance in the dry wall, TURN RIGHT to clamber uphill on the rocky path. After 10 metres, ignore the mud path on your right, and after another 20 metres, ignore a mud path on your left. The path here is rocky and more challenging; some of the rocks have a dot of paint on them to reassure you that you are heading in the right direction.

3.00km – There is an impressive arch in the natural rock on your right. TURN LEFT along the rocky path to head away from it. Bear in mind these rocky may be slippery when wet. Continue looking for rocks with paint on them to guide you.

3.30km – As the path opens out into a muddy clearing with a dry wall ahead, TURN LEFT sharply onto a section of footpath with lots of exposed tree roots and keeping the dry wall on your right. There is a sign here for Nocelle and Positano, though you might need to look over your left shoulder to see it. Ignore the two paths on your right, even though the rocks have lots of paint on them.

3.60km – As the path forks, BEAR LEFT heading downhill on the wide steps keeping the wooden barricade on your left. After 15 metres you’ll pass a picnic bench with fantastic views.

3.80km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON along the well-established path, ignoring a mud track heading towards a derelict building on your right. The path will continue with a steep slope towards the sea on your left, and impressive cliff-faces on your right.

4.40km – BEAR RIGHT up the rocks, some of which are painted, ignoring the mud path on your left. You might need to use your hands to clamber up some of these rocks. Place your feet carefully, remembering these rocks may be slippery when wet.

4.50km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON, passing by the plaque with the emergency phone number on, and ignoring the rocky path on your right. This path will continue around a section of path barricaded off for being too close to the edge.

5.40km – Enjoy the great viewpoint and photograph opportunity on your left. After 100 metres BEAR LEFT to remain on the mud path through the woods, ignoring the steps passing through the dry wall on your right.

6.30km – BEAR LEFT to walk along the wide, paved section, ignoring the steps on your right. You will immediately pass ‘The Kiosk of the Path of the Gods’ where you can buy some snacks or drink. After 200 metres BEAR LEFT to remain on the path as it heads down on a set of steps towards the sea. After 20 metres CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON down the steps, ignoring the flat path that transects the steps. You are walking on Via Cappella, signposted to Sentiero Nocelle.

6.60km – These steps will emerge into a piazza with the church on your left and some toilets nearby. There may be a juice stand selling refreshing lemon slushies – well recommended! BEAR RIGHT to leave the piazza and head downhill on the steps signposted to Via Cappella and Positano Centro.

6.90km – BEAR LEFT following the signpost for Commune di Positano, 1,500 steps. Yes, you read that correctly – 1,500 steps separate you and Positano. After 600 metres BEAR LEFT following the sign to Positano, ignoring the uphill steps on your right.

7.60km – You will finally escape the endless flight of steps and meet the road; TURN RIGHT to walk along the road towards Positano for 900 metres. Walk on the left side, facing the oncoming traffic. This road is narrow so stay alert for traffic coming from behind.

8.00km – There is a water fountain on your right, to allow you to refill your bottles.

8.60km – BEAR LEFT as the road forks, to follow the section of road marked ‘No Entry’. There is a bus stop on your left and right, should you need to return to Amalfi or Praiano, or towards Sorrento, after the walk.

9.10km – TURN LEFT sharply onto the pedestrian area. After 100 metres BEAR RIGHT to continue downhill on the slope, ignoring the steps on your left.

9.40km – BEAR RIGHT to finish in the piazza with Positano Cathedral towering over you. Why not have a quick look inside, before you hit the beach or a local restaurant?

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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Difficulty
moderate
Distance
9.4 km
Duration
6:00 h
Ascent
1489 m
Descent
1545 m
In and out Geological highlights Healthy climate

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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