On a road trip of southern Italy, the combination of the seriously delicious and tempting Italian cuisine carbs and long days sitting down can start to take its toll. With a few days to unwind in the Positano area, it was time to get active and explore one of the most beautiful, but surprisingly quiet, hiking trails on Italy’s Amalfi Coast: The Path of the Gods.
Upon hearing the name, my initial reactions were “Oh, the explorer who mapped out this trail must’ve been religious” followed swiftly by humming “you raise me uuuuuup!” I quickly discovered that I shouldn’t expect some form of a white light situation falling from the sky, nor should I give myself the excuse to sing unapologetically (and very badly). The name is simply an indication of how spectacular the en route scenery is. Honestly, this hike remains firmly placed in my Top 3 hiking experiences ever and has no signs of budging.
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We were staying in the hilltop town of Montepertuso, high above the justifiably popular tourist town of Positano. This meant that we were not walking in the direction that was a ‘gentle, downhill stroll’, as promised by some travel forums. Nonetheless, we’d been stretching our stomachs with pasta, gelato, and cheese for a few days, so we set out first thing in the morning.
After what seemed like a good hour just walking on the side of the extremely narrow road and dodging vehicles that always looked like they were going to topple over the edge. We saw the wooden painted sign “Sentiero Degli Dei”, which marked the start of the trail. This was also when we realised we could have just paid two euros to catch the bus up here.
I was concentrating so much on pacing my breath going uphill that I almost forgot to stop every few seconds to just take in the stunning views. The path itself was mainly dirt, sand, and a few shrubs here and there, but the panoramic view of Positano behind us was absolutely breathtaking. If we squinted, we could see Capri far off in the distance and the Tyrrhenian Sea we were facing was such a vivid aquamarine colour, it didn’t seem real. I thought only desktop wallpapers could look like this.
As we continued, we realised that we had ascended so high up the limestone mountains that we were literally above the clouds. I guess this could have been the inspiration behind the name.
As we clocked in at the second hour, the path had flattened and gradually changed to a Mediterranean meadow dotted with holm-oaks, vines, herb gardens, wildflowers and stone cottages. We could tell we were still in the clouds as the blankets of mist kept sweeping in over the fields of long grass.
We eventually arrived at a fountain that gave us two options – Praiano or back to Positano. We decided to keep going to Praiano in the hopes of ticking off another coastline town. From this point, it was all rocky stairs going downhill that demanded a lot more coordination than I could handle whilst I was hungry, so the prospect of a well-deserved plate of pasta kept me going.
At just under three hours from when we started the trail, we (unofficially) arrived. Unofficially meaning that there is no clear finish line so we assumed that we were done once we started getting lost weaving in and out of paved pathways and colourful villas that led us closer to the water’s edge. After walking down a few more hundred sets of stairs, we saw waves crashing against the rocks. We had arrived, and there were plenty of carbs for us to load up on.
Writer: Stephanie Lau
Photographer: Dean Vowles