Amalfi Highs: Skip the crowds on Italy's Path of the Gods
How to see Italy’s Amalfi Coast without the crowds? Start by walking the Path of the Gods, says Yvonne Gordon
As we walk along the rough stone path, the Amalfi Coast stretches into the distance as far as the island of Capri.
Far below, the Mediterranean Sea shimmers and a tiny ship motors into the town of Positano. Around us, rows of vines cling to steep terraces and a shepherd's whistles echo in the hills. A hike on Sentiero degli Dei - Path of the Gods - is a way to experience the Amalfi Coast's beauty without the crowds.
Wear proper boots for the Path of the Gods. The walk from Bomerano to Nocelle is around 6km. Walk on to Montepertuso, take the steps down into Positano, and take a boat to Amalfi and a transfer or bus back to Ravello.
Continuing the theme of seeing the Amalfi Coast from above, the charming town of Ravello is set high in the hills above Amalfi, with a series of terraced gardens, historic villas and former palaces positioned to make the most of the sea views.
Check in to Palazzo Avino (palazzoavino.com, rooms from €308) which dates from the 12th century. The villa's terraces have an outdoor pool, gardens, a spa, gym and a Michelin-starred restaurant, and one of the best views is from the rooftop hot-tub. The hotel also has its own private beach club on the coast (open May to October) with swimming platforms and a restaurant, with regular shuttles from the Palazzo.
Sound of music
Ravello is a city of music — Richard Wagner was inspired by the gardens at Villa Rufolo (villarufolo.it) when he visited, and during the famous summer Ravello Festival (ravellofestival.com), there are outdoor performances on a stage overlooking the sea.
In Ravello, spend time getting lost in the peaceful gardens of Villa Cimbrone (villacimbrone.com; €7). The whole property is set right on the tip of a rocky outcrop and the highlight of the famous Terrazzo dell'Infinito (Terrace of Infinity) with its row of marble busts, is the view down over the gorge to the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, 1,200 feet (365m) below.
Ravello's main piazza can be busy with tourists and weddings in high season - plan an escape to the gardens of a villa or hotel.
Ryanair (ryanair.com) flies year-round from Dublin to Naples, and will fly from Cork this summer. Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) flies from Dublin between March and September.
A train from Rome to Naples takes 1.2 hours. Driving on the Amalfi Coast can be tricky for visitors - use hotel transfers, taxis or buses to travel to Ravello.