Outdoors in the Cilento
The massively underrated undulating Cilento coast has a rocky coastline dotted with sandy beaches, backed by Italy’s second largest national park, Parco Nazionale del Cilento e Vallo di Diano, covering 180,000 hectares of limestone hills covered in silver-green olive trees and studded with caves. Cilento country pursuits include horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, caving, and snorkeling. There are way-marked walks throughout the park, with the chance to spot rare fauna and flora including the golden eagle, peregrine falcon, Corsican hare, wolf, and the Primula palinuri (the yellow-petaled symbol of the park). The coastline starts in the fishing village of Agropoli and continues 60 miles to the Basilicata border. Agropoli has a Byzantine castle, harbor, and promenade. A scenic coastal path starts just out of town –ignore the scruffy modern suburb. There are lots of walking opportunities around the increasingly fashionable resort of Palinuro to the south – including a stroll to the lighthouse or to the Greco-Roman ruins at Molpa. The pinewoods and calm waters at the headland of Punta Licosa are the perfect spot for a picnic and well-earned rest. Santa Maria di Castellabate has a Marine Nature Reserve, superb for snorkelling, as does Spiaggia del Buondormire, a favourite of divers and snorkelers who flock to its crystal-clear waters.
Head office of Parco Nazionale del Cilento e Vallo di Diano: Palazzo Mainenti, Via Palombo, Vallo di Lucania. (tel) +39 097 4719 911. Pony trekking and excellent lunch: agriturismo Il Forno Antico, San Mauro La Bruca. (tel) +39 0974 974 203. www.ilfornoantico.it. Guided walking routes: (tel) +39 339 6502 455. www.guideufficialipncvd.it.