If you’ve seen any of Italy’s coastline you know it is sun-swept, warm, welcoming and magnificent, the Italian Cilento Coast is no different - in fact there are some magnificent parks and beaches to explore. The waters are bright, glistening blues and greens. The villages are perched seemingly precariously in the cliff-sides and appear like little dots of brightly coloured candy popping out of the cliffs that rise up sharply from the rocky beaches in some spots or soft, sandy beaches along Cilento Coast.
Shortly south of the Amalfi Coast, on the Tyrrhenian Sea, is the Cilento Coast, which you might say, is the lesser known but equally beguiling cousin of Amalfi that has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1998. As such, beaches here are among the best, flying the blue flag indicating their great cleanliness and high rating for swimming, for most of the year – October - April.
Between the roads to Naples northward and Reggio di Calabria southward, you find no fewer than 60 coastal towns of Cilento National Park in the province of Salerno, in the region of Campania. Agropoli is the gateway to the park, it is the largest town in the area. Agropoli is also the perfect central jumping off point for visiting the other towns of Cilento. Agropoli is just moments from the ruins of Paestum, which in itself is worth a peak, and just a hop north of Castellabate including Santa Maria di Castellabate and San Marco di Castellabate. For a little summer fiesta, visit Agropoli on July 24 to join the celebration of the patron saint of fishermen: Madonna of Constantinople. In the warmth of July, there is a parade of fishing boats followed by an evening party with all that you would expect – food, folly, and festivities.
Santa Maria di Castellabate, the town – runs from the zone of Lago to the beach of Pozzill 60 kilometers from Salerno. San Marco di Castellabate, is the port from which the town of Castellbate can be accessed by visitors. Acciaroli is nearby and it is yet another pristine, blue flag town along the coast just a little further south. This village boasts an astonishing number of inhabitants aged 100 years or more. It is suggested that the reason is a combination of healthy eating – local fruits and vegetables as well as fish and lots of exercise, along with genetic factors. So, for a long life, perhaps a visit here will help you pick up habits that literally change your trajectory.
An hour south of Acciaroli, Palinuro is a coastal town that juts out prominently into the Tyrrhenian Sea at the south end of the Cilento Coast, creating the Palinuro cape. As such Palinuro is a port town, made famous as the location for the filming of the Clash of the Titans. This area is well-known to combat divers who frequent the coastal caves here: the Blue Cave, the Cave of Bones, Monks’ Cave, the Fetid Cave, the Blood Cave, and the Silver Grotto. Palinuro owes its unique features to the caves and to its striking cape.
The list of villages and towns that dot this coastline goes on. Traverse the coast by car and meander through this absolutely unspoiled seascape. For a gentle roll up or down a magnificent seaside national park, plan to drive the Cilento Coast.