Looking for a breathtaking climbing destination? Look no further than the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Known for its views, food, and drink, the Amalfi Coast is a stellar vacation location that is surrounded by stunning natural wonders and views. The climbing here is truly spectacular and is something that every climber should try at least once.
Brief Overview of Climbing the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi coast has been known for years as an incredible travel destination, especially among the wealthy who enjoy extravagant food, lodging, and travel in this region. The coast is on the Sorrentine Peninsula in Southern Italy and is known for gorgeous views, amazing food and wine, and its stellar mountains.
In recent years, more and more tourists have been flocking to the Amalfi coast to enjoy its natural wonders. With rugged mountains meeting the ocean and kilometres of open space in every direction, the area is filled with an amazing network of hiking trails that have quickly gained international popularity.
Along with hiking on the Amalfi coast, climbing has also been developing in the region. It is likely to continue to develop for many years, so just remember that if you climb in this region now, going back in 10 or 20 years will likely give you a completely different experience since there are still so many unexplored and unclimbed routes in the region.
Amalfi climbing is sport climbing, although you can find a few multi-pitch climbs if you look hard enough and a little bit of mountaineering if you go inland a bit. The area features everything from slab to vertical rock to overhanging routes. With grades that range from 5.6 to 5.13, there really is something for every climber on the Amalfi coast.
Why Climb Amalfi Coast?
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Many climbers decide that climbing the Amalfi coast is something that has to be on their climbing bucket list because of the amazing location. Being able to climb in such a gorgeous location and on some pretty spectacular routes really is the draw of the region.
With more and more people coming to appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature, it is no wonder why hiking and climbing have started to become more and more popular on the Amalfi coast. Climbing in Amalfi will give you a fun experience in a truly one-of-a-kind location.
When is the Best Time to Climb the Amalfi Coast?
Most of the cliffs on the Amalfi coast are south-facing, so summer is not a good time to climb here. We recommend climbing here anytime from last fall to early spring, as the southern exposure will keep the cliffs warm, even in the cooler weather of winter.
The Amalfi coast is just starting to become a top climbing destination, so while many crags are not too busy now, expect that in 5 or 10 years, most crags here will probably be quite busy. Being able to climb in winter with a warm southern exposure is perfect and will inevitably attract more and more people as time goes on.
Amalfi Coast Climbing Style
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The limestone cliffs of the Amalfi coast offer a wide array of different climbing styles, but pretty much every route here falls into the categories of either sport climbing or deep water soloing. The idyllic cliffs offer everything from exceptional slab routes with tiny holds to massive muscle overhanging roofs.
Although not as well-known as Mallorca in Spain for deep water soloing, the Amalfi coast has its fair share of this unique climbing style. Similar to bouldering, deep water soloing does not use any ropes, but unlike bouldering, where you stay close to the ground, deep water soloing allows you to climb high above the ocean. When you fall or slip or jump, you fall into the clear, blue water below.
Guide companies, like 57 Hours, even offer climbing and sailing packages that allow you to experience both sport climbing and deep-water soloing while sailing around the Amalfi coast in a private sailboat. With the popularity of climbing in this region only increasing, we can expect to see more tours like this pop up in the future as well.
What is the Climbing Difficulty at Amalfi Coast?
The Amalfi coast has climbs ranging from a 5.6 all the way up to a 5.13, making it a great destination for climbers of all levels. Of course, it is worth noting that since the Amalfi Coast is in Italy and not the US, they don’t use the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) to rate the climbs; instead, they use the French system. On that system, the climbs on the Amalfi coast range from 4c to 8a.
Top Climbing Areas at the Amalfi Coast
Most of the climbing on the Amalfi Coast is centered around the town of Positano, with seven crags close to this town, but there are crags all over the coastline. Here are some of the top climbing areas on the Amalfi Coast:
1. Punta Campanella
Located at the end of the Sorrentine Peninsula, this area is known for its deep water soloing. Although this crag can be more challenging to get to since it isn’t really near any major towns, it is one of the most spectacular places to climb due to its location at the point of the peninsula. There are a number of sport climbs here as well and even a few multi-pitch climbs, but don’t expect to spend more than a day or two at this small crag since there aren’t that many routes here yet.
2. Brigante Mirabella
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Near the town of Positano, this crag hosts a selection of amazing sport climbs, all in the 5.9 to 5.11b range, making it a great place for an intermediate climber to spend a day. The crag has around 15 climbs on it and will likely have more in the future since there is still more unbolted rock to climb around here. “Guntabaar” (7b) is probably the most classic climb at this crag. The route is located just next to the cave where the cliff’s namesake bandit is said to have hidden his treasure.
3. Falesia Della Selva
Located directly outside the town of Positano, Falesia Della Selva is an excellent crag for those looking to stay close to town. It offers spectacular views of the ocean and amazing natural wonders, all easily accessible from the town. With routes like “Maya”(7a) being touted as one of the most beautiful lines of climbing in the area, it’s no wonder why this crag is so popular.
4. Mount Gambier
On the edge of Positano is Montepertuso, a subsection of Positano, and this area is home to a lot of climbing. After parking at the soccer field in town, you can follow a path that leads you up the hill to the Gambera arch. On one side of the arch are the climbs of Gambera East, and on the other side of the arch are the climbs of Gambera West. This area is packed with climbs, making it a super fun place to spend your day climbing.
5. Capo D’Orso
On the far inland edge of the peninsula is Capo D’Orso, a spectacular climbing area on a hill overlooking the rest of the Amalfi Coast. It is a local favorite, so it can get a little busy. If you are looking for a gorgeous place to climb and see the views, look no further than this area. With routes like “Anima Migrante” (6a) scaling the hill and giving you breathtaking views of the whole coastline, you won’t want to miss this amazing crag.
Hidden Gems for Climbers
Associazione La Selva is an excellent resource for climbs coming to the Amalfi Coast. Not only do they offer a home base for climbers, but they are also a wealth of information about the area. Managed by Cristiano Bacci, one of the most prominent bolters and climbing developers in the area, and his wife, this associazione is a true hidden gem.
They also recommend some excellent guidebooks for the area, which are essential to a successful trip to the Amalfi Coast since sites like Mountain Project don’t have much in terms of a guide to the Amalfi Coast. They recommend the “Costa D’Amalfi: Sport Climbing Guidebook” as the best guide to the area’s many climbs. Just keep in mind that since there are so many new routes being developed here, guidebooks are only good near their publishing years and not for long after.
Important Things to Note When Planning to Climb Amalfi Coast
Staying on the Amalfi Coast can be pricey, so here are some of the things you’ll need to be aware of during your trip:
There are lots of hotels, hostels, and bed and breakfasts in Positano and all the other towns along the coast, but they are often quite expensive. While the Positano climbing culture has just started to get up and running, the area has been known as an elite travel destination for years, so the prices are often high.
Italy does not allow free camping, but many climbers do so anyway. Places like Punta Campenella are known for having people sleep near the parking lot and rise before anyone comes to tell them to move, but this technically isn’t allowed. There is camping near many of the towns, including Positano, which is a much more cost-effective way to stay in this region.
Getting to and from the Amalfi Coast can be challenging if you are planning on using public transit. The nearest major airport is in Naples, and the nearest after that is in Rome, neither of which has a direct bus to the Amalfi Coast. The best way to get to the coast and travel around it is by renting a car. Parking can be challenging in towns like Positano, but many of the smaller towns along the coastline are easier to find parking in.
Wrapping Things Up: A Guide to Climbing Amalfi Climbing
Regardless of whether you are a tourist who wants to climb for a day or a climber who wants to experience some of the local wonders, the Amalfi Coast has something for everyone. With so many crags still being developed and explored, the climbing here will only get better as time goes on, so keep the Amalfi Coast on your list even after you’ve been there once. The climbing will keep developing, giving you more stunning climbs in this gorgeous location.
Looking for more guides? Check out more of our climbing tips here.
Here are a few to help you out: