Paddling on the sea

A kayak tour to fully enjoy the area’s beauty and places that are still little explored.

May 6th, 2023. By Anna Volpicelli

Away from city traffic. Away from crowded beaches and noise. There is a different way of getting to know and savor the vertical landscape of the Amalfi Coast that allows you to leave the paved roads behind and opt for the sea routes, which can be traveled by kayak. Paddling on the water is probably one of the best ways to fully experience the area’s magic and discover lesser-known places, especially during the summer. 

The itinerary requires a little preparation and technical knowledge. Still, it promises a truly unique experience. The material heritage characterized by rocky cliffs, expanses of lemon terraces, the warm green of the mountains, and the pastel colors of the houses are mixed with the more intimate and emotional heritage belonging to each individual. 

The legend of The Two Brothers

The route begins in Vietri sul Mare, where you will paddle around the “Due Fratelli” (The Two Brothers), the undisputed village symbol. The two large rocks, almost identical that stand out between the coast and the sea, are the protagonists of famous legends, one of a more historical character and one, instead, more romantic. 

The first takes us back to 871-872 AD during the war between the Salerno people and Saracen pirates. One day, a large fleet of Saracen ships arrived in the Gulf of Salerno and besieged the city, which had been reduced to poverty. Prince Guaiferio, head of the Salernitanians, tired of seeing his people reduced to starvation, summoned the Great Council and proposed to settle the conflict with a duel between the strongest Saracens, Prince Rajan, and the strongest of the Salernitanians knights, Umfredo. 

Amid the clash, the Saracen prince, probably frightened by his opponent’s strength, fled and arrived in Vietri Sul Mare. Reached by the valiant Umfredo, the two continued the duel but exhausted and bleeding. They died with the desire to embrace each other and make peace, only to slip down into the sea and turn into the two rocks. On the other hand, the second legend tells of two young shepherds who, having arrived with their flocks on the beach of Vietri, were captured by the charm and beauty of a mysterious maiden sleeping in the middle of the sea. 

When a storm arose, the two young men jumped into the water to save the young woman, but without success, they drowned. On the other hand, the maiden was saved because she was the sea nymph Roda, daughter of Poseidon, god of the sea. Poseidon, impressed by the courage and generosity of the two young people, decided to turn the remains of their bodies into the two rocks, the “Two Brothers,” and the sheep of their flock into small rocks surrounding them in the sea. 

Un trekking in kayak sul mare in Costa d'Amalfi
Photo courtesy of Genius Loci Travel

A look at Capo d’Orso

After circumnavigating the myths of Vietri Sul Mare, we move slowly, letting the waves of the sea carry us to Erchie, a tiny village bordered by two Saracen towers. Erchie is famous for its small beaches that can only be reached by sea. The landscape blossoms from the waters that embrace Erche, showing its fascinating charm. 

Shifting, in fact, your gaze to the earthly verticality typical of the coast, you catch a glimpse of the sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Avvocata that rules over Maiori. A Marian place of worship is located at 827 meters on Mount Falerzio. On the other side, however, following the wake of the waters, the eye rests on the promontory of Capo d’Orso

The headland is named after its shape, which refers precisely to a bear’s head. Leaving Capo d’Orso behind, one arrives at Atrani, where it is possible to “park” the kayak on the beach and visit one of the smallest villages in Italy, whose architecture, with its narrow alleys, was a source of inspiration for the artist Mauritius Cornelis Escher.

Un trekking in kayak in Costa d'Amalfi. Un angolo del Fiordo di Furore
A view of Fjord of Furore. Photo by Vito Fusco

From the Fjord of Furore to the small beaches of Positano

Once you have resumed kayaking, you continue paddling along the coast toward Conca dei Marini, home to the famous Santa Rosa Monastery, now a luxury hotel. From here, we plunge into one of the most Instagrammed and visited scenery of the Amalfi Coast, the Fjord of Furore, with its small beach and colorful fishermen’s boats. 

Once out of the fjord, we head toward Praiano and its Marina di Praia, then continue to Positano. Despite its popularity, few people know that Positano is characterized by small, isolated sandy oases that can be reached only on foot or by water. 

To see them up close, one must pass the Clavel watchtower and head toward the promontory of Punta Germano, dotted with numerous caves. The panorama is unique. From here, it is possible to contemplate the island Li Galli and Capri’s background. And after a short break, the journey continues to the small inlet of Marina di Crapolla, where St. Peter is believed to have embarked to reach Rome.