Mountains and beach: The Cilento National Park

Cilento National Park, Italy’s second largest national park, is where East and West, the sea and the mountains, as well as Nordic and African culture meet. The scenic harmony of sea and fertile land is also reflected in the gastronomic traditions of the farmers and fishermen.

Coast in Cilento (© JFL Photography - Fotolia)

Coast in Cilento (© JFL Photography – Fotolia)

The area of the Cilento National Park, which is still very much untouched by tourism, extends about 90 km south of Naples between Sapri and Paestum. It has a coastline that is over 100 km long with clean sandy beaches and beautiful bays. It surprises by varied landscapes, a large diversity of animals and plants, as well as the dark blue, clean sea. In 1998, UNESCO designated the Cilento National Park a World Heritage Site.

The most famous attractions in the Cilento National Park

… are the archaeological excavations of the Greek temples of Paestum and the ancient Velia. Worth a visit is the historic city of Agropoli. Situated on a rock, it offers a beautiful view of the Gulf of Salerno. At Cap Palinuro you can make a boat trip to the “Blue Grotto”.

In the Cilento National Park, you can find about 200 small towns that, for the most part, have a medieval structure. Among them is Marina di Casal Velino, a nice, little resort, which extends in the vast plain of the Alento River. Great destinations for a day trip are Naples, the Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Amalfi, Ravello and Positano, as well as the islands Capri and Ischia.

Naples’ gastronomic influence shows in the home made pasta

… especially the “Fusilli” (big spiral-shaped pasta). Due to the fact that lots of people keep goats, the region is famous for its fantastic cheese, like for example caciocavallo, which can vary in flavour from mild to zesty, mortella, and buffalo mozzarella. Fish is preferably grilled in all variations. The salubrious olive oil and the chocolate covered prickly pear are also well known.

How to get there:
For exploring the Cilento National Park, it is recommended to come by car. The next airport is Naples-Capodichino, which is about 90 km from Capaccio-Paestum. Different bus routes connect the airport with other cities in Campania. The rail line FS leaves from Naples’ main station.